New book profiles modern Filipinas

JUST like their counterparts from earlier generations, modern Filipinas continue to break the proverbial “glass ceiling” by being successful in their respective fields while maximizing their effort to give back to their communities.

These kinds of “Pinays” are featured in the new book Fearless Filipinas: 12 Women Who Dared to Be Different. It highlights women from a broad range of fields, including entertainment, sports, academe, arts, business, and science.

Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo provided the foreword, who noted that the content can serve as a catalyst for readers.

Because of their global achievements, Dr. Reinabelle Reyes and Dr. Erika Legara were adjudged as “ambassadors for the sciences in the Philippines.” Reyes, an astrophysicist, famously confirmed Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as a PhD student at Princeton University, while Dr. Legara founded the Asian Institute of Management’s Master of science in data science program.

“Data Science has, of course, become one of the most in-demand professions in the Philippines and around the world. What separates Dr. Legara was her ability to cut through the popularity to distill its raison d’etre for both her students and the general public. [The subject] can help tens of millions of Filipinos across every aspect of day-to-day life,” said editor Kyle Nate. She is also deputy editorial director of Bookshelf PH—the book’s publisher—which specializes in titles covering business, education, and other genres.

Coauthor Pancho Dizon echoed similar sentiments about Dr. Reyes: “I can’t think of a bigger headline than ‘The Filipina who proved Einstein right.’ But what really makes [her] story remarkable is that on top of making groundbreaking contributions to astrophysics, she actively promotes the joy of science to the next generation of leaders in the Philippines.”

Others spotlighted in Fearless Filipinas…include Angel Locsin, the prominent TV and film actress and philanthropist; Kim Lato, founder and CEO of Kimstore—a pioneering e-commerce retailer in the Philippines; Elda Rotor, 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; and Stella Abrera, the first Filipina-American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre who played roles such as Juliet, Giselle and Princess Aurora.

Others are Jessica Cox, a motivational speaker and the world’s first licensed armless pilot and a blackbelt in the American Taekwondo Association; Jessie Sincioco, president of The Manna Cuisine Corp. and the chef who served meals for Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines in 2015; Dzi Gervacio, cofounder of the Beach Volleyball Republic and a Southeast Asian 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; and Merlee Jayme, “chairmom” and chief creative officer of advertising agency Dentsu Jayme Syfu.

Aside from Dizon, Fearless Filipinas was also penned by Monica Padillo and Mica Magsanoc. It was edited by Kyle Nate; and illustrated by Chloe Gaw. The book was slated for release at the end of March, and is available for pre-orders via

Bookshelf PH aims to promote great Filipino books in fiction and nonfiction, with a goal to produce a rich literature that will contribute to individual empowerment, and in the aggregate, nation-building. It also promotes personal and professional growth through reading.

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