Maria Isabel Lopez

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Maria Isabel Lopez
Maria Isabel Lopez 2017.jpg
Lopez in July 2017
Born Maria Isabel Pagunsan Lopez
(1958-09-14) 14 September 1958 (age 59)
Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
Other names Maribel Lopez
Education University of the Philippines
  • Beauty pageant titleholder
  • actress
  • model
  • mosaic artist
Years active 1982 — Present
Home town Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[1]
Title Binibining Pilipinas 1982 titleholder
Spouse(s) Hiroshi Yokohama (m. 1990)
separated, 2006
Children Mara Isabella Yokohama
Kenyo "Ken" Yokohama
Beauty pageant titleholder
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown
Binibining Pilipinas 1982
Miss Universe 1982 (Unplaced)

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

Lopez was the Binibining Pilipinas Universe 1982 titleholder and represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe 1982 Pageant in Lima, Peru. She 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 as well as a sexy model for various fashion salons. 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 question of virginity from Philippine judge and actress Rita Gomez (1935—1990) was mistakenly attributed during her national competition, creating an urban legend among beauty pageant connoisseurs during the 1980's.


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 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 big hit comedy, starring Gina Pareno, Rio Locsin, and directed by National Artist Ishmael Bernal. She did daring movies' Silip: Daughters of Eve by Elwood Perez (1985), Isla (1985) by Celso Ad Castillo, Hubo Sa Dilim (1985), Mga Nakaw Na Sandali (1986) and Dingding Lang ang Pagitan (1986) among others.

She won the Golden Screen Award Best Supporting Actress Award for Kinatay (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).


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 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.[2]

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority recommended the violation to the Land Transportation Office to suspend or cancel her driver's license.[3][4] Lopez later claimed she that seeing other vehicles using the ASEAN lane prompted her to drive on it as well.[5] The office later revoked her license and barred her from reapplying and reacquiring her license for the next two years.[6] She was also fined fined ₽8,000 PHP ($160 USD) for ignoring traffic signs, reckless driving and violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.[7] Lopez accepted the charges and issued a public apology.

Personal life[edit]

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.

Selected filmography[edit]


Year Title Role Network
2017 Haplos Corazon 'Cora' Maglalim GMA Network
2017 Imbestigador: Nagbigti O Binigti GMA Network
2016 Doble Kara Rona Mallari ABS-CBN
2016 FPJ's Ang Probinsyano Clarissa Subito ABS-CBN
2016 Wansapanataym: Candy's Crush Venus Angara ABS-CBN
2016 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Pole Samantha ABS-CBN
2015 Pangako Sa'Yo Isabel Miranda ABS-CBN
2015 Bridges of Love Veronica ABS-CBN
2015 Karelasyon N/A GMA Network
2015 Imbestigador: Hinalay sa loob ng bahay (Gupit Panty) Janet Buenavista GMA Network
2014 Ang Lihim Ni Annasandra Rosario GMA Network
2014 Ipaglaban Mo: Paano Na Ang Pangarap? Aling Mila ABS-CBN
2014 The Legal Wife Sandra De Villa ABS-CBN
2013 Bayan Ko Sylvia Rubio GMA News TV
2012 Magdalena Julia 'Huling' Hermoso GMA Network
2012 Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo Sonia Pedroso ABS-CBN
2012 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Gong Special Guest ABS-CBN
2012 Legacy Lala Salcedo GMA Network
2012 Kapitan Awesome Samantha Hussein TV5
2011 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Tungkod Linda ABS-CBN
2011 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Bracelet Special Guest ABS-CBN
2010 Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Alyna Fausta Del Carmen ABS-CBN
2010 Star Confessions: Tisay - The Lala Montelibano Confession Lydia TV5
2010 Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Love Me Again Sonia Barrera ABS-CBN
2010 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Saranggola Special Guest ABS-CBN
2009 Lovers In Paris Julia Francisco-Gatus ABS-CBN
2009 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Videoke Special Guest ABS-CBN
2009 Parekoy Mother Dear ABS-CBN
2009 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Kalendaryo Special Guest ABS-CBN
2004 Spirits Queen of the Engkanto ABS-CBN
1998 Halik Sa Apoy Marta GMA Network


See also[edit]


External links[edit]