Friday, January 31, 2020

LoveYourself Community’s Bayanihan for Taal

By Ben Quiaoit

A LoveYourself volunteer handing out relief goods to some evacuees at Santa Terersita in Batangas.
On a seemingly quiet Sunday, Taal volcano in Batangas suddenly erupted with only few indications, putting people's lives near the danger zone at risk. The  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) already raised Alert Level 1 status at Taal area as early as March 28, 2019. But on the afternoon of January 12, 2020, its alert level status has been raised rapidly, and was declared at Alert Level 4 at 7:30 p.m. or even before the day ends.  

The volcanic activity caused thick clouds of ash and toxic fumes, paralyzing local livelihood, and basic systems for food and water, communication, electricity and transportation. Volcanic particulates reached as far as Metro Manila and even some parts of Central Luzon. This natural incident brought a catastrophic year-starter for the affected people.

A soldier helping LoveYourself volunteers to unload the donations collected.

As an organization who serves, The LoveYourself, Inc. quickly initiated a ‘bayanihan’ drive, using its community centers as a drop in center for the donations. Alvin Joseph ‘AJ’ Ramirez, a nurse at Hero by LoveYourself, spearheaded the donation drive of the organization. AJ, who lives in the nearby province of Cavite, had a first-hand experience of the impact of the said volcanic activity. 

The nurse’s heart went out to those living in the affected areas, thus without having any second thoughts, has mobilized LoveYourself’s assets with the assistance of Ronivin Pagtakhan, the organization’s founder and executive director. Immediately, the volunteers have spread the message of love, urging everyone within their reach to donate any goods that can be given out to individuals and families affected by the disaster.

Nurse AJ coordinating with on-ground personnel for proper distribution of the donations.

After a few days of collecting the donations, LoveYourself has chosen to help the people in the Municipality of Santa Teresita in Batangas. The relief operation has benefitted a total of 180 families to have clean drinking water, food and medical supplies, and even hygiene kits. LoveYourself’s volunteers and meidcal staff together with generous doctors and nurses from Cavite also conducted also conducted free medical consultations, ensuring not only the physical aspect of the beneficiaries, but also their psycho-social well being.

According to AJ, the activity was tiring yet fulfilling for each and everyone who became part of it. For now, the LoveYourself community together with the entire nation continues to pray for Taal’s imminent danger to stop as soon as possible.

The organization knows that the authorities are closely monitoring the situation. It will be a tough recovery, especially for those who are heavily affected by it. But one thing is for sure, LoveYourself community will do its very best to extend its selfless love to those in need, always.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Lube Me For A Reason, Let the Reason Be Lube

By LoveYourself Communications 

Exploring the possibility of a new relationship can be a bit confusing and thrilling at the same time — every step you take together, the slightest graze of your hands, and even the smirks that you try to hide. 

By the time you get comfortable with each other,  you begin to talk about taking it to the next level. Your thoughts wander and your imagination runs wild. When you and your partner arrive at the point of becoming physically intimate, make sure you both get to enjoy the experience to the fullest. A personal lubricant comes in handy!
There’s a lot of sexual activities that get more fun with extra wetness, such as masturbation, foreplay, grinding, and even massages — you'll never run out of creativity in the bedroom! Whether you need help putting on a condom, need extra help getting past the tip, or just need things to run a little smoother, a water-based lubricant is your best choice for safe and satisfying sex. A few drops of lube can really go a long way, and completely take sex up a notch!

Sure, your condom may already come in lubricated, but it gets rubbed off too during sex. Latex can be very dry and uncomfortable when there isn’t ample lubrication. Adding a few drops of lube can reduce friction and the chances of the condom breaking, and seriously creates an incredible sensation! With the help of lube, penetration and pleasurable movements will be smoother, and you don’t have to worry about your condom breaking.

You’ll also have to be careful with what kind of lube to use with condoms, because some kinds can make them brittle, especially lube that contains oil. Condoms are best paired with water-based lube, because they don’t breakdown the latex, but still give you the extra pleasure and comfort.
Just like the alcohol we drink on dates, friction is only fun in moderation. Too much friction can be uncomfortable, but too little can make you feel like you’re opening and closing a loose drawer! Go easy on the lube, and if you squirt out a bit too much, just wipe a little bit off. Make sure you listen to your partner so you know the both of you have just enough lube to enjoy the night.

Some kinds of lube are better for some sexual activities more than others. There are even lubricants that add another layer of sensation to the mix. But it’s important to know how our body can react to these special lubes which is why you should check the labels first and know what sexual activity you’re getting into. The best way to make sure is to talk to your partner with their experience with different kinds of lube, but if it’s your first time, a water-based lubricant would be your safest bet.

While lube-wannabes may have the smoothness and slickness you want during sex, know where they belong.

Oil-based lube makes skin-to-skin contact more sensual and body massages more arousing. However, oil can dissolve latex, so it’s best to keep your condoms and latex sex toys away from this kind of lube if you don’t want to destroy them. Oil-based lube offers long-lasting slippery feel — but sometimes it can last too long on places you don’t want them to be. It’s difficult to wash off oil-based lube on your body, clothes, and sheets, and might also leave noticeable stains.

Silicone-based lube is great if you want that silky touch that doesn’t rub off too quickly. If you’re fond of using silicone sex toys, they won’t go so well with this kind. Silicone-based lube can deteriorate the surface of silicone sex toys, and cause abrasions in the long run. Bacteria can thrive in these cuts, and make your sex toys unsanitary — not cool.

Slippery stuff around the house were surely created for something else, and not sex, right? If it’s not meant for sex and if the label says “for external use only”, please don’t even think about using it for whatever you’re up to! Slippery stuff you find in the kitchen or in the bathroom would often contain milk, sugar, oil, egg whites, alcohol, fragrances, parabens, and other components that should be kept away from your delicate parts. 

Water-based lube is the most versatile kind of lube. It goes well with condoms and silicone sex toys, unlike petroleum or oil-based lube, and gentle enough for people with sensitive skin or prone to irritation. Water-based lube is great for almost all your sexual needs: penetrative sex, masturbation, sex toy play, and even foreplay. Your sheets are all safe with water-based lube because it doesn’t leave stains or grease. This kind is very easy to wash up and wipe off, and won’t leave any icky feeling on your body.
Lube is a great addition to your sex life that can surely increase pleasure for you and your partner, so consider getting yourself some lube the next time you see one! If you’re the wild and creative type who doesn’t want to be held back, a water-based lube like EZ Lubricating Jelly is the one for you! With the feeling of natural lubrication, EZ Lubricating Jelly lets you have an amazing pleasure without discomfort! Grab your own EZ Lubricating Jelly and slide into more pleasure!

The Safe Spaces PH app, which is downloadable on the App Store or Google Play Store, will also point you to the nearest establishment that offers free condoms and lubricants. You gotta love these safe spaces, too. Who knows, it could be your next date place with your "lube" one.

Photo References:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Perfect Date is Poppin’ for You This May 23

By Tino Largado

Are you ready to date the perfect one for you? The one who makes you giggle and sizzle in a pop!

Well, luck is on your side, because Cherry Poppin’ is finally back! LoveYourself will stage once again the hottest date auction for a cause event on May 23, 2020 at One Canvas Events Place, Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. This event is now on its fourth run since its launch in 2015.

Cherry Poppin’ 4: Perfect 4 You will auction off thirteen most eligible members and allies of the community - celebrity ambassadors, models and influencers. What makes Cherry Poppin’ 4 different is simply serving the perfect taste for you! LoveYourself ups the ante with a totally diverse set of individuals whom you can auction off for a friendly romantic date.

Take your cherry pick! Are you planning to go out with a twink, a queer or a daddy? Or perhaps secretly eyeing a straight guy, a transgender woman or a couple’s halves. This installment certainly has someone in store for you.

You can have all the 13 auctionees or you may opt to bid for just one. Go get competitive and outbid everyone to attain the perfect date for you. Take note: The higher you bid; the better date experience you can have - thanks to our lovely sponsors!

Nevertheless, the night is still perfect you if you already have a date or a group of friends to enjoy with this cherrilicious event. You will be treated to scorching hot performances and music courtesy of Addlib, Aries Night, LoveYourself’s homegrown talents, Min Ortiz, Mrs. Tan, Viñas, and Bench Hipolito a.k.a. Sarah G. of O-Bar.

By attending this event, you will also be a witness to the official launch ‘SelfCare,’ the LoveYourself’s HIV self-screening program to be headlined by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. The event also includes the latest updates to the #PrEPPilipinas program or the organization’s Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) program for HIV prevention. 

All proceeds from this date auction for a cause will help fund various projects and initiatives of LoveYourself, a community-based non-profit organization that advocates for greater awareness on sexual health, trans health, and mental wellness through various programs and projects.

Ready to get poppin’ now? Visit to score some tickets! As an early treat, you can also get a LoveYourself shirt for FREE, if you’re one of the first 30 ticket buyers.

See you there!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Marking People Safe During Sinulog 2020 the LoveYourself Way

By Ryan Taborada

It’s a street party with a twist.

Jerryflor Lazarte, Toledo City Festival Queen, dances gracefully during the Sinulog sa Lalawigan 2020.
Dubbed as Cebu's "epic" annual festival by Lonely Planet, Sinulog Festival is the Feast of Santo Niño (the Christ Child) which draws devotees, and both local and international tourists. It is celebrated every third Sunday of January and is widely known for its colorful procession and street parade bearing the image of Santo Niño. 

LoveYourself volunteers from Manila and Cebu, together with LoveYourself founder Ronivin Pagtakhan, are stationed outside the LoveYourself White House to greet passersby.
Perfectly situated where a sizable amount of foot traffic flowed during Sinulog 2020, LoveYourself Cebu partook in the festivities by promoting its advocacy. Adding colors to the celebration, volunteers took turns offering complimentary condoms and lubricants outside the gates of LoveYourself White House, the community center. Those who wanted to know their status were welcomed in from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for free HIV screening and counseling. Moreover, some volunteers offered free hugs, a simple yet powerful gesture that encapsulates the human compassion a festival such as the Sinulog inspires.

Maurice Villaester, a LoveYourself Cebu volunteer, sells the Sinulog Survival Kit to partygoers outside the White House.
LoveYourself Cebu volunteers set up a booth outside to sell food like humba with rice and egg, and water for thirsty and hungry devotees, and partygoers.
It was also a perfect time to raise funds for the cause. The most purchased item is the Sinulog Survival Kit--a goodie bag containing a Sinulog shirt, face towel, fan, bottled water, condoms, lubricants, and whistle. Outside the community center, some volunteers sold packed lunches and sandwiches, which hungry passersby were allowed to enjoy inside the air-conditioned facility. With the cell phone signal shutdown during the day-long event, the community center not only offered a good respite from the heat outside but also a way to communicate to friends and families with its free Wi-Fi. 

Volunteers use Sinulog as an opportunity to spread HIV and AIDS awareness and education to a lot of people. They offer free hugs and encourage people to take care of themselves while having fun.
It’s been widely reported that Cebu, in the first five months of 2019, has recorded the most number of HIV cases in Central Visayas. The organization has been laser-focused on curbing the epidemic since the launch of LoveYourself White House in April last year by empowering the community to embrace self-love. For LoveYourself Cebu, this means being cognizant of the risks and getting educated on ways to prevent transmission, generally putting one’s well-being first and staying safe. 
LoveYourself Cebu volunteers and staff join the Sinulog 2020 with happy faces welcoming everyone to the comfort of the White House amidst the heat.
“We had a blast, despite the heat, the hustle and bustle, it was quite an experience,” shares Ralph Tamayo, head of communications and events for LoveYourself Cebu. “We are glad the public was generally receptive of the way we’re promoting how they can stay ‘safe.’ Very much looking forward to topping this year’s Sinulog with the next.”

LoveYourself White House activity was made possible with the help of the following partners AIDS Healthcare Foundation, CHAMPION COMMUNITY CENTERS, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, and PhilHealth.

Below is the photo slideshow of LoveYourself Cebu volunteers and friends who made Sinulog 2020 a fun, fruitful, and memorable one.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

LoveYourself Works With PETA and The Red Whistle for Under My Skin

By Asha Gutierrez

With the aid of LoveYourself, The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in its 52nd Theater Season responds to the ongoing HIV epidemic in the Philippines by launching the #ActingOnHIV campaign with Rody Vera’s anthology drama Under My Skin, directed by Melvin Lee, as the frontliner. Together with LoveYourself, its long-time advocacy partner, The Red Whistle, also support this movement in the theater community.

The #ActingOnHIV campaign reaches out to audiences through art, as an immersive experience that promotes the importance of HIV treatment while debunking myths and misconceptions about the virus. It focuses on the empowerment of Persons Living With HIV through workshops, exhibits, an online EduSeries, and learning outcomes with HIV experts back-to-back with every show of Under My Skin, the campaign serves to not only enamour, but to educate as well.

The play features authentic characters whose struggles the audience can resonate with even they do not live with HIV. They are brought to life by a stunning cast featuring Cherry Pie Picache, Roselyn Perez, Eko Baquial, Miguel Almendras, Mike Liwag, Gio Gahol, Anthony Falcon, Gold Villar-Lim, She Maala, Mico Esquivel, Bene Manaois, Lotlot Bustamante, Kitsi Pagaspas, Dylan Talon, Ekis Gimenez, Erold Enriquez, Jarred Jaicten, Joseph Madriaga, Jason Barcial, Dudz Teraña, Rachelle Gimpes, Reggie Ondevilla, Roy Dahildahil, and Csai Habla.

Image may contain: 1 person, close-up and text

LoveYourself’s response to the HIV epidemic has been not only informative but inspirational as well. By knowing one’s worth and loving one’s self, people can be empowered to take charge of their sexual health by learning about, preventing, getting tested, and getting treatment for HIV.

For LoveYourself founder and executive director Ronivin Pagtakhan, LoveYourself it is with the vision of creating a caring community that understands the importance of proper support people, ‘reproductive’ safe sex education, and medical care. “Values like empathy, love, and respect are essential to create a positive impact to the other—to fully understand this is the way to remove stigmas about HIV,” he explains.

“The arts can act as a bridge for people in the midst of crisis,” says Pagtakhan. “The country has been testing approximately 35 individuals with an HIV infection per day, and this number gives us two related perspectives: The cases are rising, but we are reaching more people to get tested and initiate their treatment. These situations call for more awareness. The arts, particularly theater, can come into play.” Ronnivin explains, “It has been part of our people's discussions, and we should take advantage of it as a bridge to the HIV advocacy, and enable people to act on it.” Acting on HIV’s frontliner, Under My Skin is also supported by UNAIDS and Unilab. 

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Witness PETA’s 52nd Theater Season finale, Under My Skin from February 7 to March 22, 2020 (Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays/Sundays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm) at the PETA Theater Center, #5 Eymard Drive, Brgy. Kristong Hari, New Manila, Quezon City. For tickets and showbuying inquiries, contact PETA at and 725-6244, You can also get tickets through TicketWorld, 891-9999.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Go No! For Gonorrhea

By Ryan Q. De Torres and Carlos Diego A. Rozul

Ever had that burning sensation when you pee? Has there been odd smelling discharge staining your underwear recently? That could be a sign of gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections according to the World Health Organization in 2016. But worry not, because there are ways to prevent, detect, and cure gonorrhea infections, so we can all Go No! For Gonorrhea.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for Gonorrhea. Image retrieved from: /File:Neisseria_gonorrhoeae_PHIL_3693_lores.jpg
Cause of Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea (also known as urethritis, urethritis, or tulo) is an infection of the mucous membrane surfaces caused by the gram-negative bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. N gonorrhoeae can be spread through sexual contact (oral, anal, and vaginal) and vertical transmission during childbirth.It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum and throat.

For men, symptoms can include painful urination, green or yellow discharge from the penis, and swollen tender testicles. On the other hand, women can experience vaginal discharge, painful intercourse and urination, intermenstrual bleeding, and mid lower abdominal pain.

Ryel in LoveYourself Uni conducting EGASP consultation
Going No For Gonorrhea with the Triangle of Self Care

Living in a triangle of self care, we can prevent gonorrhea infection through timely testing and treatment, safe and satisfying sex, and the correct and consistent use of condoms and lubricants.

LoveYourself Uni offers free gonorrhea testing for males assigned at birth experiencing gential discharge. Currently, the service is being done under the supervision of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) through the Enhanced Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (EGASP). 

When results turn out reactive, the consulting doctor will prescribe the appropriate medicine and administer it as soon as the client has purchased the prescription. It is important to consult a doctor when treating the gonorrhea infection to avoid recurrence of symptoms, complications, and antibiotic resistance through inappropriate medication.
Image retrieved from:
Gonorrhea is also easily preventable by choosing safer yet satisfying sex options which can include the correct and consistent use of condoms and lubricants. Don’t let the fear of gonorrhea prevent you from enjoying a healthy sex life! We can all Go No! For Gonorrhea.

Monday, January 13, 2020

LoveYourself Holds First HIV Caravan with Pilipinas Shell in Cebu

By Niño Villalino
LoveYourself volunteers together with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. employeesduring the HIV Caravan at Shell Cebu Regional Office
Mandaue City — LoveYourself Cebu partnered with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC) for HIV awareness and screening at its Cebu Regional Office in Mandaue City on January 11, 2020. This is the first caravan organized by LoveYourself Cebu for this year.

“It’s only apt that we start our caravans with Pilipinas Shell, one of our main funders,” said Dennis Tagamolila, head of LoveYourself University (LoveU) in Cebu, the training arm of LoveYourself.

Jan Estrada, head of LoveYourself Cebu, said that the organization will continue to partner with several companies and organizations this year to reach more people. “We are happy that several companies and organizations join us in our advocacy. We have several caravans in the pipeline, and there are several who already expressed plans of inviting us.”

In 2019, LoveYourself Cebu worked with 38 companies/groups and held 47 caravans in total, serving over 2,000 clients.

Phil Jaramillo, a LoveYourself volunteer under LoveU, discusses the HIV Prevalence
in the Philippines

Recent data from the Department of Health shows that there are 35 new HIV cases in the Philippines. Central Visayas has the fourth-highest number of cases, with 93 new ones in July 2019. From January to July last year, there are 567 HIV cases in the region.

LoveYourself opened last April 2019 its first-ever community center outside Metro Manila, named LoveYourself White House, which located at 40 Don Julio Llorente St, Cebu City. This paved the way for the organization of expand its reach and mobilize its volunteers in Cebu to create ripples of positive change in the community, including business and academic communities through the LoveYourself Caravan.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

5 Types of Sex Partners That’ll Surprise You

By LoveYourself Communications

Sex positivity is a hallmark of LoveYourself’s message when engaging its audiences. It empowers them to discuss and take charge of their sexual health - an almost untouched topic even among the "bestest" of friends, and more so in a family’s dining setting.

Nonetheless, LoveYourself believes that sexual pleasure is one of the many exciting pursuits in adulthood. It’s a pursuit that will take anyone on a roller coaster of emotions and experiences with a lot of colorful characters.

With the technology available today, hookups are as easy as swiping right and saying “hey” on your smartphones. Considering that the Philippines is a densely populated country, you will surely meet a whole lot of interesting people in your pursuit of sexual pleasure.

Here’s a list of really fascinating types of sex partners you might meet as you live it up.
Lead the dirty talking with a chatterbox. 1
The Chatterbox

The chatterbox is the type who has one too many things to say. They never run out of thoughts to blurt out and willingly share them, even during intercourse. They may start with some romantic talks, lovely poems, or erotic stories then shift into the most random of things that can make your excitement die down and eventually kill your mood. 

But then again, it takes two to tango. Chatting with your partner about sexual health is also a good alternative starter to ride with your partners’ talkativeness. After which, you may lead the conversation into a more sensual one, and stick to the idea of “dirty talk.”

Talking dirty can heighten sexual tension, increase passion during sex, and strengthen the connection between you and your partner. There are those who are especially good at talking dirty, and you’re lucky if you find them at the onset. But if it happens that you come across a chatterbox who talks about anything, lead the conversation to make both your “wang” excited with sexually oozing dirty talks. You may never know, you’re already conversing “ohs and ahs” with a chatterbox. 
It's okay to moan at the top of your lungs. 2
The Moan Machine
This type is probably the hottest on the list that you must look out for. They are usually uber-sensitive and super responsive; pleasuring them is quite a treat, especially if you’re well-equipped with tricks and skills that make them moan at the top of their lungs. 

Moaning is a sign of sexual satisfaction leading to climax. Your partner’s moaning is their way of telling you that they are enjoying your intimate moments together, that you’re doing it right, and that you can be a bit more playful and daring.

With a moan machine’s ability, the “musex” they create can enhance the way you perform, since both of you can groove to the rhythm of each other’s orgasmic sounds. Lost in the melodies of your banging, you’ll feel like you’re floating in heaven while grooving to the hottest dance craze of the decade.
Keep in mind that you can satisfy yourself all you want. 3
The Solo Laner
This may be one of the most unsatisfying partners you can have in your lifetime. As soon as they get off, they leave it all up to you to finish your deed, whether you like it or not.

They may hit all the pleasure points you have that they might not even aware of, since they seek the most pleasure they can get for themselves. The solo laners might also doze off after their first orgasm or don’t even bother to have a round two.

As the solo laner leaves it up to you after reaching their climax and you’re still yet to be satisfied, remember that you have all the means to satisfy yourself afterwards.

But if you happen to chance upon a second encounter with the same solo laner, you make sure to converse about having not just safe, but a real satisfying sex. You could arrange with him to get yourself done first (wink) with all the pleasure you might receive, and continue pleasuring them after, since you’re not the soloist type, right?
Aspire to be the sex bomb, and nothing less. 4
The Stink Bomb
Some witty netizens would classify this type of partner into two variants: the body and the room. They both have poor hygiene practices that will make you think twice before going down and dirty with any of them.

The body one exhibits an ungodly smell that may make you do a quick step backward instinctively. Some, though, find this more appealing, especially when they’re ruggedly attractive to them. But if you’re into making out with the body one, you can instead have a bathroom fun to lather off some smell while water sensually drips down your bodies.

The room one is kind of a surprise. Until they bring you to their place, you won’t know how unhygienic this person can be, which might make you take a quick leave. If you don’t, just find the best spot, or start learning to love the standing position.

We know that you might encounter the stink bomb once in your lifetime, so just keep not only your “wang” and your booty hole safe, but your senses as well. If you choose to be with the stink bomb, it’s all good. Let the smell of cupid explode, because all is fair in love.
Only you can build pure safety for yourself. 5 
The Purist
This type of partner is one who believes that their body is a natural wonderland. They might claim to be clean, virgin and untouched, so they can’t be bothered to use condoms during intercourse.

They’re also probably proud of their bodies so much, that they will try to reason their way out of wearing protection with words like “pure pleasure comes from going raw,” “this isn’t what our bodies are made for” or something along those lines.

Always consider that when wearing condoms, you’re not only protecting yourself, but your partner as well. So, keep your guard up and stay protected! Remember, you are also pure in loving yourself by engaging in “safe and satisfying sex.”

The world may be rife with opportunities for interesting and thrilling encounters, but make it a point to keep yourself protected whether you find pleasure with a chatterbox, a moan machine, a solo laner, a stink bomb or a purist. PREMIERE Condoms can serve you with both pleasure and protection. You can easily buy them at the nearest convenience store or drugstore. They’re also available at leading online shopping sites. 

You can also download the Safe Spaces PH app on App Store or Google Play Store for free condoms and lubricants at participating establishments near you, especially if you already have “matches” or “taps” nearby. It pays to be always prepared for these sexual “surprises.”

Photo References:

Friday, January 03, 2020

LOOKING BACK 2019: LoveYourself Events and Engagements, A Yearender Special (Part 3 of 3)

By Carlos Diego A. Rozul

Complementing the operations and communications efforts of LoveYourself are its engagement activities for both its internal and external stakeholders. It is with the volunteers that LoveYourself maintains its place in the public’s consciousness as an affirming place to start loving themselves. Truly, the volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization.
As such, LoveYourself goes out of its way to show its appreciation and enrich its volunteers. They’re after all the heart and soul of the advocacy.

Enriching Volunteers
The year began with Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) training for volunteers, especially in Victoria by LoveYourself to be more sensitive to people of different SOGIEs. LoveYourself recognizes that even though its volunteers are allies of the LGBTQIA community, that not all may be fully aware and knowledgeable about SOGIE.

Trans Deaf LoveYourself volunteer Disney Aguila enthusiastically shared her knowledge on Basic Filipino Sign Language with fellow hearing volunteers to equip them with skills on how to communicate with deaf clients.
In further developing an inclusive community, Basic Filipino Sign Language training was conducted with the help of Pinoy Deaf Rainbow president Disney Aguila to ensure Deaf clients are comfortable and understood when availing services in the community centers. LoveYourself realized this initiative for the Deaf community when Disney had a crucial role of encouraging Deaf clients during the “This is Me: Brave and Free National HIV Testing Day” in May 2018. Ever since, the organization has worked hard to make its community centers accessible to all Filipinos.
Counselor volunteers joined the LoveU Ripple to refresh and equip themselves with best practices
in counseling, peer education and other concerns raised by clients during a session.
The LoveYourself University or fondly called "LoveU," the organization's learning and development arm, held a LoveU Ripple in June. It's a program for LoveYourself counselors and life coaches, where they can share best practices and experiences in client management. Through this, volunteers learn from each other on how to better handle clients in various situations.
Former communications head Micheal Paolo Jamias conducted a News and PR Writing training to his fellow communications volunteers to beef up the organization’s capabilities in this area. Similarly, creatives consultant Geno Maglina and creatives lead Ria Briñes held a graphic design and video editing training, respectively; meanwhile, community relations lead John Eric Torres spearheaded the social media management training.
In August, the LoveYourself Communications team held a training series for essential skills in their sub-committees. Open to all volunteers, participants were able to learn about news and public relations writing, graphic design and video editing, and social media management. These trainings equipped participating volunteers to be more involved in the communications team, who are the ones making campaigns for the organization.

Celebrating Volunteers

LoveYourself celebrates all of its volunteers. The organization had grown exponentially this year by welcoming seven new batches. In Metro Manila, the organization welcomed the Batches Kauna Kai, Isetu, and Caim, which were all inspired by mythical creatures, symbolizing self-love. While in Metro Cebu, the organization had the Batches Amuma, Bitoon, Kalayo, and Dasig, staying true to the Cebuano language and its metaphoric meanings. These fresh faces now engage themselves in different facets of LoveYourself as counselors, life coaches, and committee members, going through multiple training sessions spearheaded by Jose Mari Maynes, LoveU chancellor, and his counterpart in Cebu, Dennis Tagamolila.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray visited LoveYourself Anglo for her advocacy day
during her homecoming event in February.
In February, LoveYourself joined the 104 million Filipinos in welcoming back Miss Universe 2018 and LoveYourself Batch Meraki volunteer Catriona Gray. The organization even held a special HIV testing event in March 2019 dubbed as “This is Me: The Silver Lining HIV Screening day, which was inspired by a previous campaign. With Catriona ending her reign as Miss Universe, she now looks forward to creating more projects and campaigns to further help the HIV advocacy.
The events team held another summer camp activity, which was inspired
by the popular reality TV show - Amazing Race.
LoveYourself made sure to keep its volunteers engaged and motivated, and high morale is such an important aspect in doing so. Long-time head of LoveYourself events now Ministry of Fun, Francis Dacanay and his team never fainted their burning passion to ensure that volunteers are active and involved. Hence, they tirelessly create events, either for internal and external clients to reconnect and have fun, while making meaning for their social affairs. In March, volunteers signed up to join the Amazing Race where they split off into teams for a friendly competition to win prizes and show off their winning faces. 
Internal packet events were initiated through the Kiki Nights to gather around volunteers
and acquaint with each other, among other worthwhile purposes they may have.
April 2019 marked the very first Kiki at LoveYourself White House, a monthly themed night where volunteers gather for various activities held at different LoveYourself community centers. These theme nights, which included classic Filipino movie, drag queen, pre-loved sale, homecoming parties, and quizzes, enabled volunteers to have fun after hours of volunteer work. In September, LoveU held the LoveU Fair, which is a school-fair themed party for volunteers.
After a jam-packed year, LoveYourself gathered around for the year ender party
held at the Crowne Plaza hotel.
LoveYourself celebrated this year its eighth anniversary, during the Circle of Love: Illumin8 last July. This event is also an avenue, where the organization celebrated its years of successful existence, and paid homage to volunteers who have made these achievements possible. In December, the volunteers and staff took the spotlight once again at the Kink: The LoveYourself Ball 2019, during the first-ever LOVE Awards.

Engaging Others

LoveYourself community centers aim not only to be a safe space for HIV testing and treatment, but a place where volunteers and friends can be with each other as a community. LoveYourself Welcome had their own events this year, opening it to the public. Headed by former center coordinator Mark de Castro, an open discussion about coming out was held over coffee. In February, the events team invited the Voice Philippines Season 2 third placer Lea Patricio, who filled LoveYourself Welcome with her outstanding voice. In Cebu, volunteers for LoveYourself White House held a LitFest in May, and a writing workshop with Januar Yap, and a graphic design workshop with Joyjoy Carpio Pacursa in November.
LoveYourself Welcome opened its doors for intimate external events to showcase talents
and discuss topics concerning the community.
As a mover in the HIV advocacy, LoveYourself through its events and communications teams staged, once again, the Asia’s premier charity and awards gala dubbed as Love Gala: Courage Amplified. The gala gathered around hundreds of HIV advocates from around the Philippines for an exquisite night of glamour, performance and causes. As one of the biggest events for the advocacy, it is rightful for the gala to confer the second Ripple Awards to five individuals, three organizations, and a project. Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and the Philippine concert king Martin Nievera graced the event, surprising everyone with a special duet. The gala is also a fundraiser, which features the DC Bayong line by renowned designer and volunteer Don Cristobal, and the Wear Love for More Love shirt campaign with Inspi store and Shopee.
LoveYourself executive director Ronivin Pagtakhan, together with celebrity stylist Fanny Serrano and UNAIDS Philippines country director Dr. Lui Ocampo, conferred the Ripple Awards to Gat-Joriz Alatiit during the Love Gala: Courage Amplified.
LoveYourself joined 70 thousand people during the largest Metro Manila Pride March last June at the Marikina Sports Center. Among the community allies, LoveYourself and its volunteers walked for equal opportunity, not only for the LGBTQIA community, but for people living with HIV as well, embracing everyone to be #PartOfOurWorld in our shared advocacies.
LoveYourself volunteers joined the community in resisting together the stigma attached to the LGBTQIA community and the people living with HIV, and rather spread love more than anything else.
Making a buzz in the central Philippines are LoveYourself Cebu initiated events as part of its launching series. LoveYourself gained the support of young and talented local designers, and their  models for ETUF - Cebu’s premier fashion auction for HIV & AIDS. This star-studded event was headlined by social media stars Alem Garcia and Deedee Villegas singer-songwriter Karencita, Queen Universe 2019 Bee Urgello and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific Pia Wurtzbach. The event wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of LoveYourself Cebu head Jan Shaltiel Estrada, communications lead Ralph Tamayo together with Raychie Lomongo, and the rest of Cebu volunteers.
Pia Wurtzbach donning one of Harley Ruedas’ creations for the ETUF fashion auction.
Cove Manila in Okada Manila - the biggest indoor beach club and nightclub in Southeast Asia  supported LoveYourself during their Gays, Lesbians, And Many More (GLAMM) events held in the months of July and October. Showcasing loads of spectacular performances, party-goers had fun all night, bearing the spirit of advocacy, pride and unity.
The guests raved the dance floor as Sarah Geronimo impersonator Bench Hipolito
performed the pop star singer’s dance anthem Tala.
It is but prudent to acknowledge the support given by LoveYourself partners. Their trust and support of the organization has enabled us to start and attain what it can do today, and what it can further execute in the future. The volunteers organized in August the Constellation: LoveYourself Partners’ Night. It is a way to celebrate LoveYourself’s partners in championing initiatives geared towards the eradication of HIV and the stigma surrounding it, not only in the Philippines, but even abroad.
Danvic Rosadiño, LoveYourself program manager, presented how LoveYourself has evolved through the years
with the help of its ever-supportive and dynamic partners.
As part of the global community, LoveYourself commemorates the World AIDS Day (WAD) with no less than the global HIV awareness ambassador Pia Wurtzbach. The WAD celebration in Metro Manila was held through the Spectrum Color Run for HIV, which was spearheaded by the Parañaque City government and the Department of Health-NCR, in partnership with LoveYourself and many other front-runners in the HIV advocacy. Building upon the theme “Communities Make the Difference”, the color run was participated in by celebrity advocates Dionne Monsanto, Kitkat, Miss World Philippines 2018 Katarina Rodriguez, Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa, and Miss Universe Philippines 2019 and LoveYourself ambassador Gazini Ganados through promotional videos, while Pia run and delivered a heartwarming speech during the event.
Global HIV awareness ambassador, Pia Wurtzbach strut a pose after finishing a five-kilometer run,
during the Spectrum: Color Run for HIV at ASEANA City.
LoveYourself Cebu, meanwhile, organized a free show during the WAD celebration, featuring KYS and Play campaign for a special HIV screening, the short films from CineSpectra, a fashion show, poetry reading, and musical performances. This commemoration event was a blast that we owe to the zeal and tenacity of our Cebuano volunteers for the community.
Performer Paul Caca showcased his talent during the LoveYourself Cebu’s WAD celebration
at Robinsons Fuente in Cebu City.
Looking back, if we were to describe LoveYourself in 2019, it would be EXPANSIVE.  With new and expanded programs, projects, community centers, volunteers and partners, campaigns and events, 2019 was truly a year where passion and love for the advocacy snowballed for leaps and bounds, expanding the organization’s capabilities beyond its limits.

Coming into 2020, the organization will continue to be ever compassionate, innovative, and creative in mobilizing the community, to better take care of themselves, and further propagate the message of self-worth, as we dare to reach more, care to serve more, and share with more stakeholders the LoveYourself brand of service: Iniingatan, Inaalagaan at Inaasikaso.

Cheers to a year that was, and onward to a more exciting 2020!