The leading voice and champion of LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion among private organizations in the Philippines hosts the biggest gathering of advocates in the PFIP Pride Summit 2023.

by Carla Montecalvo | July 28, 2023

DOT Dancers in a vibrant performance number

“Isn’t it wonderful to come together after June? [After all] we exist all-year round.”, says Philippine Financial Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP) Board of Trustee Chris Eugenio. Indeed, there is more to the LGBTQ+ community than Pride month celebrations. This jubilant gathering of over 600 strong among allies, champions and members of the community on July 27-28, 2023 at Shangri-La The Fort proved just that. This year, PFIP hosted the summit with its theme, Hiraya: Realizing our Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations, celebrating the breakthroughs and wins of PFIP and the LGBTQ+ advocacy for inclusion. PFIP gave its beloved attendees a 2-day empowering experience of homecoming – showcasing the youth’s vision of true freedom and security, recounting lived experiences of courageous community representatives, synergizing executive leadership’s change-making capabilities, and rallying the attendees for meaningful auxiliary conversations.

L-R DOT Secretary Frasco, Mayor Cayetano of Taguig City and PFIP Chairperson Weena Ekid delight in the show

L-R DOT Atty. Regal Oliva speaks her truth at Day 2 of the summit

Attendees convening in one of the breakout activities

The summit opened with a colorful cultural performance from the dancers of the Department of Tourism (DOT), followed by hopeful messages from student and youth leaders Anna Cubacub of UP Babaylan, Josher Quizon of DLSU Prism, Karl Borromeo of Ateneo Sanggunian, and the scholars of Rainbow Youth Academy. Executives PFIP chairperson Weena Ekid and Global Head of LGBTQ+ Affairs at JP Morgan Chase & Co., Brad Baumoel, gave their welcome messages. With Taguig City being a host to several of the PFIP member companies, Mayor of Taguig City, Hon. Lani Cayetano gave a message of support with the assurance that the city will continue to reinforce its non-discrimination ordinance and foster safe and inclusive spaces. Keynote speaker DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco reminded PFIP that their advocacy efforts are succeeding and change is happening now. In her speech, the secretary proudly announced that the DOT assigned “inclusive tourism” as a priority. This is in addition to organizing the first-ever Tourism Pride Summit with PFIP on September as part of DOT’s initiatives to position the Philippines “as one of Asia’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations”.

Lauded as the biggest and only LGBTQ+ workplace conference of its kind to be held in the Philippines, the PFIP Pride Summit 2023 provided a robust learning playground for its advocates, senior leaders, HR practitioners, DE&I practitioners and LGBTQ+ professionals with 18 breakout sessions of various topics tiered according to learning levels, organizational maturity or personal interest, and featured over 80 inspirational speakers including Treasurer of Mandaue City, Atty. Regal Oliva, Marketplace Diversity Leader of Asia Pacific at IBM, Jeiz Robles, VP of Corporate Sustainability at HSBC, Ceejay Hernandez, Account Director at London Stock Exchange Group, Philip Francis Recto, and PFIP Board of Advisor, Atty. Virginia Viray to name a few.

The event equally covered intersectional and sensitive issues to the community such as the plight of living with HIV, the battle to pass the longest-running SOGIE Equality Bill, the realities of inaccessible or insufficient medical and mental health services, and the employment discrimination that continue to demoralize transgender persons and persons with disabilities (PWD).

Free power stance tips and Pasarela lessons from Runway Coach Ian Mendejar

One of the enchanting candidates of the Lip-sync Lalaparuzza

Attendees pose with PFIP Board of Trustee and speaker Jeiz Robles as they enjoy the socials & afterparty activities

With mind and heart-opening breakthrough dialogues, the summit curated moments of resonance, facilitated an understanding of the journey that was and the journey that lies ahead for the community’s advocates. PFIP announced at the summit its mission to enlist Filipino-owned conglomerates, to further its commitment to equal representation in career development, to partner with the academe and socio-civic groups, and to expand its reach throughout Asia and the rest of the world.

While the PFIP community often means business, this vibrant gathering was neither short of fun and moments of “pride”. The audience had a blast bonding in camaraderie while dissecting the Filipino obsession over pageantry with Bb. Pilipinas Committee Executive Raymond Villanueva, having an on-the-spot runway coaching experience, and delighting in a tournament-style lip-sync battle royale among the corporate queens. The summit also offered unique social networking opportunities for attendees including Tiktok video challenges and exciting raffle prizes.

For PFIP, the summit is a hallmark and a prelude to its 10th year anniversary celebration culminating on October 2023. From a lunch meeting of five corporate peers in 2013 flourishing into a community of over 80-member companies with a shared a purpose, PFIP has emerged as one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ+ organization, equipping employers with inclusive practices and sustainable programs, and championing the conversation towards responsible and higher standards of employment.