8 Filipinos make it to Forbes’ esteemed ’30 Under 30 Asia 2021′ list

8 Filipinos make it to Forbes' esteemed '30 Under 30 Asia 2021' list
(Image: Forbes)

Despite tough times, these 8 Filipinos still managed to make an impact in their fields — and one of them is just 23 years old!

On Monday, Forbes announced its sixth annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list, featuring 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders, and trailblazers across Asia under the age of 30. Among the cream of the crop are 8 Filipinos who thrived in their fields despite a challenging year. These are:

Angela Chen, 29, and Aurelien Chu, 29

Co-Founders, Eskwelabs

eskwelabs christian haw
(Image: Eskwelabs/Christian Haw)

Established in 2019, Eskwelabs aims to bridge the gap between talent and opportunities by offering online upskilling programs for in-demand skills through participatory and active learning experiences. Employing blended learning amidst the remote nature of a pandemic-stricken population, the team of Angela Chen and Aurelien Chu managed to teach future-relevant skills to underprivileged people, as well as accelerate employment opportunities by directly connecting learners with employers 

Edward Christopher Dee, 28

Researcher, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

dana farber cancer institute
(Image: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

As a researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteEdward Christopher Dee specializes in comprehensive cancer treatment and research, studying how to deliver better care to disadvantaged populations in the U.S. and the Philippines. While studying at Harvard Medical School, Dee also served in the country’s national COVID-19 task force. Currently, he writes about the social impacts of various diseases for media outlets like Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Rexy Josh Dorado, 28

Co-Founder, Kumu

kumu app
(Image: KUMU)

Founded in 2018 by US-based developers which include Rexy Josh Dorado, Kumu is one of the top-grossing social media apps in the Philippines today, boasting a base of over 6 million registered users who use the application to live stream themselves performing their passion to a global audience. In terms of capital, Kumu has raised more than $8 million, including $5 million in March 2020 led by Singapore-based Openspace Ventures. 

Carmina Bayombong, 27

Co-Founder and CEO, InvestED Philippines

invested philippines
(Image from Facebook: InvestED Philippines)

Carmina Bayombong is the co-founder and incumbent CEO of InvestED, a sustainable and inclusive student loan company that offers success loans to the deserving but financially disadvantaged Filipino youth. For her work in InvestED, Bayombong has earned several awards, including an Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service Award in 2019. The company has also been a part of numerous incubators and investment foundations, and has garnered more than PHP35 million in grants.

Ryan Gersava, 27

Founder, Virtualahan

(Image from Facebook: Virtualahan)

Seeking to tear down employment barriers for stigmatized people, such as differently-abled people and those recovering from drug addiction, Ryan Gersava founded Virtualahan, a platform that provides digital-focused job-skills training for roles that can be done remotely. Gersava drew inspiration from his own experience after he was rejected for an opportunity due to his having hepatitis B. Since its launch in 2015, the nonprofit has trained more than 600 people, 78% of whom found employment in digital-related jobs, such as digital design, social media marketing, and video editing.

Gab Mejia, 24

Conservation Photographer; Co-Founder, Youth Engaged in Wetlands


Mejia’s advocacies include raising awareness about the environment, endangered wildlife, and indigenous communities. In 2019, he was awarded a filmmaking fellowship by the Jackson Wild Media Lab, which hosts the nature filmmaking equivalent of the Oscars. At 22, Mejia co-founded Youth Engaged in Wetlands, a youth network across 30 countries launched in 2018 focused on the conservation of wetlands and migratory birds. 

His photographs have been featured on National Geographic, United Nations Development Programme, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Guendoline Rome Viray Gomez, 23


At the ripe age of 23, Gomez, going by No Rome on the stage, is the first Filipino artist to play at the prominent music festival, Coachella, performing his hit single, “Narcissist,” alongside English pop-rock band The 1975. Launching his music career in London in 2013, Gomez debuted his mentioned single in 2018, which now has more than 12.4 million views on YouTube. He most recently released another single with The 1975, “Spinning,” which also features Charli XCX. 

The 2021 edition of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Asia” list identified 300 young people across 10 disciplines, all of which were handpicked from more than 2,500 nominations by a panel of A-list judges and Forbes’ team of reporters. 

“The individuals on this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list have managed to survive, succeed and inspire others in the midst of business, social and personal challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic – a testament to their determination, fearlessness and hard work.” Rana Wehbe Watson, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Editor, said.

“From a Filipino entrepreneur re-imagining social media platforms to a fintech unicorn founder and a group of Afghan teenage girls developing a low-cost ventilator to help fight the virus, these trailblazers are truly unstoppable.”

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