Tag Archives: Gloria Viola

10 Most Inspiring Women

12 Aug

I have personally handpicked the 10 most inspiring women from the world of film, music, politics, fashion, sport, and more. The list is a mix of celebrities and everyday heroes I look up to for their particular work and/or character. They may or may not be the most influential but I draw my inspiration from them and I hope you will, too.

These are my top 10 most inspiring women, in no particular order of importance:

#1. Oprah Winfrey 

Oprah is an American media proprietor (Harpo Productions), talk show host, actor, producer, and philanthropist. She is the world’s first self-made billionaire. She rose from being unimaginably poor to being one of the most influential and loved personalities in America. Her charity work is beyond impressive – she’s founded a school in South Africa, as well as Oprah’s Angel Network, which gives educational grants, and she personally donated $10m to rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, just one of the few causes she’s supported. Her multi-award winning talk show centers on inspiring and helping people, remarkably making some of her guests become celebrities. I honor her for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others.

#2. Margaret Thatcher

Love her or loathe her, the “Iron Lady” changed the way women are viewed in politics. She is the first and only female Prime Minister that UK has ever seen and the longest-serving politician of the 20th century. I honor her for her uncompromising politics and leadership style. I greatly admire her courage, determination, and strong will. My favorite quote from her is this: “You do not follow the crowd because you’re afraid of being different. You decide what to do yourself, if necessary, you lead the crowd, but never just follow.”

#3: Madonna

After 30 years in showbiz, this American singer-songwriter, actress, author, director, entrepreneur, and philanthropist is still as popular, driven, and talked about as ever before. She is still the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and is referred by international press as the “Queen of Pop.” Her ability to constantly reinvent herself whether in her music, fashion, and in her image meant she’s never fallen from grace, never boring, and she’s shown women like me that it’s ok not to act our age. 

#4. J.K. Rowling

From being a struggling single mom to a billionaire author/philanthropist, this British novelist’s story is truly remarkable. The Harry Potter books and ensuing movie franchise captured the imaginations of children and adults all over the world. The books have sold over 400 million copies translated into dozens of languages and have become the best-selling book series in history. Her rags-to-riches life story has inspired me to pursue my passion against all odds.

#5. Miriam Defensor Santiago

She is a Judge-elect of the prestigious International Criminal Court in The Hague, and a member of the Senate of the Philippines, serving her third term. She is a prominent lawyer, former well decorated trial judge, a former Asian Nobel Prize Laureate, and lecturer on the constitutional and trial law. Her outspokenness, charisma, and flamboyant personality with witticisms and humor cause malls to close down for the day and cause traffic to stop anywhere she goes. She is well loved for her pick up lines and memes. I admire her for her courageous and brilliant crusade against corruption in the country. While not everyone can appreciate her honesty and strong opinions, undeniably I am inspired by her as a feisty force to reckon with in the Senate. She is a living legend in Philippine politics, the Iron Lady of Asia, the Miriam Magic.

#6. Lea Salonga

This Womanity Awardee for the Arts has been making Filipinos proud ever since she earned critical acclaim for her first international role as Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, which earned her a Tony and Olivier awards for her work in musical theater. She has also been recognized as a Disney legend for the voice she lent for numerous Disney films. She is currently a Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and a judge of The Voice Philippines. I greatly admire her for breaking through as a Filipino artist in the international broadway and musical theater.

#7. Lelia Ojano and Melinda Yusay

My two moms share this spot as they both inspired me in so many ways. They are both 72, still strong, and raised us well. They both have adversities in their childhood, and came out as victors. They have courage, strong will, determination, sacrifice, and dedication to their vocation. They passed on good values to us and they showed us love in so many ways. They made us feel that we didn’t lack anything even if we didn’t have everything. They have undoubtedly helped us to define our own lives and live it meaningfully. We became good citizens and good parents because of their example.

#8. MaZenia De la Cruz

She is the mother of Rafe Totengco, a celebrated New York-based Filipino designer who specializes in women’s shoes, handbags, and small leather goods. Tita Zen, as we fondly call her, is a young woman trapped in an old lady’s body (she’s now 73). Her zest for adventure brings her to the most unlikely places like the Machu Picchu, hiking in the mountains of Canada with her friends, or exploring Europe on her own with her big, heavy photography paraphernalia. I admire her for her open-minded, non-judgmental attitude, always seeing the good side. She is a perennial student, at the ripe age of 70, still studied Photoshop, Adobe, and Web Design. She keeps herself busy with Tai-chi, ballroom classes, and doting on her grandchildren and children. She is always on the go, never tires, and has full of energy and spirit. Now, that’s what I call living the life.

#9. Gloria Viola

This unassuming former teacher we call Tita Glo, has been leading Marriage Encounter seminars since the 1980’s together with her husband Tito Del. She has braved countless hours of road trips to the far-flung North because of her mission to help couples with their marriage. Her strong love and soft heart for the orphans prompted her to open her house for abandoned babies and later to adopt one even in her 60s. Her selfless love and untiring dedication for the mission is a difficult act to follow. I admire her zeal for the Lord, her love for the orphans, and her commitment for the mission.

#10. Lorna Verano

She is a life coach, a great mother, and remarkable stateswoman who became the 3rd Filipina next only to Cory Aquino and Imelda Marcos to have ever addressed the General Assembly in the United Nations. I admire her for her strong will, honesty, and courage. She has a strong opinion about everything, and she is never wont to follow. Her zest for life is extraordinary, you will be amused to find that she can beat you in target shooting, ballroom dancing, and Zumba! She will always be “forever 38. 

What makes these women inspirational? Certainly not fame, more like a sturdy inner self, overcoming adversity, making the world change, and doing it all to better humanity.

Tell me, who inspires you the most?


Life is Amazing!


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