It was a bright and sunny Saturday. A Space _Gallery was transformed from a bare space with nature-inspired paintings on the walls, to a beautiful setting perfect for an indoor picnic. Wooden tables were arranged with matching red-checkered table runners. Colorful flowers and Space Garden Plants were everywhere, as centerpieces and stage decor. Every table had a nice little picnic basket, brimming with yummy sandwiches and pastries from Jipan.
The place was all set. It was as wonderful as the main topic to be discussed in the whole event: self-love.
At exactly 1:30pm, Nikki Veron-Cruz, the host of the event, started the program by playing a short game. In minutes, the girls were laughing and talking among themselves, mingling and making new friends. After everyone settled down, the first speaker to grace the stage was PLUMP.ph’s very own, Danah Gutierrez. Beauty was the main topic she discussed to everyone in the room, and shared why owning your own unique beauty is the key to being truly beautiful. After her insightful 20-minute talk, she she proceeded with an activity wherein she asked the ladies to draw their least favorite body part in their Print Couture customized workbooks and decorate it using coloring materials, so they can realize that their bodies can still be beautiful in their own way whether it is “flawed” and “imperfect.”
Kat Gumabao was the second speaker to take over the floor, sharing her personal stories with her fitness journey. The key message Katrina was so passionate talking about is being healthy at any size—which means that anybody can be fit and healthy regardless of weight. She encouraged all the girls in the room that fitness should be the ultimate goal, not thinness. She broke down the misconceptions on dieting, and having that “bikini body.” Before ending her time with the girls, she encouraged everyone to set practical goals and write down a motivational quote to inspire them when the going gets tough.
Dealing with haters is an important topic in relation with self-love. We all have critics, whether we have hundreds of thousands of followers or not. And for this part of the event, Rona Samson-Tai was the perfect speaker. As a body image warrior, business woman, and wife to athlete Eric “Eruption” Tai, Rona gets a lot of negative comments, whether it be on what she posts, or how she looks like. Rona started her talk by defining what body-shaming is, and then went straight to the point on how to keep a positive attitude no matter what haters might say. Rona also shared tips on how to deal with body-shaming. For her activity, she provided a list of guide questions, and encouraged the girls to discuss their personal answers among their table.
In contrast to Rona’s talk of dealing with negativity from outside, Stacy Gutierrez took over the floor to discuss negativity that happens within. “Where the mind goes, the man follows” was the main message we wanted to get across. She touched on how women have been programmed to hate themselves for the way they look, or the way they behave, which is directly influenced by the media. She also talked about the times when women trash-talk their own selves with the unhealthy mindset that it’s being “humble.” For her activity, she asked the girls to get to the root of when the self-loathing or self-doubt happens, and then to find or create a mantra to counter-attack these bad thoughts.
Singer-songwriter Julianne Tarroja was the last but not least to grace the floor with her presence. Having a guitar in her hand, she spoke of the importance of owning your story, finding your true identity, and freeing yourself by sharing your story. She sang a few songs from her album, Ashes to Beauty, every word touching the hearts of the women. She reminded everyone that no matter how ugly the situation might be, if you offer it up to God, then it can be transformed miraculously into something unimaginably beautiful.
Before proceeding to the open forum of the program, a 7-minute guided meditation was played where all the girls in the room were taken back to a time when they were care-free and happy girls. It made them aware of their bodies and capabilities, talents, and skills. It reminded them that they are more than bodies to be seen and looked at—that they have so much more to offer the world. As the lights came back on, a few women have tears rolling down their faces, as the meditation truly spoke to their souls and touched their hearts.
Nikki Veron-Cruz then opened the floor for an open discussion with the speakers. A lot of the girls took the courage to voice out how this event moved them, and how it has genuinely sparked their own desire to fully love themselves unconditionally and take care of their natural bodies.
As the event came to an end, The Body Love Pledge was flashed on the projector screen, and all the women in the room were invited to raise their right hands and take the oath to love themselves and be body positive. The day ended in so much love and laughter!