LoveYourself Community Center Coordinators

LoveYourself has served out tens of thousands of people since 2011, and has outgrown its humble beginnings in Malate, Manila. To date, the organization has six community centers in and outside the metro. Each center is dedicated to maintain LoveYourself’s signature warm-sense of service for the hundreds of clients waiting to be tested every day, and over a thousand volunteers to deliver the service. It wouldn’t be as smooth and efficient as possible, if not for the dedicated LoveYourself  community centers’ coordinators - the organization’s HIV operations have become a piece of cake. Let’s get to know them better, shall we?




Anglo is LoveYourself’s first-ever owned and operated community center. The organization’s center in Malate which was in cooperation with the Department of Health, closed in 2015. And as if fate might have anything to do with it, the current Community Center Coordinator of Anglo goes by the name Genesis.
His passion for the advocacy, particularly in serving the community was Genisis’ main reason for taking up the job. Before he served as coordinator, he began his journey as a volunteer under Batch Hiraya and made sure that he always scheduled a day to volunteer at the center. He revealed that LoveYourself gave him the perfect opportunity to be in his authentic self, and take responsibility for other people within the community.
When asked about what he loved about the community center, Genesis pointed out how it looks and feels like a “safe space wherein our clients will not feel any form of discrimination from anyone.”  True enough, Anglo’s homey and welcoming interiors makes the entire HIV testing experience less stressful for its almost 100 clients per day.


Situated near one of the busiest business districts of the Metro, LoveYourself Anglo has evolved into a full-service Community Center, with services including free HIV education, counseling and testing, treatment and lifecoaching as well as other tests for sexually trasmitted infections (STIs) like Hepatitis B and Syphillis; thus providing a one-stop shop for its clients. The center is located at Unit 5, 3/F, Anglo Building, #715-A Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, and is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12nn-8pm, as well as Sundays from 9am-2pm.




LoveYourself Uni opened in 2016, two years after Anglo’s successful operations, and was built to bring the organization’s services close to university students in Manila, as well as people living in the south.Its interiors exude a more youthful vibe to cater to the younger population and its primary target - the youth - particularly students, for them to feel at ease while getting tested for HIV.
 
Apart from free HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis testing, LoveYourself Uni has an additional service for cisgender males as supervised by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) - the Enhanced Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (EGASP), which is a testing program for gonorrhea infection and provides administration of treatment in the facility upon the client's purchase of the prescribed medicine.
Supervising this well-rounded community center is Denis, a Batch Duque volunteer. He currently serves as LoveYourself Uni’s community center coordinator. He mentioned spending time with the volunteers is the highlight of his role. According to him, he enjoys leading the team and it is the most rewarding job he’s ever had. He said, “one can really feel the stress, just like with any job, but seeing them do theirs tirelessly really eases the burden. As counsellors, they not only help the Center’s clients, but each other as well”.
LoveYourself Uni is located at 2028 Taft Avenue Extension, Pasay City. The center’s services are available from Wednesdays to Saturdays between 12nn-8pm, and Sundays from 9am-2pm.



Victoria by LoveYourself is proud to be the country’s first community-led center that focuses on transgender  health services. Apart from HIV testing and treatment, the facility offers flexible services like free Hormone Replacement Therapy consultations, free Pre-Gender Affirming Surgery (Pre-GAS) assessment and counselling, and free assessment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Yanyan is the “Mother” of the center, serving as its community center coordinator since its opening in December 2016, and considers Victoria her “baby,” having seen the facility built from the ground up. Starting as a volunteer under Batch Katha, she feels honored to be chosen for the job by no less than LoveYourself’s executive director and founder Ronivin Pagtakhan.She feels honored to be chosen as the Clinic Coordinator by Ronivin Pagtakhan, LoveYourself’s Executive Director and Founder. She also takes pride with the current direction that the center is oging following the accomplishments it has achieved since its operations started. She’s also fulfilled with the current directions that the center is going, as well as the accomplishments they have achieved.
Victoria by LoveYourself is located at 2/F Torres Bldg., 2442 Park Avenue, Pasay City. HIV testing and treatment, and STI assessment are available from Saturdays to Wednesdays between 12nn-7pm. Pre-GAS assessment and counselling is available between 5-7pm and requires prior booking to secure schedules.



LoveYourself Welcome is one of the organization’s recently launched community centers, opening its doors in late 2018. It caters to people from the northern parts of the metro, as well as students studying along the university belt, giving them a closer venue for HIV testing and  treatment.
Mark also started in the organization as a volunteer under Batch Magayon in 2016. According to him, he loves the overall vibe of LoveYourself Welcome. Rightfully so, the center gives out an ambience like that of a cafĂ©, with its volunteers dressed as baristas while serving hot coffee to its clients. This kind of experience makes them less anxious about getting tested. The facility even boasts of an open space which is very conducive for group activities, including acoustic jamming sessions in the evening after the center’s operations. Mark shared how the center’s structure allows for a more relaxed atmosphere for its clients. “We usually gather clients in small groups and chat with them while injecting information about HIV awareness and prevention. We welcome everybody.” as Mark explains “Friends of Welcome” where regular non-volunteer visitors who drop by the center to chill out, donate a few bags of coffee beans and hang out.
When asked what made him take the role, Mark highlighted out how it doesn’t feel like work. “Hindi talaga ako naghanap ng ibang jobs kasi I was really hoping na magkaroon ng opportunity. Sabi ko nga, I don’t feel like I am working. Yes, merong mga reports, merong mga mahihirap gawin pero in terms of it being work, it doesn’t feel like it. Parang hindi ako nagtatrabaho pero pinapasahod ako for it. Very fulfilling kumbaga”. (I didn’t apply for other jobs because I was hoping for an opportunity to work for LoveYourself. Like I said, I don’t feel like I am working. Yes, there are reports and other difficult things to do, but in terms of it being work, it doesn’t feel like it. It’s like I’m not working but I am paid for it. It feels very fulfilling).
LoveYourself Welcome is situated at 58 Blumentritt Road corner Remedios Street, Sampaloc, Manila. The center operates from 2pm to 10pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.



Lily by LoveYourself became the first-ever community center established  through a partnership between LoveYourself and Decent Image of South Signal Association (DIOSSA), a transgender organization, located at the heart of Taguig City in Signal Village. The facility provides a more accessible facility to clients living in the cities of Paranaque, Las Pinas, Taguig, Muntinlupa and even Pasay.
Tanya leads Lily’s operations as its community center coordinator. She shared that the name of the center was derived from Lile Elbe, the first transgender who had a sex-reassignment surgery.
According to Tanya, the community center boasts of a lot of unique things to them. She said that it has a convenient location that allows them to reach out to more people in the outskirts of the metro. They also serve as a shelter to their clients who are PLHIV who needed a temporary place to stay. Tanya says, “You know, meron tayong mga PLHIV na hindi pa nila kayang i-disclose sa mga family nila. Ino-offer naman naming na they can stay here and then after na maging okay na sila, pwede na silang bumalik sa kan-kanilang communities”.
Tanya feels happy and blessed to be spearheading the center’s operations. She shared that LoveYourself discovered from a small barangay and trained her to become who she is now. “After nun, marami pa ring ginawang help si LoveYourself sa akin. After ko, sinunod naman ‘yung DIOSSA. After ng DIOSSA, unti-unti kaming nadedevelop. Ayun nga, nakilala na kami sa city, sa NCR, pati na rin on a national and international level. And it all ended up to us having a community center. Parang ang cute nung story ko na from nothing, ngayon lumalaban na rin.” (From her humble beginnings, Tanya was able to reroup DIOSSA with the help of LoveYOurself, and was able to gain recognition from the city,  nationally, and even internationally. Then her group now has a community center to operate, and the fight to provide better services for their clients continues day by day.)
She continues to dream of reaching out to more people in the area, as the community center is fairly new and not a lot of people know about their center and their services. She mentions “sa ngayon, konti pa lang ‘yung walk-in clients. Nakakadalawa kami sa isang araw, minsan marami na ang sampu kaya kami, more outreach kami”.
You can visit Lily by LoveYourself at the 5th Floor of Pineda Building, #98 Manalac Ave., Sitio De Asis, San Martin de Porres, Paranaque City. Lily blooms with its operations from Wednesdays to Sundays from 12-9pm.




White House prides itself as LoveYourself’s first-ever community-based center located in the Queen City of the South - Cebu City. It takes its inspiration from LoveYourself Welcome, with the ambience similar to a coffee shop, but fused with touches of foliage and coral, making it uniquely Cebu.
Mitch’s brother saw the community center operations job post on LoveYourself’s facebook page, and told him about it. Now that he’s considered the “Chief of the White House,” he says it feels “very nice, because I do have a lot of friends that work in the same advocacy. Natutuwa talaga ako… that I got the job.” While he does feel overwhelmed sometimes, he shares that he still enjoys it because of how everyone developed a close relationship with each other, and how the system has a clear and easy to follow structure.
LoveYourself White House is situated at 40 J. Llorente St., Capitol Site Cebu City. Its doors open every Wednesday to Sunday from 12nn-8pm, providing free HIV testing and treatment to their fellow Cebuanos.