Free Love! A V-Day Experience in the Philippines with Eve Ensler and Monique Wilson

This is not about promiscuity, neither is this about a social movement. It is a personal invitation to include freedom in the picture of love as a Valentine's Day activity.

When we talk of Valentine’s Day we talk of celebrating relationships built on love. Yet many of us think of love as one filled with boundaries, restrictions, expectations, and several “unspoken rules”. We can’t help it. We were brought up to think and act in this manner. Today, I dare present an option you can take to break away from this belief system.

Love another by giving them freedom.

Allow me to give my points by sharing an experience highlighting instances that best serve as examples on the point in focus.

Posing with Eve Ensler, Monique Wilson and other V-Day organizers in the Philippines during a film documentation activity with the Comfort Women in the Manila
Posing with Eve Ensler, Monique Wilson and other V-Day organizers in the Philippines during a film documentation activity with the Comfort Women in the Manila

Allow Them to Dream and Take Part

Years ago, I dreamed of celebrating Valentine’s Day in a more relevant manner. In 2002, an opportunity came to direct and act in a show campaigning to put an end to violence against women. It meant convincing prominent women in the city to take a risk make a stand and lend their voices to those silenced by the experience.

The play, Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues; the celebration, V-DAY Cebu, an activity done on Valentine's Day; the performers, mothers, grand mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, cousins, daughters in law and sisters in law of different families in Cebu; the special guest performer, international artist Monique Wilson, who played Kim, alternating with Lea Salonga, in London’s West End original run of Miss Saigon and who also happened to be the official organizer of V-Day Philippines.” V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.

Persuading friends, family, acquaintances, media people, writers, managers, teachers, consultants, lawyers, politicians, fashion designers and fellow artists to say the word “vagina” in public was the most challenging part in the process especially in a Catholic country like the Philippines. I was scared to be rejected. Many thought I was kidding, some thought I was crazy, others thought I was too radical but all of them believed in the cause. Amazingly, 32 brave Cebuanas, including my eldest sister, made their stand.

Any liberating experience needs a "Yes" from you. Take part in the dream and free Love.

Say Yes to Life with a Grateful Heart

Allow Them to Discover Their Strength and Be Ready to Applaud

Half of these brave women never acted on stage and not one has ever spoken the V word out loud. More than half needed to do certain things like light a number of cigarettes, drink a few cups of coffee, giggled nervously for over 30 minutes, squirmed around the rehearsal room, or blabbered about nothing for almost an hour before they could utter the words “vagina”. When they finally did, we celebrated  with shrieks, shouts, cheers, applause, hugs, more coffee and cigarettes, more of those crazy giggles and at times with tears. There were moments of intimate sharing too as some allowed themselves to be “naked” and confessed that they experienced abuse in their respective lives as well.

Healing begins with you. Allow, accept and free Love.

Allow Them to Stumble or Fall and Be Ready with Bandages

Some performers experienced the challenge of getting concerned calls from friends, and relatives upon seeing their names listed in dailies as one of the “Vagina Warriors”. Others felt the pressure of getting “knowing stares” and “whispers” from students, officemates and subordinates. There were those who got teased and received sneering remarks. A few of them had intense talks with their husbands, lovers and children. Quite a number called to say they had second thoughts of joining the play. There were those who made excuses of conflicts in schedules. I told them we understood and that it was a decision they had to make on their own, only that they make their choice known as soon as possible to give us enough time to reassign their respective monologues. We assured them that our respect and love for them will never change even if they did decide to step back for the time being.

Released from the pressure of having to keep their commitment, these women gained the strength and courage to stand up and run again even amidst the occasional pain from “fresh wounds”. Rehearsal times were "bandages and ointments" to their “cuts and bruises”.Support began to pour in.

Respect differences, honor choices, empower and free love.

Allow Them to Rant or Shout and Listen until They Ask You to Speak

When we do dare to stand our ground “violent reactions” are almost certain. Some sectors called the V-Day project as the “work of the devil”. Some companies shunned away from sponsoring the project because the V word was too vulgar for their corporate image choosing to help bikini shows instead. Wink. Others came in the guise of being interested to help only to reveal their true intent of using or should I say, overusing the title, as an excuse to say the “V” word on TV. Others still, simply hated our guts and blamed us for stirring things up.

While attending to the Photo exhibit featuring our brave performers I was approached by a priest I worked with in a previous project. He was among those curious enough to stop and see what the fuss was all about. He smiled when our eyes met and reached to shake my hand saying “So this is what you are into nowadays. Why?” We both laughed and went into an in depth discussion of the need to actively participate in efforts to end violence against women.

We were into Eve Ensler’s intent of removing the stigma attached to the word vagina when I became aware of other people “eves dropping” on our exchange forming a small circle around us. I took the chance to include our unexpected audience explaining how we unknowingly attach negativity to the word when it is simply a name given to a part of our body just like the nose, the ears, the eyes etc. “Why then must we tell a little girl “Don’t say bad words” when she says things concerning that part of the body? Imagine the impact of such statements to a child’s little mind when she asks “why is something bad attached to me?” I felt the energy around me stand still for a few seconds and then a smile and another question.

“Hmmm is there no other way to do that?” Father asked. I said, “Father, I guess it’s time we get comfortable saying the word vagina if only to remind ourselves and others that the vagina was never created to be a place of shame but rather a place of honor for it is where God has chosen that mankind should gain entrance into this big beautiful world.” He smiled in full understanding and wished me the best in the project.

I believe everyone who witnessed the exchange, including me, found peace in the word “vagina” that instance. Gaining understanding of the knowledge that the vagina is a place where the miracle of a new life flows out is more than enough reason for humankind to treat it with dignity, honor and respect.

Listen with your whole being expressing only your truth and free Love.

My take on "The Angry Vagina"
My take on "The Angry Vagina"

Allow Them to Fly and Let Go

I chose to deliver the piece called “My Angry Vagina”-- first, because it was funny and second, I knew I had to deal with the anger I felt towards my own vagina. I always blamed it for the sexual abuses I went through from grade school to high school to college and to my professional life -- all from different people and from different walks of life. I felt it was following me until I decided to fight back. Up until that time, I usually froze in fear, blamed myself and hated myself for being such a weakling.

The monologue provided the venue to let go of the unexpressed emotions I had toward the self and my oppressors. The first time I delivered it, many laughed at my interpretation but some also felt there was too much anger in it. I knew I had to process myself and did so by choosing to continue the efforts of forgiving myself and my oppressors. The monologue and project served as a therapy ground for healing to run in an increased pace.The “flight” to freedom has taken on a new course.

Surrender to faith. Forgive. Let go and free Love.

Having fun with some of the "Vagina Warriors" posing with Monique Wilson after the show.
Having fun with some of the "Vagina Warriors" posing with Monique Wilson after the show.

Allow Them to Be and Set Yourself Free

The performers were all geared up in their red attires looking glamorous in their respective make up and hair do’s. Some were nervously pacing all over the back stage area. Others entertained themselves by constantly checking the arrival of the who’s who in the audience while a few sat silently in a corner preparing for the performance.

Embarrassed giggles filled the ballroom in the first few deliveries of the word vagina. A few minutes later more laughter was heard and the next few minutes people started falling off their seats in boisterous disbelief that these respected women in society were actually saying “vagina” like it was the most natural thing to do. There were silent moments too as tears fell during monologues exposing the plight of women gang raped in Bosnia or how life is under the Burqa (an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of cloaking the entire body)

The show was a success. The project has done its share in helping support the cause to end violence against women. The performers gained the respect, honor, love and admiration of family, friends and media. We were vindicated. The audience was clamoring for a restaging. The first V-Day Cebu project was still the “talk of the town” even weeks after the performance and many came forward to volunteer their services in the next celebration.

Liberation of one can mean the liberation of many. Be free and free Love.

Free Love for a Change

Pure love exist not where limitations are imposed and expected. Pure love exists only in being free. Be free as you celebrate Valentine’s in the manner you so choose and enjoy it to the fullest. I love you.

Daisy Ba-ad

 

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Comments 37 comments

ProfoundPuns profile image

ProfoundPuns 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

This is a well-written hub about a topic I know well! I'm thrilled, as you said, to find a fellow Vagina Warrior on HubPages, and from another cuntry as well!

(Spelling intended!)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hahaha you are indeed a fun Vagina Warrior from another "cuntry"! Thank you for visiting and being the first to comment. Onward to ending violence against mankind!Be blessed:)


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Dayzeebee: I feel sadness when I hear of sexual abuse, it has to be an experience that silences many women (and boys who experience this) and clips wings that could fly, but a woman (or man) can grow them again by transcending the experience of abuse and fly into freedom. You are an example of such a woman. I congratulate you for doing the  Angry Vagina monologue, and putting the message across. Takes a lot of courage especially in a Catholic country like the Philippines.

Thumbs up to your hub and message! 


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi VioletSun, thank you for your concern and beautiful thoughts. It adds to the fullness of this hub. Yes, I too am glad to let go of all that anger and am now full of love. People like you who come into my life are the best assurance that all is well in life and that goodness will always prevail. Your thumbs up is much appreciated:) Hugs to you:)


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

What an enpowering hub. Thanks for sharing your experience, thanks for helping women love themselves to be able to love others.


fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 7 years ago from Fremont CA

Excellent and interesting advice. Thumbs up


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Princessa, you honor me with your presence and your valuable comments. They are much appreciated. Hubpages is fortunate to have you and ProCw in in the reigns of Hubmob. More power and Godbless:)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Bowen, thanks for the thumbs up and the compliment. Your support always warms my heart. Have a beautiful life always:)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

LOL I see you are a V-Day supporter. (no pun intended):p and if love need to be earned for you then I respect that. I believe the uncovering of the essence of love is part of a personal journey. Some of us simply want to share what we've learned so far. May your support for V-day extend beyond the show. God be with you always:)


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

I had not heard of this play until now dayzeebee. You were up for a challenge, stepped to the plate, and did all that was required to help those silenced by this vicious act of violence. You continue to show us what an extraordinaire and compassionate woman you are. It is honoring to have a friend in you. Thank you Daisy for sharing your experience and writing such an informative hub. Thumbs up:)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I don't know how the word "vagina" became all twisted up along life's way.  I guess it has to do with personal experiences plus how negative feelings are attached to a word.  Hmmm...anyhow, dayzeebee, that must have been a pretty awesome experience.  I don't know if there will come a day I too will stand on the stage to be part of Vagina monologues.  So in this hub, I say it loud and clear.  "I have a beautiful vagina and it is something beautiful and sacred because it is part of me.  I celebrate my womanhood!  I love my vagina!" :-)

That was easy to say! LOL I guess when you don't have any negative thing attached to a word, wonderful feelings come instead!  Thanks for sharing all these. :-)

 


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Dottie, a play with such a title will always find difficulty getting into the mainstream. I was also reluctant to share the story here but thought Hubpages is an intelligent audience ready enough to be informed about another type of Valentine's celebration.

Individuals of stength and character like you are those who inspire me to stand and be the grandest version of who I am. I am honored by your comments and treasure them. Thank you Dottie for your inspiring and encouraging words and your thumbs up. God bless you always and in all ways:) 


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Ripplemaker, I am awed at your boldness! This is one time that a "ripple" makes a "tidal wave". LOL. I am happy to know that you have not attached any negativity to the word. You are among the fortunate ones who have gone beyond and embraced the true essence of womanhood. May your tribe increase! Be blessed always my dear one. I can't wait for your valentine hub to be published:)


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

I don't really now what to say...everyone has said it all and it was a great hub...just as you are such a great lady and know how to educate us so nicely about anything...I am in awe as always my dear...brings a story to mind but not really what this is about...another time maybe..God Be with You always...G-Ma :o) Hugs & Peace


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hello G-Ma Hugs and Peace to you too. Thank you for your unwavering support. I am glad to have had the courage to publish this article. People like you are perfect examples of giving unconditional love in Hubpages. I honor you for your exceptional way of expressing your love. Happy Valentine's Day! Be blessed always:)


muley84 profile image

muley84 7 years ago from Miami,FL

What an eye opening piece! simply marvelous!


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Muley84, your presence here and your comment is an empowering energy that speaks much of the strength of character you posses. Thank you for appreciating the piece. Godbless:)


pricelessway profile image

pricelessway 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Another thumbs up for this hub dayzeebee.

There is no love without freedom

and freedom tends to fade without love.

However, putting our personal interpretation about love in to action is what makes it free.

Kudos and well done!

Cheers


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Your opening was so cute Dayzeebee :).  I enjoy the spiritual kindness and warmth find in your hubs. 

It is harder women to say the words of their female autonomy because of societal pressure I believe. I love how you have turned female reproduction and life giving sources into a positive and beautiful rather than a tawdry thing.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hello Pricelessway, thank you for the thumbs up but more than that thank you for the valuable points you shared. Your wisdom shines and your depth is admirable. I am honored to have you comment on my hub. Be blessed always:)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi SweetiePie, I am grateful to find you gracing my hubs. True, there is much pressure from society in about almost everything in life which makes standing our ground on certain beliefs more challenging but it also provides the best venue to build character. In that sense, life is still beautiful and exciting. Much love to you:)


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wonderful hub, Daisy! I saw the Vagina Monologues once on TV. It was funny, touching, revealing. I can only imagine how much bravery it takes to talk to an audience about something like that for the first time.

I think that the freer women feel about discussing that part of their body, the more likely they are to report rape and abuse, and understand that don't have to accept abusive treatment. The shame and stigma will be removed and won't be a weapon that men can hold over their heads anymore.

Bless you, Angel Daisy, for all the good work you do in helping others! ((hugs))

Oh! and I love your "Other Love Articles" links, too!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Thumbs up to you and your hubs! You have much to say and say it well.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Wow Shirley, for a moment I thought I was reading a comment from a V-Day member. If I get the chance to direct it again and choose my cast from all over the world, you would definitely make the list. Your character and strength emanate from your words. Thank you for your encouragement and support. I am honored. And I'm glad you took a peek at the other love articles.LOL. Thanks again and God be with you always. Hugs:)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hello PeggyW, thank you for the thumbs up and the compliment. Your presence in this hub means a lot for it shows the value you place on humankind and love. Be blessed:)


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

This is one of the most beautiful of hubs I've seen yet. Thank you for the thoughts and encouragement that I always get from something you pen.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi RGraf, I am honored to have you appreciate my work. Finding women of courage and strength like you always inspires me. Thank you for your constant support. May you have the best valentine's day ever. God bless:)


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Beautiful hub. You are a beautiful writer and person. What an amazing thing to take part in! At my age, I'm ready to speak out in front of anyone and about anything!

Madison


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Madison I am thrilled to know you're willing to be part of the V-Day performers! What an exciting moment that could be. Thank you so much for the passion you display. It is contagious. It empowers me. Thank you too for finding my writing beautiful. I accept it with joy and honor. More power to you Madison. Be blessed:)


Jennifer Bhala profile image

Jennifer Bhala 7 years ago from Upstate New York

The Vagina Monalogue must have been an extremely freeing and uplifting experience for all who participated in it as well as those who watched it. How many times did you all perform it and did you only perform it in the Phillipines?

It is amazing how much power and intrigue, the vagina has. And also how delicate and easily hurt without regard it can experience.


sukkran profile image

sukkran 7 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

wonderful subject and good writing. contents are very expressive and informative. nice job.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Jennifer, we did V-day three years in a row. February is the one time that Eve Ensler allows the Vagina Monologues to be done without royalty fee. Many third world countries perform the show as part of the fund raising. Many famous american and british actresses have alreay performed the show to support the cause. Thank you for you support and interest on the play. Be blessed:)


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Sukkran, thank you so much for appreciating the work. I look forward to reading your hubs soon. Be blessed:)


hipattrick profile image

hipattrick 7 years ago

Very inspiring hub and thoughts. Happy Valentines in advance.


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hello Hipattrick, thank you for your kind comments. Happy Valentine's to you too:)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

What an exceptional Hub. Not only do you educate about the project, but you also show, through your descriptions of the players' feelings, the enormous difficulty people can have along the road to freedom. For most, ill must be cast out before freedom is allowed in.

I liked what you had to say about celebrating Valentine's day, trying to celebrate love and yet thinking of love as being filled with unspoken rules. Only in the last ten years or so has this holiday become one of my favorites. In the past, I thought of this day only as a celebration for lovers. But now, since the women in my family decided to get together for lunch on that day and share cards and small gifts, the holiday means so much more to me. There are no boundaries, restrictions, or expectations among us, only the warmth of knowing that we love each other and the freedom of expression to show it.

Thank you so much dayzeebee, for raising awareness of the project as well as this special concept of "free love".

Thumbs up!


dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Sally you honor me with the depth of understanding and acceptance of the concept and project in focus. Thank you for the thumbs up as well. I delight in reading comments that add value to the message of this hub.

I adore your valentine celebration with friends. It sounds like the best lunch break one can ever have on Valentine's day. I can almost hear the giggles, the laughter, the wonderful sharing and the overflowing love that takes center stage among friends. Have another beautiful celebration this year. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your friends. Be blessed:)

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