Pinay Ako! Amazing Filipina Women


Many years ago, women were seen as inferior and were not allowed to vote or participate in many public undertakings. Women had to fight for their right and place in society. Today, women enjoy better treatment and have gained recognition for their accomplishments in different industries. Let us take a look at some of the amazing Filipina women who have made significant contributions in their respective fields.




Melchora Aquino Mother of the Katipunan

Tandang Sora

Mother of the Katipunan

 Melchora Aquino, also known as Tandang Sora, is probably one of the most notable women in Philippine colonial history. It is because of how she chose to participate in the revolution despite her age and her being a woman. Tandang Sora took in Filipino Katipuneros who needed shelter and medical help. She offered her home as their refuge and meeting place. She was 84 then. She knew the would-be consequences of her involvement but her desire for freedom was greater than the fear of death. She has classic Filipina traits that make her worthy of being remembered and admired. She was nurturing, compassionate, brave and sacrificing.


Teresa Magbanua Joan of Arc of the Visayas

Teresa Magbanua

Joan of Arc of the Visayas


Teresa Magbanua is another inspiring woman who showed knit and grit for the sake of independence. Known as the Joan of Arc of the Visayas, Teresa Magbanua was the only known woman leader of the Katipunan in the Visayas. She was so determined to overthrow the Spanish government that she disregarded opposition from her husband and, from being a school teacher, decided to take up arms and join the rebellion. In fact, her contribution did not end in the Spanish colonization; she also joined the Filipino forces against the American and Japanese occupation. She truly is a woman of the revolution – she sees a cause, she fights for it. She joins a troop of men and even leads them.




Magdalena Leones  Filipina Silver Star Winner

Magdalena Leones

Only Asian woman to have been awarded the Silver Star in World War II by the US


Few may have heard of Magdalena Leones but her role during the Japanese occupation did not go unnoticed. She is the only Asian woman to have been awarded the Silver Star, which is the third highest military combat decoration. It was given by the United States for her gallantry during the war against the Japanese, carrying 

intelligence data and electronic and medical supplies, risking her life as she passed enemy territory. Leones was a super spy and a special agent who used her knowledge of Niponggo and skills in memorizing enemy ships, which were crucial to the success of military operations.




Josefa Llanes-Escoda  Suffragette Girl Scouts of the Philippines

Josefa LLanes-Escoda

Founder of Girl Scouts of the Philippines; Suffragette


During a time when women were seen as subordinate to men, Josefa Llanes Escoda stood up and fought for equality and women’s right to suffrage. She founded the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. She exemplified a modern woman who was no longer seen as a wife who clings but as a husband’s support system and a vital contributor to society. She also believes that the moderation and wisdom of women are needed in government. Escoda was executed by the Japanese after she was arrested for helping women, children, and prisoners of war. Josefa Llanes Escoda is one of the three people that appear on the Philippine one thousand peso bill.


 Encarnacion Alzona First Filipina to obtain a doctoral degree

Encarnacion Alzona

First Filipina to obtain a doctoral degree; Suffragette


Encarnacion Alzona was a pioneer in the fields of history, science, and civic relations.  She is recognized as the first Filipina to obtain a doctoral degree and the first woman historian of the Philippines. As a historian, she co-founded the Philippine Historical Association. In 1985, she was given a National Scientist award in 1985. Apart from her contributions to the study of history, Alzona was also a known Rizalist, who promoted the works of Dr. Jose Rizal, and a suffragette who pushed for women’s right to vote. Alzona is proof that women can be accomplished scholars and become pioneers in different endeavors.




 Lea Salonga  Artist Broadway star

Lea Salonga

Artist/Broadway Star


Lea Salonga quickly rose from being a beloved child actress in the Philippines to being a respected name in Broadway. Her international career started when she was cast as Kim in the musical Miss Saigon in 1989. This role won her a Tony Award, making her the first woman of Asian descent to win such recognition. In 1993, she played the role of Eponine in the Broadway musical Les Miserables and has starred in numerous other theatrical plays after that. In 2011, she was hailed as a Disney Legend by The Walt Disney Company for being the singing voice of two Disney characters – Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan. Making a name in international theater, Lea is credited for putting the Philippines on the map and opening doors for other Filipino artists in the global scene. Lea’s talent, dedication, and passion for her craft shows how Filipino women can transcend barriers and excel in the performing arts nationally and internationally.

 Hidilyn Diaz First Filipino Olympic Medalist

Hidilyn Diaz

First Filipino Olympic Gold Medalist


Who would have thought that the first person to bring home an Olympic gold for the Philippines is a woman? Hidilyn Diaz made history for being the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist when she won in the 55KG Weightlifting Category in the Summer Olympics in 2020. In 2006, she was 10th-placer in the 2006 Asian Games and a bronze medalist in the 2007 SEA Games. She also participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics. She again joined the 2016 Summer Olympics and garnered 2nd place. It was in 2020 when she finally got her bigger break and brought home the gold. Her failures and victories serve as an inspiration to keep working hard because any relentless pursuit for one’s dreams pays off in the end.




 Maria Orosa Food Technologist, Inventor Banana Ketchup

Maria Orosa

Inventor of Banana Catsup


Almost every Filipino household loves banana catsup. But who actually knows that the person who invented it is a Filipina? Maria Orosa is a food technologist, and a pharmaceutical chemist who pioneered food preservation in the Philippines. Although she is famous for inventing banana catsup, Orosa has made other significant contributions during the war era. Using her knowledge in food technology, she created Soyalac and Darak, types of food given to Filipino and American prisoners that helped them survive. She also invented the palayok, an earthen pot which is still widely used today. Orosa shared her knowledge to other Filipino women and taught them poultry-raising, and food preparation and preservation techniques. Looking at her work and her life, it is evident that Maria Orosa was selfless and proactive in applying her knowledge and discoveries for the betterment of society.


 Dr. Fe Del Mundo Pioneering Physician National Scientist

Fe Del Mundo

Pioneering Physician and National Scientist


Dr. Fe del Mundo is known for her contributions to medicine and pediatrics. She is also the first Asian woman to ever be admitted to Harvard and is the first woman president of the Philippine Pediatric Society. As a humanitarian and a physician, she founded the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, which gave people in rural areas access to healthcare. She also invented the incubator and a device for the relief of jaundice. Living a life dedicated to addressing children’s medical needs made her an honorary member of the American Pediatric Society and a consultant of the World Health Organization. This also earned her awards for being anAngelita Castro-Kelly First Female Mission Operations Manager of NASA outstanding pediatrician and humanitarian. A Filipina is an intelligent and compassionate human being who is willing to spend her life serving others and Dr. Fe del Mundo is one of those who best exemplified this trait.


Angelita Castro-Kelly

First female mission Mission Operations Manager of NASA


When we say NASA, what first comes to mind is male astronauts. NASA is a world that not all can penetrate. But Angelita Castro broke stereotypes when she became the first female Mission Operations Manager of NASA. She was a physicist and space scientist who was also a former project manager and was instrumental in the development of the Shuttle/Spacelab Data Processing Facility. Kelly was awarded Fidel V. Ramos’ Pamana ng Bayan for her accomplishments. Angelita Castro-Kelly proves that women are just as capable as men and is able to balance being a wife, a mother, and a career-woman… even in a male-dominated industry.




Maria Ressa First Filipino Nobel Prize Winner

Maria Ressa

First Filipino Nobel Prize Awardee


Maria Ressa is the co-founder and CEO of Rappler. Ressa’s name became more prominent in 2021 when she became the first Filipino to receive a Nobel Peace Prize award. This recognition was given to her for her active drive to fight for freedom of expression. Prior to this achievement, she also worked for CNN and The Wall Street Journal and was Time’s Person of the Year in 2018. She is a staunch critic of the current Philippine government and has overcome several hurdles including the revocation of her news agency’s license. Nevertheless, these obstacles did not prevent her from fighting for freedom of the press, and instead, even gained recognition for her efforts. A Filipino woman shows determination amidst adversity and fights for what is right.




The above women and many others have proven, and continue to prove, that there is no limit to what a woman can do. Women are very capable and can thrive even in a man’s world. With the right mindset, attitude, and support, women can become unstoppable because women are powerful mountain-movers who are meant to soar. 


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