Thursday, May 29, 2008

News from Debra Stocker, Editor In Chief of All Access Magazine

May 29, 2008

News from Debra Stocker, Editor In Chief,

Well, well, music lovers. Have we seen some crazy weather here in Southern CA these days or what? With all the slippin’, slidin’ and twistin’ going on, it makes you wonder: Is CA really "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" from, say, Kansas? Or did Dorothy and her lil' house just land here too?

Speaking of JOURNEY, did you know our last issue created an "off the charts" response? We had record-breaking hits to our website of over 60,000+ a day! AAM would like to thank all the magazines and webzines that ran our JOURNEY cover and interview by Valerie Nerres, especially PINOY WIRED ( and LIVE FROM LOS ANGELES ( Journey fans around the world read AAM and just like AAM, welcomed the band’s new frontman Arnel Pineda.

So why all the interest in Classic Rock these days? I'm glad you asked. Classic Rock is the backbone to our music scene. May we never forget the classics and the writers and musicians – some of whom gave their life to the music.

Yes, the times and music have changed. It's a rare thing these days to have to stand in line for a packed club. People just aren't going out to enjoy live music like they did in the past. Is it really all a money thing? The economy? Or are we just bored with the same old bands that play the same old clubs night after night?

Or maybe you’re that band, and just can't afford to play that pay-to-play club. Well, remember: Whether you could afford it, or just didn't want to afford it, it doesn't make the music of the bands who did pay to play there any better or worse than your band’s music. And there are plenty of better ways to spend your money. Have you checked out My Record Label? It's FREE and YOU KEEP ALL OF YOUR ROYALTIES. Their mission is "to empower the independent recording artists” by providing “artists of all genres with the opportunity to have their music heard by industry professionals." Check them out:

Should you decide to scrap together a few pennies and go out to see some live music, please remember to check out our new Concerts and Casinos page at And feel free to email us info on upcoming festivals, casino events, music events or concerts, and we'll add them to the page for FREE!

Also check out our Events Calendar where you'll find money-saving coupons and flyers for all the shows and events you'll ever want to go to. That's right, the next time you want to go to a club and see a national band, go to the AAM Events Calendar and see what local bands are opening. Remember that although many local artists get the “opportunity” to perform with national bands, they have to pay to do so. This is how you can help support them: Buy your ticket from that opening band! You'll save $$$ and help support indie music too!

Here’s a BIG thanks to YOU, our readers, for reading AAM and making us your #1 source for the best in music and entertainment! Spread the word: All Access ROCKS!

All Access Magazine

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ellen DeGeneres on Journey & Arnel Pineda guesting on her show: "Unbelievable"

By Jay Fermin PinoyWired

May 28, 2008: JOURNEY--Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums) and new lead singer Arnel Pineda—is hitting the road to promote REVELATION, the highly anticipated three-disc CD/DVD package set for release June 3 exclusively at Wal-Mart stores in North America.

They guested at the Ellen DeGeneres Show which aired May 28, 2008. If you missed the it, here is the video clip:

Journey performed two of their four hit singles, the first one they played is "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" with Arnel on lead vocals. This song was the first single that the band did a music video at a wharf in New Orleans during Steve Perry's time with the song hitting #8 on the charts. Arnel Pineda gave the song a new heart, depth & a lot of stage moves. Ellen exclaimed "unbelievable, unbelievable"...

The second cut they did at Ellen's show is the truly amazing ballad "Faithfully" which I grew up on(high school days!). During its original release, this song reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. This is the power ballad of Journey, and the second single from their album Frontiers. Although this is not the band's most successful song, it became the trademark and most recognizable song ever and has enjoyed continuous popularity.

It describes the relationship of a "music man" who is always on the road touring and having difficulty with raising a wife and family. It reveals the deeper feeling of 'rediscovering her again' and promises "I'm forever yours, faithfully." The lyrics were written by Journey Keyboard man Jonathan Cain himself. Arnel Pineda squeezed out some more of this love-lost-rebirth song and threw Ellen's studio audience in a standing ovation. Neal Schon's ecstatic lead guitar gave the anthem song a familiar but new and slightly different feel all the way to the extended reverb.

Journey closed Ellen's show with their new song "After All These Years" which fans are anticipating will be a huge hit!

Journey REVELATION CD/DVD is coming out at WalMart stores on June 3rd, 2008 with two CDs and one DVD of the Planet Hollywood Vegas concert last March 08.

European tour starts in June and the U.S. tour will be in July. For concert schedule, got to

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cosmetic Medicine: A Tale of Two Doctors

Article and Photos by Jay Fermin

Glendale, California: I have been very busy seeing doctors lately. No, I am not sick at all. I met up with doctors representing the 'Feel-Good' medical tourism explosion that is now happening in the Philippines. Even a major Philippine newspaper summed it all up with the headline: "RP is the Next Beauty Capital of Asia." I was invited to a press conference last May 3, 2008 of Belo Medical Group on their new partnership with United HealthCare, Inc. (U.S. Healthcare) at a restaurant in Glendale together with civic, business, and media representatives. Belo Medical Group's very own young CEO Enrique Soriano III was on hand to weave us thru the process, amid the chuckle and smiles of those present, and explained what the 'Beauty & Wellness' part of Healthcare is all about.

You see it's all very simple. 'Feel Good' clinics are the favorite first 'Stop-over' of Balikbayans to the Philippines. They make arrangements in advance, the clinic actually can pick them up from the airport upon arrival, there is even a private entrance to the clinics to protect privacy, they are properly screened and tested (pre work-up lab tests), and preparations are done for the actual procedure. After the procedure, they have the luxury of staying in a high-end hotel to recuperate and the clinic requires post-treatment visits to make sure that the procedure went as planned. After approximately a few days to one week (depending on the procedure), these Balikbayans can call their family members and announce their 'Arrival' in the Philippines and, lo and behold, will the family be so shocked on seeing how beautiful, stress-free, and young looking their Balikbayan family member is !!! Thanks to cosmetic medicine.

Newsweek magazine observed that 'Medical Tourism' is an emerging industry in countries like Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. One factor of market attraction is the lower cost overall. From heavy surgical procedures like heart transplants to the easier and less critical aesthetic surgeries like implants, tummy tack, enlargements, nose lifts (the asian style), and liposuction just to name a few, hundreds of thousands have flown out of Europe and North America and have travelled to Asia for their 'wellness' need.

BMG (Belo Medical Group) CEO Eric Soriano III is quick to point out during the powerpoint presentation that the 'Doctor to the Stars' Vicki Belo and her 8 medical clinics located in Alabang, Ortigas, Greenhills, Rustans, Medical Plaza Makati, Thomas Morato, and new locations at Trinoma in Quezon City & in Subic, cater only to the 'feel-good' surgeries and procedures. A hard question from the media on 'sex-change' was referred by CEO Soriano to a full functioning hospital in Thailand who has done hundreds of those procedures.

At Belo Medical Group, they only do the 'beauty procedures' including the new Aqua Liposuction. It is actually a Water-Assisted Liposuction (WAL) that lets the fan shaped water jet infiltrate the fatty tissue to make it more gelatinous for easier extraction. This lessens the problems which were associated with standard, ultrasound, or mechanical assisted liposuction.

On hand at the presscon was United Specialist Healthcare,Inc. (U.S.Healthcare) CEO Dr. Joselito Babaran M.D. who formally announced their 'Memorandum of Agreement' with Belo Medical Group to act as a Wellness Membership Club which plans to bring together networks of highly qualified providers and their prospective clients with an offer of discounted rates. Now, since nobody yet has said anything about prices and how much these procedures costs, the offer of a discount does sound very good to me!

U.S.Healthcare V.P. Lucy R. Babaran R.N., MBA was also on hand to explain that this provider network actually will involve clinics, specialists, hospitals, lab, critical medicine, dental, spa and slimming services and of course Cosmetic / Aesthetic medicine. U.S. Healthcare is neither an insurance nor an HMO - they are the bridge to a network of highly skilled providers and currently are located in Makati City with offices in Encino, California.

CEO Soriano pulls something out of his bag that made all the ladies' eyes light up: samples of Belo's newest derma product line - "Belo Essentials" for slimming, whitening, anti-wrinkle, and moisturizing. Belo Care Inc. is also exclusive distributor in the Philippines of the world famous Beverly Hills-based 'Obagi Medical Skin Care.'

Coming back from the presscon, I cannot connect what was bothering my thought process. Oh yes, now I remember. It was the March 2007 liposuction procedure that Caloocan City 2nd District Representative Mary Mitzi Cajayon had. The procedure was done with consent forms signed but she did not know that she was pregnant. No pregnancy test was administered. She claimed that she suffered liposuction injury but does not have anything personal against Belo Medical Group. Instead, she did what the proper response was, to author House Bill 33417 that proposes to administer a pregnancy test as mandatory in all cosmetic surgery procedures for women.

Here is a video clip of the news reports by ABS-CBN:

After a few weeks, I was in a different restaurant on a quiet evening with "Doctor to the Stars' Dr. Manny Calayan M.D. Members of the media came out to have dinner and have an informal conversation with the doctor. If Vicki Belo has 8 clinics, Dr. Calayan, stressing that he wants to focus on quality, maintains only three. However, the conversation between the Doctor and the members of media who were present centered on one solitary incident: the P26 Million lawsuit that a Businessman patient by the name of Louem Martinez filed with the Makati Prosecutor's Office for ESTAFA, RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE RESULTING TO SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY, and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

The patient underwent a "penile enlargement" procedure sometime in September of 2007. The patient at that time told Dr. Calayan that he cannot abide with the 1 month of no sexual activity as he has 3 girlfriends. However, the procedure stipulates to refrain from said activity for one month and it was relayed to the complainant strongly and he was advised to also continually massage the 'body part' to spread the 'aquagel' that the doctor used for the procedure. Aquagel is composed mostly of water and Dr. Calayan states that from previous surgeries (50+), there were no problems at all and the product is safe for use.

Two months after the procedure, instead of seeing the doctor for any complications or discomfort, Dr. Calayan was surprised to receive a letter dated November 19, 2007 from the lawyer of the patient alleging complains of deformity of his 'member.' The formal lawsuit was filed recently at the Makati Prosecutor's Office for a whopping P26 Million !

Over the course of the dinner which was attended by members of Los Angeles Media, Dr. Calayan presented their counter-affidavit together with his wife, Dra. Rosario 'Pie' Calayan, who is named co-defendant in the case, but as Dr. Manny reiterated, was not even involved in the actual procedure! Dr. Manny Calayan narrated that he has given specific post surgery instructions to the patient and does not know if the patient followed these instructions, one being to refrain from sexual activity for one month. In a TV interview, the complainant alleges that he has has not been sexually active since the operation for four months but he was saying previously that since he has three girlfriends, he cannot abstain from sex for one month. I say, let the Court decide.

Here is the video clip from Saksi on the controversy:


Pres. and Mrs. Fidel V. Ramos with Amb. and Mrs. Marciano Paynor, Jr.and WWII Veterans
(Pres. and Mrs. Fidel V. Ramos with SF Consul-General and Mrs. Marciano Paynor, Jr.and WWII Veterans at the SF Philippine Consulate. Photo by George Gange).

by Rodel E. Rodis, May 24, 2008

It was an emotional roller coaster ride for the Filipino WW II veterans this past week as they rode high hopes that the House version of S.1315 - which incorporates the Filipino veterans' equity bill approved by the US Senate - would come for a floor vote in the House on May 21. The timing would have been perfect coming the week just before Memorial Day when Americans traditionally remember and honor veterans.

The Speaker's plan, as they were told, was to present the House version of S.1315 for a floor vote under a Suspension of the Rules call which requires 290 House votes (2/3rds of 435 total members) to get the bill considered without killer amendments that would only delay if not defeat the bill. This would also ensure that the bill would be veto-proof.

As the veterans huddled in the halls of the Capitol anxiously waiting for the vote, they heard the news from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office that there would no vote on the veterans' bill on that day. The disappointed veterans wondered what could have caused the vote to be postponed.

Was Speaker Pelosi worried that there were not enough Republicans willing to support the bill? Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista CA) and Ben Gilman, the former Republican chair of the House International Relations Committee and currently a Philippine government lobbyist for the Filvets bill, had assured Pelosi that there were 74 House Republicans who would vote for the bill. The American Coalition for Filipino Veterans (ACFV) confirmed earlier the solid commitment of 27 Republicans.

Was Speaker Pelosi worried that she and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) did not have all 230 House Democrats in lock step behind the bill especially among the 51 members of the conservative Blue Dog Caucus some of whom have echoed Republican concerns about "giving money to foreigners"?

Just the day before on May 20, Speaker Pelosi had addressed Democratic House members to firm up support for the bill telling them "I'm very committed to it because it is the right thing to do and we do not want any more time to pass by."

But was there another reason for the delay perhaps? Could a letter from San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commissioner Regalado Baldonado to Speaker Pelosi denouncing S.1315 have played a role in the vote delay?

The Baldonado letter declared S. 1315 to be "woefully insufficient" as it would provide the 14,000 Filvets in the Philippines with $300 a month pension while the 6,000 Filvets in the US would be entitled to $900 a month. It urged Speaker Pelosi to support a House companion bill that would provide "full recognition and benefits to Filipino WW II veterans residing in and outside the United States."

"We cannot waiver in our position or tolerate any deviation from equal treatment for all of our Filipino WW II veterans," the Baldonado letter asserted.

Speculation about the role of the Baldonado letter in postponing the vote caused a number of veterans in Washington DC to call Baldonado in San Francisco and to ask him about his letter. The DC veterans pointed out to Baldonado that the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP), which represents the 14,000 Filvets in the Philippines, fully backs S.1315 which would provide $375 a month pension to Philippine based veterans who have dependents, $300 a month to those without dependents and $200 a month to their widows.

Baldonado explained to his comrades that he did not write the letter, that it was prepared for him to sign by leaders of the Filipino Veterans Equity Center in San Francisco and by an activist group called Students Action for Veterans Equity (SAVE). He said he did not know that Rep. Filner had abandoned his HR 760 in favor of S.1315.

Delfin Lorenzana, head of the Veterans Affairs Office of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, was among those who spoke with Baldonado. "The danger here is that if his letter has been widely circulated," he told the other veterans, "it may have influenced the decision of Pelosi to postpone the vote on S.1315 yesterday, despite the fact that there are more than enough Republican support, because of the conflicting signals she is getting from the Fil-Am community especially in her home district."

On the same day that the veterans in Washington DC were dismayed by news of the postponement, over 100 community leaders in San Francisco gathered at the Philippine Consulate to hear former President Fidel V. Ramos urge the community to support S.1315 as the best chance to get the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill to pass the US Congress.

In the Open Forum that followed his speech that was moderated by Ben Menor, Atty. Lourdes Tancinco, chair of the Veterans Equity Center (VEC), informed Pres. Ramos that her group did not support S.1315 because, she said, it did not cover all the veterans and at the level they should be entitled to.

Pres. Ramos replied that we cannot get everything we want from the US Congress, not even Pres. George W. Bush can do that, and that we have to be realistic about what is possible and take what we can get. He said we should build on the momentum of 96-1 vote in the US Senate for S.1315 to get a House version passed.

But Jaymee Sagisi of the Students Action for Veterans Equity (SAVE) voiced her disagreement with the position of Pres. Ramos asking him "How can you advocate that Filipino veterans in the Philippines should receive only one third of what US veterans get?" Ramos reiterated his position that we have to be realistic about what can be expected from the US Congress.

"Filipino veterans in the Philippines getting $300 a month, and another $200 a month in widows' benefits, that realistically will happen under S. 1315 is better than a $900 a month dream that will never come," commented veteran Lucio Dimaano.

In the discussions that occurred among members of the audience, it was explained that Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the principal sponsor of the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill in the Senate, recognized that the Filvets bill could not pass if it went out on its own, as the anti-immigrant sentiment in the Republican Party was too strong. The only chance of passage was to fold it into an omnibus Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Bill which would affect several veterans programs, including disability compensation, housing, pension, burial, life insurance, and readjustment benefits.

Akaka's advocacy for the Filvets stand alone bill was met with vociferous opposition from Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) and Sen. David Vitter (R-Alabama). They opposed offering benefits to non-US citizen veterans who, Craig said, "are taking money away from our veterans. That is the 'Robin Hood in reverse' effect. At least Robin Hood, when he took money, left it in Nottingham. He spread it out amongst his own. Here we are taking money from our own and sending it all the way to the Philippines."

Filipino veterans expressed concern that if Baldonado and his group succeed in stalling passage of the veterans' benefits enhancement bill, the other non-Filipino veterans groups may likely junk the Filipino veterans equity provision in the bill and move on with their omnibus bill.

Filipino veterans groups are hoping that the Filipino community, including Commissioner Baldonado, will unite to support passage of the House version of S.1315 if and when it comes for a vote on June 3.

Members of the Filipino community are urged to email Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their representatives in Congress to express support for S.1315 by logging on to the website:

Please send comments to or log on to or write to Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127, or call (415) 334-7800.

Esperon's New Assignment

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (C) and outgoing Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon (L) durng the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) change of command ceremony inside the military headquarters in Manila May 12, 2008. Esperon, who is retiring on Monday, will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano (R). Reuters Photo

PerryScope: by Perry Diaz

The recent retirement of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines ((AFP) and subsequent appointment as Presidential Adviser on the peace process in Mindanao has made a lot of people agog in disbelief. In the relatively short time that he served as the head honcho of the armed forces, Esperon has politicized the military by serving the political -- and private -- agenda of President Gloria Arroyo.

Esperon gained notoriety in the "Hello Garci" election cheating scandal during the 2004 presidential election. At that time he served as the AFP's Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and concurrently served as Deputy Commander of Task Force HOPE -- "Honest, Orderly, and Peaceful Elections." Sad to say, the elections were not honest, orderly or peaceful.

In May 2005, Esperon was one four generals mentioned in the "Hello Garci" tapes. In a recorded conversation, former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano told Arroyo that he worked with Esperon and Gen. Roy Kyamko in relieving Gen. Francisco Gudani, the Southern Command chief who was suspected of being friendly to the opposition. In another conversation, Arroyo demanded from Garcillano that she wins by one million votes. Those votes came from Mindanao. In August 2005, Arroyo promoted Esperon as Philippine Army chief. By July 2006, Esperon was promoted to Chief of Staff.

Esperon's meteoric rise may be attributed to his ability to "serve and protect" President Arroyo. With Esperon at the helm of the military, Arroyo didn't have to worry about any attempt to depose her. It is no wonder then that when Esperon reached mandatory retirement age on February 9, 2008, Arroyo extended his service for three months, at a crucial time when corruption scandals erupted again. Esperon once again demonstrated his loyalty to Arroyo when he led hundreds of uniformed soldiers locked arm-in-arm with components of the national police in an intimidating public show of force.

A graduate of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1974, Esperon started his military career during the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos. It was a period when the "rules of the game" were unorthodox. A culture of corruption spawned during the formative years of his career. To move ahead, he had to go along. It is no wonder then that he fitted perfectly into Arroyo's corruption-driven government.

In 2002, Arroyo pulled then Col. Esperon from the war zone and appointed him as Commander of the Presidential Security Guard. For some reason, Arroyo saw in Esperon the perfect Praetorian Guard. And performed well he did. In four short years, Esperon made it to the highest rank, a four-star General.

After the 2004 elections, Arroyo went on the offensive against the communist insurgents. She declared that she'll wipe out the New People's Army (NPA) by the end of her term in 2010. Once again, she turned to her fiercely loyal Chief of Staff and ordered him to carry out a plan to eliminate the NPA. Coincidentally, it was during his watch when extrajudicial killings became rampant and caught the attention of the international community including the United Nations. Since Arroyo took over the presidency in 2001, more than 900 leftists, activists, politicians, journalists, priests, and farmers were murdered and another 185 disappeared from the face of the Earth. Many believed that the military had a hand in most of the killings and forced disappearances. One of Esperon's generals -- known as "The Butcher" -- was suspected as the head of the military "death squads."

It is no wonder then that Esperon's appointment as Presidential Adviser on the peace process in Mindanao has stirred a hornet's nest and generated protests from various sectors. How can a retired general with a pockmarked career reach out to his erstwhile enemies and expect them to trust and respect him. His critics say that Esperon's appointment would signal the "militarization of the peace process."

Last February 2008, it was reported in the news that "National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales proposed two possible ways to defeat the Communist rebellion by 2010: first is to craft a really good local government counter-insurgency strategy, or to extend the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo." Aha! Now, we know what Arroyo had in mind.

With the ever loyal Esperon officially employed in the Arroyo government as a "presidential adviser," he could serve as her "unofficial" direct pipeline -- bypassing the Secretary of National Defense -- to the armed forces' top brass; thus, ensuring continued military support of Arroyo including extension of her term by whatever means she could utilize. After all, Arroyo's goal of defeating the communist insurgency is also the military's goal. Indeed, that would make them partners.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Madrigal Singers Set to Perform in the U.S.


Los Angeles, California/Manila, Philippines - The music and magic of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, one of the best choirs in the world, comes to Southern California and Nevada this summer as part of a series of Command Performances presented by Philippine Airlines and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown in association with the Philippine Patrons of the Arts-USA, TDRZ Productions, Inc. and with Asian Journal as the official media sponsor.

With one-night only performances set in Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles, the appearance of the Philippine Madrigal Singers (or “Madz” for short) will surely be a highlight of this summer’s concert season as well as part of the month-long Philippine Independence celebration. Many aficionados and devoted fans of the Madz look forward to their musical virtuosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. With a highly eclectic repertoire -- from Renaissance madrigal music to the avant-garde, from Filipino and international folksongs to the latest pop hits, even from the most cerebral choral masterpieces to the most humorous of novelty numbers -- this world-class choir can sing anything with authenticity and professionalism while keeping their audience thoroughly entertained.

The Madz have consistently won top prizes in the most prestigious choral competitions held around the world. As Philippine ambassadors of culture and goodwill, the Madz have given command performances for royalty and heads of state including Pope Paul 6th, U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, King Juan Carlos de Bourbon and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Madz alumni are much sought-after as singers, conductors, arrangers and music educators. Its corps of composers and musical arrangers continue to produce new compositions and choral settings of Philippine music, thus contributing to the global growth of choral literature. Averaging two international concert tours per year, the Madz relentlessly engages in the promotion of Philippine music and the Filipino Artist globally.

“To be able to bring the Madrigals to Southern California in support of the Rotary Club is absolutely amazing”, says Vicente Ching, President of the HiFi Rotary Club. “We are proud to be able to present the best singers in the world to new audiences in the U.S.”

“For the Los Angeles concert,” explains Ms. Guila Maramba of the Rotary Club, “there will be a special pre-concert reception that is being put together by world renown chef Cecilia de Castro, the food producer and ‘right hand’ of Wolfgang Puck that we are all looking forward to.”

Presently under the masterful leadership of Madz alumnus Mark Anthony A. Carpio, the Philippine Madrigal Singers continues to set new standards of excellence at a global level. Since their humble beginnings as a university-based chamber ensemble throughout their legendary rise as international choral champions, this 42-year old cultural icon known as the Philippine Madrigal Singers has irreversibly cemented its stature as one of world’s best choirs for all time.

Photos courtesy of University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers & Odette Galura


Philippine Airlines
in association with
The Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown (Los Angeles, CA.),
The Philippine Patrons of the Arts – USA and TDRZ Productions, Inc.
proudly presents
The Philippine Madrigal Singers: The 2008 Command Performances

Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 3:00pm
Zion Theatre at Sun City MacDonald Ranch Community Association
2020 West Horizon Ridge Parkway
Henderson, Nevada 89012
Tickets: $50.00, $35.00, $20.00
Contact: Girlie de Guzman 702-324-4478

Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 7:00pm
The North Chapel at Liberty Station –
2881 Roosevelt Drive
San Diego, California 92106
Tickets: $45.00, $30.00, $18.00
Available at:
Contact: Laarni Thornton 619-564-4447

Monday, June 16, 2008 at 8:00pm
The Aratani Japan America Theatre
244 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Tickets: $100.00*, $55.00, $35.00
*Includes Pre-Concert Reception Featuring Cuisine by Internationally Renown Chef Cecilia de Castro beginning at 6:30pm
Available at or by calling Box Office at 213-680-3700
Guila Maramba/Ben Aranda – 818-279-8159
Thelma Sugay – 818-915-3558
Padsy Padre – 818-919-3382

PR Contact: Ted Benito (TDRZ)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Journey & Arnel Pineda featured in GQ Magazine June 2008 Issue; Guesting at 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' airing May 28: U.S. Tour Starts July 2008

Arnel Pineda & Journey in GQ Magazine

Arnel Pineda is featured in the June 2008 issue of GQ which is now on magazine stands everywhere. “He Didn’t Stop Believin,’” was written by Alex Pappademas with exclusive photos by Andrew Hetherington and spread over 7 pages of the magazine starting on page 118.

The feature article provided a wide-scale background information on Arnel Pineda covering many angles including his bio and membership in different bands in Manila, update on Zoo Band regarding Arnel,the consular officer - Ben - who interviewed Arnel at the U.S. Embassy in Manila for his visa, and contrary feedbacks on Arnel as the new leaders by old and new fans alike.

Pappedemos noted, “Pineda may have the most Dickensian backstory in rock history,” with this fairy tale story of a struggling Filipino artist chosen as the new lead singer in a world-renowned rock band. He touched on the numerous Asian fans at the recent Planet Hollywood Journey concert in Las Vegas as well as a lot of behind the scene insights.

The article also covers the extensive history of iconic band, Journey, including Neal Schon’s search for a new lead singer, Steve Perry’s short interview about Journey and Arnel, Journey’s successes, plus a brief list of other Journey lead singers before Arnel Pineda, “rebirth” of Journey with Arnel, with some final words from Kevin Shirley who worked with Journey for decades.

There’s so much more areas touched on by the article. Pick up your copy before they run out.

Arnel Pineda & Journey on Ellen

Journey has just finished taping their appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday, May 22nd. This session will be aired on NBC on Wednesday, May 28th. The band will be playing two songs with lead singer Arnel Pineda.

For the time schedule and station of ELLEN in your are go t0( Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres continues to deliver uplifting, inspiring and hilarious experiences to viewers and was recently awarded the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for the third year in a row.


REVELATION 2CD and 1DVD set on sale June 3 exclusively at Walmart.

Journey’s new 2 CD/DVD set, REVELATION, will be released June 3, 2008 exclusively at all WalMart stores. The first disc will consist of 11 re-recorded classics, the second is filled with 11 new songs with Arnel Pineda, and the third is a live, in-concert DVD with Arnel Pineda.

Here is the track list:

(Disc 1)
Never Walk Away
Like A Sunshower
Change For The Better
Wildest Dream
Faith In The Heartland
After All These Years
Where Did I Lose Your Love
What I Needed
What It Takes To Win
Turn Down the World Tonight
The Journey (Revelation)

(Disc 2)
Only The Young
Don’t Stop Believin’
Wheel In The Sky
Any Way You Want It
Who’s Crying Now
Separate Ways
Open Arms
Be Good To Yourself
Stone In Love

DVD (Planet Hollywood)
Las Vegas Concert - Filmed March 8, 2008 - 60 minutes
Neal Schon – all guitars, backing vocals
Jonathan Cain – keyboards, backing vocals
Ross Valory – bass, backing vocals
Deen Castronovo – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Arnel Pineda – lead vocals

All of the music on REVELATION was produced by Kevin Shirley (who previously worked with Journey on their Platinum-certified TRIAL BY FIRE album).

Journey Concert Tour Schedule

Journey with Arnel Pineda will be coming to your area soon. Check out their concert tour schedule at

Listen to Valerie Nerres (All Access Magazine) interview with Neal Schon of Journey / Used with Permission: Valerie Nerres & All Access Magazine:
All Rights Reserved

For a more extensive Journey coverage, go to

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movie Review: ‘The Sensei’ Delivers a Wake-Up Punch Against Hate

By Jay Fermin

Hollywood: Fil-Am Director Diana Lee Inosanto had a very important message that need to be expressed strongly in today’s postmodern world when we caught up with her. She was at the red-carpet opening of the 24th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival that ran May 1-8, 2008 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA). The message has faced a lot of challenges and took two years to complete. D. Lee Inosanto, daughter of martial artist Dan Inosanto (taking the namesake of her honorary uncle, the legendary Bruce Lee) is herself a martial arts practitioner together with her husband.

The message was her directorial debut film ‘The Sensei’ which premiered at the Film fest and what Education Director (Matthew Shepard Foundation) Thomas Howard Jr. has labeled “A film that will change hearts and minds and save lives.” D.Lee Inosanto confides that she was compelled to make the film years ago after the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998. Matthew was tied to a split-rail fence where he was beaten and left to die in the cold of the night. Almost 18 hours later, he was found by a cyclist who initially mistook him for a scarecrow. D.Lee’s message about hate-crime, tolerance and diversity found further relevance today with the recent murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King who was shot in Oxnard, California because he was gay.

The movie is totally different from Bruce Lee’s movies which I grew up with where evil is always defeated. It jabs harder than ‘Karate Kid’ as the plot weaves its way from a lonely gay teen named McClain being bullied and delivers kick and punches to the social and sociological structures that struggle to stereotype human conduct and are relentless in punishing those that stray from the pre-conceived mold of society.

Set in a small conservative town in Colorado during the HIV-Aids panic of the late 1980’s, young McClain Evans (Michael O’Laskey) is a gay teen who was constantly harassed and bullied. Karen Nakano-O’Neil (played by D.Lee Inosanto) was denied the highly respected ‘Black Belt’ from the family’s successful martial arts business because she was a woman. After 5 years of absence, she returns home after the death of her fiancé, boxer Mark Corey (Louis Mandylor) to make amends with her Asian-American family, who are also very involved in the local church. When three teens badly beat up McClain sending him near death to the hospital, McClain’s mom secretly asked Karen to train McClain at night so he can defend himself.

The Sensei Trailer - Composed by Deane Ogden

‘The Sensei’ movie is not as comfortable to watch as other martial arts film. And it never pretends to be. The movie examines the intricate and complicated preconceptions that result in prejudices that allow hatred towards others. The plot hinges on Karen’s uncle, a Sensei in martial arts – a teacher who refuses to bestow the deserved Black Belt to Karen because she is a woman.

However, the discipline of being a sensei requires traits not only of skills in martial arts but of fairness, leadership, honor, and the ability to do the best for others. One of the pivotal moments was when Karen with her Christian background in the depths of hate’s darkness went to see a Buddhist priest who reminded her that all of us are teachers and students, always teaching as well as learning. All of us can be sensei.

D.Lee Inosanto who directed, co-produced (together with producers Tarik Heitmann & Ron Balicki), and starred in ‘The Sensei’ brilliantly brings a very difficult message on the wide screen thru the venue of martial arts. Having been endorsed by civil rights groups like the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the current Hate Crimes Bill Act – lead by Senators Ted Kennedy and Gordon Smith, and having been contacted by Human Rights Campaign, Simon Wiesenthal Center: Museum of Tolerance, and Rainbow Alley, indeed ‘The Sensei’ has awakened Hollywood and the world to ‘The Right to Protect Yourself from Hatred.’

Cinematographer Mark Ruthledge has brought the flashback to 1980’s and the high paced fight scenes its proper setting, while keeping the intensity of the complex human interaction as close shot as possible – lending a personal empathy to the characters; I could hear a number of muffled tears from the audience during premiere night. Brilliantly told, the story of ‘The Sensei’ touched more hearts towards the end when the most common hatred of all was uncovered – self hatred - which usually lead to other forms of hatred to others.

I am proud of D.Lee Inosanto’s work of heart: ‘The Sensei’ and do highly recommend viewers to watch the film. For all of its 103 minutes running time, and its fast paced scene development and dramatic flashbacks, it will surely touch and change not only your mind but most importantly your heart.

Watch ‘The Sensei’ at the following venues:

May 31, 2008, 4:00 p.m.
Hobokan Multi-Service Center
New Jersey

June 7. 2008, 4:45 p.m.
The New York LGBT Film Festival

AMC Loews 34 St. Theatre
New York, New York

AMC 13
312 West 34th St.
New York, New York

June 28, 2008
San Francisco International Film Festival
117 16th Street
San Francisco, Ca. 94118

Regine at Morongo Casino June 1

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 Passes by a vote of 96 to 1

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, elatedly applauded his colleagues in the Senate for passing S. 1315, the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 by a vote of 96 to 1. Prior to voting on final passage of the bill, the Senate debated an amendment to remove a provision providing a limited pension for Filipino World War II veterans residing in the Philippines. This amendment was defeated by a vote of 56 to 41, with Akaka leading the charge for the Filipino veterans' pension.

"The Filipino veterans of World War II fought bravely under U.S. military command, helping us win the war only to lose their veteran status by an Act of Congress. I commend my colleagues for supporting those veterans who stood with us," said Akaka.

Akaka continued, "I am also very pleased that the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 can finally move forward. This bill makes needed improvements to veterans' benefits by expanding and increasing support for veterans, their families, and their survivors. I urge my colleagues in the House to act swiftly on this much needed bill."

This comprehensive, budget-neutral omnibus veterans' benefits bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs last June and reported to the full Senate last August.

The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 would provide a veterans' pension to Filipino veterans of World War II residing in the U.S. and in the Philippines. Under the proposed bill, veterans residing in the Philippines would receive a smaller pension than those residing in the U.S., to account for differences in cost-of-living in the two countries.

The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 also includes a multitude of improvements to veterans' benefits, including provisions to:

Establish a new program of insurance for service-connected disabled veterans;
Expand eligibility for retroactive benefits from traumatic injury protection coverage under Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance;
Increase the maximum amount of Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance that a service-connected disabled veteran may purchase;
Provide individuals with severe burn injuries specially adapted housing benefits; and
Extend for two years the monthly educational assistance allowance for apprenticeship or other on-the-job training
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

Ilonggo Association of So Cal New Officers

Slideshow photos by Jerry Ubalde / All Rights Reserved

Ilonggo, where does this word originate from? Historically speaking, Ilonggo is a description of anything which comes from the province of Iloilo, Philippines. Iloilo was the original Ilonggo home base which gradually spread out to surrounding islands. This is where you see history dating back the 17th century and the Spanish period. Dubbed as the Queen City of the South, Iloilo has always been the center of commerce. Its port of call in San Pedro is utilized by an international blend of businesses who drop off and pick up goods for trade.

The Ilonggo person is a gentle and fun loving individual who will go out of his/her way to make other people smile. The tagalog world “malambing” is normally used to describe an Ilonggo. It is a positive description for a culture that is comfortable in its identity and has no plans to change its image.

Saturday, May 17, 2008 was when the ILONGGO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA marked its 4th year anniversary. It inducted a new set of officers who will navigate this club for the next two years. The new incoming president EDUARDO “BUTCH” ZARAGOZA (in photo with wife Erlyn) has high but realistic goals for this association.

First and foremost of which is to unite all Ilonggos in California. This will be done thru constant communication and well, more parties! Mr. Zaragoza sees his association helping out newly arrived Ilonggos. Like parents welcoming their off springs, the group will provide guidance for them to properly start a new life in America.

Another goal which is currently a reality is to assist the different schools in Iloilo and surrounding cities. The Association, within the last two years, has set up two computer labs in different schools there. Each labs consists of 6 brand new computers. The children need computers to keep abreast of the times, do their homework, and maybe play a few games.

There is also the medical mission. At his point in time, the group has supplied Iloilo hospitals with essential medical supplies. Be it bandages, sutures, and medication, the care packages being sent to these hospitals are well utilized. There is a ship container full of wheelchairs which will be shipped soon enough to these different hospitals.

This is just the beginning of the Association’s plan to reach out and help their less fortunate “kasimanwas”. President Zaragoza, and the previous presidents before him (BING GOTICO and BOY ALDEGUER) have slowly but with firm hands, surely pointed the group to an honorable path in sharing their blessings with our less fortunate Filipinos back home.


People started showing up at 5:00pm. The men dressed in barong tagalogs and the beautiful women decked out in evening gowns and fine jewelry (bling2). English was the exception since everyone spoke Ilonggo. It is a dialect that sounds so well behaved. Someone might be cussing you out in ilonggo and you would think he/she was giving you a compliment. The southern quality is all in the intonation.

Open bar was announced at 6:30pm. This was a no holds barred, deep pocket affair which spared no expenses. Money was not an object and everything first class. Iloilo as a province has capital. It grows a lot of rice amongst other businesses. The Ilonggos maintain large savings account and refrain from spending unnecessarily on expensive toys. Lets just say they are old fashioned towards their approach to finances. Save for a rainy day.

As the evening moved on, evidence of ilonggo camaraderie surfaced. Board Advisor JIMBOY GARCIA brought a large tupperware of “kinilaw”. This is a local delicacy of fresh raw whitefish, chunked then marinated in spicy vinegar, ginger, and spices. Served cold, this is the iloilo version of ceviche. With beer or wine, it is a superb appetizer. True to custom, the dish was shared by all. This was aside from the actual hotel served fare that was still coming.

The beautiful first lady, EMMA ERLYN ZARAGOZA, was instrumental in organizing the affair and making sure everything was going according to plan. Association founder LUIS SERVANDO made sure all guests were comfortable and bonded with the guys. ZENAIDA and WILFREDO ALEJANDRIA worked the reception desk making sure all the guests knew what tables they where in. ROSEMARIE CHU also assisted in the organization and preparing for the actual induction.

The actual ceremonies started 8:00pm. The Glendale Hilton banquet room is large and resplendent. Attendees totaled 250 persons at this time with more incoming.

The Ilonggo Association has 325 registered members. And the numbers keep growing as more activities are set into motion. Thanks to leadership that makes it a point to communicate with its members and instill in them the spirit of giving back.

The new set of officers are as follows: Eduardo Zaragoza (President), Wilfredo Alejandria (1st VP), Rosemarie Chua (2nd VP), Mel Sarmiento (Secretary), Dinah Servando (Asst Secty), Jerome Octaviano (Treasurer), Alma Jesena (Asst Treasurer), Rey Gayomali (Auditor), Dexter Riobuya (Asst Auditor), Yvette Untarya (Business Mgr), Orchid Ecchevaria (Asst Business Mgr), Rene Aaron (PRO), Maribel Saadnia (Asst PRO), and peace officers Third Alejandria, Alberto Biclan, Rolando Chua, Gabby Prieto, and Hector Solinap.

As you can see, the leadership is backed by a solid crew of officers all willing to do more than their share to uphold the Ilonggo Association of Southern California.

Now and then, we will hear more from this evolving group. The next foreseeable event will be the Christmas party this year. President Butch Zaragoza, a retired military man (Major, Philippine Armed Forces) has the charisma and qualities to positively lead for the next two years. He has issued the challenge to the group. With the large gathering in this event, it is obvious they are up to it.

To the Ilonggo Association of Southern California, I say; “Gwapa mga Ilongga kag isog mga Ilonggo. Hala Bira!”

Article and Photos by: John (Ilonggo gid!) Lacson

Slideshow Photos by Jerry Ubalde / slideshow by Ver Penaranda -

Gary Valenciano Concert with Martin Nievera,, and JabbaWockeeZ at NOKIA Theatre June 7

JabbaWockeeZ, “America’s Best Dance Crew”, and of the Black Eyed Peas will join Martin Nievara in Gary Valenciano’s 25th anniversary concert at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on June 7, 2008.

The best of the Filipino American community are coming together to celebrate Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano’s 25th anniversary in showbiz at the new and prestigious Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, located next to the Staples Center.

Allan Pineda, best known as of the Black Eyed Peas, a top performing pop/hip-hop quartet worldwide. Apl revolutionized Filipino presence in the American music industry when he composed, performed and included Tagalog in the Black Eyed Peas’ albums, such as the popular dance song, “Bebot”.

The JabbaWockeeZ are best known for their recent victory as “America’s Best Dance Crew”, on the very popular dance reality TV series on MTV, hosted by American Idol’s Randy Jackson. Three of the six members of the Jabbawockeez who appeared on MTV’s high rated national TV competition are Filipinos: Rynan Paguio, Phil Tayag and Chris Gatdula. The three will be doing a special guest performance for Gary V’s show along with their fellow JabbaWockeeZ members. Prior to their victory on Randy Jackson’s “America’s Best Dance Crew”, the group also performed and competed on “America’s Got Talent.” Most popular among the youth across America, the JabbaWockeeZ are recognized for their unique style of dance and the marionette masks they wear while performing.

Martin Nievera, a fellow musical performer, and one of Gary V’s best friends who moved from the Philippines to America to try out the American music scene in Las Vegas, will also be a special guest at Gary V’s anniversary celebrations.

After his concert on June 7 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera and the JabbaWockeeZ will perform up north at the Stockton Arena on June 13.

Gary’s 25th Anniversary American tour is presented by Alas Cargo, Tribune USA, SM Realtors, Home Sweet Home Improvement Inc., Styleshoppe and State Farm Insurance®. Major Sponsors of the tour are PH Care, Mami King, Philippine Fiesta, Philippine Headlines, My Wedding Expressions, Sheraton and ASAP Live of ABS-CBN and Western Union. Minor Sponsors include Smart Pinoy Load, La Salle Alumni Association, Dr. Maria Ava Vega, DDS, and CH Premier Jewelers. Media and Marketing Sponsors are Balita Media,,, MyGringos, Fiesta Filipina and Philippine Headlines. B&B Management, All Access Promotions and Kewlit Co Productions are the forces that proudly stand behind Gary’s milestone celebrations at the prestigious venues.

Gary will perform with sons Paolo and Gabriel together with Jason and Joshua Zamora and Mico Aytona, his band Powerplay and musical director Mon Faustino, and very special guests Martin Nievera, of the Black Eyed Peas and The JabbaWockeeZ. For tickets call toll free: 1(888) 937-1998 or log on to

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



Los Angeles, California — Gina Alexander, the Filipina entrepreneur, designer and purveyor of the of world-famous “Photo Handbags” that have garnered a huge celebrity-following – including Halle Berry, Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, 50 Cent, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Green Day to name a few --- has dedicated her business and success to helping less fortunate children in the Philippines. Her Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project (GAPP) will host the 2nd Annual Center of HOPE worldwide Celebrity Benefit on Sunday, June 1 at the Twin Palms Restaurant in Pasadena, California.

The overall goal of this event is to raise monies in order to bring aid to sexually abused children in the Philippines. The proceeds will fund a small village in Baseco & Laguna, Philippines where a child welfare protection system was created. The facility, which HOPE worldwide Philippines has been running since 1993, is the best facility of treatment for child abuse in the Philippines today and provides daycare, short-term medical care, innovative prevention & advocacy programs, family development and livelihood learning programs. The monies will help sustain these programs as well as introduce an accelerated Grief Recovery Program to the children and village workers.

HOPE Worldwide, Ltd., WWW.HOPEWW.ORG, has helped children all over the world, especially those whose lives have been ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. They have been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Christmas Special. Gina Alexander’s Philanthropy Project (GAPP) has already helped many underprivileged or abandoned children find happy, healthy homes, like Samuel Hadjian, Gina’s godson, who was adopted by the Hadjian Family from Ethiopia after the child was found abandoned on the steps of a church.

“The event is not only about the monies that will be donated, “ begins Gina Alexander, “it’s also about bringing an awareness of kinds of philanthropy the Filipino and Filipino-American communities can bring to the table in terms of giving back to worthwhile endeavors, particularly if the recipients of the project are needy children. And, it’s also about making connections with people, resources and organization who share in the vision of giving back to the people, especially the children, of the Philippines.”

The evening will also recognize the work that various individuals and organizations are doing to help the global as well as local communities. Among those being recognized are: the L.A. based Filipino community service organization Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), the international charity World Emergency Relief (WER) organization, HOPE worldwide and (from the two-time Grammy award group The Black Eyed Peas who recently started his own foundation with the goal to assist people in his home town of Angeles City, Philippines). KTLA Morning News Anchor Cher Calvin and actor/singer Michael Copon (“One Tree Hill”, “The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian” [upcoming]) will be on hand to co-host the evening’s festivities which also include a silent auction featuring items from The Jimi Hendrix Collection, the Los Angeles Lakers, gift baskets from high-end retailers, House of Blues tickets and much, much more.

Among the many invited celebrities expected to walk the red carpet are: Chilli (from the band TLC), actors/musiciansthe Basco Brothers, actress Kelly Hu (“X-Men”), Rodel Gonzales (from the band “Side-A” who is slated to perform), Camile Velasco (“American Idol” Season 3), actress Victoria Rowell (“The Young and The Restless”), Janie Hendrix (sister of Jimi Hendrix and CEO of Experience Hendrix), Moon Bloodgood of “Daybreak” and other celebrities who are confirming each day.

ABS-CBN Global, N.A. (The Filipino Channel (TFC) and Balitang America) and THE ASIAN JOURNAL are media sponsors for this star-studded gala. Tickets are going quickly and there is only a limited number of seats remaining.

The Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project Presents
The 2nd Annual Center of HOPE worldwide Philippines Celebrity Benefit
Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twin Palms Restaurant
101 West Green Street
Pasadena, California 91105

To purchase tickets, go to
or call 818.843.2562
or email

The Arroyo-Lopez War

PerryScope: by Perry Diaz

Finally, after almost 80 years of a family feud between two wealthy clans, it seems that the final battle has started. On one side of the conflict is the Arroyo clan, wealthy merchants of Chinese origin who gained political supremacy in the early 1900's when their patriarch, Jose Arroyo, was elected Senator in 1919. With the help of his close friend -- then Senate President Manuel L. Quezon -- his younger brother, Dr. Mariano Arroyo, was appointed provincial governor in 1928.

On the other side is the Lopez clan headed by Eugenio "Ening" Lopez who used his newspaper El Tiempo -- founded in 1901 by his father, Benito Lopez, the first governor of Iloilo in 1906 who was assassinated two years later by a rival political faction -- to expose the jueteng ring that Governor Arroyo and a Chinese trader named Sualoy started in Iloilo. El Tiempo's incessant exposure of the jueteng operations finally paid off. Sualoy was charged, found guilty, imprisoned, and then deported to China.

That was the beginning of the Arroyo-Lopez War. As a result of the crackdown on the jueteng operations, Governor Arroyo filed a libel suit against Lopez and El Tiempo. Lopez retaliated by filing administrative charges against Governor Arroyo. Governor General Davis was also informed about the case and he sent Judge Francisco Moran to investigate. Moran discovered that Governor Arroyo was involved in the jueting operations including a gambling den. Consequently, Moran dismissed the libel charges against Lopez and his newspaper. In 1930, the administrative trial found Governor Arroyo guilty of corruption and Governor General Davis relieved him from his post.

Humiliated, Jesusa Lacson Arroyo, the widow of Senator Arroyo who died in 1927, picked up the pieces and moved her entire family to Negros Occidental. One of her sons, Ignacio, would become the father of the current First Gentleman, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Eugenio Lopez progressed in business and his brother Fernando entered into politics and was elected three times as Vice-President. Don Eugenio established the first airline in Asia and expanded his newspaper business. In 1962, he purchased Meralco, the country's largest electric company. His son, Eugenio "Geny" Lopez, Jr., built ABS-CBN to become the country's undisputed leader in broadcasting.

In 1972, the Lopez family suffered under the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Geny Lopez was implicated in an alleged plot to kill Marcos. Under obscure circumstances, Lopez escaped from detention and slipped out of the country. Marcos' brother-in-law, Kokoy Romualdez, then took over Meralco. When Marcos was ousted in 1986, Cory Aquino returned Meralco and ABS-CBN to the Lopezes.

For more than 20 years, the Lopezes had undisputed control of Meralco. They also diversified into new business ventures. Over the past several years, ABS-CBN became a pain in the neck of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Their coverage of the various scandals involving the First Couple have contributed to the Arroyos' negative public image.

It is no wonder then that Meralco is now in the crosshairs of President Arroyo's sight. The joint congressional hearing chaired by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago and Congressman Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo has stirred into life a family feud that has been dormant for 78 years. There were speculations that the real reason for the Meralco "witch hunt" is for the government to take over Meralco and break it up into smaller companies. If this would happen, guess who would take over a divested Meralco?

Let's look at someone who has been at the forefront of the battle: Winston Garcia, President and General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). His aggressive and arrogant demeanor in the Meralco board room -- he is a recent member on the Meralco board representing GSIS which has 23% ownership of Meralco -- has made a lot of people wonder what his ulterior motive is. Many believe that Garcia is on the board to wage a "proxy war" for the Arroyos.

For one thing, Garcia is not the typical government bureaucrat. He is a scion of a powerful political dynasty in Cebu with close ties to Malacanang. His father, Pablo, is a congressman and concurrently Deputy Speaker of the House. His brother, Pablo John, is also a congressman. And his sister, Gwendolyn, is the current Governor of Cebu. She announced recently that she is a candidate for Vice President in 2010.

In addition, the Garcia family has large stockholdings in the Aboitiz-owned Visayan Electric Company (VECO), the country's second largest private electric utility. The corporate officers include three Garcias, to wit: Dennis A. Garcia, President and General Manager; Ramontito A. Garcia, Treasurer; and Jess Anthony N. Garcia, legal counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary. Of the 11 members of the VECO Board of Directors, five are Garcias, namely, Dennis N.A. Garcia, Ramontito E. Garcia, Gil A. Garcia II, Charles Sylvester A. Garcia, and Antonio V. A. Garcia de Escaño. The Aboitizes, have five members of the Board. Recently, a news account reported that Winston Garcia is serving VECO as a lawyer on retainer. The question is: What would VECO -- and Winston Garcia -- stand to gain if Meralco were broken up into smaller companies?

It is also a common knowledge that the Aboitizes are business cronies of the First Couple. With the Lopezes trying hard to defend themselves from a pack of wolves, it would probably take a miracle to survive these attacks. But miracles do happen and they happen when it's least expected to happen. And the last and final question is: What would the Arroyos stand to gain when Meralco breaks up?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Telltale Signs: BIRTH CONTROL

Rodel E. Rodis, May 19, 2008

How will the Philippines survive soaring food prices? Through “birth control at home and friendly ties with the world’s top rice exporters”, according to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a press statement issued on May 10, 2008.

Birth control at home? Wow. This was a surprising admission from a president who has consistently rejected 840 million pesos in annual donations of contraceptives and other birth control devices from the US and other donor countries and who has yet to spend a centavo of the 180 million pesos allocated in the current budget for birth control.

But with the Philippine population increasing by two million mouths a year and with the price of rice and other food commodities skyrocketing, President Arroyo recognizes the general consensus in the Philippines that some form of population control or management (what she has called "birth spacing") has to be found for the country to survive this food crisis.

Unfortunately, population control programs in the Philippines have never taken off because of the fierce opposition of the Roman Catholic Church which believes that artificial contraceptives only serve to promote sexual promiscuity and immorality. Church leaders vehemently deny that overpopulation is the cause of poverty and underdevelopment.

Philippine Commentary blogger Dean Bocobo contends that while birth control policies are not “per se the cause of hunger, poverty and economic underdevelopment, their undeniable consequence in the form of overpopulation strictly limits the efficacy of any solutions to the problems that face Philippine society and vastly diminishes any gains that are achieved. Overpopulation has a structural, multiplier effect that exacerbates those problems, places pressure on natural resources such as water, land and the ability of society to feed, clothe, shelter and educate the people.”

Although the Catholic Church believes that sexual intercourse should only be engaged in by heterosexual married couples for the purpose of procreation and never for recreation, the Church does not oppose birth control. But the Church will only support the natural family planning (NFP) method of birth control.

NFP requires a woman to know when she is fertile and to refrain from sex during that period. A woman has to record her body temperature when she wakes up, measure the length of her menstrual cycle and her cervical secretions. For this Church-endorsed birth control method to work, both partners must religiously follow the recording process and avoid intercourse during the woman’s fertile period.

Do Catholic priests and nuns hand out thermometers, notebooks and pens to their poor parishioners to explain how the NFP method works and what faithful Catholic couples should do to prevent pregnancies?

NFP “is not an easy method to teach”, according to Jed Meline, deputy chief of the USAID’s Office of Population, Health and Nutrition, who points out that it takes incredible discipline for couples to control their sexual urges for as long as 11 straight days in a 23-day cycle. The keeping of daily records and the length of time to learn it effectively (three to six cycles) are not the only drawbacks. There is also the inability of NFP to protect partners against sexually transmitted diseases.

President Arroyo supports the NFP method for others but not for herself. In a luncheon held on February 28, 2003 with pro-family planning legislators to discuss their reproductive health bill, she disclosed that she herself had used contraceptives as a young mother. She said that when she went to confession after taking birth control pills, the father confessor told her “It’s okay”.

Her point, she explained, was that there are members of the clergy who see nothing wrong with using birth control pills or condoms. But, she told them, she could not support their bill as she was committed to advocate only for NFP. Why, the legislators wanted to ask, would you deprive women from having the same choices you had.

As one luncheon observer noted, Arroyo is hopelessly conflicted: “As an economist she knows that an exploding population puts undue stress on a weak economy, but as a Catholic whose rise to power was due in part to Church support, she is torn."

The result is that, unlike other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines has no coordinated government family planning program and no public funds for artificial birth control. Many economists believe that this uncontrolled population growth has created a country with a big and permanent underclass, with 40 percent of the population subsisting on less than $1 a day. As the Philippine government’s own Population Commission (Popcom) warned, “Larger families among the poor make it more difficult for them to break out of poverty.”

Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources Lito Atienza, a devout Roman Catholic and head of Pro-Life Philippines, believes that a population boom will pave the way for prosperity, and birth rates will drop as a by-product of wealth. The last point is undoubtedly true as the poorest 20% of women have an average of 6-7 children while the top 20% average only 2 kids. But how overpopulation will lead to prosperity is highly questionable.

When he was mayor of Manila from 2000 to 2006, Atienza vigorously opposed any form of health campaign that promoted contraception (condoms, birth control pills), abortion, or sex education programs. Atienza does not believe in interfering with population growth, explaining that he has “not read a religious teaching that said man should meddle with the plan of the Divine Master.” But is it the Divine Master's plan for the poor to suffer?

It would perplex Atienza to learn that the Roman Catholic Church was very close to changing its moral position on sex and birth control when the Second Vatican Council was convened in the early 1960s to reexamine church teaching on this issue. Began by Pope John XXIII, and continued by his successor, Pope Paul VI, the Vatican created a Papal Commission on Population and Birth Control, composed of 15 cardinals and bishops and 64 lay experts representing a variety of disciplines.

After a two year exhaustive study, the Papal Commission voted decisively, 69 to 10, to change the Church’s anachronistic position on birth control. Unfortunately, the minority report was written by the Polish archbishop, Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II. When he became Pope, he adopted his own report and rejected any change in the Church’s position.

In his minority report, Archbishop Wojtyla warned that “if it should be declared that contraception is not evil in itself, then we should have to concede frankly that the Holy Spirit had been on the side of the Protestant churches in 1930… It should likewise have to be admitted that for half a century the Spirit failed to protect the Catholic hierarchy from a very serious error. This would mean that the leaders of the Church, acting with extreme imprudence, had condemned thousands of innocent human acts, forbidding, under pain of eternal damnation, a practice which would now be sanctioned.”

Face and Papal infallibility trumped all other considerations.

Please send comments to or log on to or write to Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127, or call (415) 334-7800.

Photo by Jose Enrique Soriano

Friday, May 16, 2008

A “Revelation” From Journey: New Singer, New Album, New Tour

Interview: Neal Schon of Journey
By Valerie Nerres "All Access Magazine"

Photos by Valerie Nerres as appears In "All Access Magazine"

So you thought Mark Wahlberg’s “Rock Star” dream – fronting a tribute band leads to replacing the real band’s frontman – only happened in the movies? Think again. Did Journey really find their new frontman, Arnel Pineda, by watching YouTube videos? Yes they did. Could a new album and a world tour be far behind? All Access Magazine’s own Valerie Nerres got the lowdown, and a whole lot more, in her interview this month with Journey guitarist Neal Schon.

AAM: Neal, thanks for taking the time to speak with All Access Magazine. I was one of the photographers at your Las Vegas show March 8th and it seriously was probably one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Neal Schon: It was very early on in our tour; I thought it was a little early to even do the DVD, but we had to get it done for the “Revelations” package to come out when we wanted it to come out. I would have preferred to have done it after we were out on the road at least a month or 3 weeks. We had very little preparation and rehearsal. Everybody was pretty much on the fly and doing homework at home.
AAM: I thought it was funny when the show was over and they said, "Okay, everyone, good night!" Then, "Oh wait, everybody come back in again!" for more filming.
NS: Yeah, that’s what happens when you haven't been playing for a while. And we never do that…but it happens, you know? We were filming and management said to go back out there and redo them.
AAM: So was it because the video wasn't in sync with what you were playing?
NS: Well, we ended up having that problem in the end anyway. The power went out earlier in the day, before we started filming, and something screwed up in the computer. Everything was out of sync all the way through the show and so when they went to sync up, when we were doing the video edits, it was a lot of work. Actually, our producer Kevin Shirley had to come in because we weren't available to go in and make sure that everything was spot on. The last thing I wanted was anybody thinking that we went in and redid anything. That was not the case at all. There we no overdubs at all. So I wanted it to appear just as it was, live. You know, the vocals weren't syncing up, my guitars weren't syncing up, the drums weren't syncing up; it was a mess.
AAM: My camera synced up pretty well, though! I got some great photos of you guys. I sent them over to your publicist so she has a few of them. I'm not sure if you’ve seen any of them?
NS: Oh really? I'll have her send them to me.
AAM: Yeah. I was standing pretty much in front of you the whole night. It was great!
NS: I was pretty occupied with what we were doing. I was just trying to remember the set because it was way different than what we had been doing, and I was trying to remember the songs. It's wild when you go into record a new record like we did. There was no rehearsal. We wrote the songs, Jon [Cain, the keyboardist] and I demo’d them up, but it really wasn't the whole band playing. We used a rhythm machine, I played bass or whatever on it, or he did, and we demo'd up the songs like that for everyone to learn before we went into the studio. But really, there was no rehearsal before we went into the studio. We get in there and listen to the stuff, then we pick a tune that we're going to do that day and everybody goes home and listens to the demo and we come in the next day and cut it. So we're not very well rehearsed, like in the old days when we'd sit in rehearsal for two or three weeks, or a month, and keep going over and over it. We just kind of go on the fly now anymore. It’s like, "Meet you on the end!" At least we're all on the same page.
AAM: Exactly! See you on the other side! Now, with the addition of singer Arnel Pineda from the Philippines, your music is reaching a completely new demographic. Are you surprised about the reaction from these new fans? When I was shooting the show in Vegas, I remember just looking over my shoulder and going, “Wait, am I in Vegas, or the Philippines?”
NS: From what Arnel told me – which I was not aware of, because we've never played anywhere close to the Philippines – he said that Journey had been very big there for years. So I guess we have a lot of fans there. Now that he's also in the band, we have that many more. They're very supportive of their own people and very supportive of him. I think that we're going to have a lot of Filipino fans, which is great! Anybody new who comes on board is awesome!
AAM: Okay, well, I have to admit that I'm one of the "new" fans. The Las Vegas show was actually my first "Journey" experience, and I was able to be right there up front and just sort of take in the vibe, the energy that was bouncing back and forth between the band and the audience. I've always loved your music, obviously, but I guess you can say you've won over one more person here.
NS: I'm glad to hear that. That's great!
AAM: Prior to you finding Arnel, did you have any other singers in mind to front the band?
NS: Basically, we were resorting to the internet, I would say mostly YouTube. The thing I liked about YouTube is that it was all live performances. I was really not interested in doing a long, drawn-out audition for singers where you fly them in from all over the world and they send you their packages with their pictures and CDs of songs that they've done or demos that they've done singing Journey songs. You never know what's "real" when you're getting the package like that because with Pro Tools today and a computer, you can almost make anybody sound good. So, I was very into YouTube for just that reason: I knew that if I was going to hear something that it was absolutely live. I looked for a long time. I found a couple of interesting guys. Jeremy Hunsicker, who was in a tribute band for Journey called Frontiers – we were considering him. He actually came out, he flew in and we auditioned him. He was very good… but he was a bit scary because he was almost too much like Perry. He was almost like a duplicate, probably the closest of anyone out there. And what was kind of strange was he also looked like him a bit. There was another guy, Hugo, who looked EXACTLY like Steve Perry and I was like, “Okay, this is a little strange.” We all thought it was. I decided to keep looking and I'm glad I did. I was not willing to settle on just something that didn't feel completely 100%. I wanted to find “it.”
AAM: That was kind of my next question. When you found him on YouTube were you just surfing and stumbled across him, or were you specifically looking for someone via YT?
NS: Yeah, I was specifically looking for male singers in every genre and basically spent 2-3 days just doing nothing but that. And at the last moment – I mean, I was ready to throw up my arms and go, "Man, this is impossible, I'm never going to find anybody," – and then I stumbled onto this one link and I decided to pop it on and it was Arnel singing some Survivor songs. And I was like, "Wow, that guy’s got some great pipes." And so I followed through with it and found that he had about 40 different video clips, doing like from A-Z in the alphabet, everybody. Wow! That is insane that he can cover that much ground! And that he can actually morph his vocals to do all these different things. Really what I was interested about was to put him on some new songs and find out who is the REAL Arnel. Because when you hear someone do Sting or Steven Tyler perfectly, which is not easy to do, and Perry and the old Police stuff, and Heart, you name it, Don Henley, Nat King Cole, he did ALL of it, and I was just like, "This guy is insane!" I mean, what a chameleon! What a talented voice! And like I said, I was interested in finding out who was the real Arnel. So we got him in the studio on a couple new songs. I was pleasantly surprised. He was just a very strong tenor voice, which is what Perry was in the earlier days.
AAM: When you got him in the studio to do a few songs to audition him, which songs did you have him do?
NS: Well, when Arnel finally got his visa together, he came in and we rehearsed for three days and he auditioned live. He went better and better every day. The fourth day, we went into Jonathan's studio and we had a couple new songs that we were working on, "Never Walk Away" and "Where Did I Lose Your Love." The music was already there, the demo was already there, the voice was just not on it. So we had Arnel listen to it. He just listened to it – never heard it before – and went out into the studio and started singing. We had to teach him the lines and the melody, but he got it so quickly. He’s a natural in the studio. I was talking to Jon about it and was like…jeez. I mean, here he is, here's our guy! We both looked at each other and agreed and that was pretty much it. It was a done deal.
AAM: How does the lineup on stage these days compare to the old lineup?
NS: It seems like it's going to be very exciting! I've been working my butt off to get in shape again because I'm finally cordless again, so I want to be a little more mobile and move around a lot. Arnel is all over the place. It's sort of having the best of all worlds with Arnel. Once we settle in and we get into a groove and we start playing, I think it's really going to come more to life than that. But he's definitely a natural. From the 4 or 5 gigs that we've done so far, he's been different in every one of the gigs. Really truly great, but just different. It's not like he's into a set thing where it's exactly the same every night. He just moves around differently. I think that's really cool. I love it.
AAM: I went on the Journey Forum and asked the fans if there was anything that they specifically wanted to ask you. I wanted this interview to not just be my interview for All Access Magazine, but I wanted it to be everybody's interview. This was one of the questions: Are you satisfied with the direction Journey is taking? You have long discussed "rocking" more but it would appear those attempts met with less success or acceptance. Have you now accepted Journey's traditional sound or do you still feel there is room to stretch and even "rock" more?
NS: There's definitely more room to stretch. I think that more time needs to be put into it. Initially, when we went into this project, we had a deal with Wal-Mart. What they wanted was a redo of 11 greatest hits and, at tops, 4 new songs. The more I thought about it the less I was excited about that idea. I definitely wanted to come with at least as many new songs as the greatest hits we've done. I felt that we wouldn't lose face coming with a product like that where we show people, "Look, we do have new stuff." But also I think that the redo of the greatest hits is an awesome way to show our fans that Arnel can definitely cover this stuff. Without going to see him live they can listen to it. Because of that, a lot of this stuff that I brought in at the last minute was done at the last minute. We didn't have a lot of preparation because we didn't plan on doing a full CD of new songs. In actuality, this album is pretty 50-50 as far as the ballads and rock, but it definitely does rock when it rocks! So I'm happy about that. We can't play everything new that's on the record live, so we'll pick the rock tunes and we'll play "After All These Years" – which is already charted in the first week – as well as "Never Walk Away," which is the one most added in one week on radio. That is very exciting for us because it's been a while since that's happened! But I think in the future, definitely I'm going to push to have 8 rockers and maybe 2 ballads. I think that's really more what we could use in our live performances. You can have a record full of beautiful ballads but you never play them because we already have so many ballads we have to play and I don't want to put people to sleep. Everybody loves them, but you can't play them all live. Unless you’re doing a 3-hour show or something.
AAM: There seems to be a popular trend these days of artists teaming up/collaborating in order to release an album or single. What do you think about it, and are you open to any future collaboration? If so, with whom and why?
NS: Yeah, I'm always open to collaboration. I'm working on a side project right now that's called "Guitar Men" that's based out of Sausalito, at the Record Plant. Right now there's 23 tracks and it's got everyone on it from Stevie Wonder to Carlos Santana to Bonnie Raitt, I believe, and Ronnie Montrose, myself, and Sammy Hagar. I've got about 5 different tracks on this record right now, one with my girlfriend Lori Carpenter singing. It's really fun for me. I love collaborating. So, yes, in answer to your question. I think if something came our way and looked interesting, I think we'd definitely pursue it.
AAM: You had Kevin Shirley produce this new album again. Do you ever feel like maybe in the future you might work with someone else to mix it up a little? Or have you reached such a comfort level with Kevin that you'll continue to use him on future recordings?
NS: Kevin is really good with the band. He's a good peacekeeper for one! And he's very musical. He's done an amazing job on this record. I'm really happy with Kevin. On the last record we butted heads a little bit on different issues; this one was pretty smooth rolling. I pretty much came in and instead of trying to be the guitar producer and make sure that everything is like this, this, that, that, I just went in and was like the guitar player and did my stuff and was all ears. He'd say "Why don't you try this?" and I’d say, “Fine." We're not fighting him on it. Before, I didn't want to do a lot of overdubs because I just didn't believe in them. This time he had me do some stuff and I just did it, regardless of if it fit or not. It just made the project a lot easier to get through. Overall, I think that he added a lot. He had some great ideas. We really had great songs and although the band has always been very musical, he actually made it even more musical in some areas.
AAM: Going back to Santana, what did your parents think about you playing in Santana at such an early age? Were they supportive about your playing? What advice would you give kids that DO have that kind of talent nowadays?
NS: My folks were very supportive because they knew that I was into it and that was what I wanted to do. I made up my mind when I was 13-14 that that was exactly what I wanted to do and I wasn't doing much else at that time except playing a lot of guitar. So when the opportunity arose, I jumped on it – and what a great experience! I would say to anybody who's young and chasing what they want to do, if you have a great opportunity like that, do it! The best experience you can get is playing live and touring. The live playing really does wonders for someone's ability to hone in on any instrument that they're playing.
AAM: Right. I'm sort of asking as a parent. I have a 7-year-old, and his favorite guitar player right now is Stevie Ray Vaughn. I'm like, "You're 7, how do you know that?"
NS: Well, I'll tell you what, he'll trip out on this, I'm a big fan of Stevie Ray Vaughn, obviously. But I was a major fan of, and one of my favorite Blues guitar players that I played with as a kid and followed for years, is Albert King. If you go back and download some Albert King stuff for him, you're going to listen to it and go, “Wait, that sounds like Stevie Ray Vaughn,” and he will too. And that's exactly where Stevie nipped a lot of his stuff. A lot of Albert and a little bit of Jimi and there he is.
AAM: The first couple Journey albums were mostly instrumental and kind of jam-like. They really showcased all the band members’ talent and musicianship. This current lineup of Journey are all certainly at the top of their game. Have you ever thought of just throwing a jam into the set so that some of the old-school friends might enjoy hearing material from the first album, specifically like "Of a Lifetime" or "Kohoutek"?
NS: A few years back we actually did a show like that. It was "An Evening With" and we played a 3-hour show. We played an hour and a half, did an intermission, and then came back and did another hour and a half. We played through the history of the band, musically. So chronologically, in order, we'd play "Of a Lifetime," "Kohoutek," then move into the second record and play "I'm Gonna Leave You" and all this other stuff. We put all that stuff together and we played from beginning to end. It was my idea. I thought it was a cool idea. Our die-hard fans loved it…but the band was ready to kill me at the end of the tour because it was such a long show every night.
AAM: Neal, thanks so much. Is there anything that you'd like to add?
NS: I'm just really excited about the release of "Revelation" and really excited about our tour. I hear the ticket sales are really, really strong, so that's a very good sign. Just let the fans know that they won't be disappointed. We're putting something together that's hot and rockin'!
AAM: Thanks, Neal. I won't take up any more of your time. I know you just woke up and now you’ve spent a half hour yapping with me and I appreciate it. I'll see you at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas on July 18th!

Journey’s new 3-disc album and DVD package “Revelation” will be on sale exclusively at Wal-Mart June 3rd. To preorder, or for more info and tour dates, go to

Story and Interview by Valerie Nerres
"All Access Magazine" (reprinted with permission/ All Rights Reserved)

Here's a slideshow of the Planet Hollywood Vegas concert:
Photos by Valerie Nerres

All Access Magazine