Arugaan, BFP, Breastfeeding, Featured, Past Postings

Hakab Na 2014: the Big Latch On

August 2, 2014 – Metro Manila. #BF1st1000days, #hakabna2014
As expected, this year’s Hakab Na 2014 (HN2014) was bigger and jam packed with a lot more activities than last year’s. There were more people involved in the planning, more BFP members were aware, more media promotions before the event and with more experience from last year, this year’s HN2014 was one-for-the-books!

It was held at the Philippine Army Officer’s Clubhouse, Taguig City. Registration was moved up earlier from 9am to 8:30am to make sure that everyone gets registered on time. Participants were given name tags with food and snack stubs with a location sticker that would help assign participants in their respective mats.


Early birds were able to get their pictures taken from Excel Lenses Photobooth & Photography Services‘ photobooth to commemorate this momentus occasion! I could say that this line took the longest and as the most popular one for the event. I had to politely ask to “cut-the-line” quickly (super thankful for the mommies that allowed me for this) since I was abandoning my duties in the process. The line-ups almost reached the back of the room!
There were also food stalls and mommy-enterpreneur booths like MomBabyFabric to offer some retail therapy for some nursing tops and covers.
After registering, I went to my assigned volunteer duties:- (a) the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) Message Boards and (b) PR contact/media assistance and other odd-ended tasks.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.

In support of the UN MDGs in relation to breastfeeding, we asked participants and companions to help fill message boards with breastfeeding messages that they think relates to the goals below.

The UN MDGs are broken down to 8 key components:-
  1. POVERTY (Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger)
  2. EDUCATION (Achieve universal primary education)
  3. WOMEN EMPOWERMENT (Promote gender equality and empower women)
  4. CHILD MORTALITY (Reduce child mortality)
  5. MATERNAL HEALTH (Improve maternal health)
  6. COMBAT DISEASES (Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases)
  7. ENVIRONMENT (Ensure environmental sustainability)
  8. GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP (Develop a Global Partnership for Development)
Photos on these boards had breastfeeding mothers in various location in Iloilo that were taken by Stanley Ong.  They were absolutely moving. I felt somehow connected as I try to write on each one of them.

I was with a wonderful partner, none other than Jenny Ong of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom! We had out Anthill Fabric skirt and accessories in tow for this event. See the photo below.
Anthill necklace for me,  Anthill skirt for Jenny – Wearing our Tribe!
Thank you to Atan Roxas for taking our photo!
As I doubled up with PR contact and Message Board duties, I was still able to meet other mothers who I would help or advise online and re-connect old friends.

One of these mothers that I looked forward to meeting again is none other than Chef Redj and his wife, Viane! It is through their help and assistance that BFP was able to be introduced to UNTV and in the process, we all have become very good friends. I’ve met Chef Redj’s uber amazing mother!
It was wonderful to see them again since after their referral of BFP to Rise N Shine‘s producer, we haven’t really seen much of each other. Both of Chef Redj and Viane were the driving force to make BFP come into the mainstream when Velvet and I guested a few episodes on the morning show to talk about pregnancy. I’m forever grateful for this couple’s support and advises. Cheers for more projects to come!


There were also quite a few W@wies/N@wies that are active in BFP that it was a wonderful reunion! So many of them we just connect online and would you believe we got together while we were planning our respective weddings – exchanging tips and recommendations. How far we all have come along ~ from rings to nappies!

Mec (as Mom)Clarice (one part of Tickled Moms) are a few mommy blogger friends

It was also wonderful to catch up with lactation friends and classmates like Tin (of Arugaan) and Sally (of BinondoMommy).


Not only did I see mommy friends but also Breastfeeding Guru, Dr Jack Newman was present in this event also via L.A.T.C.H. Philippines’ booth. Tickets for his symposium were offered at a discount that day for BFP members. Dr Newman is slated to have another symposium this year in the Philippines on August 9 at St. Luke’s Global City. He will be discussing new research on his new book called, Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (2014 edition) that we are all excited to be able to purchase at the symposium. Also, this time, he would be visiting Cebu and Davao that got our provincial BFP members excited.

The event’s opening ceremonies was conducted by Velvet Escario-Roxas and she spoke openly about how grateful she was for being able to be part of this wonderful event and have it successfully supported by generous sponsors, selfless volunteers and BFP community of mothers. She spoke of the importance of breastfeeding and reinforce why we need to make breastfeeding a cultural norm in the Philippines. I have to agree on that. It’s what God provided/equipped women, there shouldn’t be anything malicious in giving the best nutrition to your child. My idol and mentor!
The next was organizing all the mothers who would be participating the Big Latch On to their respective placements (“banigs”) and by the time everyone in our mat assignment (orange circle) got everything sorted out, it was close to 10am and technically 10:30am is the “big latch on” so instructions went underway by then. I quickly found my respective mat and as met by familiar mommy faces, which was awesome!

I was in wonderful company of these women: fellow PR volunteer, Ros, Louay and Rona
When the “big latch” came, S and I were already and latched on since S couldn’t wait any longer. It was an expected long good latch. We were instructed to raise our hands when our babies have latched on starting 10:30am to 10:31am and that we did plus more!
I think S also wanted to be part of it and thus raised her hands also!
After the Big Latch On and everyone got settle down again, the program resumed with a talk by Mr Alex Iellamo (IYCF Specialist, UNICEF) about “Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Beyond 6 Months of Age”.  He talked about the importance of exclusively breastfeeding up to 6 months then complementary feeding to be added to the mix with breastfeeding. He talked about the advantages of breastfeeding that would shape the way your baby will approach food.
The second talk was by Dra Maria Asuncion Silvestre, MD, President, Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc., Consultant, EINC, WHO Philippines about Breastfeeding Circle of Support. I strongly believed that in any breastfeeding journey, it consists of the couple, the family & relatives, the community / government that help in a mother’s successful breastfeeding journey! These factors should support and promote than undermine a mother in her quest to breastfeed her child for as long as she could.

Lunch snacks was served by Josiah’s Catering at the same time as an Open Forum was conducted where mothers and their support (i.e. husbands, mothers, etc) could ask questions anything from Velvet and the administrators.  There was also trivia contests that tested the mother’s knowledge about breastfeeding, BFP rules, etc.

Here’s one of our main sponsors, Rotary Club of Quirino Manila Central, to was able to come by for the affair. It was wonderful that they were able to take time to visit us and join some of the festivities.


Rotary Club of Quirino Manila Central sponsored food for the affair. It was a simple lunch but a hearty one!
There was so much media around…this was what I was able to get a photo of. The Hakab Na organizers would like to thank all the media persons that came to the event, given the short notice. Your time and effort to attend is greatly appreciated!
GMA interview with Bing

The loot bag this year was a wonderful welcome, especially when we didn’t really have any giveaways last year. No Milk Code violations anywhere in or around the venue and even in the loot bag!
Of course, we need a group shot of all the organizers that made the event a success and an awesome one for everyone! Toot Toot!


So blessed to be part of this momentous event again! I’m hoping S wouldn’t wean from latching for next year’s Hakab 2015!

Here’s a short video by Daniel Lei Studios that tells a bit more of what Hakab Na 2014 came to be.


Update: 170 mothers latched on to their babies that day in Metro Manila (a best from last year’s 100 mothers for Metro Manila)!   A breakdown of the totals are indicated below:-
1,772 mothers, 1,777 babies latched on for a minute &/or more!


Post-Event Press Release

1,772 Filipino mothers simultaneously breastfeed their babies

One Thousand Seven Hundred Seventy-two (1,772) Filipino mothers gathered today in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod and Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro, and simultaneously breastfed their babies, to celebrate the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The event dubbed ‘Hakab Na! 2014’ is organized by the Facebook group Breastfeeding Pinays (BFP), in partnership with the Philippine Army-Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group (HHSG). It seeks to promote the importance of providing proper support to all breastfeeding Filipino families and is held in coordination with the Big Latch On–an international activity where mothers will latch on their babies from different locations around the world.

This year’s 170 mothers overtook 2013’s count of 100 mothers. Hakab Na for Manila! 2014 also featured two learning activities on infant and young child feeding and breastfeeding support from breastfeeding experts.

1,772 mothers, 1,777 babies latched on for at least one minute!  The breakdown of this year’s Hakab is indicated below:-

Location Mothers Children
Manila 170 172
Bacolod 33 33
Cebu Ayala Mall 30 31
Cebu VSMMC 81 81
Davao 37 38
Iloilo 1,397 1,398
Cagayan De Oro* 24 24
TOTAL 1,772 1,777

*Cagayan De Oro held simultaneous latching on August 1, 2014

A further breakdown of Iloilo for its impressive turnout need to be mentioned. These towns are at the northern part of Iloilo province where Typhoon Yolanda’s wrath devastated 85% of their homes and livelihood. All six towns, excluding the Capital – Iloilo, were hosted by their local health offices under the supervision of the Provincial Health Office in partnership with Save The Children Foundation and BFI.

Iloilo Provide Mothers Children
Capital – Iloilo 35 35
Cales 225 225
Balasan 217 217
Sara 200 201
Estancia 200 200
Concepcion 320 320
Batad 200 200
TOTAL 1,397 1,398

The gathering also successfully brought together mothers who have been supporting each other through the online forum since 2013. Abie Co-Floreza, one of the group’s administrators, is proud to see families supporting one another in their breastfeeding journey. “By supporting breastfeeding moms, we are actually supporting the whole family. If a mother succeeds in breastfeeding her child, she has more time and resources for her family,” said Floreza.

Breastfeeding is a great equalizer. Children who are breastfed are all given an equal start at a healthier life because mother’s milk is perfect and complete with the necessary nutrients that a baby needs. – Nina Atienza, mother of 3

This is the 2nd year of Hakab Na, and also my 2nd time to attend it. I will continue to support, promote and uphold breastfeeding until it becomes the norm and a publicly accepted practice. Joining Hakab brings our message more effectively to a greater audience. – Pia Zorayda B. Busiños Home-based mom, Mother of 3

Hakab Na! was a family-friendly and fun-filled way of advocating breast feeding. It was reassuring for me to meet fellow breast feeders and my toddler had a great time with other kids who have the same passion for breast milk. – Lt Col Sharon Suico (Retired), mother of 3, former Air Force pilot

Breastfeeding also supports the Philippine’s Millennium Development Goals of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, promoting gender equality and women empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Dr. Anthony Calibo, child health specialist and officer-in-charge of the Child Health Development Division Family Health Office of the Department of Health, lauds the activity. “When mothers gather together and take in their hands the conduct of activities that promote, protect and support breastfeeding, this sends a strong message not just for government but also for health professionals and the milk industry. That mothers, their friends, their husbands know that no infant milk formula marketing campaign will be persuasive enough to change what breastfeeding does to them and their infants.”

Hakab Na is organized with support from Rotary Club of Quirino Manila Central, David’s Salon, St. Patricks Baby, Gerochi Dental and Implant Center, Gymboree Philippines, KAYA Women Empowerment and Support Group, and Smart Steps.


Breastfeeding Pinays would like to thank the following sponsors for this year’s Hakab Na! 2014 because without their generous gestures, Hakab Na 2014 wouldn’t be such a huge success!



The Guinness world record for one location is 3,738 mothers and for multiple locations is 15,128 across 295 sites are both held by the Philippines. Buoyed by their success, the Philippines have partnered every year since with other countries and in October 2010 recorded 9,826 nursing mothers in 325 sites in 16 countries.
The Big Latch On (click on the bottom section “What is the record for simultaneous breastfeeding?”)

Nona Castillo, organizer from Nurturers of the Earth, said the activity aims to spark awareness on proper nutrition for infants.


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