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Maria Isabel Lopez

Maria Isabel Lopez
Maria Isabel Lopez 2017.jpg
Lopez wearing the Lumad headress in July 2017
Maria Isabel Pagunsan Lopez

(1958-09-14) 14 September 1958 (age 61)
Other namesMaribel Lopez
EducationUniversity of the Philippines
  • Beauty pageant titleholder
  • actress
  • model
  • mosaic artist
Years active1982 — Present
Home townCagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[1]
TitleBinibining Pilipinas 1982 titleholder
Hiroshi Yokohama (m. 1990)

separated, 2006
ChildrenMara Isabella Yokohama
Kenyo "Ken" Yokohama
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBrown
Binibining Pilipinas 1982
Miss Universe 1982 (Unplaced)

Maria Isabel Lopez (born 14 September 1958), is a Filipino movie and television actress.

Lopez was the Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 titleholder and represented the Philippines in the 31st Miss Universe Pageant in Lima, Peru. She became controversially known as a Filipina beauty queen acting on Sex in film. Lopez was previously married to a Japanese national, Hiroshi Yokohama, now separated. She enjoys mosaics and acting various roles in Philippine cinematography.


Lopez is from Cagayan de Oro City and was born to Benjamin Lopez and Crescencia Pagunsan. Prior to becoming a beauty queen titleholder, she worked as a sales lady at The SM Store and Rustan's as well as a sexy model for various fashion salons, namely by gay fashion designer, Rodolfo Fuentes (1950—2011) who scouted her as a candidate in the national pageant that year and was assigned as candidate number # 15.

At age 24, she won the Binibining Pilipinas Universe beauty pageant in 1982, after being almost dethroned for her pre-discovery as a sexy lingerie model in a Gerard Peter fashion show due to an immorality clause set by Stella Araneta. Lopez maintains that she was pressured to resign her title but refused. Lopez further gained notoriety when the famed mistaken question of virginity from Philippine judge and actress Rita Gomez (1935—1990) was attributed during her national competition (in actuality was for Janet Sales of Manila), creating an urban legend among beauty pageant connoisseurs during the 1980s. During her national competition, she was asked by American drummer Alphonse Mouzon regarding the independence of women. At her coronation night, her name was initially mispronounced as Maricar Isabel Lopez, later corrected.

Film work

Lopez became controversial when she entered the movies due to her highly sexualized roles not usually expected of a beauty queen titleholder. Her first movie Sana, Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon (English: “Hoping, that tomorrow is still what passed”) in 1983, starred Hilda Koronel, Lorna Tolentino, Dindo Fernando and Jay Ilagan, and was directed by Romy Suzara. She was in the original cast of Working Girls (1984), a comedy film where she starred as a young office worker who entered as a sex worker at night to gain more income, directed by National Artist Ishmael Bernal. In 1988, Lopez was hired as a commercial sexy model for White Castle Whiskey.

During the height of her popularity, Lopez began more intense sexual and romanticized movies, namely the following:

  • Silip: Daughters of Eve — by Elwood Perez (1985)
  • Isla (English: “Island”) (1985) — by Celso Ad Castillo
  • Hubo Sa Dilim — (English: “Naked in the Darkness”) (1985)
  • Mga Nakaw Na Sandali — (English: “Moments that were robbed”) (1986)
  • Dingding Lang ang Pagitan — (English: “Only thin walls that separate”) (1986) among other sexualized films.

She won the Golden Screen Award Best Supporting Actress Award for Kinatay (English: “Butchered”) (2009). Lopez walked the red carpet at the Cannes International Film Festival in France for Brilliante Mendoza's award-winning film, Kinatay (2009).

Lopez was the line producer for Tulak (2009), and HIV: Si Heidi, Si Ivy at Si V (2010). She was also in the cast again for the modern sequel, Working Girls (2010 film) for GMA Films under the helm of Jose Javier Reyes. Lopez was one of the castaways in GMA Network's Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Doubles Showdown (2011-2012), in tandem with her daughter, Mara Lopez, also an actress in her own right having won Cinema One Originals Best Actress 2012. She played the mother of Sid Lucero in GMA-7's prime time series, Legacy (2012).

List of controversies

In 2009, Lopez became the center of controversy when she was not given a complimentary ticket for the Binibining Pilipinas 2009 pageant, an oversight she strongly resented in public due to not being allowed to sit in the box where former beauty titleholders were allotted after finally obtaining a ticket.

In 2010, Lopez became involved in a conflict with various Philippine journalists, namely Ricky Lo who implied that Lopez strongly desired the passing of Stella Araneta. Lopez vehemently denied the allegation as libel, but maintained the accusation that Araneta is an elitist, who refuses to address people of impoverished backgrounds due to her grandiose ego.[2] Lopez maintains that Araneta has never forgiven her for making sexualized films after her reign as Miss Philippines 1982.[3]

In 2016, Lopez gained notoriety for a green pageant gown she wore for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival wherein she made comparative comments of her evening gown to the one used by Pia Wurtzbach.

In February 2017, Lopez publicly revealed on a televised Philippine morning show Unang Hirit, (English: First Response) the strong racism against dark contestants during her time as a beauty queen titleholder. She noted that during the Miss Universe 1982 visit at the Presidential Palace in Peru, the first lady Pilar Nores de Garcia was racially dismissive towards dark-skinned contestants, namely Miss Papua New Guinea and Turks and Caicos.

In November 2017, Lopez was penalized for illegally driving, removing traffic cones among others, on the driving lane reserved for the ASEAN delegates which were being hosted in the Philippines. Consequentially, Lopez' driver's license was revoked and confiscated along with a minimal fine after complaints from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority employees upon discovery of sharing the violation on her Facebook account.[4] The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority recommended the violation to the Land Transportation Office to suspend or cancel her driver's license.[5][6] Lopez later claimed she that seeing other vehicles using the ASEAN lane prompted her to drive on it as well.[7] The office later revoked her license and barred her from reapplying and reacquiring her license for the next two years.[8] She was also fined ₽8,000 PHP ($160 USD) for ignoring traffic signs, reckless driving and violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.[9] Lopez accepted the charges and issued a public apology.

Personal life

Lopez married Japanese national Hiroshi Yokohama, a DHL executive in 1990 and both lived in Tokyo, Japan. The couple later moved to the Philippines and separated in 2006 due to claims of abuse and infidelity. They have two children, a daughter, Mara Lopez, an actress, and son, Kenyo "Ken" Yokohama, a Civil Engineering student of De La Salle University.

Lopez studied Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman and is member of the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and Arts), and was Secretary of the Committee on Visual Arts for the year 2011— 2013. Lopez also completed art classes both in Chicago Mosaic School and Institute of Mosaic Art in Berkeley, California. In 2015, she toured UNESCO Italian mosaics in Ravenna, Italy as part of her interest in mosaics at

Selected filmography


Year Title Role Network
2019 Sino ang May Sala?: Mea Culpa Maribel Baniaga
2018 Ngayon At Kailanman Lucia Simbajon
Bagani Doray
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Barya Victoria
2017 Haplos Corazon 'Cora' Maglalim
GMA Network
Imbestigador: Nagbigti O Binigti Selya
2016 Doble Kara Rona Mallari
FPJ's Ang Probinsyano Clarissa Subito
Wansapanataym: Candy's Crush Venus Angara
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Pole Samantha
2015 Pangako Sa'Yo Isabel Miranda
Bridges of Love Veronica
Karelasyon Belinda
GMA Network
Imbestigador: Hinalay sa loob ng bahay (Gupit Panty) Janet Buenavista
2014 Ang Lihim Ni Annasandra Rosario
Ipaglaban Mo: Paano Na Ang Pangarap? Aling Mila
The Legal Wife Sandra De Villa
2013 Bayan Ko Sylvia Rubio
2012 Magdalena Julia "Huling" Hermoso
GMA Network
Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo Sonia Pedroso
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Gong Apeng Sukay
Legacy Lala Salcedo
GMA Network
Kapitan Awesome Samantha Hussein
2011 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Tungkod Linda
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Bracelet Bebeng
2010 Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Alyna Fausta Del Carmen
Star Confessions: Tisay - The Lala Montelibano Confession Lydia
Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Love Me Again Sonia Barrera
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Saranggola Luzviminda
2009 Lovers In Paris Julia Francisco-Gatus
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Videoke Letty
Parekoy Mother Dear
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Kalendaryo Lucing
2004 Spirits Queen of the Engkanto
1998 Halik Sa Apoy Marta
GMA Network


See also


  1. ^ Lo, Ricky (7 March 2014). "PLDT presents 2014 Bb. Pilipinas pageant". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015.
  2. ^
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External links

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