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    Kristine Reyes Alzar dreamed of seeing the world as a child, and winning the Bb. Pilipinas-International and Ms. Tourism International titles in 2002 helped her fulfill this dream.


    My City, My SM honorees in Batangas Atty. Antonio Pastor and Kristine Alzar (first and fourth from right) with Batangas Vice- Governor Mark Leviste,  SM City Batangas Mall Manager Lorenzo Calingasan IV,  and SM VP for Marketing Millie Dizon.

    Today, Kristine is based in Dubai working as a cabin crew member of a major international airline. While her work has brought her to some of the most beautiful cities around the world, Kristine makes it a point to fly back to Lipa, Batangas, her hometown, at least four times a year to visit her family and the places she has come to love, including the SM mall.

    Here, she leads the way as she brings us on a visual tour of her Batangas, her SM.


    Kristine with husband Jourdache de Leon at the Kultura Filipino in SM City Lipa.

    Philippine Daily Inquirer: What were your fondest memories of growing up in Batangas?

    Kristine: “I had a very simple childhood, filled with games like volleyball, garter games, patintero, and piko after school and on weekends. During school breaks, we had swimming, dance, and piano lessons.

    I remember Sunday Masses, processions during Lent. We did house chores, and for the town fiesta, we would give our house a general cleaning and make suman and pinindot.

    But my fondest memories would be the Christmases and New Year celebrations in cold Lipa. I think back on how we prayed everyday during the Advent season, complete with the wreath and candles; how we would always have cakes during Christmas because it was also my mother’s birthday. At the strike of New Year, we would put coins on our opened windows and in our pockets and jump altogether.”


    Museo de Lipa, located within the grounds of Plaza Independencia, is the repository of the city’s treasures and beautiful memories. 

    PDI: How do you think growing up in your hometown has made you what you are today?

    Kristine: “I think regardless of where a person is from, it’s his upbringing that basically molds his character. I grew up in a conservative and very religious community where utmost respect is observed. Where I live and work now, I meet people of diverse cultures, religions, and backgrounds, and respect is a primary requirement.


    Kristine and Jourdache enjoying a cup of kapeng barako at Café de Lipa at SM City Lipa.

    PDI: If you were to bring guests to your hometown, where would you take them?

    Kristine: “Coffee and churches are only two of the many things that make up Lipa City’s rich heritage. When coffee cultivation is introduced in Lipa, the coffee industry flourished and made Lipa the richest municipalities in the Philippines at that time. Today it is a city.


    For Kristine, the Cathedral de San Sebastian located at C.M. Recto or in the main roads of the town proper in Lipa is a living testament to the Lipeno’s religiosity throughout history. It is the seat of Archdiocese of Lipa City, Batangas.

    I’ve always been proud of our churches like the Cathedral de San Sebastian. It’s always the first place I bring guests to see, not only because it’s walking distance from our house, but also because it played a big role in my childhood and my life. I see the Cathedral de San Sebastian as a living testament to the Lipeno’s religiosity throughout history.

    I would also let them experience the hospitality of the Lipenos, and visit the beautiful beaches and dive sites in Batangas.”


    SM City Lipa, one of two SM malls in Batangas, has redefined the shopping standards in Kristine’s hometown.

    PDI: How has the SM mall in Lipa changed lifestyles in your hometown?

    Kristine: “SM has not only brought employment to many people, but has also provided contributed in promoting a progressive and competitive Lipa. Having everything under one roof has made everything so convenient for us.”

    PDI: What do you like best about SM City Lipa?

    Kristine: “Every time I get the chance to fly home, visiting SM has always been part of my itinerary because true to its slogan, SM has got it all. For someone who doesn’t always have the luxury of time, the convenience of a place where you can do and get everything you need is a necessity.

    At SM, I can shop for grocery items and other things with the family, pamper myself, do some banking, eat the food I miss, and watch a movie.”