Here are some of the fierce Filipinas in Filipino movies that were admired by many!

A mirror for reality–this is how films served their purpose in society. For women, films are an avenue for their triumphs and struggles under a male-dominated system. May it be joyful, miserable, tear-jerker, or infuriating, big-screen representations of the ordinary and extraordinary lives of female characters create a space for women empowerment. Most of all, they inspire viewers to start taking action or simply have faith. That is why, in the Philippine cinema, realistic and diverse portrayals of women in films are crucial to raise the discourse on the recognition of women’s strengths and capabilities, and rid Filipino society of gender stereotypes and inequality.

Although the celebration of International Women’s Month was held in March, the fight of women for equal rights and freedom never stops, and so the celebration persists all-year long!

Here, FreebieMNL takes a look at four female heroines who fiercely showed that Filipinas have what it takes to go above and beyond. If you want to draw inspiration as they fight their way through patriarchy, poverty, oppression, and other life challenges, scroll ahead and meet these fierce Filipinas in Filipino movies!

1. Joy Fabregas (Kathryn Bernardo in “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” 2019)

Fierce Filipinas in Filipino movies
Kathryn Bernardo as Joy in “Hello, Love, Goodbye”

First in this list of Fierce Filipinas in Filipino Movies is Joy Fabregas of “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” the highest-grossing Filipino film of all time. Portrayed by Star Magic artist Kathryn Bernardo, Joy embodied a strong, independent woman. As a domestic helper and nanny in Hong Kong, she became a representation of the tireless overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and a woman who fights for her dreams no matter what it takes.

Although Joy obtained an undergraduate medical degree, she chose a higher-paying job abroad to support her father and younger siblings. This is a situation that is common among OFWs, especially with the undeniably low salary in the Philippines. Like most Filipinos, Joy is a victim of poverty who can only be helped by working opportunities in a foreign land.

Joy is easily relatable for Filipinas who have high hopes and dreams but poverty drags them down, stripping them of things dear to them. So, for those who came from unfortunate backgrounds, reaching for their dreams would require a great deal of sacrifice. It might involve going against the wishes of one’s family, leaving behind comfort zone, and even breaking up with a lover. But sometimes, even though it is difficult, that one decision might lead them to where they should be. Perhaps it just takes a leap of faith, just like Joy.

2. Commander Liway (Glaiza de Castro in “Liway,” 2018) 

Fierce Women Liway
Glaiza de Castro as Liway in “Liway”

Second on the list is Commander Liway, a political prisoner. Based on the true story of its director Kip Oebanda, the film was a love letter to his mother Liway–and to every woman who goes to extreme lengths to protect their children from harm.

Set in the Marcos regime, the film follows the point-of-view of Dakip (Kenken Nuyad) during his early days of living in a prison camp. Liway, as portrayed by Sparkle artist Glaiza de Castro, strived to give Dakip a normal upbringing with her unparalleled love, even sacrificing being with the child to ensure his safety from the horrors of the camp. 

Truly, a woman who’s empowered by love is capable of many things. She can bear a child and make sacrifices to protect them, and she can also fight for democracy and nationalism. Time and time again, Filipinos continue to honor the strength of women activists who are as courageous as Liway.

3. Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis in “Buybust,” 2018) 

Fierce Filipinas Nina Manigan
Anne Curtis as Nina Manigan in “Buybust”

As this list is talking about powerful women, it cannot ignore Nina Manigan of “Buybust,” as portrayed by Anne Curtis.

Nina is an anti-narcotics special operative who sets out on an undercover operation with an elite squad to catch drug cartels in Manila. But after their operation goes south, they end up in a maze-like slum while fighting for their lives.

What made “Buybust” stand out among other films is that it is unusual to see a female lead in local action movies. Curtis’ lead role was a big deal for women seeking equal treatment as men–as if saying that women are not only emotionally and mentally capable but also physically strong.

4. Marilou (Eugene Domingo in “Barber’s Tales,” 2013) 

Fierce Women Marilou
Eugene Domingo as Marilou of “Barber’s Tales.”

Last but definitely not the least on the list is Marilou of “Barber’s Tales.”

At a time when women are stereotyped into roles that only involve house work, a newly widowed Marilou, portrayed by Eugene Domingo, takes over her deceased husband’s barbershop. Not only did she break the pattern of the business being managed by generations of men, but she also smashed the norm set on women solely being housekeepers. From this, she finds her voice in a male-dominated society under a tyrannical rule with the support of other women. 

READ ALSO: Pokwang, Eugene Domingo Team Up Again For New Film

As we applaud these Filipina actresses for their impeccable talents, we recognize that the struggles of their powerful and strong characters are very much happening in the real world. This recognition, however, has to go beyond a month-long celebration, because the issues faced by the minority group are deep-rooted. The fight thus demands more.

Words Ria Javate
Banner Art Paulo Correa

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