The Red Whistle Project

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm a budding Fashion Photographer; but that's not my day job. I envy people who do this professionally but I'm so happy I still get to do high fashion shoots in my spare time. I'm inspired to say the least with some of the country's greatest Fashion Photographers... with the likes of my Sensei Xander Angeles, Boss Niko Villegas teaching me the tricks of the trade; I became so passionate about what I'm doing. I think differently because of them; and in the process discover why I had this passion behind the lens too. In an industry like ours there are only a few of them that admire; one of them is Niccolo Cosme.

There is no contest to what he can do behind the lens but what I was most impressed was the thought of him and quite a number of people doing something else. I admire his work to say the least but I met him for different reasons a couple of days ago. It wasn't for a workshop or photography lessons but it was for a cause that was very dear to him. In an off the wall pub called Blackbird in Makati, he and a couple of activists for this cause took the time to talk with us about how and why they support The Red Whistle project.

Have you heard of The Red Whistle?

The Red Whistle

I knew someone a few years back. He was a friend I barely knew but HE WAS A FRIEND anyhow. I didn't know where he lived or what his work was because we usually meet at places like The Fort, Makati or QC amongst some of the poshest club in those cities. We had common friends, went out with different people; but I knew he did sleep with some of them (according to their accounts). Foreigners or local it didn't really matter but he did really kinda went ahead of me since I laid low a couple of times. Then like a thunder roaring one day he suddenly stopped partying; he did it cold turkey.

Fact is, his lifestyle was almost the same as mine. He was a good friend and we were kinda close given the situation... even though we barely knew each other. He opened up to me one day and said he was HIV+. He acquired it from having multiple partners and unprotected sex. Honestly he didn't even know where he got it from. It was a sad day for both of us.

Though he passed away a year ago (August 2010) I didn't think he wasted his life for nothing. I didn't fail to be there for him when he needed me. I tried to help him out in one way or another. He was lucky though that he had very supportive parents, friends and family. But it's not a pretty picture all the way. It didn't end like what I imagined it would be but I'm so proud he fought for it till the last day. He made sure a couple of our friends know the consequences of doing it. It was so close to me, I wouldn't want to even confront the thought or let my other friends know then. Believe me I had smart ones, but I think telling it straight to their face didn't hurt either. They needed it!

It was the same case with Niccolo Cosme. He had a friend who passed away from it too. It was that true to him; the situation and the reality... that's why he's so passionately supporting this cause. The Red Whistle project wants each and everyone of us to Blow Now and Blow Harder. The Philippines report about 6 new infections recorded every day and this wasn't the case a few years ago. This is very alarming. That friend, family member or loved one might get it soon, it knows no title or status... it's no joke! If you and I take the necessary steps to make everyone raise awareness about this it can snowball into something bigger. Your community, your people would know about the circumstances and learn from the experience of individuals who really had it. It was a wake up call for him and he knew he had to do something about it. You should too!

It's time to STOP it now! We need to SPREAD awareness! NOT the VIRUS!


We even got the chance to listen to one survivor. He's survived it for 7 years and continues to help people to understand what it means to have it first hand. He's spent 4 years in the Philippines doing this. He's fighting one thing after another. Although he understands, he tries to educate people one by one in order to stop the stigma, the ostracism. He wishes to see people who have the virus be seen still fit to work. Most of those who acquire it are breadwinners and people must realize it's not a curse. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to learn about it.

We need to inform more people about this cause. I strongly support The Red Whistle. I would like to enjoin private and public corporations to do their share. Niccolo Cosme just held a headshot clinic, he's been doing this for three years. He's using his craft to spread awareness to help this cause. It's been very good mileage for the project but we need all the help we can get!

There is a need for more donors and on the 31st of August The Red Whistle will be holding it's first Charity Auction. Be at the Bonifacio High Street at 9PM. It's time you do your thing, it's time you make a difference.

P.S. I had 2 extra whistles and a Blow Hard packet from the event. One went to a Gay friend who slept with a record 250++ men. He was informed of his duties to spread awareness. The other went to a female friend who works in the adult entertainment industry. That's GRO to some of you guys. They are happy I got them into it and no matter how indulgent they are in what they do, they'll always keep this in mind! Their active lifestyle doesn't exempt them from the reality that this is TRUE. We all must do our share so make sure you do your part NOW. Blow NOW, Blow HARDER!

P.S.#2 Special thanks to Blackbird who hosted us in Makati, you can visit this quaint resto if you love good music, grub and cold beers. The iced tea and nachos are to die for. They've got lots more in the menu so you should check them out! Kamagong Street in Makati has never been better! Go there or be square!


For more information please like them on Facebook!

Credits to ORANGEMAGAZINETV.COM for the photos from the event! :)


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