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    Posted on Nov 27, 2017

    15 Inspiring Filipinas Who Prove We Can Do Anything

    Pinay and proud!

    1. Hidilyn Diaz, weightlifting Olympic silver medalist

    Reuters / Via

    The Philippines ended its 20-year Olympic medal drought when Hidilyn Diaz brought home the silver after competing in the women's 53-kg weightlifting category at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Hidilyn has been competing in the summer games since 2008. Her victory is a first for Filipino female athletes!

    2. Elda Rotor, vice president and publisher at Penguin Classics

    For almost 10 years, Elda Rotor has been upholding the good old tradition of reading a Penguin Classics book. She started out as an editorial director in 2006. As VP and publisher, she now commissions literary material from renowned and upcoming authors. Elda is also responsible for releasing and promoting new translations of beloved literary classics such as Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

    3. Aisa Mijeno, the inventor of SALt Lamps

    An immersion trip in Kalinga had Aisa thought of a simple invention that would eventually help Filipinos living in remote communities. The Sustainable Alternative Lighting (SALt) Lamp aims to replace the use of hazardous kerosene lamps with the safer and more economical saltwater-powered light source. Aisa went through a series of failed attempts before producing what is now deemed as a smart innovation that can improve the lives of those who need it the most.

    4. Merlee Jayme, chief creative officer and chairmom of Dentsu Jayme Syfu

    A former nun, Merlee entered the convent in her teen years before pursuing a career in advertising. In 2013, she became the first Filipino to be awarded the Creative of the Year in Southeast Asia. She was also the lone woman in the Top 20 Creative Directors in all of Asia in 2014. Her most notable work was the SMART TXTBKS Campaign with her then agency DM9 Jayme Syfu. It won several prestigious accolades including Cannes Lion Grand Prix, a D&AD Pencil, the New York Festival Grand Prize, and Grand Clio Award. These were a lot of firsts for the country!

    5. Andreia Carrillo, astrophysicist

    A young Filipina astrophysicist by the name of Andreia Carrillo wants to discover the vast knowledge there is to learn about the galaxy. The Bulacan native moved to the US and earned an undergraduate degree in astronomy, astrophysics and interdisciplinary physics at the University of Michigan. There, she conducted research about a dwarf galaxy called dw1335-29. Now Andreia is working on her PhD in astrophysics at the University of Texas. One of her lifelong goals is to "connect Filipino astronomers to their fellow astronomers around the world."

    6. Gini Santos, supervising animator at Disney-Pixar

    Disney-Pixar's first female supervising animator is a Filipina. Her name is Gini Santos. In twenty years with the company, Gini has worked on our favorite Disney-Pixar films like Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters Inc, Ratatouille and Up. She also brought life to Dory in Finding Nemo. Her most recent work is for the film Coco where she led a team of over 80 animators.

    7. Maria Fe Perez-Agudo, president and CEO of Hyundai Philippines

    During her job interview for the position, Korean male executives at Hyundai asked Maria Fe, "You are a woman. What do you know about cars?" Maria Fe clapped back: "You are Korean. What do you know about the Philippine market?" Now she's running the game as the Korean auto corporation's leader in the country. To break the rules of men being in charge, Maria Fe says women can use their education as thrust along with a 'CAP', an acronym that stands for competence, attitude and packaging.

    8. Gwendolyn Pascua, ground controller at Biotechnology Space Support Center

    Even back in her life as a public school student, Gwendolyn Pascua always wanted to be an astronaut. Now she can say that the dream is almost hers as she currently works closely with astronauts as the ground controller at Biotechnology Space Support Center in Lucerne University, Switzerland. Her role is to plan and prepare experiments before astronauts are sent to the International Space Station. Pretty cool, huh?

    9. Chona Abiertas Tenorio, lawyer

    Back in Occidental Mindoro, Chona used to be an accounting clerk for the local government. She had plans on going abroad. Her move to Spain was supposed to be her gate pass to enter the United States. Chona decided to stay, but it wasn't easy as she thought it would be. She couldn't find white-collar jobs then, so she worked as a domestic helper. While it was a noble job, Chona wanted to pursue other opportunities. When she got her residency, Chona began to study law at the age of 45. Now she has her own law firm (with two offices in Barcelona and Madrid!) and helps fellow kababayans based in Spain by offering free legal advice and special conferences.

    10. Jessica Cox, martial artist and pilot

    Jessica Cox was born without arms, but that didn't stop the Filipino-American from becoming a martial artist — she earned a black belt! — and the world's first licensed armless pilot, who can take over the light-sport aircraft controls using her feet. She continues to be a motivational speaker, traveling the world with her inspiring story.

    11. Olive Puentespina, cheesemaker

    The Malagos Farm in Davao City is home to the infamous cheese servings our country takes pride in. It was Olive's idea to make artisanal cheese a Filipino specialty. Her agriculture degree as well as her husband's profession as a veterinarian played a part in raising cows and goats. Olive also traveled to visit dairy farms and vineyards in Northern California so she can get fresh ideas for their family business at home. On a regular day, Olive conducts cheese-tasting sessions and wine-and-cheese pairing activities for different groups. Wish we get invited!

    12. Stephanie Sy, data scientist and founder of Thinking Machines

    Stephanie Sy is the founder and CEO of Thinking Machines, a global data consultancy with offices in Manila and San Francisco. Her firm is involved in providing big data and analytics to help corporations, media organizations, and non-profit groups make efficient business decisions. Before launching her company, Stephanie worked and excelled at WildFire, a social media technology startup based in Silicon Valley.

    13. Niña Sandejas-Avenido, music photographer

    With a strong belief that music is universal, Nina shifts her career from fashion styling to concert photography. The latter also makes her dream of becoming a journalist come true. She is keen in documenting every momentous detail of the music events (Fuji Rock Festival, Laneway Festival and the like!) she goes to. In an interview, Nina recounts how she used to be the only woman in the photographers pit. She took it as a way to stand out and prove that music photography is her thing!

    14. Socorro Ramos, owner of National Bookstore

    Socorro Ramos, also known as Nanay Coring, is the matriarch who started the country's leading bookseller. Nanay Coring and her husband grew the business from a small school supplies store in Escolta to a successful empire with over 200 branches nationwide. At 94 years old, Nanay Coring still imparts entrepreneurial wisdom to everyday Filipinos who are determined to succeed.

    15. Isabel Sieh, founder of Girls Will Code

    Rappler / Via

    Age is nothing but a number for Isabel Sieh. At the age of 10, she learned HTML and JavaScript by taking online classes. Her mom helped her find tutors to improve her skills. Upon realizing that learning works best as a shared experience, the now 14-year-old from Antipolo started Girls Will Code, an initiative to encourage Pinoy kids her age to code and use their skills to develop better technological solutions. Isabel has also visited public schools to teach kids the basics of coding.

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