Fearless Filipinas and what success means to them: new book

Stella Abrera, the first Filipina American Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. Instagram photo

In honor of women’s history month, new book, Fearless Filipinas: 12 Women Who Dared to Be Different, shares the stories of modern Pinay heroes in the Philippines and around the world. 

Filipino history has a pantheon of great Filipina leaders, such as Gabriela Silang and Melchora Aquino. In addition to these historical heroes, there are many modern Filipino women who have succeeded spectacularly in their respective fields, broken the glass ceiling, and strived to give back to their communities. 

These Filipinas deserve to have their stories documented at length so that other women can gain inspiration from not only what they achieved, but how they overcame the many obstacles that once stood in their way.

The book opens with a foreword from Vice President Leni Robredo, who noted that the book can be a catalyst for readers. 

“While all of the women featured here hail from different fields, they are all united in their demonstration of ‘fearlessness’ in the face of adversity, prejudice, or even the status quo. Celebrating their lives—and indeed, their individual moments of fearlessness—should serve as a rallying cry to all women: We are all capable of the courage it takes to achieve unprecedented greatness,” writes Robredo.

The women featured in Fearless Filipinas come from all over the world, including the Philippines and the United States. They also span a broad range of fields, including entertainment, sports, academe, arts, business, and more. The inclusion of such a diverse array of geographies and endeavors was intentional: At a time when many women may be pressured into a narrow definition of what success is—and is not—the book’s editorial team wanted to broaden it completely. As demonstrated by these women, success can be found in any field of your choosing wherever you are, so long as you are happy and content with your choices.

The book’s representative in entertainment is none other than Angel Locsin, who shared her coming-of-age as one of our generation’s greatest actresses and activists.

“By sharing my story in Fearless Filipinas, my goal was not to inspire young women to follow my own path, as an actress or even as an activist. I instead hope that my experiences—combined with those shared by the other great women I am proud to appear alongside—give young women an even more powerful message: You can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” said Locsin. 

The other women featured in Fearless Filipinas include:

  • Dr. Reina Reyes, the Princeton PhD who confirmed Einstein’s theory of relativity;
  • Kim Lato, the founder and CEO of Kimstore, one of the pioneering e-commerce retailers in the Philippines; 
  • Elda Rotor, the Vice President and publisher of Penguin Classics who brought Filipino authors like Nick Joaquin to a global audience; 
  • Kaizen Dela Serna, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist in the burgeoning sport of obstacle course racing (OCR);
  • Erika Legara, a physicist who founded the Asian Institute of Management’s Master of Science in Data Science program;  
  • Stella Abrera, the first Filipina American Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, playing roles such as Juliet, Giselle, and Princess Aurora
  • Jessica Cox, a motivational speaker and the world’s first licensed armless pilot and blackbelt in the American Taekwondo Association; 
  • Jessie Sincioco, the President of The Manna Cuisine Corporation and the chef who served Pope Francis on his visit to the Philippines in 2015
  • Dzi Gervacio, co-founder of the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR) and a SEA Games beach volleyball bronze medalist;
  • Asia Jackson, a Filipina American actress in Hollywood who started the #MagandangMorenx movement to combat colorism in the Filipino community; 
  • Merlee Jayme, the “chairmom” and chief creative officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu. 

Fearless Filipinas was written by Monica Padillo, Pancho Dizon, and Mica Magsanoc; edited by Kyle Nate; and illustrated by Chloe Gaw. 

Magsanoc, also the managing editor, believes these stories can have a positive global impact.

Fearless Filipinas is the perfect example of how different people from different backgrounds can all find success in their own ways. We hope that this book can reach young women globally who struggle with finding positive representation and content as they grow up and find their identity,” she said.

Fearless Filipinas is available as paperback and eBook, and can be purchased here: https://bookshelf.com.ph/products/ebook-fearless-filipinas-12-women-who-dared-to-be-different 

SALON AGNESIA in Jersey City

(C) The FilAm 2021

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