An advocacy of the times: Choose love, life and a sense of community


A COMMUNITY has pitched in to revive business, advocate for life and help others in need.

The story of a mental health advocate, an artist and a hotelier coming together to stage an event to uplift spirits and a struggling industry in the time of a pandemic is a proof that in crisis, there is hope.

Life choices

Ricky Ducas' advocacy to choose life has helped countless in the time of need.

Stemming from his own healing and therapy, Ducas formed both the Psycho-social Support Group Baguio (2020) and the Anxiety and Depression Support Group-Baguio City (2019) in an effort to help those struggling with mental health issues.

Ducas, in his path to healing, realized the limited resources the city could offer to those battling mental health problems and endeavored to become a catalyst for support, enjoining the community to help in the process.

Being a medical professional himself, Ducas knew the process of diagnosis, counseling and medication one has to go through for treatment and aimed to make the process easier and more accessible to all.

Both support groups provide counseling sessions and a listening ear to those who need to treatment, offering linkages to institutions and professionals who are ready and capable of giving the right aid.

Choose Life!

The project, Choose Life, is in tandem with internationally renowned photographer, designer and artist, Eros Goze, who worked with Ducas for the staging of the event aimed to raise awareness for mental health.

The Goze project features personalities who chooses life and imparts messages of hope to the public in various social platforms.

Goze has documented many ordinary citizens, public officials, professionals and advocates, giving their testimonies on life and how to choose to live with positivity and love.

Each donor gets an exclusive “choose life” shirt and a photo session with Goze.

Hoka Brew music festival

The local business community pitched in to help the advocacy with hotelier Melan Ku Marquez staging a three-week Music Festival at Hoka Brew of the Podium Boutique Hotel, with proceeds to help the cause of mental health and uplift the struggling entertainment industry reeling from months of lockdown.

Marquez said the aim of the event is to slowly and safely bring back small events in the city, giving local artists the chance to once again perform in front of a live audience.

“Such event is possible given that we follow a standard health protocol where the audience will also feel safe and secured while having a good and relaxing time... something we all need at this time.”

Proceeds of the event were given to The Anxiety and Depression Support Group Baguio for its training of non-medical individuals who wish to be trained for Psychosocial First Aid and Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients.

Local products were also highlighted in the Podium event in a bid to promote local entrepreneurs backed by the Up North Business Club.

The power of advocates in these times will tell the tale of how a city is trying to overcome the biggest challenge it has faced.


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