WATCH: Justin Trudeau charms Filipina entrepreneurs with a buss on the cheek

Mara Cepeda
WATCH: Justin Trudeau charms Filipina entrepreneurs with a buss on the cheek
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a true ladies' man

MANILA, Philippines – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has charmed his way into the hearts of Filipina entrepreneurs by planting kisses on their cheeks.

The world leader met with the owners of partner-businesses and the beneficiaries of the Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project of the Philippine Commission on Women in a forum held at the Yuchengco Museum on Monday, November 13.

Trudeau is currently in the Philippines for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and Related Summits. 

The GREAT Women Project aims to help small-scale women entrepreneurs in the food, textile, woven cloth, and home-style decor industries by linking them with Filipino entrepreneurs who can help refine their business ideas.

The project also gives the beneficiaries access to finances and the right market – both domestic and global – for their products. The Canadian International Development Agency gave $8 million for its implementation from 2015 to 2020.

On Monday, Trudeau asked about the impact of the program to 3 of its partner entrepreneurs – Jeannie Javelosa of ECHOStore, Zarah Jane Juan of Green Leaf Bags, and Anya Lim of Anthill Fabric Gallery.

He praised the project, calling it a “model for the world.”

After the program, the Prime Mininster posed for a group photo with all the women in the room, even asking them to say “Mabuhay!” in front of the camera.

One of the women then asked him to plant a kiss on her cheek, which Trudeau obliged. He soon found himself doing the same for the rest of the Filipina entrepreneurs in the room.

He even kissed the cheeks of a businessman part of The GREAT Women Project.

Trudeau, a known champion of women’s rights, had formed Canada’s first gender-balanced Cabinet. The Prime Minister, however, has been criticized for his shifting stance on climate change issues. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.