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On a mission of hope

DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar. Photography by Rita Marie • Fashion styling by J-em Sta. Ana • Makeup by Elma Oraye and hairstyling by Ana Abainza of Ever Bilena • Clothes from Artistry Couture and accessories by Christopher Munar

MANILA, Philippines – There is an unmistakable beauty in DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar. With her living the inspired life, her beauty radiates even more.

The hardworking congresswoman, who is also the chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality committee, is determined to fulfill a mission with an organization that is dear to her heart, Hope for Lupus Foundation (hopeforlupus.org.ph) — to “shed light on the disease and help people win the fight against it.”

Em, wife of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar and mom to one-year-old Emma Therese, was diagnosed with lupus in 2007. According to Hope for Lupus Foundation, lupus is a “lifelong disease wherein the individual’s defense system attacks various parts of the body leading to pain and disease, and if left untreated, death. The organs most often affected are the brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood vessels, joints, the tissues and the skin and the overall nervous system.”

Before Em was diagnosed with lupus, different symptoms materialized: from simple rashes to unbearable joint pains but these did not stop her from doing her daily tasks. At first, she really didn’t talk about the disease because there is a stigma that if one has lupus, one will not be able to serve as a politician but she debunked this idea through her tireless dedication to fulfill her job at hand. It was definitely not an easy task back then but Em valiantly fought the battle by keeping a positive disposition and having a strong support system, especially with her father, former PNP chief Edgar Aglipay and mother Marinette.

“One of Hope for Lupus’ missions is to provide support, care and empower people with lupus and their families because a lot of people cannot afford the treatment. The foundation also seeks to raise awareness about the disease because until now, many people with lupus remain undiagnosed and given improper treatment. I don’t want to see a single person dying because they their sickness is not diagnosed; diagnosed too late or they cannot afford the treatment. That’s why I put up the foundation because you can have this disease treated,” says Em, who also shares that it took her eight years to get the disease under control.

Em reiterates the importance of a support system because a lot of people with lupus go through some form of depression. This is brought by a lot of changes in their body and they feel that their life as they know it is over. And for people who have lupus, Em has this to say, “Don’t let the disease take control of you because you have a choice to live the life you want it like I did. Take things one step at a time with a positive outlook. You have to get the treatment, drink the medicines, rest and get well just like any sickness. Know that you could fight the disease and you have people with you to fight this battle. You have me. You have the Hope for Lupus. You have other Lupus Warriors who will rally behind you.”

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Em’s love for life is evident in her many roles — as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a party-list representative, an advocate of life, and a woman. With all these different roles, it is important for Em to also nurture her mind and body to be the best version of herself.

With the demands of her job in Congress, Em may sometimes miss her regular Pilates workout but she makes sure she incorporates mini-workouts with her daily activities. “I sneak my workouts when I play with Emma like when I carry her, I do squats. Or in Congress, instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs.”

For her simple regimen, Em makes sure her face is thoroughly cleansed. She puts sunblock, which serves a double purpose of helping her avoid getting wrinkles caused by the sun and also blocking the UV rays that is harmful for people who have lupus.

Em embraces her femininity with makeup and her signature natural everyday look. “I do my own makeup every day. I don’t have time to put on full makeup at home so sometimes when my schedule is tight, I put makeup in the car!” Em candidly shares.

For her simple everyday makeup, she just uses BB Cream for her face to cover minor skin imperfections. For those who are also into no-fuss look, try the Ever Bilena Matte Two-Way Cake, which creates a weightless feel for a natural matte finish that lasts all day. It can be used either wet or dry depending on the desired coverage. There is also the easy-to-use Ever Bilena Liquid Concealer that hides minor skin imperfections like blemishes and dark circles under the eyes.

Em is also fond of highlighting her lips with her favorite nude lipstick shades like the Ever Bilena Matte Lipstick in Sexy Nude. This well-loved neutral shade in a velvety matte finish maintains lips’ moisture for the everyday look.

Em takes charge of her life with grace and confidence — characteristics that are inspired by her dreams. At the end of each day, Em is always grateful. “I am grateful for my family — my parents, my husband, my daughter. I am grateful for being alive and this life that I have. I am thankful that I am able to be active and do all things because there was a time that I wasn’t able to do so. Now, I am able to work and have this opportunity to help people as a representative of DIWA and Hope for Lupus. I have a lot to be thankful for that opportunity to be able to help others,” she concludes.

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