Celebrating Real Beauty & Glowing Skin


I believe it’s almost every girl’s dream to see her face on a billboard, especially for a beauty product. It’s perceived as a major affirmation of being beautiful. (Although, of course, you don’t need to be in a billboard to feel beautiful, we all know it’s a big bonus!)

I grew up using Dove products because I have very sensitive skin and Dove has been one of the gentler brands available in the market. What sets Dove apart, though, is their advocacy. I’ve also been such a fan of their Campaign for Real Beauty and the ads they come out with (e.g., especially this one about body love). I remember watching their first series of ads (Remember the “True Colors” commercial?) and ending up teary-eyed because I was so inspired to love and appreciate myself more in spite of my insecurities. I ended up wishing that someday they’d launch the same campaign in the Philippines and they did shortly after.

Little did I know that years later, they would be coming up with a huge campaign showcasing the diversity of Filipina looks. Recently, I was one of the lucky girls to be featured in the first Dove Glowing Skin mosaic billboard after submitting a photo through their Facebook application. I sent in a photo taken by my photographer friend Carlo Cabral and about a week later, got called for an interview for their new campaign.

I was so grateful for being given the opportunity to share my story with Dove. Medical students are thought to have boring lives and zero time to take care of themselves so I felt privileged that Dove actually took the time to listen to my story and to appreciate my look. My skin was generally cooperative and even if a small zit suddenly popped out on the day of my interview, it didn’t hamper my confidence at all.

A week later, I was so excited when they sent a message that I get to be a Dove girl! In the same batch of girls was my friend Dior, also a fellow medical student. It felt really awesome being part of that and knowing that Dove is making a difference in advertising by making Filipinas feel great about themselves in knowing that ordinary girls can make it to billboards next to actresses and supermodels. It makes me really happy about their continuing efforts in promoting confidence in the Filipina beauty.

Our batch of Dove girls will have our photos up from September 17 to 23 (Sunday), after which a couple of batches will follow until the campaign ends on November 30, 2012. The Dove LED billboards could be found at EDSA Northbound, Paragon Building in Boni, Mandaluyong and EDSA Southbound, near New Horizon Hotel, Boni. (I have yet to see the billboard and I hope I do so before Sunday!)

Here’s an online version of the LED slideshow:

By the time the campaign ends, 200 women will have been featured! So you, too, can get the chance to be a Dove girl! Use Dove for at least 7 days and upload your photos at Dove’s Facebook page. I know I have lots of pretty friends in all sizes, shapes, and shades so do join and help Dove get the message across and, at the same time, live your dream of being in a billboard! Photo submissions are until the end of October, so if you haven’t been using Dove yet, now’s the time to start!

Special thanks to Dove Philippines for this wonderful opportunity and for sending me a photo of my part in the mosaic! They should know that this means so much to us real girls.

Show me some love by dropping me a mention [@GolightlyMD] at Dove PH’s Twitter account [@DovePH] with the hashtag #DoveGlowingSkin!

Here’s to celebrating real beauty and healthy, glowing skin!




Because I can’t look at a donut anymore without seeing a cervix.

Team Manila Q4 2011

Dug up this behind the scenes video for one of Team Manila’s lookbooks last year. The shoot involved a lot of jumping as we tried to keep a poker face in mid air. Most physically tiring shoot I’ve had to do, in my opinion. :p

Here are the published photos:

Note to my 19-Year-Old Self


I wrote this blog entry when I was an angsty 19-year-old, too eager to belong in a serious relationship. I had so much to learn back then about boys and dating, just like any other teenage girl who felt “not too young and not too old.”

There are times when I want to be single—unattached, tied to nobody, not having to update to someone where I am and who I’m with and what my plans for the day are.  But there are times when I want to be in an official relationship—bringing my guy to lunch-outs with the family, having a “couple album” in my hard drive, proudly being “In a Relationship” (or must things get mushier, “Married”) in all of my online accounts, setting our favorite “couple photo” as primary. Sometimes I’d like to be the girl who makes her closest guy friends torpe over her. The one who actually has a selection of boys but opts not to choose anyone at all. The girl whose life revolves around friends and family and work and school. The power girl who doesn’t have any time at all for a boyfriend, or even just a crush. The girl whose value appreciates directly proportional to the number of guys she’s turned down and ignored. The free spirit whom nobody just can’t have. But sometimes I’d like to be the girl who helps her boyfriend’s mom cook his favorite meal on his birthday. The one who’d always have someone who’d pick her up after work or school. The one who’d join her guy’s family on out of town trips and the one who’d bring her guy along on her own family outings. The one the boys would best want for him because she’s always game and her corny jokes actually sell. I could be either of the two, actually. My Friendster account would proudly say either “Single” or “In a Relationship”. I would be happy and content either way. But here’s the painful truth: I am definitely unhappy and discontent right now being in between. Just in between.

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Guiding Hands

Touching lives through teaching

The highest respect and appreciation for my OB-GYN resident who actively guides me through procedures as a rotating junior intern.

During my very first normal spontaneous delivery assist, I gave her a couple of wrong answers on her questions about perineal lacerations. I didn’t even know how to proper gowning and gloving yet. My intern lost his temper over my disorientation but the resident kept her cool and taught me exactly what I had to do to fulfill my assisting duties adequately. In short, it was technically through her that I learned the motor skill requirements of vaginal delivery.

Today, at the outpatient department, I presented to her a post-Caesarian section patient who came in to have her laparotomy sutures removed. The resident could have just asked me to prepare the needed instruments and had the removal over and done with. Instead, she made me hold on to the instruments, guiding my hands as if I was the one pulling off the sutures.

Doctor, thank you for your guiding hands — for sharing the knowledge and skills generously. Thank you for not giving up on me and the other junior interns. I’m sure your hands will touch and save many more lives.

Personal Mantra

I remember how I was just starting to read complex words and my mom had this up on the wall of her first clinic. It took me several attempts to read “anxiety” until I gave up and asked my mom how to pronounce it properly. I guess that helped me remember this by heart.

Today, I choose to live by this verse as I journey in pursuit of my doctor dreams and face the unknown.

Photo Source

Re: A Letter to My Hypothetically Gay Son

If the Lord ever blesses me with one…

A Letter to My Hypothetically Gay Son

This letter brought me to tears because: 1.) I feel really strongly about LGBT rights; and 2.) the author restored my faith in humanity still existing.

I’ve heard countless stories from gay friends and acquaintances about acceptance issues. Some, physically abused by their own parents desperate of getting them to “straight up.” It pains me, really, knowing that such wonderful and productive people have to be castigated for being themselves.

This letter is something I’d personally write to my hypothetically gay son in the near future. It’s great to know that there are still people who understand the idea of unconditional love, which entitles a great deal of acceptance.

Let me be perfectly clear: I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you’re gay.

I wish society could learn to be more accepting of the LGBT community so that my kids and your kids could grow up to be who they want to be, not afraid to be themselves, regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity, or religion.

Lady Gaga, sing it. [Enter music: Born This Way]

Rare and Well Done

Sometimes you have to experiment and take risks before finding the right one at the right place.

So they were having their favorite steak at their favorite steakhouse while enjoying a couple of laughs about random recent events in their lives… until conversation led to an objective review of each other’s past relationships.

A: Honestly, though, you’re the best person I’ve ever been in a relationship with.

C: Well, I can say the same about you.

A: But you haven’t had that many relationships to say that…

C: I know, but still. You are the best. Ever.

And a certain kind of silence filled the air. The silence of contentment. With nothing left to say, they savored each other’s last words.

Maybe there is some truth when they say that to taste the sweet, you have to take a lot of bitter. That to find your pot of gold, the rain has to pour to make a rainbow. That you have to kiss a lot of toads before the prince comes out of his spell. And all that crap they say to make us feel better about after having to put up with abusive, polygamous, or one-sided relationships, or all of the above. Imagine what they’d had to go through to find themselves beside each other’s rare find.

A few seconds later, he grabbed his fork with his left hand and his knife on the right and went back to his steak. Her lips slowly upturned and she glanced at him putting a piece of steak into his mouth. She then motioned for her own fork and knife left on top of the stone grill and sliced a piece of beef to help herself.

Inclement Weather

Love the rain? This little boy surely doesn’t.

Saw this photo on Facebook about how we should be more mindful about other people regarding suspension of classes. That while we await safe in our homes for suspension announcements, some kids have to brave the heavy rain without an umbrella to school only to be sent home.

This photo broke my heart for so many reasons:
1. The harsh truth that some do not have the means to provide their children means to stay safe from bad weather
2. We see so many kids in Pedia with respiratory tract infections of varying severity — this may have contributed to their illness
3. The fact that some children have to walk for hours just to get to school every single day (Imagine the risks they have to endure!)
4. Knowing that such stresses could be traumatic to children
5. Wanting to help but not having enough means myself

I really, really want to help make a difference for these children. I couldn’t imagine myself, my siblings, my cousins, nieces, and nephews going through this and I’m sure the parents of these kids could only wish better for them.

I believe it would make a huge difference if we could sponsor a school bag complete with school supplies and an umbrella to at least one child, even just once a year. Raincoats would make a cheaper alternative.

Do you know of any organization that has such distribution projects? Or anyone in public service who might be amenable to this suggestion? Do let me know!

The next time the anticipation of class suspension due to inclement weather comes again, maybe we can think twice about rejoicing and be reminded of this photo.