Our country’s creative masters continued to produce fantastic works even in the midst of the pandemic.
Despite the challenging year that has been 2021, when variants like Delta caused the worst surge in COVID-19 cases, when there’s record-high unemployment, and when the world’s longest lockdown in the world continued, there are still Filipinos who have made a positive impact in the world.
Meet the 21 Filipinos who shaped 2021 through their inspiring tales, laudable efforts, passion projects, and unique triumphs.
15. Isko Moreno
Current Manila mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso maximized his three-year term in the country’s capital. Yorme, as he is fondly called, started his term as the capital’s main man in 2019, after beating two former Mayors, Erap Estrada and the late Alfredo Lim.
Under the governance of Moreno, the construction of mass housing for the poor of Baseco, Tondo and Binondo; the construction of a COVID-19 field hospital and a new Ospital ng Maynila; provision of free antigen testing and free Remdisivir and Tocilizumab for COVID patients; and the continuous delivery of relief boxes to residents were made possible.
16. Raymund Isaac
In his 40 years of experience, Isaac did fashion and beauty works for American Photo Magazine and collaborated with global brands Evian and De Beers. He also authored a book called The Good Photographer, and helped celebrities Piolo and Judy Ann Santos with their books.
Among his last works involved the recreation of iconic movie posters of American movies Pretty Woman and Top Gun for Kokoy de Santos and Elijah Canlas of the Boys Love series Gameboys. For these, he was even dubbed “the first celebrity photographer.” His untimely passing this year cut short his still thriving career, but the images he left behind will forever be a reminder of his talent.
17. Patricia Non
The brainchild behind the Maginhawa Community Pantry, Ana Patricia Non inspired people all over the Philippines—and even in other parts of the world—to lend a helping hand to those
in need. Starting out as a humble bamboo cart packed with fresh produce and other food items where the poor who needed food could get some for free. Its concept was simple, “Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan.”
18. Michael Cinco
This simple yet powerful act of generosity fifteen long months into the pandemic resonated with so many people and sparked a community pantry phenomenon. People from all walks of life pitched in donations and created food banks in their respective communities.
No pandemic can keep Michael Cinco from creating. This year, the Filipino couturier went to Milan and Venice in Italy to shoot his fall-winter collection against the Duomo Cathedral. Before that, he launched his first kids and teens wear in Dubai.
During the first in-person Paris Fashion Week in almost two years, Cinco presented a crystal-studded Spring/Summer Haute Couture collection at the American Cathedral. The collection, he says, is his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where “we are like caterpillars evolving into free-flying butterflies with a new beginning.”
19. Carlo Katigbak
Amid the network’s shutdown, ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak led the pivot to digital channels and overseas viewership. Their website, ABS-CBN.com, reached 2.5 million daily users, keeping it one of the top country’s largest website.
The network’s movies and TV series were made available globally on Netflix, Iflix and PopT, while TV programs were aired in countries all over the world, including Asia, Europe and Africa. Iwant TFC, meanwhile, have four million monthly active viewers, while the network’s YouTube channel continue to be among the biggest in the world with 16 billion views. Though retrenchments happened, Katigbak hopes to welcome back the people they were forced to let go.
20. Ronald Ventura
As a leading figure in Southeast Asian contemporary art, Ventura is no stranger to local and international acclaim. With hard work and uncompromising vision, he succeeded in melding realism, cartoon, and graffiti in scenes of chaotic disarray that references science fiction, Western history, Asian mythology, and Catholicism.
It’s the kind of work people are eager to pay for. Last June, his painting called Party Animals (2017), which features an image of a children’s party attended by forest and farm animals along with a couple of demons, sold for HK$19 million or over P123 million at Christie’s.
21. Enrique Razon
Much like other business leaders during the pandemic, ports and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. did what needed to be done—provide help where needed. The chairman of International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI), the country’s leading ports operator, was key in the private sector’s initiative to secure Moderna vaccines—20 million doses of it. Around 7 million were given to private sector workers while 13 million went to the government.
A mega COVID-19 vaccination facility at the Nayong Pilipino site in Parañaque was also opened to inoculate Filipinos and even Olympic athletes who were then Tokyo-bound. Not only did it meet the special temperature needs of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, it was also funded by the foundation ICTSI.