Awesome Women: Carmen Guerrero Nakpil and Gilda Cordero-Fernando

I would love to have a marathon gabfest–covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and two meriendas–with two of the Philippines' best women writers: Carmen "Chitang" Guerrero Nakpil and Gilda Cordero-Fernando, together or separately. Since both are already well into their senior citizenship, being up and chatting all day might be too much of a stress, but one never knows with these two amazing women. Their zest for life, their soaring imagination, their bravery and their unbridled creativity–even their irreverence–were legendary when they were younger, and there's no reason to think that they won't pull some surprises now.

Gilda Cordero-Fernando (Source:

Gilda is not only a multi-awarded writer and publisher, she has also been a visual artist, fashion designer, art curator and theatrical producer. Her every creation celebrates the soul of the Filipino, the deepest recesses of which she understands. Her energy and her mind remain unscathed by age, decorated wheelchair be damned. Who else but Gilda can write a three-part "reportage on sex" in her a weekly column tellingly called "Forever 81?" 

Carmen "Chitang" Guerrero Nakpil (Source:

Chitang, who wrote her autobiographical trilogy at age 88 and won a National Book Award for it, describes herself as having lived eight lives: "war widow, single parent, reporter, editorial columnist, bon vivant, media celebrity, technocrat and international bureaucrat." (She ends her last book of the trilogy, Exeunt, with a proper goodbye: "No longer restless or fractured, rid at last of all strange gods, this very old heart withdraws into peace." That was four years ago.) I actually feel shortchanged that she has only written a trilogy when each of her eight lives could fill a book easily.

I want to listen to these two exceptional Filipinas talk about anything and everything because, like their prose, I'm sure the conversation will be captivating, the stories unforgettable, the gossip delicious and the laughter, ah, it will be out of this world.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino