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How Charo Santos Fought to Become ABS-CBN's First Woman President

The lady boss didn't have it easy.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: Instagram/Charo Santos-Concio

When Charo Santos-Concio went to her first meeting as a fresh hire in ABS-CBN, the first thing she noticed was the room being dominated by men. Then came these words: "What is she doing here? There's no place for her here!" 

That, and another remark, "May alam ka ba sa TV? Pampelikula ka lang," was how she knew that as an actress, she would have to fight for her place in the male-dominated world of Philippine television. 

The "welcome" came from then-president Freddie M. Garcia, also known as "FMG", she revealed in ABS-CBN talent Toni Gonzaga's latest vlog. 

As someone whose prior experience was limited to film, the man who became what she called a "mentor and tormentor" pushed her to constantly prove she wasn't just cut for the movies all throughout the four decades spent in the broadcast company. 

 "Hindi ako namemersonal eh kasi nga siguro buo yung loob ko. I know in my heart that i'm good -- I should not be discouraged and I will show you. Instead of taking those statements as personal insult, I take them as a challenge to my ability as a person to grow up and to level up," Santos-Concio said. 

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Her perseverance shaped her into the woman she is now: retired president and CEO, current executive adviser to the chairman and seasoned storyteller. 

"Marami na ngayon akong alam sa TV, FMG, and almost all of it, I learned from you", she wrote in a Philippine Star column


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While she has FMG to partly thank for helping her become a pioneer lady boss in media, he wasn't perhaps, as influential as her parents who really got the ball rolling for her since the beginning. 

She was a natural storyteller thanks to her father who shared his love for stories with her, and she wouldn't be discovered for her beauty if not for her mother (a frustrated queen herself) who pushed her to become Miss Baron Travel Girl of 1976, by which she was first noticed by media. 

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"Having grown up in a simple environment, in the probinsya, when I listen to different stories, it transported me to different worlds. It broadened my horizon, it opened up the world to me," she shared of her life growing up in Calapan, Mindoro.

Although doting, she said her father was a "very conservative" man who thought that women only belonged at home. She said it's why her mother would always make her join pageants, so the latter could project her frustrations.

"I was never conscious of my beauty. It was never about beauty and myself. It was more like, I was being an obedient daughter," she said. 

The game only changed for her completely when she won best actress for her very first film, acclaimed filmmaker Mike de Leon's Itim (The Rites of May), which she promised her father was also going to be her last. 

When he died, she recalled saying this: "I'm sorry dad but life has to go on for all of us and this is the world i'm in, this is the world I know. This is where the opportunities are coming from now. But don't worry, I will take care of your name."

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"I knew I can be a strong and independent woman. That I can stand alone," she said. 


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