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!


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]

Patient Care

My very first “professional fee” handed with love by my patient’s mother.

I remember how, since Day 1 of Junior Internship, we would always be reminded to treat patients with the kind of care we would be giving members of our own family. I try my best to always do so, no matter how difficult or unpleasant some patients could get at times.

I remember being Junior Intern-in-Charge of this boy, who was exactly the same age as my brother Ald. He seemed really young and strong to suddenly be weakened by a liver abscess and the daily antibiotics were starting to burden his family financially. For a week, I was running errands for his diagnostic tests and applications for financial aid, checking vital signs in between until the wee hours of the morning, whipping up medical and clinical abstracts within 24 hours from endorsement. In the process, I was able to establish very good rapport with him and his mother. The mother was very appreciative of my efforts, but really, I was only doing my job. Even until I was assigned to another ward and later to the outpatient department, she would hug and thank me for the simple tasks I did for her son.

It was a busy day in the OPD yesterday when I recognized that the boy had come for follow-up. Unfortunately, I was handling a patient and I was only able to speak with him for a few seconds. I told him he lost a little weight but he looked good and much healthier. Minutes later, a lady tapped me from the side and put a huge chocolate bar on top of the sheet of paper I was writing on. It was my former patient’s mother and I was so happy to see her. Even she looked better and livelier, also better dressed. I was delighted to see them both looking happier. I thanked her for the token, which actually touched me so much that tears were welling up.

I am far from making a living out of my medical knowledge and skill, which is only right because I have so much more to learn anyway. SO MUCH MORE. I am currently a junior intern, the bottom of the food chain at any training hospital with a medical school. The only thing I get in return most of the time is a “Thank you” and a smile, if I’m lucky. For a patient to actually go out of his or her way to show appreciation means so much, it’s indescribable. I never knew that one of the best feelings in the world is when a patient cares back after you have cared for him or her.

That bar of Cadbury Dream as “professional fee” meant so much more to me than the sum of talent fees I earned from years of modeling. I never thought I’d feel that until yesterday. Right now, I am confident that I made the right decision.

Thank You, God, for leading me to this Dream.

Love & Passion

Love and Passion

One thing about Habit is that it often makes us forget our Purpose. We go about each day doing what we’re supposed to, routinely following algorithms in our head and carrying out each corresponding task. In the process of problem solving with utmost objectivity and logic, we often forget Reason — the reason why we are in that particular position doing what we’re doing at the moment.

This morning, I was obsessing over thoughts of hot chocolate, which I have been craving for since yesterday due to “inclement weather.” I couldn’t drag myself to study because I was constantly distracted, so I decided to give in to my craving and grab a cup from our building’s own Starbucks.

The barista greeted me with a sunny smile and asked for my order. “One tall hot chocolate,” I said. He asked for my name, gave my change, and worked on my drink. After a few minutes, he handed it to me and said, “Chesca, I made you the perfect cup of hot chocolate. Made with love and passion. When I do something, it’s always with love and passion.” I thanked him for such a sweet gesture and went back to my room, beaming with amusement.

Love and Passion. When was the last time I did something with so much love and passion? As a junior intern, I see lots of patients everyday. The first few times I examined a patient, I was pretty sure I had Love and Passion flowing through my veins and jumping through my nodes of Ranvier. But out of habit, I admittedly forget at times to really get to know a patient when there are seven more waiting for me for the rest of the day.

Today was a great reminder of how I should operate every day of my life, especially while I’m still in the process of training to become a skilled physician. Every day is a step closer to my dreams and it is only right that I live it with Love and Passion.

I’m so glad I went down for a cup of hot chocolate!