Allow me to share with you how my agency, the University of the Philippines Visayas, launched the 18-day EVAW Campaign for 2013. The UPV GAD core members and advocates organized a walk from the UPV Administration Building up to the Miagao town plaza last Monday, November 25, at 4:30 PM.

Before the walk, we had a brief program led by our Chancellor, Dr. Rommel Espinosa who was joined by another male administrator, Dr. Ricardo Babaran. Dr. Barby Jover, Director of the UPV Gender & Development Program, gave the rationale why we were walking.

The walk was participated in by the Miagao local government personnel, St. Louis de Marillac Academy, UP Visayas personnel and students. Some children tagged along too. There were about 300 of us who braved the highway of Miagao just to send the message across. As a special note, the pupils of UPV's Balay-Balay Child Minding Center helped make the "STOP" hand sign out of cartolina sheets.

When we arrived at the plaza, we had a candle lighting ceremony and statement of commitment to EVAW. Seven purple candles were lit one by one. Before each candle was lit, a leader said some lines. I was one of them and my lines were:

"IN HONOR OF THE MIRACULOUS STRENGTH AND COURAGE OF ALL ABUSED WOMEN IN INTIMATED RELATIONSHIPS, WE LIGHT THE SIXTH CANDLE. And because we know that many women do not survive... because we feel the weight of the loss heavily in our hearts... because we fear for women around the world everyday who are in danger in their own homes ... and we know how great the risks are... we know that every battered woman who makes it, represents a miracle."

After candle lighting, the Atty. Ramil Naciongayo, closed the program on behalf of Mayor Macario Napulan who is very supportive of GAD but could not be present due to an official travel. Atty. Naciongayo is the Municipal Legal Officer and being such, he was in the best position to say that VAW is a reality in Miagao.

To cap the activity, each participant stamped his/her palm that was covered with orange paint on cartolina sheets that were installed on the stage. Everyone happily went home with a clearer understanding of VAW and deeper commitment to stop it.

I have included some photo documentation of this event for better appreciation of UP Visayas' efforts along EVAW. I shall share the other activities scheduled on Dec 3, 7 and 11 later.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Take Back the Tech 2013.


Thank you for sharing about this event! I would love to hear more about the work that you do and your role in the agency. Are there many such events/agencies in the Philippines?

Thank you for raising awareness about violence against women - I wish you well in your work and hope to be able to read more of your writing!


Dear Lydia,

Both your description of this event and the event itself are beautiful. All facets of this ritual -- from walking, to leaving handprints in orange paint, to lighting candles for women who have suffered and died from violence -- are such a tribute. I am touched by the honor and love shown to women victims, as well as the awareness-raising which resulted from this ceremony, and the multiple ways in which it will help to end violence against women.

Having the children contribute makes it all the more meaningful.

So, thank you so very much for giving us the gift of this description. I look forward to reading your next installments! With Comfort and Joy, Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Thank you for the appreciation, fellow GAD advocates! Yours words are very comforting and encouraging to continue the fight against VAW and other gender issues.

Involving the kids is preparing them for the sad realities of life like VAW. They may be too young to understand but somehow, the experience of making the VAW stop signs and walking for the cause will leave meaningful memories in their subconscious. These experiences are hoped to serve as the foundation of their opinions and/or decisions later in life not only for VAW but other issues as well. This small kids are 7-9 years old, the high school students 13-16 y.o. and the college students are 17-20 y.o. Did you notice that in one photo, the little boy was perspiring. He really mustered his energy and really concentrated to make his 'STOP" hand sign beautiful. The Balay-Balay (House) kids are aged 4-5 y.o.

As to the GAD program of my university and my role in it, I will spell them out in a separate article in my journal. I shall do that after this reply.

God bless!

Ma. Lydia G. CallanoIloilo, Philippines+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

Dear Lydia,

It is powerful to hear how you, local leaders, community and "children" united and marched to end the violence against women. As each candle was lit, it was a powerful testimony and reminder the need to end the violence and a loving reminder they are not alone or forgotten. I believe you lit an eternal flame and your words, action and voice will bring individuals, communities and leaders together to work against the violence.

Thank you for lighting the fire and bringing people together to end the violence. Keep up the good work!

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

You must have done a great job at getting this event publicized and the number of attendees is wonderful. Congratulations on such a great awareness event. The more people that stand together to say NO, the more likely the incidence rate will fall. Unfortunately so many people are inculcated to think it is acceptable in this form or that form and people do not realize that any violence against women, words and media included, create a culture of acceptance. This is where it must end. Great work!


Thank you for seeing the value of UPV's efforts to protect the rights of women and informing the public through the EVAW Walk and other activities. It pays to have a young Director for our Gender & Development Program. As a team, we get to think of innovative, creative and fun ways to send the message across.

UPV has made a mark in the GAD landscape across Region VI (6 provinces in 3 islands) after nearly 3 decades of advocacy work. Out time-tested linkage make our gargantuan tasks easier. This is why we can mobilize people and other resources easily. Also, UPV allocates 5% of its total budget for GAD related projects and activities. Hence we can really be effective and successful

Ma. Lydia G. CallanoIloilo, Philippines+63 33 3158137 or 5138830