Friday, November 30, 2007

2 Men & D' Ladies : Willy Nepomuceno & Rico J. Puno

When :
Saturday Dec 01, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Where :
The Grand Theater-LA Trade Tech Center
400 W. W ashington Blvd
Los Angeles , CA 90016

Contact :
Ernan Ebreo

Telephone: (626) 347-5565

This December, you're in for a vibrant, hilarious and pulsating evening! For the first time, Total Entertainer Rico J Puno will go on - stage side by side with Willie Nepomuceno, The Man with a Thousand Faces. Together they will relive hits and characters that have tickled audiences around the world for the past three decades.
To add pizzazz to the show, these gentlemen will be joined by the hottest female performers in Philippine show business today. Andrea del Rosario, Ella V., Sheree and Myles Hernandez

Don't miss the ultimate experience...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Malacañang Downplays 'Trillanes Revolt'

Presidential Spokesperson and Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye belittled today the Makati City incident as “merely a situation.” Before Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, former Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and the Magdalo rebel soldiers surrendered tonight to authorities, Malacanang called on the public to remain calm as the situation in Makati City was very much under control.

Secretary Bunye said that the incident in Makati where the group locked themselves up in the second floor suite of the Manila Peninsula Hotel had meticulously been monitored by the elements of the military and the police and that the area had already been cordoned. Bunye appealed to the people who had no business at all in the area to leave the premises and avoid the Makati and Ayala avenues in order not to hamper the operations of the authorities.

“The situation is very much under control and we would like to assure our people that the rule of law will be enforced strictly. We appeal to the public to be calm, and stay away from the area to avoid any possible confusion dahil mahigpit po ang kautusan na ipatupad po itong ating mga batas,” he said.

He said that the firm response of the state is to maintain peace and order to prevent any confusion, avoid anymore destruction of public property and to amicably settle the situation. He also called on the members of the media not to cross the yellow line in the critical area in order to avoid casualties and to have the military and the police the leeway to operate.

“To all our media friends: please comply with the request of the police to immediately vacate Manila Peninsula in order to prevent/reduce unnecessary collateral damage. Stay outside the yellow police line,” Bunye said. He said the mandate of the military and police is to enforce the law in accordance with the implementing guidelines of the law. He anticipated that the Makati situation would end up peacefully as he stressed that there are internal guidelines the authorities had to observe.

He said that despite the Makati incident, the projected European trip of the President would still push through. He noted that even some senators had already made their own statement batting for the implementation of the rule of law. He expressed the belief that Makati local officials at this point in time had no accountability but were expected to enforce the law.

He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines has always been behind the Arroyo administration and ”we are very confident of the unwavering support. As a matter of fact we were in touch with the different commands who expressed their support to the chain of command, to their Commander-in-Chief.” He described the President as a hands-on leader who immediately convened an emergency Cabinet meeting after learning of the Makati incident.

“She started issuing orders to different parties concerned. Ito naman ay base sa mga naging karanasan. The President appeared very cool, very calm as she issued her directives,” he said. He considered the incident as merely a “situation” but reiterated that the government is on top of the situation.

Bunye added that the government’s primary concern was to contain the situation. He expressed the belief that the situation would be put under control as soon as possible and reminded those who have locked themselves up in the hotel to pay for their hotel bills before they leave the premises.

Several leaders like Laguna Gov. Teresita Lazaro, Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos, president of the Leagues of Cities of the Philippines; Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo and Deputy House Speaker Amelita Villarosa, have expressed their support and confidence in the President and condemned the Makati situation as violation of the Constitution of the Philippines.

Palace won't allow another Oakwood mutiny

Malacanang on Thursday said it will not allow another "Oakwood mutiny" to happen with the marching by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim in Makati City where they called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to step down.

Presidential Legal Counsel Chief Sergio Apostol, in a radio interview, said that while they have adopted a wait-and-see attitude for now, they will take the "necessary action" once they gather enough evidence against Trillanes and Lim.

"The necessary action will be taken. We cannot repeat what they did in Oakwood," he said. Apostol said that while it appeared Trillanes and Lim are "trying to create a commotion," they cannot say for now what rules have been violated. "We will see what happens. We cannot say now what rules have been violated. Titingnan natin kung anong gagawin pa nila (We'll see what they'll do next), we will know what to do," he said. Trillanes was one of the leaders of the Magdalo group that staged a short-lived mutiny at the Oakwood Hotel in Makati City in July 2003. He and his fellow Magdalo leaders were charged with rebellion.

President Arroyo, who was earlier in San Pablo City for the Local Peace and Security Assembly, left aboard a helicopter after delivering her speech and headed straight to Malacanang where she will preside over a meeting by the crisis committee of the National Security Council (NSC) that will discuss the situation in Makati City.

The entire National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has been placed on full alert following a protest march by the Magdalos. Malacanang assured the public today that the government is on top of the situation and the new attempt to overthrow the government by Magdalo rebel soldiers in Makati City will be dealt with firmly but peacefully.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye also told a press briefing that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains “very cool and calm” as she fired off several directives to government agencies during the emergency Cabinet meeting in Malacanang this afternoon.

The Chief Executive was visiting Laguna to preside over a local peace and security assembly in Region IV-A at the Villa Escudero Resort in San Pablo City when she was informed of the new anti-government movement launched by the detained members of the Magdalo group.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, meanwhile, said that the latest politico-military adventurism in Makati City will have a temporary effect on the market but will definitely not affect the economy. Teves based his statement on the assessment of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) acting Director General Augusto Santos who reported that the economy is not only stable but “still growing.”

The Finance secretary pointed out that the country’s economic fundamentals are robust as shown by the 42.80 percent economic growth in the third quarter, while the peso remains strong. Teves added that led by the services sector, the economy grew by 6.6 percent in real terms in the third quarter from a year earlier and is expected to exceed the full-year target.

“Sa palagay ko kapag ganitong klase ang fundamentals, we are able to handle this kind of temporary disturbance sa ating ekonomiya,” Teves said during a press briefing at the New Executive Building with some Cabinet members, top leaders of the House of Representatives, and other government officials.

Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila also reported that the market reacted to the Makati City disturbance but recovered swiftly before it closed this afternoon. He added that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the market remains calm as shown by its immediate recovery this afternoon from a brief trading lull in the morning.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza told the Cabinet that Mindanaoenos are fully behind the President and they condemn the new attempt by the Magdalo rebels led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes to create a political-military standoff. He said he believed that the new disturbance in Makati City will end peacefully because the government will not allow the situation to escalate and cause further harm to the economy.

“If Mindanao people are able to resolve their problems peacefully, I’m sure a small event like this will end peacefully,” Dureza told reporters.

The tension in Makati was sparked by Trillanes, former Gen. Danilo Lim and other Magdalo officers accused of leading the July 2003 rebellion when they walked out of their trial Thursday morning at the Makati City Regional Trial Court. From the RTC grounds, they marched through the streets of the financial district calling for the ouster of President Arroyo. Trillanes and his comrades numbering around 30 armed guards smashed the door of The Manila Peninsula along Makati Avenue and Paseo de Rojas Street after they overwhelmed the hotel’s security guards.

They then read out a statement demanding the resignation of President Arroyo.

Mar Roxas as a Presidential Contender


By Alfredo G. Rosario
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Manila Times

In the country’s political history, only one scion of a prominent family has ascended to the presidency once occupied by a close blood relative. She is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, who became president after her father left Malacañang more than four decades ago following his failed reelection bid in 1965.

In the 2010 presidential election, another member of a political family may try to replicate President Arroyo’s feat by running for president. He is Sen. Mar Roxas, son of former senator Gerry Roxas and grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas.

In a recent political gathering, Mar Roxas was installed as the new president of the Liberal Party which was founded by his illustrious grandfather when he ran for president against President Sergio Osmeña and beat him in the first post-war presidential poll in 1947. His election as head of his party was seen as a major step toward clinching his nomination as the LP standard bearer in the next presidential election.

Many believe that the senator possesses all the political advantages in seeking the country’s top post within the gift of the Filipino people. They see him as a formidable contender for the presidency.

First, he enjoys the advantage of name recall, being a scion of a well-known family. His mother, Judy Araneta Roxas, belongs to the affluent Araneta clan. He has a distinguished political record. In 1993, he ran for congressman in the first district of Capiz and won handily. Later he became the House majority leader and eventually Cabinet member as Trade secretary.

He surprised the whole nation with his extreme popularity in 2004 when he ran for the Senate and topped the race with an overwhelming 20 million votes, a record still unmatched in the history of the Senate.

Roxas has the political machine and the logistics to support a long and expensive campaign. The LP is one of the oldest political parties with grassroots organizations all over the country.

Above all, he has the integrity and passion for work. His educational, moral and leadership credentials have projected him as an articulate, intelligent and dignified person. He does not wear his social superiority on his sleeve and interacts with his fellowmen with humility and grace.

The central theme of his public life has always been the promotion of the national interest and the people’s welfare as evidenced by legislation he has authored and his innovations in job creation and consumers protection. His reputation has preceded him and earned him the recognition of the international community as “one of the global leaders of tomorrow” and “one of the young leaders in politics and business who will bring Asia and the Pacific to the forefront of world affairs.”

What are his chances in the 2010 presidential poll?

There are at least four other presidential contenders, notably Senate President Manny Villar and Senators Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda and Chiz Escudero. Of the four, Villar has made no secret of his strong will to run for president. Like Roxas, he has the Nacionalista Party, of which he is the president, behind his presidential bid.

He has a broad experience in the cut-and-thrust of political conflict. He was formerly Houses speaker, senator and now Senate president. He also has the wherewithal needed to wage an expensive presidential campaign. He is widely acknowledged as one of the richest men in Asia.

Lacson, who ran for president in the 2004 presidential election, finishing third behind President Arroyo and movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., has expressed interest in running again but has not shown enough élan and resolve to pursue it. Legarda and Escudero are playing coy about their presidential goal.

If Lacson, Legarda and Escudero abandon their interest in the presidential race, they may take other options, like seeking the vice presidential nomination behind either Roxas or Villar.

But the presidential race could become more complicated if former President Joseph Estrada, who was recently pardoned by the President and given back his civil and political rights, comes into the political equation. He made a vow not to engage in active politics but his body language in recent days belies his pledge.

The 2010 presidential race is far from predictable. We still have to reckon with the administration standard bearer who could be Vice-President Noli de Castro, the heir apparent, as it were, to the throne. That is if he gets the anointment of the President.

FAL To Receive Award At Simbang Gabi 2007 Headlined by Lea Salonga and Friends

REDWOOD CITY, CA – On December 1, 2007, Tony Award-winning singer and actress Lea Salonga will be the feature performer at Simbang Gabi 2007 — the 10th Anniversary Celebration Gala of Bantay Bata (Child Watch Philippines) at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California.

Becca Godinez joins Simbang Gabi with Lea Salonga and friends
Join Becca Godinez at The ABS CBN Foundation USA Family, Simbang Gabi 2007, A Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Bantay Bata:

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel
2025 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, California, 90067

Using one of the most revered Filipino holiday traditions as its theme, Simbang Gabi 2007 will see the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel transformed into a traditional Filipino church courtyard and town plaza.

Simbang Gabi is the traditional early morning Filipino church service celebrated for nine consecutive days before Christmas. To honor this tradition the pre-dinner reception will feature familiar Simbang Gabi fare served after these pre-dawn masses, including hot chocolate, bibingka, puto bumbong, ensaymada, pan de sal with kesong puti, and other delicacies. A rondalla band and children’s choir complete the setting that will surely conjure images of holidays in the Philippines .

The evening’s dinner will be designed by internationally-acclaimed Filipino Chef Rod Aglibot. Chef Aglibot is the founding chef of Koi Restaurant, a favorite hangout of the Hollywood entertainment community. Rod affirms, “The dinner will consist of Filipino traditional holiday food to bring back memories of Christmases back home.”

“Simbang Gabi 2007 promises to have the sights, sounds, and smells reminiscent of Christmases in the Philippines ,” adds Ted Benito, one of the event’s producers. “It will be the next best thing to going back home. This is sure to be a celebration unlike any other and one not to be missed.”

Rounding out the performances with Ms. Lea Salonga will be a host of other memorable entertainers, including Ms. Becca Godinez, the SIPA Children’s Choir, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Tinig Choral and Samahang Dancers, and the Rondalla Club Band of Los Angeles.

Guiding Star Realty Holdings, the Law Office of Michael Gurfinkel, The Asian Journal and ABS CBN Global/The Filipino Channel are proud sponsors of Simbang Gabi 2007.

Proceeds of the gala will benefit The Children’s Village — the transitional dwelling for the rescued children of Bantay Bata, who need medium- to long-term care and rehabilitation as a result of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Situated in the outskirts of Metro Manila, The Children’s Village provides extensive nutritional, educational and psychological intervention in a live-in, home-like environment.

The individual ticket price of $350 is all inclusive of the pre-dinner Simbang Gabi reception, the Town Plaza dinner and entertainment with Ms. Salonga and Friends. For more information on Simbang Gabi 2007 or to buy tickets, log onto or call the Los Angeles Office of the ABS CBN Foundation USA at (310) 855-9110.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



When: NOVEMBER 27, 2007

Where: Vanguard
6021 Hollywood Blvd , Hollywood, CA

Produced by Jeepney Music, In Association With Grassroots Productions,, the Peapod Foundation, TDRZ Productions and Jin & Quinn Productions

"The Allan Pineda Lindo (APL) Benefit"

Hosted by Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas

Live on Stage, & Taboo of Black Eyed Peas
Bucky Johnson
Chingo Bling

And DJ Rocky Rock, DJ Icy Ice (World Famous Beat Junkies), DJ Shy (102.7 KIIS-FM) & DJ Mia (MTV's Celebrity Rap Superstar)

Official Site:

The Allan Pineda Lindo (APL) Benefit, created in 2007 by Allan Pineda Lindo, a founding member of the multi-Grammy Award winning group, Black Eyed Peas.

The mission of APL is to provide material, educational and monetary assistance to specific charities in Asia, including the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and Angeles University Foundation, among others. The objective of APL is to provide the tools for empowerment, progress and self-reliance for underprivileged and marginalized Asian communities.

Individual donations: Make checks payable to "APL Benefit" with "The Peapod Foundation" written on the memo line at the bottom. Mailing address is Jeepney Music Inc., 4470 W. Sunset Blvd, Suite 602, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

The Black Eyed Peas' Peapod Foundation was established as a Charitable Service Fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a leading philanthropic arm of Hollywood.EIF is a 501(c)3 organization. Contributions are deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. EIF's tax identification number is 95-1644609.

For questions, contact


(Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

GMA Pinoy TV now available via Chula Vista-San Diego!

November 15, 2007 will always be a special day for Filipinos living in San Diego! They now have access to the best of Filipino programming through GMA PINOY TV via channel 62 on Chula Vista Cable Ltd. National City Cable, Inc.

“We look forward to serving the thriving Filipino community in San Diego through GMA Pinoy TV’s top-notch programming on Chula Vista and National City Cable,” said Joseph Francia, Officer-in-charge and Head of Operations, GMA International. “San Diego, like the rest of California, is special to us as it has been a preferred destination of thousands of Filipinos who now call America home.”

"The launch of GMA is a robust addition to the Chula Vista and National Cable systems line-up. This fits with NexHorizon's plans to bring a more competitive lineup of digital programming as well as other broadband services that will encourage subscriber growth and retention” said Calvin D. Smiley, Sr. CEO of publicly traded NexHorizon Communications.

All geared-up to bring the best of Philippine television to its subscribers through quality Pinoy programming at its finest, GMA PINOY TV boasts of a formidable program line-up composed of award-winning news and public affairs programs and undoubtedly world-class entertainment shows.

Bannered by two of the Philippines’ most respected broadcast journalists – Mike Enriquez (Review Philippines) and Jessica Soho (Hot Seat) – together with the full roster of the Philippine’s most credible news organization, GMA PINOY TV promises its subscribers top-notch reportage of the hottest and biggest news not only the Philippines but from all over the world via 24 Oras and Saksi.

Ably complementing its news programs are GMA PINOY TV’s public affairs programs that have been recognized both locally and internationally – I-Witness, Reporter’s Notebook, Emergency, Imbestigador, and Wish Ko Lang!

Also, follow the best of Philippine TV series that has successfully captured the hearts of many Filipinos across the globe led by the highly popular and much anticipated Filipino version of MARIMAR, the Snakeman superhero, KAMANDAG and the first Pinoy metal hero series –ZAIDO. Starring a number of the best and brightest stars of the KAPUSO Network – Filipina Marimar Marian Rivera, King of Philippine Primetime Richard Gutierrez, handsome hunks Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gomez, and Philippines’ sexiest Katrina Halili, plus the Zaido super cast of Dennis Trillo, Jay Manalo, Raymart Santiago and Lorna Tolentino – GMA PINOY TV is definitely making sure that its subscribers are being treated to the crème de la crème of Philippine TV.

Other premium Philippine series also being aired are LA VENDETTA, PASAN KO ANG DAIGDIG, MY ONLY LOVE plus the longest running noontime variety show that everybody loves – EAT BULAGA!

Call Chula Vista Cable at 619-476-0177 to subscribe to GMA Pinoy TV for only $12.95 per month and experience how it feels to become one of the many and still growing KAPUSOs (One in Heart) throughout the world! For more information, please log on to


By Rodel E. Rodis, November 26, 2007

On Thanksgiving Day last week, Dr. Pedro Servano and his wife, Salvacion, gathered family and friends together at their home in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania for what may be the last time they will celebrate this American holiday together in the United States. A few days later, on November 26, the Servano couple voluntarily turned themselves in to US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorities who were set to deport them back to the Philippines. Instead of detaining them, however, the DHS allowed the Servanos to return home after their lawyers obtained a last-minute reprieve.

Dr. Servano is a prominent Filipino physician serving approximately 2,000 patients in an underserved section of Central Pennsylvania. His wife, Salvacion, a registered nurse, operates a grocery store and a bakery in the town of Sunbury, just outside Harrisburg. They are proud parents of four US-born children: Shappine and Steven, both graduates of Temple University; a younger son, Peter, in 10th grade; and the youngest, Phoebe (13) in middle school.

Their saga began in 1982 when Salvacion immigrated to the United States after she had been petitioned by her immigrant mother in 1978. Pedro followed in 1984 after he was petitioned by his mother also in 1978. When they were petitioned, they were single. By the time they immigrated to the US, however, they had already been married since 1980.

They settled in Philadelphia where Pedro completed his residency in medicine while Salvacion obtained her nursing degree. In the course of a few years, they had a home, children and were on their way to living the American Dream.

In 1990, after they moved to San Diego, they applied for US citizenships, choosing to do it themselves without the assistance of an immigration attorney. They disclosed in their applications that they were married when they immigrated to the US.

Their naturalization applications were denied and they were placed in deportation proceedings charged with misrepresenting their status when they entered the US as they were not entitled to the immigrant visas that were issued to them as “unmarried” immigrants.

They could have applied for “suspension of deportation” as they had been in the US for at least 7 years, had been of good moral character during that period, and could have easily shown extreme hardship with their four US citizen children. But their lawyer apparently only argued that they did not intend to violate US laws as they were not aware they had to be unmarried until they arrived in the US.

The immigration judge did not accept their argument and found them deportable. Their lawyer appealed their case to the Board of Immigration Appeals which subsequently affirmed the decision of the immigration judge. The matter was then brought up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which denied their appeal. It was a legal process that took 15 years while the Servanos went about their lives, moving back to Philadelphia in 1992 before settling down in Selinsgrove three years later.

The bombshell news came on October 25, 2007 when they received their “bag and baggage letter” from the DHS instructing them to report to homeland security officers on November 26, bringing with them no more than 80 pounds of luggage each, to be processed for deportation. DHS spokesman Michael Gilhooly told reporters that the Servanos had their due process and ultimately must go.

After receiving the DHS letter, the Servanos sought legal counsel from Gregg Cotler and Ann Ruben from Philadelphia, and Gregory Graig from Washington, D.C. who are all making last-ditch efforts to contact the DHS directly.

Perhaps the only chance the Servanos have of remaining in the US is if one of their Pennsylvania senators, Arlen Specter or Robert Casey, sponsors a US senate bill that would allow them to remain in the US. To get a US senator to sponsor such a bill would require the endorsement and support of organizations like the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) or the newly-formed Filipino American Leadership Council (FALCON).

An online petition has been initiated ( and letters of support ( have come from patients, local officials and even from a surprising source, DHS counterterrorism operative Bill Schweigert.

In a letter obtained by the Daily Item of Sunbury, Schweigert wrote: "I fervently believe in the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) mission. However, the Servanos did not sneak into this country illegally, they have broken no laws, and they have not been a burden to the economy. They pose no threat. I cannot fathom how deporting the Servanos fulfills any portion of the ICE mission. In fact, I would argue the action runs counter to it."

In a letter to the DHS, immigration attorney Ann Ruben requested that their deportation be deferred for humanitarian considerations.

“The extraordinary lives of the Servanos and the evidence of their deep dedication and commitment to this country during their nearly 25 years in the US,” Ruben wrote, “ is borne out by the tremendous outpouring of letters of support and petitions containing innumerable signatures from throughout the United States and from a variety of disciplines.”

The outpouring of public support caused the DHS to grant a temporary reprieve. Whether that reprieve will be permanent will depend on the extent of that support.

Send your comments to or log on to Letters can be sent to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call (415) 334-7800.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fil-Am Leaders Set Demands, Legal Option

By Johnny Pecayo, Manila U.S. Times Editor:

LAS VEGAS, NV -- More than 100 Filipino-American leaders from various states, associations, and sectors in the United States have emerged from the historic November 10, 2007 Summit held at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, as an integrated vigilant response to the slur on the ABC’s Desperate Housewives season premiere aired September 30, 2007.

The new advocacy movement named Filipino American Leadership Council (FALCON) adopted the policy of universal inclusion and involvement of all Filipino-Americans, medical and non-medical, with the avowed objective of advancing, protecting and defending the interests of its constituency and that of the American people as a whole against injustice.

The elected officers of FALCON are Primo Andres, MD, FACC, FSCAI, a cardiologist from Terre Haute, Indiana, chairman; Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a cardiac surgeon from Munster, Indiana, vice chairman; and, Stella Evangelista, MD, Executive Director of the UST Alumni Association in America, from Michigan, Secretary.

Appointed co-chair for Public Relations committee were Johnny M. Pecayo, publisher and editor-in-chief of the MANILA-U.S. TIMES; and Dr. Philip S. Chua, a syndicated columnist.

The demands of FALCON from Disney/ABC network, as approved at the Las Vegas Summit include: (1) A primetime airing of a more meaningful apology from the network aired during one of the coming episodes of Desperate Housewives; (2) The deletion of the offending segment in question from any of its domestic or international rebroadcast, its DVDs or in its any other format; (3) The production and airing by Disney/ABC of a Historical Documentary about Filipino Physicians in America in the past 50 years; (4) The institution by Disney/ABC of a cultural sensitivity program for their entire staff, especially geared towards teaching them tolerance to all the ethnic groups and various minorities in America; and, (5) The unbiased promulgation of genuine equal hiring practices and opportunities for all ethnic minorities.

The general consensus of the assembly at the Summit on its legal option against Disney/ABC network was to hold it in abeyance, pending the outcome of the negotiation between the leaders of this new Council and the network.

The legal counsels from four US law firms who participated in the Summit are continuing to research the defamatory and other implications of the Disney-ABC racial slur as a basis for a law suit against the media conglomerate if the negotiation fails.

FALCON has also welcomed the support of the Greenlining Institute, a powerful US national advocacy body, headed by Bob Gnaizda, a reputable American icon who, in the past, has successfully fought for various ethnic groups -- the migrant workers, the Jews, the Afro-Americans, and the Mexicans.

The majority of the Summit delegates include, among others, all the Filipino medical alumni associations in America, the Association of Philippine Physicians in America (APPA), the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), National Advocacy for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Society of Philippine Surgeons in America, Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), Filipino United Network (FUN), the MANILA-U.S. TIMES, Mabuhay Alliance, The Beautiful Heart Foundation, and the various State and regional organizations.

The inspiring prologue that set the tone for the general assembly were delivered by Filipino United Network Chairman Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS; APPA Adviser Fred Quevedo, MD, FACOG; Jose Evangelista, MD, FACC, all past presidents of the APPA.

In spite of the very animated and passionate assembly discussion, a few times bordering on heated debates, on procedural strategies, the differences were amicably ironed out, and a consensus was expeditiously formulated during the 8-hour long deliberation. All the delegates and the Council members, who were all registered as official charter members, left the Summit inspired and more resolute than ever.

ABS-CBN, MANILA-U.S. TIMES, Philippine News, Provide Media Coverage

ABS-CBN, an international television network, based in Northern California, provided TV coverage of the event, while the MANILA-U.S. TIMES, based in Los Angeles, California, and the Philippine News, based in San Francisco, California, provided news and photo coverages.

In the on camera interview conducted by Bob Jose of ABS-CBN International, Johnny Pecayo of the FALCON Public Relations committee emphasized that this new advocacy group, comprising of leaders of various organizations, will be joined in by several other organizations from various ethnic groups all over the United States in its quest to attain the specific demands of FALCON against the Disney-ABC TV Network.

Dr. Philip Chua, Vice Chair of FALCON; Dr. Stella Evangelista, Secretary, FALCON; Lawyer Ted Laguatan, head of the Laguatan Law Firms; Lawyer Rodel Rodis, President of the San Francisco Unified School District; and Rozita Lee, Vice Chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, in similar on camera interview, were one in condemning and protesting the racial slur committed by the Disney-ABC TV Network.

The well-organized Summit was hosted by the UST Medical Alumni Association in America, headed by Dr. Andres, Foundation President, who served as the moderator, Dante Gapultos, Jr., MD, USTMAA President, Stella Evangelista, MD, Pediatrician from Michigan, Executive Director of USTMAAA and Aquilina Saw, MD, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Board Member, USTMAAA.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Economic Boom or Boo-boo Economics

Upon her return from the ASEAN Conference in Singapore last November 21, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ebulliently declared, "The Philippine economy and our people have only benefited from economic growth due to global engagement. Increased trade between ASEAN nations will continue to accelerate our economic growth, foreign investment and the creation of good jobs for our people." Hmmm… Sounds like broken promises. For one thing, President Arroyo's rhetoric never failed to amuse me.

One of my readers, in response to my recent article, "Road to Perdition or Redemption" (November 9, 2007), commented: "How can we talk about broken promises while our country is on the verge of economic ascent?" Indeed, economic ascent or "economic boom" is the new buzzword today. Why not? The peso has been gaining strength against the US dollar... The growth in the second quarter this year was a whopping 7.5%… More mega malls and high-rise condos are being built… The OFWs are sending more money to their families back home… And the government has been on a "borrowing spree" from foreign lenders -- particularly China -- to fund its infrastructure projects.

The three factors that contributed to the "economic boom" were: (1) OFW remittances; (2) weakening of the US dollar; and (3) foreign direct investment. Evidently, the estimated $15 billion in OFW remittances this year would be a major element in boosting the Gross Domestic Product. It would also compensate for the trade deficit this year which was already $11.68 billion in the first nine months, an increase of 38.6% over the same period in 2006. At the rate it is going -- and with escalating oil prices -- the trade deficit would most likely to be somewhere between $16 billion and $18 billion at the end of the year.

The weakening of the US dollar has immensely contributed to the strengthening of the peso. At the current exchange rate of P43.00 to US$1.00, President Arroyo couldn't be happier. A weak US dollar means that the Philippines' repayment of its foreign debt would decrease substantially. As a result, the windfall -- P24 billion at the end of September -- has prompted the government to propose huge budget increases for education, health and infrastructure next year.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been averaging at $2.5 billion in recent years. Although FDI into the country has been increasing gradually, according to former Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri -- remember the guy who allegedly turned down a P200 million bribe from former COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos? -- "the ratio of investments to the GDP remained below 15 percent, which was not enough to ensure sustainability of high economic growth."

Indeed, "sustainability" is the name of the game. In my article, "Gloria's Enchanted Kingdom and the De Venecia Code" (August 4, 2006), I talked about "747: A Program for Economic Takeoff Toward Sustained Growth," a study commissioned by Speaker Jose de Venecia about five years ago. The study identified seven strategic programs designed to generate seven percent growth for seven years in order to achieve a "Philippines without absolute poverty by 2010." These are: 1) Rural modernization; 2) Creating a world-class service sector; 3) Promoting domestic competition; 4) Magnets for foreign investment and development aid; 5) Enhancing the assets of the poor, 6) Resource Mobilization; and 7) Political and administrative modernization.

Well, "747" never took off the ground. Instead, "economic boom" was achieved with the government doing nothing. The government has nothing to do with the weakening of the US dollar and the increasing inflow of OFW remittances. In other words, Arroyo was just lucky.

In a survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) from September 2-5, 2007, 30% (around five million families) said that they were "better off before" while 13% (around two million families) said they were "better off now." A poll among families with at least one member working overseas (17% or around three million families), 45% said that the strengthening of the peso did not make any difference while 37% said they were "better off before" and 18% said they were "better off now."

Recently, a "wild card" -- the skyrocketing price of oil -- suddenly came in to play in the grand scheme of things. Apparently, President Arroyo didn't have any contingency plan on how to deal with out-of-control oil prices. Part of the problem is the Oil Deregulation Law which was implemented in 1996 to give big oil companies a free rein in setting the price of oil particularly at the gas pumps. Clearly, the oil profiteers are having a field day today.

In its media release last November 16, 2007, IBON Foundation, a research-education-information development institution, pronounced: " The already weak economy could only but worsen amid the high oil prices. In the coming months, we should expect more and more companies reporting plant shutdowns and retrenchment, aggravating job scarcity in the country, which has already been at its worst levels in history, and resulting in overall economic slowdown. With less businesses and wage earners to tax, government would have less domestic sources for its revenues. It will then have to increasingly rely on the regressive value added tax (VAT) on petroleum products that further drives up oil prices. The country is entangled in this vicious cycle with ordinary income earners shouldering all the costs." Whoa! Are we ready for this?

With 50% of Filipinos poor -- 40% of whom have experienced hunger -- and with unemployment rate at 7.8%, what we will soon be hearing is the "astronomic boom" of discontent and the wailing cry of the helpless poor. Indeed, Arroyo's boo-boo economics has created a short span of high -- albeit false -- expectations. She promised jobs for the people, yet more than one million Filipinos are leaving each year for jobs overseas. None of the seven strategic programs of de Venecia's "747" has been achieved. In other words, the "economic boom" that the Arroyo government has been heralding is nothing more than a mirage.

It's time for the government to do away with its practice of boo-boo economics and institute sound economic policies that would sustain real and long-term progress, peace, and prosperity.


Bishop Oscar Solis 2nd Annual Golf Tournament November 28, 2007

Bishop Oscar Solis, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Vicar for Archdiocesan Ethnic Ministry, invites you to the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament for 2007. Register now to secure a spot in this special golf tournament with Bishop Solis.

Date & Time: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.
Location: Robinson Ranch Golf Club, Santa Clarita, CA
Tournament Coordinator: Willie Calove
Tournament Fee: $150.00 includes greens fees, lunch & dinner

Special Awards and Prizes:
Hole-In-One: Mercedes Benz C350 (fully-loaded) or $40,000 cash
Closest to the Hole: Trophies and Plaques

This golf tournament is a fundraiser to benefit the Office of Ethnic Ministry designated by Cardinal Roger Mahony to serve the spiritual and pastoral needs of the diverse and growing racial groups that comprise the parish communities throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest Catholic archdiocese in the United States.

The proceeds are dedicated to help finance sponsored spiritual retreats, seminars, conferences and other events conducive for training and forming leaders of our various cultural groups so they can help build bridges between communities and pave the way for peoples of different races and cultures to live in unity and solidarity as on Christian family.

For more details, go to:
Bishop Solis Golf Tournament

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nine Day "Simbang Gabi" at St. Brendan

Sunday, Dec. 16 - 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M.
Monday, Dec. 17 - 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Tuesday, Dec. 18 - 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Wednesday, Dec. 19 - 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Thursday, Dec. 20 -6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Friday, Dec. 21 -6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Saturday, Dec. 22 -6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.
Sunday, Dec. 23 -8:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M.
Monday, Dec. 24 -6:00 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.

St. Brendan Catholic Church
420 S. Van Ness Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(on 3rd St. west of Western Ave., between Wilton and Van Ness)

(Submitted by Maria Maria)


By: Angel Y. Dayan, EA, ABA, CPA (213)-365-1040

Let me start today’s writing with an aside first for a little while if you will not mind. Now that Thanksgiving Day was over, Christmas (Jesus’ birth) will be the next big celebration to look forward to. It will be a much more busier time for us. As a testament to my own world, only very rarely would clients be concerned about what I do in the office daily around this time of the year, unless there is an urgent need. A case in point would be a client with a tax levy, a wage garnishment or an audit. The rest are being dismissed for now to wait until after the holidays are over. There is also that New Year celebration full of fun, excitement, and the promises of a new year. If you are in business, I hope that your record-keeping has been up to date all year ‘round, otherwise, this will be a worry that may be submerged with the merriment of the holidays. You should take care of your tax paperwork problem even now and before greeting the future, a happy new year. Shamefully, we are also closing the year with an early “bang” in the halls of the Philippine Congress, echoing once more our barbaric/sinful tendencies. I do not recall in recent history of a U.S. Congressman, or Senator or Mayor being killed in office. In the United States, only Presidents and those running for this office do get assassinated. And in contrast, in the Philippines, where we could not even impeach a corrupt President, we have just freed an ex-con President from jail lately. Our own republic now may not be that brutal after all, (saving Presidents) even as I should talk to the family members of fallen Philippine journalists. God help/redeem us govern ourselves well so that we may not find our people clawing the “surface income” in foreign shores to feed their family. And as “random or un-structured” and corrupt as we are in our ways, I am trying daily to find more of our strengths while living in a foreign country rather than dwell on our known weaknesses. The good in us (the Kingboxer) will help me raise my forehead with pride “taas noo kahit kanino” and avoid a “mea maximma culpa” before my peers. People with seared conscience like an ex-con have no more shame, or ultimately the fear of God. So much of this aside for this article, and let me get to business.

I have been curious lately to probe the honesty and forthrightness of our people pre-selling real estate property in the Philippines. My subject has been the purchase of the least expensive unit, a studio condominium. The mortgage interest expense of this unit could still be tax-deductible to Filipino-Americans if they could meet certain tests. After an exchange of emailed information, I found out that the interest rate over the term of the loan starts at 17%, and that is just the start. There are at least twenty (20) different convoluted options to choose from on Philippine “purchase financing,” or deemed “financial arrangements” on downs and discounts that are so treacherous, with conditions so covertly hidden (unless asked) that when unraveled in the end the only consolation would be the real estate value appreciation over the long haul. This values unfortunately are not readily measurable from the get go. Dig these offers deep in a foreign financial world and find the numbers that speak clearly before you write a check or sign the agreement. I could also tell you how you could write-off the mortgage interest payments. Take note, the interest rate is twice the average of the U.S. mortgage loan market. It is like borrowing from the credit card companies, perhaps even worst. It is a foreign world.

At home, some thirty (30) million Americans will eventually be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax for the high-income earners (over $200,000 dollars a year). There are over four (4) million taxpayers right now who are paying this tax. This “altmin tax” is getting inevitable every year to many Americans joining in the ranks of “the rich” for whom this tax was originally intended. This tax is the “alternate/parallel income tax” that first gives you some tax exemptions, some tax deductions, and then eventually removes these all or phases them out as your income grows. It is fast replacing the graduated income tax rate structure that starts at ten (10%) percent. Could people avoid this tax? The answer is “yes” for some who are in business. Its demise from the tax code has been the subject of political rhetoric in recent days. And in my opinion, they should put this tax on the ballot. But it may not even disappear. It has grown into a monster now on the menu that more Americans eat every year. It is at best insidious like a disease that the system has not yet found a breakthrough. It has gone above the “waterline” and Americans are drowning. It is as complex as Darwinian evolution but it should be simple as Biblical creation of Intelligent Design, with a capital “I”. What do you think?

It is one thing to save for ones retirement and then make this long-term investment grow, but it is quite another when it is time to pass it on to your love ones in the family. This is the other fifty (50%) percent in the tax planning process. The rules are complex, and most people do not pay attention ahead of time, thinking they will withdraw it themselves anyway. But what if that day of withdrawal never came, will it make a difference? I tell you, surely it will. The question is, what do you do now before retirement withdrawal comes? First, you will need a good tax planning advisor on exit and/or transfer strategies. This is important, take it from me.

There is a relatively new item of tax deduction on line 35 of the Form-1040. It is called “domestic production activities deduction” with a complex computation for those in business. It is computed at six (6%) percent of taxable income, or half of what the business has paid for wages, whichever was lower. This deduction does not reduce self-employment tax but could substantially reduce income tax. Ask your accountant if you could avail of this deduction.

Finally, for today, I have to tell you that the cost of college education for children is increasing at the rate of eight (8%) percent per year, almost three times the rate of inflation. At the rate this is going, tuition fees double every nine (9) years. There are two (2) tax planning alternatives that partly offsets/allows to reduce taxes so you could save and deal with the effects of this yearly tuition increase. Another of course is to burn the midnight oil and save more from after-tax dollars. There are still many from our people who need lecture about planning for their children’s education. Why is that? Many children are left to fend on their own, who will also do the same to their children. This cycle will continue but you could stop it with yours.

(Angel Y. Dayan, EA, ABA, ATA, CPA, a Tax Resolution Services Specialist, is an Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Business Accountant-Advisor, Accredited Tax Advisor, and a Certified Public Accountant admitted in the State of Texas and the Philippines. He completed a Masters Course of study in Tax Defense Representation. He is a Tax Consultant admitted to practice in California and in 50 States. He is a Graduate Fellow of the National Tax Practice Institute and a Competent Member of the American Academy of Tax Practice. He is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). His office is at 150 East Olive Ave., Suite-116 in Burbank, California, 91502. He could be reached for appointment at (213)-365-1040. His email address is at

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving as a Cultural Bridge

The meaning of holiday is clear, even when family traditions vary

As a first-generation American, I link the Thanksgiving worlds of my immigrant Filipino parents and my California-born daughter. Certainly, her Thanksgiving memories are decidedly different from my own.

Thanksgivings were big on turkey, but low on trappings. My immigrant parents viewed it only as a big food day, American-style. My father was a hotel cook and each employee received a turkey. Working in the kitchen meant he could cook his own turkey and bring it home with any leftover banquet birds, much to the delight of my mother, who loved a day off from cooking.

On Thanksgiving Day, he would usually return home with at least two roasted turkeys, and unceremoniously plop them on the stovetop next to our ever-present pot of rice.

My father would announce, ''Well, everybody, help yourselves." Then he'd go watch the game.

As I said, big on turkey, low on trappings. No sitting around a decorated table. No bowed heads whispering thanks, and, most certainly, no invited guests.

Thanks to television and fall magazines, I grew up yearning for a ''Hallmark" holiday. I idealized the traditional image of Thanksgiving in Norman Rockwell's painting, ''Freedom From Want." As a teenager, I stumped for more pomp and circumstance, which my parents translated to ''more food."

Our Filipino heritage enjoys a blending together of Malaysian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese influences. My parents talked to each other in a mixture of Tagalog, Spanish, and English. In San Francisco, where we lived, various cultures widened the cuisine possibilities, so it was only natural that later Thanksgivings would become a culinary free-for-all, Asian style. As we kids grew, so did our array of holiday dishes.

Alongside the big bird were Chinese-style beef with broccoli, and Thai duck. There were lumpia rolls (Filipino-style eggrolls) and cranberry sauce. Pansit (a Filipino noodle dish), rice, and mashed potatoes were lined up, with chicken adobo and spicy shrimp as bookends.

My sister, Christine, continues this fusion of Thanksgiving traditions at her house, and it remains a source of childhood comfort foods and memories. But once I became a wife and mother, I veered in the direction of the Rockwell painting I remembered, replete in traditional Thanksgiving splendor -- straight-up stuffed turkey with side dishes to match. The big gathering around the dinner table, decorated like a fall magazine cover, makes me heady with the season, and now my grown daughter follows suit with her annual observance of this quintessential American holiday.

Despite our different Thanksgiving styles, my siblings and I share common thoughts at this time of year of our parents, Esteban and Josefa, now passed. As adults, we more keenly appreciate their struggle and hardship in establishing themselves in a new country. Not just moving to a new town or state, as we have done, but leaving behind their beloved Philippines for the United States, where they happily transformed themselves into ''Steve" and ''Josie."

As a youngster, it bothered me that my parents didn't get Thanksgiving ''right" -- the way I saw others observing the holiday. Now I only recall the many times we gathered for celebrations and my mother would say, ''You kids don't know how lucky you are to be born in this country."

Over the years, my parents' stories of their early years in America emerged, recollections of loneliness and desperation as new immigrants. They never attained financial security, but they were hopeful their children would. At some adult juncture, I realized Rockwell's Thanksgiving painting wasn't about role-modeling the menu, but about the gift my parents sought for us: freedom from want.

This year, my relatives will travel from California to my home here to celebrate. They're thrilled to be so close to the geographic origin of Thanksgiving. My brother, Steve, is challenging me to dish up some authentic 17th-century fare. We laugh and wonder what our parents would say if they could see how far their children have come.

Giving thanks and the blessings of plenty are concepts familiar to all cultures. As a Filipino-American, I am appreciative of those first Pilgrim steps onto the New World.

In my mind, they are the footfalls of my mother and father.

By Suzette Martinez Standring

The Not So Impossible Dream

Alex Esclamado may have been looking forward to blissful retirement and to writing his memoirs when I invited him to travel with me to New York in April of 1997. I had been invited to speak at the regional conference of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking for Dialogue (FIND) to be held at the State University of New York in Long Island when I unexpectedly received a round-trip ticket from the Filipino student group after I had already purchased a discounted “buddy pass” ticket to go there.

So, with an extra plane ticket in hand, I asked Alex if he would be free to join me. By then, Alex had a lot of free time as he had just sold Philippine News to his good friend, Ed Espiritu. For the first time since 1961 when he and his wife, Luly, started publishing the weekly newspaper from the garage of their home in the Sunset District of San Francisco, Alex did not have a weekly editorial to write, a newspaper to edit.

Alex said yes and off we flew to New York. En route, I had told Alex that the National Filipino American Council (NFAC) which he worked so hard to organize in 1987 just wasn’t working. We recounted how, after People Power ousted the Marcos Dictatorship, we had set about to unite the Filipino American community which had been bitterly divided between the proponents and opponents of martial rule.

Back then, Alex had traveled the country to invite community leaders to meet in Anaheim, California in August of 1987 to form an organization that would work to empower the community. In Anaheim, 1500 delegates from around the US met and formed the NFAC. They had all agreed that martial law was a thing of the past and that we should now look forward to being Americans and fighting for our place at the table. Alex had succeeded but not quite.

When the time came to electing a chair who would guide the organization forward, a majority of the delegates voted against Alex because they believed he was too partisan a Democrat. They elected, instead, a Republican from San Francisco, Dennis Normandy (now a declared Independent), a corporate executive who did not share Alex’s vision of chartered chapters in Filipino communities throughout the US. His “spokes in a wheel” model envisioned a more modest growth.

On the flight to New York, I told Alex that after 10 years of NFAC, we needed to form another organization that would be true to his vision at Anaheim. I told him that with what remained of the NFAC, a decision was made in Salinas in January of 1997 to call for a summit of Filipino community organizations to meet in August in Washington DC. I was going to the FIND conference to invite the members to join us in DC.

When we arrived in New York, Alex and I were met by a FIND member who took us to his home in Brooklyn where he put us up for the night. It was not a hotel but Alex did not mind. If he had sold his newspaper in 1977 when the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos offered to purchase it for $10 million, to silence him, Alex would be a very rich man and he could fly first class and be billeted at a suite at the Ritz Carlton.

But though Alex needed the money as he had borrowed heavily to keep his newspaper afloat in the face of iron-fisted pressure on advertisers applied by the Marcos government, he rejected the tempting offer, declaring that his principles were not for sale.

When we woke up the following morning, we learned that we did not have to be in Long Island until that evening so we had a day to spare. I called up my friend, Michael Dadap, a classical guitarist and conductor of the Children’s Orchestra Society of New York, and asked him to join us. Within minutes, as he lived nearby, Michael was there with his car to take us around New York.

We decided to call up Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Chief Executive Officer of the TLC Beatrice conglomerate and a personal friend of all three of us. By happenstance, when we called her, she was in town and she invited us for lunch at a restaurant across from her downtown Manhattan office.

Over lunch, we shared with Loida our plans to organize a national federation of Filipino American associations, although we had not decided on the name yet. In concept, we wanted the organization to have a national presence in Washington DC to lobby for the community’s interests on matters like the Filipino WW II veterans issue, on immigration and institutionalized discrimination. In short, we needed an NAACP for the Filipino community.

Loida was excited about this project and gave it her full enthusiastic support. With Loida’s backing, Alex was energized once again. In 1966, he had organized the Filipino American Political Association (FAPA) but although it had 29 chapters at one point, it was only based in California and it folded when martial law was declared in 1972, with members divided between those supporting and opposing Marcos. Before Alex’s dream for the NFAC could take off, he was taken off the driver’s seat because of division over American political parties.

Alex would give it one more try, the third time’s the charm, they say. With Loida's backing, he traveled the length and breath of the country, once more into the breach, contacting leaders from every city and every state, inviting one and all to come to Washington DC to organize the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

Some 1200 delegates, including about 200 students from FIND, formed the NaFFAA and elected Alex as the national chair, a post he held until 2002, when he was then succeeded by Loida Nicolas Lewis. Loida was in turn succeeded in 2006 by Alma Kern from Seattle.

Now, NaFFAA has working chapters in virtually every major city in the US where there is a significant Filipino presence and witha national office in Washington DC advocating for the WW II veterans and other community issues. For more information about NaFFAA, please log on to

Happy Thanksgiving to all and especially to Alex Esclamado for empowering the Filipino American community. Your “impossible dream” was not so impossible after all.

By Rodel Rodis

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gawad Kalinga: Go Home, Go Build, Go Bayanihan 2008

Every year volunteers, partners, advocates and heroes of Gawad Kalinga (GK) from all over the world make a special trip to the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga translated means to give care. The trip is special in a way that balikbayan boxes are rarely a sight at the Check-In counters and neither are five star hotels on the itinerary. Every now and then there might be a tourist spot visited but not guaranteed. These special trips are sponsored and coordinated by Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP) Foundation, USA, Inc. ANCOP is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization here in the US that works hand in hand with GK of the Philippines.

The Trip. No five star hotels? Tourist spots occasionally? Why should you go? The trip is about Filipinos returning to the land they’re from or the land of their ancestry. The trip is about returning to one’s roots or touching base with one’s roots. The trip will take you to places not seen on postcards or tourist guide brochures. The trip will have you meet people who hardly speak English and barely have anything in common with you. The places you will go and the people you will meet are those often forgotten or ignored by society. Are you up to the challenge and experience of a lifetime?

The Guarantee. There is enough negativity around us without even soliciting. The trip guarantees you an insight and first hand experience of something positive happening in the Philippines. Skeptical about the success stories of GK? Come join us and be a part of the transformation that’s taking place all over the Philippines. Witness first hand how hope and dignity are being restored to the poorest of the poor. Witness an instant community rise from nothingness. Revitalize your outlook that there is hope in this world, one destitute person at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time, one country at a time. Let’s start with the Philippines, be a part of it and say Kasali ako d’yan (I’m part of it)! Finally, the trip not only transforms beneficiaries but benefactors as well. Life will never be the same after GK, guaranteed .

Go bayanihan . Go build a nation. We invite you to join the GK BAYANIHAN BUILD ’08 on JANUARY 4-11 and 18-25 or June 6-13 and 20-27, 2008 . For more detailed information, visit our website at , contact Tony and Marieta Pascua at , (661) 288-1672 or Evans Raymundo at (661) 2968734. Trips for groups of 10 or more can be arranged outside of the above dates.

To a non-Filipino, this trip will be an unforgettable experience of literally making a difference. To a Filipino or an American of Filipino decent, this is about giving back and tracing one’s roots.

Make a difference! Be transformed! Be a Balik-bayani, a hero for others! JOIN the GK Bayanihan Build ’08!
To learn more about ANCOP and Gawad Kalinga, please check our web sites:

Richard Is Kamandag: A Snakeman Superhero!

After the trail blazing and rating breaking records set by Darna, Captain Barbel, Mulawin, Encantadia, Majika, Atlantika, and Zaido, GMA Pinoy TV brings to light its newest, most expensive, breathtaking and most spectacular telefantasya yet starting December 3 – KAMANDAG!

Based on the popular 1980’s Carlo J. Caparas comic strip, this well-crafted telefantasya will bring viewers to the world of mortals and the realm of the animal kingdom.

Kamandag is the story of the awe-inspiring journey of a young man as he searches for love, family, self-identity, purpose and whose slithering super powers make him today’s newest superhero.

Philippines’ most sought-after actor, Primetime King Richard Gutierrez as Kamandag leads a powerhouse cast. He specially trained with Brandon “The Truth” Vera, the Filipino-American international Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) superstar for all his highly impressive action-packed sequences.

Joining Richard in this spectacular primetime program are award winning veteran actor Johnny Delgado, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Zoren Legaspi, Maxene Magalona, Jewel Mische, Ehra Madrigal, Francine Prieto, Benjie Paras and the newest member of the Kapuso Network, Ms. Eula Valdez.

Completing the star-studded cast are Supporting Actor grand slam winner Ronaldo Valdez, Ariel Rivera, Emilio Garcia, Melissa Mendez, Mike Nacua, Elvis Gutierrez, Gardo Versoza, Rainier Castillo, Sam Bumatay, Francis Magundayao, Justin Rosana and Martin delos Santos.

The story of KAMANDAG begins in a mythical land called Ambograw, the world of the Ambogs or half-human, half-beast creatures. The gods and goddesses of the animal kingdom dwells in Ambograw, where mortals are regarded as lower class and are treated as slaves.

The Ambogs are divided into five tribes: the HASBAYA are snake people headed by the just and good-natured King Saban (Gardo Versoza) and his mortal wife Queen Alicia (Eula Valdez); the OROBAYA are the “taong toro” or bull creatures led by King Budog (Johnny Delgado); the LOBOBAYA are the wolves-like creatures headed by ruthless King Gular (Zoren Legaspi); the GOYBAYA, the most humorous and most business-minded creatures, are the monkey-like beings led by King Dingol (Benjie Paras); the PUSBAYA are the wild cats led by Queen Kuran (Francine Prieto), the most deceitful leader in Ambograw.

It was in Ambograw where Vergel (Richard Gutierrez), the son of King Saban and Queen Alicia, was born as a mortal despite of his royal blood descent. Since mortals are treated as slaves in Ambograw, King Saban fought for his son’s rights but was ganged up on and killed by the other gods. This led King Budog, King Saban’s bestfriend, to send Vergel to the mortal world to escape his fate as a slave.

Baby Vergel was left outside the house of Domeng (Emilio Garcia), the zoo custodian who adopted, cared, and treated the abandoned boy like his own, while his wife, Elena (Melissa Mendez) despised Vergel.

As Vergel matures, he slowly discovers his snake-like powers. Like a snake, scales emerge on his skin; his eyes change color, senses danger through smell and gives out deadly venom whenever he is agitated.

Because of his kind nature, Vergel uses only his powers to do heroic acts that endeared him to the townspeople who fondly named him Kamandag.

Like an ordinary person, Vergel finds inspiration with the love of a woman. He became exceptionally close to three ladies: Ditas (Ehra Madrigal), his adopted parents’ daughter; Jenny (Jewel Mische), the wealthy Manila girl; and Lily (Maxene Magalona), his childhood best friend. Who among these three ladies ends up with the superhero?

What if Vergel finds out that his best pal Lucero (Mark Anthony Fernandez), who has the same powers like him, is also interested with the lady he loves? Will he give up his love for the sake of friendship? What will Vergel do when he finds out that Lucero is the culprit in staining Kamandag’s good name? Will Vergel get a chance to finally return to his own kingdom and continue what his father was fighting for – the equality among beasts, mortals and half-breeds?

With its breathtaking story, powerhouse cast, state-of-the-art props, visual feast of costumes, larger than life set designs, stunning visual effects, death defying stunts, a fitting theme song performed by First Circle, and renowned directors Mark Reyes and Topel Lee, KAMANDAG is definitely a MUST SEE!

Don’t miss the premiere of KAMANDAG this December 3 only on GMA Pinoy TV! Contact your preferred pay TV operator now to subscribe. For more information on GMA Pinoy TV, please log on to

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sheryn Regis: "Simply Sheryn, The Birthday Concert"

Sheryn has become part of different variety shows, including MTB, Most Requested Show, Wowowee, and ASAP '07. She was chosen by Mr. Vehnee Saturno to represent the Philippines in the 2004 Voice of Asia Song Festival held in Kazakhstan where she won Second Prize.

Sheryn hosted the now-defunct Search for the Star in a Million Season 2 with fellow champs Erik, Rachelle Ann, and Mark. She is also the host of Little Big Star Cebu, which was reportedly ranked as the fourth top-rating show in ABS-CBN's Nationwide Charts.

During her birthday concert held at the SM Centerstage, Sheryn announced the founding of her very own organization, Little Voices Foundation, established to help provide education for the less-fortunate children.

In October 2007, Sheryn was given her first major acting role as a fairy godmother in Love Spell's Cindyrella, starring Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson. Sheryn expressed her excitement as she is given the opportunity to dabble into acting and use her past experience in theater. The series will run through January 2008.

Sheryn is currently a mainstay in ASAP '07.

Watch Sheryn Regis on November 23, 2007, the Crystal Voice of Asia on her birthday show on November 23 at Rose Center Theater entitled : "Simply Sheryn The Birthday Concert".

When :
Friday Nov 23, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Where :
Rose Center Theater
14140 All American Way
Westminster , CA 92683
Telephone: (714) 990-3105

Contact :
Geraldine Quijano

Telephone: (714) 686-4240

It's Balimbing Season Again

Since the 1960's, the star fruit -- or "balimbing" -- has become the mark of a political turncoat. However, political turncoatism has been around since the Revolution of 1896 when switching allegiance was not uncommon among the followers of Katipunan "Supremo" Andres Bonifacio and his rival Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Bonifacio was the leader of the Magdalo faction of the Katipunan which he founded and Aguinaldo was the leader of the Magdiwang faction, a splinter group of the Katipunan.

The balimbing's cross section is shaped like a five-sided star; hence, a person who changes political loyalty is called a "balimbing." Today, political turncoatism has become as common as the common cold. So be careful when politicians sneeze -- it's contagious.

After the Philippines gained its independence from the United States on July 4, 1946, Manuel Roxas -- the leader of the "Liberal" wing of the Nacionalista Party -- broke away and founded the Liberal Party. He ran for President against his erstwhile ally Sergio Osmena, Sr. -- founder of the Nacionalista Party -- and won. When Roxas died in 1948, he was succeeded by Vice President Elpidio Quirino, also a Nacionalista-turned-Liberal. Quirino then appointed Ramon Magsaysay as Secretary of Defense. Magsaysay broke the back of the Hukbalahap insurgency and became popular with the people. However, he resigned due to a dispute with Quirino. In 1953, he left the Liberal Party to join the Nacionalista Party. He became the Nationalistas' presidential candidate and defeated his former boss.

In 1965, when President Diosdado Macapagal ran for re-election, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, his rival within the Liberal Party, left the party and joined the Nacionalista Party. Marcos became the Nacionalistas' presidential candidate and beat Macapagal. Marcos' victory triggered a mass exodus of Liberal balimbings to the fold of the Nationalista Party. When Marcos ran for re-election in 1969, he was challenged by Senator Sergio Osmena, Jr. who bolted the party founded by his father to become the Liberal Party's presidential candidate. Marcos easily defeated Osmena. Before his four-year term ended, he declared martial law and stayed in power until he was overthrown in the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Gone were the days of the US-style two-party system. The Marcos dictatorship had put an end to that. He instituted a rubber-stamp legislature with token opposition. Virtually all politicians turned coats and joined his Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement). With the passage of the post-Marcos era 1987 constitution, political parties sprouted like kangkong (water spinach). Anybody who wanted to run for office then could form his or her own political party. Political affiliation became nothing more than a label on their shirts which they could change anytime to conveniently suit their political agenda.

In the first congressional elections held under the 1987 constitution, there were 1,899 candidates from 79 separate political parties who vied for 200 House seats. There were also 84 candidates who ran for the 24 Senate seats. Virtually all the candidates who were supported by then President Corazon Aquino won. In the local elections held the following year there were 150,000 candidates -- many of whom joined Aquino for self-preservation -- who ran for 16,000 positions from provincial governor down to town council member.

In the first post-Aquino presidential elections in 1992, there were seven presidential candidates. Retired General Fidel V. Ramos ran under the newly formed Lakas ng Tao-National Union of Christian Democrats (Lakas-NUCD), a union of Ramos' Partido Lakas ng Tao (People Power Party) and Raul Manglapus' NUCD. Ramos won the presidency but his vice presidential running mate, Emilio Osmena, lost to Joseph Estrada.

In 1994, Lakas-NUCD formed a coalition government with the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) in preparation for the 1995 congressional elections. As expected, the coalition -- Lakas-Laban -- captured the majority in both Houses of Congress.

In the 1998 presidential elections, there were 10 presidential candidates. Joseph Estrada formed his own party, Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino. Meanwhile, then Senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo defected from LDP and formed Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) which she planned to use as her vehicle to propel her to the presidency. However, it never took off the ground and she decided to mothball KAMPI and accept an offer to become Jose de Venecia, Jr.'s vice presidential running mate under the newly formed tripartite coalition Lakas ng EDSA - National Union of Christian Democrats-Union of Muslim Democrats in the Philippines (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP). It was a good move for Arroyo because Estrada was formidable. As expected, Estrada captured the presidency in a landslide and Arroyo clobbered eight vice presidential candidates with almost 50% of the vote. Thus, the stage was set for an Estrada-Arroyo confrontation which ended with the "constructive resignation" of Estrada in January 2001. Estrada's departure catapulted Arroyo to the presidency.

Prior to the 2004 elections, the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP was changed to Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD). But in an unexpected move, Arroyo resuscitated the moribund KAMPI and ran for President under the banner of Lakas-KAMPI Coalition. Arroyo beat the popular actor Fernando Poe, Jr. in a field of five candidates. However, her victory was marred by the controversial "Hello Garci" election cheating scandal, an issue that never ceased to hound her.

With the 2010 presidential elections just around the corner, the race for President has already started in earnest. Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay indicated that he is interested and declared, "I have what it takes to be President." Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon issued a statement denying that he is running for President. He did say, however, that "if and when I run for President, I will look not to the past but to the future." My take is: "when" is more likely than "if." Other "presidentiables" being bandied about were Senators Manny Villar, Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Mar Roxas and -- guess who? -- Joseph Estrada.

As President Arroyo comes closer to the end of her tumultuous term, her political influence has began to diminish. And like chameleons, her supporters' political colors would soon change to blend with those who are perceived to be running strong in the presidential derby. New political parties and coalitions would once again sprout like kangkong. Some would wither right away and some would struggle to survive. Yes, it's balimbing season again.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Press Photographers Philippines - USA Elects 2008 -2010 Officers

Press Photographers of the Philippines (USA)elected their 2008 - 2010 Officers on November 16, 2007 at Bahay Kubo Natin Restaurant in Los Angeles. Elected as the incoming set of Officers are as follows:

Dan Baltazar - President (pictured above)
Ding Carreon - 1st Vice-President
Bobby Saddul - 2nd Vice-President
Bobby Crisostomo - Treasurer
Noel Ty - Assistant Treasurer
Larry Pelayo - Secretary Parliament
Irwin Jazmines - Assistant Secretary
Anthony Castillo - Auditor
Noli Yu - Auditor
Vics Magsaysay - Public Relations Officer
Sid Guerrero - Public Relations Officer

The Elected Officers will be members of the Board of the organization. Sid Guerrero was elected as Chairman of the Board.

L-R) Seating: Irwin Jaminez, Ding Carreon, Dan Baltazar, Larry Pelayo, Bobby Crisostomo. (L-R) Standing: Vics Magsaysay, Sid Guerrero, Noli Yu, Anthony Castillo, Bobby Saddul, Noel Ty and Jun Camacho

Press Photographers of the Philippines (USA) has been in existence for about a decade. Composed of professional photographers with ties to the media, this organization is affiliated with Press Photographers of the Philippines, which it looks up too as its progenitor.

PPP (USA) holds a series of photo exhibits over the years. Photo above was the exhibit held at the Rizal Hall of the Philippine Consul General Los Angeles in 2005.

PPP (USA) is a non-profit organization that serves as a uniting force for press and commercial photographers, visual artists, painters and illustrators. As a civic organization, PPP (USA) undertakes search for Miss Press Photographers as a means of focusing on the beauty and varied talents of young women of Filipino heritage in the United States. Again, the Miss PPP (USA) contest is patterned after the Miss PPP contest that is being held in the Philippines under the auspices of the Press Photographers of the Philippines.

Congratulations to all the newly elected PPP-USA Officers for 2008-2010

(Jay Fermin ppp-usa)

Fil-Am Jazz Vocalist Makes Radio History

November 14, 2007. ROCHESTER, NY. The current JazzWeek Radio Charts, which monitor the most-played records in America, contain a history-making first for Filipinos. Vocalist Charmaine Clamor, the creator of jazzipino, is ranked in the Top-5 on two charts simultaneously. Her new album, "Flippin' Out," which combines American jazz with traditional Filipino kundiman and harana, is also among the Top-5 sellers on in the Vocal Jazz category.

Ms. Clamor, originally from Subic-Zambales and now residing in Los Angeles, California, is #2 on the JazzWeek World Music chart and #4 on the Traditional Jazz chart. This rare feat, seldom accomplished by any artist, and never before by a Filipino, comes on the heels of Clamor's appearance on NPR's "Weekend Edition," where she was interviewed by host Liane Hansen. The interview is archived at NPR Music: Charmaine Clamor's 'Jazzipino' Swing .

"More than anything, I'm thrilled that the music of my people is being heard all around America," said Ms. Clamor. "Filipino songs that my friends and family have loved forever are now being discovered by millions of listeners around America and the world. I can hardly believe that the Tagalog and Bisayan languages are being celebrated on American airwaves!"

Clamor's "Flippin' Out" CD has been commended by national critics for breaking new musical ground, introducing the culture of the Philippines to mainstream listeners. The album has already been hailed as "a classic" and "a tour de force," and the smash radio hit, "My Funny Brown Pinay," a reworking of "My Funny Valentine" with Tagalog lyrics, is among the most played songs on jazz radio.

For her contributions to raising awareness of Filipino culture, the Filipino Women's Network recently named Charmaine Clamor one of the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the United States.

Ms. Clamor regularly headlines the top jazz clubs in America, including Hollywood, California's Catalina Bar & Grill Jazz Club, where she will participate in the 3rd Annual Filipino-American JazzFest, Presented by ABS-CBN Global on December 7-9. Information on Clamor's tour schedule and the top-ranked "Flippin' Out" can be found at her official Website: .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pondahan sa California

Rural folks in the Philippines love to congregate in small make-shift huts or street corner stands and share endless gossips, chit chats, and local news over home-cooked meals and specialties served in improvised counters and seating areas. These favorite hangouts are known as “pondahans.”

“Pondahans” through time have been integrated in the small town local community alongside barrio halls and town plaza, where local events and meetings have been held while savoring the home cooked specialties and offerings. Unlike their formal counterparts, “pondahans” lend a relaxed, unassuming mood and ambience for the locals to gather while non-chalantly enjoying food, drinks, and talk. More recently, “pondahans” have joined the integrated transport systems by becoming a food stop and hangout for busy transport drivers and travelers.

HCM, Inc is proud to pay tribute to this timeless Filipino concept of everyday life by creating a restaurant concept which comes from the same spirit of gathering, food, and interaction in California – “Pondahan Fusion Restaurant, Café & Bar” in the heavily Filipino populated area of West Covina, California.

“Pondahan Fusion Restaurant, Café & Bar” lends a unique and friendly atmosphere that blends flavor, effects, texture, sights and sounds that provide a different dining experience. “Pondahan” is the culmination of Pochie and Lelizabeth Crisostomo’s passion, Pochie with his natural talent and craft to create and build sights and sounds and amazing cozy lights blended with Lelizabeth’s culinary flare for everything home-cooked, from original recipes of old as well as gourmet secrets. Throw in the mix of their youngest daughter Meribelle’s formal training as a college student majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Management, Restaurant Manager Regina Gumatay's attention to detail, and the artistic food presentation of Main Chef Art Sudoy together with his crew of two other chefs and one line chef, “Pondahan” indeed stands out unique from the rest of California’s restaurants.

Taking their inspiration from their lush residence in Walnut, California as a theme for the restaurant, the Crisostomosos have captured a masterpiece cozy dining experience, complete with pleasant ambient music, friendly hospitable staff, and subdued romantic lights. Guests are greeted by clay water pots surrounded by green plants and the friendly smile of the staff – Filipino hospitality of the Pondahan; inspired by the flavor of Pampanga and Malabon’s favorite cuisine blended and fused together with a dash of Asian and Western fare, it just feels like small town Philippines has arrived in California.

(Pondahan Fusion Restaurant Café & Bar is located at 535 S. California Avenue, West Covina, California 91790.)
Tel (626) 856_0416 and
(626) 826-7222

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


This November, after the phenomenal successes of Sinasamba Kita, Pati Pintig ng Puso, Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig, and Mahawi Man Ang Ulap, GMA Pinoy TV launches its Sine Novela’s fifth installment of timeless romantic movie-turned-TV series- My Only Love.

My Only Love was the blockbuster romantic hit movie of Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion in 1982. This time for Sine Novela, the creative team has given My Only Love a new twist, making this timeless film-masterpiece-on-television series more interesting.

Instead of having the previous storyline of teenage romance, Sine Novela’s My Only Love brings to light the value of friendship, sacrifice and standing for your only love.

Featuring today’s hottest Kapuso stars: Mark Herras, Rhian Ramos, Bianca King, and Alfred Vargas in a special performance, this much-awaited fifth installment of Sine Novela will capture the interest of the viewers as the story revolves around the colorful life of a spoiled yet down-to-earth, boyish Cindy Moreno (Rhian Ramos).

Joining them are Rita Avila, Llyod Samartino, Sherilyn Reyes, Ruby Rodriguez, Gladys Reyes, Marco Alcaraz, Kevin Santos, Stef Prescott and Tess Bomb.

In My Only Love, Cindy is the daughter of Ricardo (Lloyd Samartino), a rich cosmetic surgeon and Camille (Rita Avila). Cindy has two stepsisters from Ricardo’s first marriage: Trixie (Bianca King) and Tiffany (Stef Prescot).

Between the two stepsisters, Trixie is the kind and amiable stepsister who falls in-love with Cindy’s friend, Billy (Mark Herras). But since Trixie’s priority was her ballet dancing, it eventually became a problem in her relationship with Billy.

Tiffany, on the other hand, is the rebellious daughter, the mean stepsister, and the black sheep of the family. Tiffany connived with her Aunt Loren (Sherilyn Reyes), Ricardo’s sister-in-law on his first marriage, to make Cindy and Camille’s life miserable.

As the story unfolds, Cindy, together with her parents, met a vehicular accident, from which Ricardo was killed instantaneously while Camille suffered a mental illness. Loren and Tiffany took advantage of the opportunity and ransacked the house of the Morenos.

When Cindy and Camille returned home, Loren confronted them and accused Cindy of not being Ricardo’s real daughter and that the marriage between Camille and Ricardo was void. On the onset, Loren wanted Cindy and Loren to leave the house but Trixie made an appeal on their behalf.

Loren, a dermatologist in the beauty center of the Morenos, allowed Cindy and Camille to stay on the condition that Cindy works for their stay in the Moreno’s household. At the beauty center, Loren and Tiffany indulged in making Cindy’s life miserable.

Eventually, Cindy met Emman (Alfred Vargas), a gym enthusiast and Loren’s discovery to be the beauty center’s model. Emman was smitten by Cindy’s beauty and charm. Ultimately, they fell in love.

This got the wrath of Loren even more since she had wanted Emman for herself. Loren vowed to take Emman away from Cindy. She plotted to seduce Emman and succeeded when Cindy caught them in a compromising position. Broken-hearted, Cindy went to Billy for comfort. The friendship between Cindy and Billy grew much stronger and developed into love while Trixie was away temporarily for her ballet dancing abroad.

Trixie returned home and found out about Cindy’s relationship with Billy. She vowed to make Cindy’s life extremely miserable by being her worst enemy. With a life outside the Moreno mansion, can Cindy together with her disabled mother be able to carry the responsibility of being the breadwinner and make ends meet? With Loren, Tiffany and Trixie joining forces to put her down, can Cindy withstand all the hardships she has to endure to save her only love?

With director Louie Ignacio at the helm, don’t miss the premiere of another heartwarming movie-turned-TV series as Sine Novela presents My Only Love on November 26 (PST 7:05 pm) only on GMA Pinoy TV. Call your preferred pay TV operator now to subscribe. For more information, please log on to

CONTACT PERSON: Jush AndowittTel: 310- 989- 4578