Being Born into a family of accomplished women flush with style and substance might Be a Burden to some, But marga handles the pressure with effortless grace, elan, and charm.
Discover the quiet elegance of Marga Valdes-Trinidad and the bold creativity of Tracie Anglo-Dizon.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings and have seen a lot of wedding videos over the years, but recently i stumbled upon a clip which may be my favorite yet—the one of marga Valdes and her husband tJ trinidad. in a span of five minutes it succinctly narrated their love story while the camera captured the intimate, relaxed elegance of the affair held at the Valdes family compound in tagaytay. it was beautiful, full of joy, and unpretentious. in a nutshell, just like marga.
we catch up with her at the headquarters of BeaValdes, the highly sought-after fashion brand created by marga’s older sister Bea. located in a humble, unassuming community on the outskirts of the city, the new company office and factory hide from curious eyes behind high ivy-covered walls. the bright, airy, and white multi-story structure was mostly conceptualized by another influential woman in marga’s life, her mother Pamela. ask marga about the people who’ve shaped her life, style, and taste, and she’ll quickly name a few family members: “obviously, i was really influenced by Bea, because we spend so much time together, but also by my mother and my grandmother, fe Panlilio,” she says.
Known as the jeweler of manila society, Panlilio was a true jetsetter. “when i was 13, she took me with her on a business trip to europe. it was just the two of us. she showed me the finer things in life that i could experience if i worked for them. she promised to double whatever savings i had left in my pocket after the trip which taught me to spend wisely,” recalls marga with much appreciation.
a few years after that trip, marga would be living in europe on her own, as she earned her college degree at the american university in Paris, graduating magna cum laude. life on the old continent was another significant character-building experience. “it was sensory overload! the access, being able to travel across the continent so easily and to experience the different cultures, it opened my senses to everything else that was out there. we are quite insulated in manila. if you are 19, living in Paris, you have no choice but to open your eyes and all your senses.”
after college, marga stayed in europe, but this time in england as she pursued a master’s degree at the london school of economics and Political science. after graduating again with honors, she found a job as a speechwriter for a British peer in the house of lords. But before long, her mother and sister convinced her that it was time to come home and join the family company. in her own words, she’s never looked back.
marga claims she doesn’t have a real job title (“we just do what needs to be done”) but it’s generally understood that she handles the brand’s sales and marketing. “once the item is made, i am in charge of it. i have to find its owner. i do a lot of traveling, and meet with a lot of clients. some clients really appreciate Bea’s work like art, so they collect,” she explains.
Beyond securing widespread attention and adulation for the brand, marga also gets a sense of fulfillment from helping numerous women. marga is proud of the working environment they’ve set up, from the favorable conditions all the way down to the company’s ethical and sustainable business practices. “There are a lot of women who work here. and for each woman, there are numerous family members attached who benefit,” she says. “we are empowering the women. They are able to take care of their families, send their kids to school. hopefully, they are breaking a cycle that they may not have been able to get out of otherwise. it’s not always been easy—we’re taking sure steps, but baby steps.”
as her sister’s number one supporter and fan, marga’s passion for Bea’s various creations is quite evident, though not unwarranted. “Bea’s items, they are so amazing that they can’t not be made, not shared with the world. i do feel that,” she gushes. each piece is painstakingly handmade by a highly skilled workforce, and some items are hand-painted by Bea herself—and if marga has time, she helps too. “more people have started to realize that the items are special—not simply because of the materials that go into them—but because of the time it takes to make. those familiar with our work know this. we must instill the value of time. that’s the real luxury—the time it takes to make something special.” «