MANILA, Philippines - Loida Villanueva could not contain her excitement as she heard news that her daughter, Jasmine Lee, won a seat in South Korea's parliament -- the first Filipina and naturalized Korean to do so.
Villanueva said she was surprised Lee is in politics, since she knows her daughter to be simple and reserved.
“Masunirin siya na anak at hindi marunong sumagot at tahimik lang siya pag magagalit ako,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva said while her daughter earned success in other fields, she never imagined Lee will enter politics and let alone win an election in her adopted home.
“Plain housewife lang talaga siya. Noon namatay husband niya naging kilala siya ng mga tao. Binigyan siya ng posisyon sa NGO, sa government, may commercial siya sa tourism at translator sa immigration,” said her mother.
Lee grew up in Davao and met her Korean husband, Lee Dong Ho in 1994 when she was still a college student at Ateneo de Davao.
She later moved to Seoul and became a naturalized Korean citizen in 1998. Lee became a widow two years ago.
Aside from being a social worker, Lee has dabbled in movies and TV hosting.
“Naging anchorwoman siya, may pelikula rin siya. Sikat na talaga ang anak ko kasi nakita ko sa magazine andun siya s front page,” she said.
But Lee's mother was most proud of her daughter's volunteer work, helping the growing immigrant community in Korea.
Lee is secretary-general of Waterdrop, a charity formed by foreign wives of Koreans.
She's also team manager of another non-government organization there.
Villanueva said Lee's feat should give Filipino women a good name.
“Ang tingin sa kanila mga Filipino ay below. Iyon ang ipinaglaban niya hindi maganda ang pagtingin ng Koreano sa mga Filipina,” Villanueva said.
She added that her daughter promised to visit Davao before she assumes her seat as a Korean lawmaker on June 1st. - Report from ANC; Claire Cornelio, ABS-CBN News