By Zsarlerne B. Chua, Reporter

FIVE FILIPINOS made it to this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list of entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers in Asia (and Australia) under the age of 30.

The Filipinos included in the fifth edition of the list are Francis Plaza, founder of e-payment processing platform PayMongo; Louise Mabulo, founder of the Cacao Project; Breech Asher Harani, multimedia artist at Alexandrite Pictures; gymnast Carlos Yulo; and skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

“Amidst challenging times and global uncertainty, the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2020 features bright and innovative leaders who are ready and equipped to adapt to whatever the future may hold,” Forbes said in a statement.

The five Filipinos join the 300-strong list of honorees sorted in 10 categories: The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink); Entertainment & Sports; Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & E-Commerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science; Social Entrepreneurs and Consumer Technology.

“This year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list-makers inspire optimism in what is promising to be a tough year ahead. They are a resilient and energetic bunch who are facing challenges head-on and actively working for a future that matches their aspirations,” Rana Wehbe, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia editor, said in the release.

“Young women under 21 especially stand out in our 2020 list: From Malaysia’s hijab-wearing wrestler to Bangladesh’s first female comedian and a social entrepreneur helping farmers in the Philippines improve their livelihoods — these fierce game-changers are shattering gender, age and cultural stereotypes across industries,” she added.

Francis Plaza is the 26-year-old founder of PayMongo, an online payment processing platform that raised $2.7 million in seed funding from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, San Francisco-based venture capital firm Founders Fund, and fintech unicorn Stripe.

Prior to PayMongo, Mr. Plaza was a software engineer at Oracle and co-founded online marketplace Muber. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 16 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo is the 21-year-old founder of The Cacao Project, an initiative that provides farmers in the Philippines with cacao plant seedlings and teaches them how to responsibly and sustainably produce cacao.

The project has so far helped 200 farmers plant 80,000 trees to aid reforestation efforts and has helped with the revival of two water sources. Aside from cacao, the project also provides farmers with other crops including bok choy, okra, and pumpkins to intercrop with cacao and maintain soil fertility.

Ms. Mabulo was named as a Young Champion of the Earth in 2019 by the United Nations Environment Program.

Athletes Carlos Yulo (gymnastics) and Margielyn Didal (skateboarding) made it the Forbes list for bringing home medals to their home country.

Twenty-year-old Mr. Yulo was the first male Southeast Asian athlete to win a gold medal at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2019 in men’s floor exercise. He also earned two golds and five silvers at his debut appearance in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. He will be representing the Philippines in the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.

Ms. Didal, at 20, brought home a gold medal for the Philippines in the women’s street skateboarding event at the 2018 Asian Games. She also won bronze at the inaugural Women’s Open at the Tampa Pro competition in Florida. She is currently preparing to qualify for the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo where skateboarding has been included for the first time.

Breech Asher Harani, 28, is a filmmaker, photographer, and digital artist who uses his work to raise awareness on social issues — diversity, migration, environment, and culture. He is the founder of Alexandrite Pictures, an independent studio producing works for advocacies and commercials. In 2019, Mr. Harani received the JCS International Young Creatives Award from the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Aside from the Filipino entrants to the list, Forbes also named K-pop girl group Twice and actress So-dam Park — best known for her role in Oscar-winning film Parasite— from South Korea; Ashleigh Barty, the current world No. 1 female tennis player, and Bianca Anstiss, founder of MyraSwim from Australia; 14-year-old racing prodigy Juju Noda from Japan; Bain Wu, CEO of AI startup, INFIMIND, from China; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kyaw Soe Oo from Myanmar; Justin Lim, Cofounder of Fish & Chicks from Singapore; Ajeesh Achuthan, Co-founder of Open from India and sisters Isabel and Melati Wijsen, co-founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags from Indonesia.

For the full list of Forbes 30 Under 30, visit