As the Consul of The Republic of the Philippines to The Republic of Cyprus, Charmagne Garcia Laconico dedicates her days to “strengthening the representation of our country in Cyprus, enhancing the ties and cultural exchanges between our two nations, also other members of the diplomatic society in Cyprus.” Her days begin early and are typically packed with back-to-back meetings, brainstorming sessions, and assisting Filipinos residing in the island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Prior to joining the diplomatic corps, Charmagne was in the corporate world as a Director of Content for an online beauty site and community. Before then, she was also Head of Education for several luxury beauty brands, an editor for one of the premiere magazines of the country as she concurrently maintained her own Image Consultancy business. She also lent her expertise to several luxury lifestyle brands helping to launch several milestones in local modern living. Asked how she came to find her place in diplomacy, she responds: “My personal mantra is…”MAINTAIN”… maintain good aura, maintain your best self in all ways that you can. Maintain kindness to people, maintain good work and professionalism as your reputation will always precede you. Maintain a balanced lifestyle with the right mix of fun, self-care, personal fulfillment and strong faith.”
What keeps you busy these days?
Our family is an active family, my eldest daughter is a kart/car/cross-car racer, my second daughter is a ballet dancer / football player, and my youngest son sails. My husband and I juggle our schedule around family and work activities. Thankfully, Cyprus does not have bad traffic!
Last October 2021, I officially opened the Consulate of the Philippines in Larnaka, Cyprus. As Consul ad honorem of the Republic of the Philippines in the Republic of Cyprus, my responsibilities encompass the different areas of Filipino citizens’ assistance, my role also enables me to strengthen the representation of our country in Cyprus, enhance the ties and cultural exchanges between our two nations, also other members of the diplomatic society in Cyprus.
In this light, my vision is to promote the best of the Philippines on this side of the world, and that includes the professionalism, integrity and excellent workmanship of our people. My day in the office usually starts with answering emails followed by several meetings and in the afternoon, I go through documents that need attending to. I am also a Marketing and Workforce Consultant, this involves a lot of meetings, goal-setting and brainstorming every week.
How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?
My personal mantra is…”MAINTAIN”… maintain a good aura, maintain your best self in all ways that you can. Maintain kindness to people, maintain good work and professionalism as your reputation will always precede you. Maintain a balanced lifestyle with the right mix of fun, self-care, personal fulfillment and strong faith.
Maintain your physique and do what you can to ensure that you always look good ( not for others but for yourself ). Maintain the best version of you.
Whenever I look back on my life, it all makes sense how everything connected and led me to what I do now, and it can only be attributed to consistency.
What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most?
People. Working with people. Helping, empowering, inspiring and being inspired in return fuels the passion that I have for what I do. Seeing the results of concepts that you idealized together come to life is so rewarding, it energizes you to do more.
What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”
Giving too much of yourself. That is why everyone needs to have a threshold so that you are not taken advantage of. Always know your boundaries, assert yourself and also when to switch off and protect yourself. As they say, you cannot give out of an empty vessel. That is why we always need to remind ourselves what is really essential and what are mere extras that are unnecessary .
For people who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?
Enjoy the journey towards your desired destination. Make sure it is clear to you what motivates you to pursue your path. Working closely with people can take a lot out of you, you need a lot of patience and to keep an open mind.
What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?
Time and time again, I have seen goals, visions and dreams that start out as mere ideas come to reality. I built a Tea Salon when only coffee shops were around in Manila, was part of the pioneer team that built Solaire and helped create the reputable image that they carry. I was part of the pioneer team that built an online beauty site and community, revamped a glossy title and turned it around from lifestyle- centric to fashion.
All of them started from concepts that went down to the drawing board that was eventually built. That is why I believe in making things happen. Anything is possible. If you can dream it, it can happen with hard work, commitment and perseverance. There are different labels that others may dangle along the way- you are too young, you are a woman, or you are a man, you are too old, you are too this or too that…. but never let those stop you from making things happen.
How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?
We love eating together. Dinner is the most important meal for our family. It is then where we can sit and talk and share with one another all about our day and make plans as a family. We love traveling ( or when we could not travel, dreaming up travel plans!). We set goals for ourselves and reward comes when we achieve milestones- no matter how small it may be. That reward is usually paired with being able to pick the restaurant for that occasion!
I make sure to involve my kids, keep them informed and update them about what I do. They visit me in the office, attend events with me and whenever possible help out when they can.
8. How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?
Stand up paddle boarding is my favorite water sport ever! You can find me in the sailing club paddleboard exercising 3 to 4 times a week and SUP yoga once a week. It keeps me fit while enjoying the calm sea early in the morning. The benefit of breathing fresh air by the ocean is just amazing!
Every week I make my own floral arrangements so our home is adorned with beautiful flowersI also make sure to take a trip to my favorite spa once a month if the schedule permits.
9. How would you describe your personal style? What are three your wardrobe essentials?
I would describe my personal style as classic with a flair. I love classics, then I add a surprise or unexpected touches here and there. I always make sure that I have a good, crisp white button down shirt, a figure flattering frock and a good black pencil skirt that celebrates the feminine figure. With these three pieces, you can accessorize smartly or extravagantly, whatever your whim is for the day!
10. What for you makes for a good investment piece? Kindly cite examples of pieces in your current wardrobe.
I treasure some classic pieces that I have that are waiting to be handed down to my children. I have a drawer filled with beautiful silk and cashmere scarves from my travels, essential for future travels.
A chest with jewelry pieces that have stories to tell, such as a stunning Lapis Lazuli necklace that Tita Helena Benitez used to own that I wore when I took my oath, strings of multi colored pearls and crystals creatively designed and made by my mom, a Manolo Blahnik jewel studded kitty heels that my daughter can wear to her wedding day (yikes!), and a pewter leather Chanel 355 that I bought with a discount when I worked as a resident makeup artist for Chanel in the US.
I also take pride in owning some bespoke and tailored pieces from talented Filipino designers such as JC Buendia , Len Cabili, Randy Ortiz, Joey Samson, Frederick Peralta- their pieces are so classic, I’d love to see my daughters wear them one day.
11. What do pearls mean to you?
I believe that the luster of a good pair of pearl earrings instantly enhances the beautiful face of a woman. I wear pearls every day. It is like a badge I proudly wear on me, as if I carry our Philippine flag with the beautiful pearls I wear. It never fails to catch attention and gives me an opportunity to speak of the beauty of our country.
12. What is everyday luxury for you?
It’s being able to take my time and sip my tea from my favorite cup leisurely.