Google Doodle honors Filipina suffragist Rosa Sevilla de Alvero

Rosa Sevilla de Alvero’s doodle on the Google Philippines homepage on March 4, 2021.

GOOGLE is celebrating the 142nd birthday of Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, a women’s activist who fought for the suffrage of Filipinas, with a doodle on its Philippine homepage.

The March 4 doodle features an illustration of de Alvero in a Maria Clara dress casting her vote in a ballot box, with the arms of other Filipinas from succeeding generations doing the same act.

De Alvero was born in 1879, in Tondo, Manila. In addition to being a journalist, educator, and activist, she widely considered to be one of the most influential suffragists in Filipino history.

A profile on the Google Doodle page recounted her early life as a child sent to live with her aunt, an educator who hosted Filipino patriots and intellectuals at her home.

“Sevilla often eavesdropped on their conversations about battling educational colonialism — revolutionary discussions that helped mold her beliefs,” it said.

At 21, De Alvero founded the Instituto de Mujeres (“Women’s Institute”) of Manila, one of the first schools for women in Filipino history. Today it is known as the Rosa Sevilla Memorial School.

“The institute became a hotbed for progress under Sevilla’s leadership — educating women on topics such as suffrage, vocation and Tagalog,” said Google.

De Alvero also collaborated with notable Filipino Tagalog poets to present the first balagtasan (a debate held in poetic verse), which sparked a movement for Tagalog to become the national language.

In 1916, she left Manila to rally women across the country in her fight for suffrage, later founding the Liga Nacional de Damas Filipinas (“National League of Filipino Women”) to support her cause. Filipinas were granted the right to vote on September 17, 1937.

“Thanks in part to Sevilla’s tremendous call to action, voting rights were granted to Filipino women in 1937,” said Google. “Happy birthday, Rosa Sevilla de Alvero!”

Google Doodle has honored pioneering Filipinas in recent months, including artist and activist Pacita Abad and Fil-Am Olympic Gold Medalist Vicki Manalo-Draves.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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