Cream Silk: Recognizing the power of women

For hundreds of girls like Chaitanya Caraga and Sigrid Aila Medrana, poverty is a fact of life that makes them feel powerless to fulfill their dreams of higher education.

Lack of the family’s financial resources constantly worries Chaitanya come tuition time, while education was not an available option for Sigrid and her mother.

In fact, other girls in similar situations often feel trapped between two choices—to pursue their education and their dream of a better life, or give it all up in order to unburden their families. Unlike these other girls, however, Chaitanya and Sigrid were determined to pursue their dreams and education, knowing they have what it takes to make their dreams come true.

They applied and were accepted into the Cream Silk scholarship program, when it was first launched by Unilever in 2008. Because of the scholarship, both are now sophomores at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), proving their resilient nature by fearlessly studying fields not too many women would choose—metallurgical engineering for Chaitanya and electrical and computer engineering for Sigrid.

Supporting strength in women

“This scholarship program gives us women the chance to prove not only to ourselves but to the people around us that we have the power and capability to fulfill our dreams by working hard in every step we take,” enthused Chaitanya.

Unilever and Cream Silk believe in inspiring Filipinas like these UP scholars—women who not only have beauty and brains, but also power and the determination to succeed against the odds, even in a man’s world. The scholarship program supports such women through full scholarships from freshman year until graduation, provided that they are enrolled in courses at the country’s premiere state university.

The scholarship is part of Cream Silk’s Women Empowerment Program (WEP). Also launched in 2008, it aims to empower deserving Filipinas from all walks of life by providing them with educational and financial opportunities, including a partnership with Zonta for scholarships to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the Rags to Riches livelihood project. Through these efforts, Cream Silk hopes to inspire women whose circumstances have hindered them from achieving their dreams to finally succeed, against all odds.

Apart from Chaitanya and Sigrid, 22 other students also received UP scholarships in 2008 and all were honored at the Cream Silk Scholars’ Recognition Night held recently.

The spirited character of the 22 scholars were evident as they arrived, filling the atmosphere in the ballroom with inspiring energy. The mood was intensified further with the moving messages of the evening’s distinguished panel of speakers, which included some of the country’s most educated, courageous and empowered young women.

“Knowing women’s important role in society, one sector we chose to focus on was their education–which is the pillar of a better future. Good education, as we all know, opens up one’s mind to endless possibilities and opportunities. Indeed, an educated woman is an empowered woman,” said Cream Silk Brand Manager Anna Karina Castillo.

She added that Cream Silk chose UPD as a partner because of its first-rate educational system and belief in equality among women and men.

UPD Chancellor Dr. Sergio S. Cao commended the Cream Silk WEP for giving women such an opportunity, despite the economic crisis driving most companies to cut costs.

“Scholarships like these are a way to a better life. It’s not easy for companies now to provide something like this. Unilever is very generous in putting up a financial program like its scholarship,” remarked UP Chancellor Dr. Sergio S. Cao.

Also inspiring the 21 Cream Silk scholars present that night was a stirring message from multi-awarded Philippine Daily Inquirer business reporter Abigail Ho.

She told the scholars, “I know that you are all empowered women who can take on whatever the world throws your way. I know this because, like you, I was also an Iskolar ng Bayan; and a true blue Iska stares challenges in the face and takes them on with gusto.”

The scholars agree and take this to heart, with Sigrid saying, “Problems can destroy us if we let them. We just have to be strong and brave. That is what being empowered means. As I stand here in front of you, I serve as living proof of how an empowered woman managed to survive and inspire others to be empowered, too.”

They got soul

Analog Soul presents “Do you have an Analog Soul?” t-shirt design contest winners

The call out of Analog Soul's "Do you have an Analog Soul?" t-shirt design contest received numerous response from the creative young generation. Among the sea of entries received, two young individuals' designs stood out and bagged the Soul on Demand Voters’ Choice and the True Analog Soul awards.

Jeffrey Dela Cruz brought home the Soul on Demand Voters' Choice award for his “Through the Years” design.

"Story is about the icons of how I came to know music. Every generation, there were significant representations that pop to mind to characterize music. There was the turntable during my dad's time then came the cassette for my brother's generation. My idea of music for my generation is already the compact discs," he explained.

The young artist learned about the Analog Soul t-shirt design contest through blogs that he follows. For the “Do you have an Analog Soul?” contest, Dela Cruz submitted 9 entries. He shared that he was really betting on his “Through the Years” entry to win.

A passionate artist, Dela Cruz showcases his talents though art design contests he follows. He also designed the winning entry for Incubus t-shirt design competition when the popular band visited the Manila years back.

He is an advertising graduate from the University of the East. Dela Cruz now works as a graphic artist at Tom’s World.

For Ronnie Amador, winner of the True Analog Soul category, he used the design contest to make one of his aspirations come to life. His “Rock Star Kit” design was born out of his frustration on someday being able to play a musical instrument.

"I love music and would love to be able to play a musical instrument so I can make music. I hope that there’s a tool kit that can make me a rock star someday," Amador enthused.

When he learned about the contest through a newspaper article, he made sure that his designs would be included in the contest. He was so determined that he sent in 36 entries and was pinning his hopes on his Rock Star Kit design.

Like Dela Cruz, this young talent also uses art design contests as his way of releasing his creative ideas. Amador is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the East and is now one of the artists of DM9 advertising.

Analog Soul is a Filipino retail clothing and accessories company that embraces the creative and eclectic side of the market. They pride themselves in having a brand that provides customers and the artists with an avenue to express themselves.

"This t-shirt design contest is a testament of that," Analog Soul owner Migs Naguiat said. "We know how creative Filipinos are and we will continue to encourage and engage them to put these creative juices into use. Let Analog Soul be their canvass."

Watch out for the shirt designs of Jeffrey and Ronnie at their stores in Archeology Rockwell Center, The Ramp Glorietta 4, and Trinoma Mall. For more information on Analog Soul and visit Analog Soul at www.analog-soul.com.


Avon celebrates three women’s shining moments

All that shines is gold.

A lipstick that gives your lips a dazzling shimmer and makes you feel like a golden goddess is great reason for celebration. Global beauty company Avon offers an all-new lipstick collection that promises to dress up lips with dazzling shimmer for special occasions or everyday glam. Avon introduces Ultra Moisture Rich 24K Lipstick, the only lipstick infused with real 24K gold to give you luxurious, glistening lips.

Avon marks Ultra Moisture Rich 24K Gold Lipstick launch by giving recognition to three Filipino women whose golden shine is not only on their lips but also in the way they live their lives as advocates, entrepreneurs, champions, mentors, and role models.

Cancer survivor Crisann Celdran: Each day is a golden gift

Ten years ago at 26, Crisann Celdran was diagnosed with cancer. Compelled to connect with a cancer survivor to help her on her own journey, she met Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala. They and two other survivor friends, despite limited resources, ended up forming the I CanServe Foundation. Said Celdran, “We knew very little and had different experiences but shared one dream: that cancer survivors should not go through this path alone.”

The ICanServe Foundation (www.icanserve.net) today is a patient advocacy group run by survivors who empower women with information through high-impact campaigns so that they can have a voice in their own health care.

“Trusting that I could conquer life’s obstacles, no matter how my story would end, helped me rise above the disappointments.” Celdran said that keeping the faith, learning to find strength in others, and believing in the strength of her own spirit all helped.

“The support I got from family, friends and fellow survivors carried me through my fair share of letdowns and tears,” she said. “I vowed I would do the same for another. It was frightening at first—and sometimes it still is—to have to face the possibility of your own death. But it is also enlightening to be able to see each day as a gift.”

That was a defining moment for Celdran. Instead of “battling” the cancer, she chose to embrace it. “There was a bigger purpose: my experience sends out the message that there is hope, that no one is alone,” she said. “As difficult as it is to perceive now, a lot of good comes out of all this.”

Celdran presents herself as proof of life after cancer—“and a better one at that.” She is a mother to three-year old twin boys. She just ran a 10-kilometer race too. “I am living testament that miracles happen to anyone who trusts enough.”

The color gold for Celdran is wealth but not the material kind. “Wealth has long since taken on a whole new meaning,” she said. “The people and things that really matter hold their weight in gold.”

Entrepreneur Amina Aranaz-Alunan: Creativity equals golden opportunity

Before Amina Aranaz-Alunan was owner of Aranaz bags and cofounder of (SoFA) School of Fashion and the Arts, she was a child who looked up to Mom who owns a manufacturing company that exports bags. That was her playground, she said, and the interaction with sewers and clients was the part of the business that she loved most.

Her self-discipline and tenacity as a ballet dancer for 12 years up until college is mirrored in the nine years—from the time she was a student up until she was a magazine fashion-assistant—that she had been designing and selling bags in bazaars at hotels and sports clubs. The 2004 bazaar at Citigolf Plaza in particular opened doors for her and she was invited by one of the country’s major retailers to be one of its in-house brands. A bazaar in Rockwell also led to the opportunity to opening a store at the main mall. Today, Aranaz has stores in two of Manila’s high-end shopping meccas.

This mother of two is a natural mentor. While in Milan as a fashion student, she and her flatmate/classmate then, recognizing the lack of a fashion school in Manila, eventually co-founded SoFA. She counts holding the very first student orientation back in 2007 as a personal milestone. SoFA today offers associate degrees, certificate programs and diploma courses to over a hundred students. The sight of them sharing their ideas makes her proud. She even brings her students to HK Fashion Week as an extension of her own traveling for seminars and ideas. “Inspiration is everywhere: Divisoria, movies, museums, my mom’s factory archives,” Alunan said.

Focused at present in learning the fashion industry’s retail side, she always tells her students that creativity and business go hand in hand. “With focus, self-discipline, skills development and prayer, you can turn your passion into your career,” she said. “Being an entrepreneur is a 24-hour job; it is intertwined with everyday living.”

Alunan has a personal fondness for the color gold. For her, gold is glitz and glamour and reminds her of the cheery constancy of the sun. No wonder the sparkly yellow-gold studs adorn Aranaz bags!

Champion race car driver Pia Boren: Golden girl of motorsports

Pia Boren became the Philippines’ first female drifter in 2007 when she competed in the last leg of the Lateral Drift Championship in Manila. “It was an exhilarating experience being able to control the uncontrollable and to master the machine in that way,” Boren said.

She’s always loved speed. As a kid, she loved rollerblading. As a teen, she got involved in Go Kart. Then her dad taught her to drive. Her first championship was the Arthur Tuason Memorial Cup in 2002 where she bested 25 guys. Early this year, as the only female drifter who competed, she placed fourth—the country’s highest finishing female. But just as special is her dad and mentor, after a ride from their Cavite house, simply telling her “I had fun. You’re a really good driver.”

Experiencing failure, Boren said, is part of being an athlete: “konting palpak leads to being even better.” She recounted how a mechanical breakdown during her last competition disappointed her especially in behalf of the mechanics who worked tirelessly and for free on her car. In times like these, she consoles herself with the thought that “there is always the next race.”

To prepare, she practices. She constantly meets with her team. She surfs the net for the latest motoring and sports news. She watches racing videos. And she draws inspiration from women who would be racecar drivers if they could. She encourages women to be brave and to just “do what others think is impossible.”

She has already shown that it is possible. She shared how: “Learn from the professionals. Join proper competitions. Contact drifting schools.” She herself owns her own drifting school, Audio Drive. No limits.

The color gold for Boren is a champion trophy. Perfect hue for a young woman with the passion to win.

The Ultra Moisture Rich 24K Gold lipstick comes in 10 radiant shades of Ruby in Gold, Golden Rose, Natural Gold, Golden Wine, Golden Raisin, Amethyst Gold, Golden Nectar, Golden Peach, Nude Gold and 24K Pink. All selling for a standard price of Php 420. Available through Avon Representatives nationwide. Don’t have an Avon Lady yet? Call Avon Customer Hotline at 8642899 or log on to www.avon.com.ph to find out how you can get in touch with an Avon Representative.


Bilis-alis ubo ng pamilya

When someone in the family suffers a terrible cough worsened by phlegm, you want to ease the problem with nothing less than the soothing love of the family; and an effective and trusted cough medicine – Bisolvon.

Over the years, Bisolvon kept every Filipino family secured from the threats of cough. It has stood by us for more than four (4) decades and continues to stand by us in the battle against cough. As the leading family coughs medicine, Bisolvon aims to serve us and be part of each and every family for more years to come.

July 3 to 5, 2009 at SM Mall of Asia, Bisolvon hosted a 3-day Family Day entitled “Bisolvon Bilis – Alis Ubo ng Pamilya”.

This event did not just strengthen and reestablish Bisolvon’s name in every Filipino household but instead made each Filipino family revive family bond through various activities.

As Bisolvon positions itself as a member of our family, it also wants to be a part of an authentic Filipino family – loving, happy, and healthy.