Posts by Abner:

    Pinoy boxers in tears after surprise reception in Los Angeles’ Filipinotown

    May 25th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Boxers Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan flank couple Rey and Bernie Ganon, FACLA director and office manager. Photos © Tony Garcia and Ric Gavino

    TOMORROW, either International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas would have retained his junior bantamweight world boxing belt, or his challenger Jonas Sultan would have earned his first world championship title.

    Whichever way the Fresno, California fight goes, the Philippines will not lose a world championship belt — as both fighters are Filipinos — and the historical significance of the fight for Filipino boxing fans will not be diminished.

    The last time that two Filipino fighters fought each other for a world title belt was 93 years ago – between the legendary boxer Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo and Clever Sencio. That fight happened in Manila and was won by “Pancho Villa,” who was already then the two-year world flyweight title holder.

    Ancajas and Sultan are well aware of the historical significance of their upcoming battle.

    Pareho kami nang nararamdaman ni Sultan. Masaya kami na dito gagawin ‘yung laban namin at saka world championship belt ‘yung paglalabanan namin,” Ancajas told Weekend Balita/US Asian Post and Beyond Deadlines shortly after stepping out from the plane.

    Ancajas added that he was proud that he would be fighting a compatriot for the crown.

    Ipinapakita lang kung nasaan ang mga Filipino boxer sa mundo ng boksing,” Ancajas added.

    But what Ancajas and Sultan are not expecting was the subsequent reception where they were both recognized for the honor and pride that they gave to the Philippines for duplicating a 93-year-old history.

    Ancajas was moved to tears during the awarding ceremony at the Filipino Cultural Center last Saturday (May 19, 2018) at the Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

    Napaiyak po ako. Hindi ko po inasahan na ganito. Dream come true po talaga,” Ancajas said after receiving a plaque of recognition from the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), the organization that runs the Filipino Cultural Center.

    Sultan was also in disbelief after receiving the award.

    Tuwang-tuwa po ako. Lalo po akong na-inspire sa laban,” Sultan said.

    Apparently, both Ancajas and Sultan are not yet used to being accorded “superstar” treatment throughout their respective careers.

    Boxer Jerwin Ancajas poses with LA photographers Teodoro Yap and Pol Joaquin (extreme left and right), Bamboo Bistro owner Daniel Belen (3rd from left). Photos © Tony Garcia and Ric Gavino

    The inside story

    Without doubt, Ancajas and Sultan deserved the reception and the honor (including the three others who were honored, among them; longest reigning Filipino world champion Nonie Nietes) that were conferred to them.

    But the event was not in the calendar. The event happened almost exactly as the way Ancajas had felt about it shortly after receiving his plaque — a sort of providential thing.

    In fact, not even Top Rank, the promoter of the fight saw it coming.

    Here’s how it happened:

    Three days before the event, Los Angeles based photographer Jhay Otamias contacted this reporter with the help of another photographer Tony Garcia.

    Otamias asked if it possible to hold a meet and greet event at the Filipino Cultural Center.

    I discussed with FACLA president Fernandico Gonong about the possible event. He readily recognized the historical significance of the Ancajas-Sultan fight and as well as the need to drumbeat for the Pinoy boxers.

    Otamias brought out the idea of conferring recognition to the boxers. We agreed that they deserve the honor.

    Top Rank did not do anything except set up the Filipino boxers for the meet and greet at the FCC. They sent a representative and their round girls to the event but they did not spend a single cent.

    (And I have yet to upload on my bewilderment over why Top Rank set the historic championship battle in Fresno. Why oh why?)

    Talk about Filipino hospitality – the community, most of whom share the same sentiment with me over Top Rank’s decision to hold the fight in Fresno, fed every one of them just the same.

    I wrote the invitation letters and as well as the text inscribed on the plaques of recognition.

    I sought the help of my friends Rose Sarreal, photographers Pol Joaquin, Teodoro Yap, FACLA director Bernie Targa-Ganon and her husband Rey Ganon, Tony Garcia, Thelma Sugay, editor Val Abelgas and as well as my wife Odette.

    To make an event happen, people need to dress up the place, prepare food, send the invitations and show up.

    Because they were last-minute preparations, the plaques of recognition were picked from the shop by Odette and Tony Garcia an hour before the event.

    Aside from getting the Filipino Cultural Center for free, the other expenses incurred during the event were shouldered by FACLA.

    So there, talk about giving credit to where credit is due.

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    Los Angeles county creates first Arts Department

    May 20th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Image ©

    IN A bid to further elevate Los Angeles County’s arts and culture, its Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to create the first Arts Department of the county.

    The creation of County Arts Department was jointly pushed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Board Chair Sheila Kuehl. It earned a great deal of support from arts funders, creators and institutions.

    “With a new arts department, we can further elevate the impact of the arts on our community, culture, and economy,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

    “The importance of the creative industries cannot be overstated, particularly in Los Angeles. Creativity is one of our most essential economic assets.”

    Quoting the 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, Ridley-Thomas disclosed that the total creative output generated by industries within the region’s creative economy was $190 billion in 2015.

    “It also employed 759,000 people, which accounted for 1 in 8, or about 15 percent, of all private wage and salary workers in the region.

    For her part, Kuehl said that the Los Angeles County “contains an unparalleled wealth of arts and culture.”

    “It makes sense that we establish a County department to support arts and culture. With this motion, we will provide the capacity for a robust department that can strengthen the arts and expand our commitment to cultural equity and inclusion,” added Supervisor Kuehl.

    “This is a historic moment in the arts for this region,” said LA County Arts Commission Executive Director Kristin Sakoda.

    “It is world-class and community-based and there is still more to come!”

    The LA County Arts Commission was initially established in 1947.  It has grown in the last 70 years since from solely supporting local music performances to supporting hundreds of nonprofit organizations and functioning as a full-service local arts agency.

    Throughout the decades, the Commission’s role has expanded to include innovative and meaningful programs including working with school districts throughout the County to develop and implement a strategic plan to integrate arts into K-12 public schools.

    It also administers the Civic Art program, where artists are aligned with capital projects to bring aesthetics and programming to the community in which the project is located.

    Moreover, it also oversees the iconic Arts Internship Program. To date, more than 2,000 college and university students participate in a paid internship for ten weeks during the summer in arts organizations and venues throughout the County.

    “A County Department can make a deep impact in providing workforce training and advancing cultural equity and inclusion efforts,” said Stacy Lieberman, Deputy Director of The Broad.

    The new County Department will retain the Arts Commission as an advisory body and will begin its transition by July 1, 2018.

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    Leyte theater group winds up US tour in Los Angeles and San Jose

    May 19th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Members of the Leyte Dance Theater pose with Los Angeles community leaders and members of the media during a meet and greet at the Filipino Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Photo © Pol Joaquin

    THE exceptional Leyte Dance Theater is winding up its 8th US tour via a twin performance in California, particularly in Los Angeles and San Jose.

    Since April, the Leyte Dance Theater had performed in the states of New York, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Texas and Arizona.

    “The motto of our dance company is: The last performance is always the best. So we’re making sure that the next performance that’s going to happen here is better than the last one that we had,” said Jess de Paz, LDT founder and its artistic director and choreographer.

    The Leyte Dance Theater has just provided a foretaste of their upcoming show titled “Salida – Simbolo at Kultura” on May 26 at the Marsee Auditorium (16007 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance).

    Paz and his theater group met with the members of the media and community leaders at the Filipino Cultural Center at 1740 W Temple Street, Los Angeles last Tuesday.

    The group was accompanied by producer, community leader and fitness guru Nonie Belarmino of the iDance Studio in the City of Carson.

    Paz narrated that the members of the theater group got into a “challenging” situation shortly after they arrived in New York.

    Masyadong malamig. Kaya marami nagkasakit sa mga dancers. But as expected of them, they delivered. We went on with the show,” Paz narrated, stressing not only the dedication of the members of the cast but as well as their resilience.

    The artists are mostly residents of Tacloban City in the province of Leyte. A couple of years back, the said city was devastated by a powerful storm.

    Paz recalled how the future of LDT hanged in limbo months after the storm.

    “I myself lost two of my houses. I wasn’t able to recover those losses up to now,” Paz narrated.

    According to him, the members of the theater group lost communications with each other for some time because they fled the city and did not return until some normalcy was restored.

    The LDT has been in an “artistic pursuit since 25 years ago.”“The LDT today is a handiwork of its founder, Jess de Paz, who never stopped training and learning under the hands of local and foreign masters. His scholarship to the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York and his representing the “Study of ASEAN-sponsored “Study of Traditional Dance, Music and Choreography” in Thailand, widened his teaching and choreographic interest,” says an LDT brochure.

    The programs of LDT includes: free training for poor but talented dance enthusiasts in numerous dance forms (folk, ballet, contemporary, jazz and creative dance); performances in local, national and international events; conducting seminar-workshops for teachers, dance students and children; spearheading festival dance development in Region 8 through consultancies, dance tutorials, and workshops; developing programs funded by cultural institutions for dance development in the region.”

    This year’s cast and crew of the LDT’s US tour are Lowe S. Tana, Romyr Gabon, Nielrex Castil, Duane Robet Abit, Matheo Federico Badaran, Joel Badion, Arnold Calo, Gerardo Canete Jr., Archie Gayon, Marboy Guiroy, Peter Paul Maneja, Ana Victoria Diaz, Ma. Babette Jeds Llorada, Savea Fise Baac, Jana Rae Babalcon, Charmaine Marisse Comendador, Giea Gay Severino, Pamela Tisha Tindugan, Pearly Dawn Tindugan, Maryan Mendano and Mae Nicole Nicolas.

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    History repeats in Pinoy boxing annals

    May 16th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Reigning IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas poses with Beyond Deadlines writer/Weekend Balita reporter Abner Galino at the Los Angeles International Airport arrival lobby. Photo © Tony Garcia

    HISTORY is bound to repeat itself on May 26 in Fresno, California. That is, a far as Filipino boxing history is concerned.

    Two Filipino pugilists, International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and IBF’s No. 1 contender Jonas Sultan, will slug it out for the world bantamweight championship about ten days from now.

    The last time that two Filipino fighters fought against each other for a world title belt was 93 years ago. And that was between the legendary boxer Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo and Clever Sencio. That fight happened in Manila, Philippines and was won by “Pancho Villa,” who had held the world flyweight title for two years prior to that bout against a compatriot.

    Pancho Villa won the vacant world flyweight title from British Jimmy Wilde and twice successfully defended the title from American Benny Schwartz and British Frankie Ash.

    Ancajas, for his part, won the bantamweight title from Puerto Rican Mcjoe Arroyo and successfully defended the crown four times against Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, Japanese Teiru Kinoshita, Irish Jamie Conlan and Mexican Israel Gonzales.

    Sultan, on other hand, also holds an impressive record of 17 wins, nine of them via knockouts. He holds the IBF intercontinental junior bantamweight title.

    During Ancajas arrival at the Los Angeles International Airport yesterday, the world champion acknowledged the historical significance of his fight with Sultan.

    Pareho siguro kami ng nararamdaman ni Sultan. Masaya kami na dito gagawin ‘yung laban namin at saka world championship belt ‘yung paglalabanan namin,” Ancajas, considered by boxing aficionados as an heir apparent to boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, told Weekend Balita/US Asian Post and Beyond Deadlines shortly after stepping out from the plane.

    Ancajas added that he was proud that he would be fighting a compatriot for the crown.

    Ipinapakita lang kung nasaan ang mga Filipino boxer sa mundo ng boksing,” Ancajas added.

    Highly favored to win the fight, Ancajas only promised an action-packed battle between him and Sultan.

    Sultan has arrived in Los Angeles last week together with another reigning Filipino boxing champion Donnie Nietes.

    Sultan and Nietes have started training at the world famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Sultan is preparing for his fight with Ancajas while Nietes is still waiting for a possible defense of his title.

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    8 living Filipino veterans,15 others get US Congressional Gold Medal

    May 15th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Filipino veteran leader Franco Arcebal shares a light moment with Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) President Fernandico Gonong. Photo © Pol Joaquin

    EIGHT living and 15 representatives of deceased Filipino World War II veterans received the United States Congressional Gold Medals in a momentous occasion Wednesday at the Filipino Cultural Center at the Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

    The awarding of the highest civilian award medals was officiated by retired United States Army Major General Antonio Taguba, chairman of the Filipino veterans recognition project and the second American citizen of Philippine birth to ever reached the general officer rank in the US Army.

    Those who were awarded (personally getting the medal or as representatives of deceased veterans) were Jesus Delfin, Ireneo Balani, Franco Arcebal, Heidi dela Torre, Gregorio Albano, Gregorio Espiritu, Reynaldo Figueroa, Yolanda Encarnacion, Nepomuceno Mangosing, Alfredo Lopez, Zosimo Novicio, Leoncio Jarlego, Virgilio Moreno, Antonio Ortega, Rizalino Tamayo, Lucio Tolentino, Fabio Villacrusi, Apolinario Froyalde, Marcelo Bartolome and Florentino Pascasio.

    A leader of the awardees, Franco Arcebal, 95, took the stage to speak on behalf of his former comrade-in-arms.

    We have witnessed the awarding of Congressional Gold Medal to about 23 of ethnic Filipino veterans in recognition of their war services 75 years ago. Mantak mong tagal niyan!,” Arcebal jested to the delight of the audience.

    Arcebal went on to explain that the Filipino soldiers “just like others who served in the war under the American flag risked their unrepeatable lives in defense of the values for which the American flag stands for — under God with liberty and justice for all — unfortunately, malas talaga! We were denied justice since February 1946. Mantak mo, barely two months after the war was over when Congress (US) passed the Rescission act of 1946,” narrated Arcebal.

    The Filipino veteran leader expressed his gratitude to the American legislators who helped Filipino lobby groups to pass laws beneficial to the interest of Filipino WW II veterans.

    The Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act was unanimously passed by the US Congress on November 30, 2016. On that same year, December 14, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law as Public Law 114-265.

    The passage of the law were largely credited to the efforts Filipino lobby groups led by the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, the United Filipino American World War II Veterans Association and the Justice for Filipino American Veterans.

    Arcebal also credited the efforts of thousands of Filipino American youth activists, mostly students from southern California colleges and universities, who yearly conducted peaceful demonstrations along Hollywood Boulevard to gather support for the causes of the Filipino WW II veterans.

    Without doubt, nakatulong ‘yang mga mass action na ‘yan para kumilos ang mga US legislators,” Arcebal said.

    (From left to right) Filipino Veterans Recognition Project and Education (FilVetRep) officer Eric Lachica, Consul General Adelio S Cruz, retired US Army major general Antonio Taguba and FACLA President Fernandico Gonong. Photo © Pol Joaquin

    The awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal in the Historic Filipinotown was also graced by Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelio S. Cruz.

    The FilVetRep has planned around 20 more regional awarding of Congressional gold medals all over the US.

    More than 100,000 Filipinos were duly inducted to the US Army of the Far East (USAFFE) in 1941. Then US President Franklin Roosevelt offered full veterans’ benefits to Filipinos who would enlist to the US Armed Forces. The Philippines at that time was a US Commonwealth and Filipinos are US nationals.

    The benefits were quickly rescinded by President Harry Truman after the war in 1946 and the Filipinos were stripped of their status as U.S. veterans.

    Out from the 66 nations that fought with the U.S. during the war, only the Filipinos were singled out by the rescission law.

    Today only an estimated 15,000 veterans have survived the passage of time.


    Retired US Army major general Antonio Mario Taguba, the man at the helm of FilVetRep, is known for authoring the so-called Taguba Report, an internal US Army report on abuse of detainees held at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.

    The report was the result of Taguba’s investigation which started shortly after a military policeman turned over a CD full of images of abuse to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.

    The turning over of the damning piece of evidence happened on January 2004.

    In May of that year, Taguba submitted his report about the said abuses which was subsequently leaked to the press.

    The controversial report triggered a congressional probe that embarrassed many defense officials of the then administration of President George Bush.

    Taguba was bafflingly transferred to the Pentagon later on.

    And on January 2007, Taguba ended his 34 years of service, apparently a casualty of his truthful and no-nonsense investigation of the said abuses against prisoners of war.

    Taguba was born in Manila. His father fought in the Battle of Bataan as part of the 45th Infantry Regiment of the US Army.

    In 1972, Taguba was commissioned 2nd lieutenant and fought in the Korean War. He was a platoon leader at the Combat Support Company in 1974-1975 of the 1st Battalion, 72d Armor, 2nd Infantry Division, I Corps, Eighth Army.

    Taguba commanded the 1st Battalion, 72nd Armored Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey and was the executive officer of the Republic of Korea-U.S Combine Forces Command.

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    Fil-Am pop-rock artist banners “Gala for Justice”

    May 8th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    YouTube sensation and pop-rock artist Filipino American AJ Rafael during interview with reporters. Photo © Abner Galino

    FILIPINO American YouTube sensation and pop-rock artist AJ Rafael headlined the Asian Americans Advancing Justice inaugural black-tie gala at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County last week.

    Over 300 guests, composed of prominent business, legal and philanthropic leaders, came to celebrate and honor AAAJ’s 12 years of service and accomplishments in the Orange County community.

    AJ Rafael said he considered it a great honor to be part of the celebration.

    I have performed in colleges and in shows, but I haven’t been invited to galas a ton. But Sylvia Kim invited me. And I am really excited because I am all about Asian American representation, Filipino American representation, not only in the entertainment industry, but also in things like this… So it feels good to be here,” AJ Rafael said.

    The Filipino American singer said he had done concerts in the past for autism awareness and other meaningful advocacies.

    Rafael treated guests to a special medley of popular Disney songs.

    Foremost of the personalities that graced the affair were Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom and Anne Shih, chairwoman of the Bowers Museum, Sam Tang, Ed Lee, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos were among the attendees, along with philanthropic leaders from the Kay Family Foundation and the Long Family Foundation.

    Each and every day we are on the front lines of serving the third largest and fastest growing Asian American population in the country,” said Sylvia Kim, regional director of Advancing Justice-OC.

    With a small but mighty legal service staff, we’ve served over 1,200 clients through citizenship clinics over the past year and we are excited to announce that we will be expanding our services to include voter education and civic engagement. With your help, we will continue to grow and transform Orange County.”

    Since 2006, Advancing Justice-OC has been instrumental in serving the needs of the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

    The organization was first established in the county due to attacks and even deaths of Asian Americans at the hands of white supremacists. Since then, it has grown both in size and capacity, providing linguistically and culturally competent legal services.

    I am proud to serve as the emcee for tonight’s event,” said May Lee, news correspondent for CGTN American and first Korean American anchor at CNN.

    It’s amazing and tireless organizations like Advancing Justice-OC that serve our community everyday, helping to amplify Asian American voices and encouraging an entire generation to make a positive impact in their communities.”

    We have a long-standing commitment to serving and fighting for the rights of all immigrants and refugees. And tonight, I am thrilled to announce that we have raised over $250,000 to support Advancing Justice-OC,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles and key leader in the national Asian American civil rights movement.

    The AAAJ black-tue gala at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County. Photo © Abner Galino

    The Gala ceremony included the presentation of two awards to outstanding trailblazers in the Asian American community.

    Jeremy Lin, considered one of the most influential players in the NBA, was honored with a Public Image “Breaking Barriers Award for his leadership in breaking barriers and speaking out against Asian American stereotypes.

    I just want to thank Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Orange County for the 2018 Breaking Barriers Award. I know Advancing Justice is doing a ton of awesome work amplifying Asian American voices and encouraging a whole generation of kids,” said Lin, who is currently a point guard for the Brooklyn Nets.

    Oftentimes a lot of Asian American kids will come up to me to tell me thank you for being an inspiration. That’s something I’ve always cherished and embraced and I hope that as people look back on my story that will encourage young kids to continue chasing their dreams.”

    Dr. Alethea Hsu, President of Diamond Development Group, was presented with the “Businessperson of the Year Award” for her trailblazing leadership in creating the iconic Diamond Jamboree Plaza.

    I am so honored to be selected as one of the honorees by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, along with Jeremy Lin. Unfortunately, he cannot make it this evening. But I promise you I am a pretty good substitute,” joked Hsu upon accepting her award.

    Jeremy and I have more in common than it might appear. We are both Taiwanese Americans and we are both dedicated to improving our communities. And I unleash insanity in my business practices.”

    We owe the success of Diamond Jamboree to the continued support of our patrons, and our ability to provide such a diverse community with restaurants and stores,” continued Hsu.

    Many of our patrons either find our menu interesting or they feel at home. We are encouraged to be able to please people with different backgrounds. And that is the secret of our success.”

    I invite each and every one of you to join us as we make history and build a legacy of fighting for justice on behalf of our communities right here in Orange County,” said Kim in her closing remarks.

    Now more than ever, we are in need of a unified voice to stand up for justice on behalf of our communities.”

    The “Gala for Justice” Host Committee included Joseph Cruz (Ernst & Young LLP),Mark Furuya (Clark Construction Group), Gloria Lee (Rutan & Tucker, LLP), Vivian Long (Long Family Foundation), Ginger Ong, Jack Toan (Wells Fargo), and Mike Yim (Quantum Capital Partners).

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    Filipino American Community in LA celebrates 73rd anniversary

    May 7th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Guest beauty queens Mrs. Philippines-USA Rosemary Mejia (extreme left) and Miss Filipina International Nikki Zulueta join the newly installed good ambassadors of FCC/FACLA namely; Elizabeth Zaide (Mrs. Filipino Cultural Center/FACLA), Amy Saguinsin (Mrs. Luzon), Alyssa Stovin (Mrs. Visayas), Elizabeth Galang (Mrs. Mindanao), Pamela Saguinsin (Miss FCC/FACLA), Renoa Felix (Miss Teen FCC/FACLA), JerrikaPacheco Chow (FCC/FACLA 1st princess) and Keira Mai Kwan (FCC/FACLA 2nd princess). © Photo by Bobby Crisostomo

    A SIMPLE but meaningful celebration marked the 73rd anniversary of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles in the historic Filipinotown late last month.

    The gala night was highlighted by the honoring and crowning of FACLA’s ambassadors of goodwill – Elizabeth Zaide (Mrs. Filipino Cultural Center/FACLA), Amy Saguinsin (Mrs. Luzon), Alyssa Stovin (Mrs. Visayas), Elizabeth Galang (Mrs. Mindanao), Pamela Saguinsin (Miss FCC/FACLA), Renoa Felix (Miss Teen FCC/FACLA), Jerrika Pacheco Chow (FCC/FACLA 1st princess) and Keira Mai Kwan (FCC/FACLA 2nd princess).

    FACLA president Fernandico Gonong said the celebration was an opportunity to recall that FACLA and its headquarters (the Filipino Cultural Center) were legacies of four farmers who had great visions for the succeeding generations of Filipino immigrants.

    The challenge before us is not just to keep these inheritance for ourselves, but improving them, and making them relevant and useful to the incoming generations of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles,” Gonong said.

    Gonong also took the opportunity to call on fellow Filipino Americans to consider joining efforts to strengthen the Filipino American presence in the Historic Filipinotown of Los Angeles.

    As the second largest immigrant community in LA and in the US in general, Gonong said, Filipino Americans should be able to harness such strength to earn economic and political benefits for the community.

    Another FACLA leader, Bernie Targa-Ganon said organizational reforms have taken place since the new leadership took over less than a year ago.

    The physical changes to the Filipino Cultural Center are quite visible. You just have to come and see for yourselves. But more important than that are the reforms that have been instituted within the organization,” Targa-Ganon stressed.

    According to her, FACLA have strengthened its system of checks and balances within the leadership. FACLA has reportedly become more transparent and dynamic in its mission to serve the Filipino American community.

    Music throughout the night was provided by father and daughter tandem Boyd and Caroline Elston; and the trio of Imelda Wood, Rolly Javier and Robert Gamo.

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    Original Pilipino Music “Hitmakers” wow crowd in Orange County

    May 6th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    OPM Hitmakers (from left to right) Rico J. Puno, Rey Valera, Hajji Alejandro and Marco Sison meet fans after the concert. Behind them are producers Ashton Panlilio, CK Cruz, Terry Cruz and Ian Tallara. Photo © Arnold Capati

    THE magic of the so-called OPM’s Hitmakers have yet to wane as they bewitched the jam packed Filipino American crowd at the Grove of Anaheim Sunday last week.

    The Filipino fabulous four were given a standing ovation by the crowd at the end of the show.

    The Filipino music icons Rico J. Puno, Hajji Alejandro, Rey Valera, and Marco Sison also praised the crowd after the concert as they gave fans the opportunity to take selfies/groupies with them and to sign their souvenirs.

    You’re such a vibrant and spirited crowd. Salamat po,” Valera said after the concert.

    Puno is best known for his song “May Bukas Pa,” Alejandro for “Nakapagtataka,” Valera for “Maging Sino Ka Man” and Sison for “Si Aida, Si Lorna, O Si Fe.”

    The OPM Hitmakers brought back the memories of years ago with their past hit songs.

    Terry Cruz, one of the producers, said she was delighted that the crowd, despite the presence of many young people, enjoyed both the humor and the music of the Filipino fabulous four.

    Tinanong ko sila: Ang sabi nila naririnig daw kasi nila sa mga magulang nila ‘yung mga kanta na narinig nila ngayon,” Cruz added.

    An audience, Ellen Freel, said that she also enjoyed the jokes because most of them were actually current.

    Galing pa nang delivery ng mga jokes. Matatawa ka talaga. Lahat sila magaling,” she narrated.


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    Filipino American workers join May 1 rally in southern California

    May 5th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Members of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) show their butterfly costumes as they join other marchers during the commemoration of the International Workers Day. Photo © Abner Galino

    A BIG contingent of Filipino Americans, most of them workers, joined thousands of marchers in the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the commemoration of International Workers Day.

    In Los Angeles, the non-profit organization Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), led Filipino Americans in a festive five-mile march from Pershing Square to the Federal building in Los Angeles St.

    Lolit Lledo said the PWC participated in the march to express its commitment to the causes of workers, particularly those who belong to immigrant communities.

    PWC sent some members wearing butterfly costumes. When asked why, Lledo explained: Butterfly symbolizes unending journey towards better future.

    Immigrant workers, Lledo added, are in constant travel, literally and figuratively, to seek for better working conditions and for better quality of life in general.

    As this developed, over 200 community members marched from Cesar Chavez Park to Long Beach City Hall to espouse workers rights and other issues that affect working class communities.

    Organized by the May Day Long Beach, a coalition of over 19 social justice groups, non-profits, labor unions, and other grassroots organizations the march proceeded under the theme “Resist State Violence, Rise Up for Our Communities, and Reclaim Our Power.”

    Among the speakers were George Funmaker from Red Earth Defense and Xenia Arriola from Gabriela Los Angeles who performed a song to highlight U.S. military funding for political killings in the Philippines.

    Jonaya Chadwick from Housing Long Beach spoke about how her family is facing eviction and how all residents need renter protections.

    The mother of Eric Rivera from Wilmington spoke about police brutality and the murder of her son by police officers.
    Alejandra Campos from Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition highlighted challenges that undocumented families face such as the lack of access to health care.

    “Healthcare is not only a one person issue, but an issue of everyone regardless of immigration status, and our communities deserve to live healthy!”

    Nereyda Soto, a hotel worker organizer, spoke about how hotel housekeepers fear retaliation from management, experience sexual harassment from guests, and are overworked and underpaid. Soto talked about how the union helped workers talk about their pressing issues.

    Photo © Abner Galino

    Another speaker, Robert Bagalawis, a 16-year-old member of Anakbayan Long Beach, shared the story of his Filipino immigrant parents and their struggle to raise a family in Long Beach. He spoke about how his parent’s wages are too low and that they work so many hours that they rarely spend quality time with their children.

    The May Day Long Beach march ended at City hall with rap and musical performances by local artists Patricia Poston (Poetic S) and Vanessa Acosta.

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    Boracay closure may adversely affect Iloilo and Panay

    May 3rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Lambunao town mayor Jason Gonzales (seated in the middle) poses with members and officers of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles, the organization that operates the Filipino Cultural Center. From left to right are Bert Frias, Art Garcia, Freddie Castaneda, Evelyn Gapultos and Rey Ganon.
    Photo © Abner Galino

    THE closure of the world famous Boracay island in Aklan province will certainly affect the economy of other provinces in Panay island, where the famous tourist spot is located, especially in Iloilo.

    This according to Lambunao, Iloilo town mayor Jason Gonzales during an interview with reporters while having a short visit to the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Temple St., Los Angeles Thursday last week.

    We are talking of around 5,000 workers. And some of them are residents of my municipality,” Gonzales said.

    According to the young mayor, the sudden drop of tourists in the region may cause an economic downturn particularly in Iloilo City.

    Iloilo acts like a gateway to Boracay. Many tourists stay and roam around the city before going to Boracay,” Gonzales explained. He said the effects of the closure of Boracay is certain to be felt strongly in the towns and cities that surround the beach destination, as it would also affect the entire tourism industry of the country.

    There is a strong feeling of uncertainty everywhere, and we could just hope that things would turn out fine,” Gonzales said.

    As Gonzales looked around the FCC, he expressed his delight in finding a place in the heart of downtown Los Angeles where Filipinos could hang out and engage their compatriots.

    The Lambunao mayor is here on a seven-week training program sponsored by the non-profit and non-partisan organization called Eisenhower Fellowships.

    The program connects leaders from all over the world to experts and senior officials in government, industry, academia, arts and other non-profit sector.

    Eisenhower Fellowships was created by prominent Americans to honor President Dwight Eisenhower for his contribution to humanity as a soldier, statesman and world leader.

    The fellowship experience are expected to mold aspiring leaders to become agents of change — committed to creating a peaceful, prosperous and just world.

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    Mutya ng Pilipinas Southern California opens search for candidates

    April 29th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Mutya ng Pilipinas (SC) hopefuls (all of them seated starting from 2nd left) Marucut, De Castro, Lorenzo and Gibson pose with guest and organizers of the event. Photo © Pol Joaquin

    THE Mutya ng Pilipinas Southern California opened up its search for this year’s Miss Mutya giving rise to opportunities for its prospective queen to compete in beauty pageants in the Philippines.

    Camille Agbayani, one of the MPSC organizers, told reporters during a press conference at the L’Aura Wellness in Artesia that unlike other beauty pageants in Southern California, winners of the MPSC pageant go back to the Philippines, and compete and if they have showbiz or modeling ambition, they also have the opportunity to pursue them there.

    “(Winners of other Filipino beauty pageants) they stay here, they don’t go back to the Philippines (to compete). Unlike with Mutya (winners), they will go back (and compete)…”

    Agbayani was reacting to a query from reporters on what makes MPSC different from other Filipino beauty pageants in Southern California.

    For her part, Venus Macias Marin, Mutya ng Pilipinas manager, went on to explain that the winners of the MPSC pageant are assured of chances to compete in at least four international pageants.

    “You know, this is really a good pageant,” Marin added.

    Marin went on to explain that MPSC is first and foremost an organization that seeks to promote tourism in the Philippines.

    “It is the mission of Mutya ng Pilipinas International and we are ardently supporting that mission,” Marin said.

    During the same press conference, the pageant organizers presented at least four of Mutya candidates – Kyra de Castro, Allison Lorenzo, Jill Marucut and Maricel Gibson.

    According to Marin, a fifth candidate came late and was not presented to the media. A sixth candidate gave her commitment to the pageant but herself failed to show up for still unknown reason.

    Mutya’s first batch of candidates impressed guests and members of the media, not only because of their beauty, but due to their astuteness as well.

    De Castro is a student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Lorenzo is a nursing student at the California State University San Marcos, Gibson is a pre-medical student at the Biola University and Marucut is a union organizer.

    Former beauty queens Anjanette Abayari (Binibining Pilipinas) and Rosemarie de Vera Javier (Mutya ng Pilipinas 1980) also graced the event.

    Miss California Earth Suzanne Perez, a student at UC Irvine, hosted the presentation.

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    Fil-Am teen inspired by Pia Wurtzbach to seek Miss Teen CA title

    April 28th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    The reigning Miss Costa Mesa Teen, 14-year old Realah Crespin with a copy of US Asian Post where BD writer Abner Galino also writes. Photo © Abner Galino

    BEAUTY queens inspire people in many ways and the closest illustration of this is when they are able to pass on their mindsets to young girls who share the same passion for pageantry.

    Realah Crespin, 14, reigning Miss Costa Mesa Teen is spellbound by former Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

    “I’ve always been fascinated with Pia. I love it that she is proud, that she tried four times and failed. And then she won Miss Universe, the biggest title. That’s a feat that I would like to achieve,” explained Realah.

    Well, to aim high is the way to hit high. But still, with things as they are, Realah knows that for now, such a prospect is at best, amounts to a pipe dream.

    Realah, the daughter a Spanish engineer and a Filipina nurse, is set up to compete in Miss Teen California, possibly in January.

    If Realah wins that title, that would give her a ticket to compete in Miss Teen USA. And then, she has to wait to get to the right age so she could compete in Miss California and win it to be able to compete in Miss USA. If she gets to wear the Ms. USA crown, only then when she could try to be the next Ms. Universe.

    That is more or less, the route that she has to take to duplicate Pia Wurtzbach’s feat.
    Realah, isn’t a dreamland kid anymore.

    “Competing isn’t all about winning. Win or lose, you still gain,” explained Realah.

    “I practice four hours every week. I train in question and answer. Stage presence, that’s also important. I practice walking — walking wearing a gown, walking wearing a sportswear.”

    Through all these drills and actual competitions, Realah said her personality has been enriched; saying she has developed a strong confidence on herself and a budding sense of integrity.

    The teener said she understands that being honest and authentic are important not only during pageant competitions but in life as well.

    “When you are dishonest and pretentious, it’s gonna come back to you in the long run,” Realah stressed.

    As a beauty queen, Realah also see opportunities to give back to the community.

    “Me and my fellow title holders in Miss Costa Mesa are espousing causes and advocacies. For me, I am talking about the different types of bullying and how to stop them,” Realah disclosed.

    Aside from this, Realah also engages in teaching dancing and singing to school kids.

    Realah wishes to follow the footsteps of her mother, Leah, who works with people with special needs.

    “I like what my mom does, helping people with special needs. I also want to be in the medical field someday,” added Realah.

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    Prominent LA based Fil-Am photog unfurls RP flag in Mt. Everest

    April 24th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Mabuhay! Shouts Romeo Balboa as he proudly unfurls a Philippine flag at the base camp of Mt. Everest in Nepal. This photo was taken from his Facebook page.

    PROMINENT Los Angeles based Filipino American lensman Romeo Balboa has achieved a new milestone in his colorful life: He just unfurled the Philippine flag at the base camp of the world famous Mt. Everest in Nepal.

    Nevertheless, even if he wanted to, Romeo wouldn’t be able to reach the summit of the mountain as it is temporarily off limits to climbers.

    Bawal po muna daw pumanhik sa taas kasi delikado masyado dahil sa nangyaring lindol,” Romeo’s son, Lauren, told this writer over the telephone.

    Even then, reaching the base camp of Mt. Everest is no easy feat.

    Sampung oras pong hike ‘yun bawat araw bago makarating sa base camp,” Lauren said.

    In Romeo’s own Facebook posts, the noted photographer described the eight-day hike to the base camp as a “grueling” trek that was marred by “rain, snow,” and “high winds.”

    The adventurous photographer said he was exhausted and exposed to severe cold, apparently causing him to develop coughing.

    Fortunately, Lauren said his father is alright and is now own his way back to Los Angeles.

    “He will be back in about a week from now,” Lauren said.

    Several years ago, Romeo has also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania which is known as the highest mountain in Africa.

    The prominent LA based photographer held a photo exhibit last year at the La Habra Art Gallery wherein he displayed photographs of his travels in France, Italy, Tanzania in east Africa, Toledo in Spain and to at least four states in the US. (Read More:

    Romeo’s is also known here as another rags-to-riches story. He came to the US as an automobile mechanic and painstakingly built his motor shop. He now owns a fleet of fancy cars and other properties.

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    Advocates warn against citizenship inquiry during 2020 Census

    April 23rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    US Secretary Wilbur Ross. Image © wikipedia

    CIVIL Rights advocates recently criticized US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ decision to include the inquiry on citizenship in the 2020 Census.

    The critics said the question would cause many people, particularly those belonging to communities of color and immigrants, to shy away from the Census which could result in inaccurate counts.

    During a recent telebriefing organized by the Ethnic Media Services, civil rights advocates iterated that the US Constitution requires that the Census count all persons, not just citizens, for the purpose of apportioning representation in the House.

    However, Ross said the critics’ claim that the question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census will lead to fewer responses is based more on gut feeling than actual evidence.

    Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, dismissed Ross’ rebuttal and outrightly called the citizenship status question a “tactic to scare away the Latino population from the 2020 Census.”

    According to Vargas, a full count of the Latino population is the real barometer of a successful census. He went on to reveal that about a million children were not counted in the previous census and about 400,000 of them were Latinos.

    Vargas said rights advocates are bewildered why Ross overlooked the contrary opinions of his predecessors and as well as of scientists in the bureau when he made the decision.

    John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said it is the responsibility of the Commerce department to ensure that all questions in the census are properly tested and coherent with data. Yet, Yang claimed, the citizenship question was included in the census without the benefit of a thorough study or test.

    Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference Education Fund, brought to fore the problem of under funding that has been plaguing the national Census.

    Trump administration has only allotted $3.8 billion for the 2020 Census, which Gupta claimed, was $933.5 million short of the estimated expenses.

    Gupta said that Census has been chronically under funded but it is worst this time, adding that such would even worsen the problem of under counting.

    Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of National Urban League, added that under funding forces the Census bureau to delay, re-scope and eliminate critical test, research and other operations that “impact the bureau’s ability to conduct an accurate count.”

    The census is sent to every household once a decade to provide Congress with an official count of every U.S. resident. It is a more thorough measure than the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey, which is based on a population sample of more than 3 million households a year.

    Census data is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, draw state legislative districts and delineate school districts. It is also the baseline used to divide up some US$675 billion in federal funding for education, infrastructure, health care and other services.

    About 22 million non-citizens are living in the United States and about 11 million of them undocumented.

    As this developed, the Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors approved a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to direct LA County to join the State of California’s lawsuit or other lawsuits in opposing the inclusion of this citizenship question the 2020 Census.

    LA County is home to 3.5 million immigrants, and we already face significant challenges counting minorities, immigrants, and other hard-to-survey populations,” said Supervisor Solis, author of the motion.

    With congressional apportionment and US$400 billion annually dependent on a Census that accurately counts all populations, I am deeply troubled by this ill-conceived decision by the Trump Administration. This action is unconstitutional and LA County should join the State of California in fighting for the voices of our most underserved and undercounted populations.”

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    Noypitz returns, Kapistahan closes

    April 22nd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Image © Facebook

    A FILIPINO restaurant that has been gone for five years has re-opened as another in the heart of Filipinotown in Los Angeles bade goodbye to its clientele.

    Noypitz Bar and Grill officially opened its doors again to its Filipino American clients at noontime Saturday last week. The ribbon cutting was officiated by Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelito S. Cruz and California state senatorial candidate Mike Eng.

    The restaurant which used to be situated by the freeway 134 in Glendale has found a new home in Lakes Drive, West Covina.

    Manager Laurence Gumban is very happy to be reunited with many of his co-workers from the old Noypitz and considers the change of venue as among the advantages of the new Noypitz. The old Noypitz closed in December 2013.

    “I think we have a better location — in terms of parking and structural additions and also, I think we have a bigger Filipino American community here,” Gumban said.

    He added Noypitz remains as it was: fine dining restaurant and entertainment bar.

    Catharine Cruz (middle), wife of Philippine Consul General in Los Angeles Adelio S. Cruz, poses with Noypitz Bar and Grill original owner Larry Calonzo (far right) and Rose Sarreal, mother of one of its new owners. On the left of Cruz are Sarreal’s daughter and granddaughter Christine and Aliyah.
    Photo by Bobby Crisostomo.

    “We will continue to serve authentic Filipino cuisine. We will provide a place for Filipino families to enjoy a savory and quiet dinner,” Gumban added.

    Which means, Gumban explained, that there will only be piano or jazz or soft solo performances during dinners. Dancing and/or band performances will start at 9 p.m.

    Noypitz will also serve affordable single order plates during lunch when their so-called “happy hours” begins with (read) beer at US$2.50 per bottle.

    Singer and Kapistahan Grill former owner Ciamara Morales on the stage with friend and co-host Jamie Bacani. Photo by Pol Joaquin

    On the other hand, the Kapistahan Grill restaurant in Temple St., in Los Angeles has closed its doors to its clients on the night of that same Saturday.

    Kapistahan has been the watering hole of downtown LA’s Pinoy videoke lovers for the last nine years.

    One of its owners, singer and former Filipinotown beauty Queen Ciamara Morales said she and her partners in Kapistahan’s decided to go separate ways due to some personal changes ahead of each of them.

    For one, Ciamara is tying the knot with her fiancée in September.

    “It was all good though. Wala namang perpektong samahan. But we are all moving on — in good terms with each other,” Ciamara said.

    And the good news is: We are not really going to lose the only fine dining restaurant in Filipinotown. Ciamara disclosed that a similar type of restaurant would rise very soon at the same spot that Kapistahan is vacating.

    “I’m definitely going to be a part of it,” Ciamara added, “and what’s ongoing are negotiations with those who would be partners in this new venture.”

    Ciamara also disclosed that the prospective Filipinotown restaurant will be called “Chibogs.”

    “We promise our loyal patrons that it would be better,” Ciamara concluded.

    Inside story

    Months before it closed, people have been talking about the owners of Kapistahan Grill looking for people who would buy them out from the business.
    Rose Sarreal, whose son is one of the new owners of Noypitz, was among those who got interested in taking over Kapistahan Grill.
    Kinausap ko si Larry at si Gemma (Strong). And we decided to form a partnership,” Sarreal recalled.
    According to Sarreal, the owners of Kapistahan Grill were very accommodating to them.
    Gusto naman nila kami. Umuusog naman ang usapan,” Sarreal said adding that unfortunately, the owner of the property played “hard to get” with us and his “demands” turned off the prospective investors.
    So, lumabo na ‘yung tsansa na kami ang makakuha ng Kapistahan,” Sarreal intimated.
    Almost simultaneously as a new plan to phase out Kapistahan Grill took shape, the original owner of Noypitz, Larry Calonzo, found an Indian cuisine restaurant in Lakes Drive, West Covina. The said restaurant was closing out and Calonzo quickly negotiated to secure the place.
    May kaunting challenges during the process, but eventually, nakuha rin namin,” Sarreal intimated.
    Last week, a soft opening preceded last Saturday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Noypitz.
    Natuwa naman kami kasi napakaraming taong dumating. Naisip naming, marami pa rin palang interesado sa Noypitz kahit matagal itong nawala,” Sarreal noted.

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    Los Angeles artists and performers to hold tribute for Bernardo Bernardo

    April 14th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Bernardo Bernardo

    ARTISTS, performers, community leaders and fans, whose lives were touched by the art and empathy of Bernardo Bernardo are paying him tribute at the Filipino Cultural Center next Saturday.

    The April 21 event is dubbed as “A tribute to Bernardo Bernardo: a musical, cultural and creative arts extravaganza.”

    The occasion is being spearheaded by the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), the Philippine Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC) and the Filipino American Press Club of California (FAPCA). Reception will start at noon.

    FACLA is the organization that operates the Filipino Cultural Center at 1740 Temple Street, Los Angeles.

    Bernardo recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. His sister, Rosalinda, will be the guest of honor.

    Artist and Beyond Deadlines writer Vics Magsaysay said the tribute is meant to highlight the contributions of Bernardo both as an artist and as a distinguished member of the Filipino American community in LA.

    “At the same time, this tribute is also meant to highlight the unity, the strength and the sense of brotherhood among Filipino American artists here in Los Angeles,” Magsaysay added.

    At the moment, 11 visual artists have pledged to put up at least one piece of their works on the FCC wall as their way of honoring Bernardo.

    The visual artists who have confirmed their participation are (in random order) Bienvenido “Boi” Sibug, Magoo Valencia, Rodolfo Samonte, Mon Concepcion, Luz Balbin Spanks, Johnny Esj. Otilano, Cesar Devera, Natins Villanera, Matt Relox, Sal Budz G. Floriano and Vics Magsaysay.

    Fe Koons will read her poems in remembrance of Bernardo.

    Distinguished performers, led by Joseph Gelito, Joni Villamil, Lou Sabas and Mon Concepcion, will remember Bernardo through songs, dance and poems.

    Other performers are Maya, Imelda Wood, Aaron Concepcion, DJ Jen, Maryann Samadi, Jigger Gaza, Gabe Real, Victor Lelis, Jack Campano, Luz Balbin Spanks and Mat Relox.

    Journalists Lydia Solis and singer Mon Concepcion will help Gelito in hosting the show.

    There will also be a video presentation of Bernardo’s moments in Los Angeles, both as a performer and as an active member of the Filipino American community.

    Already, generous donors have pledged to contribute for food and refreshments during the show, among them: the Fiesta Fastfood, Island Pacific, Monique and Terre Villonco, Rose Sarreal, Maryann Samadi, DJ Aljess Bernardo and Thelma Calabio.

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    California State senatorial bet honors memory of Fil-Am leader

    April 13th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    State senatorial candidate Mike Eng is flanked by Filipino American leaders (from left to right) Art Garcia, Grace Barrios, Fernandico Gonong and Johnny Chua. Photo © Abner Galino

    AS he continues to make his rounds of communities in the San Gabriel Valley, California state senatorial candidate Mike Eng has been praising the legacy of Filipino American political leader Gonzalo “Monty” Manibog.

    Eng has been telling people that he lives in a street that was named Bataan by then former Monterey City Councilman Manibog to honor the historic contributions of Filipino Americans to the city’s growth and progress.

    Manibog is the first Filipino American elected official in the U.S.

    Eng recalled that he was endorsed by Manibog when he ran for a seat in the Monterey City Council, when he ran for the State Assembly and also when he sought inclusion in the leadership of the Los Angeles Community College District.

    “His endorsement brought me tremendous prestige and resulted in winning 9 consecutive elections,” Eng said in remembrance of his dearly departed friend.

    Manibog was a national gymnastics champion, an Olympic wrestler, author, attorney, councilman, mayor, veteran and author. He died at age 86 on August 12, 2016.

    Eng is running for the 22nd Senate District in the June 5 primary election. The said election covers most major cities between Monterey Park and west of Walnut — covering around a million residents. Its winner will run in the November general election.

    Cerritos Mayor Pro Tem Mark Pulido, a prominent Fil-Am public official; West Covina (WC) Mayor Pro Tem Lloyd Johnson, WC Council Members James Toma, Corey Warshaw, and Councilman Tony Wu have all endorsed Eng.

    Moreover, Eng is also endorsed by Hilda Solis, Janice Hahn, Katherine Barger, Mark Ridley-Thomas, all members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors; as well as Senator Ed Hernandez, who is the current State Senator for the 22nd District; Senate Pro Tem leader Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Congresswomen Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu.

    “I have been a proud immigration attorney to the Fil-Am community for almost 40 years, promoting citizenship and family reunification. At the same time I was advocating for justice for the war veterans who were treated unfairly,” Eng said.

    Eng started the first Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Committee at the Los Angeles Community College District. He is widely recognized for his legislation that caused the inclusion of Filipino Americans and other Asian Pacific Islanders in the research used for allocation of resources by the California departments.

    Meanwhile, Eng is scheduled to cut the ribbon during the re-opening of famous NoyPitz Bar and Grill, through the invitation of its owner Larry Calonzo, on Saturday noon at 1230 Lakes Drive, West Covina.

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    A neophyte and a seeded competitor bags separate crowns in Miss Cosmos tilt

    April 11th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    The title winners and special awardees in the just concluded Miss Teen Cosmos California and Miss Cosmos California 2018. Photo © Tony Garcia

    A 14-year-old first timer won as Miss Teen Cosmos California while a stunning 2nd runner up placer in a recent major Los Angeles beauty tilt was crowned Miss Cosmos California 2018.

    “I really didn’t expect this,” said Rinoa Felix while still on stage for pictorials shortly after last Sunday’s competition ended.

    Rinoa got the judges’ nods apparently for her outstanding reply during the question and answer portion. She seems to have impressed the judges and as well as most of the audience with her lengthy and on point opinion about cyber bullying.

    The teener’s grandmother, former journalism teacher Elizabeth Zaide, said she was so happy she went along when her granddaughter asked her to let her join the competition.

    Gusto lang talaga naming pagbigyan ‘yung kagustuhan ng bata,” Zaide recalled.

    Krystal Fernandez became the first ever Miss Cosmos California for bringing into the competition the polished movements and the confidence that she has acquired from previous competitions. She was also in disbelief when she realized that she won the crown over 1st runner up Allie Borman.

    The two ladies were together at the center of the stage during the announcement.

    Krystal was also picked as Miss Photogenic.

    Miss Teen Cosmos California Rinoa Felix and Miss Cosmos California Krystal Fernandez. Photo © Tony Garcia

    The other ladies who also went home with titles and special awards were Desiree Rearte (2nd runner up), Jonalyn Nauta (Miss Cosmos Tourism and Best in gown), Linda Sanchez (Miss Cosmos Latina), Syelle Jom (Best in talent) and Maria Stefani Robles (Best in swimsuit).

    In the teen division, the other winners were Amanda Hanson (1st runner up, Best in swimsuit, Best in talent), Maria Robles (2nd runner up) and Brianna Rearte (Miss Teen Cosmos Tourism, Miss Photogenic, Best in gown).

    The show was amply adorned by Miss Utah Krista Kleiner, honorary Miss Teen Cosmos 2017 Nathalie Andrei Barry and honorary Miss Cosmos 2017 Allana Marie Miclat Alonzo.

    Musical performances were rendered by former Earth Wind and Fire vocalist Sheldon Reynolds, folk singer Matt Commerce and Jeanelle Serquina.

    The entire production was jointly put up by JR. Guzman, JM Ureta, Joseph Obligacion and DJ Aljess Bernardo.

    Rein Hanson, the show’s producer, expressed elation over the success of the competition that culminated at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.

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    No More “Code Black” in LAC+USC

    April 6th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Image ©

    THE efforts undertaken at the Los Angeles County+University of Southern California Medical Center markedly reduced patient wait-times and overcrowding, and improve patient flow throughout the hospital – reducing time spent in “Code Black,” the most critical level of hospital overcrowding.

    This was revealed in a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

    The LAC-USC Medical Center is so busy that a former resident physician of its Emergency Department created the “Code Black” documentary and television series, a close up look at the inner workings of the hospital.

    The hospital is the largest public medical facility west of the Mississippi and has one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the U.S. The number of patients cared for is so large that the hospital has long struggled with overcrowding.

    In the new scientific manuscript, physician and nurse leaders at LAC+USC describe efforts to work with front-line staff to implement a series of no-cost, efficiency interventions to improve patient flow.

    Hospital staff developed and enforced strict criteria for telemetry, step down and intensive care units to move inpatients more efficiently through the continuum of care, freeing beds for hospital-admitted patients in the Emergency Department.

    The result was a remarkable improvement in dangerous and critical overcrowding in the hospital.

    “Like other safety net hospitals in high density urban areas, LAC+USC has historically been ground zero for emergency services demand,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

    “At LAC+USC, providers and staff are working in partnership to comprehensively support the needs of the community and advance towards a future of shared prosperity and health for all. I want to commend the LAC+USC clinical and administrative staff for their efforts to innovate and to overcome these operational challenges, and for continuing to deliver excellent care to our most vulnerable and often underserved patients from across the County.”

    At baseline, the hospital spent an alarming 55% of time in dangerous (Code Red) or critical (Code Black) overcrowding conditions; after the interventions, the hospital spent <5% of its time in such conditions.

    The improvement in patient flow is a result of teamwork across many professional disciplines,” said lead author and LAC+USC director of inpatient services Charles Coffey Jr., MD, MS.

    As a result, patients are able to get the high-value hospital care they need and deserve in a much more timely manner.”

    Senior author and LAC+USC chief medical officer Brad Spellberg, MD, said the efforts should improve patient satisfaction and reduce staff burnout.

    It’s noteworthy that the hospital achieved these goals with existing staff and without having to purchase new technology, and by improving our processes. The television series brought attention to the challenges that LAC+USC faced, but I guess they will have to change the name of the show!”

    Many said it could not be done in one of the busiest Emergency Departments in the country,” added LAC+USC chief executive Jorge Orozco, “but this effort reflects our staff’s deep commitment to providing world-class care to our community.”

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    Korean War Protest in Los Angeles’ Koreantown

    April 5th, 2018

    By Abner Galino / Odette Galino

    Korean Americans are joined by members of the International Action Center (IAC), a multi-racial anti-war coalition, in protesting supposed the war mongering of the Trump administration against North Korea.
    The protest was held last week at the corner of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Photo © Odette Galino

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    49 units of affordable housing open for the homeless in North Hollywood

    April 4th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Homeless in Los Angeles. Image ©

    NORTH Hollywood, California – Officials from the Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (CDC/HACoLA) celebrated the grand opening of The Fiesta, a 49-unit affordable housing development.

    The project includes 12 units for homeless persons that are frequent users of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Service (DHS), and 37 units for homeless persons living with a mental illness. It will also include one onsite property manager’s unit.

    The CDC/HACoLA provided construction and permanent financing of USD1.6 million in County General Funds. The loan included a USD100,000 incentive to assist with the development of a Federally Qualified Health Center.

    The LA Family Housing, the site’s developer, will also be the lead service provider offering an onsite case manager and service coordinator, mental health services, and substance use disorder counseling.

    “The beauty of a project like The Fiesta is seeing all partners come together to create a one-stop service site that puts the needs and the goals of its residents at the forefront. At The Fiesta, homeless individuals can be assessed and sheltered at the same location where case managers connect them to the resources they need to progress out of homelessness. We are honored to be part of such an impressive effort,” said Monique King-Viehland, executive director of the CDC/HACoLA.

    Residents of The Fiesta will enjoy amenities such as a community room with a communal kitchen, computer lab, a residents’ lounge, and fitness room.

    The site has laundry rooms, outdoor common areas and a solar powered hot water system.

    The Fiesta will also have five units for mobility-impaired residents and two units for audibly or visually-impaired residents. It will exceed California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards by 30 percent, and achieve LEED gold standard.

    For more information on the development of The Fiesta, please contact Andrea Johnson at (818) 255-2790.

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    Bigtime politicians attend Mike Eng’s Calif State Senate campaign kick off

    April 3rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Former Assembly Member Mike Eng (5th from left) is flanked by LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis (left side) and his wife Congresswoman Judy Chu (right side). They are joined by various local city mayors and executives, and by leaders of teacher and worker unions. Photo © Abner Galino

    AN assemblage of political bigwigs in the San Gabriel Valley graced late last month’s kick off activity of the California state senatorial campaign of former Assembly Member Mike Eng in El Monte.

    Among the political bigwigs who came and endorsed Eng’s candidacy last March 24 were Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, Congresswoman Judy Chu (who is also Eng’s wife), Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon and the outgoing state senator Ed Hernandez.

    Hernandez, who called Eng “a brother from another mother,” endorsed the former assembly member to replace him as he reached his law mandated term limits thus creating an opening for the 22nd Senate District seat.

    “This man has the track record to show that he will continue to fight for San Gabriel Valley when he gets there,” Hernandez told the cheering crowd.

    Solis, for his part, described Eng as the leader who “knows the lay of the land” and would get things done for his constituents.

    “He will be there for us to help us on our water. He will make sure do to conserve and recycle, and hopefully, continue to have the luxury that we still have, that is the clean water,” Solis said.

    Eng authored California Assembly Bill 685, also known as the Human Right to Water Bill, which was noted by the United Nations as an “inspiring example” for world governments.

    The bill “instill a public policy to create universal access to safe, clean, and affordable water, and consequently, creates a duty for administrative agencies involved in water policy that impact domestic water use to consider Bill 685.”

    Eng is also the main author of California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, which was cited by the Huffington Post as one of the top six most significant progressive victories of 2012 in the U.S. in dealing with home foreclosures.

    Several mayors in San Gabriel Valley also came to support Eng, chief of them Mayor Andre Quintero of El Monte who also hosted the program.

    Eng, in response, said he will make it a part of his campaign platform to promote the idea of designating the Asuza-Amar intersection commercial area as Little Manila. (Read More:

    “I totally endorsed this area as the next historic designation of Little Manila,” Eng told a crowd of Filipino American community leaders and members of the media during a meet and greet event at the Aztig Grill in West Covina about a week earlier before the campaign kick off.

    Eng has served as a Mayor and City Councilman, State Assemblyman, and Community College Board Vice President. He has also served as Vice Chair of the State Board of Acupuncture; and President of the Monterey Park Library Board of Trustees.

    While in the Assembly he chaired the Committee on Transportation; the Committee on Business and Professions, and the Committee on Banking and Finance.

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    Future is bleak for Dreamers unless power changes in US Congress

    March 28th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Image © Campus Safety Magazine

    THE future is bleak for the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals under the administration of President Donald Trump, according to immigrant rights advocates.

    It’s highly unlikely that Congress is going to pass any relief to benefit young people who make a huge contribution to the country they call home,” said America’s Voice in Washington D.C. Director Frank Sharry during a national press call last week.

    Sharry also said that it has been obvious from the start that the Trump administration is engaged in “war on immigrants,” adding that it has been working to “slash immigration by 50%, turbocharge deportations and construct a border wall as wasteful as it is insulting.”

    Trump arbitrarily ended DACA by issuing a presidential decree.

    Sharry said that a change of power in Congress after the November elections, appears to be the best chance for the Dreamers.

    Our best hope is that litigation will allow Dreamers to keep their status until hopefully we get a new Congress (in November’s elections).”

    Dreamers and supporters mass up at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles during a protest rally last September. Photo © Abner Galino

    The national press call was also participated in by National Immigration Law Center (NILC) lawyer Joshua Rosenthal, Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) Deputy Director Sally Kinoshita and California Labor Federation (CLF) field coordinator for southern California Hector Saldivar.

    The ILRC’s Ready California hosted the event for ethnic media last March 13 during which Rosenthal agreed with Sharry and stressed that the “courts are only able to go so far.”

    According to him, Congress and the states can provide better protection to immigrants.

    Kinoshita cited several state measures that provide protection against federal efforts to harm immigrant communities, among them: SB 54, AB 103 and AB 540.

    These measures restrict the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement); require the state attorney general to inspect detention facilities operated under contract with the federal government; and require judicial warrants in advance of detentions.

    These laws help to make clear that California is much safer for immigrants,” Kinoshita said.

    Kinoshita also noted that the state has allocated USD45 million for immigration education, outreach and legal services.

    Saldivar, who is himself a DACA recipient, narrated his family’s painful experience when his mother was recently denied re-entry into the country. At the same time, he also praised AB 540 for its role in curtailing ICE’s ability to enter work places at will without a judicial warrant.

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    Los Angeles marathon draws inspirational runners

    March 25th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    A woman afflicted with ALS is wheeled by her loved ones’ and supporters during the LA Marathon last Sunday. Photo © Teodoro Yap

    AROUND 24,000 runners participated in the 33rd Annual Los Angeles Marathon, among them were the so-called inspirational runners who joined either draw attention to their respective causes and advocacies or raise funds for charities.

    Among them, Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner’s wife, Kourtney, who is raising funds for the veterans and their families.

    Also, seen during the run were inspirational runners in wheelchairs who are drawing attention to unfamiliar yet injurious kinds of diseases such as ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

    The runners started the 26.2 mile course, dubbed as Stadium to the Sea, at Dodgers Stadium while temperature hovered at about 47 degrees.

    The long line of runners snaked through downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills before reaching its finish line in the shoreline of Santa Monica, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

    The LA Marathon is the nation’s fourth largest marathon and the 10th biggest in the world. Its prize money is USD100,000.

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    Search is on for Mrs. and Miss FACLA; Miss Teen and Ms. Cosmos; and the Miss Philippines America

    March 22nd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Photo © Tony Garcia

    Beauty pageants are the Superbowl of the Filipinos.

    In 2015, Pia Wurtzbach got a hero’s welcome when she brought back the Miss Universe crown. Ayala Avenue, the main road of the Philippines’s business capital, was closed off in the middle of weekday and thousands of people gathered – carrying signs, waving flags and tearing up as they greeted Miss Universe Pia.

    The love for beauty queens and the enthusiasms for the competitions that produced them are just as intense among Filipino Americans in California’s southland (the heart of which is in Los Angeles).

    At the moment, around a dozen beauty contests have announced their respective searches for candidates.

    Here are some of the beauty pageants that were hit by our radar:

    Mrs. and Miss Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) 2018

    After a three-year hiatus, the Mrs. and Miss FACLA competitions are back.

    The search for Mrs. and Miss FACLA is part of an elaborate preparation for the 73rd anniversary of FACLA, the organization that operates the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) at 1740 Temple St., Los Angeles.

    Applications for the pageants are now being received at the FCC and will last until April 20, 2018. The winners of the beauty search will be crowned on the FCC/FACLA 73rd anniversary on April 28, 2018.

    Requirements are as follow:

    For Miss FACLA 2018
    1. Must me a member of FACLA/FCC.
    2. Must be around 18 to 28 years of age.
    3. Must be of good moral character.
    4. Must be of at least 25% Filipino descent
    4. Must be ready to represent FACLA after the crowning in major events.
    5. Must pay an application fee of $100

    For Mrs. FACLA 2018
    1. Must be a member of FACLA
    2. Must be around 30 years old and above.
    3. Must be of good moral character
    4. Must be ready to represent FACLA
    5. Must pay a candidacy fee of $100

    Candidates and/or other interested parties may contact pageant director Bernie Targa-Ganon at (323-683-6477 or (213) 263-2373 for applications and questions.

    Miss Cosmos California

    Last Sunday at the Little Tokyo Mall in downtown Los Angeles, ten young beautiful ladies opened up the first ever search for Miss Cosmos California.

    Rein Hanson, the pageant’s producer said the competition is not exclusive to Filipino Americans but open to all teenagers and ladies from all races.

    Aside from the certainty of learning a lot of things from the competition (particularly in the field modeling and entertainment), candidates are also guaranteed of a once-in-lifetime experience of interacting with beauty title holders, fashion designers, pageant coaches, entertainers and members of the local media.

    And who knows what other opportunities our pageants can open up for these young women,” Hanson said.

    Coronation night will be April 8, 2018 at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts at 15498 Espola Road, Poway, California 92064.

    Inquiries can be coursed through Rein Hanson at (760) 687-6968 and

    Miss Philippines America

    Still in Los Angeles, another organization announced its search for Continental Miss Philippines America, Continental Miss Teen America, Continental Miss America Petite, Continental Mrs. Philippines America and Continental Mr. Philippines America during a recent cocktail reception at the Out of Asia, an antique shop at La Brea Avenue.

    Noted fashion designer Jao Verdeflor is producing the said competitions.

    Lani Sapphire, who hosted the program, said the competitions are open only to natural born females and males of Filipino ancestry, of good moral character and have not committed any crime.

    For Miss Philippines America, Miss Teen America and Miss Philippines America Petite; the candidates must be 13 to 17 years for Miss Teen) of age, and 18-25 years old for Miss America and Miss America Petite.

    Candidates must 16- to 25 years old to be able to participate in the Mr. Philippines America.

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