ASEAN event that connects women alumni across the region, and enables them to further their development as leaders and influencers of regional development.

Here’s the Philippine delegation of the 2019 Regional Women’s Leadership Initiative in Cambodia

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Maria Criselda Bisda

Women with Disability

Krissy is a champion of women and PWD rights. As a woman leader and a woman with disability, Krissy pushes for advocacies in gender and disability, particularly disability inclusion for work and education. She exemplifies these advocacies through her inspiring personal story. Despite the challenges of being visually impaired, Krissy is an accomplished woman. She worked as a human resource practitioner and consultant for several years, a graduate studies professor at the De La Salle University, and just recently, the director for inclusive programs at St. Mutien College.
Krissy is a recipient of the dual degree scholarship program of the Australia Awards Scholarship. She received her Master in Human Resource Management from the University of Newcastle and a post-graduate diploma in Industrial Relations Management from De La Salle University

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Marie Rafael

Gender Fair in Media and Communications

Ana Maria "Marie" Rafael has a considerable list of accomplishments under her belt. She is a lawyer, a former mayor of the municipality of Natonin, Mountain Province, and currently the assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). Part of her work in PCOO is to help create awareness on the proper portrayal of women in the media. As chairperson of the Media and Gender Equality Committee, she recently led the development of a Media Fair Guidebook that now serves as a resource for media, students, public officials and private sector.
Asec Marie is a recipient of an Australia Awards Scholarship. She received her Masters of Law, Governance and Development from the Australian National University.

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Ann Marie Cunanan

Women in Social Enterprise

Ann Marie’s passion for travel and volunteering led her to set up Meaningful Travels PH, a social enterprise that offers cultural immersions and volunteering trips to remote rural locations in the Philippines. This enterprise encourages people to travel with a purpose. Their travel program does not only provide travellers with one-of-a-kind adventures, but also helps community partners– farmers, fisher folks, women’s rural organisations– earn additional income for tourism services. As a business leader, Ann Marie continues to innovate. She has developed travel programs for IP and Muslim communities, and her upcoming collaborations will continue to expand the reach of Meaningful Travels PH.
Ann Marie earned her Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne University of Technology through an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Cornelia Rillera

Social Inclusion for Indigenous Peoples

Director Cornelia Rillera is a full-blooded native of Kalinga tribe in the Cordillera. She is currently the assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission, Cordillera Administrative Region (CSC-CAR), which is home to several indigenous and tribal communities. For the past thirty years, Director Nel has been engaged in Human Resource Management and Development as trainer, facilitator, and program administrator among others. She is actively involved in the review and approval of appointments of government officials and employees, and improvement of HR systems of various national and local government agencies in the Cordillera Region.
Director Nel received her Master of Human Resource Management at the University of Newcastle through an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Joan Lagata

Because Every Child Matters: Championing Inclusion in Education

Joan hopes to be the voice of learners with disability. After finishing her Master of Special Education from the University of Newcastle, Joan came back and trained teachers, supervisors and education advocates to better respond to the needs of learners with disability. As an education program supervisor of the Department of Education (Region V), she has been providing the much needed voice as champion of Filipino learners with disability. In 2017, she wrote an academic book entitled Because Every Child Matters, which aims to help teachers effectively manage the learning journey of children with special needs.
Joan is a recipient an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Josephine Ambongan

Poverty alleviation through Upland Sustainable Agroforestry Development (USAD)

Josephine has been working for the local government of Agusan del Sur for over 27 years where she rose through the ranks – from casual employee to human resource department head. As a woman leader in the government, she has worked with several teams in instituting reforms to transform the bureaucracy. One of her organisation’s strategies to reduce poverty in the province is the Upland Sustainable Agroforestry Development (UPLAND). Through this initiative, Josephine saw the important role of women in communities to help achieve the provincial government’s vision of improving the lives of Agusanons.
Josephine received her Graduate Diploma in Human Resources from Curtin University of Technology through an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Amanah Lao

Breaking Cultural Perceptions on Muslim Filipinos through a Muslim Town Immersion

Amanah wears three different hats – socio-economic development management officer of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Shari’ah counselor-at-law, and just recently, Muslim communities partnerships manager for Meaningful Travels PH. For the latter, Amanah collaborated with her fellow alumna, Ann Marie Cunanan, in offering immersive tours in Muslim Towns. This initiative aims to create opportunity to understand Islam as a religion of peace, appreciate the Moro as a people with different cultures and traditions, and to pioneer Halal Tourism.
Amanah received her Masters in Human Rights Law and Policy from the University of New South Wales through an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Christianne Santos

#youthempowered : Small Voices, Big Hearts

Kring Santos is passionate about social work, community development, and non-profit management. She was just in high school when she, together with a friend, founded the Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid (2KK), a youth-led non-profit organisation. Now on its 16th year, the organisation seeks to provide education to more children and expand its services. As the organisation’s president, Kring works with volunteers from diverse backgrounds, but who are just as passionate as she is about empowering underprivileged children through educational opportunities.
Kring took up Masters of Social Work at the University of Melbourne through an Australia Awards Scholarship.

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Joy Anya Lim

Anthill Fabric Gallery

As a social and cultural enterprise, ANTHILL’s (Alternative Nest and Trading/ Training Hub for Indigenous/ Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers) work is anchored on preserving local weaving culture and providing sustainable livelihood among partner community enterprises. ANTHILL is a women-led, women-run enterprise where almost 95% of stakeholders are women. Through the years, ANTHILL worked on providing enabling environments for women to honour their voice, value their handcrafted talents, take leadership positions in the community, have ownership of their businesses, discover their fullest potential and thrive where they are already at. ANTHILL builds the capacity of women by providing enterprising tools and encouraging active participation. ANTHILL recognises men, fathers and husbands and their presence in the community but also honour the women in the household and the significant role they play in economic empowerment and societal change.
Anya Lim graduated with the degree Master in Communication for Social Change at the University of Queensland. She is currently the co-founder and Managing and Creative Director of Anthill Fabric Gallery.

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Gloryrose Dy Metilla

Swito Corporation / Swito Designs Inc.

Swito Corporation is a social innovation hub focused on giving art and architecture businesses the resources to make their ideas sustainable. It holds art and architecture businesses that cater to products and businesses with a mission to lift local economy, culture and heritage.
Hailing from the South, interior and architectural designs are created to promote Mindanao traditional architecture, cultural identity, pride of place, sustainable, eco-conscious methods and peace and healing through participatory architecture. Their Tao Tao Sagaya dolls feature women from tribes across the Philippines, a tribute to the beauty and diversity of Filipino culture.
With an Australia Awards Scholarship, Gloryrose studied Master of Urban and Cultural Heritage at the University of Melbourne. She co-founded Swito Corporation and Swito Architectural Designs and became one of the emerging women architects who encourages nation-building, empowers individuals and promotes Mindanao Vernacular Architecture.

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Monica Camille Co Sarmiento

C&C Home and Gifts

C&C is a local lifestyle brand that believes in elevating everyday living by weaving purpose with style. C&C stands for being CREATIVE and COMMITTED - creative in coming up with fresh & functional designs while remaining committed to supporting & empowering partner communities. C&C partners with home-based communities of weavers & sewers to proudly showcase the rich culture & artisanal skill of the Filipino.
Monica is the co-founder of C&C Home and Gifts, envisioning to provide employment to the local community while producing handcrafted items from natural materials. Her dream is to help more farmers and more workers, while advocating for the use of more sustainable eco-friendly materials instead of plastic. She studied Master of Management (Marketing) at the University of Melbourne through an Australia Awards Scholarship.