Thursday, July 07, 2016

As LoveYourself Turned Five, A Message from LoveYourself Founder Vinn Pagtakhan

By Gello Ganon

One drop has caused the ripple of altruism. One vision has shed light on the lost.  One voice has resonated through the hearts of many.

Vinn Pagtakhan, the namesake of Vinn Advocacy, which would later be known as Love Yourself, started with a vision to provide a home, where, once visited, one can only leave with either a happy heart or at least, a hopeful one. It is a place where judgement is dusted off in the doormat before entering and hope is served for snacks. In just half a decade, shoulders were tapped to take on the mission to be a voice of the silent and to be the guide for the lost. They’re to be called the LoveYourself volunteers, modern-day superheroes (or super heroines for that matter) who work in the shadows.

As Love Yourself turns 5, a simple celebration was held at Ramada Hotel in Binondo, Manila on the eve of July 2, 2016. Volunteers and friends of LoveYourself gathered and kicked off the night with the Circle of Love, an event commemorating good deeds, happy memories and shared dreams. Vinn, the progenitor of LoveYourself, welcomed the night with a heartfelt message of what Love Yourself has gone through, where it stands now and what it aims to be.

Anniversary Message
Vinn Pagtakhan

“Anniversaries are wonderful, magical, celebratory occasions. Anniversaries are opportunities for recollections of the year gone by and positive reflections for the year ahead.”

“This past year has been a happy and successful year in so many ways. It has been defined by a kaleidoscope of happy memories, supportive friendships and enduring relationships.”

“Of course there have also been some paths that may have been slightly more difficult to travel together. Yet in spite of and despite the odd stumbling blocks along the way--we have traveled through yet another year--together, supportive, encouraging and enduring.”

“When I initially started with our advocacy, little did I know that we will have an empire of dedicated and passionate lovers.”

Sabi nga ni Chris, the LoveYourself Family is founded by a small group of people with big hearts who are convinced that unconditional love, a solid sense of self-worth, and an unbreakable courage of heart are the tools necessary to address the HIV situation here in the country. Keeping in mind that LoveYourself is just a vessel to help the community but our loyalty lies with the advocacy.”

“LoveYourself was founded by love and genuine care, its walls were built by time, sacrifices and hardwork of our volunteers and volunteer leaders. Now and hopefully for the coming years, we keep the culture of being caring, passionate and kind.. ang pagiging maasikaso at maalaga.”

“And as we take the time to express our gratitude for 5 fantastic years gone by--we turn expectantly to the years that lie ahead.”

“We look forward to wonderful years together - a time to build and strengthen forged relationships even further; a time to create and cherish even more shared memories and a time filled with dreams that are brought ever closer, and milestones - whatever they may be - achieved, and of course a family to cherish.”

“Tonight, as we celebrate our 5th anniversary, I value even more, the special people that we are able to share this occasion with.”

“Our fairy godmothers (miss Marvi, Doc Loyd, Doc Gerard & Doc Gen and of course ang ating one and only ninang Doc Annie Rossana).

“The founding members and core leaders (Chris, Neil, Ian, Kuya Law, Tony, Von and Antzy)”

“The new breed of leaders, ang 2nd generation TWG (Kurt, Edgie, Paul, Earl, Danvic, Jay, Mommy Miggy and Francis...my little princess Philip & orginal Ops TWG, Px & Sephy, the wondergirls Dexter, Jeoff, Mama Renee).”

“My admin team (Jhaydee, Voki, Anton, Yesha, Karlo, Wico, Kahel, Mommy Allen and Malou, Ryan and Winston; RSC Girls, Shude and Ken, Ivy, Pete, Barry, Gab, Mike & Jase).”

“The batches (Originals, Next Gen, Synergy, Impetus, Vanguard, Ignite, Ascend, Sensation, Absolute, Hiraya, Bigkis, Katha, Kinaadman and our babies batch Magayon).”

“As the saying goes, It doesn't matter where you go in life or what you achieve, or what you do - what matters most is who you have beside you along the way! Memorize ninyo na toh but I will keep repeating this over and over.. kayo lovers ang puso at kaluluwa ng Loveyourself, and once a lover, no matter where you are now or where you will be in the future, you will always be part of the Loveyourself family.”

“Thank you - one and all - for being beside us this past year...and may you be ever near in the years ahead.”

“I'll leave you tonight with a quote that really inspires me and resonates the passion to help more: ‘When you volunteer, you are not paid in money or recognition, you are paid in love. People may forget what you said and people may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel’".