100 Outstanding Scholasticans
The thread of Scholastican inspiration

The St. Scholastica's Alumnae Foundation, Inc. (SSAFI) Centennial Award honors 100 Outstanding Scholastican Alumnae who have achieved the vision of Scholastican education of a "true and finished woman of character," earning multiple distinctions and exceptional recognition for their excellence in their chosen fields.


With her gift of healing, Estela Adorador Pacificar went on to become a successful gynecologist with her own
practice, Pacificar Women's Medical Center in Sunset Ave., California.  Her Benedictine passion for service is kept alive through her consistent participation in medical missions, offering free gynecological surgeries in Batangas, Mindoro, Dumaguete and Bulacan, Philippines since 1988.

Carrying on the legacy of her Benedictine education, Milagros Araneta Villasor became an educator and administrator, attaining her Teachers College Professional Diploma from Columbia University, New York.  Since then, she has engaged her love for public service by becoming Regional Governor of the Soroptomist International of the Americas in the Philippines, encouraging professional women to provide volunteer service for the community.

In 1950, Erlinda Ignacio Espiritu became the first Filipina Graduate of Harvard Law School.  After ten years as legal counsel with the J. Amado Araneta Group of Companies, she opened the Rural Bank of Calapan, offering low interest loans to help finance small-income producing ventures, families and individuals who need house-building or funds for hospitalization.  She is the first President of the Seminar Aid Society of St. Augustine Seminary in Calapan and Vice-President of the Parish Pastoral Council.  She has just finished composing a concertino in E minor for two pianos in three movements.

Gretchen Catherine Barbara Clemente Arnaldo composed the theme song and music for St. Scholastica's College Service Awards in 2005.  Glee Club Moderator of the school for seven years, she has a knack for tapping the potential students in music and performance, winning numerous competitions such as the recent CCP Samu't Saring Nationwide Choral Festival for High School.  Receiving the Teaching Award in 2005, she was tapped to be the PEHM Coordinator of the High School Department for 2007.

Mercy Arrastia-Tuason's life mission took a different turn when she was widowed at a young age.  She became a successful businesswoman and helped others in their own crises.  Awards and citations from Bigay-Puso Foundation, Missionaries of the Child Jesus, Malacañang Palace, and her induction into the prestigious Order of Malta, re only some of the things that attest to her unwavering charitable and socio-civic accomplishments.  Currently, she is affiliated with Hero Foundation, Center for Peace, Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Our Lady of Mercy Halfway House, Friends of Elsie Gaches, Red Cross and Tuason Community Center, among others.

Moving to Mindanao in 1976, Maria Lourdes Avanceña-Arcenas became involved in the community through her efforts to uplift competence-building.  She pioneered psychological services (psychodiagnostics, counseling), founded PEACE Foundation to provide livelihood funds for SMEs and Demolan Foundation to assist the indigenous cultural community, and spearheading the Philippine Integrity Fund for anti-corruption programs.

As a student leader, Daisy Barawidan Lizaso was exposed to community and socio-civic work through Operation Brotherhood and the University on Wheels project.  After spending time in a Benedictine novitiate, she found that her calling lay outside the walls of the convent.  She worked for the United Nations, eventually becoming head of the Administrative Unit of the International Civic Service Commission, Department of International Economic Cooperation.  Beyond this, she found time for other civic and charitable endeavors, co-founding the first St. Scholastica's Alumnae Association USA, presenting a working, thriving model for other Scholastican alumnae to follow.

Raised in a family of thespians and artists, it was no surprise that Carmen Barredo became a pioneering force in Philippine theater arts.  With Zenaida Amador, she co-founded the first theater company in the country, the prestigious Repertory Philippines.  Through her influence and mentoring the country's best artists thrived: Leo Martinez, Peque Gallaga, Monique Wilson, Lea Salonga, Laurice Guillen, Bart Guingona, Audie Gemora, Cocoy Laurel, to name a few.  She has appeared in over 200 productions, including television and film, winning the ALIW Hall of Fame Best Actress award, Ten Outstanding Women award, Alay ng Maynila and Karilagan Awards.

Through her perseverance and faith, Gina Barroquillo Prudencio embodies the Scholastican tradition of Ora et Labora.  Starting as a store clerk in the US, her determination has been rewarded, achieving her current position in Countrywide Home Loans as a Team Leader for Acquisitions.  As a devoted wife and mother, she is actively involved as a volunteer team teacher for the first grade Catholic Doctrine class in St. Mark's Catholic Parish Church.  She is also a Marine Spouse Key Volunteer for the Family Readiness Program, linking Marines overseas with their families.

Devoting her life to the academic field, Dr. Cecile B. Gutierrez served in St. Scholastica's College Manila from 1979 until 2002.  As a committed educator, she became a member of the Training Committee of the Foundation for the Upgrading of the Standards of Education (FUSE), core faculty and Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute (SAIDI), and a Quality Assessor of tertiary level program for the Commission on Higher Education.

Her creative spirit and passion for serve led Marilyn Besa-Gamboa to become more than an artist.  As leader of the Silay City Artists Association, Inc. and founder of the Negros Cultural Foundation, she helped put Negros Cultural Foundation, she helped put Negros on the map again as a bastion of culture and arts.  During the 1970 sugar crisis, she and like-minded Negrense women established the Association of Negros Producers, creating new means of livelihood for families of struggling sugar farmers, marketing these products through Negros Trade Fairs.  She remains active in the Conchita Gaston Cancer Foundation, Mission Makabuhay Foundation, Negros New Beginnings and the Marian Missionary of Talisay.

After the devastation of WWII left St. Scholastica's school buildings in ruins, Dolores Colayco began efforts in putting together the roster of alumnae from old school records.  She worked with Dr. Sison and Benedictine nun Sr. Ligouri, to help ill, but financially-challenged people seek treatment at the Philippine General Hospital.  She served as a role model and inspiration in catechetical instruction as well as recruitment into the Sodality

Devoted to her family and community, Dr. Sylvia Capistrano Estrada has been involved with the Philippine Newborn Screening Program since 1996, engaging in training, advocacy and policy work to ensure quality newborn screening.  Currently a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UP Manila's College of Medicine and Research Faculty of the National Institutes of Health-Philippines, she is also part of the Department of Health Task Force for Newborn Screening.  She is a frequently invited lecturer on Pediatric Endocrinology, genetic metabolic disorders and newborn screening.

Director of Strategic Planning for FCB Healthcare New York, Angela Castro Loeber is widely recognized for her exceptional strategic skills. Spearheading the first HIV Market Expansion Initiative for Glaxo Wellcome, she began a groundbreaking multi-ethnic campaign trend.  She also pioneered a "New World of Strategic Planning," a philosophy that "ignited a new era of growth ... in the US healthcare industry" (FCB Healthcare Bulletin, 2002).  Her decade-long involvement in educational projects started with Philippine International Aid and the "Off the Screen, Off to School" program, helping over 50 students nationwide.  Through her family's foundation, she sponsors selected nursing students from Pulilan, Bulacan.

With her superior academic accomplishments, Naty Silva Castro chose to serve as a community physician, working unselfishly to improve Community-Based Health Program (CBHP) in the country.  Her work in Agusan del Norte empowered local health committees with trained community health workers to set up an effective, people-managed, community-based health care delivery system.  She has also helped the Missionary Sisters of Mary implement a three-year comprehensive Alternative Health Program in 12 lumad communities in the province.

A senior Physician and Partner at McGovern Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Texas, Theresa Chan Queng has received the WHO-UNICEF Pediatric Nutrition Research Award for her project sponsored by Meals for Millions Foundation Philippines, American Medical Association Physician's Recognition awards, and the Distinguished International Physician's Award presented by the American College of International Physicians, Inc.  She volunteers as liaison between physicians at Texas Medical Center and patients from out of town or overseas (including Filipino patients), and supports scholarship funding for Filipino students.  She promotes Filipino-Chinese culture through her much-admired Chinese paintings and her passion for the culinary arts.

Lay missionary Maria Luisa Chikiamco's charitable spirit was inspired by her own parents' generosity to the poor.  Serving for six years as a nun with the Good Shepherd congregation, she cared for disenfranchised and abused women.  However, she found her true calling as a lay person, doing God's work in the Tuloy sa Don Bosco streetchildren program, and helping financially-challenged sick patients raise money for hospital bills, among others.  Fondly known as a "Beggar for the Lord," she is the Directress of Anawin Lay Missions, a home for the abandoned elderly and infirm in Montalban Rizal.

As Coordinator of the CBCP National Lenten Action Program (Alay Kapwa 1981-1992), Sr. Fe Andrea Collantes represented the CBCP in Asian Regional Conferences on Evangelization held in different Southeast Asian Countries.  She became Secretary of the Cease-fire Committee during the GRP-NDF peace talks in 1986-1987 and a Secretariat staff of the PCP II in 1991.  From 1981 until 1992, she was the writer and editor of AK Lenten-Advent Reflections.

Determined and sharp-minded, Margarita De Vega Francisco excelled in the corporate world.  After a successful career in Citibank, she became Director for Equities Research for Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Philippines (DMG), earning third-place ranking in Institutional Investor Magazine's Annual Survey of Outstanding Research Analysts in Asia - a first for DMG Philippines.  She also placed second in Asiamoney Magazine's Annual Poll of the Best Stockbrokers, the highest ranking achieved by DMG both in Asia and Australia.  In 1998, she happily focused her time and effort to her family and community as Vice-President for Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc.

A born leader, Ma. Fatima V. Francisco represents the strength and values of Benedictine education through her initiative to give back to the community.  As the first female Sales Manager of Procter & Gamble Philippines and the current Global Marketing Director for Baby and Toddler Personal Care of the company, this God-centered mother of four is a living inspiration to women everywhere.  She offers herself in service of our future leaders by mentoring young Asians in Procter & Gamble and Xavier University, as well as volunteering for Religious Education in Good Shepherd Parish, Cincinnati.

As a diplomat's wife, Milagros R. del Rosario's role can never be understated.  She successfully nurtured her children while offering constant guidance and support for her husband.  Ambassador Ramon R. del Rosario.  Through her Milagros R. del Rosario Foundation, she has supported scholarship efforts, religious causes and drug rehabilitation treatments.  Among the beneficiaries are the St. Scholastica Archive Museum, Caritas Manila, University of St. La Salle, Foundation for Carmelite Scholastics, Bishops-Businessmen's Conference and the New Beginnings Foundation.  In 2002, her tireless efforts were recognized as she received the prestigious Papal Award, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. 

Accomplished musician Priscilla de la Fuente Sison opened the Santa Cecilia Piano Studio after teaching in St. Scholastica's Music Department for 14 years.  Using her talent, she organized successful benefit concerts, such as "Three Generations in Concert" for the construction of the Santa Maria della Strada Church in Quezon City.  As President of the Celia Club in Bulacan, she uses music's positive impact on a person's values to encourage cultural and spiritual change.  She received Service Awards from Ateneo de Manila Grade School Department and the St. Scholastica Music Alumnae Association.

"Supermom" Boots Delgado Montano is known as a Fine Homes and Estates, Relocation and Mature Moves Specialist for Century 21 in Canada.  She has won numerous awards, including five Centurion Awards for the top 2% sales producers worldwide.  Under her leadership, SSC alumnae in Toronto raised a total of 605,375 pesos for scholarships, the SSC Music Ministry and Father Reuter's Mission in Manila.  She remains active in the Parish Council in Ontario and received the Medal of Honor from His Holines Pope John Paul II as a Zone Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Toronto during World Youth Day 2002.

Virginia Domingo-Gonzalez believes in the importance of education for the youth.  She tirelessly gives her time and support to religious and civic organizations such as the St. Scholastica Lifeline Team (SSALT), offering financial aid for Don Bosco Technical School scholars, Concerned Women of the Philippines and various parish outreach programs.

While Sr. Lumen could send everyone up in gales of laughter, behind her jokes is someone who is passionate about the Missionary Benedictine Sisters.  She has a nothing-is-impossible outlook in life, especially regarding the religious vocation, encouraging many to answer their calling.  As Sub-Prioress, she serves the congregation with certainty and resolve, seeing any idea or project through with tenacity and confidence.

When Cynthia Estaniel gave up her academic career to care for her sick grandmother, she unknowingly began her path to success.  Focusing on her private practice, Estaniel Medical and Dental Clinics, she now co-owns a building and has expanded to a dental and sub-lease business with sophisticated equipment.  Awarded Outstanding Secretary for Scientific Sessions by the Philippine Dental Association, the Department of Health and Bureau of Food and Drugs regularly refer to her expertise in oral preparations.  After her grandmother's death, she helped underprivileged women and children in her community and joined Soroptomist International of Alabang, becoming club President for two terms.

The Dean of College of International Hospitality Management in Lyceum of the Philippines since 1988, Amparo Santos finished her graduate degree in Sociology at the University of Southern California.  As founder of Philippine Association of Secretarial Educators (now Philippine Association of Educators in Office Administration), she is tireless in her drive to help the new generation attain academic excellence.  She was awarded Outstanding Business Educator by Petron, the Commission on Higher Education and Council of Deans and Educators in Business for her involvement in the improvement of Secretarial Education for the past 25 years.

Musically-inclined, Sr. Mary Vincent Feliciano graduated from St. Scholastica's College with a Bachelor of Music in Piano.  She attained her Graduate Degree in Religious Science at the Regina Mundi Pontifical Institute in 1974.  After serving as President of St. Peter's College in Ormoc, she became her alma mater's Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Graduate School.  She is a staunch supporter of scholarships for financially-challenged, but academically qualified students.

Delia Gamboa-Besa's superior musical talent afforded her a grant from the French Government in 1982 for Master classes in piano ensemble at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris.  From 1983 to 1986, she was the Assistant Dean of St. Scholastica's College of Music.  Along with fellow musicians Anamaria G. de Guzman and Mary Ann Armovit, she has performed as a concert pianist specializing in duo-piano music all over the Philippines, in Beijing, China, Honolulu, Hawaii, and San Francisco, New York, New Jersey and Chicago.

Bong Coo was given an exceptional athletic gift in Sport Bowling, resulting in a very colorful sports career: winning 77 medals - 37 are gold medals - for the Philippines in SEA Games, Asian Games, World Championships and the Bowling World Cup.  In 1979, she became the first Filipino athlete in the Guinness Book of Records, and went on to join the World Bowling Writers International Hall of Fame in 1993.  Even as she became a successful proprietor of The Bowler International Sports Trade, she continues to teach Sport Bowling at the University of the Philippines and Colegio de San Juan de Letran to encourage and train aspiring athletes.  She was instrumental in lowering tariff and duties of bowling and billiards equipment, greatly helping the development of these sports.

After earning her Graduate and Doctorate degrees at Cornell University Eva Beatriz Gonzalez devoted herself to developing outstanding Home Economics curricula for the Philippines, and other third world countries becoming a UNESCO consultant responsible for the UN-ESCAP Regional Center for Technology Transfer.  In January 2006, she received the National Patnubay Award given by the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines for establishing the BS Hotel and Restaurant Administration Program in the University of the Philippines, promoting hospitality education as a field of study in the Philippines.

Esteemed journalist and multi-media production leader Maan Hontiveros is Managing Editor of Newsbreak and President of the Foundation for Independent and Responsible Journalism, and a Convenor for Plunderwatch, a citizen's watchdog group.  She founded Earth Society Philippines, Inc. and Ecological Society of the Philippines, and supports the Environmental Broadcast Council.  She is a founding member of Citizen's Disaster Rehabilitation Network, focused on relief work with training programs to prepare citizens for natural and man-made disasters.  In 1988, she received the Outstanding Achievement Medal for public service of the highest order for her participation in the People's Revolution in 1986.

Early in her career with the United Nations, Cecilia Jarencio Bengzon was promoted as Finance and Budget Officer, gaining experience in financing and peace-keeping operations in Asia and the Middle East.  She was designated Chief of Asia and Middle East Section of the Peace-keeping Financing Division, helping to set a new standard for peace-keeping operations by taking part in the UN's involvement in resolving the Cambodian political conflict.  The format she developed for the presentation of General Assembly documents has been used as the framework for future peace-keeping financing documents.

As Director of the Outreach and Exchange Division of Cultural Center of the Philippines since 1994, Carmencita Jasareno Bernardo embodied the Scholastican values of service and excellence through her national contributions and support for arts and culture.  Her national and international commendations from institutions such as Philippine Commission on Higher Education, Asian Cultural Council, Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, among others, attest to the positive impact of her endeavors to community development in the country.

An office assistant for San Mateo County Human Services Agency in Belmont, California for the past six years, Lourdes Jane Javier Tan also answers and screens calls for the Child Abuse  Hotline of the Children's Protective Services.  She helped raise funds for building the Foster City Library the Senior Center in Foster City.  She received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature, Speaker Pro Tempore and a Certificate of Achievement by the Filipino-American Association of Foster City.

After seven years as Director for Academic Relations for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in Chicago, Linda Lagman Hoops began a successful career in Hospitality Management Consultancy.  She conducted pro bono workshops with free learning aids for Philippine foundations related to the hospitality industry.  She is an avid supporter of the Susan C. Komen Breast Foundation, Meals on Wheels and the Youth Home for children with incarcerated parents.  She received the Lamp of Knowledge Award in 1992 and the Howard B. Meek Award, the highest individual recognition for a member of the International Council of Hotel Restaurant Institutional Educators.

At 13, Virginia Laico Villanueva won the Manila Symphony Young Artist Contest.  A Battig Music Society scholar at St. Scholastica's College Manila, she went on to study in Chicago with a Lake View Musical Society scholarship.  She won several competitions, including the Young Artist Award of the National Federation of Music Clubs of the USA - the youngest and first Asian to win.  After a Teaching Fellowship at Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, she returned to the Philippines joining the music faculty of her alma mater and performing in benefit concerts for the Battig Scholarships, Don Bosco Foundation, Friends of PGH, and others.

Migrating to Canada, Zennie Lat Bernardo became Service Tax Auditor for Goods and Service Tax at the Federal Government's Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, receiving the Director's Award for Excellence and the Special Assistant Director's Award for Excellence.  She was awarded the Golden Jubilee Medal from the Federal Government of Canada and the Distinguished Service Award from the Certified General Accountants of Ontario for her volunteer work in organizing free tax clinics to the elderly and poor of metro Toronto.  She is also a founding member of St. Scholastica's College Alumnae Association, helping to raise funds for charity.

An energetic student leader, Donna Badillo Ledda Hess won the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award.  She earned a scholarship from Goethe Institut in Manila and represented the Philippines at the 1976 Aiesec International Congress in Brunnen Switzerland.  Traveling through Europe, she apprenticed in Nuremberg Hotel and worked at the Aiesec Germany National Committee in Cologne.  She is now Honorary Vice-Consul for the Honorary Consulate of the Philippines in Frankfurt, Germany, fostering good relationships between Philippine-German organizations, promoting trade, investment and tourism, and assisting fellow Filipinos in deportation cases, repatriation of the deceased nationals, and helping detained Filipinos.

At age 28, Trinidad Leviste Endaya, became one of the first female local chief executives in the country when she became mayor of Batangas in 1940.  Using her leadership and business skills, she stood by her town through the Japanese Occupation and the Martial Law years.  She donated land and supervised church construction for the Immaculate Conception Church, and raised funds to build schools such as Julio Leviste Agricultural School and the Batangas State University.  Always ahead of her time, she demanded equality in business, politics and society, believing that Filipinas could excel in their chosen field.

Dr. Cherry Librojo is a Partner in the Laser Plastic Surgery Associates and a fellow in the Philippine Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.  In 2003, she received a scholarship grant for fellowship training in Pediatric Plastic Surgery in The Hospital for Sick Children Toronto, Canada.  She continues to volunteer as surgeon for Operation Smile Philippines and Operation Smile International, providing free surgery for people with congenital defects like cleft palate or harelip, and burn victims.  She is an active staff of the Plastic Surgery Section at St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center and Casa Medica in SM Southmall.

Ampy Chua Lim is no stranger to hard work.  Since the fifth grade, she worked part-time work for her family's business, helping it flourish through her hands-on work and determination.  She is now the Board Director of Neco Philippines, Inc. and Vice-President of NKC Property and Development Corporation supporting over 150 employees.  Aside from business, she is dedicated to charity work as a board member of the Catholic Women's League of the Archdiocese of Manila.  Her work benefits the estero people in the Soler-Binondo area where she runs a soup kitchen once a month and teaches cathechism.

After a long banking career with the Philippine Representative Office of the Bank of Montreal and Chemical Bank, New York (now JP Morgan Chase), Olivia returned to the Philippines, becoming a NAMFREL volunteer for three years during the Marcos era and eventually joining the 1986 People Power Revolution.  As Charter President of Zonta Club Pasig in 1993, she began Unang Hakbang Foundation for streetchildren, a representative organization of the St. Francis Parish Church, initiating education-centered programs such as Aral Kalinga and Talon, Takbo, Likha.

A dedicated educator, Mary Ann Mallillin Covarrubias served her alma mater as an administrator, eventually becoming Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in 1997.  Under her leadership, she started systematic evaluation of academic programs and integration of academic and non-academic activities.  She pioneered the Gifted Program for High School and Religious Extension Class, a weekly outreach program for the school's adopted community.  Today, she serves as Vice-President for Academics at St. Mary of the Woods School in Makati and School of Mount St. Mary in Bulacan where she continues to develop better educational programs.

Rose was a three-term president of St. Scholastica's Alumnae Foundation, Inc.  In 1983, she helped establish the St. Scholastica's Alumnae Lifeline Team, involved in livelihood, health and scholarship programs for the poor of Singalong.  Currently, she is the Internal Vice-President and Chairperson of the Scholarship Program and Outreach Committee on SSAFI.

After a career in advertising and banking, Maribi Mapa Garcia started her own business while working part-time with the Senate as Confidential Assistant and EDP Liaison Officer for Sen. Jovito R. Salonga.  She serves the poor through her healing ministry outreach, continuing her leadership in managing Bethesda Springs of Hope, the healing community she co-founded.  She is the best-selling author of spiritual books and articles published by St. Paul's Publications.

After completing her Masters in Nursing at Columbia University, Rosario P. Mayor served in Thailand as a volunteer at the height of the Kampuchean War, then on to the Department of Veterans Affairs improving the performance and quality standards of the nurses.  Currently the President of the Philippine Nurses Association of America, she hopes to develop the 10,000 Filipino-American nurses into the best care providers in the world.  She received the Recognition Award for her work in improving procedures at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center and the Excellence Award for Nursing Administration from the Philippine Nurses Association in New York.

Margarita Mercado Manalo established the Rural Bank of Agoncillo in 1965 to provide low-interest loans for small farmers and rural folk.  She worked tirelessly to acquire land to build the first parish church of Agoncillo, Batangas, the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  She supported her son, the late Fr. Chiqui, in his vocation and livelihood programs.  When her son and husband passed away, Margarita established the Fr. Chiqui Manalo Memorial Foundation to give resources and assistance to deserving seminarians.  One of her last acts of kindness before her death was the donation of land for the National High School in San Juan, Batangas.

Though poor health prevented her from becoming a doctor, Caridad Morente Pineda encouraged others to develop their talents.  She became the President of the Puericulture Center of Concepcion, Tarlac and remained a mentor to the Center for 13 years.  After a car accident claimed the life of her husband, Jesus Pineda, she became a tertiary sister of the Third Order of St. Dominic.  She established a Tertiary Chapter in Tarlac, becoming a Prioress for two consecutive years.  She taught catechism, Spanish language lessons, good manners and right conduct and cooking to member communities until she was 93 years old.

A familiar face in TV news reporting, Tina Monzon Palma eventually became Senior Vice President of GMA 7 news and public affairs.  In 1992, she left the network and began her advocacy for children's welfare by joining the non-government organization, Southeast Asian Children's Television Foundation with Gina Lopez.  In 1997, Tina and Gina Lopez teamed up once again to set up Bantay Bata 163.  Today, as the Program Director, she oversees the different projects of the foundation from rescuing to rehabilitating abused children.

After her career with the Department of Health in Central Sydney, Australia, Neria Nidea Soliman shone as an outstanding community leader, becoming President of the Philippine Community Council, the mother organization of more than 107 Filipino associations in Australia.  She is a respected writer and columnist for the Philippine Community Herald Newspaper for the past 17 years.  She has written and published three books in Australia: Bicol and Filipino Recipes, Cooking with Neria and The Chef's Best Mate.  She is currently involved in the Fil-Oz Village project, constructing 40 houses for the flood victims and poor in Real, Quezon, in partnership with ANCOP GK777.

Juliet Olivares Santos established Our Lady of Fatima University and Fatima Medical Science Foundation, Inc. to provide the youth with scholarships and quality education at affordable tuition rates.  She has sponsored the education of more than ten seminarians each year for the past 20 years.  She was awarded an Honoraris Causa, Doctoral Degree in Humanities for her outstanding efforts as an educator and philanthropist.

MS. ROSALINDA L. OROSA.  An institution in Philippine journalism for her articles on culture and the arts, Baby Orosa has written for Manila Times, Daily Express, Manila Chronicle and The Philippine Star.  Her book, "Above the Throng" is widely considered required reading for art and culture lovers. Many times, she used her influence to help Filipino artists such as Cecile Licad, Aurelio Estanislao, Santiago Yangco, and Manuel Baldemor.  She was awarded The Order of Merit with Rank of Officer by the French government, and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit, the highest distinction given by the German government.  The International Biographical Center in Cambridge nominated her as International Woman of the Year 2000.  She was also named among the 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 20th Century.

With her uncanny vision and determination, National Artist in Dance Leonor Orosa Goquingco brought Philippine talent to international attention by leading and directing the Filipinescas Dance Company in five, highly acclaimed world tours.  She was a creative prodigy, praised for her plays, musical compositions, coffeetable book ("Dances of the Emerald Isles") and articles published in Dance Magazine in New York, Enciclopedia Dello Spectacolo in Rome, Grove's Dictionary in London and Arts of Asia.  Considered the Mother of Philippine Theater Dance, she has stylized the country's folk dances, elevating them into fine art.

Working at Hitachi America Ltd.  For the past eight years, Eva Pascual Cullen made headway as a careerwoman in a "man's profession."  Her integrity and excellent customer service quickly paved the way for her promotion and company awards.  She received the President's Award, the highest award given to an individual or group within the company.  In her community, she volunteered as a teacher at the Home of the Mentally Retarded, and donated her time and resources to the Catholic Workers Homeless Program.  Her husband and she started the Marriage Preparation Program in their Parish Church.

Delen Padilla De la Paz' involvement in primary health care made her popular among international health volunteers.  After her rural practice program among the Manolo tribes of Agusan del Sur, she persevered in the Council for Primary Health Care even with little support during the Marial Law era.  Her health advocacies include women's reproductive rights, AIDS, and health policy, just to name a few.  Currently, she teaches at the University of the Philippine College of Medicine as Vice Chair for Community Medicine and Vice Chief of the Social Medicine Unit, and serves as Executive Director of the Health Action Network.

As a community development worker, Lody Padilla Espenido has worked with donor funding agencies that support community development initiatives in the country.  She became the Program Coordinator of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives under the Canadian International Development Agency.  Currently, she is the Program Coordinator of the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program, ensuring that the grant funds go to projects that contribute to the development of Filipino communities and individuals.

Dr. Dominga B. Padilla was the first recipient of the Jesus Tamesis Community Service Award as founder and president of the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines and her outstanding contribution to Philippine Ophthalmology, making donor corneas available, especially to underprivileged patients.  She is President of the Teodoro R. Padilla Foundation, named after her late father, helping to fund treatment for cancer patients.  She received the Hero for Health award for spearheading projects that had a sustainable impact on healthcare.  The Eye Bank of the Philippines is considered one of the top two eye banks in the world today.

Working with the Commission on Human Rights and the Benigno Aquino Foundation, Paulynn Sicam developed curricula for training programs that integrated human rights values.  A John S. Knight Fellow at Standford University, she became the speechwriter for President Corazon Aquino.  Today, she is editor-in-chief of CyberDyaryo, an online newsmagazine tackling issues of Philippine civil society.  She took part in Project Codewan, providing free email and internet access to Filipino NGOs.  With her extensive experience, she has been tapped as a resource person on the development of human rights reporting and awareness in the Asean region.

A successful entrepreneur, Mary Grace Peckson Dimacali is the driving force behind Mary Grace Foods.  With her business expanding to eight branches, she attributes her success not only to her experience or education, but also to her faith.  She is a cooperator of Opus Dei and the Public Relations Coordinator in the Parish Pastoral Council and editor of the parish newsletter.  As Association President, she established a recycling and segregation program and built an Ecology Center in her neighborhood.  With her children grown, and her business stable, she shares the blessings of her life through volunteer work in the church and community.

A top leader of Reliv, Rose Peña Blancaflor achieved the level of Presidential Silver Ambassador, representing the direct-selling company worldwide.  She was recently inducted to the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines Hall of Fame.  She considers her faith and her husband her driving force in her business.  She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Inc., the only agency apart from DSWD allowed by law to place children for local adoption.

With her exceptional cooking skills, Lourdes Perez del Rosario became known for her desserts and pastries.  She regularly supplied brittle torte to the Talk of the Town coffee shop in Manila Doctor's Hospital at Elvira Manahan's request.  She was also tapped to organize Makati Medical Center's Dietary Department.  Finally, she established El Comedor, her very own Spanish restaurant in 1975.  The book, "El Comedor: Meals and Memories" compiled by Marilen and Tina Lopez was on National Bookstore's Bestseller List.  She supports the Tahanan ng Mabuting Pastol Seminary in Tagaytay and the Our Lady of the Pillar Seminar in Imus, Cavite.

Starting as secretary and technical assistant in the House of Representatives and a member in the Board of Censors of Motion Pictures, Carmen Pichay Crisologo eventually became Governor of Ilocos Sur for eight years.  She received several national awards and citations for her inspired leadership and dedicated service, including the honor, "Woman Humanitarian Education Economist Governor of Ilocos Sur."  She supports socio-civic and cultural organizations such as the Ilocos Sur Girl Scout Council, Ilocos Sur Historical Society, and Red Cross Ilocos Sur, among others.  Her perseverance and faith amid her eventful family life made her an exemplary "Gintong Ina" awardee in 1990.

Rocio Prats Baltao discovered her natural business savvy when her husband, Eugenio, passed away, leaving her to continue the businesses he had started.  Her success in developing the Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital and the Nueva Ecija Colleges, Pines City Doctors Hospital and Pines City Colleges are testimony to her great leadership.  Her vision of expansion into state-of-the-art healthcare providers became a reality, making Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital "Best Tertiary Hospital" in the province in 2004.  She actively supports socio-civic groups and charities including Caritas Manila and UNICEF.

Dedicated to education and community development.  Sr. Maria Carmen Reyes' expertise brought her to Africa and Japan as Educational Consultant where she pioneered the systematization of formal schools in Japan and educational and practical livelihood projects in Rwanda.  A compassionate community organizer in several Community Development Centers, she became the first Co-Executive Director of the Marie Eugenie

As a fellow in the Infections Diseases program of Wayne State University (WSU), Milagros Reyes' research on myocarditis established her flourishing academic career.  She became full-time faculty to the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine at WSU, Michigan, then a diplomate in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.  She is now a tenured Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University, receiving the College Teaching Award in 1999 and 2001.  Through the Philippine Association of Michigan, she organized medical missions to the Philipines.  She leads an active parish life as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist.

A Consultant Pediatrician at the Philippine General Hospital, Clinica dela Rosa and Manila Children's Hospital, Dulce Reyes-Agcaoili began her extensive training and experience in Neonatal and Premature Infant Care in Cook County General Hospital in Chicago.  She has been a lecturer in Child and Maternal Hygiene and Care for the Newborn at St. Scholastica's College for the past ten years as well as a faculty member of the UP PGH College of Medicine. 

A successful businesswoman of a taxi fleet, real estate, investments and a rural bank, Josefa Reyes Luz wanted more than material fulfillment.  She started a feeding center in Leveriza, Manila and visited sick elderly people.  In the 1960s, she was instrumental in founding the first SOS Children's Village for abandoned children in Lipa City.  She received the Papal Award in 1981 as an exemplary member of the Parish of San Sebastian, Lipa City.

 Her experience as an activist during the Martial Law era developed Therese Rodriguez into a leader, preparing her for her current position as Executive Director of the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS Inc., a non-profit AIDS service organization based in New York.  Under her watch, the organization developed a one-stop model of service delivery with a whole range of HIV services to treat the afflicted and help individuals at risk for infection remain healthy.  Among many awards, she received the Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields Award for her selfless service.

Malu Hagedorn Roldan has completed her studies in California and has worked to integrate service to the community in her classes.  She organized valuable technology skills to non-profit organizations, supporting health fairs and communing mapping activities, as well as highly successful projects in community-based technology and learning innovations funded by Hewlett-Packard and the National Collegiate Investors Alliance.  She was given an award for Successful Integration of Information Literacy and led the winning team of the EPICS Idea-to-Product Competition.

A recipient of two Fulbright grants, Dr. Rose Salazar Clemeña used her academic achievements for educational development and community service.  Based on her work for the UNESCO project on Innovative In-Service Teacher Training Programs, she developed an in-service education program for public school elementary teachers.  Today, she is a Faculty Member of the Psychology Department of De La Salle University and Executive Vice-President of the College of Saint Benilde.  She received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Metrobank Foundation and Outstanding Faculty of DLSU College of Education.

Focused on learning and prompt positive action, Maria Corona Salcedo Romero obtained three graduate degrees and published over 30 books and articles.  As a dedicated Benedictine Oblate, she wrote The Oblate Handbook and their quarterly newsletter.  She became Director for the National Security Council, Office of the President.  Promoting excellence, she received commendations from Sec. Roilo Golez and former Sec. Alexander Aguirre.  She is the Director of the Catholic Teachers Guild and remains active in her parish as a catechist and leader of its Patrician Discussion Group. 

Through extensive research and experience, Celeste Sanchez pioneered Creative Integrative Education using Music Therapy for the physically disabled, mentally ill, streetchildren and the elderly.  She founded the Divine Mercy Mobile Center of Music and Arts Therapy for Special Children, Adults and Seniors, providing free music lessons as well as folk dances.  She has trained several physically disabled groups and special children for concert performances in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Francisco Santiago Hall, among others.  She received the Ulirang Ina ng Angkan award in 1998 and the Bayani ng Lahi award in 2001.

Leadership came naturally to Linda Santos Edmilao since her school days as a socially concerned student leader.  She became Program Researcher and junior producer for Radio Veritas before immigrating to Canada with her family.  Currently a grade school teacher at Cloverdale Catholic School, she is also a catechist and lay Eucharistic Minister in St. Joseph's Parish Canada and group leader for the Pastoral Council.  She received the Honoria Conway Scholarship from Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception for in-residence summer courses at Our Lady of Peace Institute in Catholic Teaching.

Advocating social justice, property manager and owner Visitacion Santos Narciso used their family properties to help others, giving land near Laguna de Bay to the urban poor of Angono and donating land to the Jesuits and Benedictines.  In support of the Land Reform Program, she voluntarily gave their 400-hectare Hacienda Calantas property in Pampanga.  The 39-hectare forest in Angono that she closed off to human activity is one of the last remaining nature retreats in the area.  She was a major benefactor of Filipino priests and a devoted Scholastican, visiting elderly Sisters every year on Christmas afternoons.

A devoted wife and mother with a gift for words, Anita Sayoc Meily received the Gintong Ina Awardee for Journalism in 1983 and the Catholic Authors Award in 1989.  Her book, "And Life Goes On," collects her articles, including the ones from the column she shared with her husband, Joe Meily, "Joe and Annie: Husband and Wife Speak" in Panorama Magazine.  They were involved in Marriage Encounter programs, counseling couples with an emphasis on values to deepen and broaden the commitment to marriage.  She remains an active counselor in her parish to this day. 

Aida Sevilla Mendoza has written for The Manila Chronicle, Bulletin Today and Bandera, receiving the Jaime V. Ongpin Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2001.  A founding member and Executive Director of Kilusan ng mga Mamimili sa Pilinas, Inc., she wrote and edited its bimonthly consumer magazine, "Mamimili."  Her passion for consumer education continues through her weekly column, "Ang Mamimili" in Philippine Daily Inquirer's Libre.  Her motoring column, "On the Road" in Philippine Daily Inquirer won the 2004 Henry Ford Award for Best Motoring Column.

In her nine years as Councilwoman of Barangay San Antonio, Makati, Josephine Sevillano Gaviola developed a literacy program for underprivileged children in the community and organized outreach programs for battered women, abused and exploited children, and dysfunctional families.  She emerged as a very strong leader in church and civic activities, heading organizations like the Catholic Women's League, Apostleship of Prayer and the Neo-Catechumen Bible Study group.  She received the Leadership Award and Service Award from Catholic Women's League Philippines and a Plaque of Recognition from the Makati Social Welfare Department.

Preciosa Silverio Soliven founded the O.B. Montessori Center (Philippines) in 1975, the largest Montessori in the world with 5,000 students in four branches.  As Secretary General of UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, she helped preserve the Banaue Rice Terraces by working to have it declared a World Heritage Site.  Her numerous awards include the UNESCO Silver Medal as Executive Council Member, the Leadership Award in the 1997 Drug-free Campaign from the Office of the Vice-President of the Philippines, Dangal ng Lipi Award from the Office of the Provincial Board of Bulacan, and a special citation from the Catholic Mass Media Awards for "A Point of Awareness" column (Philippine Star).

A passionate lawyer, Teresita Sison Go has been a partner at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and De Los Angeles Law Offices since 1983, leading the Immigration Department to encourage foreign investors to develop businesses in the country.  She was a member of Brotherhood of Nationalistic, Involved, and Oppression and the "parliament of the streets," decrying the excesses of the Marcos dictatorship, giving free legal assistance to student activists and political detainees.  She is an active member of the UP Women Lawyers' Circle, and Treasurer for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Passing away a few years ago, Dalila Solis Oca is remembered for her involvement in the Holy Family Church and St. Agnes Church, New York, and as founder of Legion of Mary.  She was tireless in her work for the homeless as a volunteer in soup kitchens in the Bronx.  In 1988, she received the St. Joseph Humanitarian Award for coordinating Partnership Shelter and programs for the homeless.  The Tuesday subway rosary habit she began continues at Grand Central Station to this day.

Accomplished writer, Neni Sta. Romana Cruz won the National Book Award for "Why the Piña has a Hundred Eyes."  Her articles appeared in Newsbreak, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and UNESCO's quarterly journal, among others.  She is Board member of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, involved in literacy promotion programs for public school children.  As Faculty Member of the International School Manila, she taught weekly library classes for students of all ages.

Aside from being a practicing doctor, Angeles Tan Alora chose to use her talents to improve the medical education system.  She founded the National Teacher's Training Center for Health Professionals and the South East Asian Center for Bioethics - both pioneer organizations in the field.  She serves over 2,000 urban poor families in Manila through the Health Programs of Alay Kapwa Christian Community.  In 2004, Metrobank Foundation presented her with the Award for Continuing Excellence in Service.

The Philippine's first handicraft export company, Lawin Cottage Industries, was established by Mina Tapia Gabor, pioneering the development and marketing of non-traditional export products.  She is the founding pillar of the Center for International Trade Exhibitions and Missions, the world-renowned export promotion agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.  Under her term as Secretary of Tourism, tourist arrivals numbered more than 2 million for the first time in the history of our tourism industry.  Now in the private sector, she is currently a consultant of World Bank, the United Nations International Trade Center in Geneva, Philexport, and the Asian Productivity Organization.

Corazon Tensuan gave up a prestigious position as Guidance Director of St. Scholastica's College Manila in the 1970s to devote herself to the service of the disabled.  She co-founded of Sunshine Home for the Blind, as a residential school for homeless blind people.  She believes in empowerment for the disabled - opportunity, not pity.  She was a Regional Winner in the Bayaning Pilipino Awards and received a Medal of Recognition for Women in Nation Building.  Her successful Pinoy May K (Pinoy May Kapansanan) campaign bore fruit with Resolution No. 2036, declaring Pasay as a city with a heart for the disabled. 

A leader in the garment industry, Mila Trinidad Puyat began Tropic Isles Manufacturing Corporation in her backyard.  Today, the company is a global exporter with over 300 employees and millions in annual revenues.  In 1994, the company received the Arch of Europe Gold Star Award for Excellence in Corporate Image and Quality in Madrid, Spain.  Concerned with community development efforts, she embarked on the environment-friendly D'yario Bags livelihood for the poor and handicapped in Mandaluyong in cooperation with Mayor Benhur Abalos.  She is an active officer of the Garments and Business Association of the Philippines

With her untiring dedication and research efforts, Dr. Tony Ty Semar became an expert in managing and treating childhood lead poisoning, especially in poor, working families with afflicted children.  Her aggressive drive to push for State legislation to inspect, clean up, prevent and diagnose lead poisoning has moved the State of New Jersey to organize the Interagency Task Force on Prevention of Lead Poisoning.  She is currently the Chairperson of the New Jersey Lead Advisory Committee.

Inspired by Sr. Irmengardis Kuhn, Salvacion Valderrama Tinsay willingly took in homeless orphans.  As part of Volunteers for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped and Disabled, she became deeply involved with the handicapped, especially deaf children.  She is the President and CEO of Welcome Home Foundation with a Special Education School for deaf children and livelihood programs for deaf adults.  Her Day Care Center for malnourished children was built in Bacolod Airport Subdivision in 1995.  The City of Bacolod honored her with the Banwahanon Award for her tireless work for the deaf in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Actress and performer Mitch "Maya" Valdes has appeared in many films and theater productions, such as Oro, Plata, Mata, Bulaklak ng City Jail and Bala at Lipstick.  A legend in theater and performing arts, she is considered one of the forerunners of stand-up comedy in the country.  Incorporating satire and colloquial language in her acts, she succeeds in mixing humor and entertainment with her political and social commentary.  She is currently President of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit. 

As film producer, Azucena Vera Perez' career is one of the longest, brightest and most successful in the history of Philippine cinema.  Her family established Sampaguita Pictures in 1937, the country's oldest surviving film studio.  After her father's death, her husband and she, took the helm, making over 600 films from 1946 until the 1970s.  The benevolent "Mama Nene," as she is affectionately called, had a positive influence on the people around her, including former Senate President Ernesto Maceda and Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia.  Steering the film studio through decades of change and hardship, her leadership assured Sampaguita Pictures' irrevocable place in Philippine film history.

While still a student at UP Diliman, Sr. Angie Villanueva worked with Jesuit Fr. Delaney, who was active in his efforts for the labor sector.  She led an academic career as an Assistant Instructor in UP Diliman, before she answered her calling to be a Cenacle Sister.  She is known for leading retreats for priests, conscienticizing  them and developing their spiritual awareness.  She is going to celebrate her Golden Jubilee as a Cenacle Sister in 2007.

Pioneering Neurolinguistic Programming in the Philippines, Imelda Virginia Villar developed therapeutic techniques that ensured long-lasting changes after therapy.  She received the Outstanding Women in the Nation Service Award for training grassroots workers in Mindanao.  She pioneered courses in Family Psychology, Clinical/Counseling Psychology, and others in St. Scholastica's College Manila.  She continues her volunteer therapy work for her parish, the Women's Crisis Center and PATH Foundation of the Philippines.  She is founding member of the Philippines Association for Counselor Education Research and Supervision and the Association of Psychological and Educational Counselors of Asia-Pacific.

Using the organizational and social skills learned from her days in the theater, Linda Villavicencio Henson coordinated retreats, missions and initiated Vision 2000 Bible study groups in her parish church in Chicago.  She helped raise funds for the construction of the extension of the Bellarmine Retreat House of the Jesuits in Barrington, Illinois.  The Archdiocese of Chicago awarded her with the Parochial Christifideles Award in 2003 for her exemplary parish work.

An epitome of sterling stewardship, Didi Paras Villegas is the Grade School Principal at St. Scholastica's College Manila and a member of Pondo ng Pinoy Education Committee of the Archdiocese of Manila.  She worked with the Communications Foundation for Asia as trainor on the "Teaching of Human Rights, Justice and Peace: Using the Infusion Technique," becoming a pilot teacher for St. Scholastica's Grade School educational programs.  She is a founding member of Horacio dela Costa Formation Center in Trece Martines, Cavite, a retreat and formation center for low-income groups.  She received the PAASCU Service Award in 1984 and 1993.

After years of teaching, Becky Villegas worked as officer in charge of the international exchange program at YSTAPHIL, traveling to Europe where she was exposed to French and Swiss pastries.  She studied at the Philippine Institute for Bakers at Philippine Women's University and established Becky's Kitchen in 1997.  Today, she supplies thousands of customers with baked goods, and has included entrée courses to her repertoire with her restaurant, Becky's Bistro in Valle Verde I.

Through her musical talents, Ma. Ana Soledad Wright Añover earned a scholarship from St. Scholastica's Music Alumnae and the Jose Ossorio Foundation.  Working as a music teacher at a young age, she developed love for children and community service.  This Scholastican has shared her love of God, gift of music and compassion to others through livelihood projects such as the St. Josemaria Day Care Center and Grassroots Quilting and Beading Seminar in Sitio Rustan, Brgy. Langgam, and fundraising musical programs for religious and charitable institutions. 

The pioneering studies of Sonia Yuson de Leon have upgraded Food Science and Technology training in the country.  She was chosen as one of the 129 Filipina trailblazers in health science in "A Century of Women in the Health Sciences."  She received the Outstanding Research Award in 1994 for her work on indigenous protein-rich flours.  She began the Foundation for the Advancement of Food Science and Technology, aimed at capability building and networking among food scientists and technologists through food safety workshops that provide better quality products and more business for entrepreneurs, ensuring livelihood for local farmers.

A well-known cardiologist and internist and medical consultant to Makati Medical Center, Dr. Juanita Zagala considers her accomplishments as God's gift and blessings.  In 1981, she headed the Department of Medicine and was elected member of the Board of Directors for Makati Medical Center and the Remedios Trinidad School of Nursing.  Apart from her volunteer work in NGOs and charities like the Patronata Health Center in Singalong Parish, she has helped establish a Tuberculosis Control Program in cooperation with the Department of Health that offers free medical aid and a Drug Rehabilitation Center for the youth.

Earning her Music Teacher's degree from St. Scholastica's College Manila, Pacita Zaragoza Araneta began her career of stewardship and community service.  She was active in religious and socio-civic work for organizations such as Daughters of Isabella and Damas de la Caridad.  She became National President of the Catholic Women's League of the Philippines in 1976 and awarded the Pro Ecclesia by Pope Paul VI a year later.  She was the sole representative of the Dominican Laity Philippine Province at the 1983 conference in Bologna, Italy.