Friday, August 31, 2007


By Jush Andowitt

Los Angeles: She was the epitome of simplicity and innocence, unassuming lass who was lovable in her naïveté. And yet she captured the hearts of millions of viewers in different parts of the world and became a household name familiar even to young children.

She is Marimar, the lead role in the Mexican telenovela of the same name which changed the landscape of Philippine TV in the ‘90s. Marimar not only ushered in the telenovela craze in the country, it also jumpstarted the production of shorter and more fast-paced soap series in the local setting.

Starting September 6, GMA Pinoy TV brings the most-awaited treat to viewers with the launch of the new Marimar Filipinos can truly call their own. With the most bankable Filipino actors portraying the well-loved roles in the original Mexican series, GMA Network’s Marimar will surely be endeared to the Filipinos because the setting and the characters are definitely closer to home.

Playing the coveted title role is versatile actress Marian Rivera, who emerged among a promising crop of talented actresses who auditioned for the part. As Marimar, Marian will be giving a fresh twist to the phenomenal character and give it a distinct Filipino flavor. Also tasked to “filipinize” the Mexican series’ equally popular character of Sergio Santibañez is matinee idol Dingdong Dantes, who is set to show a new dimension to his acting capacity and make more hearts swoon to his striking good looks.

GMA Network is proud to present Richard Gomez and Katrina Halili, who are touted to deliver a notable performance as husband and wife in the series. Richard will be portraying the complex character of Renato Santibañez, the affluent businessman who is also Sergio’s father. Katrina Halili is the cunning and self-centered Angelika, who is Sergio’s girlfriend but marries his father instead to get her hands on the Santibañez fortune.

With directors Binibining Joyce Bernal and Mac Alejandre at the helm, recreating Marimar to suit the Filipino setting is indeed very challenging albeit rewarding as well – what with a powerhouse cast completed by Rita Avila as Lupita, Jestoni Alarcon as Gustavo Aldama, Manilyn Reynes as Corazon, Bing Loyzaga as Esperanza, Caridad Sanchez as Lola Cruz, Leo Martinez as Lolo Pancho, Nadine Samonte as Innocencia, Buboy Garovillo as Padre Porres, Mel Kimura as Perpekta, Gabby Eigenmann as Nicandro, Bianca King as Natalia, Mike Tan as Choi, Sheena Halili as Monica, and Marky Lopez as Arturo. Funnyman Michael V. will also be lending his voice to Marimar’s trusted pet Fulgoso (portrayed by the golden retriever Nigel, who won in the daily show ‘SIS’ dog contest for the role) while sexy comedienne Rufa Mae Quinto voices Angelika’s pet poodle and Fulgoso’s love interest Fifi.

The story of Marimar bespeaks a journey of a young lass who has been deprived of everything that was rightfully hers. Separated from her real parents – the wealthy Gustavo Aldama and the poor Lupita – at a young age, Marimar was found and raised by the old couple Lolo Pancho and Lola Cruz, who treat her as their own grandchild. Not knowing that she is the sole heiress to the riches of Don Gustavo Aldama, Marimar lives a modest and carefree life by the sea. She befriends the ambitious Angelika, who later holds the greatest grudge against her due to an incident that is beyond Marimar’s control.

Angelika becomes the girlfriend of Sergio Santibañez, but her selfishness and gold-digging nature is further manifested when she marries Sergio’s father, the resort tycoon Renato Santibañez. Sergio, devastated by the betrayal of the Angelika, vows to retaliate against his father and ex-girlfriend. He meets the unassuming Marimar, who easily falls in love with him.

Marimar’s complicated and tormented life begins when she agrees to marry Sergio and is subjected to the cruelty of Angelika in the Santibañez mansion. Here starts Marimar’s awakening to the harsh reality of what her love for Sergio has done to her. And when fate begins to favor the once oppressed Marimar, how will she turn the tables on Sergio and all the others who once looked down on her?

Children will also surely be delighted in hearing and dancing to the catchy Marimar theme song, which is sung by Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez. The riveting story of Marimar will begin on September 6, 2007. Call your preferred pay TV operator now and subscribe to GMA PINOY TV. For more information, please log on to

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Freddie Aguilar's U.S. & Canada Concert Tour Kicks-Off in Los Angeles

(Photo coverage by Vics Magsaysay, Los Angeles)
Freddie Aguilar woos Fil-Ams in his concert last August 19, 2007 at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood Blvd. His two sons wow the crowd too with their rock and rap music. Hot Babe star Ella V add spice to the event with her songs and funny antics.

Los Angeles: Fans from Los Angeles enjoyed the recent concert tour of the legendary folk rock singer and composer Freddie Aguilar. The concert showcased a variety of Ka-Freddie's talents and masterpieces. From the immortalized and internationally acclaimed "Anak", to the rocking beats of "Estudyante Blues," the concerts' wide array of musical tunes kept the fans on the edged of their seats.

"I can't wait to come and perform for my kababayans in the US!" states Freddie Aguilar. "I started booking my flights through The Travel Outlet last week for Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Pala Casino Resort and Spa (Southern California), Canada, and Texas. It's going to be a memorable tour!"

Freddie Aguilar was joined on stage by Ella V. of the Viva Hot Babes and her comedic monologues. Aguilar and his band, Watawat band are in their first official North American Tour with (special guest Ara Mina on selected venues). The tour starts in August at Pala Casino in Southern California. Other shows will be at Hollywood, CA., San Francisco, CA., Las Vegas, NV., Winnipeg, Vancouver and Houston, TX.

"Ka Freddie" THE PINOY ROCK ICON continues to transcend the times .... his own style of passionate Pinoy Rock is here to stay.

(Article by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home Is Where The Heart Is

California: On any given day, hundreds of Filipino-Americans trek to the Eagle Rock Plaza nestled on the southeast side of Freeway 134 and the Freeway 2 interchange. That includes me too. When I get a text message at the office from my wife at 3 pm on any given work day with the key text words “ Let’s b.b.q 2nyt”, I have one place to go in mind. The one stop mall which my kids have jokingly now named “Robinson’s Eagle Rock.” I proceed to Eagle Rock Plaza, the huge Mall that used to be Westfield’s Mall and now is called by the locals as the “Mall of Manila on Colorado Blvd.”

On the rooftop parking you can clearly see the mall being anchored on both sides by Target and on the other side by Macy’s. There is roof- top parking too. But the real Fil-Am ambience is at the lower level. You navigate your car in a dimly lit parking lot filled with parked cars (reminds me of Manila Malls) to look for an empty parking space closer to the Mall entrance only to be behind a single file convoy of 3 or more cars whose driver have the same exact objective as you do; find a parking spot (hmmm, feels familiar just like in Manila, too).

As you head for the mall entrance, you can see why my kids call it Robinson’s” (after the famed Robinson’s Department Store and Grocery chain in the Philippines). On the right is Fil-Mart, which sells traditional products from the Philippines, from wood carving to Barong Tagalog, the store beckons you to come in and be transported back to the Philippines. Joanne De Leoz, whose family owns the store states “Our store is really like walking into Manila”.

Then there is the Cell Phone stores (cell phones complete with disco lights), DVD and CD store-carts offering the latest in Philippine movies playing on a flat screen, it never fails to stop my wife to look at the latest drama film being played. Of course, where can you get a great tasting hamburger or spaghetti where the Food Chain employee still call you “Sir” or “Ma’am”, but only at Jollibee, an international Filipino Food Franchise (with a giant sized bee sporting a white chef hat and a red blazer) which operates 14 stores in California and Nevada, and other international locations including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Brunei, Guam and Saipan. Next to Jollibee is the famous Filipino pastry and dessert store, Goldilocks, another icon in the culinary life of Filipinos. Goldilocks is synonymous with fine pastry and cakes. Ben Chan’s world famous apparel store “Bench” is also located here. He has expanded heavily also in Mainland China with the "Bench" trademark stores.

Even the best "Halo-Halo" in the Philippines (Believe me;I did a four YEAR vacation in the Philippines 1997-2001) is now available here. "Halo Halo" (from Tagalog word halo meaning "mix) is a popular Filipino dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added boiled sweet beans and fruit, served chilled in a tall glass or bowl. My favorite are those with sugar palm fruit (kaong), coconut sport (macapuno), nata de coco, purple yam (ube), sweet corn kernels, a slice of leche flan, banana slices and topped with your favorite ice cream. The best "Halo Halo" in the world is available at nowhere else but "ChowKing", a Filipino Chinese chain which serves dessert as well as Siopao (dumpling buns), Siomai (steamed baby dumplings), Noodles, Almuchow (breakfast?),and Pancit (now even some non Fil-Ams knows this noodle dish is very good). "Chowking" operates more than 300 stores worldwide.

My goal though is Seafood City supermarket. I migrated to Los Angeles during the small Lorenzana Market days of cramped aisle and limited choices of products. But on entering Seafood City, my gosh, I have never seen so many Filipino food items jammed into one store, outside of the Philippines. From the bizarre looking but very tasty red hot dogs (good for sweet spaghetti), a dozen different kinds of canned corned beef, V-Cut chips and thousands of Filipino products, even the exotic "balut", a boiled fertilized duck egg with a nearly developed embryo…. Ok I will stop the description…. To the milkfish (bangus) and dozen of choices of fish, poultry and meat for (pang ihaw) barbeque. The choice is endless.

My quest is done. I get my wife’s texted list for the barbeque tonight. But just gazing at the aisle and aisle of Filipino products while waiting for my fish to be fried (yes, fish cleaning and frying is free too), I was thinking to myself, I can save myself some dollars from a Philippine Airline ticket because practically now, I can feel the ambience of the Philippines without the hassle of air travel & gulp, pasalubong. My claim-tag number "4-Oh-6, 4-Oh-6" is called over the public address system from the fish frying section and I was jolted from my dreaming back into California.

On my way out, I checked the magazine stand where they carry a variety of glossy Filipino magazines from the Philippines including “Pinoy World”. Was I very glad when I saw the latest issue of PW on the stand priced at $2.99. After all, I know my articles and photos are featured in this latest Pinoy World July-August 07 issue. Sporting a quiet smile and passing folks reading Filipino newspapers on the latest news and gossips here and in the Philippines, I slowly make my way back to reality. The only thing I can think of is boy do I miss the Philippines. Well, for now, I guess, home is where the heart is.

Article by Jay Fermin ppp-usa

(Filipinos now rank the second fastest growing ethnic population in the US at 2.3 Million behind the Chinese at 2.7 Million among a total of 12.2 Million Asians among six major ethnic groups in the US)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse Visible on U.S. West Coast

(Photo series by Ver Penaranda: Stages of the Moon in Total Eclipse)

LOS ANGELES: Early morning of August 28, 2007. As the moon moved through the shadow of the Earth, Skygazers across the nation were treated to the first lunar eclipse visible from North America in four years (since weather covered the last lunar eclipse of May 15-16, 2003)-- if they were lucky enough to have the weather cooperate.

Initially, it was difficult to make out the darkened moon as it rose through haze hanging over Los Angeles. "It's over there -- it's the schmutz in the sky,'' said Kara Knack, 58, a member of Friends of the Observatory, a Griffith Observatory support group. The view was sharper through the more than dozen telescopes that amateur astronomers set up on the Griffith Park lawn.

The moon remained totally eclipsed for 53 minutes as seen from North America. West Coast Photographer Ver Penaranda stayed up at the peak of the eclipse at around 3 a.m. Los Angeles time.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes into the shadow of the Earth and is blocked from the direct sunlight that normally illuminates it. During an eclipse, the sun, Earth and moon line up, leaving a darkened moon visible to everyone on the night side of the planet.

The Moon does not go totally black, however. Some indirect sunlight still reaches the moon after passing through the Earth's atmosphere. Since the atmosphere filters out blue light, the indirect light that does reach the moon paints it red or orange, as it did early Tuesday.

Lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye, unlike solar eclipses, which are also far briefer. Tuesday's eclipse was the first visible across North America since May 2003. It also was visible from South and Central America, as well as western Europe and Africa. West Coast Photographer Ver Penaranda took these series of great photographs of the moon covered by the Earth's shadow. Awesome. Enjoy these photos. The next total lunar eclipse will not occur til February 21, 2008 but Angelenos will only be able to view it briefly before dawn.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Just Announced: Canon Brings out the new EOS 40D


Superb image quality: 10.1 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, extensive noise reduction technology, and 14-bit conversion for outstanding color tones and gradations.

Outstanding performance: 6.5 fps, burst rate up to 75 consecutive JPEGs or 17 RAW images and DIGIC III Image Processor.

Strong, rugged build quality: magnesium-alloy exterior, shutter durability-tested to 100,000 cycles, top speed 1/8000, top x-sync speed 1/250.

New AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, and world's first diagonal high-precision cross-type AF at center point with f/2.8 and faster lenses.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System, Picture Style settings, Spot metering, and Highlight Tone Priority for advanced in-camera image control.

Large 3.0-inch LCD monitor and advanced Live View Function with new options for reduced shutter time lag and quiet operation.

Wide range of accessories, including interchangeable focusing screens, extensive remote control options, new battery grip BG-E2N, and new dedicated wireless file transmitter WFT-E3A.

Huge Sensor for Tremendous Photographs
Superb image quality: 10.1 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, extensive noise reduction technology, and 14-bit conversion for outstanding color tones and gradations.

Canon's large-area CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor captures images with exceptional clarity and tonal range, and offers the most pixels in its class. This APS-C size sensor (22.5 x 15.0mm) has the same 3:2 ratio as film cameras, enabling an effective angle of view that is 1.6x the normal EF Lens focal length. 14-bit A/D conversion means fine transitions from light to dark tones, and a significant drop in digital and shadow noise. The EOS 40D has an extensive ISO range (from 100 to 1600, plus ISO 3200* in extended mode) which is selectable in 1/3 stop increments. The EOS 40D's CMOS sensor uses much of the new technology first seen in the EOS-1D Mark III camera. New manufacturing techniques mean each pixel is more sensitive to light, and less area between pixels is wasted on the sensor. The on-chip noise reduction electronics are also entirely new, and combine with the sensor's general design for less digital noise and better high-ISO performance than ever before. This results in larger, clearer, sharper and more detailed photographs right from the start.

Bummer.... camera is not available till September. Hmmmm. At the introductory price of $1299.00, this might be a good 10 megapixel with a load of new features and a whole different EOS platform.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Charmaine Clamor At Catalina Bar And Grill

Charmaine Clamor At Catalina Bar And Grill Jazz Club
Friday Aug 31, 2007 to Saturday Sep 01, 2007 at 8:30 PM

Catalina Bar and Grill Jazz Club
6725 Sunset Blvd
Hollywood , CA

Contact :
Jim Eigo/Ted Benito
Telephone: (845) 755-8960

Sarah Geronimo In Motion

Saturday Sep 01, 2007 at 7:30 PM
Heritage Forum
201 E. Broadway Avenue
Anaheim , CA 92805

16th Festival Of Philippine Arts & Culture

Celebrate Community Spirit At The Community's Diverse Artistry, Culture, Cuisine and People Converge For Highly Anticipated Festival Weekend

(LOS ANGELES) – The 16th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC), Southern California's largest and most lauded ongoing Filipino American tradition, is on! Taking place on Sept. 8 and 9, 2007 at breathtaking Point Fermin Park, 807 Paseo del Mar in San Pedro, this year's theme is "Handog," or "Offering" – in celebration of true community spirit as Filipino Americans from different walks of life gather together to bring you this 16th edition of pure community soul through artistry, culture, and food.

Comedian Rex Naverrete and upcoming Jazz singer Charmaine Clamor return to headline FPAC, with multi-awarded singer / songwriter Anthony Castelo and the world Hip Hop champions: Philippine All Stars. Authentic, traditional music and dance are brought to you by Kayamanan ng Lahi, BIBAK (Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga – 5 major tribes of the Northern Philippines) , Kultura, and others. Kali / Eskrima demonstrations are brought to you by eskrimadors Kapisanang Mandirigma, Pakamut, and Bahala Na. Leading the Hip Hop movement are: emcee Bambu, formerly of Native Guns, and DJ Icy Ice, who will be receiving the 2007 FilAm ARTS Artist Award.

Equally stellar are the non-profit, community-based partner organizations whose years of dedication make the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture a shining example of community spirit – the 6th Annual Amateur DJ Battle is brought to you by Stacks Vinyl and the 9th Annual Balagtasan Poetry Slam is brought to you the KmB - Kabataang Makabayan. Film is featured at the 14th Annual "Pinoyvisions" co-presented by Visual Communications, the premiere Asian media center in the U.S. Visual art at the Pilipino Artists Network Pavilion is co-presented with Remy's On Temple Gallery and the California Arts Council.

Additional unique features of FPAC include: the 8th Annual Vegetable Competition at the Seniors Village that will be brought you by Manong Tony and Manang Angelita Ringor of Diversified Services for Youth & Seniors; arts, crafts, and games at the Youth Pavilion will be presented by community sponsor Search to Involve Pilipino Americans; and Filipino cuisine demonstrations at the Culinary Arts Pavilion will again be led by Chef Cecilia De Castro of Culinary Consultations and food producer for Wolfgang Puck.

A brand new area is the Workers Pavilion sponsored by the Pilipino Workers Center. The Pilipino Workers Center is a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to delivering services to overseas Filipino workers (OFW's) through education, legal advice, advocacy, and a low-cost remittance program called the PWC Remit Program.

Initiated by the City of Los Angeles back in 1990, the stewardship of the Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture was transferred over to a non-profit organization now called FilAm ARTS – the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture.

"Still true to its original intent since its inception, the Festival is designed to be a `common ground.' The aim of FPAC is to be as inclusive in every which way possible," says Executive Director Jilly Canizares. "This is seen in the conscious programming to include the rich diversity of Philippine artistic expressions – from old to new, traditional to contemporary, visual arts to cuisine. Coming to the Festival gives you a true slice of the Filipino American community."

Funded in part by the City of Los Angeles Dept of Cultural Affairs and L.A. District 15 Councilmember Janice Hahn, the L.A. County Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, FPAC is also sponsored by PWC Remit Program, El Pollo Loco, Macy's, Wells Fargo Bank, The Gas Company – a Sempra Energy Utilities company, and Washington Mutual. Media sponsors include: LA-18, KPFK 90.7 / 98.7, and

For more information on exhibitor booth, table and volunteer, log onto www.filamarts. org, or call us at (323) 913-4663.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


(writer John F. Lacson on his vacation in Canada last week)

Yesterday I was deciding whether I should go to the gym or not. In a way it was a hard decision to make since I had a long day and was tired from work. On the other hand, a part of me said that working out was necessary for so many reasons.

I made the decision to go gym. Exercising is such a pain in the beginning, but it gets better after you warm up. Towards the end of 90 minute routine, I was really into it. It gets easier once you are into the swing of it. After getting in the pool and swimming a few laps, I proceeded to the sauna to de-stress myself. After showering, I hang out at the locker room talking to a couple of my gym buddies.

Getting dressed and preparing to leave the gym, I felt really great! My body endorphins (or dopamine?) were pouring it on and I was on a natural physical high. I strutted out of the gym enjoying this positive feeling and felt good about the decision to go work out. I promised myself that to do it regularly since it was the correct thing to do. The wonderful feeling was instant gratification for a job well done.

Life has a definite way of letting us know which paths to take. When we are presented with a decision-making situation, we instinctively know what the right action should be. During the first few seconds of these moments, we know what needs to be done.

But the sad thing is that proper action would normally take us out of our comfort zones. If we start dieting we can’t eat our favorite foods. Or, in order to clean the house, we need to get off that sofa and stop watching television. It takes a lot of inner strength to go ahead and do what is right.

Making the right move is an individual choice. Only we, as individuals, know what is going on inside our minds. Nobody else is witness to how our mind processes the decisions to go yes or no, left or right, or up/down. Bottom line is the individual. We know when we have made that wrong decision by eating that extra plate of food or buying that pack of cigarettes. Judge, jury, executioner, and culprit. We are all of these when we ponder an inappropriate move. We enjoy, then feel guilty.

If only we could listen to that initial voice that points to the right decision, regardless of the comfort zone syndrome. It would be nice to develop that habit of making the right moves knowing that we are slowly but surely making something of ourselves. All it takes is one step at a time, one correct move at a time. This process is referred to as character building. Before we know it, we are masters of our destinies, captain of our ships, and whatever else you may want to call it. The important thing is that we are happy with ourselves.

The message here is never underestimate a small decision. As long as we listen to our inner self and execute the correct action, then we are on the right road to a better person. Don’t rationalize. Make sure to realize!

By: John F. Lacson
For comments, email John at:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bacolod Junior Girls win World Series Softball championship in Washington State

Written by: Rina Jimenez David (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

NOW for a bit of good, positive news for a change.

Paying a courtesy call Thursday on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanang were the members of the victorious Bacolod team that emerged as champions in the recent World Series Junior Girls Softball championship in Kirkland, Washington, United States.

After the girls showed her their victory banner and presented her with an honorary team jacket, the President handed the girls from Paglaum (a village on the outskirts of Bacolod) a check for one million pesos, an incentive for their winning performance.

A newspaper report says the team's 2-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the title match "gave the Philippines its first World Series crown since 1992 when a team from Zamboanga was stripped of the crown it won in Pennsylvania" on allegations of fielding over-aged and unqualified players. The girls' victory, then, was not just a great honor for the country, but also a vindication of Filipino honor and pride.

Beyond that, though, the team's victory is a real "Cinderella" story, a fascinating tale of how girls from a small town overcame the odds and showed the world what they're made of.

THE GIRLS, from 12 to 14 years of age, come from Paglaum, a small village on the outskirts of Bacolod, and belong to farming families, their parents working in the sugar cane fields or else engaged in fishing and rice and coconut farming. Rufino Ignacio, one of the Filipino-Americans in Washington who played host to the team, says the girls brought pictures of their nipa huts and the dilapidated premises of the Paglaum Village National High School.

As Ignacio tells it, the team almost didn't make the trip for lack of money for their plane fare. Funds raised by their sponsors, including Little League Philippines and politicians and business people in Negros, were not enough for their needs. So as a last ditch effort, the team's coach and the school principal took out a loan for 100,000 pesos, though perhaps the President's check should now ease their anxieties somewhat.

Upon arrival in the US, the girls and their coach stayed with a host family, the Shannons, all of them crowded into the Shannons' modest home, although once the tournament began, the USA Little League housed them in a hotel. But they faced more than logistical challenges. Ignacio describes the Paglaum girls as the "smallest" among all the players in the tournament, who were "heftier and taller and from their looks, stronger."

Despite their physical disadvantages, however, the young Pinays became the "darling of the crowd," racking up a "very impressive record" and winning everyone's admiration for their "discipline and decorum."

THE STORY of the Paglaum girls, though, is also the story of how the entire Filipino-American community in the area came together to lend their moral, physical and financial support for the plucky team.

Fil-Ams from as far as Oregon and British Columbia came in droves to cheer on the Paglaum girls. The Ilonggos Northwest Association, the Filipino Community of Seattle, and a regional Fil-Am association, the FACSPS, combined resources to make the girls feel welcome. The FACSPS, headed by Ignacio, gathered used clothing, shoes, toiletries, canned goods and other items and packed them in balikbayan boxes for the girls to take home to their families.

"As the team is not used to eating bread in the hotel, the Ilonggos and FACSPS prepared food for them, potluck style, and the team heartily ate with other Filipinos after each game," recounts Ignacio. "The girls said they had the best meals in their young lives during the tournament."

Ignacio notes that the Paglaum girls left the Philippines with "no money, hardly noticed, and thinking perhaps they had no chance of winning." But now, they have returned as heroes, or rather, as young heroines.

Everyone loves an underdog, but victorious underdogs are loved even more. This is one "Cinderella story" that deserves to be told and retold.

Its only when you share your life to others that life begins to have a meaning and purpose ... the time you touch the life of others is the time you really live.

(Shared by Webmaster Queen Bee; Los Angeles)

Monday, August 20, 2007

By Oliver Carnay

August 19 -21 2007 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo – the event that caters to the specific needs of the California foodservice industry. Thousands of industry professionals trooped down at the Los Angeles Convention Center to demo, touch, taste, smell, compare and source all the latest products and services required to run a successful foodservice business.

The show welcomed more than 15,000 attendees including Owners, Managers, Directors, Buyers, Chefs, Caterers, Dieticians, Foodservice Operators, Menu Planners, Multi-Unit Operators, and Nutritionists to see new products and services from approximately 650 exhibiting companies spanning more than 100,000 square feet.

One of the newest highlights to this year’s event was the launch of the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum with industry experts handpicked by Ferdinand Metz, Master Chef and former head of the Culinary Institute of America for more than 20 years to give sessions to restaurant owners and new entrepreneurs.

Back by popular demand, the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, once again host “The Hot Spot” Culinary Extravaganza. This state-of-the-art culinary theater featured celebrity chefs and guest appearances by notable newcomers and industry icons including incredible chefs from BRAVO’s hit TV series Top Chef, Sam Talbot; Mike Midgley and Marisa Churchill; The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim; Food Network’s Too Hot Tamales Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger; PBS’s Cooking /Travel Series host, Tommy Tang; and Akasha Richmond, Hollywood’s favorite healthy chef.

Other exciting booths participated include the Pizza Pavilion & Competitions by ROMA®; Innovative New Product Gallery; Consultant Services Center, featuring FCSI Consultants; The Energy Efficient Theatre Kitchen; Thai Cooking Theater; The Wine Grotto; International Tasting Arena; CRAVE the Experience, Sponsored by American Express; Multi Unit Operator Alliance; Healthy Creations With Omega-9 Oils; and the Ultimate Barista Challenge® USA.

Also featured were variety of booths consulting services provided by Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) and the California Restaurant Association. Here restaurant owners can find tips on what to look for when opening a new restaurant, refreshing a current location, and how to reduce costs and improve quality. For more details about this event, please call 800-840-5612 or visit the web site at

(Contact Oliver Carnay at

RP's Top Drama Stars Movie Premieres in U.S.

ABS-CBN to bring three of RP's top dramatic stars for premieres in Los Angeles and Honolulu this August

REDWOOD CITY, CA, August 7, 2007 - Maricel Soriano, Diamond Star Angelica Panganiban, the most in demand covergirl and young dramatic gem. Aga Muhlach, Drama King.No doubt that they are the three most respected actor and actresses today. For the first time, Star Cinema brings all three together in what will be an unforgettable film directed by Maryo J. Delos Reyes — an award-winning director himself.

A LOVE STORY is a riveting story about a man, a woman... and the wife who comes between them.

Star Cinema brings to North America the most captivating love affair ever seen on the big screen! Watch how Maricel and Aga deliver top-notch noteworthy performances and witness how Angelica once again proves herself as one of the most riveting young actresses—a standout from her generation!

For many years, nobody has been able to bring together two acting giants Aga and Maricel share screentime together. It has been only now that the two were pitted talents—with wonderful results. Add in Angelica Panganiban who has proven herself early in her career—that she can muster acting chops to reckon with!

For sure, fans of Maricel, Aga and Angelica are eagerly awaiting this combination. Stellar vehicles like A LOVE STORY is a rarity nowadays and it is only fitting that this becomes Star Cinema’s offering on their 14th anniversary!

A LOVE STORY premieres in the U.S. on August 25, Saturday (4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time) at The Alex Theatre (Glendale, California) and on August 26 (8 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time) at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii. The film will also be screened in San Francisco, Vallejo/Fairfield, Las Vegas, San Diego and Seattle.

The U.S. Theatrical Premiere of A LOVE STORY is organized and presented by Starry Starry Store and ABS-CBN Film Productions. For more info, please call 1.800.227.9676 or visit

Two of Us: Jojit Paredes and Ronnie Henares Reunite

Jojit Paredes and Ronnie Henares Reunite for Two of Us After 40 Years

ON September 29, 2007, popular singing duet 'Two of Us' will once more harmonize in Hollywood, California as hundreds of fans and friends are expected to flock the scene for this emotional and historic reunion. Ronnie Henares and Jojit Paredes, the two voices and two guitars that laid the foundation for acoustic music in Manila, will once again unite after many years of separation.

The 'Two of Us' will perform their greatest hits from the 60's and 70's, including original songs they composed and many songs written by and made hits by other artists like The Beatles “If I Fell,” The Everly Brothers “All I have To Do Is Dream,” Chad and Jeremys “Summer Song,” “From A Window,” “Mr. Diengly Sad,” and many love songs that take you back to the days of sweethearts, roses, and love unrequited.

The 'Two of Us' story started when Jojit and Ronnie were invited to spend a weekend at the Laurel beach house in Matabungkay, Batangas. They sang on the beach with their acoustic guitars just hanging out with Suzie, Lynnie, and Cocoy Laurel, Vicky Lopez, and other friends who came to party. They were astonished by Jojit and Ronnie’s phenomenal vocal blending. The ‘‘two of them’’ were surprised by the clamor. By the sands of Matabungkay Beach, the 'Two of Us' was born.

Shortly, they became widely popular among college and university campuses around Manila that they could not cope with invitations. In the early days their invitations were mostly from exclusive private schools. Later on they transcended socio-economic barriers and found themselves invited to school campuses public or private all over Metro Manila. They were spreading their fame by connecting rich and poor with the universal language of music.

Their popularity exploded from school campus on to radio, print, and television. After their first appearance on “ABS Musical Extravaganza,” a noontime TV show, the phone board was jammed with calls. The next show they were back by popular demand. Their meteoric rise in Philippine showbusiness was phenomenal. Soon the 'Two of Us' had gigs on prime time TV doing musical specials, live shows, road tours, concerts, radio shows, and numerous personal appearances.
Lem Balagot, Ronnie's classmate at the Ateneo, introduced them to Tower Productions where they composed "Tina" for Tina Revilla and their first movie theme “Funny Girl.” Famous DJ celebrity Ike Lozada introduced them to Tony Santos, director of the highest- rated primetime TV show, ABS-CBN Ch. 3's “D’Sensations” with Vilma Santos. They were offered “permanent cast” status on the spot by Director Tony Santos when the studio audience broke into a screaming frenzy at their first song. For a couple of years, every Sunday evening the 'Two of Us' serenaded audiences all over Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in a prime time TV show that transformed them from teen heartthrobs to Philippine Idols.

The Asian Journal, Best Western Mikado Hotel, SHARE, Inc. in cooperation with Marissa Entertainment are proud to present the 'Two of Us' Concert on September 29, 2007 at the Celebrity Center International Garden Pavilion in Hollywood, California to raise funds for the Street Children of the Philippines Foundation, V. Luna Hospital- Pediatric Ward, Philippine Anti-Crime Emergency Response (PACER) against kidnapping of children, Bata Foundation, Philippine Heart Center Children’’s Charity Ward, and other registered children’s charitable institutions.

The show will be directed by Jet Montelibano, one of LA's most creative and prolific directors. Special guest star is Sheila Ferrari, 2003 Miss Philippines Universe USA and the first Pinoy Pop Superstar USA Champion. Presently, she teaches voice lessons at Platinum Vocals, a school she helped found in Granada Hills, California. She has performed at popular Hollywood shows. She is considered a local celebrity in Southern California through her numerous performances in community and mainstream productions.

(Major sponsors are Aroma Resort Development Corporation, My Angel Travel, Vangie Willis and Mark O'Toole CWS Water, Inc., American Ranch & Seafood Market. The minor sponsors are Estela Skin Care Clinic, Forex Cargo, and O' Skin Care. Media sponsors are Kababayan LA at LA18, Valley Balita, Diaryo Pilipino, Philippine Times, Siklab News Magazine, Manila-US Times, and For inquiries, please call Marissa at (818) 219-2009 and Darna at (323) 258-4879.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

JVC Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl




In a career spanning nearly two decades, DAVE KOZ has established himself as a world-renowned platinum-selling adult pop and contemporary jazz artist, humanitarian, entrepreneur, radio host, and instrumental music advocate. He is the recipient of four Grammy nominations, and the list of artists with whom he has played, including such musical luminaries as Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, U2, Luther Vandross, and Rod Stewart, bears testament to his talent.

Somehow - and it is inexplicable - the melding of 19 year old Kelly Sweet's voice, talent, words, and melody have come together to create a sublime moment. It’s as if the singer was privy to your most intimate thoughts and feelings. A deep connection is forged between listener and vocalist: you have become soul mates. The pleasure - the feeling of oneness - is so intense, you listen over and over. Such is the experience of hearing 19-year-old singer Kelly Sweet for the first time. The opening “oohs” of “We Are One,” the title track from her debut album coming from Razor & Tie in March 2007, stop you dead in your tracks. Hushed and hymn-like, Sweet’s voice creates a lush world of beauty. Fittingly, the song’s lyrics urge listeners to take comfort in the community of all souls. “I am you, you are me, we are one,” the music of Kelly Sweet.


JVC Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl continued its tradition of presenting the best of contemporary smooth jazz last Sunday, August 19, at 6 p.m. This year's artist roster included world-renowned saxophone player Dave Koz; pianist David Benoit; vocalists Phil Perry and 19-year-old newcomer Kelly Sweet; guitarist Earl Klugh and His Little Big Band; and starring pianist Jim Brickman and saxophonist Michael Lington opening the show with "Summer Romance." The Concert was sponsored by JVC and opened with Jim Brickman on piano and Michael Lington on sax. Jim opened the concert with his romantic fare as well the title cut from his newest album, "Escape." (Escape to the peaceful place, serenity, and ease) and sang vocals on one of the big melodies Fil-Ams have learned to love over the years, "My Valentine." (He did a duet of the same song with Pops Fernandez at Pops' concert in 2006 in Los Angeles.)


Earl Klugh delighted Sunday's audience with his classic rendition of "Living Inside Your Love" as he shared the stage with his contemporary jazz legends as well as the young 19 year old Kelly Sweet. Dave Koz started the second half of the concert in front of an audience of 15,000 with renditions from his new album "At The Movies" with soundtracks from movie favorites both new and old. Phil Perry's awesome vocals from the movie score of "Wizard of Oz" titled "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW" threw the whole Hollywood Bowl crowd into an uproar. David Benoit did a "James Bond" piece, complete with Martini, shaken not stirred. Overall, JVC Jazz with Dave Koz and Friends was was an intimate and enjoyable evening of great jazz, with a little twist of Hollywood under the stars.

(Article & photo coverage by Jay Fermin ppp-usa: pictured with Jim Brickman)

LAX Computer Shutdown Delayed Flights

LOS ANGELES — About 2,500 international passengers were stranded for as long as five hours Saturday August 11 on planes and in terminals at Los Angeles International Airport because a computer shutdown prevented them from passing through customs, authorities said.

The passengers were stranded in four airport terminals and on runways starting at about 1:30 p.m. because of a breakdown in a computer system that contains names of arriving passengers and law enforcement data about them including arrest warrants, said Mike Fleming, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

"That system allows our officers to make decisions on who we can allow to enter the United States," Fleming said. "You just don't know by looking at them." The cause of the shutdown was not known, and there was no estimate on when the system would be repaired, Fleming said.

Authorities had begun using a backup system by 7:45 p.m. and were processing passengers in order of their arrival. However, the system could only support half of the inspection booths normally used by customs officers, Fleming said.

Customs officials were working to divert incoming flights to airports in Ontario, Calif., and Las Vegas, Fleming said. Terminals that normally accept international passengers have been full since at least 2:30 p.m., and passengers arriving since then have had to remain on the runway including the Philippine Airline flights coming in from Manila.

"This is just unbearable," said Gaynelle Jones, 57, who landed on a 13-hour flight from Hong Kong at about 2:15 p.m. and was still sitting on her plane five hours later. She said she had missed her connecting flight to Houston. "We've already been on a plane for several hours, and they have no timeframe for when we'll be able to get off," Jones told The Associated Press from her cell phone.

LAX has about 25 daily nonstop and direct flights (may stop more than once but continues to have the same flight number) from Asia, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. There are an additional 25 connecting flights from Asia (i.e., Asian flights that land at another U.S. airport and then connect passengers that board flights to LAX).

Airport and customs officials offered conflicting numbers of how many people were delayed by the computer malfunction. Estimates were about 11,000 people directly affected; customs officials put the number at 20,000. Six travelers were ultimately detained because of passport or agriculture questions.

A second glitch in as many days with the U.S. Customs' screening system stalled international passengers headed in and out of Los Angeles International Airport early Monday morning August 13, according to federal and city officials. Meanwhile, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is investigating the root cause of the electrical problems and is studying measures to keep the outages from occurring again.

The screening system first went down around 2 p.m. Saturday, leaving nearly 17,400 passengers on 73 flights stranded for about 10 hours at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal. The system was operating by midnight but shut down again around 11:50 p.m. Sunday, according to Michael Fleming, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection's Los Angeles field office.

Airport operations were up and running again by 2 a.m. Monday, but that problem delayed about 1,700 passengers. Further, the computer's backup system failed to engage properly in both instances. Computers of U.S.Customs were able to be up and operational the following day but the back-logged flights caused even more delays. Today it is back to normal and the computers are operational until, well, the next computer crash.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fil-Am RaceCar Driver Robbie Montinola featured on Kababayan L.A.

The young Filipino-American race car driver Robbie Montinola began his racing career through the Skip Barber Racing School competing in the Formula Dodge Western and National Championships in 2001. In 2002 Montinola captured the Formula Dodge Western Championship (1 st) and the Most Improved Driver award. Montinola won a prestigious Barber-Champ Car Scholarship to compete in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2003. In 2004 Montinola did a limited schedule in the Formula BMW USA championship with the Jensen Motorsports team. Montinola competed in four races of the 2005 Pro Star Mazda North American Championship before exiting the series to concentrate on the 2006 and 2007 race seasons. Montinola enjoys driver coaching at the Skip Barber Racing School.

Opak Racing founded in 2000 as an automotive aftermarket retail, distribution and service business. As the industry evolved, Opak Racing shifted strategies that would set the company apart from others as competition was starting to intensify.

Opak Racing became the exclusive US importer of Spoon Sports Japan. Through a partnership with Spoon, Opak Racing is able to carry other Japanese brands such as Takata, Showa, Defi gauges in addition to the Honda JDM parts. Currently, Opak Racing has a network of highly qualified Authorized Tuning Partners and Distributors throughout the country. Robbie was interviewed recently by Janelle So of TV Channel 18 at her daily show "Kababayan L.A." last August 17, 2007. Robbie was first featured on this site last May 2007 (See side column article on right.)

visit Robbie Montinola at:
Watch Kababayan L.A. interview with Robbie Montinola:
Video link on right column (Part 1 and II)

Anna Fermin of Trigger Gospel's music "is clearly one to watch."

Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel is Anna Fermin (top and bottom left)
Paul Bivans, Michael Krayniak and Frank Kvinge (bottom, left to right)

The Philippine-born Anna Fermin immigrated to the U.S. with her family at a young age and found herself growing up in Wisconsin where she was trained in piano, voice and violin. Moving to Chicago in 1989, Fermin added the acoustic guitar to her repertoire, penned her first song in 1994 and immediately started showcasing her songwriting at local open mics and coffee houses where her voice established itself as powerful and emotional instrument all on its own. “She can deliver a husky approximation of Dolly Parton in one breath and shift into deep soul belting in the next.”

Named after an old Western novel, ANNA FERMIN’S Trigger Gospel reflects a spirited sound that intertwines hometown country and rock & roll with “a strong melodic-pop appeal.”

The eclectic influences of her bandmates, which include Paul Bivans on drums & percussion and Michael Krayniak on stand-up bass, have become the right compliment to Fermin’s “simple, slow shuffles and country rockers that smartly place her voice where it belongs - front and center.”

In the six years this Chicago-based band has been together, they’ve shared the stage with an impressive roster of musicians including Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Joe Ely, Robbie Fulks, Delbert McClinton, Paula Cole, The Jayhawks and many more.

Anna Fermin's "TRIGGER GOSPEL" has garnered the attention and respect of critics and music fans alike, hooking audiences with their eclectic songs and rousing live shows. Their debut disc, Things To Come - produced by Texas pedal-steel player extraordinaire Lloyd Maines - sold over six thousand copies (and still counting), leaving listeners clamoring for more. Now, the long-waited follow-up is here. Released on Undertow Records and produced by Jay Bennett, Oh, The Stories We Hold includes nine new original songs that gracefully and effortlessly combine country with elements of pop and rock, and also includes two stellar covers including the Steve Earle penned "Down The Road" and "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," a song made famous by the legendary Doris Day.

Trigger Gospel wraps Fermin's winning country melodies and their memory clinging choruses around her own experiences of love and loss...Fermin's cracker-jack band...has chops and finesse to spare...the main attraction is Fermin's one in a million voice which can be as big as a house or as intimate as a bedroom.

Pure, expressive, supple and vibrant, with an engaging combination of vulnerability and forthrightness, Fermin sings better than any of the country divas I've heard.

The one question asked by almost everyone of what Fil-Am band/musician that I thought was the best or that I enjoyed the most? Turns out that this was an easy question this year. Now, I heard lots of talent, but there was certainly one stand out: Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel.

Friday, August 17, 2007

16th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (9/8 & 9/9)

FPAC is an opportunity to reach an audience of Filipino immigrants and Filipino Americans, with a series of summer events that culminate in a two-day weekend of arts, culture, fun and community. FPAC features two stages plus a Youth Pavilion, a Seniors’ Village, a Community Wellness Area and a Culinary stage. With yearly audiences of over 25,000 intergenerational and multicultural supporters, FPAC is the largest multi-disciplinary presentation of Filipino arts in Southern California representing 16 years of community tradition and gathering experienced by over a quarter of a million attendees from all over the country.

For more information, please contact (323) 913-4663 or email at

Date: September 8 – 9, 2007
Location: Point Fermin Park, San Pedro

Jazzipino: Charmaine Clamor's album "Flippin' Out" Makes World Music Charts

Charmaine Clamor is the first Filipina jazz singer to find success on American radio. Her debut album, "Searching for the Soul" (2005), "announced the arrival of an impressive new vocal artist. When Charmaine Clamor's warm, luscious contralto slips into a seductive rhythm or purrs through tender lyrics, there's no doubt that a first-rate jazz talent is present" (LOS ANGELES TIMES). Critics and disc jockeys have compared her "bedroom eyes voice" (ALL ABOUT JAZZ) to legendary vocalists like Sarah Vaughan, Anita Baker, and Cassandra Wilson, all the while recognizing her individual style and sound.

Charmaine's second album, "Flippin' Out" (2007), synthesizes American jazz, blues and soul with traditional Filipino folk music, instantly creating a new hybrid genre she calls jazzipino. "Flippin' Out" introduces an imaginative singer daring to create a category all her own.

Originally from the provincial town of Subic-Zambales, Charmaine Clamor began her singing career at age 3, entertaining passengers (whether they liked it or not!) in the back of buses traveling to Manila. As she grew, she began providing piano accompaniment while her mother sang kundiman (Filipino torch songs) and English language classics. From these early memories comes her love of the Great American Songbook.

Charmaine is also the first Filipina to headline the world-famous Catalina Bar & Grill jazz club, in Hollywood, which presented Charmaine at their sold-out 2005 & 2006 Filipino-American Jazz Festival. In 2006, she headlined the First Manila International Jazz Festival in her birth country, the Philippines.

One of the founding members of JazzPhil-USA, a non-profit organization which promotes Filipino-American jazz artists in the United States, Charmaine has been credited with introducing the Filipino culture to mainstream audiences, delighting music lovers with her "very honest stage presence" and vocal artistry that listeners describe as "a spiritual experience" and "utterly mesmerizing"

The Band includes: Christian Jacob - piano,Trey Henry - bass,Ray Brinker - drums, Julius Tolentino - alto sax, Abe Lagrimas, Jr. - ukulele, Gustavo Garcia - percussion, Richard Ickard - guitar, Zaxariades - guitar, percussion, vocals, Pakaraguian Ensemble - kulintang

A Summer To Remember : Change of Heart

“We plan to spend our Christmas in the Philippines and are scheduled to go to Botolan, Zambales,” This was a long distance call from the East Coast from a longtime friend, Rene Jaro. When he’s in the Philippines this guy normally takes time to enjoy the beautiful beach of Boracay and other places. This is a person who simply loves to savor the joy of traveling, dining and shopping in so many parts of the globe. As usual, I was thinking he’s out for a tour of the beautiful beaches of Zambales. “We’ll be there in Zambales to construct houses for a Gawad Kalinga project. The village will be named “Massachusetts” simply because it’s a collaborative effort of Filipino-Americans from that state,” he continues. This time, my assumption was wrong.

“How did all start, Rene? I have known you since the early eighties and it’s very unlikely of you to be involved in such undertakings. What did you eat?” I jokingly asked him. Rapidly, he told me in detail how it all transpired during a birthday party one summer in Massachusetts.

“Eugene Florendo, a Couples for Christ [CFC] advocate and his lovely wife, Evita Ocampo Florendo started it all. Raymond, my son, goes to the Iskwelahang Pilipino in Boston to immerse himself in the culture, language and arts of our country. Eugene introduced the noble concept of Gawad Kalinga or GK to Raymond. My son’s birthday and that of his close and childhood friends, Alister and Tyrone, are exactly a week apart from each other. For 16 years these teenyboppers had never wanted to have a joint birthday party, insisting they wouldn’t get as many presents if they had individual parties. But this summer, in their 17th year, after realizing they are not getting any younger and witnessing the many poor people in the Philippines during their recent visit, these kids decided unexpectedly to have a joint party. (The trio call themselves ART—for Alister, Raymond and Tyrone—and titled the birthday invitation “Art for GK.”) And it was not JUST a party. Alister’s father, Lito Santos, and Tyrone’s, Frank Celoza, are my long-standing friends. We shared $500 each for the weekend party, “fiesta” style, (complete with buntings, lechons, pancits and the works reminiscent of Philippines festivities) in Lito’s residence in Easton, Massachusetts. A local disc jockey volunteered to spice up the celebration. Friends brought native delicacies. In the invitation card, they requested that in lieu of bringing gifts to the kids, a donation to ANCOP USA or Gawad Kalinga would be preferred and much appreciated,” he narrates.

“Visitors started pouring in that Saturday, June 16th. The three kids were in front to greet the guests. True enough, donations in checks for GK were handed to the kids. There were around 180 guests who attended the gathering. To add flavor to the festivity, I had two Boston Red Sox season tickets (each costing $110.00) raffled for $5.00 per raffle ticket. It’s amazing—we were able to collect $375.00. Ditas, my wife, wrote a check for that amount and it was given to Patty Yusah. She (Patty) gave it to Sibol, a GK program for children, for a year’s expenses for one kid as well as five electric fans. To honor her mother, Patty’s family raises funds for a GK village in Bulacan and named it “Aldaba Lim Foundation.”

During the height of the celebration, Luisito “Cito” Lorenzo, GMA’s former agriculture secretary, gave an inspirational talk espousing the worthy cause and activities of GK. He was invited by fellow CFC Eugene Florendo. (GK leader Tony Meloto also went to the state once.) His speech was very moving, touching, pare, and before I knew it I had pledged $1,500. The party raised $3,611. Later on, Lito Santos, together with his wife Ester and her family in Batangas, chipped in another $1,900 raising the amount to $7,011. More donations keep coming from our kababayans in Massachusetts.”

On June 7th—just nine days before the festivities and just tens of miles away—the richest man in the world gave his commencement address in one of the best educational institutions in the world, Harvard University in Boston. Yes, Bill Gates was 30 years late receiving his diploma but his message to the graduates was timely. His address rang not only across the hallways of the university but across the planet. He said, “I completely disagree with the skeptics who say that inequity has been with us since the beginning, and will be with us till the end—because people…just don’t…care. The challenge is the same: how can we do the most good for the greatest number with the resources we have? With all the inequities in this world I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.” (I bet the guy is not all talk; he and his wife, Melinda, walk it, as evidenced by the enormous amount the couple pour in to the world community via their foundation.)

It is no longer surprising more and more people are touched by the good deeds of those who have more in life—compassion is infectious. Though still a great minority, Bill Gates, Tony Meloto, Cito Lorenzo, Eugene Florendo and others, like my friend, Rene, his friends Lito and Frank, their families and their neighbors who have had a change of heart remind us we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

(Vics Magsaysay is a fine art nature photographer, artist and alternative healer. His website: E-mail address:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

U.S.-Philippine Caucus Ally

Cong. Hilda L. Solis (second from left) is one of more than a dozen legislators who are members of the U.S.-Philippine Friendship Caucus. She is pictured here with (from left) Amb. Willy Gaa, Alma Q. Kern, National Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations and Armando Heredia, COO of NaFFAA at a reception at the Rayburn House, Washington, D.C. The Democrat solon is a long-time supporter of the FilAm community in L.A.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pacquiao-Barrera Fight Set for October 6 at Mandalay Bay

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who manages the boxing career of Manny Pacquiao; and Golden Boy Promotions President, Oscar dela Hoya, manager for Marc Antonio Barrera, led their respective camps at the Beverly Hills Hotel here, where the press conference was held Friday morning, August 10, to announce the rematch of two famous fighters to be held October 6 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In this forthcoming fight, Pacquiao will defend his Super Featherweight title against Barrera, who lost to "Pacman" in November 2003 in San Antonio, Texas.

Superstars Pacquiao and Barrera will collide in a 12-round super featherweight title fight. It will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Tickets are priced at $600, $400, $300, $200 and $100, which can be purchased at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Macy's stores and Ritmo Latino).

The Pacquiao-Barrera fight, dubbed "Will to Win," is a battle between legendary three-division champions. Pacquiao (44-3-2, 35 KOs) of General Santos City, Philippines, defeated Barrera (63-5, 42 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico, in their first exciting encounter in 2003, claiming the 'Baby Face Assasin's' featherweight title.

"Pacquiao is considered by many as boxing's pound for pound most exciting fighter of the world," as announced by Bob Arum during the press conference.

"Fighting Barrera is a career highlight for me," said Pacquiao. He added: "He has already beaten great world champions like Erik Morales, Naseem Hamed and Johnny Tapia and I know I am going to have to train harder that I ever have been before to beat him. But I am fully prepared to sacrifice and do everything necessary to beat him. And I will. It's going to be another great night for fight fans, especially for the Filipinos all over the world."

'Pacman' left Los Angeles for Cebu and immediately began practising at the Wacky Salud gym. Trainor Freddie Roach would follow soon. Hundreds of fans syrrounded the gym while Manny was doing the routine boxing practice, including shadow boxing.

( By Johnny Pecayo: Editor & CEO, Manila U.S.Time)

Vics Magsaysay featured on Pinoy World Magazine August 2007 Issue

(Click on image to read article. Pinoy World magazine now available at all Seafood City supermarkets or call 714-496-5860 to 61 for subscription)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First 3 Filipinas to Climb Everest featured on PAL InFlight Magazine

If you are going to the Philippines soon or coming back from vacation, unbuckle that seatbelt, relax and grab a copy of the August Philippine Airlines Inflight Magazine "Mabuhay" and check out the in-depth article by Kristine Fonacier and enjoy the breathtaking photos of the World Record traverse climb of the First 3 Pinays on Mount Everest who summitted last May 16, 2007. In the comfort of your pressurized cabin, remember that the height of Mt. Everest which the Pinays conquered is just 6,000 feet below the cruising altitude of your airplane. Everest towering at 29,028 is the highest mountain on Earth. Great article and awesome photo coverage. It just motivate us to dream big dreams. Carina, Noelle, and Janet, we are proud of your feat. Kaya Talaga ng Pinay.

(Article by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

What My Filipino Heritage Means To Me

Being a baby boomer born and raised in the Philippines, my bond towards the old country is relatively stronger compared to say, a 1st generation Filipino-American who was raised in the United States. Like all middle aged Filipinos who immigrated to this country at an adult age, we have stories to tell. Life for us is a tapestry of experiences and tales involving two cultures interwoven into the person who we are right now.

I was born in one of the beautiful islands at the southern part of the Philippines. Growing up with 2 brothers and 5 sisters ingrained in me the value of family at a young age. As a child, there were times I felt like choking a sibling or two just because they got the best part of the chicken during dinner, or if one of them stayed in the shared bathroom too long. Yes, there were a lot of times I got into brawls with my brothers because they stuck me or I stuck them with insulting nicknames.

Our parents always took us to the beach during weekends. Being a large family, my dad would rent a jeepney to transport us to our favorite resort where we hung out from morning till dusk. We brought swimsuits but no suntan lotion. Back then, sun block was unheard of. My mom packed a lot of marinated pork and chicken for barbeque. Dad bought fresh grilling fish at the beach from the local fishermen coming in with their daily catch. We explored the streams leading to the sea. Tide pools where great for small fish and shrimps. We hung out at the beach till we turned dark from too much sun. The sunburn would hurt for days to come but that didn’t stop us from looking forward to next weekend at the resort again. That beach with its coconut trees, fishermen with their outriggers, stray dogs, and exotic plant smells, reflected the essence and beauty of the Philippines.

As a teenager in the old country, I went to a lot of parties. In the community where I grew up, everybody knew everyone. Not being invited to a party resulted to hurt feelings and questions of why? Small town Philippines is like small town USA. Only difference is latitude and culture. What I know is that the food spread in Filipino parties is impressive. Let’s face it. American fare is healthy (carrots and finger foods) while Filipino food is a heart-stopper (lechon and lumpia). But life is to be enjoyed and all is well.

My parents taught us to kiss our aunts and uncles on the cheeks as a gesture of respect. We never answered back to our parents even if we felt that they were wrong. My father was a cursillista. Very religious, he was the type who believed that an unwanted pregnancy should result to the couple being married. My mom was the liberal one. She believed in love and following your heart. Do not be deceived by money since a rich spouse does not spell out happiness. Typical of Filipino parents, my mom and dad loved us in an unconditional way.

I remember Christmas Eve midnight Mass in the Philippines and, the fireworks during New Year’s Eve. When St. John the Baptist feast day came along, every one was prepared to get wet. That was fun! I did not care for the Lenten season since that was the time we had to go fasting with no meat Fridays.

Talking about food, let’s mention the fruits. Mangoes are always in. I always loved eating sineguelas and kamunsil. Do you like jackfruit, star apple and chicos? Always loved lanzones and santol. Do you have memories of eating a green mango (with salt or bago-ong) under your favorite tree during school break?

Now that I am middle-aged and residing in America, what does my Filipino heritage mean to me? It’s true that life in the United States is comfortable. I have achieved that dream of owning a house and a nice car. I have non-Filipino friends who appreciate my company and laugh at my jokes. I go to the gym and try to maintain that healthy California life style. It is nice to know that I fit into this new country of mine. But there is still that part of me which states, “I am Filipino. How is the old country doing? Should I go visit that town where I grew up and check out my friends from the past? Can I return with dollars in my pocket and find true happiness?” Another part says that now is my chance to give back to the community. There’s a lot of pain and suffering in the Philippines caused by poverty. Although the economy is getting better there, it is still the rich who gets richer while the poor is stuck with fixed wages and saddled with higher fuel costs.

As a Filipino-American, where does my allegiance fall? My history of being born and raised in the Philippines does not blur my allegiance to America. The United States has always been good to me. I learned how to cook and clean in this country. Belonging to two cultures does not mean that I have to choose one over the other. On the contrary, I have the choice to wear both cultures on my chest and be proud of it.

But, there is that part of me filled with pleasant memories of beaches, exotic foods, and belly laughter shared with family and past friends that linger on. Perhaps I should go visit the Philippines this year. Perhaps I should go visit every year. Maybe, with all the blessings I have had, I could share a blessing or two with my unfortunate countrymen back home. This is what my Filipino heritage means to me.

By: John F. Lacson

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Filipinos Bag Boxing Title

The close to nine-year wait for a world title had to end somewhere for grizzled ring warrior Gerry Peñalosa, 35. In between those trying years, the southpaw from San Carlos City went on a heartache-induced two-year sabbatical, returned to the ring with aplomb, before he was once again stopped on his tracks in his daring foray in the tough 122-lbs division. Yesterday, he finally got what he had longed for since losing the WBC flyweight crown in January 2000.

"Oh my God. Thank you Lord!," Peñalosa exclaimed as he basked in the glory of his seven-round conquest of Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez in their World Boxing Organization bantamweight (118-lbs.) title fight in Sacramento, California Saturday night (Sunday morning in the Philippines). The San Carlos City-born pug unleashed a mind-boggling left body shot to Gonzalez, dropping the Mexican to the canvass for good at the 2:35 mark of round seven.

Peñalosa was trailing in the judges' scorecards up until that point in a slow, tactical fight, where the Mexican champion utilized his jabs as he fought from a distance. At the start of the seventh round, Peñalosa got winded by a Gonzalez body shot.

But the Negrense's resilience that characterized the most part of his 18-year career came to the fore, providing a victorious ending to a long, arduous journey back to the pinnacle of the sport. "Gerry Peñalosa has shown remarkable courage and skill in winning his title," President Gloria Arroyo said in a statement.

The win improved Peñalosa's record to 56-6-2 (35 KOs).

"I made a mistake," Gonzalez said in a report posted at "I dropped my right hand and he hit me with a beautiful body shot. The pain was so great, I couldn't get up," he added. "I want a rematch, but at 122 pounds. I'm too weak at 118 pounds these days," the Mexican said.

Peñalosa, who yielded the WBC super flyweight crown to South Korean In Joo-Cho in Jan. 1, 2001 in Seoul, proved to be the biggest star on a night when four other Filipino fighters prevailed over Mexicans in a team-styled card dubbed the World Cup of Boxing.

Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista's shocking knockout loss at the hands of Daniel Ponce De Leon was the lone dark spot for the Filipinos' campaign.

Despite Bautista's loss, the Filipino crew goes home with the crown and the $500,000 gem-studded trophy, beating the Mexicans, 5-1.


Concert King Martin Nievera wows the fans at the 22nd Phil-Am Expo
(Photo by Raul Balboa)


August 11-12 were fun days at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The occasion held was the 22nd Philippine-American Exposition. The affair was a festival celebrating the Filipino spirit, alive and definitely growing in this American environment.

Walking into the main entrance at South Hall G, a visitor is greeted by a multitude of friendly faces. Vendors manning their booths are happy to answer questions about their products and give away complimentary items like pens, key chains, etc. It is indeed a festive atmosphere with Filipinos from all over Southern California in attendance. There were all kinds of booths. The various remittance centers with their respective company colors looked like cheering teams advertising their promotions. Law Enforcement agencies from different counties looking for fresh recruits. Artists presented their creations for all to see. Delicious Filipino food was served on the west end of the hall.

The Exposition program kicked off with opening remarks from the emcee, followed by variety shows, which featured young talented Filipino singers and wonderful ethnic dance presentations showing colorful tribal costumes. It was a positive feeling walking the hall, stopping now and then, asking questions about different products. Meanwhile, in the background, you could hear and feel the energy coming from the live program. When tired, visitors would stop cruising and turn toward the stage and watch the show.

The Expo theme was “United in Respect and Love for God and Country”. Being Filipino-Americans is a blessing. We have the best of both worlds enjoying two different cultures, which manages to mix well together. There is no moral law, which states that we can only love one country. We cannot help but pay our respects to America for the positive life it has given us and also to the Philippines were most of us grew up and have fond memories of yester years. We, being Filipinos truly believe in God. Some of us may not go to church regularly but we do pray and thank the Lord for stuff that we have.

It would be unfair to mention some variety show performers name without mentioning everyone. It is accurate to say that Filipinos are world-class performers and on this stage and these days, proof of that was onstage. From the younger generation to the pros, it is apparent that Filipinos who have talent will not hesitate to share it with everyone.

I had the opportunity to chat with Glendale Arts and Culture Commissioner, Ms Zen Lopez. She would like talented Filipinos out there to contact her. It would be a shame if their God-given talents were put to waste by lack of confidence in their quality of work. Ms Lopez knows that Filipinos can compete and excel in the field of art. The spirit is that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by stepping forward and showing what you can do.

Martin Nievera, the Concert King, performed both days. It’s amazing how a megastar like him can quickly fill up the hall. Filipinos young and old came to see him and marvel at his singing. Being handsome and talented, his songs transported the audience into a positive sense of being. Martin Nievera is more than a rock star since his talent is true and he can really connect with everyone young and old. Needless to say, the front stage was populated with female fans that just wanted to get close to him. Wish I were in his shoes.

Tri-Media group of companies where the people behind the 22nd Phil-Am Expo. This power group has under its umbrella The California Examiner publications, Radio Manila, San Diego Examiner, and Nevada Examiner. Headed by Oscar Jornacion who has been in the business for more than 30 years, his vision of uniting the Filipinos thru activities like this is well on its way. Ms Awee Abayari, project director and renowned radio telecaster, coordinated the program and inter acted-with the variety show performers for a smooth flow.

Going to the Exposition is so much better than staying home and watching television. The original plan was just to stay for a couple of hours but I ended up staying much longer than that. It is always a pleasure meeting up with old and new friends, speaking Taglish, and enjoying the ambiance of this environment. Leaving this occasion, I acquired phone numbers of new acquaintances and possible business connections here and in the Philippines. My advice to Filipinos in Southern California is to keep in touch with your roots. The Philippines will be a great country once more due to an intelligent nation that knows how to assimilate and thrive. Let us make a conscious decision to be a part of this evolution.

Mabuhay tayo!

Article by: John F. Lacson

Cereza Anyone? In Search of the Best California Wine

Temecula Valley: When Buddy and Cherri Linn bought the Van Roekel Winery in the Temecula Valley in 1994, they went and looked south to the Guadalupe Valley east of Ensenada where wine growing dates back to the Dominican Friars as far back as 1834 and where almost 74 different varietals of grapes are grown. They renamed the vineyard "La Cereza", home of the now multi-award winning best "Viognier" wine in California, and the Best "Red Garnacha" among the numerous wineries along Rancho California Road in Temecula. Among my favorite is of course their "Pinot Grigio which is sharp, dry, with a good ending. Hmmmm.

The secret: they make their wine from a choice of the "Tempranillo" grapes from Guadalupe. "Tempranillo" is taken from the Spanish word "Temprano" meaning "early", the black colored grape that originally came from Spain and was brought to Mexico and ripens early. This varietal gives red wine a truly ruby color and are mixed with the "Sanglovese" grapes, also from Guadalupe, which now comprises 80 percent of their multi-awarded Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. So off I went for an early peek at this year's offering amid the excitement of a great atmosphere, fresh air, beautiful mountain vistas and of course, great wine and cheese!

What I found out on this August day trip to Temecula was that wine tasting is more than drinking wine. It is about California history, relaxation, meeting new people, so much so that it seem to connect new acquiantances on a deep level. After all, wine-making is a big part of human culture for thousands of years. It is like a way of becoming intimate with our past as well as with nature. I met a chemistry professor from a local Los Angeles University as well as countless Fil-Ams being ferried around Tour Buses and Limousines (wine tasting tours $73) along the nice easy drive of Rancho California straddled on both sides by the pleasant micro-climate & rolling hills full of rows & rows of grape vines.

Instead of the tour, I went the way the locals do. First stop is go and grab some cheese at "Temecula Cheese Company" & buy some "Prima Donna" Holland cheese or whatever cheese fits your fancy (free cheese tasting too). Next is Jack's Nuts (The Hottest Nuts in town)for some roasted almonds & nuts, all at Old Towne Temecula. Then, head up East on Rancho California where there are about 30 plus wineries with a wide selection of vintage varieties of wine waiting for discovery. Stop at the sister winery of "La Cereza", which is "Maurice Carrie" Winery (by the way, their Muscat Canelli white wine is awesome) and get a 2-winery wine tasting ticket which will give you 6 tastings at "Maurice" and six at the famed "Cereza" with an extra 2 taste tickets available at "La Cereza's" tobacco terrazza just back of the winery. Total Cost is only $24 for both wineries. Good deal.

But, well, as the locals do, you have to drive yourself; sorry, no limo rides but you get the best of both worlds. You can visit and cruise at your own pace and maybe grab a nice picture of the vineyards of the different varietals of grapes in their final almost harvest stage. On selected evenings, jazz concerts are happening all over the wineries including Bob Wilson's retirement business: the now world-famous "Wilson Creek" Winery at the top of the hill.

Give it a try before summer is gone. You will cherish the experience.

La Cereza Vineyard and Winery is located at 34567 Rancho California Road in the heart of Temecula’s Wine Country. The tasting room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 1-800-716-1711.

(Photos and article by: Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fil-Am Dj's Invade the Hollywood Hip Hop Scene

Fil-Ams made their mark in the underground with legendary DJs like the Piklz’ Q-Bert and mixed-blood (Filipino and German) Mix Master Mike, who’ve been on the grid since the ’80s. With the emergence of more high-profile music-biz players such as Chad Hugo (Grammy Award–winning producer and one half of the Neptunes), of the Black Eyed Peas, and rappers like Roscoe Umali and 7S, they have entered the mainstream. Hip-hop helped put Filipino-American culture on the radar

Throngs of Filipino kids line up outside the big venues on Hollywood Boulevard, where three predominantly Fil-Am clubs are happening simultaneously on any given weekend night.

Always in the cut, or at least haunting the periphery, Gee Cee is lurking on the sidewalk in front of Cinespace at Hollywood and Ivar on a recent Thursday at 10 p.m. He looks a little better than he did last week around the corner at Forbidden City. The Fil-Am crowd there is a little older than the one at Cinespace. Promoter OZ from the original Legend Entertainment and Greg Ramos from Caged Monkeyz have managed to attract a good crowd for a while now. Tonight at Cinespace, they’re getting a little Ibizan rave circa ’98, with a company called Foamalicious sudsing up the back patio.

Fil-Am hip-hop. It’s become an integral part of a multiethnic experience uprise gave birth to the original scene has integrated into a broader landscape, and it’s eating Hollywood Boulevard alive.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Huntington 2007 Summer Festival

Los Angeles Still Life at Huntington Gardens (Photo: Ver Penaranda)

San Marino, Ca: A perfect evening of intimate chamber music on a cool summer evening awaits you at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Two Time Grammy-Winner Southwest Chamber Music ensemble will have concerts on the Garden Terrace on the weekend of August 10-11, 2007 with wind music composition masterpieces of Ludwig van Beethoven (Quinter for Piano & Winds, Op.16), Franz Shubert (Sheperd on the Rock, D.965), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Quinter for Piano & Winds, K.452.) They will also do renditions from Tchaikovsky, Carl Maria von Weber, Johannes Brahms on the weekend of August 24-25, 2007. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. For Tickets and directions, please call the Southwest Chamber at (800) 726-7147 or visit their website at

The Huntington is a research and educational center set amidst 120 acres of breathtaking gardens. Three art galleries and a library showcase magnificent collections of paintings, sculptures, rare books, manuscripts, and decorative arts. The botanical collection features over 14,000 different species of plants. A private, nonprofit institution, The Huntington was founded in 1919 by railroad and real estate developer Henry Edwards Huntington and opened to the public in 1928.
(Article by Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

The Huntington
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 405-2100

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Historic Filipino Town 07 Celebration

(Kuh Ledesma at Historic Filipino Town Celebration onstage with the winner/s of the 5k run and with hosts (emcees) Thelma Sugay & Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal. Photo coverage by Nic Arriola)

Los Angeles: August 4 and 5, 2007 marked the fifth year celebration of the official recognition of Filipino Town in Los Angeles, California. This area is bounded by the 101 freeway to the north, Beverly boulevard to the south, Hoover street to the west, and Glendale blvd to the east. The fiesta was held at the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) located at 1740 W Temple blvd.

The occasion reflected the Filipino ways of how to have a block party. Saturday morning kicked off with indoor prayer services followed by street dancing inspired by the Silver Lake Adult Center. Composed of our elderly constituents, they had fun showing the younger generation how Pinoy seniors can still boogie down the streets of L.A Backing them up was of course a Filipino rock n roll band named “Friday Night Garage Band”.

The facility was set up with different booths, which promoted products that would benefit the multiple Filipinos that came to grace the occasion. Food stalls with sumptuous fare were available for whoever was hungry. There were booths with gorgeous handicraft items for sale. Also a dunking booth were free spirited Pinoys did their athletic best to drop a friend or relative into that water tank.

The people who went to this affair were Filipinos who wanted to touch basis with their countrymen and talk about what’s going on in the old country. This were Fil-Ams who have not lost touch with their roots and find time to hang out with what soothes their souls the most. And that is talking to fellow Filipinos, remembering the good old days when times were hard. I say this because hard times are nothing to be ashamed about. Most of us went through it, which gave us the motivation to emigrate. But those times were not bad since good memories of familiar faces and happy events back then color our past in a positive light.

Walking around the parking lot and street converted to party grounds, I met up with some business people who are quite happy with the current economic up trend in the Philippines. They agree that it’s about time we Fil-Ams should invest in the motherland by purchasing property there. Another thought was to promote more trade from there by re-exploring the export of handicrafts to America. An elderly lady mentioned that organizations like Bantay Bata or Gawad Kalinga is a great way to share our blessings with the less fortunate people back home.

Filipinos know how to have fun. The party atmosphere was in play all the time with background music and people intermingling. As a matter of fact, this celebration was a two-day marathon of fabulous talented guests performing dance and song numbers, comedy skits, more street dancing, ethnic presentations, and more. My only regret was that I could not stay the two days to observe and be a part of this celebration as a whole. But it was so nice to just walk around and see smiling and approachable brown faces eager to talk and be friends.

If you think about it, Filipino Town is all over. You may be in New York, Canada, or Paris and there will always be a place where we can find fellow experts. They would only be too happy if you hang out with them and speak the language. For Pinoys, if you come from the same province, you must be related one way or another. There’s that bonding created when you know someone that this new friend also knows. Having this common acquaintance solidifies your relationship with your new friend. Social networking is an art that Filipinos have mastered.

Again, Filipino Town is in the mind and the hearts of all Fil-Ams. Celebrating it with fellow countrymen in a landmark is another way of saying that we still care. Mabuhay tayo!

(Article by: John F Lacson)