All over the country, Filipinas make their mark in modern design

As we celebrate Women’s Month in March, we focus on the country’s regions and appreciate innovative female leaders making their mark in the field of environmental planning, architecture, and interior design as they trailblaze in their chosen fields of endeavor – improving on and motivating other women to excel in a field once dominated by men.

From the Ilocos region where arts and architecture is a historical trademark comes a Bigueña Achiever Awardee for 2023 on Arts and Culture,  Environmental Planner Ester Ibera Rugnao. Bigueña of the Year is a distinguished award for women in Vigan City who have devoted their time, talent, resources sharing significant roles in the field of arts and culture.

Environmental Planner Ester Ibera Rugnao

“Mam Ester”, as she is fondly called, is also an architect who designed the Provincial Farmers Livelihood Development Center which now houses the Provincial Government legislature and Governor’s House. She is also the architect of the famous Baluarte complex in Vigan City owned by Luis Chavit Singson in Ilocos Sur. Today this property development is doing well and attracting thousands of tourists and property investors for landbanking along the surrounding areas.

Architect Ma. Mylen Yaranon-Pangan

In the City of Pines is an innovative architect who had the vision of a beautiful, well-planned and rejuvenated Baguio City. Architect Ma. Mylen Yaranon-Pangan made her mark in the practice of the profession with such projects as the St. Louis School Center High School Annex Institutional Building in  2011 and Travelite Express Hotel in 2015. She also designed the NewTown Commercial Hotel and Condominium Complex in 2014 which is a group of buildings designed to preserve the natural terrain and preserve the existing pine trees of Baguio City. Today, she is a mover in the government sector as Councilor of Baguio City. She is also the Chairman of the Public Works Committee and Head of the Technical Working Group in the City of Baguio aimed at rehabilitating and repairing the Baguio Convention Center

Architect Karmela Po of Arka Design Studio

In Cebu City, the Queen City of the South is an up-and-coming woman architect making her mark. Architect Karmela Po of Arka Design Studio is a graduate of the  University of San Carlos. Her journey in leading the first UAP chapter in the country has shown her resolve that women can also lead prestigious organizations. Her quality design projects in residences, interior works, and condo fit-outs has led her firm into the design and build services. Today she she also gives back to the community through the Batang Pinangga Foundation Inc.

Interior Designer Cinderella Sumilang

Down south in the city of Golden Friendship, Cagayan De Oro, a thriving entrepreneur in the field of interior design is making her mark. Interior Designer Cinderella Sumilang, better known as Ella of CASSCade Designers is slowly going up the ladder of success. A graduate of Interior Design from the Philippine Women’s College, IDr. Ella has been gaining clients in Cagayan De Oro City, Bukidnon, and surrounding areas with her unique style and hands-on approach in the building industry. Ella has said, ” As an interior designer, it gives me great pride to see women in the field of the construction industry; it empowers me. The physical strength, mental grit, and other factors that move women to collaborate and lead especially in this male-dominated industry is a great achievement. It’s uplifting knowing that a woman can still be charmingly soft, yet be tough. I do believe that women are the epitome of strength & resilience. There can be no limit to what we women can achieve and accomplish if given the same opportunities.”

Architect Sheanna Bacus-Melocoton

In the thriving City of Davao are two young and dedicated women leaders in the field of design and construction. Architect Sheanna Bacus-Melocoton is showing her kind of leadership through motivation and example. Just recently, she led her UAP Davao chapter in hosting Defining Spaces 15 which was a big production showcasing design and construction exhibits in this part of the Philippines on innovative designs and technologies for the construction industry. Growing up in their family construction business has sharpened her skills and helped her develop a strong foundation to strive, challenge stereotypes, and redefine norms within the predominantly male-dominated industry.

Architect Chrystelle Eve Cordero of The Scapes Architectural Design Studio

Another Filipina in Davao changing the property landscape is Architect Chrystelle Eve Cordero of The Scapes Architectural Design Studio. Her new design approach to 7-11 stores in this part of the country changes the customer’s perspective of standard retail convenience stores – now revamped as modern and sophisticated as seen in their first concept store with a kitchen in Lagao, General Santos City. A graduate of the Ateneo De Davao University in 2017, Arch. Eve is a promising young lady architect with a bright future. She believes that “women have already, and will continue to power through and break boundaries in the field of architecture & construction as we design spaces that are lived well through the ages”.