TEDx University of San Carlos — Women: Amidst Diversity
Photo by RJ Milan
TEDxUSC Women: Amidst Diversity was held yestersay afternoon in the Marcelo Fernan Press Center, Lahug, Cebu City. The event was sponsored by BAI TV, DYSS Super Radyo Cebu, SKYGO, Stellar Philippines, Akinamiro Architecture, Guadalupe Dried Mangos and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. It featured six diverse and empowered women each with an individual advocacy. Kristel Budomo, USC Theatre’s Guild and 2TinCans Theatre Company performed in the event.
Self- Love Amidst Diversity: Bea Evardone
A self-love advocate and a firm believer of digital empowerment, she founded Queen City Plus, a self-love and Body Positivity online platform that encourages women to love themselves.
She began her Ted Talk with her personal journey to self-love, which she described as difficult. Everdone shared that in 2009 she suffered from negative self-image and feared that she was not enough. She elaborated that there were three factors that brought this about. The first was the media in the sense that every teen magazine worshipped only slender and skinny women, and this made her feel ashamed and insecure. The second was the environment she was immersed in. Having studied in all girls-Catholic school introduced her to an unconscious competition of the best physical standards. The third was the culture of body shaming and bullying she often heard from her church mates and friends at school.
“There always be insults, but the worst part was when I listened and believed in them,” she shared.
She shared in her Ted Talk that self-love is liberating and a form of rebellion against the stringent orders of society. Everdone elaborated that the journey to self-love begins when you find your own tribe, take care of yourself and motivate yourself each and every day.
Awareness Amidst Adversity: Hilary Overton
Having a Midwifery degree from the National College of Midwifery and a degree in medicine from the Southwestern University-MHAM, she is an advocate of quality healthcare for the marginalized and found the non-profit organization, Glory Reborn Organization. She believes that “these marginalized mothers are not a mere statistic, they are also a face.”
Overton started her Ted Talk presenting inciting statistics on the state of marginalized women and their children. She emphasized that nearly 72 percent of the marginalized have difficulty accessing quality healthcare. With this, she shared her personal story of mother in a cemetery in Cebu who died due to complications and how this motivated her to push for equality in health care.
“No matter what skill you have, you can be an agent of change.”
Overton maintained that it takes every skill, discipline and expertise to exact change in the health care of the marginalized. She also put that one’s socio-economic status should not determine the right to health and hope. For every life is valuable; all should be aware and awakened to this. She ended her talk stating, “No matter what skill you have, you can be an agent of change.”
Influence Amidst Adversity: Issa Perez
She is a social media persona and the first and only Filipino to represent the Philippines for the International Podcast Day. She opened her talk by stating, “I showed my ability to talk about anything and everything through blogging.”
Known online as Issaplease or “The Rich Girl of Cebu”, Perez began her talk through demonstrating the presence and impact of online content creators such as herself. She focused on how she wanted to project a good impact towards a country in which majority of its people was immersed online. She thought she would best achieve this through talking about topics she was most passionate via podcasting. Her content received mixed reviews and soon became the subject of much discussion.
“I should channel my influence towards education for women’s health.”
Believing women should not be ashamed of their anatomy, she revealed that she would soon discuss topics about women’s healthcare and hygeine, such as pubic hair, underwear, menstruation, pregnancy and pap smear in her future online content.
Theatre Amidst Adversity: Sarah Mae Enclona-Henderson
As the Producing Artistic Director of 2TinCans Philippines and director of the award-winning Cebuano play, The Vagina Monologues, she believes that theatre is a source of hope, inspiration and resilience in breaking the cycle of violence, stating: “performing should not be attatched to fame.”
Henderson recalled her childhood love of the theatre because of the freedom and safety it provided her. She elucidated that the theatre was a teacher and guide. It was also her means of escaping reality. But she also came to realize that theatre could also reveal the harsh realities of society. She shared, “Theatre became my weapon to end sexual abuse.”
Sexual violence and abuse cannot be taken lightly. She stated that the world listen to the stories of those who have been victimized in order to bring about change and explained that the play The Vagina Monologues was able to shed some light on sexual abuse. Henderson also elaborated that her theatre company 2TinCans remains firm in ending gender-based violence.
Nation Building Amidst Diversity: Reg Rodriguez
As a trained political communications strategist, she is the national chairperson of the Young Centrist Union and the Current Fellow of Konrad Adenauer School for Young Politicians and an advocate of Mindanao Youth Development, Women’s Rights, and Political Party Reform. She began by stating, “The rules of the game are dictated by patriarchy.”
Rodriguez first emphasized the need for women to take part in the seat of power and that is the national decision-making process. She was also keen to illustrate the disparity in the desirability of being a woman. With this, she discussed how she was disappointed that even progressive schools are not spared from talks of misogyny, bigotry and undervaluing of women.
Rodriguez acknowledged that struggles of the brave women that came before have defined the present context of society. But that is not enough and we must not stop there. Women in nation-building means knowing where they are needed most and ‘stepping-up’ according to each of their industries and disciplines. She ended her talk by saying: “We have to push much further the accomplishments of the women in the past.”
Actor Amidst Adversity: Chai Fornacier
A Filipino film actress and singer-songwriter, shehe has garnered acting accolades from projects such as Operation Prutas (2015), Miss Bulacao and Patay na si Jesus. She currently stars in the ABS-CBN hit drama Halik as Chari.
“I don’t like it when people say ganyan talaga,” Fornacier began. She opened her Ted Talk by narrating her personal grievances and resentments over the film industry and discussed how her roles seemingly involved her origins such as physical and facial attributes. She claimed she was puzzled on how the film industry paradoxically encourage her to ‘be true’ to herself while remaining silent on the microaggressions of the executives and producers directed towards her.
“To be silent is to be complicit.”
Fornacier shunned the unreasonable norm in the film industry of staying silent since it is the ‘easier way.’ As she believed, there was a sinister energy behind all that was easy. Most importantly, she did not want to be a living embodiment of other’s misconceptions and fallacies. She argued that if she kept silent, she would have contributed to more dysfunction in society.
In an interview with Ms. Issa Perez, she stated that Carolinians who wished to remain influential through adversity should be firm and ready to manifest what they are most passionate about. They must be aware of all the consequences that lie ahead, especially to those who wish to use the power of social media.
Reg Rodriguez, also elucidated in an interview, that Carolinians who sought to be part of the nation-building process, should not be lazy in pursuing their interests and must not fear judgment or uncertainty.
In the closing remarks, Jodi Tio, the lead organizer, said that the event will be a success if the attendees will further share and continue all the ideas they have learned.