March with Fearless Filipinas

March 25, 2021

As part of women’s history month, Alumnae of Ateneo De Manila University celebrated in new book about modern Pinay heroes, Fearless Filipinas: 12 Women Who Dared to be Different.
Filipino history has a pantheon of great Filipina leaders, such as Gabriela Silang and Melchora Aquino. In addition to these historical heroes, there are many modern Filipino women that have succeeded spectacularly in their respective fields, broken the glass ceiling, and still strive to give back to their communities.
These Filipinas deserve to have their stories documented at length, so that other women can gain inspiration from not only what they achieved, but how they overcame the many obstacles that once stood in their way. Such was the spirit behind the new book, Fearless Filipinas: 12 Women Who Dared to be Different, which features the story of proud alumnae from Ateneo de Manila University.
Dr. Reina Reyes, a graduate from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in science majoring in Physics, and is now a full-time faculty member of Ateneo’s department of physics. Known of course for confirming Einstein’s theory of relativity, Dr. Reina was one of only twelve women featured in the book, and notably the only astrophysicist. She shared her story beginning as a young child who loved science, all the way up to the present day, where she is not only one of the world’s most accomplished astrophysicists, but a leading science advocate in the Philippines.
Dzi Gervacio, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in political science minored in European studies. Known of course as a member of Ateneo de Manila University’s “Fab Five” and co-founder of the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR), Gervacio was one of only twelve women featured in the book, and notably the only volleyball player. Gervacio shared her story beginning as a fresh graduate still learning the ropes of beach volleyball, all the way up to the present day, where she has won a bronze medal from the SEA Games in the sport and remains one of its most recognizable advocates.
The book opens with a foreword from Vice President Leni Robredo, who noted that stories like Dr. Reina and Dzi’s can be a catalyst for readers.
“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.
The women featured in Fearless Filipinas indeed span a broad range of fields, including entertainment, sports, academe, arts, business, and more. According to the book’s editorial team, Dr. Reina was chosen to represent science both for her individual accomplishments as well as her advocacy work, and Gervacio was chosen because she was as much an advocate as she was an athlete.
“I can’t think of a bigger headline than ‘The Filipina who proved Einstein right.’ But what really makes Dr. Reina’s story remarkable is that on top of making ground-breaking contributions to astrophysics, she actively promotes the joy of science to the next generation of leaders in the Philippines,” said Pancho Dizon, the co-author of Fearless Filipinas, which was published by Bookshelf PH, which specializes in in titles in business, education, and other genres. 
The other eleven women featured in the book include:
●      Angel Locsin, the prominent TV and film actress and philanthropist;
●      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);
●      Dr. 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
●      Asia Jackson, a Filipina American actress in Hollywood who started the #MagandaMorenx movement to combat colorism in the Fiipino community;
●      Merlee Jayme, the “chairmom” and chief creative officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu. 
Fearless Filipinas was written by Monica Padillo, Pancho Dizon, and Mica Magsanoc; edited by Kyle Nate; and illustrated by Chloe Gaw, also a graduate from Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in fine arts majoring in information design.
Fearless Filipinas is slated for the release at the end of March, and is available for pre-order here: