Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Hakab Na, Big Latch On 2014 Experience

Hakab is the Filipino term for latch, the most important aspect of breastfeeding, which describes how a baby attaches itself to a mom's breast to nurse. I have been breastfeeding my child for 20 months now and have seen so much goodness in doing so, thus breastfeeding has become part of my life's advocacy. 

Official poster

Breastfeeding Pinays (BFP), a Facebook group where I belong to, had organized a breastfeeding awareness activity called Hakab Na! 2014 where all moms would gather together in one place and breastfeed their baby at the same time, at a synchronized time of 10:30 am based on the rules set by the Global Big Latch On. It is a challenge made to set the record for the most women breastfeeding simultaneously across all countries with the goal of making breastfeeding in public the norm. The event is usually held during the World Breastfeeding Week, between Aug. 1-7. 

Picture before we leave the house.

This was my second time to join Hakab Na as BFP started only early last year. Baby was about to turn 8 months only back then. If you want to know what happened last year, you can read my experience here

Philippine Army Officers' Clubhouse in BGC (near Gate 2)

It's rainy season once again but unlike last year, the weather last Aug. 2 thankfully cooperated. We arrived at the Philippine Army Officers' Clubhouse in BGC a little past the call time of 8:30 am as we got lost with so many gates. The venue this time was almost 4x bigger than last time, more organized, more sponsors and had lots of side activities.

There were free bread, coffee, corn, playground, haircut, signature board, booths, etc.

Same as before, there were lots of media person onsite. Lots of daddies, nannies and supporters holding up placards and banners. Met some old faces and new faces. The whole place was so intense. Plus the fact that I now have an active toddler, it's quite challenging to make her stay put in one corner. Baby A kept on running away, grabbing someone else's toys, going back to the playground, and would throw tantrums if she doesn't get what she wants. But despite her playfulness, she was able to latch during that 1-minute period. I'm proud to be one of the 170 mothers from Manila leg who participated in this Hakab Na event.  

We were told to raise our hands to signify that our baby has already latched to be counted.

We raised our placards, raised our hands and shouted "Hakab na, Hakab na!" The experience was fun especially when you know that it will be part of our history. By joining in these kind of events, I am doing my fair share of helping build a breastfeeding nation. As a breastfeeding advocate, it's our duty to help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding anytime anywhere. And being able to breastfeed in public without cover is one way to do it. It was actually through my first Hakab Na experience that I overcame my hesitations to breastfeed in public. The feeling is liberating. It has become normal for me to breastfeed discreetly in public without exposing any sensitive part of my body and with the use of non-nursing clothes. Practice makes perfect and you won't notice that breastfeeding in public will become second nature to you.

I am one proud Breastfeeding Pinay! Can also be Chinay!

Here's my mommy friend Edel. We attended Hakab Na for the second time and came together again.

Our toddlers fast sleep. Knocked out after hours of playing around.

Due to busyness in running after my toddler, I wasn't able to take pictures with other mommy friends. Also, the place was a little crowded and warm.

Left: Cheryl Wong; Middle: Tin Cervantes; both are breastfeeding experts

The participation fee was P150 for baby's shirt plus I paid an additional P100 for my yaya's snacks. And for that price, we even got to take home a loot bag from the sponsors. I also joined a Gymboree sample play for toddlers thus I got a free T-shirt. Too bad, we were not able to take a photo booth picture because the line was too long and our toddlers were still asleep.

A picture of the goodie bag and freebies I got from the event.

Thank you to the Breastfeeding Pinays organizers and sponsors of Hakab Na. Congratulations for a successful event! We'll definitely join again next year! I hope and pray that I am still breastfeeding my baby by then.  See you around!

For published news and videos about Hakab Na, here are some of the links:
Official videographer by Daniel Lei Studio:
News 5 Everywhere:
The Manila Times:
Voice of America:


Post-Event Press Release:

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:

Cebu Ayala Mall
Cagayan De Oro*
                *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 ProvideMothers Children
Capital – Iloilo

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.

Mommy Sally

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for writing about this! :)
    It was really great meeting up you again!