Clockwise from upper left: Former President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada, , The late President Corazon Aquino, Megan Young, Brillante Mendoza, Boxing champ and now Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Karla Henry, Gloria Diaz, Maria del Carmen Ines Zaragoza, Lea Salonga, Gemma Cruz, Jaclyn Jose, Rogelio dela Rosa

‘Firsts’ among Filipinos
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2018 - 12:00am

In September last year, Time magazine published a special feature called “Firsts” subhead “Women who are changing the world.” Among the artists included in the Honor Roll were: Aretha Franklin (First woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame); Oprah Winfrey (First woman to own and produce her own talk show); Jennifer Yuh Nelson (First woman to solo-direct a major Hollywood animated feature); Ellen DeGeneres (First person to star as an openly gay character on primetime TV); Selena Gomez (First person to reach 100 million followers on Instagram); Rita Moreno (First Latina to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony); Shonda Rhimes (First woman to create three hit shows with more than 100 episodes each); and Barbara Walters (First woman to co-anchor a network evening news program).

Here's Funfare’s own list of “Firsts” among Filipinos not just limited to women achievers:

Gloria Diaz, First Filipino Miss Universe;

Gemma Cruz, First Filipino Miss International;

Megan Young, First Filipino Miss World;

Karla Henry, First Filipino Miss Earth;

Baby Santiago, First Filipino Queen of the Pacific;

Maria del Carmen Ines Zaragoza, First Filipino Miss Asia;

Lea Salonga, First Filipino (and first Asian) to score a Grand Slam (theater, for Miss Saigon);

Brillante Mendoza, First Filipino to win Best Director (for Kinatay/Butchered) in Cannes;

• Jaclyn Jose, First Filipino to win Best Actress (for Ma’Rosa) in Cannes;

Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo, First Filipino (and the first Asian) world boxing champion (flyweight division);

Manny Pacquiao, First Filipino (and the only boxer) to bag 11 major world titles in eight weight divisions;

Jose Villanueva, First Filipino to win an Olympic medal (bronze) in boxing (his son, Anthony Villanueva, would later win the country’s first Olympic silver in the same sport);

Teofilo Yldefonso, First Filipino to win an Olympic medal in swimming;

Corazon Aquino, First Filipino woman President of the Republic of the Philippines;

Joseph “Erap” Estrada, First Filipino actor to become President of the Republic of the Philippines;

Rogelio dela Rosa, First Filipino actor to venture into politics;

Pepe Pimentel, First Tawag ng Tanghalan champion;

Rosa del Rosario, First actress to play Darna;

Edna Luna, First actress to play Dyesebel;

Myrna Panlilio, First Bb. Pilipinas-Universe; and

Carmen Concha, First woman director of Philippine Movies (Magkaisang Landas of Parlatone Hispano-Pilipino, first film; and Pangarap of LVN Pictures with Mila del Sol, last film).

(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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