A Most Influential Woman named Purita Arsenia “Joji” Ilagan-Hao Bian

     FOR SOME Davaoeñas, there are no halfway measures in life—there is only that passion that drives them to play out their lives like shooting stars against the clear, dark sky of convention. While dazzling the world about them, they manage to exert a very real fascination in whatever they do. Indeed, a few such individuals make Davao and other areas more exciting places while they go on with their stellar lives and do important activities that make such an impact in the community. Surely, they will leave behind a heritage of new options that the generation of Davaoeñas coming after them will fully enjoy the special legacy bequeathed to them.

DAVAO’S pride, Joji Ilagan-Bian, receiving her Most Influential Filipina Award at the Intercontinental Toronto Center, Toronto, Canada

DAVAO’S pride, Joji Ilagan-Bian, receiving her Most Influential Filipina Award at the Intercontinental Toronto Center, Toronto, Canada

     For Purita Arsenia “Joji” Ilagan-Hao Bian, a “good woman” of the old school has meant to be a wife/mother, a tower of strength and unquestioning devotion, an individual expected to subordinate her own drives or desires to that of her husband and/or the needs of her children. Oh yes, Purita Arsenia maybe all of that but this determined woman refuses to be defined by the demands and expectations of others; and has never wavered from her choice and decision. Here is one calculated move—the consumate, superb determination to fight against and overcome all challenges thrown her way. The seemingly fragile-looking superwoman never doubts the validity of her ambitions or her own ultimate ability to attain them. Purita Arsenia has advanced to the position that she has so desired with her dedication, strength tempered with tenacity, resilience, and best of all, genuine care for others. For me, Purita Arsenia alias Joji has this originality, great courage, and such self-confidence matched with an equal amount of self-discipline.

JOJI Ilagan-Bian with fellow Filipina awardees Sandy Montano and Georgette Puyat

JOJI Ilagan-Bian with fellow Filipina awardees Sandy Montano and Georgette Puyat

     “I knew that Joji will succeed in whatever she does. I sensed and figured this out when she was still my student. Joji is one outstanding, brilliant and astonishing beauty. I am very proud of her,” said Nila Gabiento Lacuin. Lawyer Myrna Valdez believes Joji has been receiving much blessings in her life as “she is one beautiful lady inside-out. Joji radiates kindness.” “Joji was born to be a star; and she has always been a star like me,” commented the veteran fashion designer, Alfonso “Boy” Guino-o, who remains dear to Joji through all these years, dressing the Suprema of Fashion even in the most outrageous ethnic couture complete with chicken feathers and all of the rich embellishments tito Boy has in his collection without Joji complaining a bit. Lesser mortals would have turned into a chicken; but not Joji, the fashion Suprema.

JOJI Ilagan-Bian and Nieves Confesor personifying Global Filipina power

JOJI Ilagan-Bian and Nieves Confesor personifying Global Filipina power

     The recent good news is that Purita Arsenia “Joji” Ilagan-Hao Bian, educator and business leader and chair of the Joji Ilagan International Schools, has been given recognition and awarded as “One of the Most Influential Filipinas in the World (Global Filipina Women’s Network 100)” at the Gala Awards Ceremony of the 14th Filipina Leadership Global Summit last October 25-29, 2017, in Toronto, Canada. The Global FWN Award recognizes 100 women of Philippine ancestry “who are changing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached a status for outstanding work in their respective fields, and are recognized for their achievement and contributions to society, mentorship and legacy. Joji Ilagan-Bian was selected from an outstanding field of nominees from around the world which included those from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Italy, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Hungary, the Netherlands, Mozambique, Canada, Austria and Australia.”

2 GENERATIONS of beauty and brains, Joji and Nicole Ilagan-Bian

2 GENERATIONS of beauty and brains, Joji and Nicole Ilagan-Bian

     It’s the first time I’ve heard of this award giving body; but according to Joji, the Global FWN 100 Award “is a working recognition award with a meaningful purpose. The award giving body’s vision is for a Filipina leader in every sector of the global economy. The awardees are asked to reinvent themselves by mentoring young Filipinas in their field of specialization.”

FILIPINA Global Power with Hon. Thelma Boac

FILIPINA Global Power with Hon. Thelma Boac

     “Joji Ilagan-Bian is now a valued partner in helping FWN develop the Filipina community’s pipeline of qualified leaders to increase the odds that some will rise to the top position in all sectors of the global economy,” said Dr. Maria Beebe, the Chairperson of the FWN, as she continued, “We gather all these amazing women at the Filipina Summit to inspire each other and create synergy. We interview each awardee so that their collective stories of how they disrupted their professional and personal lives will be part of the largest recorded diaspora in modern times.”

OUTSTANDING Filipinas with Joji Ilagan-Bian

OUTSTANDING Filipinas with Joji Ilagan-Bian

     “The Summit’s theme this year is ‘Filipina Women: Leading. Advocating. Impacting.’ Seeing powerful and pretty ladies of all ages and from different sectors from all over the world is assuring for me that working Filipinas are united and do revolutionize Filipino society. Here you see Filipinas who are leading and advocating and creating an impact in the community that they chose to live with now; and carrying with them our strong Filipino values and cultural heritage—be it politicians, women in business, educators, media people, science technologists, medical doctors and social workers, etc…,” narrated the perfumed and well-dressed Joji Ilagan-Bian who, after traveling to China, South Africa and Canada, has since left for Las Vegas to watch Celine Dion in concert for that much needed break from her business travels.

     Congratulations, Palangga. I am truly proud of you.

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