Women of today: Cebuanas making their mark

By: March 19, 2024

CEBU CITY, Philippines— In one word, how can you describe the women of today?
Assertive can be one, adaptive can also be something that describes them, as well as patient and empowered.

Contrary to the outdated beliefs of our elders that women are simply homemakers and not providers, the women of today are actually doing both. They are the certified homemakers and providers to their families, and nurturers of their dreams and aspirations.

Michelle Penelope King, a global gender equality expert, researcher, speaker and author said in her article in Forbes entitled, The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, that during the pandemic, women leaders took the spotlight by leading with decisiveness and willpower.

The perfect example would be New Zealand’s former prime minister, Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern.

In an interview with Dr. Regie Afroilan, Medical Specialist Adult and Geriatric Psychiatrist, National Center for Mental Health, he said that women of today are more “empowered” in more ways than before.

“When we say equal rights, women today are open-minded regarding their rights and regarding the changes in the environment which will make us healthy—physical, mental, emotional,” he said.

The women of today, are essentially more aware of how to be progressive.

“The term is contented and adaptive to the changes in our environment,’ Dr. Afroilan added.
He said that the biggest challenge of women is being compared to men.

But with time and sharpened skills, modern women now know how to be assertive of their rights, talents and potentials.

He even added that women are more emotionally stable than men, making them more rational thinkers.
As we celebrate Women’s Month, the Philippine Commission on Women sends out the message with its recurring theme, “WE for gender equality and inclusive society.”

The theme of this annual campaign is a positive message and a call to action, highlighting progress in closing gender gaps and gaining more support for the cause.

To make the celebration more compelling and profound, here are some strong Cebuanas who in their unique ways have made a difference in their chosen fields and in the process bridging the gender gap and leading by example.

Cherry Ann “Sisi” Rondina

Sisi Rondina

Sisi Rondina playing for the Choco Mucho Flying Titans.| MARLO CUETO/

Hailing from Estaca, Compostella, Cebu, this small but terrible volleybelle is among the brightest that Cebu has produced in the sports of volleyball.

Starting her volleyball career with the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses, then also making her mark as a member of the Philippines Women’s Beach Volleyball team, this outside hitter has been soaring higher every year.

Currently playing for one of the Premiere Volleyball League’s top teams, Choco Mucho, Rondina elevates the game of volleyball with her thundering attacks and mighty blocks.
Although scoring points is her real game, Sisi also brings out the fun on the court with her antics and unfiltered reactions on and off the court.

She’s won the UAAP Beach Volleyball MVP title four times and was named MVP and Athlete of the Year in UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball.

In an interview with CDN Digital, Sisi shared that making an impact in a sport not wanting in talent is doubly hard. But she said she has to push herself to the limit not only for herself but also for her family.

“Mahirap sa una linabanan ko kahit malayo ako sa pamilya ko,” (It was hard at first, but I fought through, even though I was far away from my family.)” said Rondina.

Read: Cebuana Sisi Rondina says beach volleyball will always have a special place in her heart

Alexa Yna

Alex Yna

Alexa Yna with one of her famous rescues, Spike.

Taking care of one or three animals at home might be a handful to some, but not for this certified animal lover from Mandaue City who is currently taking care of more than 100 rescued and adopted dogs and cats.

Alexa Yna made headlines during the pandemic when she was seen feeding stray animals in Mandaue City, mostly the ones found outside big establishments.
Why? This is her way of making sure that these animals get to eat regularly with the help of security guards and other staff in the area. Alexa started feeding these stray animals from her personal money until she grew her online followers who eventually helped her fulfill her noble mission by donating.

Fast forward to 2021, one of her closest friends offered Alexa a vacant lot in Carcar City for her to build a shelter for her growing rescues.

Banking on the help of friends and donations from netizens and other animal lovers and advocates, she was able to build a small “bahay kubo” for her to stay as well as her rescued dogs and cats.

Alexa again hogged the spotlight late last year when she took in the controversial dog, Spike.

“Pag-abot man diri ni amo man dayon siya nako, so nakaingon gyud ko nga dili gyud siya aggressive. Unya isa pa, ang tagapound nga nagdakop niya niingon man sad sila nga wala man kuno nisukol nila or nagpakita sa iyahang ngipon pagdakop,” she said.

Spike was one of the dogs initially blamed for the death of their master. Later it was discovered that the old man suffered a heart attack before his body was found inside a small hut located in the compound which he shared with at least four dogs including Spike.

With her big heart for animals, may Alexa serve as an example of how a little kindness could go a long way for the hundreds of helpless animals around us.

Read: Spike: A gentle dog’s journey to a new life

Livy Gerodia

Livy Gedoria

Mommy Livy Gerodia is making rounds on social media to give free snacks to students who get perfect exam scores. Contributed photo

From a loving fur parent to a nurturing mother from the town of Barili in southwestern Cebu.
We’re pretty sure you’ve come across this viral story once or twice this year featuring Livy, a dedicated and kind vendor who gave good vibes to the students in their area.

Livy trended in April of last year when she was seen giving out free snacks to students and pupils who gained perfect scores in their exams.

Livy Gedoria

Livy Gedoria, 56, gives free snacks from her sari-sari store in Maghanoy, Barili, Cebu to the first 20 students in their area who can show her perfect exam scores.

Selling outside the Bartolome and Manuela Panares Memorial National High School in Poblacio, Barili, Livy has been extending her motherly care to students making it more touching as the latter would flock to her store showing her their perfect scores in exchange for a free snack.

In a recent interview with CDN Digital her daughter, Jessiel Ivy Gedoria, said that they are planning to give snacks to students by the end of the fourth quarter.
“Currently po nagpa-plan kami na magbigay ulit sa mga bata during sa releasing of grades for their 4th quarter. But we are still planning pa po kung ano ang ipapamigay. This would be the 3rd time po we give something to students,” she said.

She bared that they have been receiving monetary donations from kind sponsors who were touched by her mother’s kindness. She said the donations will enable them to continue this simple act of kindness that Livy ignited in their community.

Read: Mom in Barili, Cebu treats students with perfect scores to free snacks

Etienne Chantal

Etienne Chantal

Etienne Chantal sharing one of her ukay-ukay ensembles.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is how this Cebuana influencer sees thrift shopping locally known as “ukay-ukay.”

Starting as a fashion influencer and blogger on Tumblr, Etienne Chantal was faced with a challenge she never thought she’d have to face— finding her niche.

But along the way, from dressing up in the latest fashion trends from big brands, she found herself loving the branded clothes she found on her thrift shopping escapades that helped her get into her groove and style as an influencer.

Now, Etienne is seen sharing her “ukay-ukay” haul on her Instagram and TikTok accounts that have been getting online attention.

“I love thrift shopping because it transcends gender and time, presenting a sustainable and timeless activity that also happens to be a very enjoyable one too,” she told CDN Digital.
Now, she moves forward and onwards in her quest to make ‘ukay-ukay’ thrive in Cebu and ignite creative ideas.

And to make things more exciting, Etienne is in the works to make her own curated “ukay-ukay” shop in Cebu.

Read: FACES OF CEBU: Etienne Chantal, 29, social media influencer, thrift shopper

Kris Tiffany Janson

Kris Tiffany

Kris Tiffany Janson of Cebu City North is crowned Miss Universe Philippines Cebu 2024.

If breaking barriers and bridging the gap is one of the challenges of women of today, the first Miss Universe Cebu Philippines Kris Tiffany Janson just broke one barrier— the age limit.

Being crowned at the age of 34, Janson is giving aspiring beauty queens a fighting chance to make their mark as well.

In an interview with CDN Digital, Janson said that Miss Universe has always been a ‘what if’ for her.

Pageants are nothing new to Janson. She has been in the pageant industry for 15 years.

After years of trying to be a titleholder, an unexpected turn of events happened when her longest dream came to a reality during her 30s.

Growing up, Janson said she enjoyed her childhood like how any other child would – playing under the heat of the sun, with mud on her clothes.

After winning the Ms. Cebu crown in 2009, Kris decided to enter the Binibining Pilipinas pageant in 2014, with guidance from her longtime mentor Jonas Barces.

During her preparation for Binibining Pilipinas, Kris didn’t change much her routine for Ms. Cebu. She mainly worked on enhancing her walk and preparing for the question-and-answer segment.

When Kris won the Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental title in 2014, she traveled to Germany for the Miss Intercontinental 2014 competition, experiencing a new international environment.

Now, she is making huge strides in making middle-aged women stand and start doing the things they love.

For a lot of women, Tiffany proved that it is never too late to start let alone win something that matters to them.

Read: FACES OF CEBU: Kris Tiffany Janson, Miss Universe Philippines -Cebu 2024

Women were never weak, to begin with, they were just made to look that way by wayward societal dictates. Modern women are now finding their niche in this world, their own voices to be heard.

In a world where everyone no matter the gender has the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone else, women are finally getting the respect that they so richly deserve.

The above-mentioned Cebuanas are just some of the many who are making headway, big or small, in their quest to co-exist. The inspiration they are feeding to other women to help them come out of the shadows is something to be proud of.

Kudos also to the men for allowing women to rise above their limitations, for showing support, and for looking at women as co-equals.