Posts by Abner:

    PH Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes holds town hall meeting in Los Angeles

    February 13th, 2018

    Senator Sonny Trillanes stresses a point during a town hall meeting at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in Los Angeles. Photo by Irwin Jazmines

    PHILIPPINE opposition Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV met with the Filipino-American community last Saturday in Los Angeles.

    The meeting, which was organized by the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA), was attended by groups of pro and against the Duterte administration. It was held at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) building at Glendale Avenue, Los Angeles.

    Tension was high throughout the meeting but the cooler heads of the event organizers prevailed. The meeting ended with members of both factions making peace with each other and shaking hands. Some of them even hugged each other before leaving the place and some even took “groupie” shots.

    Trillanes, who is a known critic of Duterte, calmly and gamely answered queries from both sides of the political divide.

    Among the most salient issues discussed during the forum were: the senator’s role as an emissary in a back channel talks with the government of China during the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino; the recent pronouncement of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to conduct preliminary examinations of alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines; the defense of Philippine territories amid Chinese incursions; the danger facing children vaccinated with Dengvaxia; the proposal to shift from a unitary form of government to federalism and the senator’s role as a member of the opposition.

    A full coverage video of the event is available online at Kapitbahay News.

    The town hall meeting was also participated online by representatives from organizations of Filipinos in Canada, France, United Kingdom and San Francisco, USA.

    Convenor Agoo Fedalizo of FAHRA lays down the rules at the start of the town hall meeting at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in Los Angeles. Photo by Tony Garcia

    At the start of the meeting, convenor Agoo Fedalizo laid down the guidelines supposedly reached by the FAHRA board of directors after analyzing the two recent town hall meetings that they set up for Trillanes in Chicago and in San Francisco.

    Fedalizo said FAHRA wanted only legitimate members of the media and their members to take video of the event to avoid the creation of “fake news.” The FAHRA proposal was opposed by pro-Duterte guests.

    Nevertheless, even as Fedalizo reiterated his position not to allow video coverage of people that they did not authorize (claiming he could not change the board’s decision by himself), the rule was not implemented physically though.

    Those who wanted to ask questions to Senator Trillanes were asked to form two lines at the center of the room. They were alternately called to shoot their questions together with those who were participating online.

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    Filipino ice skater Michael Martinez leaves Los Angeles for Winter Olympics in South korea

    February 8th, 2018

    Michael Christian Martinez. Photo ©

    THE Filipino Ice Skating Prince, 21-year-old figure skater Michael Martinez left Los Angeles Monday night for Pyeongchang, South Korea two days after a warm send-off party from friends and supporters in the City of Carson.

    I’m very thankful for the support and for everybody being here doing the send-off party for me… and just showing all the support and love for me, and support for the country. I’m honestly thankful for that,” a very optimistic Martinez told mediamen on Saturday night at the iDance Studio at Avalon Boulevard, City of Carson.

    Martinez admitted that he was “very nervous” during his first appearance at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

    My experience (in the 2014 Winter Olympics) would help me calm my nerves when I compete in this Olympics,” Martinez added.

    Martinez earlier told local reporters that there was no lull in his training even when he earlier failed to earn a slot in the Nebelhorn Trophy held in Obersdorf, Germany in September 2017. The competition was a qualifying tournament for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

    Filipino Ice Prince Michael Martinez does a “groupie” with friends and supporters during the send-off party.  Photo by Tony Garcia

    The figure skater spends at least four hours in the skating rink everyday, taking day-offs only on Saturdays.

    The Filipino Ice Skating Prince placed 8th over-all in the Nebelhorn Trophy which put him as a first alternate to the 2018 Winter Olympics slot.

    In a welcome turn of events, the Swedish Olympic Committee decided not send their skater Alexander Majorov who placed 7th in the Nebelhorn Trophy after he failed to meet the scores set by the Swedish Olympic Committee.

    When Sweden offered Majorov’s slot, the Philippine Skating Union and the Philippine Olympic Committee confirmed him to be the country’s representative to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

    Martinez is competing against figure skaters from the US, Belgium, Italy, South Korea, Ukraine and Malaysia.

    The send-off party for fans and supporters was organized by Martinez’s avid supporter Nonie Belarmino at his iDance Studio.

    The figure skating events will start on February 9 at the Ganeung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang.

    Martinez is the first skater from Southeast Asia and from a tropical country, the Philippines, to qualify for the Olympics.

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    US based multi-racial rights group condemns arrest of peace negotiator Baylosis

    February 7th, 2018

    A demonstrator reads a statement denouncing the Philippine government’s arrest of a consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the recently terminated peace talks. Behind him are other speakers who have been symbolically gagged to represent the suppression of press freedom in the Philippines. Photo © Abner Galino

    A HASTILY called demonstration was held Monday in front of Philippine Consulate General’s office here in Los Angeles by mostly Filipino-American youths to denounce the recent arrest of communist leader Rafael Baylosis.

    Baylosis was a consultant to the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) negotiating panel in the recently terminated peace talks with the Philippine government.

    The demonstrators, belonging to the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), took turns in denouncing, among others, the use of US taxpayers’ money to violate human rights in the Philippines after which the speakers were symbolically gagged by their colleagues to represent the alleged suppression of press freedom in the Philippines.

    Joy Prim, ICHRP Southern California network coordinator, told reporters that the multi-racial alliance was “concerned and outraged” by the recent arrest of Baylosis by Philippine government agents. She said the ICHRP believes that Baylosis’ arrest was a violation of the rules of the peace talks between the NDF and the Philippine government.

    “You cannot unilaterally terminate peace talks. There is an internationally recognized mechanism to do that,” Prim explained.

    Prim added that the termination of the peace talks also reflected on President Rodrigo Duterte’s lack of sincerity to pursue the “people’s desire for a just and lasting peace.”

    She urged the Philippine government should return to the peace negotiations.

    “Peace negotiations are hard. They are not easy. But when you really commit honestly and openly to that process, people’s lives are saved and the reasons for the sufferings could really be addressed without more people dying,” Prim concluded.

    In the Philippines, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Silvestre Bello III told the media that the arrest of Baylosis does not signify a crackdown on the leaders of the legal left-leaning political movement.

    Bello explained that some NDF consultants were only granted temporary liberty under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) because of their roles in the peace talks. The said privileges were revoked as the peace process has been terminated.

    NDF Consultant Rafael Batylosis Photo ©

    He clarified that Baylosis was arrested because of a pending criminal charge. But NDF consultants, Bello added, who are without pending cases in courts would not be arrested.

    Baylosis and his companion, Guillermo Roque, were arrested on Wednesday afternoon at the corner of Aurora Boulevard and Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. (Read More:

    Government critics said the arrests were made without court warrants.

    The arrest of Baylosis came days after President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he will “go after the legal fronts” of the Left.

    Itong NPA, totodasin ko talaga sila. Tatapusin ko. The talks are over. No more talks. And I will go after the legal fronts,” the President said in a press conference in Davao.

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    US Human Rights Commission seeks stop of all mass atrocities

    February 4th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE United States Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has scheduled hearings on United States policy in relation to the prevention of mass atrocities around the world.

    In a press statement, the bicameral human rights commission defined “mass atrocities as large-scale, deliberate attacks against civilians, and include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

    The commission reminded the public that after the Holocaust that happened during World War II, the United States and the international community have “vowed to never again stand by in the face of genocide and mass atrocities.”

    “But since then mass atrocities, including genocide, have been committed in Indonesia, Cambodia, Guatemala, East Timor, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria, among other places.”

    “Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, tortured, or suffered sexual violence; and millions more have been forced to flee, generating profound humanitarian, political, and national security consequences.”

    In 2006 National Security Strategy presented by President George W. Bush, the U.S. government has explicitly prioritized the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities.

    In 2008, the bipartisan Genocide Prevention Task Force laid out a prevention blueprint for U.S. policymakers, and in 2011, President Obama established the Atrocities Prevention Board, which continues under President Trump’s administration.

    “The United States has been a leader in marshaling the international community and fashioning tools, policies, and programs to prevent and address mass atrocities. Nevertheless, as the recent atrocities committed against the Rohingya in Burma have once again made clear, more is needed,” said the commission.

    In the said hearing, the first of a planned series, resource persons will elaborate on the concept of mass atrocities, discuss the difference between prevention and response, and examine the relationship between the prevention of atrocities and U.S. national interests.

    Witnesses also will identify current situations of concern around the world.

    Panel I

    • Father Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Commissioner, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

    Panel II

    • Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
    • Charles J. Brown, Managing Director, Strategy for Humanity
    • Richard Fontaine, President, Center for a New American Security

    The hearing will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media and live streamed via the Commission website at:

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    “I will keep singing in heaven” – Dylan Durias

    February 1st, 2018

    South Border keyboardist Jay Durias performs for his deceased brother and fellow musician Dylan during a memorial at the Filipino Disciples Christian Church at Union Avenue, Los Angeles on January 26. Photo © Jason Bascon

    “I will keep singing in heaven,” these words ran across the video wall as a short tribute movie for deceased musician Dylan Durias was about to end.

    This happened during a memorial set up by family and friends at the historic Filipino Disciples Christian Church at Union Avenue in Los Angeles on Friday night, January 26.

    Up there, maybe a voice like of that of Dylan (Oct. 21, 1980 – Jan. 15, 2018) has no chance of standing out among the multitude of angels who could probably sing better.

    Well, but who knows?

    But down here, where having a heavenly voice only comes as a rare gift to some mortals, Dylan’s singing would certainly be missed.

    That voice hushed the rowdy noise of an inebriated crowd at a birthday party thrown for the hubby of rock ‘n roll singer Malou Toler at Josephine’s Cerritos about a week before he passed away. (Read More:

    Dylan shyly walked up to the stage and sat behind the keyboard. And as soon as he sung the first line, he had the room for himself.

    For his third and last song, the crowd insisted that Dylan sing Kahit Kailan, which about a decade ago was a hit song of a Filipino pop and R&B band South Border (where his older brother Jay Durias is a keyboardist). He obliged and had the crowd yelling, “More! More! More!” But as a seasoned musician that he was, he simply smiled and walked away.

    Every musician knows that it is always best to leave your crowd while still engulfed in its awe.

    Dylan left many people in Los Angeles in shock over his sudden departure and grieved genuinely not only over the loss of a talent, but more so, over the loss of a great person.

    Daniel Belen, owner of Bamboo Bistro, has these kind words for Dylan:

    “Actually, I have not known him (Dylan) for long. But he was so easy to like. Napakabait at napaka-simpleng tao. And very talented as well. Kaya nag-boluntaryo tayo na dito gawin ang benefit concert.”

    On Sunday (January 21), a benefit concert was held at Bamboo Bistro. It was led by saxophonist and original South Border member Ric Junasa and host/singer Cory Miranda.

    Among those who attended the said concert, band manager Mike Moya shared Belen’s impression about Dylan.

    “Kasi si Dylan, when you meet him, you’ll feel like you’ve met him for a long time. Hindi ka maiilang sa kanya. He was always smiling, very friendly to everyone,” Moya recalled.

    On Wednesday (January 24), another group of musicians held a benefit concert at Josephine’s Cerritos titled: One last set for the Big Guy.

    The said mini-concert was led by Malou Toler and participated by many Los Angeles-based musicians.

    Jay Durias, brother of the deceased musician and keyboardist of South Border, also participated in the concert.

    On that same night, there was viewing held at the Pierce Brothers Turner and Stevens Mortuary in Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel.

    Dylan is not Jay

    On January 18, to address a seeming confusion, Minnie Junasa (speaking on behalf of her husband Ric Junasa and who is a sister-in-law of Jay Durias) issued the following clarifications:

    • that the Los Angeles Department Medical Examiner has not yet issued a declaration that Dylan Durias has died due to a heart attack; and that any information that went public about the musician’s cause of death did not come from them.
    • that Dylan Durias was the brother of Jay Durias of the famous band South Border.
    • that while Dylan has performed with the South Border as an alternate to Jay on some occasions (the brothers had an identical voice register and body built) it was actually his brother Jay who was officially connected with the band.
    • that the current members of the South Border and its management consider Dylan as “family.”
    • during the memorial for the deceased, Minnie said there was an indication that Dylan actually died from aneurysm.

    Circumstances of Dylan’s death

    Dylan was with other two friends shortly after lunchtime when they went to a Filipino restaurant near the corner of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard to have a snack.

    Among the plates the trio ordered were “goto” (porridge) and “tokwa’t baboy.”

    Durias’ friends said they did not notice anything unusual with the musician while they were eating.

    “We were even sharing our plates with one another,” recalled one of Durias’ friends.

    However, after they finished their meals, Durias suddenly felt an excruciating pain on his belly as he was about to leave the table. He returned to his seat clutching his belly and asked his friends to call 911.

    Dylan’s last words were: Lord, help me!

    The responders came within five minutes after the call but Durias has passed out by that time.

    The paramedics applied first aid to Durias and rushed him to a hospital.

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    Two Pamana ng Lahi visual artists respectively doing solo in Los Angeles and PH

    January 28th, 2018

    Fil-Am artist Johnny Esj Otilano in front of his works at Erehwon Gallery in Quezon City.

    TWO visual artists who participated in the Pamana ng Lahi art exhibition during the Filipino American Heritage month in the United States recently got themselves solo shows here in Los Angeles and in the Philippines.

    Here in Los Angeles, 65-year-old unconventional artist Sal Floriano, better known as Sal Budhz, brought out his full collection of his so-called “Tawas Series” at the Vape Goat Gallery at 5054 York Boulevard.

    I think I was able to build up this collection for about two years,” Sal Budhz told reporters during the exhibit’s opening night last January 13.

    His works, which included several pieces of sculptures, will be on display at the gallery until February 8.

    The sculptures, according to Sal Budhz, has been gathering dust in his backyard.

    Nilinisan ko uli para maisali,” he said smiling.

    The artist created the sculptures when he was still working for Tiled Guild Incorporated and later for Jeffrey Tiles Company, where he stayed for more than ten years.

    Nagulat ‘yung boss ko nung makita niya ang mga iyan (tile sculptures). Hindi niya akalain na magiging ganyan kaganda ‘yung mga scrap,” Sal Budhz narrated.

    Hollywood actor John Savage (middle) shares a light moment with Fil-Am artist Sal Budhz Floriano and wife. Photo by Abner Galino

    The Tawas Series Artworks are pieces made with sand, colors and mixed media on canvas. Budhz said he used fine red sand from Utah. He pours them on the canvas while beating a brush to form images.

    Salbudhz has a fine arts degree from the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in Manila. But while here he took classes in ceramics at Pasadena City College and sculpture at Mount San Antonio College to improve his artistic skills.

    Meanwhile, another Pamana ng Lahi participant artist Johnny Esj. Otilano is also in the middle of his first solo show in the Philippines at the Erehwon Center for Arts at Villa Beatriz Subdivision, Old Balara, Quezon City.

    The show is titled, My Old Guitar Series, is a collection of mixed art canvasses revolving around the theme of the artist’s worn-out guitar that his mother gifted to him.

    My works that revolve around my old guitar depict my emotional and mental journey here in the US as an immigrant,” Johnny explained.

    In 2013, his work “My Old Guitar” received Margaret Hudson Choice and the People’s Choice Award at the Pink Show here in the US.

    Eccentric in his art, Johnny’s works, aside their old guitar theme, mostly contained what appeared like an “all-seeing” eye.

    He explained it as: “The eye on my paintings symbolize my Father when he got into an accident as an overseas worker in Saudi Arabia he lost his right eye. Since then I started putting one eye on my paintings as a tribute for my hardworking Father. I would like to thank him for where I am now, for everything he taught me and for everything he had done for me.

    Aside from being a visual artist, Johnny is also a singer and songwriter. He earned a bachelor’s degree on Fine Arts from Feati University in Manila, majoring in advertising design.

    Sal Budz and Johnny were part of 10 artists who participated in the first Pamana ng Lahi art exposition at the Filipino Cultural Center on Temple Street in the Historic Filipinotown Los Angeles.

    The Pamana ng Lahi was jointly organized by the Philippine Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC) and the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) as part of the month-long celebration in October of the annual Filipino American Heritage Month in the US.

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    “Ball gown moments” dream of four finally came true

    January 24th, 2018

    Two grooms and “dreamy wedding gown moments for three sisters.” From left to right: Francis Adriel, Lence Alonzo, Kristian Cuesta, Aireen Lao Sencio, groom Raffy Reyes and groom Michael Lao, Mae Lao Gonzales, Christian Esmundo, Mylynn Lao Medina and Jomari Reyes. Photo © Abner Galino

    CHANCES are, if a woman wishes to marry, she most likely wishes to walk the aisle in a wedding ball gown. Right?

    Well, that’s when circumstances were ideal. But when reality bites, she could settle for less. Nevertheless, settle or not, the “wedding ball gown dream” doesn’t just fizzle out.

    Michael Lao, 32, a same-sex marriage groom, has three sisters who are all married. However, they didn’t exactly get to wear their “dream wedding gowns” during their special moments.

    “It may sound silly, but it was my dream for my sisters to wear those dreamy wedding gowns. And now that I am getting married, I asked them to be my groomsmaids so I can walk with them down the aisle on those wedding gowns,” narrated Michael.

    But it wasn’t just about Michael wanting that moment to happen. There wouldn’t be a story to tell if not for fashion designer (whom Michael has never met) who helped him realized the “dreams.”

    “I really wanted it to happen but I also don’t want to go beyond our humble budget. I thought I needed to stretch my luck and gather all my courage to ask a fashion designer that I adore, Puey Quiñones of Cocomelody, to be our fairy godmother (principal sponsor) and to lend as four gowns for the wedding,” recalled Michael.

    Michael e-mailed Puey and, to his surprise, he got a positive response.

    “He was in his store in Japan at that moment and told me that we can go to his shop in LA and choose any gown to borrow for free,” Michael added.

    “So weeks before my wedding, we went to his shop. Cocomelody caters to all sizes and have a great range of designs — from simple to the most elaborate ones. Each of my sisters was able to pick a gown of her dream.”

    Puey Quinones (LIFESTYLE)

    Quiñones’ generosity extended to a fourth groomsmaid, Lence Alonzo, 29, a good friend to both grooms Michael and Raffy Reyes.

    So, here’s some tidbits about Michael’s sisters:

    Mae Lao Gonzales, 36, a fresh nursing school graduate from the Philippines when she married at age 20. She eventually became a registered nurse (RN) in the US.

    Mylynn Medina, 45, married at aged 25 when she and her husband were starting out a life here in the US. Her husband eventually became a registered nurse (RN). The couple have two kids, aged 19 and 12.

    Aireen Sencio, 38, was also building up a life here in US with her husband. They chose to buy a house over a lavish wedding. The married at a courthouse and had a simple reception at a hotel. They were blessed with two daughters.

    Raffy, for his part, praised Michael for his efforts to reward his sisters with the “dreamy wedding ball gown” moments.

    “This just showed how loving my husband is. Long ago, even before meeting me. My husband already have in mind who he would pick for his groomsmaids when he get married one day. He wanted them (sisters) to be happy too on that special day,” Raffy said.

    “I’d like to share this story. I feel very blessed to be married to the right man.”

    Michael and Raffy were married last January 7 at the Knollwood Country Club in Granada Hills.

    “I am so grateful to my brother for thinking about how to make us happy on his wedding day. My wedding was practical and simple. But he knows how I’ve dreamed of walking down the aisle with the most beautiful wedding gown. It may not be my own wedding today but it did make up somehow for what I’ve missed when I was marrying,” said Mae, one of the three sisters.

    “Of course, a big shoutout to Cocomelody and Puey for providing the gowns that made our dreamy wedding gown moments come true,” she concluded.

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    One last set for the Big Guy

    January 23rd, 2018

    South Border’s keyboard player Dylan Durias. Image © Dylan Duria FB page

    A BENEFIT concert to help out the family of the recently deceased musician Dylan Durias was held last Sunday.

    Held at the Bamboo Bistro in Panorama City, the concert was led by musician Ric Junasa, who was a close friend of the deceased, and host/singer Cory Miranda.

    Daniel Belen, owner of Bamboo Bistro, expressed sadness over Dylan’s sudden demise.

    Actually, I have not known him (Dylan) for long. But he was so easy to like. Napakabait at napaka-simpleng tao. And very talented as well. Kaya nag-boluntaryo tayo na dito gawin ang benefit concert,” Belen narrated.

    In his Facebook page, Belen said they were able to collect $2,370 for the family of Dylan.

    Band manager Mike Moya also shared a similar impression about Dylan.

    Kasi si Dylan, when you meet him, you’ll feel like you’ve met him for a long time. Hindi ka maiilang sa kanya. He was always smiling, very friendly to everyone,” Moya recalled.

    As the outpouring of sympathy continue, another group of musicians have also slated a benefit concert at Josephine’s Cerritos on Wednesday night (January 24). The concert is titled: One last set for the Big Guy.

    The said mini-concert is to be led by rock and roll singer Malou Toler and other Los Angeles-based musicians.

    Jay Durias, brother of the deceased musician, is also expected to participate in the concert.

    DJ Aljess Bernardo, who will also play his “turntables” during the show, said the concert will be free but donations will be asked from those who would come.

    Dylan’s family really needs our help, not only our moral support but as well as our financial support,” Bernardo added.

    A memorial for Dylan has been set on Friday (from 5 to 10 pm) at the Filipino Disciples Christian Church at 301 N. Union Avenue, Los Angeles.

    The former South Border keyboardist who also had a beautiful voice has died from an apparent heart attack on Monday (January 15) shortly after having a meal in a restaurant in Los Angeles. (Read More:

    Durias was with other two friends shortly after lunchtime when they went to a Filipino restaurant to have a snack.

    Among the plates the trio ordered were “goto” (porridge) and “tokwa’t baboy.”

    Durias’ friends said they did not notice anything unusual with the musician while they were eating.

    We were even sharing our plates with one another,” recalled one of Durias’ friends.

    However, after they finished their meals, Durias suddenly felt an excruciating pain on his belly as he was about to leave the table. He returned to his seat clutching his belly and asked his friends to call 911.

    The responders came within five minutes after the call but Durias has passed out by that time.

    The paramedics applied first aid to Durias and rushed him to a hospital.

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    11-year-old Fil-Am golfer to play in World Championship

    January 22nd, 2018

    Jaden Dumdumaya shows the form that qualifies him to the 2018 FCG Callaway World Championship at the Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, California in July 2018. Photo © Dumdumaya family

    AN 11-year-old Filipino American golfer, Jaden Dumdumaya of Fairfield, California, recently bagged the 1st place of the 2017 World Series Future Champions Golf Northern California Championship.

    With the win, Jaden has also qualified to the 2018 FCG Callaway World Championship at the Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, California in July.

    In the 11-12 Boys division qualifier, Jaden played along with Luke Montoya, Matthew Almajano, Andre Chung —who are all top junior players in the world.

    Only qualified and invited junior golf participants from all over the world comes every year to compete in the said tournament.

    The 2017 World Series FCG NorCal Championship was held at the San Juan Oaks Golf Club. It is an 18-hole Fred Couples signature design championship golf course.

    The golf course has been the proud host of Stage 1 PGA TOUR Qualifying and recently, the FCG Tour.

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    Los Angeles’ Kingdom Day Parade 2018 attracts thousands

    January 19th, 2018

    The front row of the Kingdom Day Parade 2018 as it approaches the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Los Angeles on Monday. Image © Abner Galino

    THOUSANDS came out to cheer and participate in the 33rd annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles to celebrate the life and legacy of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

    Last Monday’s parade, which was organized under the theme: When They Go Low, We Go High,” weaved through the stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (after departing from Western Avenue) and Crenshaw Boulevard and ended at Leimart Park.

    The theme was inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s comment on how to deal with “someone who is cruel or acts like a bully” during a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

    Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, served as the grand marshal of the parade.

    The 2018 Royal Court beauties. Image © Abner Galino

    The parade was a mixed of protests, promotions of commercial and social advocacies, personal advertisements, government employees interactions with the public and group performances.

    The parade included floats and contingents from the California Highway Patrol Group, the Los Angeles Sheriff Department, the LAPD Mounted Unit, the LA Unified School District marching band, upcoming science fantasy adventure film “A Wrinkle in Time”, the Cathedral City High School Ballet Folklorico Dance Group; and the Korea Eung HWA Dance Company

    Volunteers, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Service Employees International Union (SEUI), Hare Krishna, New Orleans Jazz Band, churches and evangelical ministries and personalities from local TV and radio stations.

    Fil-Am KTLA 5 news anchor Cher Calvin. Image © Abner Galino

    Also in the parade were Dodgers icons Derrel Thomas and Dennis Powell, World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight champion David Benavidez, former champions Timothy Bradley Jr. and Mike Weaver and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Henry Tillman.

    LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined by other elected officials that included City Attorney Mike Feuer, County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), City Council President Herb Wesson and City Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren Price.

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    South Border’s Dylan Durias dies of heart failure in Los Angeles

    January 17th, 2018

    South Border’s keyboard player Dylan Durias. Image © Dylan Duria FB page

    THE former South Border keyboard player who also had a beautiful voice has died from an apparent heart attack last Monday shortly after having a meal in a restaurant in Los Angeles.

    Durias was with other two friends shortly after lunchtime when they went to a Filipino restaurant near the corner of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard to have a snack.

    Among the plates the trio ordered were “goto” (porridge) and “tokwa’t baboy.”
    Durias’ friends said they did not notice anything unusual with the musician while they were eating.

    “We were even sharing our plates with one another,” recalled one of Durias’ friends.
    However, after they finished their meals, Durias suddenly felt an excruciating pain on his belly as he was about to leave the table. He returned to his seat clutching his belly and asked his friends to call 911.

    The responders came within five minutes after the call but Durias has passed out by that time.

    The paramedics applied first aid to Durias and rushed him to a hospital.

    Hours later, one of the two Durias’ friends got a call from the hospital informing him that Durias was in a very critical condition. The said friend connected the hospital staff with Durias’ family who live in Seattle, Washington.

    Durias also lived in Seattle and was recently in Los Angeles performing with an array of musicians that included his former South Border band mates.

    The group did a Christmas concert at the Envision Center which was promoted by DJ Aljess whom they met many years ago when the South Border was still an upcoming band. (Read More:

    The musician was last seen by this author performing at the birthday party early this month for the husband of LA-based rock n’ roll singer Malou Toler.

    Durias was exuberantly applauded by the crowd when he sang the South Border hit song “Kahit Kailan” and as well as his version of America’s “All My Life.”

    Clarificatory Updates as of January 18, 2017:

    Ric Junasa, the handler of Dylan Durias, has issued the following clarifications (through his wife Minnie) regarding the said musician who passed away last Monday:

    • the Los Angeles Department Medical Examiner has not yet issued a declaration that Dylan Durias has died due to a heart attack; and that any information that went public about the musician’s cause of death did not come from them.
    • Dylan Durias was the brother of Jay Durias of the famous band South Border.
    • While Dylan has performed with the South Border as an alternate to Jay (the brothers had an identical voice register and body built) it was actually his brother Jay who was officially connected with the band.
    • the current members of the South Border and its management consider Dylan as “family.”

    Beyond Deadlines apologizes to our readers and the bereaved family of Dylan Durias for any confusion the story may have caused. We also would like to extended our condolence to the Durias family and the members and supporters of the former South Border band.


    LA Clippers’ CJ Williams saves Filipino Heritage Night at Staples Center

    January 14th, 2018

    CJ Williams. Image ©

    WITH nine seconds left on the clock, the Filipino Heritage Night was nothing but ruined for the Filipino Americans who came to cheer for the Los Angeles Clippers against the Atlanta Hawks.

    But then, CJ Williams sunk a clutch 3-pointer from the court’s left wing, sending the Staples Center into a happy chaos.

    With three seconds left on the clock, Atlanta’s Taurean Prince had a window to throw a 15-footer on the Hawks’ last possession. Fortunately (only for the Clippers’ crowd), he missed the shot.

    CJ’s three-pointer put the Clippers over the Hawks on a one-point victory (108-107) and snapped its two-game losing skid.

    Replay: Before that heartbeat-stopping desperation shot, Clippers star Lou Williams (who has scored 34 points that night) just missed his 3-pointer. The ball was rebounded by teammate Wesley Johnson who wisely passed it to the well-positioned CJ Williams.

    The author with boxing star Brian Viloria. Image © Abner Galino

    The unease of the Clipper’s fans, particularly the Filipino Americans who showed up for their heritage night at the coliseum, started about halfway in the fourth quarter.

    Who would have thought last Monday’s game would turn that tight? The Hawks has been trailing by at least 10 points at the most throughout the three quarters that passed. But such was the National Basketball Association, a late game rally put the Hawks neck-in-neck with the Clippers (tied at 99) with roughly three minutes left in the game.

    The heroics of Kent Bazemore put Atlanta four points ahead of Los Angeles and to make the anxiousness agonizingly slow for the Clippers’ crowd, the Hawks decided to foul Clippers’ star Deandre Jordan on three consecutive possessions.

    The tactic didn’t work. Jordan sunk five of six free throws.

    The contingent of Filipino Americans who sent off the Clippers squad from the dugout must have exhaled a collective sigh of relief when the buzzer rang. By then, each of them was confident that they won’t ever be accused of jinxing the Los Angeles ballers — through banters or for real.

    With the Clippers win, the Fil-Am community has nothing but fond memories of the entire night that started with a reception at the City View Terrace of the Staples Center — where the Philippine Department of Tourism (P-DOT), headed by director Richmond Jimenez and the Philippine Air Lines (PAL), headed by Michelle Narvaez, hosted a select group of Filipino Americans to delicious snack.

    The two entities rolled up the curtains for the ongoing “Bring Home A Friend” tourism campaign through the help of four reigning beauty queens from the Binibining Pilipinas-USA and Binibining Pilipinas Teen-USA.

    Other guests were members of the media, boxing star Brian Viloria and Los Angeles public works commissioner Joel Jacinto.

    Viloria, a four-time world champion on two divisions, will be fighting undefeated Ukranian fighter Artem Dalakian. The boxers will clash for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight title on February 24 at the Forum in Los Angeles.

    Hip-hop artist Apl. de Ap, formerly of the famous Black Eyed Peas band, added distinction to the Filipino American contingent through his sterling performance (singing an original composition titled Bebot) during the game’s half time break. He was joined by another Fil-Am talent Jessica Reynoso – who herself wowed the crowd with her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

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    Six candidates for governor of California to face off in University of Southern California

    January 10th, 2018

    Bouvard Auditorium, USC is one of the oldest stage facilities in Los Angeles. Image ©

    SIX prominent men who are vying to become the next governor of the State of California will face off on Saturday at the University of Southern California Board Auditorium.

    Included in the six gubernatorial candidates are fierce rivals — former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former Lt. Governor and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Other contenders – Travis Allen, John Chiang, John Cox and Delaine Eastin – are also expected to attend.

    The six candidates will face off for the first time in a 90-minute discussion around the theme of “Empowering California: A Local Perspective.”

    The event, who is to be hosted by the Empowerment Congress, through Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics (USC), is open to the public and will be streamed live on the internet and public radio.

    ABC 7 Eyewitness News anchor Marc Brown and KPCC political reporter Mary Plummer will be moderating the event.

    After the said town hall meeting, a group of local leaders will sum up and discuss in a subsequent event dubbed as “Festival of Democracy” to further discuss the outcome of the gubernatorial candidates’ face off.

    The Bovard Auditorium is located at 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

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    Pilita Corrales sings in Los Angeles for the Filipino Cultural Center fund raiser

    January 5th, 2018

    Filipino music icon Pilita Corrales croons to the Filipino American crowd during a jam-packed mini-concert at the Filipino Cultural Center. Photo © Tony Garcia

    THE Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Los Angeles had a fitting show to end 2017, a concert by no other than the “Asia’s Queen of Songs” Pilita Corrales.

    The hastily organized concert last December 30, was able to draw enough people to fill the FCC to the brim.

    Pilita crooned the animated audience for more than an hour — employing only short puns and spiels to catch her breath and jump from one segment to the next to complete her repertoire.

    The audience could not help but notice the Filipina superstar’s apparent stamina despite her age. She has been around as a music icon for almost five decades.

    I am amazed at how she was able to perform that long and still hit the high notes,” noted Andy Teczon, a musician and professional photographer.

    Pilita sang medleys of pop and traditional songs in English and in Filipino (Tagalog and Visayan).

    Pilita Corrales as she wows the Fil-Am crowd. Photo © Tony Garcia

    Apparently, what brought the house down was when Pilita sang the Visayan song Usahay while sequentially translated in English by Atty. Mariano Alvarez, legal counsel of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA).

    During the show, Pilita told the crowd that she was here to record songs for Spotify when she was asked to do the show at the FCC.

    I wanted to help out so I quickly said yes,” Pilita said.

    Pilita earned the title Asia’s Queen of Songs for being the first Filipino to win in an international music festival, particularly the Tokyo Music Festival in 1972.

    The mini-concert was held to raise funds for the continuing improvement of the Filipino Cultural Center and was jointly organized by FACLA, led by Fernandico Gonong, and the Miss Philippines-USA headed by fashion designer Lou Razon.

    Among the satisfied audience, Marc Caratao of the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown, said Pilita’s show was among the results of the improving facility at the community center.

    If we keep on improving, we would be able bring more good shows and talents here,” Caratao added.

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    PH Senator Win Gatchalian holds town hall meeting in Los Angeles

    January 1st, 2018

    Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian Photo ©

    NEOPHYTE Philippine Senator Sherwin Gatchalian last week held a town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate General Office here in Los Angeles wherein he expressed his views on the several issues affecting the country and kababayan.

    Gatchalian started the Wednesday town hall meeting by bringing up the plight of Filipino overseas workers who are victimized by unscrupulous recruiters and human traffickers.

    Ang masakit pa, ang mga kababayan pa natin mismo ang bumibiktima sa kanila (Overseas Filipino Workers),” Gatchalian lamented.

    The senator urged the Filipino American community to help identify and prosecute those who are victimizing fellow Filipinos.

    At one point during the discussion, Gatchalian said the export of human resources is bound to continue despite promises by political administrations of supposed domestic job creations to keep Filipino workers at home.

    I don’t see it’s in our way to see Filipinos back home. I don’t see it’s in our way to have enough jobs for Filipinos to stay. Sana meron, it’s been the policy of every administration. Kapag papakinggan n’yo ‘yung campaign promise nila, sasabihin nila we will create enough jobs para wala ng umalis na Pinoy. But everyday 5,000 Filipino workers go abroad,” Gatchalian said.

    The trend, the solon added, is not going to change for at least “10 to 15 years down the road.”

    Consul General Adelio S. Cruz introduces Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (sitting alone at the front row) before Filipino American leaders and supporters at the reception area of the Philippine Consulate General Office in Los Angeles. Photo © Abner Galino

    At the moment, according to Gatchalian, the government could only help by making sure that there are enough “mechanisms” to protect the Filipino workers abroad which numbers to about 10 million (both documented and undocumented) around the world.

    The senator praised the freshly passed General Appropriations Act of 2017 for supposedly being progressive because it will grant free tuition fee on public colleges and will raise the base pay of policemen and soldiers by 100 percent.

    Gatchalian went on to drumbeat for a supposed improved peace and order situation in the country. He urged the audience to help promote Philippine tourism.

    Expectedly, the issue of extra-judicial killings was brought up during the discussion, which the senator downplayed.

    The comic relief came when the name of the controversial and newly appointed Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) director Sandra Cam was mentioned.

    Prior to this, Gatchalian said he would prefer that the PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan resign after the uncovering of the scandalous PhP10 million Christmas Party in the said agency.

    I think it (the act of organizing the Christmas party) was insensitive,” Gatchalian said.

    But when asked whether he approved of Cam replacing Balutan as PCSO general manager, Gatchalian simply smiled and said: “Wala po tayong alam diyan.”

    Gatchalian said he was on a personal trip and that the town hall meeting was his way of trying to connect with Philippine officials abroad and the expatriate community.

    We want to know their pulse and find out what we can do to help,” Gatchalian said.

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    South Border “originals” in Los Angeles reunion concert

    December 27th, 2017

    Celebrity chef Coco P. Cruz (3rd from left) is flanked by Dylan Durias (2nd from left) and Butch Victoriano during a photo op prior to the show. The other original South Border members in the show are Ric Junasa, Paul Benitez, Tata Balane and Keisey Hicban. Photo © Teodoro Yap

    THE South Border “originals,” with help from friends delivered in their reunion concert last week at the Envision Center in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California.

    With a rather long list of artist who showed off their talents before the former South Border group with their friends – vocals Leo Mercedes, King Pintal and Jacque Abad Santos – was called on the stage, a number of anxious fans were caught between staying or leaving the excitement.

    But those who stayed were amply rewarded especially with the rare chance to reminisce younger years back in the Philippines through South Border’s timeless song Kahit Kailan.

    The raw baritone voice of keyboard player Dylan Durias provided the masculine feel to the lyrics of the song that catapulted South Border to the limelight more than a decade ago. The audience went wild as he started to sing the first lines of the enduring song.

    Dylan was joined by Leo and King, who took turns in singing Kahit Kailan’s falsetto parts.

    The rest of the South Border originals; Butch Victoriano, Ric Junasa, Paul Benitez, Tata Balane and Keisey Hicban; showed the crowd why they were part of a band that was clustered with top pop bands such as Side A, True Faith, NeoColours and Freestyle.

    As expected, World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) grand champions Junior New System (JNS) dance crew provided enough spark to keep the energy high in the auditorium.

    The Junior New System dance crew energize the crowd with Christmas medley production at the Envision Center in Van Nuys. Photo © Teodoro Yap

    Other performers included Geneva Cruz, Malou Toler, Shekinah Paguirigan, Bianca Jolyn Garcia, Belle Cahapay-Fujimura, Aira Bella Luna, former Miss Philippines-USA contender Ericka Rose (Madlangsakay) and Garth Garcia, another WCOPA gold medalist.

    Both King and Malou brought their own bands and performed their respective repertoire.

    Ericka Rose was an unexpected revelation. She wowed the audience with her powerful voice.

    Aira Bella etched her own mark into the crowd’s collective memory with her almost effortless delivery of humor into her repertoire. She introduced her own version of what was funny and sexy.

    Garth Garcia, aside from doing his own numbers, also teamed up with Ashlynne Ragasa in hosting the show.

    More than a decade ago, South Border bade goodbye to its two vocalists Vince Alaras and Duncan Ramos, and shortly after, the rest of the band migrated to the United States.

    The band members had to leave the “South Border” in the Philippines even when most of them remained engaged with their music and art.

    Two months ago, the former band mates played together at Josephine’s Cerritos, one of the few places here in Los Angeles and suburbs that features live performances of Filipino bands.

    Expectedly, the former band mates were easily recognized by the crowd as the “South Border.” Someone who promoted the South Border in the Philippines when it was still an upcoming band, saw the musicians play.

    The former show promoter, Aljess Bernardo, who has also migrated in the US and has become a disc jockey; approached the former South Border members. He showed them a throwback picture of a South Border’s poster used in the promotion of their concert in a Bulacan college. The idea for reunion concert was consequently conceived and came to reality last Friday.

    South Border was formed in 1993. Its name was a tribute to the roots of its members who mostly hailed from Davao, a province in the southern Philippines.

    In the succeeding year, South Border won the most number of trophies at the 10th Awit Awards that included: Best Performance by a New Duo or Group, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Produced Record of the Year for their hit song Kahit Kailan.

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    Thousands of Pinoys in Simbang Gabi in Los Angeles

    December 21st, 2017

    Filipino lanterns or parol fill up the backdrop of the Our Lady of the Angels’ altar as thousands of Filipino American Catholics participate in the holy communion during the Simbang Gabi kick off on December 15.

    THOUSANDS of Filipino Catholics gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles on Friday to initiate the traditional Simbang Gabi, a nine-day series of Masses to honor the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus; and to anticipate Christmas Day.

    This year’s Simbang Gabi theme is: “Jesus, Light for our Shepherds, with Mary, Lead Us All to Holiness.”

    Devotees, many of them dressed in traditional Filipino costume, held a procession of parols (Filipino style Christmas lanterns) inside the cathedral and displayed banners of the parishes and organizations that they represented.

    Around 120 parishes from the archdiocese’s five pastoral regions participated in the kick off of this year’s Simbang Gabi.

    Fernandico “Jun” Gonong of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) holds up a parol during a parade inside the Our Lady of the Angels cathedral as part of the Simbang Gabi kick off.

    In his homily, Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose H. Gomez enjoined the faithfuls to “join Mary in her search for a place” where she could give birth to Jesus — a figurative call for Catholics to find God amidst the hustle and bustle of daily living.

    God is not going to speak to us in a spectacular way, nor an angel is going to come and speak to us” Gomez pointed out, but instead God “reveals Himself in ordinary things in our daily life.”

    Gomez enjoined the Filipino faithfuls to tune down the noises from the trappings of the gadget-dominated living and strive to find “silence with God.”

    Fr. Albert Avenido, head of the Filipino Ministry of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, expressed elation over the successful Simbang Gabi kick off. He particularly praised parish leaders from the San Pedro Pastoral Region who hosted this year’s Simbang Gabi kick off.

    Avenido also mentioned Maestro Robert “Bob” Shroder for bringing together an all-Filipino choir from San Pedro Pastoral Region parishes to perform for the occasion.

    Shroder, who is the musical director and conductor of the well-known Filipino American Symphony Orchestra, also brought along several musicians from his organization.

    Earlier, Georgina Uy, coordinator of Filipino Ministry in San Pedro Pastoral Region and chairperson of this year’s Simbang Gabi, said the celebration meant “to evangelize through our cultural tradition.”

    Sharing this tradition with the young is wonderful for it helps them understand the true meaning of Philippine Christmas. We want them to experience the spirituality and holiness of this event,” Uy added.

    Traditionally, Christmas in the Philippines is ushered by the Novena of Masses which begins on December 16th and culminates on Dec. 24th.

    After the Midnight Mass on the 24th, Filipino families go home to gather enjoy the “Noche Buena”, the family Christmas feast.

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    Activists mark Int’l Human Rights Day with film screenings in Los Angeles

    December 17th, 2017

    Emily Chan (1st from left) of Kabataan maka-Bayan (KmB or Pro-People Youth) stresses a point after the screening of Grandpa Sam at the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in downtown Los Angeles during the commemoration of International Human Rights Day. Photo by Teodoro Yap

    HUMAN rights activist, artists and community leaders marked the 67th International Human Rights Day celebration on December 10 with the screening of two advocacy films, namely Grandpa Sam and Tigbao, at the Pilipino Workers Center in downtown Los Angeles.

    The first film to be screened was Grandpa Sam, which tackles the plight of Filipino World War II veterans in the United States as they continue to fight for justice and equity.

    Grandpa Sam was produced by Fe Koons and directed by Al Domino.

    During World War II, about 250,000 Filipinos volunteered to fight alongside US. troops. As citizens of a commonwealth of the United States before and during the war, Filipinos were legally American nationals. With American nationality, they were promised all the benefits afforded to those serving in the US. Armed Forces.

    But in 1946, Congress stripped many Filipinos of the benefits that had been promised by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Of the 66 countries allied with the United States during World War II, only Filipinos were denied benefits.

    A discussion about the veterans struggle was facilitated by Emily Chan of Kabataan maka-Bayan (KmB or Pro-People Youth).

    Chan updated the crowd on the lobbying efforts of the Justice for Filipino Veterans (JFAV) at the US Congress for the passage of HR 3865 or the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2017.

    The bill, which was introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) to the US. Congress as H.R. 3865, now has 33 sponsors.

    The legislation seeks to eliminate the distinction between the regular or “old” Philippine Scouts and the other three groups of veterans—Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Recognized Guerrilla Forces and New Philippine Scouts. Such would enable widows and children of Filipino veterans to be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation without reservation as to which group of veterans they belonged to.

    This bill rights a shameful wrong created when Congress rescinded a promise to Filipino veterans of World War II over 70 years ago,” Rep. Speier said shortly after she filed the bill.

    I will not rest until these heroes, and their families, receive the benefits they need and deserve. If America won’t live up to its honor and duty to our allies and friends we may find ourselves alone in our next hour of need.”

    The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contained a provision that provided a lump sum payment of USD$15,000 for Filipino veterans who are now US. citizens and USD$9,000 for non-citizens.

    But there have been problems with the implementation of this payment program. To be eligible, a veteran has to be on the so-called “Missouri List,” an Army roster of eligible veterans.

    The Missouri List is incomplete. A 1973 fire destroyed 80 percent of the records for Army personnel from 1912 to 1960. As a result, over 17,000 Filipino veterans have had their claims denied.

    The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act directs the US Veteran Administration to take into account alternative military documentation to determine eligibility.

    The Recovery Act payments were a start, but our nation must bestow the full status it promised these veterans in wartime,” Speier concluded. “Their average age is 90. Fewer than 15,000 are still alive today, and they are dying at a rate of over 10 a day. For these veterans and their loved ones the time to act is now.”

    Going back to the film screenings at the PWC, guests and activists also saw heart-wrenching movie “Tigbao” which tackled the killing fields in Zamboanga peninsula in Mindanao.

    Film director Mike Bonifacio said the movie attempts to mirror the supposed reality under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, citing the more than 10,000 suspected extra-judicial killings that has occurred since he assumed office.

    Arturo P. Garcia, Filipino-American Human Rights Alliance-LA Coordinator acted as the moderator and emcee.

    A minute of silence was observed to honor the memories of Fr. Tito Paez, who was killed by unidentified suspects, and of Christian Pastor Lovelito Quiñones, who was supposedly killed by Philippine soldiers during a firefight.

    Fr. Paez was driving his vehicle through Sitio Sangalang, Barangay Lambakina in Jaen town, Nueva Ecija at about 8 p.m. on December 4 when he was ambushed and shot by four men riding two motorcycles.

    Days ago, Paez helped secure the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay at the BJMP jail in Cabanatuan City.

    Tucay, 38, was an organizer of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon in Nueva Ecija. He was arrested last march by soldiers of the 56th Infantry Battalion, police and intelligence operatives in his house in Sitio Compra, General Luna village, Carranglan in Nueva Ecija.

    Meanwhile, Pastor Quiñones, 57, was shot dead in Sitio Bait, Panaytayan town, in Oriental Mindoro.

    Quiñones of the King’s Glory Ministry was riding his motorcycle in Sitio Anapla, Barangay Don Pedro, when he passed near an area where an encounter between soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and rebels from the communist led New People’s Army (NPA) allegedly happened.

    The military claimed that Quiñones was a member of the NPA. He was supposedly in the company of seven other motorcycle-riding men who supposedly engaged soldiers in a firefight.

    According to the military, Quiñones was killed during the firefight while his companions escaped.

    Read More:

    Grim future for Human Rights in PH predicted

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    Filipino WWII vets honored in Los Angeles by Fil-Am community

    December 16th, 2017

    The gold medal awardees composed of Franco Arcebal, Cedric Lea Bisnar, Modesta Surnaba, Nimfa Furing, Eduardo Castaneda, Rey Ganon, Leopoldo Bas, Bernardo Buenavista, Timoteo Ormita, Dr.Arturo Flores, Stephanie Sajor,Beverly Sipin and Rosemarie Bandayrel. They are joined by Mrs. Philippines-USA Rosemary Mejia (5th from left), Art Garcia (1st from left) and Iraq war veteran Mark “Bagyo” Villamac Ho (extreme right). Photo © Irwin Jazmines

    THE Justice For Filipino American Veterans, in collaboration with the Philippine Institute For Arts, Language and Culture, awarded “gold medals” to 14 World War II veterans and their surviving kin during the commemoration of the 76th Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The December 7, 1941 Japanese bombing of the United States Naval Base in Hawaii left 2,800 American sailors dead and 710 others wounded. It also destroyed 18 ships, including five battleships.

    The next day, Japanese fighter planes and bombers also attacked and overwhelmed the American air force in Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Philippines. This onslaught signaled the start of Japanese invasion of the Philippines and the eventual involvement of Filipinos into World War II.

    As we commemorate this infamous day (Pearl Harbor), we also want to honor our veterans who fought the vicious and bloody war that raged on Philippine soil soon after,” said Al Garcia, JFAV national coordinator, during a simple but fun-filled awarding ceremony at the Filipino Cultural Center in downtown Los Angeles.

    Veteran Franco Arcebal personally received the gold medal while Cedric Lea Bisnar, Modesta Surnaba, Nimfa Furing, Eduardo Castaneda, Rey Ganon, Leopoldo Bas, Bernardo Buenavista, Timoteo Ormita, Dr. Arturo Flores, Stephanie Sajor, Beverly Sipin and Rosemarie Bandayrel received the medals in behalf of their deceased kin who too are WWII veterans.

    Iraq war veteran, Marine Sgt. Mark Villamac Ho, his mother Ludy Gilkison and Miss Young Philippines Alexis assisted in the awarding of the gold medals.

    Garcia said JFAV would be awarding more gold medals to veterans and their families who reside in California.

    The night was also an occasion for PILAC’s 2nd Himig Pasko. Choirs from the Sacred Heart Parish, St. Ignatius Parish, the Golden Agers of Los Angeles (GALA), the Silver Lake CBAS and Burlington School teachers participated in the singing of Christmas carols.

    The participants were awarded with trophies and prizes by PILAC president Bernie Targa-Ganon and Emily Roberts, president emeritus.

    The show was jointly hosted father and son tandem Mon Concepcion and DJ Jean Henri.

    A band composed of Rolly Javier, Abner Galino and Robert Gamo performed during the night’s dancing segment.

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    Boxer Mercito Gesta gets new chance for world title

    December 14th, 2017

    Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta poses with his mother Mercedes and father Anecito during a press conference in a restaurant in Los Angeles for his upcoming world title fight against three-division champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela. Photo © Tony Garcia

    SAN Diego based Filipino boxer Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, has been painstakingly climbing back up the ladder the last five years — beating six quality opponents along the way — to get another chance to fight for a world championship belt.

    I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” the 30-year old Gesta recently said in reference to his fight against three-division world champion Jorge Linares, 32, who won 43 of his 46 fights; 27 of them by knockouts.

    I know it will be a tough fight. I’m a challenger, an underdog. But I love that feeling. It makes me hungrier, train harder and box smarter. I’ve worked with Jorge (Linares) but I know it’s just a spar. But I did well. Still, I know his style and power. With the help of Coach Freddie, we’ll have the right strategy. I am hungry for this title. I’ll do anything to get that title. I tell you, I will give a good show in that fight,” Gesta told the media during a press conference on Tuesday at the Malbec Argentinian Cuisine at Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.

    The Linares-Gesta fight is a second main event to the expected 12-round brawl between Argentinian Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) for the World Boxing Association welterweight championship.

    The two championship battles will happen on January 27, 2018 at the Forum in Inglewood, California and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m ET/PT.

    Gesta had his first chance to fight for a world champions

    hip title on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manuel Marquez IV on December 2012. He lost the fight for the International Boxing Federation lightweight title to Miguel Vazquez via unanimous decision.

    This time though, Gesta said he is confident of beating a good fighter such as Linares because — not only that he believes that he has skills, speed and power — but he also has a better coaching crew behind him.

    Mercito “No Mercy Gesta answers a query from the media as legendary coach Freddy Roach listen. Photo © Tony Garcia

    Aside from that, Roach’s stable uses quality boxers for sparring sessions.

    For his part, Roach said Gesta is a “better puncher” than Linares.

    We’ll KO him along the way,” Roach predicted.

    Gesta knocked out Mexican Martin Honorio in the 8th round of their fight at the Forum in Inglewood, California last July.


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    Arnel Pineda rocks old Los Angeles downtown theater

    December 13th, 2017

    Arnel Pineda. Image ©

    AS SOON he entered the stage, Journey frontman Arnel Pineda made it clear to the mostly Filipino American crowd who came to his show that it was going to be a night of rock and roll.

    Pineda opened his act with his rendition of Kansas’ Carry On My Wayward Son.

    From then on, the historic Palace Theatre reverberated to the exquisiteness and treble of Pineda’s voice as he belted out, one by one, the classic songs that defined at least three bygone eras.

    Pineda covered songs from the Beatles, Eagles, Deep Purple, Bon Jovi, among others and encouraged the crowd to sing and dance with him.

    Arnel Pineda cheers his fans to dance and sing with him during his concert at the Palace Theatre last December 3. Photo © Pol Joaquin

    The Journey frontman jumped and strutted on the stage, ran in and out of the audience to shake hands and take pictures with them during the almost two-and-half hour performance. He had to take off his coat and vest, one after the other, to cool himself.

    At one point during the show, Philippine Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano walked in the stage and joined Pineda in singing “Hotel California.” It wasn’t a very good idea. Fortunately, the act was amply regained by the band’s skillful guitar tandem, one of them former South Border lead guitarist Butch Victoriano.

    Toward the end of Pineda’s concert on Sunday (December 3), Montano launched the “Tara Na, Byahe Na” campaign to encourage Filipino Americans in the audience to visit the Philippines.

    Be the ambassador of the Philippines. Kayo po ang magpromote, hindi lang po kami doon sa opisina ng Tourism. Napakaganda po talaga ng Pilipinas compared sa Thailand, Malaysia, iisa lang ang island nila. Tayo po we have more than 7,000 so think about it. Pasyalan niyo muna po ang ating bansa at makita niyo kung gaano kaganda ang ating bansa,” Montano said.

    Montano went on to play the video of his song “Limandaang Tulog Nalang” which he dedicated to Filipino overseas workers around the world.

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    Pinoy designer gets a crack at Ms. Universe

    December 7th, 2017

    Miss Zambia Isabel Chikoti tries the national costume created for her by Filipino designer Carl Andrada at the dressing of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas during the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. Photo © Tony Garcia

    A BUDDING Filipino fashion designer from Los Angeles had the opportunity to show off his creativity in the runway of the recently concluded Ms. Universe 2017 pageant held in Las Vegas.

    Carl Andrada’s design, which was worn by Miss Zambia Isabel Chikoti, didn’t make it to the top 10 best national costumes. It was Miss Japan Momoko Abe who won the Miss Universe national costume competition but the Miss Universe Zambia team was apparently impressed with Andrada and already retained the designer for next year’s competition.

    I am so happy that they really liked my gown and I am looking forward to again create Ms. Zambia’s national costume next year,” Andrada said, adding that it has always been a dream for him to see his work being worn on the runway of the Miss Universe pageant.

    Andrada was assisting a candidate from Mrs. Asia-USA at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center when the Miss Universe National Costume competition was airing.

    Naluha po ako sa tuwa habang pinapanood ko online ‘yung lumalakad si Miss Zambia na suot ‘yung design kong national costume,” Andrada recalled.

    I dedicate the honor to Mamang. Her dedication to her craft and arts inspired me.”

    Filipino designer Carl Andrada takes a selfie with Miss Zambia Isabel Chikoti at the sidelines of the 2017 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas last month. Photo © Tony Garcia

    Miss Zambia’s costume received a lot of positive feedback from pageant enthusiasts and from Zambian people as well.

    Last July, a friend introduced Andrada to Alma Cabasal, Miss Philippines Earth-Water, who was then looking for outfits to wear for the launching of “Trash in a Bin” campaign being spearheaded by Miss Earth Ghana Deborah Eyram Dudor in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

    Andrada sent Cabasal some gowns to wear to the affair.

    Cabasal’s roommate 2016 Miss Earth Zambia Katrina Ketty Kabaso were impressed by Andrada’s designs and asked permission to wear a couple of them.

    Kabaso got a lot of compliments while wearing Andrada’s gowns which were labeled as Carmelo Designs.

    The event was attended by the First Lady of Ghana Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

    Weeks later, Kabaso recommended Andrada to Alice Rowlands Fall-Mordi, national director of Miss Universe-Zambia and 2010 Miss Universe-Zambia.

    It was exciting but challenging as well, Andrada recalled.

    I am quite adept in designing Philippine costume, but I haven’t done a costume for another country,” Andrada said.

    Andrada spent a lot of time researching on the internet on Zambia’s history, geography, culture, and even products to be able to come up with a design.

    The Filipino designer came up with a design that touches on the Zambian national flag and copper, a mineral abundant in the said country and considered as one of the greatest contribution of Zambia to mankind.

    Upon approval of the design, Andrada worked with Philippine-based prop master Marlon Soriano.

    Andrada has been designing costumes and evening gowns for contestants of Binibining Pilipinas-USA, Miss Philippines-USA and Miss/Mrs. Asia-USA pageants since 2015. He has been participating in the weekly Metropolitan Fashion.

    Andrada uses unconventional techniques and employs indigenous materials on his designs. His first experience to design for an international beauty pageant was during 2015 Miss Earth pageant in Vienna, Austria.

    During the competition, Andrada created the national costume of Miss Earth-Suriname from braided coco palm leaves.

    In the 2016, won the Best National Costume Award at the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas-USA(now Miss Filipina International pageant). The costume was created from “banig” and “tambo.”

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    South Border “originals” to hold reunion concert in Los Angeles

    December 5th, 2017

    Old South Border poster Image © by Abner Galino

    MORE than a decade ago, South Border — the band behind the infinite love song “Kahit Kailan,” bade goodbye to its two vocalists Vince Alaras and Duncan Ramos after which the rest of the band migrated to the United States.

    The band members had to leave the “South Border” in the Philippines even when most of them remained engaged with their music and art.

    Two months ago, the former bandmates played together at Josephine’s Cerritos, one of the few places here in Los Angeles and suburbs that features live performances of Filipino bands.

    As expected, the former bandmates were easily recognized by the crowd as the “South Border.”

    Inadvertently, someone who promoted the South Border in the Philippines when it was still an upcoming band, saw the musicians play in a popular Filipino club and restaurant in Cerritos a couple of months ago.

    The former show promoter, Aljess Bernardo, who has also migrated in the US and has become a disc jockey, approached the former South Border members. He showed them a throwback picture of a South Border’s poster used in the promotion of their concert in a Bulacan college.

    They were able to recognize each other and, as one might expect, the former South Border bandmates’ reactions to that old concert poster ranged from hysterical, to sentimental and downright hilarious.

    A couple of nights later, an idea for a reunion concert here in Los Angeles cropped up.

    I worked on the idea got because they (former South Border members) were excited about it. And I thought, why not? I’m sure their fans, and they are many, are also eager to watch them playing together again,” said Bernardo who is better known here as DJ Aljess.

    To cut the story short, DJ Aljess got the group’s nod for a sort of a reunion concert on December 22 at the Envision Center in the City of Van Nuys. The concert has been titled: The Jingle Ball 2017 (SB Project “Come Together – The Reunion Concert).

    The concert would be amply augmented by two of the best Filipino American vocals here, Leo Mercedez and Dylan Durias.

    Leo, one of the few vocalists who could belt out a Bruno Mars song almost effortlessly, has a lengthy and closer tie with the group. He has played with some of the former South Border guys in Las Vegas.

    It’s certainly wouldn’t be off-the-wall to bring in sexiness of Geneva Cruz to an otherwise pure celebration of pop and R&B music.

    Beauty queen and performer Shekinah Paguirigan has started rehearsing a performance number with the popular Filipino dance crew, the Junior New System (JNS). The group was the 2016 grand champion of World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) and has been known, not only for being funny and entertaining, but as well for their breathtaking maneuvers.

    More sexiness and musicality are expected from LA Pop princess Jacque Abad Santos, Bianca Jolyn Garcia, Belle (Belden Cahapay-Fujimara) and Aira Bella Luna.

    Special numbers would also be provided by WCOPA grand champion Garth Garcia and artist King Pintal.

    The show is to be hosted by mother and daughter Ging and Ashley Ragasa.

    Going back to the South Border, the band was formed in 1993. Its name was a tribute to the roots of its member who mostly hailed from Davao, a province in the southern Philippines.

    By 1996, South Border was clustered with top pop bands such as Side A, True Faith, NeoColours and Freestyle.

    In the succeeding year, South Border won the most number of trophies at the 10th Awit Awards that included: Best Performance by a New Duo or Group, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Produced Record of the Year for their hit song Kahit Kailan.

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    Filipino food trending in the culinary world — Bourdain and Zimmern

    November 27th, 2017

    American food connoisseurs Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Image ©

    ANTHONY Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, two renowned American food connoisseurs, said the current trending of Filipino food in the United States would lead to its rise in the culinary world.

    Since the two iconic American food connoisseurs have been proclaiming the eventual trending of Filipino food in the United States, it should be noted that their forecasts stemmed from sincere professional estimations and the bequests of their friendships with Filipino Americans.

    Very few Fil-Am would disagree with Bourdain when he declared “sisig” as the very likely dish that would “win the hearts and minds,” not only of Americans but of the world as well (interview with CNN’s The Source).

    Zimmern, for his part, has said in an interview with Business Insider “their use of acidity, the quality of their food has the best of Asian cuisine and the best of sort of what happens when really good Asian food…island Asian food brushes up against Spanish culture. The Spanish had colonized the Philippines for almost 500 years at one point. So, the influences are heartfelt.”

    As the sizzling sisig appears to eclipse the popularity of adobo among non-Filipino foodies, there is also a growing concern that such may just reinforce sideline impressions that Filipino food is mostly flavorful but unhealthy.

    Bourdain himself noticed, we make sisig from all the parts of a pig (snout, ear, jowl, tongue, liver and skin) that Americans would not knowingly eat.

    Well, FYI Mr. Bourdain, arrozcaldo, not sisig, is the bestseller at the Sari Sari Store inside the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles. Sisig here is not served on a traditional sizzling plate but as a rice topping.

    By the way, in Los Angeles — home to some half a million Filipino Americans — there is a dearth of Filipino restaurants that aim for mainstream clientele and celebrity Filipina Chef Coco P. Cruz explained why.

    “It away is a simple matter of practicality,” Chef Coco said.

    Chef Coco P. Cruz ©

    Because there is a sizable target market, investments are more secured in putting up traditional Filipino eateries as against experimental Filipino restaurants, added Chef Coco who is also into catering and event planning business.

    Chef Coco stressed that the eventual trending of Filipino food lies in the courage, energy, skills and creativity of those who venture in non-traditional Filipino restaurants.

    “We are lucky we have these personalities (Bourdain and Zimmern) drumbeating for us. They certainly make it easier for us Filipino chefs,” Chef Coco said.

    “But nurturing a positive perception for Filipino food would also greatly help our cause,” she added.

    To the Filipina chef, the childhood memories of our lolas or nanays obliging us to finish our “sabaw (broth)” as we fight off a lingering malaise could not be dismissed as mere acquiescence to quack doctor’s remedies that abound in the Philippines but a collective affirmation to the efficacy of our sabaw recipes.

    “Because those sabaw ng sinigang or nilaga really contained nutrients needed by the maysakit,” Chef Coco stressed.

    Sinigang, which uses all kinds of meats and fish, is a broth recipe made from extracts of tamarind, guava, santol, kamias, kalamansi and other local fruits that are rich in vitamin C.

    The fruits are boiled and mashed on strainers to extract their juices and mixed with the broth.

    “Let’s bring it (the process) back here, let’s do away with those instant powder flavors for our sabaw dishes,” Chef Coco raved.

    Popular Filipino vegetables such ampalaya (bitter gourd), kalabasa (squash) and okra — to name a few — are even advertised for their supposed medicinal qualities.

    “So I think we have to put the word out for the health conscious people that Filipino food is a great option out there,” the chef pointed out.

    Recipes from our Spanish colonial period, according to the Filipina chef, remain under served by those aiming for the mainstream clientele.

    “Our menudo, kaldereta, afritada and kare-kare need some more endorsements from our chefs,” chef Coco said.

    Menudo is the Filipino take on a classic Spanish soup that remains popular here in LA.

    “Kahit na ‘yung pinaghugasan ng bigas (the water used to wash rice), we use that to bring flavor to our dishes. And for me, that is the essence of fusion — using the ingredients and techniques that were passed down to us by our lolas and nanays, and mixing them with what is current to present a dish that stands out as a Filipino dish but is palatable to non-Filipinos,” explained Chef Coco.

    Chef Coco grew up in a barrio in the Philippines and experienced gathering and/or catching vegetables and animals that abound in her environment.

    “I remember my mom back then, one night when she heard frogs croaking she would say – Do you hear what I hear? Go out and catch some. That would be our dinner for tonight. And my mother cooked them so good because when she cooks, she puts her heart on it. That’s one of the most important lesson I learned from her.”

    Before she became a celebrity chef, Coco worked as a helper in a kitchen of a Las Vegas hotel. Her dedication to work was rewarded by a scholarship in culinary arts.

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    “Stateside” see its first screening in Los Angeles

    November 24th, 2017

    Filipino actor Mon Confiado poses with Stateside co-star American actress Olivia Hultgren during a cocktail party shortly after the movie’s screening. Photo © Abner Galino

    CHALLENGING is an understatement when used to describe producing a film here in Los Angeles where, as we all know, the legendary Hollywood is situated.

    So, more than a year after the makers, the crew and the cast of the movie “Stateside” held a press conference to announce the then impending screening of their movie, it was only last November 18 when it finally got a screening at the Raleigh Studios on Melrose St. in Hollywood.

    Director Marcial Chavez said that during the long lull, many of their shots were ruined, prompting them to make adjustments with their storyline.

    Filipino actor Mon Confiado confided that he also partly caused the delay as he had to finish his other commitments before he was able to come back to the US to shoot the remaining scenes.

    “But I am happy now that we were able to do the screening. It is really an honor and achievement to be part of this movie,” Confiado said.

    Chavez said that in reconstructing the film, he opted to bring more drama rather than action into it.

    “Mon is a good actor and he was able to deliver what we wanted,” Chavez said.

    Stateside is a movie that attempts to tell a story of an undocumented immigrant without the politics that ordinarily surround the issue.

    The main character, Andrew, figured in a series of unfortunate incidents that landed him in the city’s homeless area, better known here as the Skid Row. He eventually found love in the character played by American actress Olivia Hultgren.

    Hultgren provided a refreshing ambience to the film with her pretty face and charming blue eyes, and of course, with her convincing acting.

    Commenting on the movie; Hultgren said the movie is for people looking for “a tale of hope.”

    “If you are in a place where you feel discouraged, this should give you hope,” Hultgren said.
    Producer Francisco Fabiculanan said Filipino American would still have to yet a little more to see “Stateside” on regular theaters.

    “We would be submitting it to a couple of film festivals here and afterwards, we would start planning for its release,” Fabiculanan said.

    Interestingly, Stateside in Filipino colloquially means the “best of all imports.” The word apparently evolved in the Philippines when there were still an abundance of products that carried “made in USA” tags.

    “Stateside ‘yan,” was often said to stress that a product was made in the USA and therefore, superior to other products made somewhere else.

    The borrowed word lost its luster when American companies began manufacturing products in China.

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