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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Lizze Small Contributing Illustrator
How to help our Earth
April 12, 2024

The creation of Fierce Filipina

Illustration from Fierce Filipina by Jill Arteche

Lara ’22 joined her aunt Maxie Villavicencio Pulliam and other members of her family to write and publish Fierce Filipina, a biography that chronicles the life of Gliceria Morella de Villavicencio and her role in the Philippines’ fight for independence. Maxie Villavicencio Pulliam is Gliceria’s great-great-granddaughter. Lara’s aunt initially began to think about writing a book about the life of her great-great-grandmother about a year ago.


“My aunt FaceTimed my sister, my cousin and I one day last summer and said she had an idea for this book and she then assigned us different roles” Lara said.

Lara’s initial responsibility was to find out more about the world of self-publishing books and to find an illustrator who could bring Lara and her family’s vision to life. Lara also took on the task of managing the website for Fierce Filipina and now works alongside her sister to manage social media accounts for the book.


Gliceria fought to remove Spanish and American colonists from power, as well as inspire and empower Filipinos to fight for their independence and freedom from colonial rule. Despite this, Gliceria and other female revolutionaries are often removed from the history of independence on the basis of their gender.

“When my aunt was visiting the Philippines before COVID, she went to visit Gliceria’s statue but realized that many people did not know her story,” Lara said.


Inspired by her visit to the Philippines, Maxie was intent on educating people about Gliceria and her role in Philippine history. After getting shot down by several publishers, Maxie decided to self-publish Fierce Filipina and enlist the help of Lara and her family. Lara hopes that the work she has done with her family will not only educate people on the life of Gliceria, but also impact readers on a personal level.

“I hope that people are inspired by her story and how empowering she is. Despite her privilege, she cared about all Filipinos and fought for social change,” Lara said. “Gliceria is just one story that has been overlooked by history. There are so many other women, especially women of color that have been overlooked by history. I hope readers will acknowledge women’s place in history.” Fierce Filipina was published on February 26, 2021 and can be purchased on Amazon, as well as digitally on Issuu.

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