Eden celebrates a Mother’s Unconditional Love in new film

This Mother’s Day campaign by Eden cheese breaks boundaries as the Mondelez Philippines brand launched their bold new film entitled, Unconditional.

Directed by Carlos Palanca-awardee Antoinette Jadaone, the film sheds light on the plight of moms who may lack support, which is a topic often not discussed, but is quite familiar to us all and is important as it plays an integral role in nurturing the light of our homes.

The film emboldens how unconditional love and acceptance empowers single moms, and moms from all walks of life.

This Mother’s Day and beyond, the brand aims to unite moms and support them, so they can create many savor-worthy moments to nurture stronger family connections.

To celebrate this special day and remember all the hardships and sacrifices that moms from all walks of life had to endure through different phases of their motherhood, Eden held the virtual event Eden Speaks – A Mother’s Day Forum.

The event, hosted by Issa Litton, was graced by special guest speakers such as Bettina Carlos-Eduardo, a mompreneur, content creator, and author; Techie Dy, Consultant of RMT-Cefam, Ateneo, and is a PhD Candidate of Clinical Psychology from the University of the Philippines; and Kristine Enriquez, Eden Cheese Marketing Manager.

For the past four decades, Eden has been a trusted ally of moms for providing delicious meals for her and her family. The event cements the brand’s commitment to being their ally in all aspects and facets of her life.

For Eden, this translates to empowering the diverse Filipino motherhood journeys, not just single moms, through celebrating their unique and evolving roles amidst today’s ever-changing world.

During the event, Bettina Carlos-Eduardo shared, “There were times when Gummy was growing up, that I felt it was all just me. I am to work and I am to watch after her, which is the life mindset of a typical single mom.

“The load lightened when I found my source of personal salvation and started to have a community of other parents. Of course, I still had my mom and grandmother who would look after Gummy when I had to work.

“But inevitably there were several overwhelming situations that would make me ask myself – ‘how am I going to do all these things alone?’ There are only 24hrs in a day and yet a gazillion things to do!

“Life didn’t come with a manual for parenting, especially for solo parents. And 11years ago there were no videos on YouTube or many resources available online to help navigate through this. That would have made the road an easier one to travel.”

Bettina was a single mom for a decade, but recently ‘graduated’ from the status and is married for five months now.

“Motherhood did not really change when I married. It still has its set of challenges that evolve as Gummy matures.

“My faith has seen me through all those years and it is just a blessing to have a physical partner now to share the load and the journey.

“This Mother‘s Day, I celebrate both my current season and former shaping years. I look back at 10 years of the most gratifying years of my life I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

“I appreciate how Eden is so courageous to speak up about and open this conversation acknowledging the many challenges of solo parents that people don’t often talk about.

“Just as there are many savor-worthy ways to bond with your family by cooking in the kitchen with Eden, there are also many ways to showcase support for different kinds of moms in the simplest way we know how,” she added.

“Eden cheese is a brand that has been celebrating moms from all walks of life and their role in bringing families together for the last 36 years.

“This Mother’s Day, we wanted to shed light on a silent reality in the Philippines, and how important unconditional love and parental support plays in fostering acceptance and empathy for each unique motherhood experience.

“We want to empower and unite moms to share their personal stories about their own journey, and to showcase how we are one with them in embracing all flavors of motherhood, even in the most difficult of situations,” said Kristine Enriquez, Eden Cheese Marketing Manager.

“We believe that by uniting moms from different walks of life, all flavors of mothers can be inspired by the different savor-worthy ways to bring the family together,” she adds.

To know more, visit https://web.facebook.com/EdenCheesePH/ and check out EdenSpeaksPH.

PLDT Home celebrates different parenting styles with #NoMomLikeYou

A perfect home is a place where families feel safe, can build relationships, and make meaningful memories with each other.

It is not defined by how big your house is or even if it’s as spic-and-span as those we see in magazines or on TV.

Still, many parents face the constant challenge of being judged and shamed for the way they raise their families, which may be a little out-of-the-box from what many Filipinos have been accustomed to.

As Mother’s Day approaches, PLDT Home tackles the topic of unique parenting styles and real stories of parents who continue to overcome parent-shaming, the struggles of parent guilt, and the challenges of raising young children in this pandemic in its new #NoMomLikeYou video series featuring Andi Manzano-Reyes, Camille Co, and Marie Lozano. 

For Andi Manzano-Reyes, a mother of two girls (Olivia and Amelia), while pandemic parenting has been tough, the solid support system of her loved ones helped her get through and overcome parent guilt.

“Stop second-guessing yourself, go by it daily, and be focused. I’m thankful for the support system I have at home: the whole pandemic has made me realize the core people I need in my life,” she said.

Media personality Marie Lozano shares, “Pre-pandemic, I was out a lot for work and I missed out on a lot of things with my son. This situation where we are now has made me realize what really matters. We have such high expectations for ourselves in how we parent but what matters most is we show or remind our children that we love them.”

As a new mom, Camille Co reveals that there’s a whole lot more about parenting that people don’t see on social media.

She says, “Being able to grow a human inside you and sustain the baby once you give birth is the most special thing that a mother can experience. But it’s not all peaches and cream. Sometimes you get so sad and frustrated and it’s okay. We need to trust the process and enjoy this experience as parents.”

Indeed, there is no one-size-fits-all in parenting. And to honor parents for their relentless efforts and unique ways to raise their children the best way they can, PLDT Home fosters a movement that inspires them to embrace their own parenting styles and support one another to do the same.

As the country’s fastest fixed network, PLDT Home enables families to enjoy the strongest connections that allow them to do all things better and together at home.

PLDT Senior Vice President and Head of Home Business Butch G. Jimenez shares, “Digital connectivity has always been at the core of every home. PLDT continues to innovate and provide the most reliable digital services so that families can stay strongly connected and do better at home with our fastest home broadband.” 

In the new video series, PLDT Home emphasizes that “there’s no time like this and there’s no parent like you.”

Watch the latest heartwarming digital video series in this link: PLDT HOME and join the movement by posting online with the hashtag #NoMomLikeYou.

Globe Telecom Gives Back to Frontliners through Shopee Bayanihan Program

It’s been more than a year into the global pandemic, and everyone’s lives have affected everyone tremendously. However, no group is more affected than frontliners who have been bravely leading the fight against the virus.

Since the onset of the virus outbreak, courageous frontliners have been tirelessly serving the country to treat the sick and try to contain the COVID-19 cases in the country. Recognizing their bravery and selfless acts as modern-day heroes, Globe Telecom partnered with Shopee Bayanihan to give back to frontliners in the country. 

Through Shopee’s Bayanihan Frontliner Package 2021, frontliners will be entitled to various discounts such as P150 off from Globe at Home Prepaid WiFi devices, P100 off for HomeSurf 199 and Go140 promos, P50 off for Surf4All99, topped with Free Shipping Vouchers and 20% discount vouchers valid from May 7 to June 7, 2021 with no minimum spend required. That means any frontliner registered in the Program can get themselves mobile load, data allowance and prepaid wifi with major discounts for a limited time only. 

Globe Telecom, as the leading telecommunication company in the Philippines, has been ushering the change to first-class connectivity within the nation. The company recognizes that its progress was made possible, despite the pandemic, through the valiant efforts of the frontliners. 

For Globe Telecom, giving back to the Filipinos’ invaluable service through the Shopee Bayanihan 2021 was the perfect opportunity. 

“Shopee is happy to partner with Globe to support all our frontliners who are sacrificing their time and effort to fight against the pandemic continuously. Through our platform, people can easily provide help to those in need, particularly our modern-day heroes and their families. We will continue to come up with initiatives like Shopee Bayanihan: Frontliner Package to uplift, encourage, and support the Filipino community,” shared Martin Yu, Shopee Philippines Director. 

Frontliner Package 2021 entitles registered participants to exciting and exclusive Shopee discount vouchers and partner brand vouchers, including Globe Telecom. Interested participants simply need to register in the promo microsite and sign up with their Shopee account. 

Aside from its partnership with Shopee Philippines, Globe Telecom has other ongoing initiatives to help the country fight against COVID-19. These include access to lifeline hotlines, better customer experience, and products to help businesses to remain afloat amid these challenging times. 

The battle against the ongoing pandemic may be far from over, but thanks to the courage and efforts of our modern-day heroes, everyday Filipinos get to stay safe and healthy wherever they are in the country. That’s why Globe Telecom encourages frontliners of the country to take advantage of this humble token of appreciation by registering for the Frontliner Package 2021 today. 

Buy 1 Havaianas and Give 1 to a frontliner hero

We have a lot to be thankful for our frontliner heroes who sacrifice their own health and lives in order to keep many of us safe and healthy.

From healthcare workers to farmers, soldiers, and delivery service workers, frontliners are risking it all every day for the greater good.

As a way of expressing gratitude to them, Havaianas is launching a one-off promo today, March 27, to donate pairs of Havaianas flip-flops to frontliners.

Through the “Buy 1 pair, Donate 1 pair” initiative, Havaianas shoppers who purchase 1 pair through the official Havaianas Store on Shopee can donate 1 pair of Havaianas to a frontliner hero.

Choose from a wide selection of different designs to suit every personality, mood, or occasion.

The designs and materials are perfectly suited for the tropical climate of the Philippines and its relaxed culture, which is greatly beneficial for frontliners as they get to relax their feet after a long tiring day of standing and walking about in constricting shoes and PPEs.

The flip-flops can be worn all day long without sacrificing comfort and quality and instantly brings good vibes to with its colorful prints and cool designs.

Join the initiative at https://shopee.ph/havaianas and be part of a cycle of kindness as #EmpathyLeadsToEmpathy.

5 Inspiring women TikTokers who are changing the world

5 Women Who Inspire and Empower Other Women Online and in the Real World
TikTok celebrates International Women’s Day with #SheShines2021, a webinar showcasing notable female creators who

help make the app a positive and inclusive community.

TikTok takes pride in being a positive and inclusive platform, where women are empowered to express themselves creatively and authentically. Female creators on the app have helped transform TikTok into a real, inspiring, fun, and educational space for all, and they continue to do so each time they share creative new content.

Antoinette Taus (@antoinettetaus)

Filipino-American actress, humanitarian, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, Antoinette Taus, is a long-time fixture in the local entertainment industry. Recognized as one of the most influential role models of the youth of her generation, Antoinette’s main mission is to empower the youth to take the lead in the transition toward a future that is centered on the betterment of people and the planet—without leaving anyone behind.

She founded the non-profit organization “CORA” (Communities Organized for Resource Allocation) and the purpose-driven business “The Sustainable Planet”, which are dedicated to creating sustainable
programs and solutions to help solve global issues focused on hunger, poverty, inequality, mental health, plastic pollution, and climate change.

For Antoinette, in order to be supportive of other women, you must first be kind. “Uplifting each other, being kind to each other, not judging each other. Just imagine, you don’t even have to look for support if naturally we just always tried to either to be kind or uplift everything around us that women and the girls are doing.”

Pau Kimberly (@paukimberly)

Self-love advocate, Pau Kimberly, uses TikTok as a platform to make others feel better about themselves. In a lot of her videos, she encourages her followers, the women in particular, to rise up after each fall. In Pau’s content, one powerful message that we all need to hear shines through – “You are enough.”

“We as a society are not yet used to women standing up for themselves, women that are strong and independent, women that are empowered, women that are not believing in timelines, women that are very career-driven. I use my platform to raise awareness that we shouldn’t care about others’ opinions. We as women are enough, and are worthy, in our own rights.”

Veronica Limcaoco (@beloynica)

Veronica “Ron” Limacaoco is an active member of Girls Got Game PH (@girlsgotgameph), a non-profit organization that works to empower young women through sports. The group organizes roving sports camps in underprivileged areas throughout the Philippines. Here, girls can learn how to play different sports, which helps them build self-confidence. As a result, Girls Got Game PH actually helps to build our country’s future, one self-reliant woman at a time.

Veronica believes that women must work together to empower one another. “There’s no one perfect way to do things like we are all after the same goal – Women empowerment. We are just doing it differently, I might be doing it through sports but in the end, we only have the same goal, and it’s impossible for one person, one organization to do it all. So, the best thing to do is work together.”

Nove-Ann Tan (@ihomeschoolph)

Homeschooling advocate, Nove-Ann Tan, is a hands-on homeschooling mom who also provides support for other homeschoolers. She has also authored two books, “I Homeschool: How to Homeschool Without Losing Your Mind” and “Happy Wife, Happy Life”, and hosts a weekly podcast where she shares valuable insights and information about homeschooling.

For Nove-Ann, it is important to make other women feel that they are not alone in whatever they may be going through.”It’s making a message that ‘Hey, you are not alone, I am here.’ Magtulungan tayo. Never be ashamed of your weakness, of what you’re going through, because you will never know, you’ll be a blessing. May isang taong lang na mag-swipe sa TikTok mo, kahit na isang tao lang ang matulungan sa message mo, it would be very valuable.”

Maica Teves

Maica Teves is the Executive Director of Samahan ng mga Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran (SPARK!) Philippines. SPARK! is an NGO composed of women who are committed to help empower and elevate more women to become active partners in national development. Maica feels that there is so much that can be done each day to show support and encouragement towards other women.

“I’ve seen time and time again the tangible results of women supporting other women, and I always say that it always starts with even simple daily interaction. There are many ways that women can empower each other – By being a role model, by offering support, celebrating each other’s wins.”

To know more about their advocacies, please visit wearecora.org, girlsgotgame.ph, and sparkphilippines.org.
Discover more inspiring female creators to follow on TikTok! Download the app on your iOS and Android devices today to get started.

FamiLigtas raises awareness for LGBTQ+ rights

Despite global and localized campaigns that aim to protect and preserve the human rights of groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, huge leaps to solve this societal problem are still a long shot.

In light of 18 Days of Activism, a campaign for no violence against women and children that runs from November 25 to December 12 each year, FamiLigtas reminds us to also include the LGBTQ+ community.

FamiLigtas is a digital campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) in the Philippines during the time of COVID-19. But because GBV is most commonly associated with spousal and domestic violence against women, the experiences of violence among lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other non-binary individuals are often left unheard.

“We advocate for the equal treatment for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” said Sabrina Gacad of Lunas Collective. “While there are numerous urgent challenges facing LGBTQ+ persons worldwide, there are many windows of opportunity to promote and protect their human rights.”

As the LGBTQ+ community continues to fight for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill in thecongress, more and more non-binary people continue to experience discrimination, and even violence, at home and in public spaces.

A lack of protection for LGBTQ+ persons

According to Human Rights Watch, only 15% of Filipinos are living in areas with ordinances against discrimination and violence on the basis of SOGIE. The same report also states that the low reporting and intervention of this kind of GBV is caused by the negative messages that the victim-survivors are receiving from authorities.  

Additionally, there is little to no statistical data on the cases of GBV against the LGBTQ+ in the Philippines. Unlike violence against women and children, which has annual report from the Philippine National Police and other government and non-government organizations, GBV cases against LGBTQ+ are often excluded due to low reporting rate and the lack of laws to protect them against discrimination and violence.

“The barangay is an important player in creating a violence-free community. And we need to remember that it is our responsibility to keep the community safe not just for women, but for all gender identities as well,” said local barangay representative.

Kasama ang LGBTQ+ sa pamilya

The family is the most common perpetrator of GBV in the Philippines—whether targeted against women, children, or LGBTQ+ persons. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, LGBTQ+ children are often verbally, emotionally, sexually, and physically abused by their own families. This is due to the notion that the children’s non-conforming gender attitudes are unnatural and immoral. 

“Due to the community quarantines brought on by the COVID pandemic, GBV victim-survivors of all gender identities are trapped inside their homes with their abusers,” said a representative from LGBTQ+ org.

“That’s why we are campaigning for a safe Filipino family. So that we can keep our homes safe, LGBTQ+ persons included.”

LG Philippines revives “Laundry Love” and other aid campaigns for typhoon victims

Even as the storms have passed, a lot of Filipinos are still reeling from being ravaged by typhoon Rolly and Ulysses. Communities have been displaced with people losing their home, leaving them with no shelter and no place to go. In the spirit of makabayan, government agencies, together with private individuals, groups, and corporations, have stepped up to the plate to assist fellow countrymen in their time of need.

LG Philippines has remained steadfast in their resolves to always heed the call for help. The South Korean technology innovator has partnered with groups on the ground in order to hastily offer assistance.

For the typhoon victims from Rizal and Bulacan, LG PH closely collaborated with Walang Maiiwanan PH and JCI Ortigas Inc. to provide help with the community. Donations of shampoos, cleansing foams, toothpastes, and toothbrushes were given to over a thousand indigenous Dumagat families from Sitio Kabuoan Brgy Puray Rodriguez, Rizal, Sitio Suha Brgy San Mateo, and Norzaragay, Bulacan. 

LG Also partnered with Feed Hungry Minds to give assistance to two barangays in Guinobatan, Albay. Approximately 400 families were given the same personal care kits.

LG also visited different communities and evacuation centers in Marikina to help out. They staged their widely popular Laundry Love program in order to help residents and evacuees get access to clean clothing.

Over a span of 3 weeks, LG lent washing machines to the evacuation centers in Nangka Elementary School, Parang Elementary School, Bulelak Covered Court- Brgy Malanday, Homeowners drive Brgy Sto Nino, giving over 1,000 households access to washing machines to clean and sterilize their clothes. LG also gave free repair and check-up services to the affected households.

Speaking with regard to the company’s humanitarian initiatives, LGEPH Managing Director Inkwun Heo says, “We are in awe of Filipinos’ sense of community, especially in great adversity. There is always a natural inclination to want to help. As long as we’re here, we share the same sense of community. We’re always ready to lend a hand, wherever we’re needed.”

Share Hope with SM celebrates modern day heroes

The year 2020 has shown us the truly important things in life. It made us appreciate the little blessings even more, as well as the people who truly make huge sacrifices with even the simplest things that they do.

Since day one of this pandemic, our brave frontliners have been risking their lives to help save and protect more people. Not only are they putting their own health on the line to do the work that needs to be done, they also miss out on a lot of opportunities to enjoy life or spend time with their families without the fear of exposing them to the disease.

SM Supermalls recognizes this great sacrifice and now aims to return the favor with the launch of its Share Hope With SM program, which celebrates our modern day heroes by sharing the joy of Christmas.

Share Hope with SM is a digitized gift mailbox wherein customers can submit their holiday wishes for their nominated front line worker.

For my personal entry, I’m giving a huge shoutout to my friends Councilor Joey Hizon III and Kagawads Ponce Luistro and Doc Roy Resurreccion for all their hard work in their barangay.

It’s admirable to see our frontliners sacrifice their days and nights, and the quality time they should be spending with their families, just to ensure the health and safety of our kababayans. Sometimes, they even go the extra mile to reach out to every family/home to make sure that their needs are being met.

Their proactive efforts, resourcefulness, and resilience deserve to be recognized that’s why I am nominating them for #ShareHopeWithSM.

Show your gratitude to the brave and heroic frontliners in your family, circle of friends or community by visiting the website https://www.smsupermalls.com/sharehopewithsm/

Submit a letter about why you are nominating your chosen frontliner for a chance to gift them with P10,000 worth of SM goft certificates this Christmas.

BTS and self-care: Why BTS is good for physical, mental, and emotional well-being

Last week, August 15, 2020, I joined a panel on Rhizome Connect to talk about my personal experience on how I was able to channel my BTS fangirling into a more significant form.

Rhizome Connect is a virtual event hosted by the Rhizomatic Revolution Review to connect with ARMYs around the world at a time when we cannot gather together physically. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review is an online, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the impact of BTS on people and the world. 

I was invited by a friend and fellow ARMY, Ampy Corpus, who moderated the panel. Ampy is a strategic communications expert based in Singapore and she is passionate about lifelong learning, mindfulness, pop culture, film, history and trends.

Also part of the panel are fellow ARMYs and Titas of BTS members Dette Rome Dette, a seasoned communications professional and financial planner; Nicole Mangondato, an outsourcing professional who helps individuals get their dream jobs; and Chin Ann Obiedo, a fashion, beauty, and features writer.

Our panel, titled “BTS and self-care,” centered around the topic of why BTS is good for physical, mental and emotional well-being. Especially now that we are going through very difficult times, mainly because of the ongoing pandemic, people tend to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and unsettled.

To the best of our abilities, we all try to find ways to cope and survive. Now more than ever, we realize the importance of self-care in order for us to stay sane and focused.

Self-care comes in many different forms. Some found their peace and calm through hobbies like baking, crafting, playing instruments or by becoming plantitas. For ARMYs, BTS became a big part of their self-care routine as they looked to the group as a source of comfort, positivism, strength, and inspiration.

Through the panel, I was able to share my story on how BTS practically stopped me from getting lost in the gloomy and dispiriting trance of the pandemic, and helped me find my path back to happiness and productivity.

You can watch the full video of our panel HERE or visit the Rhizome Connect website to also see the other panels and activities that happened during the event.

CLICK HERE to watch our panel frm Rhizome Connect

I am also sharing below my answers to the questions raised during the panel. Through my story, I hope I am able to help you find what you’re looking for in terms of self-care — regardless if it involves BTS or not. 🙂

What does self-care mean to you in general and why is it important?

To me, self-care is being able to do the things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and connected with yourself — allowing yourself to be comforted, pampered even, and giving yourself space to rest and recuperate. 

I think it is very important that we all practice self-care, especially for moms or parents who literally look after other people 24/7. When you’re responsible for the lives of others, it’s inevitable for you to lose yourself in the midst of fulfilling that role. You tend to focus on the people you need to take care of so much that you end up leaving nothing for yourself and I feel that is dangerous because you never know where you’d end up when things start to get rough. 

You need to do your self-care, whatever that may be, to help re-instill in your mind and heart that while the people you love and others around you are integral to your life, you are important, too; and you don’t need to rely on others to take care of you because you can do it on your own through self-care.

Where does BTS fit in your definition of self-care?

Even before BTS, I’ve always subscribed to the idea that you can’t pour water out of an empty cup or you can’t give love if you don’t even have enough love for yourself. I actually built the theme of my personal blog Mommy’s Day Out around that idea. The platform serves as a space for moms to find ideas on how to love themselves while being a parent, so it’s really more of a lifestyle blog than a parenting blog.

When I discovered BTS in March this year, I somehow felt validated that the purpose of my work isn’t something ridiculous at all, but rather something that should be given importance, too.

Here in the Philippines, we were raised to become family-oriented. Sacrificing your own happiness for the happiness of others, especially your family members, is an idea that has been passed down to us by our elders. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because I think self-sacrifice is one of the most noble expressions of love. However, that line of thinking has also muddled the importance of loving yourself in the context of a relationship — be it between families, partners, friends, etc.

BTS fits into my definition of self-care both figuratively and literally, because they didn’t just inspire me to push for my ideals about promoting self-care, they’ve also literally accompanied me through my own self-care journey, which has helped me a lot in going through this pandemic. I started caring for my body again by doing intermittent fasting (something I learned from Suga) and I’ve also been exercising daily with BTS songs in the background, which is really motivating for me.

Did you build a specific BTS self-care routine around a specific bucket of self-care (physical, mental, emotional) or do you go about your self-care practice in a more spontaneous way?

I was able to develop a more sensible self-care routine, thanks to BTS. In the first month of the quarantine here in the Philippines, I literally let myself fall into a depressing blackhole. It’s not like I was crying or having fits and mood swings everyday, but more of lying on the couch all day, sometimes even missing a day of taking a bath, doing literally nothing other than binge-watch K-dramas until my head hurts, and just generally lacking inspiration and motivation to do something productive.

When I started immersing myself in BTS around late March, I got to read stories about their perseverance and hard work to get to where they are today. That made me realize that I’m wasting my life away! These boys are 8-13 years younger than me and they’ve already accomplished so much, yet here I am acting like a rotten vegetable. So I took baby steps and decided for myself that “Okay, let’s do this self-improvement thing one at a time, starting with my body,” and that’s how I got into intermittent fasting and developing my own exercise routine, which I’ve written about in my blog. That’s for the physical.

For the mental and emotional buckets, I took care of that part when I built this Facebook Group called Titas of BTS, which is a community of Filipinas born before 1992 (the year the oldest BTS member, Jin, was born) who admire the group. In this space, we all virtually gather to share BTS content and exchange whatever thoughts or feelings we have about BTS for the day. It’s fun and chaotic — much like how the BTS guys are — and I feel like I get extra boosts of serotonin and endorphins every time I interact with the members of the group.

Although this activity involves other people, I still consider this a part of my self-care routine because knowing that there are other people out there who are similar to me in terms of age range, who also share the same passion that I have for BTS, is a really comforting thought. It makes me happy and it adds to the list of things I look forward to doing when I wake up everyday. 

Why do you think BTS forms such a big part of ARMY’s self-care routine?

I think it’s because we see them as real people and not some fancy, fake celebrities. They show us their professional side, their best foot forward whenever they go on stage or do press interviews, but they’re also not afraid to show us their flaws and tell us about their insecurities, fears, and weaknesses, and I find that very comforting to know that even international artists like them are also going through the same things as I or we do.

All those seven years of social media content where they have consistently shown their true personalities — I don’t think that is something you can fake. So, when ARMYs realize how the boys have matured, improved, and gotten better over time, it allows us to think that we can achieve something, too — if only we put our heart and soul into it and never give up on that dream or goal.

It also helps that the guys are so warm and comforting in their words whenever they speak to ARMY, like they did in Youtube’s Dear Class of 2020. That was actually one of my biggest motivators to get back on track with my work and somehow start fixing my life to adjust to our new normal under the pandemic.

Do you think spending too much of your self-care time with BTS is selfish? Do you feel other parts of your life suffered because of your self-care routine?

I must admit that I’m still in the process of really reorganizing my life and balancing my time for BTS self-care and my time for family and work. I can’t judge myself whether I’m being selfish towards my family whenever I start spending time consuming BTS content (which also forms part of my self-care routine because it makes me feel good watching them), but there is nothing that a little discussion with my husband can’t solve. 

If there is one thing I learned from RM, it’s that to speak yourself and also learn how to truly listen to the people around you. So for me, as long as you have an understanding with the people around you about why you are spending a lot of time doing self-care with BTS, then I don’t see how that is selfish because you, your happiness, and your sanity are important, too.

It would be nice, too, if we ARMYs can encourage the people around us to practice their own self-care routines, whatever that may be. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve BTS, but I hope we can impart the things we learned from BTS to them so they too can experience that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that we get whenever we do our own self-care routine.

Tell me about a particular song or lyrics that really touched your soul and that constantly helps you through life’s challenges?

Jungkook’s “My Time” is my all-time favorite BTS song. I understand what it means to JK as a boy who grew up in the limelight and feels like he missed parts of his youth because he was too busy with his career. In some way, that song spoke to me as a woman in her mid-30s and still struggling to accomplish something in life. I guess it’s that line “Don’t know what to do with, am I living this right?” which I’ve also asked myself soooo many times. Somehow, I interpreted Jungkook’s loneliness in that song as my own longing to be someone of value to society or at least to the people around me.

But what I particularly love about “My Time” is the way Jungkook changed up the lyrics in the last chorus from “I can’t call ya, I can’t hol’ ya, I cna’t touch ya” to “I will call ya, I will hol’ ya, I will touch ya,” which to me was a real wake up call that “Hey, I’m still alive, I still have time to do the things I want to do or need to do to get to where I want to be.” So until then, I just have to keep running ‘wearing your hat low,’ like Jungkook also sang in the bridge of the song, and just keep going because one day I will get to call and hold and touch that thing that I want most in life and that’s a really powerful message for me.

If you are going to give baby ARMYs tips on how to create a BTS-centered self-care routine, what tips would you give them?

I, too, am a baby ARMY and I am just lucky to have been hit with inspiration early in my young ARMY life. My advice: Don’t feel pressured to start something right away and just enjoy your fangirling/fanboying moments because inspiration and motivation to start your own self-care routine (whether it’s BTS-centered or not) will just hit you when you least expect it.

Perhaps you can try setting a goal for yourself — it doesn’t have to be big — then follow that with some research on what the members do about that same goal and start from there. I swear, whatever it is that you’re looking for, there is a BTS content for it, so don’t be shy to go online and read up on some BTS history. Also, try to consume your BTS content with an open mind and heart, because they really are inspiring inside and out. Even in moments when they’re being chaotic crackheads, you’ll be able to find little nuggets of joy and wisdom.

BTS has a new reality show, In The SOOP, which shows them doing self-care activities as well. What are you looking forward to see in the show?

I am looking forward to see Jungkook playing the guitar and I want to see what the others are also up to. They’ve mentioned in their recent VLives that they’re all trying to spend time learning something new over the quarantine, so hopefully we can get a preview of that.

I’m trying to set a new goal for myself to try and pick up a new skill as well, so maybe Jungkook and his hyungs can help me again with this. 🙂

Pyschologically speaking, what would you say is the biggest impact of BTS to your well-being?

One of my favorite BTS quotes was from Suga’s speech in Dear Class of 2020. When he said, “Take your hands off what you can’t control and get your hands on what you can change,” I think that summarizes the overall impact that BTS had on me when I met them in the middle of this crazy pandemic.

I used to be a neurotic mess — well, I still am — but since BTS, I have been consciously looking after that part of myself and try to be less neurotic as I can possibly be.

I super subscribe to the idea that not all of us will be given the same power as BTS to change the world, but we all have the power to change ourselves for the better so that in effect we may become useful to the rest of the world. It’s really all about loving yourself, caring for yourself, and feeling good about yourself enough that you are able to share good vibes with others.

I’m also trying to learn and embody RM’s mindfulness and Jin’s sincerity when it comes to listening to others, so that I may also understand how I can be of better help to other people.

PLDT-Smart Foundation leads aid for stranded OFWs and locals

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely turned our lives around — some for the better, while some (unfortunately) for the worse. Among those heavily affected are the OFWs and local workers whose workplaces are located outside the cities or provinces they live in. Due to quarantine restrictions, many of them have been stranded in places far from home.

Haira Aba, 29 years old, is the breadwinner of her family in Datu Paglas in Maguindanao. She applied for a job as a domestic helper in Qatar and travelled to Manila. But the COVID-19 pandemic came, overseas travel came to a halt, and as a result, she has been stuck in Manila for the past four months.

According to Aba, her situation is difficult since she is far away from her family. She said that what brought comfort during this difficult time was the help they have received from various organizations and individuals.

Kailangan kong magtiis. Nakikipagkuwentuhan na lang ako sa mga kasama ko dito para hindi ma-bored. Malaking tulong din ang cellphone at internet dahil na rin may YouTube, (I need to endure this. I just talk to some of the people that are also stranded here so that I won’t get bored. Having my cellphone with me and having Internet also helps a lot because there’s Youtube.)” Aba said.

54-year old Dennis Sebastian is a mechanical operator and harvester in Tuguegarao – a job he has been doing for six years now. He usually travels back to his hometown in Compra, Liloy in Zamboanga Del Norte three times a year. This year, he was scheduled to return home last April 6. But due to the pandemic, his flight was rescheduled to June 5 – and then was again cancelled.

Unable to fly home, Sebastian stayed for several weeks at a footbridge near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. Last June 11, he was transferred to the Villamor Elementary School. In order to buy food, Sebastian said he had sold some of his personal belongings. This included his cellphone, which he sold for P300, a luggage for P500 and his shoes for P200.

According to Sebastian he lived like a nomad for weeks. “Palipat-lipat ako ng puwesto kapag sobrang init at umuulan. Sana hindi na maulit ito kasi apat na buwan na akong hindi nakakauwi. Wala na akong communication [sa aking pamilya]. Pero bago ko ibinenta ang cellphone ko, natawagan ko na sila at sinabi kong h’wag mag-alala, (I keep changing positions and places where to stay, especially when it is extremely hot or when it rains. I hope this never happens again because it’s been four months that I haven’t been home. I don’t have any communication with my family. But before I sold my cellphone, I was able to call them and tell them not to worry.)” Sebastian said.

Aba and Sebastian are two of the 350 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSI’s) at the Villamor Elementary School in Villamor Airbase, Pasay City. They received meals and other assistance from the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) through employee-led fundraising initiatives such as the Fairness, Integrity, Transparency and Accountability (F.I.T.A.) Video Challenge and Kapit Kapatid Program.

The PSF also partnered with the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region.

“Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters who are struggling to be reunited with their families. We understand how important being with family is in order to cope better during this difficult time. We hope that our simple gesture brought them some joy, especially during these trying times,” said PLDT-Smart Foundation President Esther Santos.

On June 25, Sebastian is scheduled to finally come home.

To know more about the efforts of the PLDT Group in beating the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit http://beta.pldt.com/covid19/.