Five Filipina Women at the Tops of Their Fields

As the old saying goes, women hold up half the sky. So much of human culture, society, and economics wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the seen and unseen contributions of women throughout history. Even beyond creating new life, women have opened new frontiers in science, literature, the arts, and politics. Who can forget the work of Marie Curie, or the bravery of Gabriela Silang?

What women have done for society is impossible to quantify, but it’s important to honor them anyway. Thus, to close off March and Women’s Month, take a look at these five Filipina women who are making waves in their current fields.

Maria Ressa

One of the bravest and most prominent women in the Philippines today, journalist Maria Ressa never backs down from a fight. The multi-awarded CEO and founder of news site Rappler has been a vocal and steadfast critic of the anti-people policies of the current administration, and has stood firm despite threats and arrests. She was recently detained at NAIA over the Anti-Dummy Law, which supporters have decried as politically-motivated harassment. Maria’s bravery has not escaped the notice of the international community, and she’s received the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award and was one of the journalists listed in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2018.

Josephine Santiago-Bond

Parents always tell their children to reach for the stars, but in this case Josephine Santiago-Bond took it literally. And although some kids might dream of becoming astronauts, Josephine ended up in NASA almost as an afterthought. A graduate of Philippine Science High School and the University of the Philipppines, she ended up in South Dakota due to some family-related decisions. Then, she spent a summer at the Kennedy Space Center for research, and the rest is history. Josephine is now the head of NASA’s Advanced Engineering Development Branch, a department that she started herself. A trailblazer through and through.

Antoinette Jadaone

It’s pretty hard to get a foothold in Philippine show business, especially if you’re a young director. But Antoinette Jadaone defied the odds and at only thirty-four has become one of the most well-known directors in the country. A graduate of BA Film from the University of the Philippines, Antoinette has always known that she wanted to be a director. She started off working with Joyce Bernal, another big name in Philippine film, who became a sort of mentor to her as her career grew. Now, Antoinette has pulled in success after success in the years since, and might even become one of the greats in time.

Carina Dayondon

For Carina Dayondon, there really ain’t no mountain high enough. This Filipina made history recently as the first Filipino woman to climb all seven of the highest peaks of each continent. According to the Inquirer, Carina reached the summit of Antarctica’s Mount Vinson on December 16, 2018. She was part of the group of the first Filipino women to summit Mount Everest in 2007. A graduate of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City and hailing from Don Carlos, Bukidnon, this woman has braved the elements to stand tall on the highest peaks in the world.

Eva Noblezada

Making it big on the Great White Way isn’t exactly easy, and you can count the number of Filipinas who have done so on one hand. But if there’s going to be someone following in the footsteps of Lea Salonga, it’s Eva Noblezada. This Filipina-Mexican American only began her musical theater career in 2013, and she’s already stolen the stage. Eva was Kim in Miss Saigon, and now plays Eurydice in this season’s recently-opened Hadestown, which seems poised for success on Broadway. With a Tony nomination under her belt, this woman’s got big dreams and a big voice to reach them.

For more on the latest in the Metro, check out the rest of Daydreaming in Paradise!

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