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5 Pinoys Who Prove That BIG Is Beautiful

Just like Ferdinand, these REMARKA-BULL Pinoys are showing just why big (in all its forms) is BEAUTIFUL! Get to know their stories below.

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EMBRACED BIG: Danah and Stacy Gutierrez (Plump.ph)

Plump / Via plump.ph

Gorgeous twin sisters Danah and Stacy Gutierrez pioneered the body positivity movement in the Philippines, starting their personal blog www.theplumppinay.com in November 2009, to challenge local societal norms where fat bodies are vilified and criticized. They opened discussions for health, body image issues, and self-confidence, which have since propelled both Danah and Stacey to become full-time advocates, public speakers, online influencers, plus size models, and media personalities.

As their website, Plump.ph, states: "the duo believes in beauty in diversity (imagine a world full of clones… BOOOORIIING!), health at every size (yes, big and fit can coexist!), the pressing urgency of media literacy, and the importance of self love (you can’t give what you don’t have, honey)." In challenging restrictive conventions of what is "beautiful" and "healthy," Danah and Stacy have empowered both Pinoys and Pinays alike to embrace their uniqueness at whatever size. You go, girls!

PLAYED BIG: Kai Sotto

The Filipino Rambler / Via blogger.com

To be hailed as the future of Philippine basketball in a basketball-crazed society like ours is no mean feat. Yet, at the young age of 16, Kai Sotto of the Ateneo Blue Eagles juniors team, is already turning heads due to his height and his talent.

In a country where the average height of adult Filipino males as 5'3", Kai Sotto defies the norm, standing currently at 7'2" with a few more years of growth spurts ahead of him. He's got the basketball skills and IQ to boot too, which is why as early as now, he's been announced to join the next Gilas pool for the FIBA World Cup in 2023.

A player of Kai's size would automatically be presumed to play the center position and make a living at the low post. But inspired by his basketball idols Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Durant, Kai has aspirations of playing the wing. This might raise some eyebrows, but we believe that Kai can do whatever it is that he sets out to do! Playing big is beautiful, but believing in yourself (at whatever your size) is even better.

WALKED BIG: Kat Gumabao

Cebu Modeling / Via cebumodeling.com

Having walked runways in the Philippines, Australia, and the US (including NYFW!), Kat Gumabao is a plus-size model superstar in the making. She started doing photo shoots at 2008, but only began modeling full-time for close to two years now.

It wasn't easy breaking into the industry as a plus-size model, especially tracing her roots in the Philippines where most models and actresses are no more than a size 4 or 6. "I want the industry to know that being different is not a bad thing. Change is not a bad thing. Discrimination is a bad thing. Equal representation should be the standard we all follow. I also want to state that times are changing; fashion is evolving; diversity is happening; inclusion is starting. So, either embrace it or get left behind," she says.

Keep slaying runways all over the world, Kat! We're cheering you on, always.

WON BIG: Efren Penaflorida

CNN / Via edition.cnn.com

A renowned educator and social worker in the Philippines, Efren Penaflorida, founder of the Dynamic Teen Company, earns a spot in the list for not only DREAMING big and WINNING big, his classroom/s are some of the biggest in the country! Armed with his humble pushcart, Efren caught the attention of many Pinoys as well as CNN, walking the alleyways of Manila peddling education and a better life to kids living and staying on the streets. He's turned dumpsites and grave yards into classrooms, ultimately hoping to instill in children the dream of going to a real classroom with four walls, that would give them better opportunities in the future.

A man of humble beginnings, Efren's advocacy was a result of knowing firsthand what children in the streets lack, having spent his childhood in a shanty in Cavite City. He founded his organization to provide impoverished children an empowering alternative to gang induction. In 2009, Efren became the first Filipino winner to be named CNN Hero of the Year, besting 9,000 other nominations around the world. This big victory has allowed Efren and his group access to more funds to widen the scope of their pushcart classroom, and empower more children towards education. "Before, they saw the kariton as a symbol of poverty, but now they see a pushcart as a symbol of hope and education," said Efren.

A truly inspiring story about what big dreams and a big heart can achieve! Way to go, Efren!

LIFTED BIG: Hidilyn Diaz

Philstar / Via media.philstar.com

We all remember that moment in 2016 when then-25-year old Filipino Hidilyn Diaz stood tall in Rio, bagging a Silver medal in the women's 53kg weightlifting category and becoming the first-ever Filipina Olympic medalist!

Coming from humble beginnings and born to a family of 8, Hidilyn developed an early interest in weightlifting, training early on with homemade barbells crafted grow plastic pipes and tin cans. After winning one competition after another, proper equipment would be donated to her by supporters, empowering her quest to bring glory not just to the Philippines, but also female athletes. Filipino convention calls for women to be feminine, soft, and gentle, but Filipinas like Hidilyn are showing that modern women can also be called on to be strong, tough achievers.

During an interview on noontime TV show ASAP, Hidilyn said: "Challenges are just part of life. Time will come when you would just want to give up but you need to fight for your dreams. All you need to do is believe in God, in yourself and your capabilities, and to all the people who believe in you."

Hidilyn continues to train and compete, and we see more great achievements in store for her. Now THAT'S a true heart of a champion!

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