#ConnectedWomen Cebu Meet-Up: From Nourish to Flourish

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted June 2, 2019 from Philippines
Grateful to be with #ConnectedWomen #Cebu
Photos by Bisai, Cebu Artist
With Ma'am Jo, Ms. Tuesday, Ms. Windy, Ms. Lorna, and Michelle
With Ma'am Jo, Ms. Tuesday, Ms. Windy, Ms. Lorna, and Michelle: Photos by Bisai, Cebu Artist (1/3)

“Surround yourself with people that inspire and encourage positive change in your life. Build a team in which you can work together to support each other and build better lives.”  ― Avina Celeste 

My family and I just moved to Cebu City two months ago. Prior to coming here, I already planned to explore and meet new connections. So when I saw a notification from Facebook that there is a #ConnectedWomen meet-up in Cebu City, I took the chance to be there. 

On May 22, 2019, I arrived at The Company in I.T. Park Cebu eager to know what the event would be like. I saw women talking with each other while seated on long tables. A variety of food and drinks were neatly set up at the back. The atmosphere was light and welcoming. As a first-timer, and new in the city, I quietly took a seat and expected to have a great evening. And I was not disappointed.

According to Ms. Lorna Bondoc, Connected Women Cebu Organizer, Connected Women simultaneously meet nationwide every six weeks. This year, they have a series called #AllAboutGoals, part of this is to empower women in all aspect of their life (family, work, self, etc.). The topic that evening was about self-care and self-love.

Our speaker was Ms. Windy Gancayco. She is an Author, a Teacher and a Coach at The Gassho Center for Healing Arts. Since 2016, she has been facilitating retreats and individual and corporate training on mindfulness, meditation, shamanism, energy healing, and yoga. Her topic that night was called, “ From Nourish to Flourish, Practicing Self-Care: Finding Purpose with the Chakras”.

Ms. Windy, in her gentle tone and soft-spoken voice, introduced seven main chakras for beginners: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Through a visual presentation, she showed that these chakras are in the center of our bodies where energy flows. If the energy is blocked in our bodies, we suffer from illness. Ms. Windy explained what each chakra is, where it is found in the body, and what color we can use or wear to atteact positive energy or heal parts of the body. ( For more information on this topic, please find Ms. Windy's websites below.)

Ms. Windy facilitated a discussion using two guide questions after she described each chakra. She instructed us to share our answers with a selected partner, and taught us what active listening is. It is to remain quiet while another person is speaking, no nodding of heads or any nonverbal gestures nor any facial reaction or interruption. It's zero response while letting your partner speak. Sounds easy, but challenging for a beginner. 

Some of the questions were:

Does your work reflect who you are? If not, how can you change it?

How did you express creativity as a child?

Are you a people-pleaser?

How can you learn to love yourself more?

Are there things you want to say but are afraid to?

When was the last time you acted on intuition?

What is your soul purpose?

After moments of discussion, she called volunteers  to come in front to share their answers  to the wider audience.

While listening to women speak how shy they were before, how they were once people-pleasers, or how they struggled to love themselves, I felt connected with them because I was once that kind of woman (sometimes, the ghost from the past emerges if I am not mindful). Sitting there, I came into a realization how much the broken parts of me received healing, and how much I have grown to love myself. 

My main takeaway from Ms. Windy’s talk is on self-care. She said when we begin to love ourselves and practice self-care, we are going to upset a lot of people. As women, we tend to put the needs of others first before our own needs. So when we begin setting boundaries for self-care, people will tell us, “ You changed; You’re selfish”. But the beauty of loving ourselves is those outward criticisms won’t matter anymore. 

Our last activity was a two-minute eye-gazing with our partners. My partner was Ma’am Jo, a seasoned educator who owns a tutoring business. The thought of someone looking at me in the eyes for two-minutes made me feel self-conscious; however, as the activity began, it was a self-discovery that I didn’t mind being seen for who I truly am. 

Perhaps because having written my journey on World Pulse, I have nothing left to hide. I have become my authentic self, no more wearing of masks of pretension, nor thick armors of protection. No more building of walls to hide vulnerability. That’s how I felt when Ma’am Jo gazed at me. And I to her, I saw nothing but love, acceptance, and compassion for another beautiful and brave woman. I also became curious about what were her life’s untold stories waiting to be set free. 

After the session, Ms. Lorna made a few announcements, then the participants took the remaining time as an opportunity to meet, connect, take photos, and exchange business cards.

An unexpected blessing that night was when a woman named Michelle decided to walk with me because she and I have the same route going home. It was already late at night, but I felt safe walking in the streets of Cebu with her. During that 20-minute walk, we exchanged stories about life, love, financial management, and more. I enjoyed every step of it. I don’t do well with small talks, but I engage with deep, meaningful conversations. The latter was Michelle’s gift to me.

I am truly grateful that I attended the #ConnectedWomen Cebu Meet-up. The whole activity, from the vision of Connected Women to the insightful and interactive talk on self-care to (literally ) walking alongside another woman, was a night to remember! I initially expected it would be a gathering about information and communication technology, but I am glad it was more than that. It was the introspective nourishment of the soul, a self-reflection of our purpose, and a connection with empowered women, no less the “Queens” of the Queen City of the South!

Moving to Cebu City gives me an affirmation that it is a great decision because I can now surround myself with women in my local community who can help me blossom into a better version of me.

A shoutout of thanks to Ms. Lorna Bondoc, her sister Ms. Lei Bondoc, Cebu Artist Bisai, and Ms. Tuesday Zabala for their generosity and dedication to make the event a success! 

"The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued."- Michelle Obama


About Connected Women:

#ConnectedWomen are tech-powered women entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals.


We put the spotlight on our experts, sharing their expertise and helping them get seen, found, and talked about.


We foster intelligent conversation among like-minded individuals, for collaboration, and network-building.


We curate freelance and remote work opportunities. As well as the latest tips, tools, and hacks for remote teams.


We inspire our community to focus on achieving the success, happiness, and balance they want in life.

To find out more about Connected Women, you can join as a member here: www.connectedwomen.co/join (It's FREE to join). Or visit https://www.facebook.com/weareconnectedwomen/

To know more about Ms. Windy Gancayco's services, please visit her websites: www.zarahwindy.com, www.gasshocenter.com, www.omfestcebu.com






Comments 17

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Jun 02
Jun 02

Hi dear,
You seem to have enjoyed the network that you found. #connectedwomen . it amazing! I also like some of the questions the speaker asked. They are questions that can help reflect and identify ourselves strength.


Hello, Sister Lizzy,

How are you? Yes, I did. You can join Connected Women, too, by signing up on the link above. They have this Connected Women Jobs where they link a virtual assistant to a possible entrepreneur and vice versa. I love the questions, too! It really gave us time to reflect and talk about it with our partners. It's a refreshing and wonderful experience to get to know ourselves better.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate you! Hope you are doing well today.

Jill Langhus
Jun 03
Jun 03

Hello dear,

Thanks for sharing your recent ConnectedWomen meetup. I'm so glad that you went, and I'm very proud that you did. I would've had trepidation going to a new group, so good job! It sounds like you're really glad you went, too, and that you met some ladies that you resonated with that you could possibly meet up with occasionally, or chat with? How many WP converts did you get:-) Oh, is ConnectedWomen only for Filipino professionals? I couldn't tell on the Fb page.

Good job on your meetup synopsis, btw. I thought it was lovely post of what you encountered and what you learned, too:-)

Hello, dear Jill.

I’m glad I did, too. Aww, thank you. I felt I needed to have a support group in this new city that’s why I went.

Yes, their journeys resonated with me so it I felt relaxed to be in this circle. I’ll be meeting them again on July 3rd. I send chat messages with a few.

Haha. I haven’t really got a chance to talk about World Pulse to all of them. I was there to observe and meet new acquaintances. But I did mention World Pulse to those I interacted with. I really wish they can also be part of this online space.

Connected Women began in the Philippines, but it already has international meetups in Singapore and Canada. So I think other nationalities can try to join, too. It would be great if you do.

Thank you for your kind words, Jill. It’s more on self-reflection. Thanks for appreciating!

Jill Langhus
Jun 04
Jun 04

Hello there:-)

You're welcome! Yes, I would agree with that:-)

Yes, I hope they join, too.

Okay, thanks:-) I'll think about it. It seems a little weird, though...ha:-)

Always, and you're very welcome!

Hope you're having a great day!

Haha. I understand that your hands are now full with World Pulse, your upcoming business, and LS. Just in case you need to have a virtual assistant in the future, you can join Connected Women for a list of possible employees. They match women according to their skills, preference, and goals.

Have a great day, too.

Jill Langhus
Jun 05
Jun 05

Yes, a little bit:-)

Very good. You're a great Ambassador for them, too:-)


Tola Makinde
Jun 04
Jun 04

Hi Karen,

Reading this lovely post really got me smiling. I am so happy for you. I love the 'gazing into your partners eyes' ...that part. I imagine you felt she could read your mind...lol... keep loving your new abode and meeting great people.
Hope you are good?

Hello, Sister Tola,

Thank you for sharing my joy. That activity made a lot of us uncomfortable. Haha. The instructions were no smiling nor laughing, no looking away. Whew. You’d realize two minutes is quite a long time.haha. But it’s good. It helps us see how human we all are, and we need to extend grace to each one coz we are all in this world thriving together. You can do that to your loved ones, too.

I love Cebu. Thank you. All is well. Hope you are doing great, too!


Corine Milano
Jun 04
Jun 04

Aww, this is great! Glad to hear you have found some new friends and connections in your new city!

Thank you, Corine! After two years of living in isolation in Tacloban, I certainly would want to meet new connections. Interesting because my meeting with Ate Pauline and Stella during the IWD event made me “crave” for this kind of connections. I’m really grateful for World Pulse. :)

Hope you are having a great day!

Wendy Stebbins
Jun 04
Jun 04

Karen, I love your experience and the way you tell about it. Your article will help so many people.


Wendy Stebbins

Hello, dear Wendy,

Thank you for reading! Please let me know if you have a new article. I’m looking forward to reading it.


Wendy Stebbins
Jun 04
Jun 04

Hi Karen,

Just got your message. Thanks for suggesting I do another article. What do you think I should do an article on. I don't mean so much an empowerment one. Rather one that gives a technique to get over some trait that is holding someone back.

By the way, LOVE all the pictures you have on your site.



Hello, Wendy,

Anything that your heart is telling you to write. That will always be a lesson worth sharing to us all. Thank you in advance!

Thank you! It was Bisai, Cebu Artist, who took them.

Ubuntu <3

Lorna Bondoc
Jun 04
Jun 04

Karen, thank you for sharing! Looking forward to getting more women connected! See you on the next meet-up (July 3rd)

Oh, wow! You signed up just to send a feedback. It’s so kind of you. Yes po, I already confirmed on the FB events that I will be coming. I invited a few women I know who are also residing on Cebu. I hope they can join on July 3rd.

Welcome to World Pulse, Ms. Lorna! There are a lot of women who are in IVt here. Hope you get connected with them, too. You can search them here. See you!