Outstanding women leaders awarded

BAGUIO CITY – The public recognition and awarding of three Outstanding Women Leaders (OWL) this Monday, March 29; general membership meeting, online presentation, and welcome of OWLs batch 2021 on March 31 caps the celebration of women’s month this year.

Working online and face-to-face since November 2020, the Baguio OWLs screening and selection committee went through nominations to finally choose entrepreneur and skills trainor Marybeth Yu So, culture and tradition advocate Lucia Balwayan Ruiz, and economic empowerment resource person Lumina Lawangen Peil as this year’s awardees.

Marybeth Yu So is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and skills trainor of the Culinary Arts Hotel Entrepreneurial Travel Services (CHETS) Academy; managing director of Travellite Express Hotel Shuntog and Pinares Pagkaing Pinoy.

She is also a member of the board of Directors of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB).

As a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-accredited competency assessor, she extends a helping hand through skills training for single mothers, young lady entrepreneurs and women in difficult circumstances, “re-tooling” them for new skills which ensures them entrepreneurship or offers of employment after graduation from their respective courses. She is a recognized “Tagsanay” for TESDA programs.

Anonymously, Ms. Yu So financially helps deserving students acquire undergraduate, masters or doctoral degrees.

For Lucia Balwayan Ruiz, indigenous peoples’ literacy and the love of culture specifically that of the Cordilleras, does not stop with the aesthetically-approved performance of songs and dances, but on ways how to respect and preserve each unique culture.

Being an educator at St. Louis School of Campo Filipino, Baguio Colleges Foundation High School (now University of the Cordilleras, and college instructor at the University of the Philippines Baguio gave her opportunities to share her expertise on Cordillera culture.

As resource speaker on numerous education-oriented gatherings, she passionately shares knowledge on Cordillera dance and music including instrumental pedagogy and hands-on execution.

For her, culture is a mark of one’s profound identity.

Ruiz is presently the president of Indigenous People’s Education for Arts, Culture and Empowerment (IPEACE), member of the Kalinga Organization in Baguio and Benguet and Soroptimist Summer Capital. She is also an advocate for zero-waste environment. Lumina Lawangen Peil receives the OWLs award for financially empowering women through zero-interest loans to be used for livelihood such as industries, entrepreneurship though hog and chicken raising, sari-sari stores and thrift shops.

She also extends scholarships to deserving students through the AIP foundation which she heads. As and Episcopalian, she is a member of the ladies’ group of St. Nicholas; and also an active member of Soroptimist International and Rotary Club of Metro Baguio.

The board of judges with Chairperson Micaela Defiesta, are Maria Catbagan Aplaten, Jeannette Cawiding, Maria Christine Garcia and Rosalia Ocyaden; all OWL awardees.

The Chair of the search is OWL Jennifer Mejia, and President is Emerita Fuerte.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong leads the awarding ceremonies, together with other city officials. OWL Patti Gallardo-Marcelo welcomes the new members with the presentation of special awards by OWLs President Fuerte.

OWL awardees are chosen as to their being women leaders, recognized as a symbol of leadership in field of work, able to inspire, influence and guide others in accomplishing programs/projects for the general welfare and development of the city.

The awardee must have funded or established an organization or firm or headed an organization which would benefit the city and its citizenry.

The awarding coincides with the celebration of women’s month March of every year. –juliegfianza