Women Redefined: Belle de Jour Women's Summit


It's Belle de Jour's 3rd Women's Summit but only my first time to attend. I realized I missed out a lot for not attending the previous two. With this year's theme “Women Redefined”, the event aimed to equip the millennial with encouraging messages from strong female role models who are redefining the society’s standards for women. It was a well-spent Sunday and I left in the afternoon feeling inspired to keep pursuing my goals.

The Samsung Hall in SM Aura was filled with 500 participants who gathered for the 3rd Women’s Summit recently organized by Viviamo! Inc., the company behind Belle De Jour (BDJ) Power Planner. 

“Our society has constantly bombarded today’s women - especially the millennials - with unrealistic standards regarding beauty and career, making it hard for them to find themselves and lead an authentic life. Through the Women’s Summit, Viviamo! Inc. hopes to empower them as they pursue fulfillment while being true to their identity,” shared BDJ founder Darlyn Ty-Nilo.

At the summit, guests were treated to inspiring talks and fun activities. The day began with a keynote speech by Ty-Nilo, who talked about the importance of claiming one’s success.

“To own up to your success is not a form of bragging, rather a means to realize that all the sweat and tears that you put into your job are making a difference,” she said, adding, “Women should learn to acknowledge their achievements so that they can inspire others to reach for their dreams.”

Meanwhile, Rachel de Villa, co-founder and chief technology officer of Cropital, opened the first plenary session entitled Resilient Females, which focused on overcoming one’s circumstances and maximizing one’s blessings. De Villa shared that she has always considered herself a problem solver, so she developed Cropital when she found the opportunity to help Filipino farmers access financial support. Through Cropital, anyone can provide farmers with funds for proper equipment and training from agriculture experts. 

For her part, PinoyAkoBlog.com owner Jover Laurio continues to publish critical articles on the country’s political situation, despite the relentless cyberbullying and death threats. Laurio has drawn flak for being outspoken in her fight against fake news. 

At the second plenary dubbed Courageous Females, resource speakers talked about living their authentic selves and defying expectations regarding women’s roles in the society. Blu Pingoy, for instance, courageously pursued her dream of becoming a pilot, a job usually taken on by males. With her persistence, Pingoy became one of the first few female commercial pilots in the country. 

Meanwhile, singer-songwriter and alopecia areata awareness advocate Abby Asistio did not allow the society’s standards to define her. As someone who suffered from alopecia or hair loss at an early age, she encouraged women to embrace their uniqueness and get over their insecurities. “Even if society says kailangan long hair para maging girly ka, eh hindi ako long-haired eh. Dapat manggaling sa sarili ko na, okay lang kahit hindi long hair, maganda pa ako with short hair. Just be open to embracing your own uniqueness.”

Aside from promoting resilience and courage, the summit also stressed the value of paving one’s path and sustaining success in the third plenary session called Resourceful Females, featuring businesswomen Audrey Tangonan and Kathleen Yu. 

Starting a business is risky, but Sinaya Cup founder Audrey Tangonan persevered because she believed that her idea can genuinely improve people’s lives. Now, her menstrual cup business has attained massive success locally and internationally. 

Kathleen Yu, owner of Manila-based tech start-up Rumarocket Inc., also shared the moving story of her business. From the initial failures, Kathleen resolved to learn from mistakes and bounce back. “As long as I was alive, I could always change and grow and learn and become different,” she said. 

These speakers’ thoughts echo the women’s advocacy of Belle De Jour, which has always aimed to empower modern Filipina women by equipping them with knowledge, confidence, and self-appreciation. As Ty-Nilo explains, “We hope to help build a world where women are bound not by societal expectations, but by their vision of who they really want to be.”

The 3rd BDJ Women’s Summit was co-presented by Chinoy TV, Lipault and Sun Life Financial. Major sponsors include Food Panda, Modess, Wacoal, GCash, Style Genie, Biore, Caronia, Celeteque, Cinnabon, Fitness Gourmet, Jergens, Jollibee, Kipling, Liese, MegRhythm, Parisian Shoes and Bags, Serenitea, Zenutrients, Features and Shades, and Award Extremes Inc. 

Ace Water Spa, Chef Tony, Frankie’s, Goldilocks, and McDonald’s provided loot bags and raffle prizes, while Adobo Magazine, Rappler, and When in Manila served as media partners.