The Modern Filipina

The Modern Filipina

Who is the modern Filipina?

With all the changes happening all around and having observed how the culture evolved for the past two (2) decades, I can’t help but ask the question. How do you define such a woman?

We have to admit that we come from a society filled with rules (not to mention, superstitions). Most of us grew up with strict and conservative parents, surrounded by meddling extended families (who often think that their opinions should be taken into serious consideration). Our actions measured and, oftentimes, directed by traditions and filial responsibilities. And, yes, women often suffer the worst end of the stick — underestimated, undervalued, and typecasted.

I grew up with voices telling me (that I’m also currently trying to debunk, I should add, and no, I’m not going mad, heh): plunging necklines, mid-rifts, short skirts and shorts, strapless/tubes, backless and bra-less outfits are sacrilege; t-shirts and shorts should be worn over bikinis (heck, it’s even “bad” to wear bikinis!) or swimsuits; having your photo taken in any manner that connotes something sexual (save that it’s already artless nudity — that’s a given, gah) is considered indecent; you should be timid and submissive (i.e. no ambition whatsoever); and, yes, this last one’s a classic — you should be thinking about marriage and family by the age of 25 PLUS say goodbye to having a career as soon as you do.

I can hear folks crying different sorts of things in outrage. Some will agree and others won’t but let me reiterate, this is based from my own personal experience and, yes, side notes are personal opinions as well.

Moving on.

Personally, I’ve changed. And since I believe that fashion reflects one’s personality, my personal style preferences grew up with the times; adapted to the shifted paradigm. Thinking things over helped me take a shot at a definition.

The modern Filipina then is a woman who embraces her colour and celebrates the culture and traditions that she grew up in. Armed with an accommodating nature, she opens herself up to outside influences that will edify and enrich her life. A woman who is not afraid to explore unchartered terrain for she’s aware of her roots; she knows where she came from. Her thoughts and opinions unabashedly materialise — reflected in her taste in fashion and makeup, at times — and she stands by it.

There is no shame in embracing one’s femininity and sexuality. Though, I show more skin and wear makeup or that I’m still single at 31, these things don’t make me less of a Filipina. Like I said, the country is evolving, so should the people living in it. It’s all a matter of filtering out the bad influences and exercising common sense. I’m not suggesting that you go against society, just don’t give it power over your life as a woman and as a Filipina.

How about you? How do YOU define the modern Filipina?

Dress Couture (I had this maxi-dress esp made back in 2007)
Bracelet Parvatti
Earrings Equip
Headband Diva
Fan Mum’s

P.S. The photo was for this week’s theme: Filipiniana; Filipina Flickrites Flickr Group.

Photo © 2009 Sasha Manuel

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About Sasha Manuel

Sasha is the Founder and Chief Editor of Style Manila has been around since 2007. You can also follow her on Twitter (@angelisophia), Polyvore, and Instagram (@sashamanuel). Read more about Sasha Manuel.


  1. I consider myself A Modern Filipina. My mouth alone will make traditional Filipinos shake in their boots..LOL.

    Great shot as always Sasha. I love that white maxi dress.

  2. Yeah I agree Dexie… :P

  3. Dexie: No doubt you are, Dex! Lol. Funny that you’re the 2nd person who said it’s a white maxi-dress.. it’s actually ecru. Hehe. Thanks! :D

  4. “you should be thinking about marriage and family by the age of 25″

    So true! I’m 27 and I was just thinking this morning, “wait… shouldn’t I be married by now??”

    Interesting post. Hopefully Filipinas worldwide, wherever they may be, would be able to maintain the “rational” Filipino traditions but at the same time accommodate newer (good) ones, too.

  5. Is it? Oh well, it’s in the same hues….LOL :)

  6. hi sasha, i so love this picture esp the parvatti bracelet you have! wonderful shot!

  7. Mau: I’m sure a lot of Filipinas are already on the right track. I hope they stay on track. AND hopefully the rest of the women — my age esp — won’t allow themselves to fall too far behind.

    Dexie: I think it’s how twas rendered in the photo. No biggie. LOL.

    January: Thanks!

  8. I am a Modern Filipina..Got twins, separated and dating… Work, work, work to achieve my goals and still up for more challenges.. Craving for new things to learn just don’t wanna be stuck in there.. Looking for more opportunities..I do what I want.. I buy what I want.. I am in control.. Who sez I need a guy? I am better off alone rather than being stucked with someone and say, “I am happy with my partner and my family.” For all you know it’s just a facade..

  9. I am a modern Filipina. I’ve never been afraid to show myself and what I am made of. Maybe because I was raised by a modern Filipina mom and an American stepdad? I don’t know. I just know that I am not bound by outdated rules, heck, I would wear my bikini any time of the day.

    Great post, Sasha. As always :D

  10. lovely self-portrait, sasha!

    and bravo on this post! thanks for speaking up that the filipina should be her own person, make her own decisions, and be comfortable in her own skin.

    i totally agree with everything you say here. it’s time we rise up from the backwardness and all. :)

    • Roda: Good on ‘ya. It’s better focus all that energy on yourself and forget how others conduct themselves, yes?

      Tara: I reckon our family will largely influence how we’ll end up both as a Filipina and a woman. It’s cool that you’re open to things that fall outside the norm. Good on ‘ya! Thanks, Tara! :)

      Bambi: Cool to know you agree. I’m certain there are a lot Filipinas out there who have been constantly re-defining who the modern Filipina is. Thanks, Bambi! :)

  11. Yes and just be really happy!! Thanks Sasha! Hey! I really love your posts!

  12. Yep, what i have to say here is she is really a nice Filipina i have ever seen before, so attractive and sexy. Nice lady!


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