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We continue our LA BULAQUEÑA (The Bulacan Woman) SERIES to feature the various women from Bulacan who have made waves in their respective fields.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Angel Locsin
Real Life Darna from Sta. Maria
Angel Locsin (Angelica Locsin Colmenares) was born on April 23, 1985, in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. She is one of the most sought after TV and movie actresses today. This La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) is also a commercial model, film producer, and fashion designer. She is also one of the most followed personalities in the Philippines in social media — Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This multi-awarded actress was first discovered by a talent scout. She then auditioned for several commercials and was supposed to be a part of ABS-CBN’s Star CircleBatch 9, but failed to sign a contract because her father opposed the idea. Later, she became a contract star of GMA Artist Center.
She is best known for her breakthrough roles in GMA-7’s Mulawin and Darna. In 2007, she moved to ABS-CBN where she did Lobo, The Legal Wife, La Luna Sangre, The General’s Daughter, and became a judge in Pilipinas Got Talent.
Angel is also a multi-awarded actress for multiple roles in her movies. Most notable of which are her Best Actress awards from FAMAS and the Film Academy of the Philippines (for One More Try). Her awards also extend beyond acting, being given awards as a Humanitarian, Brand Endorser, and Commercial Model. She is one of the very few Filipinas to be honored twice by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Ani ng Dangal.
On top of being a celebrity, Angel is a well-known advocate, volunteer, and philanthropist. She had been recognized and included in Forbes Magazine’s “Asian Heroes of Philanthropy” in 2019. Forbes reported that Locsin had donated “as much as 15 million pesos to causes such as educational scholarships for students, supporting the economic and political rights of indigenous people, and ending violence against women and children” in just a decade from 2009 to 2019.
Most recently, this La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) was able to raise PhP11M from donations and fundraisers for providing for sleeping tents and personal protective equipment for medical frontliners during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.
Angel is currently engaged to her fiance, movie producer Neil Arce.
No doubt, this La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) is one of the most influential Filipinas today.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Lydia de Vega – Mercado
Asia’s Fastest Woman from Meycauayan
Lydia de Vega was born on December 26, 1964, and is a native of Meycauayan, Bulacan. Currently a retired athlete, she was considered Asia’s fastest woman in the 1980s.
She won gold in the 100-meter dash events at the New Delhi Asiad of 1982, and the Seoul Asiad of 1986. She went on to win the same event at three Southeast Asian Games (in 1987,’91, and ’93) and two Asian Athletics Championships. Early in her career, she swept the 200 and 400-meter races at the SEA Games of 1981.
This La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) is a two-time Olympian, having represented the Philippines in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.
De Vega served as a councilor of her hometown of Meycauayan. In early 2005, she was appointed as a liaison officer of the Alliance of Coaches and Athletes of the Philippines with the Philippine Sports Commission.
De Vega is married to Paul Mercado, a former engineer at Meralco and an entrepreneur engaged in fish pond business, to whom she had four children including Stephanie who is a former collegiate volleyball player of the DLSU Lady Spikers.
La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Paz Villarica
Entrepreneur and Public Servant from Meycauayan
Currently, with more than 550 branches, the well-known Villarica Pawnshop that has been a staple business for many towns and cities was started by this La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman) – Mrs. Paz Villarica.
Mrs. Paz Villarica, a jeweler from Meycauayan, Bulacan, started Villarica Pawnshop as a single proprietorship in May 1954. With just the initial branch in Quiapo, Manila, the business has grown to the company that it is today both with Mrs. Paz’s initial business model and the leadership of her children who took over the business after she died in 1980.
Paz, who was once a councilor in her Meycauayan hometown, navigated through it all, juggling her responsibilities as a wife, a political figure, and mother to three children, including Atty. Henry Villarica (current congressman).
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!