Fearless Filipinas, a new book that encourages to celebrate women heroes not just during the National Women’s Month but throughout the year was launched virtually on March 29th. I was fortunate to have been invited the launch which featured a panel discussion involving the women featured in the book. – Kim Lato, Elda Rotor, Kaizen Dela Serna, Erika Legara, Jessica Cox, Jessie Sincioco, Dzi Gervacio, and Asia Jackson.
I’ve heard a lot about Jessica Cox, the world’s first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association. And as a foodie, I longed to dine at Chef Jessie’s Revolving Restaurant. And it’s hard to miss Kiim Lato’s name in the e-commerce space as I once was an online entrepreneur myself.
Listening to the stories of those present in the panel discussion showed that they are not just admirable but worth celebrating because of what they’ve done, what they’ve gone through, and what they keep doing.
And although March is National Women’s Month here in the Philippines, the message that women can do anything and everything they set their mind to should be a point of emphasis in media, especially literature. Filipina women need more heroes, so they can see and realize that there are no limits to what they can aspire to.
The above message was the key takeaway from the book launch of Fearless Filipinas: 12 Women Who Dared to Be Different, the latest publication from online bookstore Bookshelf PH, which specializes in business books and other non-fiction titles.
Those featured in Fearless Filipinas were chosen for how they defied various odds and excelled in fields such as business, entertainment, sports, activism, and much more. The stories shared in the book lend insights on how to succeed as a woman leader, the importance of grit & resilience, and overcoming women-centric issues such as sexism and harassment.
From renowned actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin to astrophysicist Dr. Reina Reyes and renowned ballet dancer Stella Abrera and more, it is the aim of every feature included in the book to send a message to young Filipinas everywhere that although they may meet many challenges on the way to achieving their dreams, there is no shortage of real-life examples out there showcasing Filipina excellence for them to draw inspiration from.
To further augment the message, a foreword from Vice President Leni Robredo is also included in the book outlining the importance of celebrating women’s fearlessness especially in the midst of an unprecedented crisis.
“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,” wrote VP Robredo.
Actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin also expressed her pride at being included in the book.
“Often, we only see Filipinas celebrated once they’re successful,” Locsin said. “Yet the beauty of ‘Fearless Filipinas’ is that it’s a dive into what Filipinas had to overcome to get to where they are today – it takes our stories back to when we were just starting out and full of doubt. But no matter what these challenges are, we all can get through them and you can too with courage, hard work and determination.
All of the accomplished Filipina women featured in the book are as follows:
- Angel Locsin, film and TV actress and philanthropist
- 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
The book was written by Monica Padillo, Pancho Dizon, and Mica Magsanoc; edited by Kyle Nate, and illustrated by Chloe Gaw. According to the team, they consider their work on the book their contribution to Filipina history. The team has also expressed that they will continue telling more stories that celebrate the achievements of various Filipinas in the future, pointing out that the 12 covered in “Fearless Filipinas” is only the tip of the iceberg.
“Although completing the launch of ‘Fearless Filipinas’ was certainly satisfying, our team looks forward to turning it into a series that shines a light on even more examples of what Filipinas are capable of,” said co-author Monica Padillo. “Knowing that readers gain inspiration from it and are driven towards achieving their dreams certainly keeps us going.”
Those interested in getting their hands on their own copy of “Fearless Filipinas” can do so here.