with our shoot director Rhadem, PBB housemate Dionne Monsanto, our DOP Jeremiah, and me feeling like a director (but, really, that’s just my spot in the video) Photo by Niccolo Cosme

I spent the whole day yesterday doing advocacy work again. I kinda missed it, really. Last year, I really only did one HIV talk at a school event and I’ve been lax in my large-scale advocacy work as of late. I’ve been focused on my own life and my recovery. I’ve given myself some distance now from the work and I come back full force. I rushed into becoming an advocate that I didn’t pace myself and burned myself out.


But now that I’m back in Manila I feel ready to get back into action. I’ve been away from the advocacy for a while except for the usual posting on my social media about HIV news and talking to people who get in touch with me through social media. It’s given me enough space to be able to come back and have something new to say and to tell my story again with new perspectives.

So yesterday, I was at I’M Hotel in Makati with the wonderful people of The Red Whistle and Save the Children working on a new campaign, #TogetherPH. We shot a video with some local celebrities and did a lot of photo shoots for materials that we hope would make people more aware about HIV.

It was a great day seeing so many wonderful people and good friends while making new ones in the process. It was a great chance to really get back into the groove of becoming more vocal again about HIV issues and raising the alarm. I missed this. There’s an element of control when I do my talks because it’s all just on me and I know how to tell a story in front of a crowd but the fight against HIV is a team effort and working with a team just seems more fitting.

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the incredibly talented JC Santos, a Red Whistle Ambassador, is on the hot seat

It’s a group effort and I appreciate that.

I can’t wait for everyone to see the video. We did so much work and I know the video output is going to be less than 3 minutes, if we want it to go viral (pun intended).

The shoot was filled with laughter and good cheer and there were touching moments and some people cried and producer and Red Whistle main man Niccolo Cosme wasn’t even sure if we were going to get the effect that we wanted. But we gave it a good ol’ try and I think it’s going to be great.

Niccolo told me that he has a lot of plans for the coming year and I’ve agreed to be very active with The Red Whistle and all of their campaigns. Niccolo got me started in the whole thing on that very first Headshot Clinic with an HIV awareness theme. That was the day I became an advocate, telling my story in front of a large group of people and in front of the press. I think it’s just apt that in almost ten years, we are still at it.

Watch out for our upcoming new video, #TogetherPH. It’s going to be great.


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