In keeping with the #1CH1NOY campaign, CHiNOY TV, in partnership with CNN Philippines, unveils a new season which aims to put the spotlight on modern Chinoys. They are personalities from different walks of life who showcase the Chinoy cultural values, and one of them is Tim Yap, a renowned Chinoy host, and eventologist.
Many people know Tim Yap as the ever-present celebrity of numerous parties in and out of Manila. Sometimes, as a guest, but most of the time, as a host. But what many people don’t know is before Tim Yap became who he is now, it took him lots of hard work, bravery, and discipline—not to mention a dash of flair—to be the country’s first-ever “eventologist,” a category he invented for others to follow.
Growing up in a traditional Chinese family, Tim was taught by his parents to put “many eggs in one basket.” But later on, he realized that it’s better “to make many baskets and fill them with many eggs.” Such a mindset eventually led him to become who he is today: a public relations pro, entrepreneur, events host, fashion icon, and actor, among others.
Indeed, Tim is a man of many interests and passions—and he makes sure that he excels in each and every one of them.
“Before relationships, industries first. I think I’m quite lucky that my parents exposed me to different things,” Tim tells CHiNOY TV. After spending most of his youth exploring different ventures, Tim felt more at home on the creative side—performing arts, entertainment, and media productions.
“I didn’t fall under the kind of business my parents wanted me to be in. I had a lot of explaining with them that this [entertainment] is what I wanted. Show business is business, too. It’s an industry I had to stand up and fight for,” the 43-year-old Tim shares.
Doing events for almost two decades now, Tim, so to speak, gave birth to what he described then as the “art and science of eventology,” as the country’s pioneer “eventologist.”
During his younger years, an eventologist played a small role in a campaign. “Before, it was just about being an events planner. But now, being an eventologist also involves the entire crafting of the message,” explains Tim.
“Our role now is to think of ways and means for the message to reach as many people as possible through an event, which, in turn, will translate to the overall perception of people about the brand,” he adds.
With Tim’s multifaceted career, a lot has changed since he first paved his way into the limelight. Before, the media and entertainment scene was not so welcoming with “singkit” [slanted eyes] artists, but now, according to Tim, the world has become well adjusted.
“I think the first person who changed the game for representation, for me at least, is Heart Evangelista. You know, in a sea of tisays [white skinned people], all of a sudden F4 happened and Barbie Szu, and at that time, the biggest star was Heart,” Tim, a Marketing graduate from the De La Salle University, recalls. “A lot of things have changed since then. Then, of course, Mr. and Ms. Chinatown also played a significant role in Chinoy’s representation as a platform that embraces all forms of beauty.
When asked if Tim wishes for more Chinoy representation in the media, he answered that the field has already become bigger and more open for diversity.
“Before, if your last name was like one syllable, they had to change it to make it sound not so Chinese, you know. So that’s why people call me Tim Yap because just ‘Tim’ is so short and just ‘Yap’ is so short. So Tim Yap is long enough,” Tim continues. “But now, you can hear all these Chinese last names like ‘Go’ or ‘Chua’ and more Chinoys who are more singkit than me.”
On coming out
Having been exposed to several related industries—events, fashion, media, and entertainment—Tim is known to be a flamboyant dresser.
“I would always be in the most shocking color. And my mom always thought that it’s just how I express myself because I’m very creative, and it has nothing to do with my sexuality. So, we never talked about it [Tim’s sexuality],” Tim reveals.
Since his sexual preferences remain unspoken in their household, it’s not until he proposed to his then-boyfriend Javi Martinez, when Tim came out to his mother through a phone call before he flew to Japan. According to Tim, the conversation went like this:
Tim: Ma, before you find out from the rest of the world, I proposed to Javi.
Mom: Oh, who’s Javi?
Tim: Ma! He’s the guy that I would uh have lunch and dinner with at home!
Mom: Oh, but he’s a guy!
Tim: Mom, I’m boarding. Bye!
As expected, his mom was shocked because the news of Tim and Javi’s engagement was the talk of the town at that moment. But at the end of the day, she accepted and supported Tim for who he is after a long winding road.
The married life
Tim and his husband, Javi Martinez, who works as the events director for Yaparazzi Events + PR, tied the knot three years ago in New York. Since then, Tim says that married life has kept him grounded and given him a sense of purpose. He has always been so sure of himself, but with Javi by his side, he’s now more secure than ever.
So, has marriage, in any way, slowed down Tim’s career? Without hesitation, the multi-hyphenated public figure declares: no! Tim even goes as far as to describe himself as a “robot” because people usually see him doing too many things.
Despite his nearly nightly hosting and organizing gigs, Tim still finds parties and events “energizing,” even those being held virtually or via Zoom. He has yet to tire or feel bored attending or presiding over one. “It’s a gathering of people, and everybody’s in a different mood. As an eventologist, I like to raise the energy,” says Tim excitedly.
As a Chinoy, Tim firmly believes that these core values need to be passed onto future generations: Respect for elders, love for country, and love for self.
Tim elaborates, “Respect for elders—we should never lose that for our parents, grandparents, and everybody older than us. We had so much to learn from them, right. They have lived their lives, and there are so many lessons to pass to us. Number two, love for self. You need to accept who you are. You will not be perfect. There will always be somebody better, richer, hotter than you, but look in the mirror and say, ‘hey, I love you’ and accept yourself. The third is love for the country. We are fortunate to be growing up in this country. Despite all the problems that we are encountering, we are still the luckiest to be here. So, you got to love the Philippines with all your heart.”
We can’t help but think that Tim has it all—he continues to succeed in his goals and achieve his dreams. Apart from having found a loving husband for life, he continues to live life to the fullest and on his own terms.
So, at this point in his life, is there anything else left for Tim to desire? Tune in to CNN Philippines every Saturday at 8 p.m. starting on August 8 to know more and discover other Chinoy personalities on the newest TV documentary program, “CHiNOY TV Presents: Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart.”
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