5 badass women in Philippine history you need to know

5 badass women in Philippine history you need to know

While many heroines have graced history books, there are those whose incredible stories remain largely unsung. From revolutionary inventors to fearless warriors, these Filipina women shattered barriers with their bravery, intellect and indomitable spirit.

Join us as we unveil the legacies of five unsung heroines of Philippine history. Their stories are not just tales of the past; they’re powerful reminders of what women can achieve against all odds.

1. Maria Orosa

Maria Orosa’s ingenuity and bravery are legendary. A food technologist and inventor, Orosa developed over 700 recipes, including the creation of banana ketchup and the process of making calamansi (a Philippine lime) juice available in powder form. During World War II, her innovations became life-saving. She also transported food for Filipino and American prisoners, showcasing her inventive mind and fearless spirit in the face of danger. Her legacy in culinary science and her acts of heroism during a tumultuous period in history make her a true unsung heroine.

2. Trinidad Tecson

Known as the “Mother of Biak-na-Bato,” Trinidad Tecson displayed extraordinary bravery during the Philippine Revolution. Despite being a woman, she passed the Katipunero initiation rites, which included male-specific tests and fought on the battlefield. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Republic of Biak-na-Bato, serving as a nurse and a fighter. Tecson’s courage and dedication to the cause of Philippine independence mark her as a truly badass figure in the nation’s history.

3. Magdalena Leones

Magdalena Leones, known as the “Lioness of Luzon,” was a Filipina intelligence officer during World War II who became the only Asian woman to receive the Silver Star Medal from the United States for her gallantry in action. Captured by the Japanese but managing to escape, Leones relayed vital intelligence and saved countless lives through her espionage work and courage. Her story is a remarkable testament to bravery, resilience and the crucial role of women in warfare and intelligence.

4. Teresa Magbanua

Teresa Magbanua, often referred to as the “Visayan Joan of Arc,” was the first woman to lead troops into battle during the Philippine Revolution, the Philippine-American War and the fight against Japanese occupation. Coming from a family of fighters, she sold her properties to finance the revolutions and personally led her men into numerous successful battles. Magbanua’s military prowess and unyielding spirit in the face of three distinct colonial oppressors underscore her exceptional role as a freedom fighter.

5. Agueda Kahabagan

Agueda Kahabagan, hailed as the “Tagalog Joan of Arc,” was officially recognized as a general in the revolutionary forces against Spain and the United States. Often seen on the battlefield in white attire and armed with a rifle and bolo, Kahabagan’s leadership and valor in combat were instrumental in several battles for Philippine independence. Her military achievements and status as a female general in a predominantly male arena during her time highlight her extraordinary courage.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s remember and honor the incredible contributions of Filipina women throughout history. Their stories are a powerful reminder that women have always been, and always will be, central to the narrative of bravery and brilliance in the face of adversity.


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