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Our best, brightest: Marinduque-based pharmacist, rapper among Filipinos in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List

By Ian C. Sayson 

Ramon Christian Larga, a licensed pharmacist from Marinduque Island, stands out as one of seven Filipinos recognized by Forbes in its 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2024.

At 27 years old, Larga, also a content creator, represents one of the three Filipinos highlighted by Forbes in the Media, Marketing, and Advertising category among the 30 individuals listed.

Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list encompasses 10 categories. Each category features 30 individuals under 30, as selected by the publication’s judges, who are recognized for their leadership in transforming their respective industries and inspiring their generation.

Alongside Larga, who has amassed a social media following by humorously teaching the safe use of medicine, Internet artist Chia Amisola, content creator and chef Abigal Marquez, both 23, are also listed in the Media, Marketing, and Advertising category. They are joined by Amanda Cua, 21, the founder of Backscoop, a newsletter focused on tech and startups in Southeast Asia.

Other Filipinos on the Forbes list include:

· Mikaela Helene Reyes, 29 and co-founder of cross-border payment start up Parallax, in the Finance & Venture Capital category.

· Ezekiel Miller, 25-year-old rapper called Ez Mil who has impressed Dr. Dre and Eminem, in the Entertainment and Sporst category.

· Joshua Serafin, a 29-year old artist based in Brussels, in the The Arts category which includes Art & Style, Food & Drink category.

Larga, also known as Arshie Larga, has almost four million followers on TikTok. Through videos, he shares his experiences and explains ‘how an ethical pharmacist helps take care of customers.’ He has started fundraising through social media, using the proceeds to pay the pharmaceutical bills of customers who can’t afford them. In 2023, Larga won TikTok Philippines’ award for the best educational content creator.

Reyes co-founded Parallax in 2023 after working as a freelancer and experiencing the hassles of getting paid from another country. Using cryptocurrency and blockchain, Parallax makes it easier and cheaper to move money globally. Parallax initially targeted users from the Philippines but now has customers from over 150 countries. In September, Parallax raised $4.5 million in seed funding in a round led by Dragonfly Capital.

Miller, who comes from a musical family, was born in Olongapo, the former home to one of the biggest American naval bases outside of the U.S. Ez Mil, now based in Las Vegas, first gained attention with “Panalo,” a catchy rap that expresses his take on Philippine nationalism. His rap “Up Down” last year brought him together with Dre and Eminem, with the latter performing on Ez Mil’s 2023 album “DU4LI7Y: REDUX.”

Amisola started Developh, a nonprofit community that seeks to promote the use of ‘technology as a tool for liberation rather than oppression.’ Since its start in 2016, Developh oversees the Philippine Internet Archive that aims to preserve ‘digital work, movements, cultures, and art’ and engages in new media arts. Her work has been recognized by publications like the New Yorker and Frieze and has been exhibited in Berlin, San Francisco, London, Manila, and Toronto, according to Forbes. One of her recent art projects, Ang Bantayog, commemorates victims of human rights abuses during the Philippines’ martial rule in the 1970s.

Marquez runs a cooking channel on TikTok with more than 3 million followers. The trained chef is dubbed the ‘Lumpia Queen’ for her ‘obsession’ with the Philippine fried snack, the local version of Chinese vegetable egg rolls. She is a heavy endorser of all aspects of Philippine food culture, a long-held passion. She won TikTok’s Creator of the Year for Food award in 2023 — after less than 2 years on the platform.

Cua covers Southeast Asia’s startup scene from Muntinlupa, publishing a newsletter that she started after encountering difficulties in keeping track of news and startups in the region. She has also started running partner content. Forbes says Cua has helped startups find investors through her updates and One More Scoop podcast, which has tens of thousands of followers.

Serafin is a permanent house artist at the Viernulvier arts center in Belgium and has also performed internationally, including at the ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival in Finland, TONO Festival in Mexico, and the HAU Hebbel am User in Berlin, according to Forbes. They have also been featured in publications such as L’Officiel and ArtReview. He has been invited to participate in the 60th Venice Biennale in 2024. Serafin combines dance, music, and theater with live performance, exploring concepts of cultural identity, transmigration, and queer representation, according to Forbes.

READ: Meet The Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class Of 2024

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