8 inspiring female travelers you need to meet

We round up our favorite travelistas who have made large strides in their own fields — just in time for Women's Month

Chef Garima Arora, Gaa executive chef and founder

Chef Garima Arora. Photo courtesy of Gaa
Chef Garima Arora. Photo courtesy of Gaa

Rising Bangkok culinary star Garima Arora’s passion, precision and practicality also underline her travel style. “I travel for food! Anywhere I go, for work or pleasure, it’s about sampling street food and trying out high-end kitchens,” she tells us. Apart from being this year’s Asia’s Best Female Chef, Garima’s restaurant Gaa in is the first Indian woman-led kitchen to have earned a Michelin star. Talk about breaking boundaries.

Carina Dayondon, mountaineer

By scaling the highest summit of all seven continents, Carina Dayondon is a world-class climber and shows that women can literally do anything. When she’s not out on adventures, Carina is a lieutenant for the Philippine Coast Guard. Plus: she also has a pack of the cutest huskies!

Cheryl Tiu, taste-hunter and Cross Cultures founder


She has the best job in the world: she gets to eats her way around the world and works with amazing chefs for a living. She listed Garima as “one to watch” for 2019 — even before the chef became Asia’s Best Female Chef. A fan of food-themed trips, she says it provides “insight into why provinces come up with variations on a single dish.”

Berna Romulo-Puyat, tourism chief, Philippines


We were tickled to the hilt when Berna Romulo-Puyat gamely responded (with an invitation!) to writer Lourd De Veyra’s travel-themed wish list a few months into her appointment as the Philippines tourism chief. She lost no time hitting the ground running, from Boracay’s six-month closure and phased reopening, to the recent relaunch of the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign. It makes sense that she’s a self-confessed light packer. “I always travel light, just the basics in a small carry-on, so I don’t have to wait for checked luggage.”

Janice Lao-Noche, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability, The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels


It’s no surprise that Janice Lao, a development economist and environmental scientist, is pushing for sustainability in the way businesses operate in Asia. She played a significant role in Hong Kong MTR’s introduction of the Green Bond, which enabled the railway to provide a more environment-friendly service. Now as sustainability head of the region’s Peninsula Hotels group, she is making the luxury hospitality sector more sustainable. Recently, she is the first Asian (and Filipino) to win  the 2019 EDIE Sustainability Leader of the Year, which is considered the Oscars equivalent for global sustainability.

Cherrie Atilano, AGREA founding farmer and CEO

A champion of agriculture – especially fellow female farmers — Cherrie is on a crusade to revitalize the sector. She founded AGREA Agricultural Systems International Inc and Farm School, with a homebase in Marinduque (and steadily expanding in many other provinces!). AGREA helps students, farmers and fisherman deal with the effects of climate change and food security in the Philippines. Join her cause or to have a look at what farming looks like in the 21st century: agreaph.com

Marja Abad; co-founder of Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement

Marja Abad
Marja Abad, co-founder of the Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement. Photo by Marija Rathe

Marja Abad rides the waves like a dream and continues (somewhat tirelessly) to save Siargao, the country’s surfing capital, from being loved to destruction. If you want to volunteer, SEA Movement organizes a beach patrol on Saturdays from 4:00pm starting at the Greenhouse, General Luna city center.

G-Flip, music artist

Photo by Samara Clifford

Melbourne-based drummer G-Flip has a voice of an angel. G-Flip defies stereotypes, much to our and her fans’ delight. She even shared practical style advice with us. Her latest song is “Killing Time” is out now: http://smarturl.it/KillingMyTime

*Compiled by Coni Tejada

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