Dove Lotion #Instahug Campaign

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Group hug. Dove Lotion #Instahug ambassadors: me, Cheska Garcia-Kramer, Gang Badoy and Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez.

Just how powerful is a hug?

I have to admit, I never really thought about it until I came across this question. I guess it is one of those things you just do and don’t really think about. Its almost like a reflex, like when you want to express an emotion. It is difficult to rationalize, but we know it just feels wonderful.

Think about it: when you feel sad, distraught, scared or even angry, a hug makes everything better. Somehow you know things are going to be okay, and that someone cares. Sometimes that’s all it takes to turn our day around. I know when I’m having a bad day, I ask my husband to give me a hug and immediately I feel safe and protected.  I know I can face any tough challenge because I have him on my side.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s what a hug delivers: strength, security and happiness. And these are things humans cannot live without, which is why hugs are so important.

I recently rediscovered the healing power of hugs through a challenge. Dove Lotion, in light of their campaign to spread love, challenged its brand ambassadors: lifestyle host Cheska Garcia-Kramer, supermodel Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez, radio and television host/writer Gang Badoy and myself to hug as many people as we can and document it in our Instagram/Twitter account.

At first, I was reluctant to accept this challenge. First off, I am not really fond of hugging people I am not super close to, and second, doing this meant I had to randomly ask my friends and co-workers if I can get a hug (this can turn awkward fast if they’re not up to it) and take a photo to post in Instagram (which can make things even more weird). But I saw this challenge as an excuse to give free hugs, which I know I would never do in normal circumstances.

What I found out was that I liked it. I liked giving hugs and getting them. And it wasn’t at all weird to hug my friends as I felt it only strengthened and validated our friendship. The same went for the people I worked with—some of them I have worked with for years and never really hugged. It just all felt good.

I’m sure you saw my Instagram and Twitter posts. You clearly saw I got the hang of it the more I did it. And now that I don’t have a reason to hug, I still find myself doing it. Call it a force of habit but now I really take time to hug my friends when I see them. And once in awhile I hug some of my co-workers too.

After all that documented hugging came the launch of Dove Lotion, who celebrated breast cancer awareness in cooperation with the I Can Serve Foundation. It was a heartwarming event that was filled with hugs and positive emotion. Meeting breast cancer survivors and listening to their stories really gave me new-found strength to see the good in life, be inspired and try to inspire in my own way. They are courageous, resilient women who chose to be strong and hopeful for their family and friends. It gave new meaning to hugs because for them it was their source of strength and love. I really couldn’t help but cry when I listened to their stories.

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Lovely mom of two: Mikaela Lagdameo-Martinez.

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Pregnant beauty Cheska Garcia-Kramer.

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Inspiring woman: Rock Ed’s Gang Badoy.

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Unilever PR Head for Personal Care Apples Aberin and Philippine Star’s Rissa Mananquil-Trillo.

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Preview’s Agoo Bengzon.

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Tetta Ortiz-Mattera with daughter Rihanna.

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Tang Singson and Meanne Solomon.

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Cancer survivor Melissa de Leon.

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Dove Instahuggers: Unilever Media Services and Activations Manager Nikki Abella, Dove Lotion Brand Manager Julia Ng, Gang Badoy, me, Chesca Garcia-Kramer, Mika Lagdameo-Martinez and Unilever PR Head for Personal Care Apples Aberin.

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So happy by BFF Bianca Santiago-Reinoso came to the event. Hugs!

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Dove Lotion ambassador Chesca Garcia-Kramer with mom Bing Garcia.

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I’ve known her for more than a decade! Hugs with Mika.

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Gorgeous moms: Rissa Mananquil-Trillo and Cheska Garcia-Kramer.

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Life coach and Love Institute founder Pia Acevedo with Dove Lotion #Instahug ambassador Gang Badoy.

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Host Lexi Schulze with cancer survivor Crisann Celdran.

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Life coach and Love Institute founder Pia Acevedo talks about the healing power of a hug.

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Dove #instahug!

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Pretty in pink: Maritoni Fernandez, Patty Betita and Bettina Osmena.

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I Can Serve Foundation board members Tang Singson, Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala and Nikoy de Guzman.

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Bianca Santiago pledges to hug the people she loves everyday.

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I Can Serve Foundation board members Patty Betita, Maritoni Fernandez and Crisann Celdran with Unilever PR Head for Personal Care Apples Aberin.

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Beauty bloggers Lee Shen Gee, Rowena Lei, Tara Cabullo and Michelle Martinez.

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Dove Lotion Brand Manager Julia Ng with Unilever Media Services and Activations Manager Nikki Abella.

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In deep reflection: I Can Serve board members Meanne Solomon and Kara Alikpala.

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Bing-bing Quiros giving a hug to the person next to her.

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Cancer survivors attest to the transformative power of a hug.

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Cancer survivors from all over the metro join together in one big hug of support.

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