Some fine leaders are born women. And one of them is this feisty Lady Councilor from Mandaluyong. Make way to Honorable Charisse Marie A. Abalos!
This is her story.
The 23rd day of June, 1985, was a double celebration for the Abalos family. For Carmelita, the future First Lady of Mandaluyong, gave birth to lovely twins. While the destined Mayor, Benhur Abalos, was in very high spirits for his little bundles of joy. The proud parents gave the twins a common middle name, Marie, in reverence for the Virgin Mary. To distinguish the two, they named their eldest, Ciara, after the seventh-century venerated Irish figure, St. Ciara. While the younger one was Christianized as Charisse that got its origin from the Greek word, Charis, meaning “peace”. The latter would come of age and soon live up to her name which signifies: beauty, kindness, love, and grace.
Charisse began her formal education at the Saint Pedro Poveda College, the same institution where remarkable alumnae as the Broadway Superstar, Lea Salonga, and the international pianist, Cecile Licad (to name a few), had cultivated their character. From this Catholic school, she acquired her essential knowledge and molded her generous spirit. Fruitful years passed by quickly and she completed her Primary and Secondary schooling. Yet before she advanced to college, she already aimed her interest in the academic discipline concerned with a particular aspect of human society. To attain higher learning, she decided to study at one of the top universities in the country. Hence, she took up a Social Science course at the Ateneo De Manila University.
From this prestigious academia where Presidents, Senators, and numerous prominent leaders were made, Charisse devoted her prolific collegiate years. Pursuing AB Management Economics, this chosen program provided her a balanced foundation in the fields of business and economics. While majoring in the discipline, this precocious student would affirm her academic competence, and further reveal her potential for leadership. As when she joined first as a member of the nonprofit student organization, she would later on become the Marketing Head of the Ateneo Management Economics Organization. After four years of determination and self-reliance, she finally earned her precious college degree in 2007.
Even before obtaining her diploma, Miss Abalos immediately utilized what she had learned. Exploring the private sector, she worked as the Operations Manager (and later, Managing Director) at All About Chicken, Inc. To another company, she carried on as the Branch Manager at Kitchenette, Inc. Later on, she ventured into television and film production as Content Supervisor at the Brains, Inc., and as Location Producer at the Philippine Film Studios. From the year she graduated, she has become the Director of Liberty House Insurance Agency, Inc.; the Manager of Abalos Aqua Farm and Hatchery, Inc.; and the Co-Founder of Coup De Love Apparel.
Aside from being business-minded, Charisse is civic-oriented as well. In fact, she has occupied high-ranking positions from various non-governmental organizations. To enumerate, she is the President of the SAMAKANA or Samahan sa Mandaluyong ng mga Kabataang Nagkakaisa; and the Vice Chairman of Program Committee of Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Mandaluyong. All this happened after the untimely demise of her twin sister in 2005. It was an unforgettable tragedy that she and her family will never forget. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Charisse thought of establishing a foundation dedicated to her beloved sibling. As the Co-founder and President of Ciara Marie Foundation, she leads this charity institution by extending assistance to the most vulnerable children in her hometown.
Though at this point Miss Abalos considers her achievements humble, it is worth mentioning that she already has a string of management credentials. In 2010, she was recognized by Max’s Restaurant as Managing Director of the Year. Three years after, the Philippine Franchise Association acknowledged her as the Regional Franchisee of the Year.
However significant her personal accomplishments were, they did not content her. Deep within her mind, there was this intense feeling for higher calling. And this yearning was to serve an altruistic purpose – to help out more people in her community. Thus in 2013, she sought for a local position in the city government. By the guidance of her family and the overwhelming support from Mandaleños, Charisse won a seat in the city legislative office. Presently, this 29-year-old bachelorette has been effectively working as the City Councilor in the First District of the Tiger City.
Though still blossoming to be a political frontrunner like her father, Charisse has proven her worth as a young leader. As a matter of fact, she is now the Committee Chairman on Trade, Commerce and Industry and Appropriations in the Mandaluyong Council. Moreover, she is the Secretary General of Philippine Councilor’s League – Mandaluyong Chapter, and the Board Member of National Movement of Young Legislators. She has authored ordinances including the landmark law a.k.a. Code of Parental Responsibility, and continues to create people-oriented and livelihood projects as Zumba Caravan and Kitchen Yummies which benefit the ordinary citizens. Indeed, this novice legislator has clearly manifested her capability to lead the common people.
Once in a while, the public finds a leader who exudes effervescent personality and vigorous drive, and more importantly, who inspires a bright future. Fortunately for thousands of Mandaleños, they already have one. In the coming years, they will look forward to her new brand of leadership, and they will expect great things from her. With her magnetic charm and benevolent heart, Charisse will most certainly lead the way.
Organizations and Affiliations
President - SAMAKANA
Co-Chairman - Micro Small Medium Enterprise Development Council of Mandaluyong
Vice-Chairman - Gender and Development Council