Almost four years since her well-publicized split with Turkish businessman Yilmaz Bektas, Ruffa Gutierrez has picked up the pieces of her life and stands up for herself.
She's a picture of easiness while hosting the photo exhibit of fashion photographer Raymund Isaac, who was commissioned by AVON to promote its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence campaign that began in 2009.
Being a survivor of domestic violence herself, Ruffa encourages other women who are trapped in abusive relationships to speak out and be heard.
"I am here to share my story about how I survived, and also help people be aware of what's happening in our country and all over the world.
"Women should know that it's very important to be empowered. Importante yung meron tayong sariling buhay, may sariling pinagkakakitaan kasi, that gives you power.
"Usually kasi yung mga girls na malungkot or wala silang courage to speak out, sila yung mga walang trabaho, nasa bahay lang, wala silang matakbuhan, wala silang pamilya," she tells the press and media people present at the event held in SM Mall of Asia on June 16.
She admits to being haunted by her past from time to time, but it no longer affects her that much.
The former beauty queen states, "Siyempre parang bumabalik yung mga nakaraan ko, especially, pag naiisip ko yung mga nangyari in the past. Masakit pa rin para sa akin.
"Pero, you know, that's all part of my past, that's part of who I am and I'm not gonna let it take me down. Kumbaga, lahat ng mga experiences ko naman ginamit ko to make me the person that I am now and I believe I am stronger, I am wiser and hindi na ako masyadong gullible."
Does this mean she's already an expert when it comes to making decisions?
"Hindi ko pa nama-master. I mean, ganyan naman talaga tayo, e. We go through life, we kiss a few frogs, we make a few of mistakes. But that's all part of growing up, it's part of who we are. Life is short. Bakit naman ako magiging malungkot at magmumukmok?"
And yes, she's happily "single," the actress-host says, "Kahit naman walang nagpapatibok ng puso ko ngayon, I will never stop loving and believing that I know one day I'll meet my Prince Charming."
"Ay hindi naman siyempre nawawala 'yan. Marami nang umaaligid. Pero siguro importante ngayon para makapag-move forward ako, e, kailangan maisara muna yung past.
"Actually, the healing is done. I've moved on a long time ago pero I just want everything to be official. That's when I'll be really set free."
Ruffa is pertaining to the annulment of her marriage to Yilmaz. When asked about updates, she refuses to make any more comments, as the case is currently ongoing.
"My life naman is an open book. Pero mahirap din naman na i-open ko lahat ng mga experiences ko word per word dahil siyempre uso na ngayon ang Internet at balang araw mapapanood ito nila Lorin at Venice. Ayoko naman na maging masama ang loob nila kay Yilmaz," explains the TV5 star.
Lastly, she shares one lesson she learned: "Yung mga dati kong interviews, hindi ko na puwedeng mabawi 'yon pero from this day forward, I want to be more careful."