Beyond Beauty: Unilever names 30 Beyond Beautiful Women of Mindanao

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” – Mandy Hale

** (Reposting the article from Edge Newspaper, with gratitude to Unilever, Cream Silk and its partner M Magazine for acknowledging my small contribution to society and including me in the list of these highly respected women. I am deeply honored). **

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From Edge Newspaper, Cover story by Armando B. Fenequito Jr. (May 24, 2014)

For 30 years of being of service in giving beautiful hair to every Filipino woman, Cream Silk honored 30 women from Mindanao who contributed in the island’s development in a ceremony last Friday at The Peak of Gaisano Mall.

Beyond Beauty: Unilever names 30 Beyond Beautiful Women of Mindanao
Beyond Beauty: Unilever names 30 Beyond Beautiful Women of Mindanao

Candy M. Hernandez, major accounts executive for Southern Mindanao of Unilever Philippines, said that aside from possessing good character, the women of different ages succeeded in their own different fields of interest or profession and made significant contributions to society.

Launch of Exhibit at Gaisano Mall’s The Peak

The women who were recognized for their exemplary role in influencing every Filipina in the country are:

1. Ann Tiukihoy Pamintuan

A native of Surigao, the now Davao-based artist is considered one of the pillars of the country’s design industry. This world renowned metal artist, jewelry maker, home accessories and furniture designer belongs to a new wave of Filipino designers gaining worldwide recognition from Manila to New York, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

2. Irene Santiago

Irene Morada Santiago, chair emerita of the Mindanao Commission on Women and convenor of the Mothers for Peace movement, has been selected as the N-Peace Awardee 2013, Role Model for Peace from the Philippines, a prestigious prize which recognizes the leadership role of women and peace advocates from six conflict-affected countries in Asia. She is one of six women awardees chosen for their leadership and contribution towards building peace.

3. Zohayma Montaner

International award-winning modern Islamic typographer and visual artist, Zohayma Montañer, Al-Haj, has become one of the most eminent names in the scope of Islamic art. Her main goal is to give dawa’ah through her art and pleasing Allah. At 17, she got her first international award in Valencia, Spain. She is now actively working to spread the message of Islam through her works and art exhibitions world wide.

4. Shamcey Gurrea Supsup-Lee

Shamcey Gurrea Supsup-Lee was crowned Miss Universe-Philippines 2011 and represented her country at the Miss Universe 2011 pageant in São Paulo, Brazil, where she finished as 3rd Runner-Up. Supsup obtained her Architecture degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, graduating with magna cum laude. She was also a valedictorian in grade school and salutatorian in high school. She now hosts a lifestyle show on ANC.

5. Agnes Locsin

Born in Davao City, Agnes Dakudao Locsin is a dancer, teacher and is considered one of the most progressive contemporary choreographers in the Philippines. Her dances focus on Philippine beliefs and rituals, and ethnic and urban life. Her early dance lessons were under the training of her mother at the Locsin Dance Workshop in Davao where she later became artistic director to the Locsin Dance Ensemble. She was dance director of the Terpsichoreans in Ateneo de Davao and taught at the CCP Dance School, the University of the Philippines College of Music and the Jazz Tap Center. She was also dance consultant to the Philippine Educational Theater Association and Tanghalang Pilipino. She was artistic director of Ballet Philippines

6. Mags Lopez Calpito Cue

A former commercial model, Cue is the brains behind MAGS, one of the country’s most successful clothing brands. Originally from Cagayan de Oro, MAGS now boasts of twenty-one branches nationwide and has dressed countless of celebrities and influential ladies in the society. She was one of 2013’s Best Dressed Women of the Philippines, which is made up of a roster of women who have “accomplished in their chosen passion yet remain humble; driven yet compassionate.

7. Margarita Moran Floirendo

Margarita Morán Floirendo is a multi-awarded peace advocate for her efforts in Mindanao and currently the President of Ballet Philippines. She gained prominence when she won the Miss Universe in 1973 at Athens, Greece. Two years after her reign, she married and managed to finish her Business Administration degree in Boston University and took her masters in University of London. She once hosted ABS-CBN’s “Margie on Mindanao” and produced a multi-awarded movie, “Bagong Buwan”. Moran is also notable for her social and civic works especially for promoting peace and livelihood as part of the Mindanao Commission on Women Organization and recently as an ambassador-trustee of Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

8. Angel Aquino

Originally from Barobo, Surigao del Sur, Angelita Velasquez-Aquino is a fashion model and an award-wining film and television actress. She graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio, with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism course. She has won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards from PMPC Star Awards, Gawad Tanglaw, CineFilipino Film Festival and Balanghai. She was also nominated in various Gawad Urian and FAMAS awards.

9. Yvette Marie Celi Punzalan

Yvette’s Bags and Beads started as a hobby of owner/designer Yvette Marie Celi-Punzalan, who made these crocheted straw bags for herself before it eventually grew into a business, thanks to the positive feedback from her family and friends. Today, she employs and trains women, mostly housewives, to help crochet the bags based on her designs.

10. Joji Ilagan Bian

Joji Ilagan Bian is a well-respected business leader and educator in Mindanao. She is the Founding Chairman of Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines and Country Representative – Philippines to the Asia Pacific Council of Hotel and Restaurant Institution Education. She is the Chairman of the Joji Ilagan Career Center Foundation which operates the Joji Ilagan College of Business and Tourism; Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship; JIB International School of Hotel and Tourism Management (General Santos City); Tumble Tots Phil. Franchise; JIB E- Academy and Six Eleven Global Solution.

11. Bayang Barrios

Bayang Barrios, who hails from Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, and is best known for her use of indigenous instruments and styles. She has released 5 albums, the latest of which was “Malaya” released in 2013. Barrios has won various awards, such as the Manila MetroPop Music Festival, Anvil Awards, Catholic Mass Media Awards, Katha Awards, and the Hanoi Music Festival.

12. Juris Fernandez

Multi-awarded Dabawenya singer and songwriter Julie Iris Fernandez-Lim was the lead singer of acoustic group MYMP from 2003 to 2009. Since 2009, she became a regular performer on ABS-CBN’s ASAP as part of the group called the Sessionistas. Since she went solo in 2009, her solo albums has reached Gold and Platinum status. She has also released albums in Singapore and Korea.

13. Charita Puentespina

Charita Puentespina is the founder of the Puentespina Orchids and Tropical Plants Inc based in Davao City. It was the result of her passion for horticulture with her efforts to improve her own flowers through hybridization becoming the industry standard of quality. In 2013, awarded Filipina Entrepreneur of 2013 along with eleven awardees. She was also honored as one of the 50 Inspiring Stories of Agri-Entrepreneurs, and credited for saving the Waling-waling, now one of the country’s national flowers, from extinction.

14. Mary Ann Montemayor

Mary Ann “Baby” Montemayor is one of Davao and Mindanao’s staunch tourism advocates – and it shows in her resume. Currently and in the past years, she has led various tourism organizations, such as the Davao Region Tourism Council, Southern Philippines Tourism Council, Southern Philippines Tourism Council, BIMP-EAGA, aside from managing her own hotel, Villa Margarita.

15. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman

Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman is the Anak Mindanao Party List representative in Congress and a committed advocate of women’s rights in Mindanao. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. She also served as director of the Moro Human Rights Center and as president of Pinay Kilos since at least 2007. She has also focused her advocacy on the plight of families in conflict areas of Sulu and Basilan.

16. Dadai Joaquin

Dabawenya artist Dadai Joaquin has been painting and drawing for many years and has been part of several exhibits in Davao and Cagayan de Oro.  She is noted for her works in soil, using the often unseen but very rich colors of common earth to create dramatic paintings.

17. Mimi Vergara Tupas

Dedicated wife, loving mother and entrepreneur, Mimi Vergara Tupas is Davao’s fashion retail queen, the force behind hip clothing brands, SOUL and Pickled & Peppered.  Recently, she has extended her business acumen to producing SOUL Kitchen and Co., a home-based kitchen concoction enterprise that is currently earning raves, with her line of cold-pressed fruit, vegetable juices and healthy salads.

18. Dr. Mae Dolendo

Dr. Mae Dolendo is pediatric oncologist. She is also the head of the Southern Philippines Medical Center’s Children’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Unit. She is also the program director of House of Hope, a transient center for children with cancer with ongoing treatment at SPMC. The center aims to give hope, and provide care and cure to children with cancer.

19. Arlene Cunanan

Davao-born Arlene Cunanan is a wife, a mother of four boys, pianist, entrepreneur and actress based in Singapore. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Music major in Piano Instrument, minor in Marimba and Organ instruments at Colegio de la Imaculada Concepcion in Cebu City with a Master’s Program at the Conservatory of Music, University of the Philippines. In Singapore, she has appeared in TV documentaries and dramas at MediaCorp Channel, various print ads, TV commercials, live skits, short films, corporate videos, glossy magazines and newspapers.

20. Dr. Annabelle Lao-Reyes

Dr. Annabelle Lao-Reyes is a wife, mother, teacher, researcher and a stroke advocate. She is the only female neurologist–psychiatrist in Mindanao and the only stroke specialist and neurosonologist in Mindanao. Aside from the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila, she also trained at the Singapore General Hospital and Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, USA. Her works and research on stroke and cerebrovascular ultrasound has been published over 25 international papers.

21. Melai Cantiveros-Francisco

Comedienne Melai Cantiveros-Francisco of General Santos City is the fifth Big Winner of the hit reality show, Pinoy Big Brother. She, along with her real life partner, Jason Francisco, starred in a reality show spin-off entitled “Melason In Love”. Cantiveros also played one of the leading characters in the daytime drama “Impostor”, which bagged a nomination under Best Telenovela Category in the International Emmy Awards.

22. Frances Margarette Sagulili Esquivel

Born in Davao City, but raised in Los Angeles, Marga Esquivel has a beauty that is the perfect mix of Asian exoticism and California cool. Fluent in English and Tagalog, she has graced the pages of French Elle, Zooey, Phoenix International, Foam, Audrey Magazine, Wad, Nasty Gal, Thomas Wylde, among others, endorsing global brands. Currently doing her rounds in Europe, Marga is serving up Pinay power in the world of fashion.

23. Michelle Solon

Although an Ilonggo, Michelle Solon is a staunch supporter of Sarangani tourism. She is currently the chair of the Regional Tourism Council of the province. Along with the council, she has initiated various tourism campaigns in promoting various tourism products and services in within and beyond the province.

24. Ciara Isabel Uy

Young entrepreneur Ciara Isabel Uy is the executive vice president of Davao Metro Shuttle, a major transport service provider in Southern Mindanao. In their desire to promote Mindanao destinations to more tourists and visitors, they initiated the Destination Mindanaw, a tour program that takes guests to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, Mati in Davao Oriental, Sarangani and General Santos in SOCKSARGEN and Surigao del Sur.

25. Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio

Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio, lovingly called as Inday Sara by Dabawenyos, is Davao City’s first woman mayor and the youngest to have been elected to the post. Before she was elected as Mayor, she first served the city as its Vice Mayor. Today, she is practicing lawyer and hosts a segment in a local TV news program. She is also a Governor of the Philippine National Red Cross.

26. Eleanor Jose

Eleanor Jose is the woman behind the famous Vjandep Pastel of Camiguin, a favorite pasalubong delicacy of those who visit the island. Twenty four years ago, she started the business from what was left of her husband Virgilio’s PhP120 Christmas bonus using the traditional half-drum make-shift oven and produced three boxes of pastel.  Today, she runs she has around 200 employees from all over Mindanao, all treated like family members with free board and lodging. Vjandep, which stands for Virgilio Jose and Elena Popera, Pastel is now sold nationwide.

27. Jojie Alcantara

Jojie Alcantara is an artist, traveler, writer, photographer, TV host, product endorser, and mother.  Her personal advocacy of promoting her country never fails to fill her with adrenalin.  As a photojournalist, she has bagged awards locally and internationally.  She is also Getty Image contributor.  She writes a column in two newspapers, and contributes to travel and airline magazines.  She is also a 3-time Pacific Asia Travel Association Gold Awards nominee.

28. Samerah Gutoc

Noted as one of 500 Most Influential Muslims (The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, Jordan), Samira Gutoc, is a journalist, manager, consultant, environmentalist, trainor, activist, organizer and now a legislator. She obtained her degrees in Communication and Master in International Studies at the University of the Philippines, law degree from the Arellano School of Law and a fellowship at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. She was nominated to The Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service and awarded by Junior Chamber International as one of the country’s Outstanding Young Men for Leadership. She was former Executive Vice President of the 1st National Youth Parliament and Reform ARMM Now spokesperson. She is now an OIC sectoral representative for women and chairs the Committee on Education, Arts, Culture and Sports Development. She also sits as Regent in the Mindanao State University System.

29. Barbara Gaisano
30. Kristine Gaisano
The two entrepreneurs are honored for their contribution in the field of business in Mindanao.

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