Wednesday, July 31, 2013

LoveYourself Quickie: One Night Only

UPDATE: Quickie by LoveYourself Confidential is now scheduled for SEPTEMBER 20 (Friday). Same time, same venue. 

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ED: We've added some FAQs to this post. Scroll down to see them.

We at LoveYourself know exactly how you want it -- easy, breezy and with immediate results.

And this is precisely what LoveYourself will give you with Quickie by LoveYourself Confidential. 

On September 20, Friday, we are holding a special free HIV testing event for men at the Makati Friendship Suites from 5 PM till 1 AM (next day).

This effort aims to provide a convenient time and venue for guys who will be just coming out from school or work, even those who are running the night shift on a Friday night.

Our screening comes complete with our trusty facilitators and counselors who are all set and prepared for the Quickie: they will be there to guide you every step of the way, from the one-on-one pre-test counseling right down to the delivery of test results.

Of course, LoveYourself has always prided itself in maintaining the confidentiality of our clients' records. It may be a one-night-only Quickie but we assure you that our lips are sealed.

Headed to a hot Friday night party? Why not stop by first for the Quickie?

Interested clients may sign up for Quickie here. Waik-ins will also be accommodated.

So go ahead and visit us on the 23rd.

We know you want to get our kind of Quickie.

For more details, visit http://go.LoveYourself.ph/QUICKIE



Some FAQs you may have:

Q: How do I go to Makati Friendship Suites?
MRT-Jeep: Detrain at Guadalupe MRT Station, go the Jeepney Terminal at the back of Guadalupe Commercial Center and take any jeep going to Pateros, Market! Market! and FTI. Tell the driver that you wish to alight at Makati Friendship Suites. This is a 1 minute and 30 second ride.

Taxi: Tell the driver to take you to Guadalupe Bliss (Makati Friendship Suites) along Dr. Jose P. Rizal Extension, Brgy. Cembo, Makati.

Map: http://go.loveyourself.ph/QuickieMap

Q: This is my first HIV test. I do not know what will happen during the test. How will the HIV testing process go?
Congratulations for making the brave decision to take the test. Watch this video to learn What Happens During HIV Testing. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjRjqcyXSsE)

Q: What is the best time to drop by?
Everyone is encouraged to come as early as possible. Testing begins at 5 PM on Friday, September 20 and the cut off time will be 1 AM on Saturday morning.

Q: How much will it cost?
HIV screening and counseling is free of charge, you do not need to pay for anything.

Q: When do I get the results?
You can get your HIV test results on the same night while your Syphilis and Hepatitis B results will be sent via e-mail/SMS one week later.

Q: Is it confidential?
Your privacy is one of our main concerns. Only you and your counselor will know your results.

Q: Can it be anonymous? Do I have to give my real name?
We encourage our clients to feel comfortable in filling out the testing form with their real names, but it is not an absolute requirement.

Q: What should I bring?
You are not required to bring anything. You will not be asked for ID.

Q: Since there will be a blood test, should I stop eating before the HIV test? Is fasting required?
Although the HIV test involves the extraction of blood, there are no fasting requirements to be followed. The test will look for HIV antibodies in your blood, and eating food or drinking anything will not affect the results.

Q: Can I bring a friend? What if he doesn’t register?
Yes, please do. He can come even without registering.

Q: I'm a girl, can I go?
This event is exclusively for men. Feel free to drop by our LoveYourself Hub (#1850 Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila.) for testing.


Ready? Visit http://go.LoveYourself.ph/QUICKIE to register. See you on September 20!




Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jun-Jun Sta. Ana, Visual Artist Donates Art Pieces to Support Anglo

The self-taught multi-disciplinary visual artist, Jun-Jun Sta. Ana, expresses his support to build LoveYourself Anglo, a project to develop a community center in the metro, by donating five of his art works. This heart-whelming support will be a great help in building the community center sooner. 

About Sta. Ana

Jun-Jun lives in Chicago but he’s a pure Filipino. He shared his artistry by joining events and conducting exhibitions not just in the Philippines but also in some parts of the world. His latest are a selected group exhibition at BenCab Museum, Baguio City and in Chicago, Illinois. His focus as a visual artist is on Digital Fine Arts, with interests including the exploration of identity and “programmed” perception.

Upcoming Solo Exhibit

Coming this 1st of August at Nova Gallery (Warehouse 12A La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City) is Jun-Jun’s Autobiography, a solo exhibition, where he will showcase his collection of 125 photographic prints that demonstrates his short encounters with the outside world, his private dealings with native practices, and his wide-awake desire for random objects. The exhibit will run from August 1 to 22, 2013. (For more details, visit Nova Gallery Manila – Jun-Jun Sta. Ana)

Some of Sta. Ana's photos in his Autobiography collection

Artists for Anglo

Different artists, aside from Sta. Ana, have also expressed their support by donating their valuable pieces of art for Anglo. Truly, support can come in any other form. Sharing your love and passion to a cause or advocacy you believe is worth of your support is something that will greatly impact the community especially, LoveYourself.

Friday, July 19, 2013

June Macasaet Strips Down for HIV Testing


June Macasaet is used to flaunting his chiseled, 6-foot-1 body to hold the attention of judges. His mastery of manly posing helped him win the male beauty pageant Manhunt International 2012 -- the first-ever Filipino to do so.

But this time around, the ramp and commercial model is using his toned physique and smoldering stare to get people to notice a cause other than himself: awareness for HIV testing and counseling.

Posing in his handsome half-naked glory, June represents the idea that for Filipino men,  HIV testing is the sexiest thing a man can do.


This latest celebrity hunk ad for Project Indulge, the HIV testing awareness campaign is a collaboration among Love Yourself, award-winning advertising agency Campaigns & Grey, and top-ranked photographer Jeanne Young, emphasizes the importance of regular HIV testing to stay healthy and feel sexy.

June follows the daring footsteps of Philippine Volcanoes rugby flanker Kit Guerra, Mr. Gay World Philippines 2012 Carlito Rosalindo, Jr., and TV5 celebrity chef Jeremy Favia -- all of whom have also bared their bodies to encourage more people to get free HIV testing.

More than a drool-worthy Adonis, June possesses a genuine heart of gold. He spent his most recent birthday giving gifts and performing to seniors at the Golden Acres - Haven for the Aged, so it was no surprise that he agreed to pose to help encourage HIV testing.

LoveYourself has provided thousands of sexually-active Filipinos with free HIV testing and counseling through its Malate-based LoveYourself Hub. Demand for its services has grown exponentially, so it plans to build a second center called LoveYourself Anglo along Shaw Boulevard near EDSA.

Visit go.loveyourself.ph/anglo to make a pledge for LoveYourself Anglo. Or visit loveyourself.ph to learn more about June's and LoveYourself's message of love and acceptance.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Closet Chronicles: Benjamin

(photo credits: www.biggaycloset.com)
Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a road to take. No two stories are the same. Some of them might be similar but they are different from one another. In our life, we all go through adversity but these experiences help build who we are. As members of the LGBT community, more often than not, we get the hard end of the stick. Others might not agree with this but there is some truth to it. We experience discrimination, prejudice, even hate and the worst part is sometimes, we experience this from the people who are close to us. This isn’t a generalization but merely an observation.

This column will showcase the story of a member from our community, a John Doe or Jane Doe. A stranger who you’ve never met but he or she has a story to tell and experiences to share. His or her story might be similar to yours or someone you know. So let’s take a glimpse at their life here in the Closet Chronicles.

Benjamin Garcia  or ‘Benja’, as his friends call him, is a 3rd year Community Development student from one of the country’s leading universities. He is 20-years old and a member of the LGBT community. He serves at their local parish as a member of the choir and when I asked him to describe himself, he answered me with one word, ‘simple’.

“I’m just a simple person. I am what I am. How people see me is who I am.”

I asked him the most important question, to get it out of the way.

“When did you know that you were different?”

“Matagal na. Bata palang ako. (I’ve known for a long time. I was still a child, I already knew) Growing up, I never thought that I should be this way or that way or that I should act a certain way. In my mind, I already knew what I was. A woman trapped in a man’s body,” he answered. “It’s not even because I grew up with friends who were girls. Even though my playmates were girls, I always knew that I was one of them. That I was a girl.”

Seeing as how he was comfortable enough talking about it, I asked him a very personal question.

“How would you associate yourself gender-wise? Are you gay or are you trans?”

“Trans,” he answered without thinking twice. “I believe na babae talaga ako at naligaw lang ako sa katawang lalaki. Pero pag sinabi kasi ni nila na ‘trans’, automatic nagcro-crossdress pero para sa akin hindi nagma-matter ang ganun. Hindi yung ang magdedefine kung ano ka. Hindi dahil trans ang isang tao, ibig sabihin kailangan na niyang magcross-dress. Yun yung nafee-feel ko.” ( I believe that I’m a girl and I am trapped inside a man’s body. When they say the word ‘trans’, they automatically associate it with cross-dressing but for me, things like that don’t matter. Your clothes don’t define who you are. Just because someone is trans, it doesn’t mean that they have to cross-dress. That’s what I feel).

At this point, I will start referring to Benja as 'she' since she acknowledges that she is transgendered.

“How did you come out? How did your family treat you?”

“At first, they were not that supportive. I experienced discrimination even within my family. But it was fine with me since they’re my family.  Growing up I told myself that someday they’ll accept me so I never had to tell them what I was. I didn’t think it was necessary. They just knew,” she answered.

“You said that your family discriminated against you. Could you give me an example?”

“Actually, when they make comments or say things, it’s always about how I act, yung kilos ko. For them, men should act a certain way but for me, this is how I am. This is what’s normal for me. But because of that I feel restricted, like I have no freedom which is why I feel discriminated against.”

I asked her when she felt that being who she was was finally okay with her family.

“When I was in college. Though my family accepts me, it’s still different when it comes to my parents. Their beliefs are still based on the bible and they have a dogmatic approach when it comes to gender. But if that’s what they think or feel, it’s fine with me. I know that the time will come when they will fully accept me. If they need me to explain, I’m willing to explain who I am and what I am.”

“How about your friends?”

“I have no problems with my friends although the one thing they don’t like is for me to change.”

“What do you mean by change?” I asked.

“Since I’m transgendered, there are times when I want to dress up like a woman and they don’t like that. I want to be a full-fledged woman but they don’t want it. I take their advice about it sometimes.”

“So the restricting factor for you when it comes to cross-dressing, aside from your family, are your friends?”

“Yes. Growing up, I didn’t know what gay or transgendered was. Ang alam ko lang, babae ako (The only thing I knew was that I was a girl). As a child I was okay with whatever clothes I had on but as I got older, of course I wanted to experiment. I want to wear clothes that I would feel comfortable in and that my friends and family would be fine with.”

As the conversation kept on going, I decided to ask a very personal question. Was she willing to, one day, undergo gender-reassignment surgery?

“Of course, I’ve considered it,” she answered with a chuckle. “Of course I want it, but I believe there’s a time for that. Actually, if I can be a woman even for just one day, I’d be very happy.”

Benja, serves at their local church so I had to ask, since the church is not very accepting of the LGBT community, how do the people at church treat her?

“When I started serving, I was afraid that people would discriminate against me. But I have made a lot of friends and in general, people are nice to me. Although there are some, especially those who don’t know me, they don’t understand why I am this way. But I pay no attention to them because I know that there will always be people like them and I respect that,” he answered. “I also stay alert especially when it comes to talks about gender like during the priest’s homily.”

She feels that she is tolerated and accepted by a lot but not by everyone and she is fine with that because she understands that that’s how the world works.

To end the interview, as a member of the LGBT community and as a self-identified Transgendered, I asked her what her advice is for other people in her situation. The kids who get bullied for being different, the closeted man who is confused about what he is, etc.

“Be more educated. That will be your best weapon against people who discriminate against you. Be knowledgeable about the community and about gender. It is hard when you are LGBT but you do not know about gender, sex, same sex marriage, etc. Like me for example, I used to question the importance of same sex marriage, why don’t they just live together? But when I was educated about it, I realized that it was more than a piece of paper or contract. It’s about their rights, their security because we are all equal and we deserve the same rights given to straight people.”

With that, we ended the interview.

We all have different experiences and stories, and the Closet Chronicles aims to share one person’s story. Whether they are out of the closet or hiding inside, it’s a story worth telling, it’s a story worth listening to because whether it’s one person or a dozen, someone would be able to relate to your story and maybe, just maybe, they’d learn a thing or two.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

LOVE FORWARD >>> FINC & AFC share the love for LoveYourself Anglo


CHICAGO—With songs both sultry and sublime, two gay Asian groups are joining forces to raise funds for LoveYourself Anglo.

At an event entitled “Love Forward >>> FINC/AFC share the love for LoveYourself Anglo,” Filipinos and Friends in Chicago (FINC) and Asians and Friends Chicago (AFC) are hosting a cabaret evening of local performers on Thursday, July 25, 2013; 6:30 p.m. registration/cocktails, 7 p.m. showtime at @mosphere Bar, 5355 N. Clark in Chicago. 


Included in the roster of performers are lyric opera singer Rodell Rosel, playwright and singer Danny Bernardo, cabaret singer Madame X and jazz dancer and musical-theater actor Chip Payos. Other acts include Angel Abcede, Divine Aleonar, Marcus Ascesor, Randy Ballesteros, Christine Bunoan, Jovie Calma, Abe Commendador, FEDS, Joey Flores, Emjoy Gavino, Je Nepomuceno, Ula Rivers and Maila Witt.

The two groups are pooling resources for the first time, working together to help LoveYourself Inc. in building a second community center in the heart of Metro Manila to cater to the needs of the LGBT community.

“We’ve known of each other and attended each other’s functions, but have just begun to understand the power of joining forces,” says Angel Abcede, president of Asians and Friends. “This was a great opportunity and a great reason to get members from both organizations to turn out.”

“Gay organizations here in the U.S. with ties to their home countries need to help our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” says Chip Payos, a FINC member and one of the co-organizers of the event. “HIV is an international concern.”

For more information call Angel Abcede at (773) 459-6775, R.J. Basa at (630) 400-3396, Chip Payos at (773) 983-9880 or visit www.afchicago.org,

Friday, July 12, 2013

I AM #CREATIVE -- the LoveYourself Pride Promo


UPDATE/ERRATUM: We have revised the submission process of entries since we discovered that tagging the LoveYourself page was not simple. Submission of entries will now be via private message to the LoveYourself Facebook page. See revised mechanics below for details. 


At Love Yourself, we celebrate life everyday. Every member mirrors each other -- optimistic amidst challenges, hopeful when all else seems gray, and driven despite limitations. 

Why? Because we love ourselves.
Come celebrate one's value with us.

There are three ways to join:
  1. WRITE A POST: In 140 characters (2-3 sentences) or less, tell us how you value yourself with the following hashtags:
    i am #worthy, i am #light, or i am #love. One hashtag is good enough, but don’t forget the URL: go.LoveYourself.ph/iam#<hashtag word>
  2. SHOOT A PHOTO: Images, just like words, are powerful. Let others get inspiration from your images. Caption your photo with a short (but sweet) message and put a hashtag and URL: i am #worthy, i am #light, or i am #love
  3. EDIT A VIDEO: You can also grab your Vine or Instagram and create your best video. Be sure to work around these hastags and URLs:  i am #worthy, i am #light ,or i am #love

Discover the power of validating one's worth and win eyewear from Sprinto ™ !

Follow Sprinto on Facebook!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Community Who's-Whos Rally to Build LoveYourself Anglo


Since we heralded the invitation to support LoveYourself Anglo, a number of LGBT personalities and groups have heeded the call to raise the needed USD35,000 to build this new community center at the heart of the Metro.

FINC / AFC

FINC (Filipinos and Friends in Chicago) is a group composed of overseas Filipino workers, US residents and supporters. They have been active in their local LGBT community, and recently won Best Overall Float during the 2013 Chicago Pride March.

FINC, together with AFC (Asians and Friends Chicago), is organizing a special benefit show entitled "Love Foward >>> FINC & AFC share the love for LoveYourself Anglo" on July 25 at @mosphere Bar in Andersonville, Chicago to raise funds for the soon-to-rise community center. Guests will be enjoying a night of love and sharing from talented performers from the community. For inquiries, please contact: Chip Payos (773)-983-9880, RJ Basa (630)-400-3396, or Angel Abcede (773) 459-6775.
FINC's winning float dubbed "Fiesta" at the 2013 Chicago Pride March


Erimar Ortigas

Our 2013 Mr Gay World Philippines representative, Erimar Ortigas happens to be one of the newest members of LoveYourself. He is also an active supporter of other gay causes, like the Home for the Golden Gays. He said his involvement has been steadily growing as he becomes a more prominent figure that represents the LGBT community.

Erimar has chosen the org as his beneficiary charity should he be awarded the People's Choice Award of Mr. Gay World 2013 which has a cash prize of USD500. We encourage everyone to support Erimar in his campaign to win the special award by voting for him everyday until August 3, 2013.

Visit go.LoveYourself.ph/ERIMAR to vote.

Sebastian Castro

The local YouTube sensation, Sebastian Castro, who rose to online stardom with his original music video, Bubble, has been a LoveYourself supporter since our collaboration with him for the HIV 101 video, "Fly LoveYourself -- How to Have Sex and Avoid HIV."

Mr. Bubble himself, a trained visual artist, has recently launched an auction for his art collection featuring his paintings and custom-designed shoes on Facebook with LoveYourself as a beneficiary. Part of the auction proceeds will be donated for LoveYourself Anglo. Check out Sebastian's collection on his Facebook page.

La Chiquitta

Asia's first recording drag diva refuses to fall behind in helping the advocacy. Despite being based in Hongkong, she is no stranger to LoveYourself. She was our special guest performer in last year's anniversary celebration, Circle of Love, when LoveYourself turned one.

La Chiquitta is organizing a birthday fund-raiser event in September also for LoveYourself Anglo. Details to follow soon.

Thank you for the resounding support we are seeing for LoveYourself Anglo. Given that, we still need more support especially in terms of actual cash donations for the project, as construction is set to commence soon.

Kindly continue to spread the word, and with whatever you can, we'd appreciate incoming donations both in cash and kind. Come make a pledge today.







Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sebastian Castro holds auction for LoveYourself Anglo


YouTube phenom and safe sex advocate Sebastian Castro is auctioning off his original paintings and signed shoe collection.

Part of the auction proceeds will go to funding LoveYourself Anglo, a new community center set to rise along Shaw Boulevard in Ortigas.

Painting Auctions

Sebastian, who studied at Savannah College of Art and Design, will be accepting bids for nine paintings he made for his Bubble Exhibit until July 16.

Pieces include the racy three-piece self-portrait nude series "I Like Your Bubble" (all 30" x 40", soft pastel on illustration board). 

The rest of the paintings depict everyday Filipinos, from the emaciated kid we see sleeping on the streets in "It's Not His Fault" to commuting adults in "Sacrifice."




















Sunday, July 07, 2013

Vote for Erimar as the People’s Choice for Mr. Gay World 2013


UPDATE: As of 17 July 2013, Erimar has taken the #1 rank on the People's Choice Award for Mr Gay World 2013. Keep on voting everyday so he can keep the lead and we can help LoveYourself Anglo win USD500!
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LoveYourself invites everyone to vote for Erimar Ortigas to become the People’s Choice in Mr. Gay World 2013 and help the advocacy build a new free HIV testing hub. 


Erimar will be the country’s representative to the Mr. Gay World 2013 competition to be held in Antwerp, Belgium. Erimar is hoping to make it a back-to-back Filipino win. Last year, the Philippine’s Carlito Floro Rosadino won the People's Choice Award 2012.


Charity Prize

The competition is currently holding a People’s Choice online voting contest whose winner will earn $500 for his chosen charity. 

Should he win, Erimar has chosen LoveYourself to receive the charity cash prize. This amount will go a long way for the advocacy to provide free HIV testing and counseling services in the Philippines. 

“It is important that we know our HIV status. Having knowledge about AIDS and HIV could be the first step to saving lives,” said Erimar on why he chose LoveYourself.

The $500 cash prize will specifically help build LoveYourself Anglo, its second free HIV testing hub soon to rise along Shaw Boulevard near Ortigas Center,  in addition to its founding hub located in Malate.

Click here to vote for Erimar

About Erimar

Erimar is a 29-year-old operations leader and communications manager for a business process outsourcing or BPO firm. Erimar is an out-and-proud and caring older brother and likes to unwind during the weekends by engaging in sports like swimming, bowling or billiards.

He has also gotten into the gym to help tone his body in preparation for the Mr. Gay World 2013 competition. "I now regularly go to the gym to stay fit and healthy."

Erimar is also an active supporter of gay causes, not only of LoveYourself but also of Home for the Golden Gays. He said his involvement has been steadily growing as he becomes a more prominent figure that represents the LGBT community.

"It has been a wonderful experience joining Mr. Gay World because I learned to become more confident. Involving myself in LGBT projects makes me happier."

Erimar believes that gay men have an equal shot at happiness like married couples, but it takes patience and mutual respect for one's partner to make relationships work.

"I believe the secret to a loving and lasting relationship is being contented. We should learn to accept our differences."

Erimar admits to being quite the romantic. He serenades his partners with touching gestures, like preparing memorable dates that sweep his dates off their feet.

"A date for me should be unique, fun, romantic, memorable but inexpensive. So I would bring that special someone to Intramuros, Manila wherein we could ride a kalesa together and walk together in the park. And of course, I want to prepare my special version of a candlelit dinner."

For those who see him as a role model of a hardworking and respectable gay man who is proud of his sexuality, Erimar said that confidence starts with accepting and loving yourself.

"I would like to tell the young gay Filipinos that they should learn to love themselves. I learned to love myself and my unique qualities, including being gay. We have so much to offer in this world."

Click here to vote for Erimar

Show your support

Individuals can vote once per day. Voters will not only help support Erimar and his chosen advocacy, they also stand a chance to win $200, subject to the contest’s eligibility conditionsVoting ends on midnight GMT, August 3, 2013 so make sure to vote daily. 

Check back on this page for Erimar’s current rankings.