It was a night of celebration, reunion, entertainment, and recognition as hundreds of guests from the private and public sectors, LGBT+ community, and LoveYourself volunteers gathered for the second Love Gala: Courage Amplified--Asia’s premier charity and awards event on May 11, 2019 at ABS-CBN Vertis Tent.
As Ronivin Pagtakhan, LoveYourself Founder and Executive Director, rallied guests in his opening remarks, “Let us all become beacons of hope for our brothers and sisters affected by the HIV epidemic. Let us show everyone, especially the younger generation, that no virus can hinder us from becoming a more loving and courageous community. Let us continue to inspire one another and to continue the remarkable work to win this battle. Together, let’s make the fear of HIV a thing of the past.”
It was a fitting time to honor the lives affected by HIV/AIDS as the gala coincided with the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Ceremony. In
her video speech, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and LoveYourself ambassador encouraged everyone to, “keep the torches (of passion and service) burning bright.”
In line with keeping the fire alive, the event also recognized outstanding movers of the HIV advocacy through the second Ripple Awards. A total of five individuals, three organizations, and a community project were given distinction for “demonstrating the genuine ability to move other people towards uplifting the lives affected by the HIV-AIDS epidemic.” It also recognized the People’s Choice from social media votes and the Most Influential Story.
Another highlight of the evening is the participation of Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015 and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, who formally launched LoveYourself’s latest campaign, U=U (Undetectable=Unstransmittable).
In her introduction, she stressed that, “This campaign fortifies one of LoveYourself’s primary guiding principles in its HIV prevention philosophy, which is timely testing and treatment. Over the years, we’ve seen more people getting tested and if they are diagnosed with HIV, they undergo the treatment. Our goal is to promote how antiretroviral treatment is effective in curbing the spread of HIV. It is our sincere hope that the U=U campaign will imbibe optimism among PLHIVs that there is life after HIV, especially if you take your medicines regularly. One day our society will show undetectable stigma and unstramisttable fear of HIV. One day, love is the overflowing virtue that infects all people of the universe.”
A star-studded cast of presenters and performers made the night even more remarkable. Musical performances bookended the evening from world-class singers Katrina Velarde, Laarni Lozada, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Rhap Salazar, Ana Ramsey, Leah Patricio, Mark Mabasa, Martin Nievera, supported by Coro de Sta. Cecilia and PWU Voice Ensemble. Meanwhile, dance numbers performed by Zeus Collins, Addlib Divas, and World of Dance Philippines’ finalist Hiraya amplified crowd entertainment.
Ms. Intercontinental 2014 2nd runner-up Kris Janson, and former PMAP President and advocate Raphael Kiefer hosted the gala. Presenters were composed of influencers from various creative fields including Hashtag CK, Vivoree Esclito, BJ Pascual, Empress Schuck, DJ Chacha, and Phi Palmos.
Not only did the crowd enjoy the activities but they also got to purchase the limited edition DC Bayong by Don Cristobal. It is a collection of proudly Philippine made chic handbags that is “100% handcrafted with love.” Proceeds will help raise funds for the LoveYourself’s HIV awareness activities and projects.
The second Love Gala and Ripple Awards was made successful through LoveYourself Institutional Partners such as UNAIDS, AHF, WHO, DOH, PhilHealth, Save The Children, Pilipinas Shell Corporation, AFAO, and Philippine National AIDS Council; and its Co-Presenters Camber, Durex, L’Oreal, Cafe Lupe, and ABS-CBN. Gold Sponsors are ABS-CBN and Downy. Bronze Sponsors are Telus International, Okamoto, Inspi, Victoria Court, Absolut, Sip, MP School of Make Up Artistry, Vicks, Teddy Manuel Flowers and Events, and Kitchen Treasures. Media Partners are Business Mirror, Digital Out-Of-Home, ANC, TV Patrol, and ABS-CBN News.com. Lastly, its Contributors are F1 Hotel, Mont ALbo Massage Hut, Shopee, Cognizant, Rotary District 3780, and MASS.