3 women rise above all that’s dreary and remind us what it means to love
By Deneb R. Batucan
Some people live their entire lives looking for the one, if not longing for the one that got away. But not these three beautiful, empowered women with a heart to match: Anya Lim, Jonnette Alquizola and Chip Lopez have redefined what it means to move on with a commitment to advocacies they love unconditionally.
What better time to shine the light on Anya, Jonnette and Chip than this love month of February as they influence and inspire entire communities to overcome, through love, all that’s dark and dreary. In their world, though, the other kind of love takes the backseat for now, as they’re too preoccupied in trying to make the world a better place for others.
With these selfless pursuits, Anya, Jonnette and Chip have become the epitome of young modern women. Out of the darkness, beyond the afterglow, these lovely, determined Cebuanas lead the way. (And men who wish to give chase must be up to the task.)
Best known as the co-founder of the social enterprise Alternative Nest and Trading Hub for Indigenous Little Livelihood Seekers or the Anthill Fabric Gallery, which started in 2010, Anya Lim continues to grow sustainable community enterprises, especially among women. Anya works hard to build enabling environments that will build the capacity of women to unleash their fullest potential. To her, entrepreneurship gives a sense of ownership to one’s talents and skills. It makes one a leader and challenges you to think strategically and creatively.
Anya is empowered by the impermanence of life. “When you realize everything around you is ever changing, you learn to travel light and detach yourself from a lot of things,” she said. “Change brings out the best in me. It fuels my desire to experience and learn new things and immerse myself in new places.”
Anya’s work brings her to so many places and she gets to meet so many people of all shapes and sizes. But to be Anya’s partner in life, all you have to be is your authentic self. “Someone who’s not afraid to be vulnerable because that’s where he discovers his strength. Someone who values and love himself. Someone who deeply cares about something and does not hesitate to love out loud,” she said.
After winning her battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, Jonnette’s second chance at life is now fully dedicated to the welfare of indigent Filipino children. She founded a nonprofit organization in 2013 called Children of the Coast, which primarily provides health education and preventive healthcare to schools in underprivileged areas. The kids were her inspiration through her whole bout with the dreaded disease. She would often think of them, especially on the hardest of days, and convinced herself that the children needed her to stay healthy.
Jonnette said she is empowered by all beautiful works of compassion, kindness, generosity “and love in whatever form.” While taking care of so many things in her organization, having time to find someone to love and be loved in return is hard. “I need someone who understands that he’ll always have to share my heart with my 7,000 children,” she said with a smile.
Chip is known as the Lazy Chef, a promoter of plant-based diet in Cebu. She runs a restaurant called Kairos by The Lazy Chef and an online food delivering service called Nourish. But over the years, she has evolved into promoting a holistic healthy lifestyle. From rebranding vegetables and improving people’s relationship with food to embedding the discipline of fitness into a person’s life, Chip wants to encourage people to look at fitness and health not as a temporary thing but a lifestyle.
Chip actually found empowerment in fitness, specifically in weight lifting. She has this theory that if every single woman would just try weight lifting, there will be a significant decrease in the number of battered women. Chip redefined “her impossible” and realized she could actually do anything she sets her mind to.
“What empowers me is when I redefined my impossible and thought outside the box,” she said. It is important for you, she added, to “not only challenge the walls you built yourself but also the walls that people around you built for you.”
Even with so much on her plate, Chip never closes her heart to anyone who tries to knock. To her, she simply needs “a man after God’s own heart.”
Hair and Makeup: Carlo Damolo and Jerwin Batastas
Stylist: Ching Vilar
Anya – Orlie Mar (skirt and top)
Chip – Orlie Mar (vest), Jessie Lastimosa (jumpsuit)
Jonnette – Bree Esplanada (black gown)
Photograher: Kurt Fick
Locale: Hi-Pace Machine Shop