Remembering Sari Yap: A Mother In Media & Publishing
As we celebrate our late founder’s life, I remember how she inspired many of us to carry the mantle.
It’s been three years since our founder, Sari Yap, left this world to join our Creator. This article is also three years overdue, and I’m glad that it is. Divine timing, I guess.
I joined One Mega Group in 2016. Unlike most people, I was not a spring chicken with stars in my eyes. In fact, I was in my late 30s, going through some very trying times. I remember that all I wanted to do then was write. I met with Sari for what I thought would be a job interview. But it was really more like a counseling session because we spent over two hours talking about life, purpose, passion, and the universe. At the end of that meeting, I had a job — and the position was something so out of my league. Six and a half years later, here we are.
Ahead of her time
What do I remember about Sari Yap? Well, she always spoke her mind and never minced her words. Her standards were high and she knew what she wanted. People either feared her, detested her, or admired her. She was undoubtedly ahead of her time — having founded the Philippines’ best fashion magazine and building a media empire. I didn’t get to know Sari as the ‘dragon lady’ I was told she once was. She was tough, yes, and she called everyone out. But this time, she was more awakened, and ultimately, she became my healer.
She often called me to her office where she and I had very profound life conversations and discussions about the esoteric for hours on end. It was because of her I had a deeper yearning to learn more about myself, what my purpose is, understand more about life and its mysteries. I truly believe that being led to the company was part of a perfectly laid out plan that would end up opening my eyes and my heart to a different reality — one that steered me to the spiritual path I am on.
Mind over matter
When Sari was diagnosed with cancer shortly after I met her, the strength and willpower she possessed was a true testament of how she owned mind over matter like a boss. She was the happiest and most peaceful when she went into remission because she understood why she was sick and what she had to do in order to make the most of her time on earth.
She once asked me, “Marga, what do you think your purpose in life is?” I proudly replied, “To be a mom!” She snickered and said “Actually, that’s what you are. But that’s not why you are here in this lifetime. You are here to help people. I don’t know in what way, but that is your calling and it’s your job to figure that out.” That blew my mind! I thought to myself if my life purpose is not to be a mom, then who am I? Well, turns out, she may have been right.
A mother figure
Sari Yap didn’t have kids. But in a lot of ways, she taught me to be a better mother. She showed me the value of self-love. She ingrained in me that in order for me to be a good parent, I have to take care of myself and love myself first.“What kind of mom would you be if you were not a whole person, if you didn’t love or care for yourself? You can have it all. You don’t have to shrink or limit yourself because that will not do anyone any good especially your kids,” she told me very sternly in one of our talks.
In October 2016, I was working on the production of a book that Sari authored (unfortunately the book was never published because she got sick). She joined me in one of the shoots and afterwards, she told me that I commanded the whole thing like an editor. “See, you either have it or you don’t, and you have it — the eye, the taste, you have what it takes,” she said. Shortly after, she asked me to revive and re-brand Celebrity Mom as its editor-in-chief. The rest is history.
The last time I had a private conversation with Sari was on November 29, 2018 — she felt like I needed to see her for some energy clearing. So I went to her condo and we talked for around three hours. Her health had declined a little bit by then, but she still looked really good an. I vividly recall how much she loved the little flower arrangement I gave her.
At the end of our chat, she said, “Okay you’re all set, Marga. You don’t need me to do clearing for you anymore, you can do it on your own now.” After that meeting, we would keep in touch through SMS. I would reach out to check on her or when I needed advice or guidance, to which she always gladly obliged.
On September 9, 2019, we received news from our CEO, Archie Carrasco, that she had passed away earlier that morning. After the shock had subsided, our VP, Suki Salvador, mobilized everyone just like he would a carefully orchestrated Making MEGA cover shoot. I was in charge of #TeamWake. Since I lived closest to the venue, I booked the chapels, coordinated with the florist, took charge of decorations, and arranged the funeral mass. I can’t forget sitting in the office of the church and suddenly bursting into tears when I had to fill out the forms. I had planned many events thus far, but never a wake.
Sari Yap and her legacy
Three years later, with so many changes and trials that have happened to each one of us, personally and as an organization, add to that a global pandemic, the company she built is paving its own path. It is changing, evolving, and growing. It’s truly an exciting time! I think we all just had to realize that we don’t have to do things the way Sari Yap would have done, nor do we have to live in her shadow. She left all of us a legacy. And that comes with the responsibility of letting that legacy outlive not just her, but all of us — by pushing our limits and creating our own identities, carrying with us the core values she taught us: innovation, excellence, and integrity.
Sari, I am grateful for your guidance — professionally, personally, and spiritually. You are an amazing soul and I hope you are shining your Light very brightly wherever you are. I continue to miss you each and every day. I hope that we have made you proud.