Lea Salonga is a well-known Filipina singer and actress who has gained worldwide recognition for her performances in musical theater. She started her theater career at a young age and became famous for her role as Kim in the musical “Miss Saigon” in London’s West End and in Broadway. This was a breakthrough role for Salonga, as she became the first Asian woman to win the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1991. Salonga has also appeared in other musical productions such as “Les Misérables”, “Aladdin,” and “Mulan.” Besides her theater work, Salonga has released several albums and performed in concerts internationally. She has also served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Dolly De Leon
Dolly de Leon is a renowned Filipino actress in the fields of film, television, and theater, is most notably recognized for her roles in “Verdict,” “Historya ni Ha,” and “Triangle of Sadness.” She recently received international recognition for her role as an overseas Filipino worker in the film “Triangle of Sadness.” She won Best Supporting Actress at Sweden’s Guldbagge Awards and the Los Angeles Films Critics Association Awards. She was also nominated in the same category at the Golden Globes and the 2023 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).
Apo Whang Od
Apo Whang Od is acclaimed as the last and oldest “mambabatok” or tattoo artist and cultural icon of the Butbut tribe of Buscalan, Kalinga province. She is known for her traditional tattooing methods using bamboo sticks and ink made from natural materials to create intricate designs that symbolize different aspects of Kalinga culture and history. This practice of hand-tapped tattoos has been part of the region’s heritage for centuries. Apo Whang Od has gained various recognition as a cultural icon and attracts both local and international visitors who wish to receive her tattoos as a symbol of their connection to Kalinga tradition. Despite her age, Apo Whang Od remains dedicated to her craft and has imparted her knowledge and skills to her grandnieces to preserve their tradition for future generations.
Lualhati Bautista (1945-2023) is a prominent Filipino author and screenwriter known for her works that explore social issues, particularly those affecting women and the marginalized. She wrote numerous novels, short stories, and screenplays, and her work received recognition both in the Philippines and internationally. Her most famous novel, “Dekada ’70,” depicts the struggles of a middle-class Filipino family during the era of Martial Law in the Philippines. The book has been adapted into a movie and a stage play, and its themes of political oppression and resistance continue to resonate with readers today. Bautista’s other notable works include “Bata, Bata… Pa’no Ka Ginawa?”, “Desaparesidos,” and “Gapo.” She received numerous awards in Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. She was also a human rights advocate and has been involved in various activist movements throughout her career. She recently passed away on February 12 at the age of 77.
Paz Marquez-Benitez (1894-1983) was a Filipino writer and educator. Her most famous work is the short story “Dead Stars,” which was published in 1925. The story explores themes of love, youth, and the passing of time. It is considered a classic of Philippine literature and the first-ever Filipino modern short story in English. It is widely anthologized and is studied in schools and universities in the Philippines. Her contributions to Philippine literature have made her one of the most important and respected writers in the country’s literary history.