Words by: Trisha Ching and Sophia Espina
Art by: Cayna Gemora and Lia Javier
When asked about the Filipino heroes we know of, our answers tend to be something along the lines of “Jose Rizal, our national hero.” or “Andres Bonifacio, a brave Katipunero”. However, we must never forget to appreciate the important Filipina heroines who have also made their own mark in history. And with International Women’s Month coming to an end, UP JMA celebrates our own set of modern day Filipina heroines – three amazing women who have come across our path and served as inspirations to many through their impactful work.
“We can fight for things that do not directly affect us. It’s called empathy.”
Senator Risa is a female Filipino leader who cares deeply about the welfare of the people she serves. She actively advocates for health, women, and gender equality as Chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, and Family Relations in the 18th Congress. She has also worked on bills and laws that champion her advocacies such as the SOGIE Equality Bill, Divorce Bill, and Mental Health Law. Additionally, her fight for women empowerment is reflected in her diligence and devotion to work while also being a single mother to her four children. Senator Risa has empowered Filipinas to excel in their respective fields by keeping their best interests at heart and spearheading laws that protect them, such as:
Expanded Maternity Leave Law
Safe Streets & Public Spaces Law (No to Catcalling and Sexual Harassment)
Nutrisyon ng mga Nanay Law
UP JMA is privileged to have previously worked with her, as she was one of the speakers during UP Fair Friday: Cosmos 2020, a university-wide advocacy fair where she spoke about the importance of fighting for Gender Emancipation. She is surely a role model to many Filipinos and Filipinas alike, and UP JMA is proud to have witnessed firsthand the concern for society that this incredible woman has.
Monica Magsanoc is a Filipina graphic designer who has worked with various emerging local brands and advocacies. Having graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, she has launched several eye-catching campaigns for local brands driven by a cause. For one, her undergraduate thesis was a product and advertising campaign— Adlai Agenda, a project that promoted the native grain Adlai as a superfood. Monica developed the brand by blending elements of visual communication and business that she had learned in the classroom and in her experience in UP JMA.
Monica also founded Youth in Revolt, a concrete channel of support for the victims of Martial Law. She designed a t-shirt that expressed disdain towards Marcos being buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, and all proceeds, over P250,000, were donated to the families of Martial Law victims. She has also worked with well-established international brands, having illustrated for Kiehl’s, Jo Malone, and Guess Jeans. She empowers aspiring artists all across the globe through the diversity and social impact of the projects she has worked on. Monica has made a significant impact as well in JMA History, as she served as the Vice President of the Publicity & Communications Committee and the Chairperson & Art Director of La Isla Festival.
Tasha Tanjutco is currently a sophomore studying at the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Fine Arts. Driven by sustainability and the spirit of bayanihan, she has co-founded several organizations such as Tayo, which aims to create positive youth-empowered change in society. Under Tayo is Retaso PH, a social enterprise that sells tote bags made from excess textiles; working hand-in-hand with Bye Bye Plastic Bags PH, a youth-led NGO that campaigns to decrease plastic waste in the Philippines. Tasha truly defines “sustainability” through her everyday actions as she is able to make the most of what is around her, which in turn, inspires others to opt for a better lifestyle as well.
Apart from environmental causes, she has also given a voice to the youth through her non-profit organization, Kids for Kids PH, where she has spearheaded several workshops, outreaches, and fundraisers for underprivileged communities in the Philippines. Through this, she strives to empower the youth and find where positive impact is both needed and created. Lastly, she has also organized an annual art festival, Kamalayan PH, which uplift heritage, culture, and tradition with a fresh and modern perspective.
Tasha is currently a member of JMA under the Publicity & Communications Committee, where her creativity also thrives through her work with Mana (UP JMA’s Social Enterprise) and Week (UP JMA’s Anniversary Celebration). When asked what advice she can give to the youth, especially aspiring Filipinas, who are still finding their passion, she answered:
“Passion is found in the risks we take to create action, and the feeling of fulfillment after, even if we have to try again. We have become a generation that finds our purpose not alone but with others and for others. That’s why if you want to love what you're doing, you must do it for one another and the better tomorrow you promised them.”
Though their journey is far from over, these women have certainly made a mark in their respective fields and truly embody the Filipina spirit in their talent & grit. Not only have they sparked change in society today, but their work has also surely inspired succeeding generations to follow in their footsteps. With this, we ask: what legacy do YOU want to leave behind?