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Wo/Men of Pearls: Stacey Marcelo, Travel, Lifestyle and Wellness Journalist

Stacey Marcelo’s career in public relations has taken her around the world. She begins, “I started my career in PR and Marketing, working in countries that include Australia, France, Spain, and finally, Hong Kong.” It has been 12 years since she moved to the harbour city, which she now considers home. It was in this exciting  and dynamic city where she began to explore life as a travel and lifestyle journalist. In Stacey’s eight years as a freelance writer, she shares that, “I have reviewed some beautiful destinations, hotels and cruises around the world, and I also get to preview and write about the latest happenings around Hong Kong on the dining, wellness, family and beauty scene.” 



More recently, Stacey has dedicated herself to supporting the cause of an NGO called International Justice Mission. In this exclusive interview with ARAO, the mother, writer and Woman of Pearl emphasizes the urgent need to protect children in the Philippines from online predators. She also takes us to some of the most idyllic destinations and gems around Hong Kong. 




  1. What keeps you busy these days?



I have had the privilege of volunteering for an NGO called International Justice Mission (IJM) which raises urgent funds to protect children from OSEC (online sexual exploitation of children) in the Philippines. I was shocked to learn that my home country, the Philippines, is at the epicentre of this evil industry. Awareness surrounding this issue is disturbingly low. So, I’ve made it my mission to spread the word about the work the IJM does. 


Last week, we gathered as a community to raise funds that would help rescue and restore children who are still trapped in exploitation. 


 I am also a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle, as well as Mum to two wonderful kids, Chloe and Olivier. They keep me on my toes!






  1. How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?



I started my career in PR and Marketing working in countries that include Australia, France, Spain, and finally, Hong Kong where I moved 12 years ago. Eight years ago, I pivoted to journalism. I worked for a wellness magazine and later began to focus more on writing freelance for travel and lifestyle publications. 





  1. What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most? 



There are definitely some very nice perks to the job. I have reviewed beautiful destinations, hotels, and cruises around the world. I also get to preview and write about the latest happenings around Hong Kong on the dining, wellness, family and beauty scene.



  1. What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”



With so many publications closing, it can be tough being a freelancer. It means the income is not always steady as there are fewer publications to write for.





  1. For people who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?



I sort of fell into this career because I wanted to try something new. Secretly, I had always wanted to become a travel writer. I didn’t come from a journalism background. I was more accustomed to writing press releases. As I pivoted, I began to hone my writing skills and find my unique voice. 

Learn the art of relationship building. Go out and network. Collaborate. This will open many doors for you. Hong Kong is a very supportive place where, in my experience, people have been open and willing to lend a helping hand. I hope to be able to do the same for others. 



  1. What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?   



After my latest collaboration with IJM, it reinforced the belief that I can do anything that I set my my mind to. That I am capable of leading a team to create meaningful impact through advocacy. 


There were moments in the journey when I doubted myself. To see the fundraising dinner coming to fruition was both humbling and satisfying. 





  1. How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?



My job allows me to be flexible with my time. This allows me to be present during school drop offs and mealtimes, which I am grateful for. As for activities with the family, in winter, we like to go on family hikes. In the summer, we hit the beach with friends.





  1. How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?



Hong Kong has many easily accessible hiking trails and beaches that allow you to escape from the busy, urban life and connect with nature. My happy place is Pui O Beach on Lantau Island. This was a very healing place for me, particularly during the Covid years. To be able to spend time in nature—foraging clams, mussels, and crabs–then cooking it for family and friends, was balm for the soul.  





  1. How would you describe your personal style? What are three your wardrobe essentials? 



I like to keep it simple and stylish. My wardrobe essentials include black slacks, my eco-sneakers from Lono (perfect for walking cities like Hong Kong), and a scarf (everything is over-airconditioned in Asia).






     10. What do pearls mean to you?



Pearls are elegant and have a timeless appeal. I’ve been wearing pearls since I was a little girl and I know I’ll be wearing them until my twilight years.






     11. What is everyday luxury for you?



I’ve lived in many different countries, and I find that living in an efficient city like Hong Kong is truly a luxury. I can do four things in one day as everything works!