WOMEN POWER: The Filipino community of New York and New Jersey honors the Distinguished Filipino Women of 2018 at an Awards Ceremony at the Philippine Center in New York on March 12, 2018.  (Photo by Lambert Parong/FAPCNY/Kabayan Media)

An engineer, a publisher and a broadcaster.

Three women who defied stereotypes and overcame obstacles were honored at this year’s Distinguished Filipino Women hosted by the Philippine Consulate General in New York at the Philippine Center on March 12, 2018.

The event was held in commemoration of International Women’s Month.

Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega congratulated Engineer Virginia Policarpio, IBM Senior Technical Staff Member; Elda Rotor, Publisher and Vice President at Penguin Classics; and Hazel Sanchez, Correspondent at CBS News for the honor they bring to the Filipino community in their respective fields.

De Vega added that women’s work is relentless, and encouraged everyone present to support advocacies that assist women, especially the underserved.

She added, “We can only truly rest on our laurels when women especially the underrepresented ones are allowed to flourish and be active members of the society.”

De Vega capped her remarks by quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”


From left, IBM Engineer Virginia Policarpio honors her immigrant Filipino parents’ selfless love during her remarks; Hazel Sanchez shares her moving story on focusing on her dream in spite of challenges along the way; and Elda Rotor calls for diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace and society.  (Photo by Lambert Parong/FAPCNY/Kabayan Media)

• Sharing details of her Filipino upbringing, Policarpio attributed her success to the value of education her parents inculcated in her and her siblings since they moved from the Philippines to the U.S.

She is emulating their example by also teaching her children to work hard in school, and encouraging them to pursue whatever their interests may be.

• In her personal narrative, Sanchez shared the virtue of resilience, which she has learned from her childhood.

Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian town in the midwest, she faced discrimination from her peers.

But even at an early age, she was determined to work hard for her dream to become a broadcaster.

Her focus on her goals has paid off as she is now one of the most recognizable faces in prime time news in New York.

• As a minority woman in publishing, Rotor emphasized the power of women solidarity and inclusiveness in the workplace and society.

Her role in Penguin Classics allowed for the best of Philippine literature to be widely available in America, namely, Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, the poems of Jose Garcia Villa, and the first-ever U.S. anthology of Philippine National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s works.


Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega accepts two Proclamations and a Letter on behalf of the Filipino community, given by the Office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, represented at the event by Assistant Director Joanne Choi.  (Photo by Lambert Parong/FAPCNY/Kabayan Media)

Joanne Choi, Assistant Director of Constituencies for Asian American Affairs at the Office of New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, presented the consul general with a letter from the governor in honor of the event recognizing the distinguished Filipino and Filipino-American empowered women achievers; and two Proclamations for the community’s celebrations of the International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

Former recipients of the Distinguished Filipino Women Awards, Venessa Manzano and Nicole Ponseca, presented the consul general with a plaque of recognition for her dedication to the country, untiring work to advance the interests of the Filipino people, and for setting an honorable example to all women.


From left, 2018 Honorees Virginia Policarpio, Hazel Sanchez and Elda Rotor receive their plaques from Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, while past honorees Nicole Ponseca and Venessa Manzano honor the consul general. Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov serves as emcee.  (Photo by Lambert Parong/FAPCNY/Kabayan Media)