Espina: WOW: Women of Worth

Mila C. Espina
·3 min read

Zonta International, through its president Sharon Lagenbeck, has encouraged all Zontians across the globe to strengthen their advocacy and service and celebrate March as International Women’s Month. The Rose Award is one significant program, honoring women achievers.

The 2021 Rose Awardees of Zonta Club of Cebu 1: Melanie Ng, Nellie Chiu, Aida Uy, Sylvia Paderangga, Emily Chioson, Jane Gocuan and Linda Binghay.

The pandemic tested the grit of women, specifically housewives who work harder to support their family because their husbands, mostly drivers and construction workers, had lost their jobs.

Frank Lynch, in his study of Filipino values, cited long suffering women who are the “ilaw ng tahanan (light of the household),” the stronger breadwinner in the family.

Oh, there are indeed so many untold stories of the underprivileged women!

During my last years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences/Graduate school, following the vertical alignment of deanship, I conducted several descriptive research works, one of them was on women achievers. My respondents were three selected groups of selected teachers, doctoral and mass communication students whose research was delimited to their realm of exposures to the topics and subjects of inquiry. The subjects of the research excluded women who were elected in the public office.

The Outstanding Women Achievers of Cebu, whose leadership and projects benefited a reasonable number of beneficiaries, were also cited by other institutions. The ultimate icons are Ingrid Sala Santamaria, Fe Villarica and Dr. Amparito Lhuillier.

Women in Travel in the mid-‘80s, also cited Nelia Neri and Flor Ynclino in the fields of arts and media. In the early 2000, P.E.O.P.L.E—inspired by the Valuable Filipinos of Philippines Foundation—honored Dr. Lhuillier for education and scholarship, Beling Go Ching Hai for civic involvement in Forward, Delia Villacastin and Monette Aliño for the performing arts, and Girlie Laspiñas for Cebuano music (who sang her heart on national television to help her ailing husband).

Nonie Uy was cited by the University of San Jose-Recoletos College of Arts and Sciences and Speechcom for her 10-year program for Model Teachers Award, through the Victor Uy Foundation.

The airline industry awarded Aida Uy of Fortune Travel and Marget Villarica of Destination Specialists. The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (CCCI) Cebu Business Month Tourism Congress, during my chairmanship in 2009, acknowledged the travel and tourism initiatives of travel executives like Alice Queblatin, Dawnie Roa, Tetta Baad, Lita Urbina and Jessica Avila.

Consuls Armi Garcia and Emily Benedicto excelled in diplomatic relations. Marissa Fernan was noted for her durable SM management.

Education paid tribute to Dr. Lourdes Quisumbing who served the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education; Sister Merced of St Theresa’s College; Dr. Alice Tan of University of San Carlos, then University of Cebu; Dr. Fe Necesario; and Dr. Concesa Baduel of the University of the Visayas.

Civic leader Mary Ann Solomon led the fight against cancer, along with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Nelia Navarro. The first women presidents of the CCCI were Tess Chan and Melanie Ng. The St. Therese Parish in Lahug cited the leadership of Anita Cabinan and Pauline Deduque.

Excellent in both their professions and Zonta Area 3 leadership were Anita Sanchez, Elena Young and Stella Bernabe. The Zonta Club of Cebu 1 icons were founder Dr. Suga Yuvienco Sotto, past presidents Amparo Rodil, Merle Cunanan and Felisa Chiongbian. In literature, the students picked Aida Rivera Ford, Edith Tiempo, Kerima Polotan and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard whose works were subjects of theses and dissertations. The efforts of writer Erlinda Alburo and thespian Mayen Angbetic Tan, broadcast media practioners Malou Guanzon and Ginny Vamenta were noted by literature and masscom students.

Gloria Sevilla, Pilar Pilapil, Donna Cruz Larrazabal, Dulce, Manilyn Reynes, Vina Morales and Elizabeth Ramsey put Cebu on the entertainment map.

Cebu has a galaxy of women achievers—yes, Women of Worth. I am sure there are more successful women not cited in these initial surveys. We encourage more researchers to do related studies. (To be continued)