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Student Myra Colis wins 100 Most Influential Filipina Woman Award

17 October 2022
Law student Myra Colis won this year's 100 Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World Award (Global FWN100™) in the category founder and pioneer. The Award serves as a recognition for her hard work as an advocate for both women’s right and indigenous people’s rights. Notably, Myra founded MABIKAs Foundation - The Netherlands, a non-profit organization that aims to eradicate prejudice against indigenous people.

Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World Award

Though Myra didn’t expect to be nominated, she felt delighted to hear that she’s been selected as one of the few awardees this year in the category founder and pioneer. ‘I didn’t even expect someone to nominate me, because I know so many Philippine women out there who deserve such a prestigious award more than I do.’ When Myra got to read all the recommendations, she described the experience as gratifying. ‘When you sit down and reflect on what people are saying, then you start feeling proud and thankful.’ 


In 2016, Myra founded MABIKAs Foundation together with fellow Igorots living in the Netherlands with the goal to preserve knowledge about the cultural heritage and the identity of indigenous people in the Philippines. Myra is an Igorot herself (i.e. an indigenous person from Northern Philippine Cordillera) who experienced the problems indigenous people have to face in today’s society when it comes to discrimination and prejudice. ‘Even in the academia the indigenous knowledge is not even considered knowledge. How could that be possible when the foundation of all scientific knowledge we have today  was built upon the  wisdom that is passed to us by our ancestors?’. With MABIKAs Foundation, Myra and fellow Igorots in the Netherlands can further uphold the fundamental rights of indigenous people through knowledge and skills transfer. ‘To keep our indigenous identity alive, we aim to avail and make use of every resources we have in the Netherlands and all over Europe to document our stories, our values and our cultural heritage. Besides that, we continue to raise awareness  about the existence and positive social impact of indigenous people. This is our way of countering the prejudice and honoring the wisdom of our ancestors.’

Dedicated law student 

Not only is Myra the Founding Chairperson of MABIKAs Foundation but she is also a mother of two and a dedicated law student. She decided to go back to university after surviving breast cancer in 2019. Myra was determined to use her second chance in life to make a positive societal impact by studying law. She chose to study Law in Society, because of the interdisciplinary character of the program. What strikes her was the headline on the program web page, which says: do you want to be a different kind of lawyer? ‘Yes of course I do!’. She and her graduating classmates received their Bachelor’s degree last week, and just like what everyone in her class thinks, she also find the Law in Society a law program that was ‘crafted for her’. Last September Myra started a new adventure: the Master International Technology Law.

During her studies Myra also joined the University Student Council in September 2021 where she discussed important subjects such as the quality of education, internationalization, plant-based initiatives and diversity.

The Most Influential Filipina Woman in the World Award™ recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached status for outstanding work in their respective professions, industries, and communities. The awardees are honored for their contributions to society, femtorship (female mentoring), and legacy. 

Photo credit: Ornella Varanini.