Never has a woman’s voice been more celebrated and threatened than now.
We have arrived at a time when, in some parts of the world, women are free to pursue their passions and achieve their wildest dreams, like heading multimillion dollar corporations or even ruling an entire country.
We live in a time when women have become so powerful and influential, yet, old obstacles like the proverbial glass ceiling, and misogyny remain. Now, more than ever, women must come together to ensure the doors of equal rights and opportunities remain open for future generations.
For women’s month, Metro pays tribute to 100 incredibly brave and talented women who push boundaries to make a difference in the lives of others. These women inspire us all to think big, as they have done, and move heaven and earth to make dreams come true.
OCCUPATION: ABS-CBN chief content officer and president of ABS-CBN University, actress, producer, author
HER MOMENT: There’s no stopping Charo Santos-Concio in her multi-faceted life. While others take it easy or sometimes lose themselves during retirement, after stepping down as ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer, Charo has used the time to pursue her other passions, like getting back to her first love—movies. Her triumphant return to film in Lav Diaz’s "Ang Babaeng Humayo" garnered the Golden Lion prize at the 73rd Venice Film Festival, the first time a Filipino film has won the top prize in the event. She begins the year with the release of her book, "My Journey: The Story of an Unexpected Leader," which chronicles her life—from the young woman in Calapan, to beauty queen, to actress, to television executive—through the lens of leadership. The gem of a book is a must-read for aspiring leaders and Filipinas striving to break the glass ceiling.
OCCUPATION: DENR Secretary
HER MOMENT: Fearless, upright, and incorruptible, Gina Lopez has been the subject of many headlines with her hard-hitting stance on mining as the DENR secretary. She has the support
of the President and the general public in many controversial decisions including the recent cancellation of 75 mining contracts in watersheds, but her heart is steadfast in serving the people. This is consistent with the way she way she worked as the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation chairperson, which she founded in the same spirit of service in 1997. Not only did she establish Bantay Bata 163 20 years ago, she was also personally involved in rescuing the first child.
OCCUPATION: ABS-CBN chief operating officer of broadcast
HER MOMENT: Joining ABS-CBN in 1986 as associate producer was the first step in touching millions of lives through television. Armed with passion and dedication to her craft, Cory Vidanes led the ABS-CBN entertainment workforce into three decades of content and ratings supremacy and quality programming. The heart of her leadership is public service and entertainment with a purpose, a testament to her affinity to her audience—the Filipino family. Currently chief operating officer of broadcast, she was globally recognized in 2016 as a “Filipina of Distinction” by the Filipina Women’s Network.
OCCUPATION: ABS-CBN chief operating officer of Star Creatives
HER MOMENT: Behind the success of some of the most anticipated television shows and movies is Malou Santos, the chief operating officer of Star Creatives. Prior to her role, she showed exemplary leadership in Star Cinema, and has been responsible for Asia’s longest-running and award-winning drama anthology, "Maalaala Mo Kaya," and for top grossing movies such as "The Super Parental Guardians," "Beauty and the Bestie," and "A Second Chance." Under her leadership, Star Cinema garnered eight out of 10 local top grossing films. As a passionate visionary, her instincts are attuned to the needs and wants of the audience, enabling her to make films that resonate with Filipinos.
OCCUPATION: Former Miss Universe 2015
HER MOMENT: Pia Wurtzbach is the best example of never giving up. From joining Binibining Pilipinas thrice, to keeping her poise despite Steve Harvey proclaiming another winner, this beauty queen has proven time and time again that perseverance and passion go a long way. She showed class and grace in handling all the obstacles, and has shown the world her unique brand of confidently beautiful—all of which showed the country in a positive light.
Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet, and Dindin Araneta
OCCUPATION: Art Fair Philippines organizers
THEIR MOMENT: Seeing 46 galleries (from 24 when it started), and a slew of Asian galleries from Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, have elevated the fifth incarnation of Art Fair
Philippines into creating the buzz for local contemporary art. Behind it are art historian Lisa Periquet, writer Trickie Lopa, and arts administrator Dindin Araneta, who had the goal of expanding the appreciation of art to Filipino.
Rachel Rillo and Isa Lorenzo
OCCUPATION: Gallerists at Silverlens
THEIR MOMENT: From the ashes emerges the new Silverlens gallery, this time in a 1,200-square-meter, two-story space along the same street. Props to Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo who have reimagined their space into a visual wonder. As one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Southeast Asia, Silverlens has been instrumental in cultivating the careers of its artists, like Patty Eustaquio, who had a show in Palais de Tokyo; and Maria Taniguchi, who received the Hugo Boss Asia Art Awards.
OCCUPATION: Olympic weightlifter
HER MOMENT: It was a moment right out of the movies, when the unnasumming underdog achieves what no one has done before. By bringing home the silver medal for the women’s 53-kg weight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Hidilyn Diaz ended the Philippines’ 20-year Olympic medal drought.
Jodi Sta. Maria
HER MOMENT: Proving that one can be successful in both the spiritual and professional aspects of her life,actress Jodi Sta. Maria had her shining moment at the 44th Annual International Emmy
Awards for the category of Best Performance by an Actress for her portrayal of Amor Powers in the hit telenovela "Pangako Sa ’Yo."
Danah & Stacy Gutierrez
OCCUPATION: Editors, body positivity advocates
HER MOMENT: It’s not easy trying to change everyone’s perceptions about women’s bodies, but Danah and Stacy Gutierrez want nothing more than to succeed. With their book, "The Big Fat Book,"
published last year, and their blog, Plump.ph, the two are poster girls for body positivity, inspiring women of all shapes and sizes.
OCCUPATION: Artist, women’s rights advocate
HER MOMENT: Nikki Luna is fearless because she holds what she believes firmly. From her extra-judicial killings-themed exhibit “Violence Need Not Be Bloody For It To Be Validated as Such,” she’s set to continue her advocacy-based art practice in New York City with a grant from the Asian Cultural Council, as well as the prestigious Goldsmiths in London.
OCCUPATION: Advocate, PR practitioner
HER MOMENT: Amor Maclang’s mantra of “Doing Good, and Doing Well” extends not just to her PR practice but to her many advocacies, including nationalism in tourism and the culinary arts. From Malolos to South Cotabato and beyond, her passion has enabled cities and provinces to reach their full potential.
OCCUPATION: Actress, U.N. ambassador
HER MOMENT: She might have been quieter on the showbiz front, but KC Concepcion has continued rallying on and helping those who have less than she has. As U.N. ambassador for the World Food Programme, her humanitarian work has taken her to Uganda and Nepal, and of late, has with KC’s closet turned her focus to the Philippines via conflict-affected and disaster-prone areas.
OCCUPATION: Fashion designer
HER MOMENT: Known worldwide for her brand of handcrafted and dyed pieces sourced from different regions in the Philippines, Vivien Ramsay’s Eairth brand received serious cool cred as it was spotted on model Andrej Pejic, as photographed by Juergen Teller.
HER MOMENT: From being proclaimed as Asia’s Best Female Chef last year, Margarita Fores is launching her own four-part series entitled "Harvest with Margarita Fores," where she goes from various Philippine destinations (Bicol, General Santos City, and Davao) in search of unique ingredients, educating the country in regional cuisine.
HER MOMENT: A woman of substance, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was bestowed the 2017 Tandang Sora award, and last year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered Asia’s highest prize, cited for her “moral courage and commitment to justice.” Her exemplary leadership has seen a rise in the conviction rate from 33.3 percent to 74.5 percent, figures that show her efficiency on the job.
Rachelle Ann Go
OCCUPATION: Theater actress, singer
HER MOMENT: Fresh from the success of her portrayal of Fantine in
"Les Miserables" at West End, Rachelle Ann Go is set to pay Gigi Van Tranh in "Miss Saigon," as well as the much-coveted Eliza
Hamilton role in West End’s "Hamilton" — a feat for this talented Filipina who began her career joining singing contests and emerged a Broadway and West End star.
OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur, writer
HER MOMENT: This former model, two-time author, and humanitarian, has a golden heart. Evelin Weber, who founded The Philippines Foundation, sets off to continue her Learning Boats program in Leyte, where they create outdoor classrooms in the villages—places where fishermen can park their boats on shore after a day’s work.
OCCUPATION: Artist, book publisher
HER MOMENT: Since setting up Thousandfold, the first photobook library program in the country, Wawi Navarroza has relentlessly pursued the proliferation of the photobook art, as seen in artists like IC Jaucian, who created the “12 Hour Book” shown in Dubai.
OCCUPATION: International Model
HER MOMENT: Kelsey Merritt has come far from her first magazine cover in Metro’s June 2015 issue—now, she is the new face of Maybelline, apart from her modeling gigs in New York City through her agency, Wilhelmina Models. Discovered on the IG account of photographer BJ Pascual, hers is of an unexpected Cinderella story made sweeter by her determination to make it big as a model.
HER MOMENT: A staunch critic of the current administration, Clara Balaguer is not only a revolutionary, she is also an artist practitioner at her publishing and design house called Hardworking Goodlooking. Cerebral and erudite, she brings a different perspective to art and politics, inspiring those who choose an opposing view.
OCCUPATION: Broadcast journalist, Bantay Bata 163 program director
HER MOMENT: Taking on a role as Bantay Bata 163’s program director, broadcast journalist Jing Castañeda-Velasco envisions the program to take on a digital frontier— combatting cyber bullying and online sexual exploitation of children. She appeals for everyone to offer their time, talent, and treasure to save the Filipino child.
Bianca Gonzales-Intal, Lynn Pinugu and Vicky Herrera
OCCUPATION: She Talks Asia mentors
HER MOMENT: Along with Metro’s EIC Sarah Meier, Bianca and Cat are some of the mentors for She Talks Asia, a group that is mounting a big women’s month conference entitled Every Girl Can. In partnership with Mano Amiga Pilipinas, proceeds from the event will fund scholarships and launch mentorship opportunities for girls. These much-admired women in lifestyle have made full use of their networks and influence to inspire girls to be the best they can be.
OCCUPATION: Vice President
HER MOMENT: The Vice President is one of the loudest voices in the opposition, ensuring that remains a balance in the government. While she may not have the full support of the President, she is striking out on her own, ensuring her voice will be heard by the nation. Known for her humility and devoid of extravagance and hubris seen in other people of power, she is embraced as a symbol of hope.
OCCUPATION: DSWD Secretary
HER MOMENT: Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, much admired in the academe and in NGOs, is a voice of reason in the current cabinet, garnering admiration for her pro-public policies. She is a staunch defender of human rights, and has formed a strong stance against death penalty.
HER MOMENT: Continuously making history—as the first transgender solon, and perhaps, even the first transgender military officer. As the staunch advocate of the LGBT anti-discrimination bill (that even got her crossing swords with Senator Manny Pacquiao), she is recognized worldwide and has even been placed alongside Hillary Clinton and Beyoncé in a list of Inspiring Women.
OCCUPATION: Theater actress, singer
HER MOMENT: A mix of nostalgia and awe was brought together by the latest concert of Tony award-winning actress and singer Lea Salonga, who marked the start of the year with a concert in CCP entitled “Songs from the Stage.” Here she invited young women with her to sing, paving the way for the next generation of Filipino performerrs, a mentorship that is much like her work in "The Voice of the Philippines."
HER MOMENT: The 125th anniversary of the San Sebastian Basilica Minore last year was a resounding success, through the efforts of the foundation led bythe conservationist Tina Paterno. Her leadership revitalized the community, apart from the physical and structural rehabilitation the church has undergone.
OCCUPATION: Beauty queen
HER MOMENT: From representing the country in beauty pageants to winning the latest season of "Amazing Race Asia," Maggie, along with Parul Shah, has done the country proud. Apart from this, she has established her personal website and developed her own swimsuit line, Haute Affair.
OCCUPATION: Fashion designer
HER MOMENT: With fashion shows in Amsterdam, London, Toronto, Tokyo, Mongolia, and Antwerp, Happy Andrada is unstoppable. Her quirky and artful designs have taken her from her studio in Kamuning to achieve some of the highest accolades for Asian designers— winning the Artist of the Year award at the Fashion Art Biennale in Seoul.
OCCUPATION: Actress, artist
HER MOMENT: Multifaceted and multitalented, Meryll Soriano is unbound by labels, working instead on creation with her new design-based community and creative studio Do Good, and an art-retail store Community Store.
OCCUPATION: Broadcast journalist
HER MOMENT: Karen Davila is leading a movement of women broadcasters in Asia, recognized for her sensibility and firm way of digging at the truth, as seen in her much-admired television show, "Headstart" on ANC.
HER MOMENT: A society girl with a big heart, Alexandra Eduque was once named the world’s most outstanding volunteer. As the founder of MovEd, as well as founder of Habitat for Humanity Philippines Youth Council, she has served communities through educating their youth.
OCCUPATION: Fashion designer
HER MOMENT: With stints in Paris and London, Mich Dulce became the voice of a new generation when she shared her journey in freezing her eggs—something that is still considered taboo even in mere conversations. What’s brave is how she has gone out to share it with the rest of the world in a bid to educate and elucidate.
OCCUPATION: Social entrepreneur
HER MOMENT: Empowering Pinoys the fashion way, that is the proposition of Reese Fernandez-Ruiz in her bags Rags2Riches. R2R is getting accolades worldwide, even landing Reese in Forbes’ list of inspiring social entrepreneurs under 30. Truly an inspiring story of social entepreneurship!
HER MOMENT: The pioneer in journaling, Darlyn Ty’s Belle de Jour planners have since expanded to creating events that empower women like the BDJ Women’s Summit. She has proven that by creating a journaling community, she could change many women’s lives.
HER MOMENT: Vocal in social media, actress Agot Isidro is recognized for her sass and authenticity in responding to issues that are close to her heart. Despite her detractors, she remains firm in her convictions, an impressive showing of bravery.
Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero
OCCUPATION: Actress, artist
HER MOMENT: Love Marie or Heart, has proven that she has so much more to offer than just being an actress. She beautifully juggles being a politician’s wife, an artist, and is soon set to star in a reality show. She’s a true creative, excelling in different artistic fields.
HER MOMENT: Making the rounds in the festival circuit is director Samantha Lee and her film "Baka Bukas," which stars Jasmin Curtis-Smith. The film was originally part of the 2016 Cinema One Originals and has won three awards for Best Actress, Best Sound, and Festival Audience Choice Award.
Alesandra de Rossi
HER MOMENT: Festival actress Alessandra de Rossi is again making waves in "Sakaling Hindi Makarating," an indie film about art and finding true love. The film garnered seven out of 10 awards at last year’s Cine Filipino. Kudos to her!
OCCUPATION: Miss Universe-Philippines 2016
HER MOMENT: Showing the world that she is such a gracious host, Maxine Medina battled all criticism and emerged as one of the top six finalists at the Miss Universe pageant. She remains a
prime example of grace despite all odds.
OCCUPATION: Miss International 2016
HER MOMENT: Competing in Japan, Kylie Verzosa gave the country a muchawaited victory as Miss International—joining the ranks of Gemma Cruz, Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez, Precious Lara Quigaman, and Bea Rose Santiago. Her story teaches us how important it is to be focused on your goal—and to want something hard enough you will not let anything get in your way.
HER MOMENT: Taking on the family legacy, and following the footsteps of her successful father Jaime Augusto Zobel, Mariana Zobel-Aboitiz returned from Harvard to find her place in the business, taking on the task of general manager of the latest Ayala Mall—the Ayala Malls the 30th.
OCCUPATION: Dancer, artist, activist
HER MOMENT: Donna Miranda continues her advocacy not only though her medium of dance, but by speaking out against EJKs. Her political sentiments inspire other artists to find their voices.
HER MOMENT: Showing in one of Europe’s top contemporary art museums, Patty Eustaquio has made the country proud with her work “That Mountain is Coming,” displayed at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France. Though still recognized as a fashion designer, she had always identified as an artist, and has pursued this since her 2008 debut.
WONDER WOMEN IN THE WORLD
We cast the net wider to extend the list to these amazing women who have changed the way we see, feel, hear, taste, think, and ultimately fight for what we believe in
HOW WE HEAR
Music and literature provide new voices and atmospheres that open you to new experiences, and these women help form these narratives.
Adele – Performer
Beyoncé – Performer
Charlize Theron – Actress
Emma Watson – Actress
Gwen Stefani – Performer
Lady Gaga – Performer
Maya Angelou – Writer
Meryl Streep – Actress
Katy Perry – Performer
Rihanna – Performer
HOW WE THINK
From politics to immigration, these women leaders are paving the way for real progressive thinking and action across the world.
Amy Schumer – Stand-up comedian
Angela Merkel – President
Arianna Huffington – Media Founder, Author
Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza – Founders of Black Lives Matter
Christine Legarde – Lawyer, politician
Hilllary Clinton – Politician
JK Rowling – Author
Michelle Obama – Former first lady
Oprah Winfrey – Media proprietor
Queen Elizabeth – Queen of the United Kingdom
Sheryl Sandberg – Tech CEO
Theresa May – Prime Minister
HOW WE SEE
From changing perceptions about beauty to politics, helping us make sense of the environment through communication—these women are changing the way we see the world
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Activist
Cara Delavingne – Model
Christiane Amanpour – Television journalist
Leandra Medine – Blogger
Lena Dunham – Writer, producer, actress
Naomi Wolf – Author
Safa al Ahmad – Journalist
Tavi Gevinson – Blogger, editor
Ashley Graham – Model, body positivity activist
Tina Fey – Comedian, writer, producer
HOW WE FEEL
With the heart at the core, these women spread their passions through advocacies—from human rights to body positivity, to female empowerment.
Amal Clooney – Lawyer
Amber Heard – Actress
Angelina Jolie – Actress and humanitarian
Fu Yuanhui – Olympic swimmer
Malala Yousafzai – Activist
Nadia Murad – Human rights activist
Olivia wilde – Actress
Shonda Rhimes – Television producer
HOW WE TASTE
Taste corresponds to how we curate our surroundings, and these women in fashion, beauty, and other fields are tastemakers who translate their visions into reality.
Anna Wintour – Magazine editor
Miuccia Prada – Designer
Emmanuelle Alt – Magazine editor
Gigi Hadid – Model
Ivanka Trump – First daughter, entrepreneur
Kim Kardashian – Reality star
Diane von Furstenberg – Fashion designer
Victoria Beckham – Designer, entertainer