Women’s month was a quarter or so ago, but the recognition continues.
We’ve just witnessed the historic feat of Olympians Hidilyn Diaz and the impressive turn of Nesthy Petecio. Both have given the country such joy and tremendous pride in the last couple of days, cementing them as one of the most famous women in history; and we can all use a bit of good news, considering the mismanaged health crisis we’re all still enduring (and will be enduring until government changes hands).
Because many amazing women are unstoppable, tough, and likely more capable than some men, it’s no surprise to see “sisters” making it big in their fields. Some not only succeed for themselves and their families; others also serve the communities they move in, seeking to improve the lives of others as well.
The Bravo Empowered Women’s Awards recognizes these achievements from every outstanding amazing woman.
An Amazing Woman in Her Field
The Bravo Awards, a partnership between Security Bank and the Zonta Club of Makati Environs, honored eight amazing women in a recently concluded online ceremony. Although not originally included, Hidilyn Diaz was also given an award for her historic win in Tokyo and for giving the country its first gold medal in 100 years.
According to the organization, “The Bravo awards recognized Diaz for her strength, courage, resilience, and heart as a Filipina.”
So who else made it to this year’s Bravo women?
Yvette Marie Celi-Punzalan
Yvette is a social entrepreneur whose Yvette’s Bags and Beads Collection has worked with female prisoners in Davao for 14 years. Her business has provided livelihood to the incarcerated women. She also partners with the Bagobo Tagabawa, Matigsalog, Kiblawan, and Tagakaulo tribes on product development.
Michelle Krystle Dy-Ong
Media and Public Affairs
A financial journalist and ANC producer for multiple business shows, Michelle is recognized for her personal advocacies. Namely as a member of World Vision wherein she helps organize fundraisers for kids. She also supports Dao De Gong Temple, working with poor communities in Banahaw. And most recently, Michelle banded with a group of entrepreneurs to put up a COVID-19 testing facility that employs medical professionals who’ve lost their jobs or taken pay cuts amid the pandemic.
Meri Ann Geli Bulaong
Geli is an MMA veteran fighter and a coach. The Bravo awards honors her work with sexual abuse victims as she helps to transform and empower them. Geli uses sports as a tool to restore the lives of the women and kids she mentors. Her projects include Fight to Protect and the Cocoon Project.
Dr. Pauline Ferraris Convocar
Science and Technology
Dr. Pauline Ferraris Convocar comes from female hero stock. The emergency doctor’s lineage can be traced to Teresa Magbanua y Ferraris, also called the “Visayan Joan of Arc,” who was a school teacher and a military leader, one of many women who fought with the Katipunan. Although not fighting on the battlefield as her ancestor did, Dr. Convocar nonetheless fights a different kind of battle: gender inequality. The Bravo awards honors the “doctor to the barrios” for her achievements addressing gender gaps in emergency medicine. Dr. Convocar also mentors young health care workers, molding women leaders and trailblazers.
The accomplished Reggie Aspiras focuses on two social issues: hunger and sex trafficking. Reggie, who is a member of the Council of Chefs, initiated a feeding program called Magic Kaldero. Magic Kaldero helps families and kids whose lives have been derailed by typhoons and flashfloods through food emergency response teams that feed evacuees. Her other advocacy is with the WTRC Foundation wherein she’s created an outreach program meant to help young victims on online sex trafficking.
Maria Carolina Rodriguez-Dawonlay
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Maria Carolina Rodriguez-Dawonlay is an advocate of ending gender-based violence. The Bravo awards honors her work in raising awareness for the cause and helping victims an online platform Lalang Hu Mga Laga. The humanitarian and cultural worker also specializes in communication for development. In eastern Samar, she formed the Marig-on Theater Group, which helps young adults affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
Dr. Emily Miralles- Arangote
Dr. Emily Miralles-Arangote is the first woman to serve as president of the Aklan State University. Dr. Arangote has always been a leader in the field of education, doing much of her work in uplifting the competency of teachers and students and raising the standards of education. As director of quality assurance in ASU, her programs received sought-after ISO certifications, creating opportunities in the university. As chairperson of the Teacher Education Department, Dr. Arangote made sure that the teachers’ passing rate in the university eclipsed the national passing percentage, allowing ASU to produce board topnotchers.
Dr. Angelita Sievert-Fernandez
Dr. Angelita Sievert-Fernandez works with cancer-stricken children from the low-income sector. As a developmental psychologist, Doc Angie devotes her professional life to uplifting the lives of chronically ill kids. Aside from being a registered psychologist, she’s also a child life specialist and certified specialist in counseling and developmental psychology. But working with kids isn’t Doc Angie’s only advocacy; she also promotes empowered parenting and teen mental health.
Follow Inspiring, Influential Women
Every woman today could be inspiring. Many could be influential. Many more could become the catalyst that bring about remarkable change in their field. But how do you get there? How do you make your mark in the world, like these Bravo awardees?
It’s crucial to have female role models, to have a mentor you can trust. Because no accomplished person ever gets to where they are without support.
Every amazing woman starts in the bottom. Obstacles will be thrown your way. Much like Hidilyn’s and Nemecio’s journeys, you just have to take one challenge after another. Take one step at a time. And never waver in looking ahead to reaching your goal.
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Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.