Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Front Page - Text: Deneb R. Batu­can Im­ages: Kurt Fick

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 pre-oc­cu­pied 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 bol­ster 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 loves 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 non-profit 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 as 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.”

jonette alquizola Hair and Makeup: Carlo Damolo and Jer­win Batas­tas Stylist: Ching Vi­lar Wardrobe: Anya — Or­lie Mar (skirt and top) Chip — Or­lie Mar (vest), Jessie Las­ti­mosa ( jump­suit) Jon­nette — Bree Es­planada (black gown) Lo­cale: Hi-Pace Ma­chine Shop

anya lim

anya lim chip lopez jonette alquizola

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