La Bulaqueña, literally “the woman from Bulacan” or “the Bulacan woman”, also sometimes referred to as Una Bulaqueña (“a woman from Bulacan”), is the Spanish title of this 1895 painting by renowned Filipino painter, Juan Novicio Luna. This painting is displayed at the National Museum of Fine Arts (Pambansang Museo ng Sining) in downtown Manila.
This Mothers’ Day weekend, we launch our LA BULAQUEÑA (The Bulacan Woman) SERIES to feature notable women from Bulacan. Because of Mothers’ Day, we feature three mothers, who made a mark in their respective fields, from different towns of Bulacan.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Trinidad Tecson
The Hero and Patriot from San Miguel, Bulacan
Trinidad Tecson was born on November 18, 1848. With her brave actions during the revolutionary war, she was conferred the title “Mother of Biak-na-Bato” by then Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Along with three other companions, she went to the courthouse in Kalookan to seize firearms. They overpowered the Guardia Civil and carried away their guns. She also fought with the revolutionaries in 12 battles under five Filipino generals, including Gen. Gregorio del Pilar (another Bulakenyo).
During the Philippine-American War, she organized a group of women to nurse wounded Filipino soldiers. It was because of this that she was cited as the “Mother of the Philippine Red Cross” for her service to her fellow Katipuneros. She also served in the Malolos Republic and was designated as the Commissary of War.
You can say that she was a real badass poster child for girl power during the Philippine Revolution … to the extent that she did the actual blood compact (sanduguan) like the other Katipuneros when a lot of other women did not.
This La Bulaqueña (the Bulacan woman) was born in San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan. She was a mother to 2 children and went through 3 marriages. She was widowed 3 times, before passing away at the Philippine General Hospital on January 28, 1928, at the age of 79.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Regine Velasquez – Alcasid
Asia’s Songbird who lived in Guiguinto, Bulacan
Born Regina Encarnacion Ansong Velasquez, Regine Velasquez was born in Manila on April 22, 1970. After initially moving to Leyte during her early years, their family moved to Guiguinto, Bulacan when she was 9. She lived in her family home in Bulacan for 36 years until she got married in 2007.
This La Bulaqueña (the Bulacan Woman) kicked off her professional singing career after winning the season in television series Ang Bagong Kampeon in 1984. The win got her signed with Octo Arts International. But it was when she transferred to Viva Records in 1987 and the release of her album, Regine, that really kicked off her singing career. In 1989, Regine brought honor to the country by winning the prestigious Asia Pacific Singing Contest in Hong Kong. After that win, she was given the distinguished title, Asia’s Songbird.
Regine is undoubtedly one of the ultimate yardsticks in the Philippine music industry. With a career of more than 30 years, she has sold more than 7 million records in the Philippines, and more than 1.5 million records in Asia. She is the biggest selling Filipino artist in OPM history. She is also one of the most awarded Filipino artists, with 21 Awit Awards, 22 Box Office Entertainment Awards, 15 Aliw Awards, and 10 Star Awards for Music.
Regine also ventured into acting, both on the big screen and on television. She has also received awards in this front, including Box Office Queen award in 2002, the Star Awards for Television’s Best Actress in 2002, and the Golden Screen Awards’ Best Actress in 2013.
Regine is the proud mother of a young boy, Nate. Nate is her son to husband and fellow music icon, Ogie Alcasid.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Susan Ople
Labor and OFW Advocate from Hagonoy, Bulacan
Susan Ople is a proud Bulakenya from Hagonoy, Bulacan. She was born on February 9, 1962. Daughter of THE Blas Ople, who is considered as the Father of the Labor Code of the Philippines, she continues to be one of the strongest labor and OFW advocates in the country. This La Bulaqueña (the Bulacan Woman) is the founder and current president of the Blas Ople Policy Center (BOPC) which assists distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in various parts of the world.
A twice senate hopeful, not landing a seat at the Philippine Senate did not stop her from continuing her advocacies for the benefit of the Filipino workers, both here and abroad. These include, among others:
- Modernization of OWWA, POEA, and other Assistance-to-Nationals-Units;
- Passage of anti-age discrimination at the workplace law that puts a premium on abilities and not age;
- Passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill which penalize discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity;
- Unequivocal exemption by the law of all OFWs from the payment of airport terminal fees;
- Creation of a Victims’ Assistance Program for Human Trafficking Survivors; and
- Elimination of Job-Order System in government.
Susan Ople has one daughter, Estelle.
Read about our other feature article on another set of great women in Bulacan — Kamestizuhan District: Home of the Women of Malolos
Do you know other famous women from Bulacan who should be part of the next installment of our La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) series? Just comment below for your suggestions!