Six Significant Filipinas Honored in Illustrado Women of Substance Event in Dubai

Dubai-based Filipino lifestyle-community magazine Illustrado has honored six significant Filipinas from different walks of life in a dazzling ceremony attended by some 250 guests, at The Montgomerie Golf Club on Saturday, the 4th April 2009.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 08, 2009 --( Now on its second consecutive year, the Illustrado Women of Substance event is meant to celebrate female empowerment and to be a source of inspiration to the local Filipino community. “This is our way of saying thank you and acknowledging the contributions of our female compatriots to society, and at the same time a vehicle with which to uplift the morale and profile of our community out here,” remarked Lalaine Chu-Benitez, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Illustrado Magazine. “By highlighting the achievements and efforts of our kababayans [compatriots], we wish to drive the message that all of us can make a mark someday if we only put our mind to it.” Chu-Benitez was quick to add, “This endeavor is not a popularity contest. We actually take pride in showcasing the achievements of real people – real role models, to show that we can be significant despite our ordinary existence today.”

Among Illustrado’s honorees is Engr. Mary Jane Alvero Al Mahdi – a Filipina chemist who rose to the position of CEO in a reputed multi-disciplinary testing laboratory in the UAE and the first Filipina awardee in the prestigious Emirates Business Women’s Awards in 2008. Lilian Vargas, one of the most respected senior managers at the internationally renowned Dubai Duty Free started as a shop assistant 24 years ago and has since made her way up the corporate ladder overseeing some 1,600 employees and recruiting staff from different all over the globe. She is currently in-charge of Customer Service and Shop Floor Management in busy Dubai International Airport which receives millions of passengers on a monthly basis.

UAE Filipino Press Club President and newspaper Gulf Today Senior Reporter Mariecar Jara-Puyod was also honored during the event. The feisty award-winning journalist is a passionate advocate of female empowerment.

Recognizing the modern woman’s varied roles in life – Illustrado’s honorees also included Isabelita Sabado-Warren a dynamic entrepreneur, the creator of the locally-grown Filipino brand of condiments and snacks – Nanay Tuneng. Warren, who is a proud hands-on homemaker, is also an active community volunteer and philanthropist who launched a feeding program in her hometown of Magdalena, Laguna last year. Another passionate community volunteer is nurse Juliet Solas, of Al Wasl Maternity Hospital, the only Filipina so far to have received a Dubai Government Excellence Award. Sister Juliet, as she is fondly called in the community, is an active leader of the Filipino Community Organization which provides support to hospitalized and jailed Filipinos who do not have relatives in the country. Her group also as organizes church projects – particularly mass weddings for Filipino couples.

Capping the line-up is multi-talented Clarita de Quiroz Craig, a classically trained pianist, singer and music writer in the UK, who is also a famous international model. De Quiroz Craig, is a Filipino-Scottish kayumanggi beauty, a role model proud of her Filipino heritage and traditional values.

A guest at the event, British national Trevor Stott-Briggs, who has been married to a Filipina for over 20 years, commented, “The great thing about Filipinas is that they like to be women. They complement the men in their lives. They become successful and get the things that they want in their own unique feminine way.”

The successful event held in talk show format, also featured an Art of Living session with facilitator Sangeeta Kapoor, and was capped by the Dubai premiere of the music video “My Funny Brown Pinay” featuring US based Filipina jazz artist Charmaine Clamor. Clamor’s popular hit song celebrates having pride in one’s natural beauty. Illustrado’s Women of Substance Event was supported by sponsors – Tribeca Real Estate ( and Philippine Property Connection (, Enderun Colleges ( and Pretty Fit shoes.

About Illustrado
Illustrado is a unique lifestyle-community magazine published in Dubai devoted to uplift the morale and the image of Filipinos in the Gulf. The slogan ‘Taas Noo, Filipino’ and the vision of ‘Helping the Filipino flourish - global vision, native soul’ define the substance, style and corporate ethos that has helped Illustrado gain respect and recognition in the region as a wholesome, positive, highly engaging and richly visual medium that has accorded due respect and recognition to the Filipino community.

Illustrado's distinctive approach combines premium production values with a very down-to-earth philosophy; it is not only a magazine, but is a social enterprise that speaks and aspires to enrich a very diverse range of readers, veering off the usual media fare of gossip, scandals, sensationalism and materialism. It is a publication that has the look and feel of premium glossies, but is patronized by Pinoys who still appreciate the distinct homey flavor of ‘tuyo’, regardless of whether they are domestic helpers or business owners outside the Philippines. Because of Illustrado’s earnest approach, the magazine has touched the lives of so many progressive-thinking Pinoys, who found resonance and empowerment in the contents of its pages.

Illustrado has an eclectic non-traditional team of contributing writers, photographers and artists spread across the Philippines, the UAE, including Southeast Asia and the US - all of whom share the same passion towards the Filipino cause.

Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC

Illustrado Communications FZ-LLC
Lalaine Chu-Benitez