The best phrase to possibly describe people born in the Year of the Monkey is that they are ultimately happy-go-lucky folks. They always crave excitement in their lives, and love having a good time, all the time. And because of their extraordinary nature and magnetic personality, they are well-liked by their peers. They are also remarkably intelligent, clever, and creative—erratic geniuses, to say the least. They lust for any kind of challenge, be it inventing something out of nothing to solving the most difficult problems with ease. They are game changers, they have the ability to change things when convenience calls. And when the odds are against them, they know know when to quit, but prepare themselves for the right timing to try again.
Am I praising them too much? Well, just take a look at these 9 notable Monkey people, and you be the judge. Maybe you’d think they made it to the top because of sheer luck, but perhaps you could also say that it’s because of the common traits they all shared—quick-witted, innovative, and have a total and intense belief in themselves.
1. Leonardo da Vinci – Painter, Inventor, Writer
Birth Date: April 15, 1452, Water Monkey
You may know him for his enduring works, “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa,” da Vinci was the epitome of a “Renaissance man” during his time. He possessed a curious mind and a keen intellect which made him have full interest in the laws of science and nature that greatly influenced his work not only as a prolific painter, but also as a sculptor, architect, inventor, military engineer and draftsman.
2. Julius Caesar – Dictator, General
Birth Date: c. July 12, 100 BCE, Element Unknown
Known as the greatest dictator of Ancient Rome, Julius Caesar was a statesman and general that expanded his rule over Europe through a series of gruesome battles. He is remembered as one leaders having the greatest military minds in history and credited with laying the foundation for the Roman Empire.
3. George Lucas – Filmmaker
Birth Date: May 14, 1944, Wood Monkey
Famed writer and director of Star Wars and the Indiana Jones series, Lucas’ passion and first encounter with filmmaking didn’t come off as how we imagined it to be, in fact his first love has always been cars and racing (which inspired his 1973 film American Graffiti) that he initially wanted to become a race car driver. But an almost fatal accident before his high school graduation made him change his mind. His first film was a failure, but that didn’t stop him from creating (literally) out-of-this-world movies that we all love today.
4. Tom Hanks – Movie Actor
Birth Date: July 9, 1956, Fire Monkey
This award winning actor (73 awards won to be exact) is dubbed as “the nicest guy in Hollywood,” and for a reason. In 2013, Hanks met one of his biggest fans, Sarah Moretti. Moretti has autism, and has spent years collecting pictures related to Hanks. He met Hanks backstage at a Broadway show and not only go through the scrapbook with her, but appeared to be genuinely delighted by it. Another instance was when he refunded $25 to a couple who hated one of his films. That’s just him living up to his reputation for indefatigable niceness.
5. Eleanor Roosevelt – Diplomat, U.S. First Lady
Birth Date: October 11, 1884, Wood Monkey
Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt, was a controversial First Lady for her outspokenness, particularly her stance on racial issues. She advocated for expanded roles for women in the workplace, the civil rights of African Americans and Asian Americans, and the rights of World War II refugees. President Harry S. Truman later called her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.
6. Coleen Garcia – Model, Actress
Birth Date: September 24, 1992, Water Monkey
Coleen started her acting career as early as 2 years old when she appeared in a commercial for Johnson&Johnson together with her mom. And the rest was practically history. She doesn’t limit herself with having the looks (and yes, the body. #fitspiration), she also has the brains and wit to complete the package. She was the editor-in-chief for their high school paper, and just last year, she went back to school to continue her studies. ‘I miss challenging myself academically and I have been constantly looking for it,’ she said.
7. Carlos P. Garcia – 8th Philippine President
Birth Date: November 4, 1896, Fire Monkey
This native Boholano was first a teacher and poet before he entered politics in 1925. In a sudden death of late President Magsaysay on March 1957, Garcia assumed duty having been elected vice president in November 1953. Garcia was a patriotic man passing several laws that gave importance to nationalism and the elimination of corruption, such as the Filipino First Policy, Austerity Program, and Republic Cultural Awards.
8. Emilio Villareal – Filipino Composer
Birth Date: December 21, 1920, Metal Monkey
Maestro Mil, as his colleagues and singers whom he mentored fondly called him, is one of Cebu’s most talented composers and musicians. During his musical career, his reputation for composing some of the most memorable songs in Visayan history flourished. Among the most unforgettable ones was “Bisan sa Damgo Lang,” which was popularized and sung by Pilita Corrales, the Philippines’ foremost female ballad singer.
9. Jovito Salonga – Filipino nationalist politician, Lawyer
Birth Date: June 22, 1920, Metal Monkey
Salonga is one of the country’s most admired statesman in the Philippines. He is mostly known for opposing the Marco’s regime during martial law, having defended many political prisoners. Because of this, he was exiled in the U.S. where he was visited by many opposition leaders, including Ninoy Aquino. Ninoy’s death prompted Salonga to return to the Philippines to help resuscitate his party and unite democratic opposition. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed subversion charges against him, and he was elected president of the Liberal Party.