“HULAGWAY DOS” has been launched as a call for all advocates, professionals, artists and celebrities to join the 2014 photo campaign in Cagayan de Oro City that looks at providing face to the fight against the spread of HIV in the Philippines, as well as highlight the continuing discrimination and difficulties faced by people living with HIV (PLHIV). This is the second year of the photo campaign, following the success of the launch in 2013 at last year’s World AIDS Day commemoration in the city, with last year’s gathering themed: “Hulagway: Buntogon Ta Ang HIV!”.
HIV-related stigma in Cagayan de Oro City remains to be a challenge and this year’s photo campaign aims to address this.
“Diri sa CDO, ang HIV mura siya ug taboo (Here in CDO, HIV is like taboo). You can talk with your friends but not with strangers. Ang uban dili kaayo exposed sa uban reality sa society. Naa pa gihapon ang provincial kaayo nga paghuna-huna (Others are not very exposed to the other realities of society. There still is that very provincial way of thinking). This year should be leveled up. Hinay-hinay, mag-educate gyud ta (Slowly we really should educate),” said Arlyn May Baqui Bongay, HULAGWAY DOS chairwoman.
“Sa local radio, naa gyud nay madunggan nga balita bahin sa HIV na ginaingon nga mga kiat ug sige ug pakighilawas ang nagasakit (At the local radio, you can hear news on HIV saying that the promiscuous and those who regularly have sex get sick). The radio reporters would interview local government officials and priests, who would say that HIV is (because of) sin and because of immorality. Sila muingon nga isugba mo sa kalayo sa impyerno (They would say that you will burn in hell),” added Hale Demetrio, HULAGWAY DOS hair and makeup artist.
Ed Abella, HULAGWAY DOS photographer, says that this year is a little bit more passionate with the artistry, compared to the first one that was very experimental.
“We really believe in this, and this year needs to symbolize more. The first was just to get people to talk about the three letters, H-I-V. Celebrities joined last year, and they didn’t care what people thought of them. This time everyone, should be able to join…We are not glamorizing it (HIV). We are just putting sugar into the bitter medicine,” Abellad added.
Outrage Magazine, the only LGBTQIA publication in the Philippines, supported HULAGWAY, and is a supporter of HULAGWAY DOS.
“Every effort that can be done to stop the spread of HIV should be done,” Michael David C. Tan, publishing editor of Outrage Magazine, said. “An effort like HULAGWAY highlights not only the importance of spreading awareness to make sure that people understand what the issue is really about; but it also showcases how, when we come together, something can be done.”
John Ryan N. Mendoza, managing editor of Outrage Magazine, agreed, saying: “Efforts like this show alternative ways to ensure that key messages reach the target populations.”
HULAGWAY DOS also aims to raise funds for people living with HIV in Mindanao. Portraits of the shoot will be sold and all proceeds go to a local PLHIV organization.
“With a minimum donation of Php 350, you will be styled, made up and photographed to your story that answers the question ‘What is your advocacy for HIV and AIDS?’. The proceeds of the photoshoot will be donated to the Northern Mindanao Advocates Society, a group of advocates who are helping the people living with HIV here in Cagayan de Oro City,” Seven Qu, HULAGWAY DOS co-chairman, said.
The shoots are slated on September 14 with Jessie Villegas and Bon Jumawan, and September 21 with Ed Abella and Darlene Jane Wabe.
To join the campaign, contact Hale Retcie Salcedo Demetrio at (+63) 9052438487.