Babaylanes Equality Fellowship Graduation Rites

Congratulations Babaylanes Equality Fellows!

The pioneering batch of the BEF program has now graduated.

Group photo with BEF Fellows, Prof. Natsy Africa-Verceles, UN Senior Human Rights Adviser Signe Elneff Poulsen, DOH Usec. Dr. Laxamana, Ambassador David Hartman, Babaylanes Board Member Atty. Claire De Leon, Babaylanes Executive Director Jap Ignacio, Embassy of Canada Second Secretary Peter Wright.

Last January 20-21, 2023, the BEF fellows met at the B Hotel Quezon City to attend culminating activities of the fellowship. On their first day, they underwent their last evaluation session to talk about their personal experiences, feelings, and learnings throughout their journey. They were also given space to air out grievances and give out constructive criticism for their co-fellows and the Babaylanes staff.

In total, the fellows underwent four evaluation sessions which immensely helped the implementation of the program.

Group photo with BEF Fellows: Jalo Diamante, Darell Bautista, Monica Claire Belegal, Erika Prado, Mich Maclang, Yami Torres, Karl Villapaz, Hannah Aldeza, Red Raz, Kristine De Torres, Ysabela Calderon.

The next day, the fellows attended the BEF Graduation Rites. Several community members and allies celebrated the momentous event with them. This includes the Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines H.E. David Hartman, DOH Undersecretary Dr. Maria Francia Miciano-Laxamana, Professor Nathalie Africa-Verceles, Mader Perci Cendaña, BEF Mentors, and F2BM CoA members. In addition, there were attendees from government and private institutions such as the Commission on Human Rights, United Nations Human Rights, and TELUS International Philippines.

Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines H.E. David Hartman giving a message to the fellows.
DOH Usec. Dr. Laxamana giving a congratulatory speech.
Professor Natsy Africa-Verceles giving the Keynote Speech.
Photo of some of the graduation attendees.

Before the certificates were handed out, group representatives presented their batch projects. BEF Fellow Erika Prado presented “JOINEDT NA! LGBTQIA-Student Organizing Module”, BEF Fellow Dr. Jerry Alejo presented “Fostering Inclusive Healthcare: Module Development and Training on SOGIESC-Sensitive Healthcare Delivery”, and BEF Fellow Kristine De Torres presented “Project GORA (Gauging Opportunities for Research and development through ADO Mapping)”.

Erika Prado presenting their batch project.
Dr. Jerry Alejo presenting their batch project.
Kristine De Torres presenting their batch project.

On behalf of the whole batch, BEF Fellow Mich Maclang gave a speech to talk about their whole BEF experience. She shared why she joined the fellowship and how it has helped her get back into advocacy work. She also cheered on the batch and congratulated everyone for their achievements during BEF.

Mich Maclang giving the batch rep speech.

The night ended with drag performances from MRS TAN, LUMINA, and Sarah G Lookalike.

MRS TAN drag performance.
LUMINA drag performance.
Sarah G Lookalike drag performance.

Lastly, we would like to give our sincere thanks to the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for making the Babaylanes Equality Fellowship possible.

#BabaylanesEqualityFellowship #CanadaFundPH