In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to honor the many Filipinas in history to commend the Pinay power that has always existed, yet rarely recognized. From World War II revolutionaries to current women of Filipino descent, here’s our short list of Filipina heroines who fearlessly fought for what they believed in.
Captain Nieves Fernandez was the only known Filipino female guerrilla leader. Working with guerrillas south of Tacloban, Miss Fernandez rounded up native men to resist the Japanese. She commanded 110 native who killed more than 200 Japanese with knifes and shotguns made from sections of gas pipe. The Japanese offered 10,000 pesos for her head. She was wounded once. The bullet scar can be seen on her right forearm.
Filipinos call that weapon a bolo, basically a long knife traditionally used for agriculture or trailblazing.
Gabriela 1st Filipino woman to lead an uprising against a foreign power in the case of revolting against Spain. After her revolutionary husband, Diego Silang was assassinated, she decided to continue the Ilocano revel movement before she was captured and executed by the colonial government of the Spanish East Indies .
Aquino has traditionally been called the “Grandmother of the Philippine Revolution”. She fought side by side the Katipuneros risking her own life in the process. During the fight against Spain, she gave 100 sacks of rice and three carabaos to the group.
“I have no regrets and if I had nine lives I would have gladly given them all up for my country.”
In the 1970s, Maria Lorena Barros was well-known in antidictatorship struggle: a charismatic leader, gifted writer, icon of modern Philippine feminism, the “gentle warrior” who defiantly confronted death at the hands of government soldiers, deep in the forests of the Sierra Madre.
By the end of the 1960s, Lorie Barros was being drawn into political activism. She joined exposure trips to the rural areas and immersed herself in the emerging political literature. She organized the all-women Makibaka (Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan) and became its first chairperson. Makibaka chapters quickly spread across the country, in factories, in villages, and even in exclusive girls’ schools
Corazon Aquino may be one of the most well-known heroines in recent Filipino history as the 1st female to be President of the Philippines. She and her husband, Benigno Aquino Sr. both visbily were against Ferdinand Marcos and twenty-one year presidential regime (1965-1986). She led the People Power Revolution in 1986 that successfully restored democracy for the country.