1. María Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang (March 19, 1731–September 29, 1763) was the first Filipino woman to lead a revolt during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. An active member of the insurgent force of Diego Silang, her husband, she led the group for four months after his death before she was captured and executed.
Born in Barangay Caniogan, Santa, Ilocos Sur, Silang was a mestiza, of Spanish and Ilocano descent. She was adopted by a wealthy businessman who later married her at the age of 20, but left after three years. In 1757, she married again, this time to 27-year-old indigenous Ilocano rebel leader, Diego Silang. She became one of his closest advisors, a major figure in her husband’s collaboration with the British and the brief expulsion of Spanish officials from Vigan, Ilocos Sur during the British occupation of the Philippines.
On May 28, 1763, her husband was assassinated by order of royal and church authorities in Manila. After her husband’s death, she fled on horseback to the mountains of Abra to establish her headquarters, reassemble her troops, and rally the Tingguian community to fight. They descended on Vigan on September 10, 1763. But the Spanish garrison was ready, amassing Spanish, Tagalog, and Kapampangan soldiers and Ilocano collaborators to ambush her and rout her forces. Many were killed. She escaped, alongside her uncle Nicolas and seven other men, but later caught on September 29, 1763. They were summarily hanged in Vigan’s plaza, with Gabriela being the last to die.
Her ferocity and death became a symbol for Filipino women, their pre-colonial importance in Filipino society and their struggle for liberation during colonization.
2. Teodora Morales Alonso Realonda y Quintos is the mother of the recognised National Hero, , were prosperous farmers who were granted lease of a hacienda and an accompanying rice farm by the Dominicans. Rizal was the seventh child of their eleven children namely: Saturnina (1850-1913), Paciano (1851-1930), Narcisa (1852-1939), Olympia (1855-1887), Lucia (1857-1919), Maria (1859-1945), José Protasio (1861-1896), Concepcion (1862-1865), Josefa (1865-1945), Trinidad (1868-1951) and Soledad (1870-1929).
The nation grieved upon her death for they have lost a great matriarch.
3. Melchora Aquino de Ramos (January 6, 1812 – March 2, 1919) was a Filipino revolutionary who became known as “Tandang Sora” (“Tandang” is derived from the Tagalog word matanda, which means old) in the history of the Philippines because of her age when the Philippine Revolution broke out in 1896 (she was already 84 at the time). She gained the title Grand Woman of the revolution and the Mother of Balintawak for her heroic contributions to Philippine history.
4. María Corazón Cojuangco-Aquino (born María Corazón Sumulong Cojuangco on January 25, 1933), widely known as Cory Aquino, was the 11th President of the Philippines, serving from 1986 to 1992. She was the first female President of the Philippines and was Asia’s first female President (except Soong Ching-ling, Honorary President and acting Chairman of China). She is a world-renowned advocate of democracy, peace, women’s empowerment, and religious piety.
A self-proclaimed “plain housewife”, Aquino is the widow of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., a leading figure in the political opposition against the autocratic rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. After her husband was assassinated upon his return from exile in the United States on August 21, 1983, Aquino, who had no prior political experience, became a focal point and unifying force of the opposition against Marcos. She was drafted to run against Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential elections. After Marcos was proclaimed the winner despite widespread reports of electoral fraud, Aquino was installed as President by the peaceful 1986 People Power Revolution.
5. Aurora Antonia Aragón de Quezon (born Aurora Antonia Aragón y Molina on February 19, 1888 – April 28, 1949), usually known simply as Aurora Quezon, was the wife of Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezon and the First Lady of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. Though she is recognized as the second First Lady of the Philippines, she was actually the first spouse of a Philippine president to be called as such, the honorific being unknown during the presidency of Emilio Aguinaldo, and thus not applied at that time to his wife Hilaria. Much beloved by Filipinos, Quezon was known for involvement with humanitarian activities and served as the first Chairperson of the Philippine National Red Cross.
Five years after her husband’s death, Quezon and her daughter “Baby” were assassinated while they were en route to open a hospital dedicated to the late President. The province of Aurora was named in her memory.
6. Sonia Cubillo Malasarte-Roco (born July 20) is the widow of the late senator of the Philippines and former Presidential candidate Raul Roco. She ran for the Senate in the 2007 Philippine Midterm Elections under her late husband’s party, Aksyon Demokratiko, which is allied with the broad opposition coalition called Genuine Opposition. She joined the coalition after JV Ejercito, son of deposed President Joseph Estrada, pulled out as an opposition candidate at his father’s behest.
7. Jesusa Purificación Levy Sonora-Poe (born on July 28, 1941 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines), better known as Susan Roces, is a Filipina actress and the widow of Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, popularly known as Fernando Poe, Jr. She was born to a white American mother of French blood and a Filipino father of Spanish and Chinese blood.
Her sister, Rosemarie Sonora, and niece Sheryl Cruz are also actresses.
Following the death of her husband in 2004 at the age of 65, Roces became a rallying point for the political opposition in the Philippines.
On June 2005, she was one of the key figures calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In a fiery speech, she claimed that “She stole the presidency not once, but twice!”
8. Lea Salonga, KL (born Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga on February 22, 1971 in the Philippines) is a multi-awarded Filipino singer and actress who is best known for originating the role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon. In the field of musical theatre, she is recognized for having won the Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Theatre World Awards, the first to win various international awards for a single role. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway.
Salonga is the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin in 1992 and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II in 1998 and in 2004, respectively.
9. Lydia de Vega-Mercado (born December 12, 1964) is a former athlete from the Philippines, was considered Asia’s fastest woman in the 1980s. As Asia’s sprint queen, she ran away with the gold medal in the 100-meter dash in the 1982 New Delhi Asiad and duplicated the feat in the 1986 Seoul Asiad where she was clocked 11.53 seconds. She also brought home a silver medal in the 200-meter race from the 1986 Seoul Asiad.
10. Cecile Licad (born May 11, 1961 in Manila, Philippines) is a Filipina virtuoso classical pianist.
Licad began her piano studies at the age of three with her mother, Rosario Licad, and later studied with the highly regarded Rosario Picazo. At the age of seven, she made her debut as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Philippines. She went on to study with Rudolf Serkin at the Curtis Insititute of Music.
Cecile Licad’s repertoire as an orchestral soloist ranges from the classical repertoire of Mozart and Beethoven to the Romantic literature of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Rachmaninoff to the modern works of Debussy, Ravel, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók.
As one of the youngest musicians to receive the prestigious Leventritt Gold Medal in 1981, Cecile won international recognition. Licad has appeared regularly with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Children’s Orchestra,and the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Phoenix and Vancouver.