The month of June honors queer individuals all around the world as Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to accept who they are, celebrate their accomplishments and reflect on their past and present challenges. Cherie Go Sison is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community and has worked in a variety of fields that have shaped her into the person she is today.

Solid start

After finishing her bachelor’s degree in mass communication back in 1990 from University of San Jose-Recoletos, her first job after graduation was a fashion accessory designer. She became one of Cebu’s award-winning fashion accessory designers due to her penchant and keen eye for details. She came in first runner-up in a Philippine fashion design competition in Makati City in 2007. Her creation was called “Kawasan,” and it was a waterfall-inspired necklace composed of mirrors, shells and valuable stones such as crystals.

It was the high point of her profession as a fashion accessory designer, she thought. Sison has worked at a variety of export enterprises in Cebu for the past 10 years. She is no longer involved in the fashion accessory market, but she does design items on occasion. She made one necklace last year, which she wore while she competed in pageants. She is not only a designer, but also a beauty queen. Her most recent pageant was last year’s Queen of Cebu City North 2022, where she was a finalist. She dressed herself and styled her own gown and accessories. Currently, she is looking forward to more pageant competitions in the future.

Career pivot

Leading to the financial crisis in 2008, Sison was compelled to hunt for another source of income in order to survive. She opted to apply at a business processes outsourcing (BPO) firm and worked for a dental account for almost a year. She subsequently became a BPO butterfly, constantly moving and switching from one business to the next.

Sison opted to try her luck in the academic community to keep her options open for future growth and opportunity. She applied for Cebu Technological University-Main Campus, one of the universities in Cebu. She was able to motivate a lot of students and teach them not just lessons in class but also values because she is meticulous with the value development of her students.

Careful collector

Aside from teaching, one of her hobbies is collecting coins. She began collecting coins in her third year of high school. She has amassed a collection of over 10,000 coins, both local and international. Her mother’s coin, which she received after she returned from Italy, is one of her most valued treasures. It was a coin used during the late St. John Paul II’s canonization in the Vatican.

She also possesses other local commemorative coins, including one from the Edsa Revolution, which was given to her by their barangay captain. Because her friends and family members know how enthusiastic she is about coins, they choose to give her coins rather than sell them to her. In exchange, she provides credit to individuals who entrusted her with their coins, and she includes their names in her collection so that when others see it, they can also see the names of those who gave those coins.

Sison stated that if she has enough finances, she hopes to establish a museum for her coins and expose all her collections to the public so that people can appreciate her collection from the 1970s to the present.

Staying fit

Her favorite hobby is running. She mentioned that she has this lifetime commitment to running. Her love for it started when she was in grade five. She was already exposed to inter-school competitions and competed in different track and field events.

“After graduation, when there was no more competition, I began to train for middle distance races. It took me a while to really get into a middle distance because when I was a student, I was only training for sprint and it’s a totally different preparation because for the middle and long distance you really have to have a strong foundation and endurance and it also takes a lot of training workouts aside from footwork and since I am asthmatic, it took me awhile but I was a success. I lead a healthy lifestyle; I don’t drink alcoholic beverages or soda; I just drink water so that keeps me going.”

She enjoys running because it makes her look younger than her age.

“Not everyone learns how to value time,” Sison said. “As cliche as it may sound, time is gold, and it is really valuable.”