My purpose in life is to bring out the beauty in all beings.—BagongPinay aka Omehra Sigahne aka Perla Daly
Like many OFWs and migrant Filipinos, I’m a global citizen, living both in the Philippines and abroad, and I continue to embrace and uphold my Filipino heritage.
I was born in the U.S., then by age 10, started living in Bacolod City on the island of Negros Occidental. That was during the 70s to ’80s. Then I went to Manila to study at Ateneo de Manila, Loyola Heights but finished a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication, at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
I started out in print design and quickly got into interactive design. So it was web design that led me to creating content and publishing websites for Filipinas and Filipinos since 1995. And I was a newcomer to the blogging world when I started in 2008.
For my bread-and-butter through a couple of decades, I’ve been an art director, web designer, visual designer, working as a freelancer and as a full time employee for design agencies and an in-house agency of a financial company. So I’ve designed for non-profit orgs, grass root causes and also for Fortune 500 and Fortune Global companies. I recall now that I’ve worked on projects for clients like Apple and Google, Reader’s Digest, Sony, REI, and Charles Schwab.
I’ve been inspired by the path of the Culture Creative since 2000, endeavoring that my works help contribute to a shift in identity and life purpose in others.
For almost as long as I’ve been a visual designer, I’ve had my own personal advocacy for Filipino men and women. I’ve made a long-time effort to spread a positive image and empowered concept of being a Filipino woman who embraces Philippine ancient traditions in the modern world.
In 1998 I founded the first online community for Filipina women at www.newfilipina.com, called BagongPinay which was an edgy, cool site whose mission was to help empower Filipinas everywhere and at the same time fight Filipina stereotypes online or cybertyping. After starting this site I began signing the name BagongPinay to many of my art and blogs that explicity expressed my love of being a Filipino.
Through the organization of NewFilipina Inc., I began conducting networking nights for Filipina-Americans in New York City and Women’s Wisdom events in Manila between 1998 and 2004.
Because of my online community efforts and networking with Filipinas around the world, I received the Filipino Women’s Network (FWN) Babaylan Award in 2000. Again, this just tells me I’ve got a job to do.
In 2004 I wrote my thoughts on the beginnings of Pinay cyber-feminism and ethno-gender-activism in anthology Pinay Power: Theorizing the Filipina/American Experience, and I started the Fabulous Filipinas campaign writing to newspapers and organizations around the world to promote search engine optimization (SEO) of the key word “Filipina” in Search Engine results. FabulousFilipinas.net.
I wrote the final essay for the anthology Back from the Crocodile’s Belly, entitled “Pagbabalikloob, Cyberactivism and Art: Babaylan Provocations and Creative Responses.”
In 2004-2005 I worked as the chairwoman to bring about the Filipino American Women’s Network FAWN2005 Conference, Coming Into Our Own Spirit and Success, an international Filipina leadership conference that explored the theme on 5 Babaylan power roles or archetypes. Almost 300 Filipina leaders in business, advocacy and communities from around the U.S., the Philippines and Europe came to speak, listen and share.
A deep part of my work is to strengthen Filipino cultural awareness and appreciation of our roots.
In 2000 and 2003, together with Leny Strobel, we launched the international online discussion groups for Pagbabalikloob (decolonization, or translated as return to deepest inner self) and for Tagipusuon sg Babaylan (Heart of Babaylan).
In 2003, I began the Bahala Meditations which is a combination of contemplation and sound meditation of the phrase Bahala Na. bahalanameditations.com
In 2009, together with Leny, Letecia Layson and Baylan Megino, inspired by the Babaylan archetype and by indigenous wisdom, we co-founded the organization for Philippine indigenous spirituality and studies, Center for Babaylan Studies and then brought about the First International Babaylan Conference in Sonoma University, California. Almost 200 Filipinos from around the U.S. came to embrace indigenous wisdom alongside guest speakers and ritualists from the Philippines.
In 2009, I started blogging about baybayin, to help people understand the Philippine ancient writing script, as a tool for decolonization and exploring Filipino identity. It is found at Baybayin Alive.
Since 2000, I’ve been a member of the Filipina Women’s Network, an organization for Filipina leaders that went global in 2014.
On occasion I speak publicly to small and large groups depending on the needs, and I have conducted women’s meditation circles and yoga classes.
I’m also the artist and have created the Babaylan Mandala Fine Art Series in 2009. See more details at babaylanmandalas.com.
For my longtime publishing efforts to uplift Filipina image online, my organization works, and the mentoring of young Filipina leaders, I received the award for 100 Most Influential Filipinas in 2011 Filipina Leadership Summit in San Francisco. This is merely a badge that urges me on to continue with my works in service and advocacy for Filipino men and women and for humans overall.
I strive to bring out the best in myself and to help others do the same by sharing, positive attitude towards living and life that I call Shine Mentality which I break down into 15 Ways to Shine at Pinay.com, a website that creates a positive image and online experience for Filipinas everywhere since 1999.
I am now a certified coach in Emotional Intelligence (EQi). And a licensed facilitator of The Desire Map. I am also a member of the International Coach Federation.
—BagongPinay aka Omehra Sigahne aka Perla Daly