Posts by Abner:

    March for Pinoy veterans comes back to Filipinotown

    November 20th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Last year’s (November 2017) photo of the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) rally in Hollywood. The yearly march has returned to the Filipinotown in the City of Los Angeles as the City of West Hollywood doesn’t want the Filipino American rally there anymore. Photo by Abner Galino

    THE annual march that seeks justice for Filipino World War II veterans, which has been known as “Hollywood march for justice,” has returned to the historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

    The City of West Hollywood has refused to issue rally permit to the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), the prime mover of the yearly demonstration.

    One of the leaders of JFAV leader Art Garcia said the city denied permit to the yearly event due to the supposed “chaos and traffic snarls” that it supposedly create in the areas where the rally passes through.

    Despite the change in venue, the march still managed to draw out a large contingent of Filipino American youths, numbering around 300.

    The marchers gathered in the morning at MacArthur Park on Wilshire Boulevard. The march snaked through Filipinotown streets and ended at the headquarters of the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) at Temple Street.

    SIPA executive director Lyle del Mundo was among those who spoke during an hour-long program inside the SIPA compound.

    Garcia said the return of the Justice for Filipino Veterans March at SIPA constituted a full historical cycle for the movement that started in the same place (SIPA headquarters) on December 16, 1998.

    According to Garcia, JFAV continues to fight for military pension for the estimated 11,000 surviving veterans and the 68,000 wives and children of Filipino WW II veterans.

    He added that return of Democrats to the leadership of the US House of Representatives could help the causes of Filipino veterans.

    Despite the sacrifices offered by the Filipino fighters and by the Filipino people in general, the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 that deprived the Filipino veterans of their rights and benefits as members of the United States armed forces.

    Of the 66 countries that fought with the US during WW II, only Filipinos were stripped of benefits.

    Last Saturday’s march was reinforced by members of the Kabataan maka-Bayan (KMB), Kababayan Alliance, Barkada Pomona, Kapatirang Pilipino-UC Santa Barbara, Tinig UCLA, Samahang Pilipino UCLA, Cal-State LA and Cal-State North Ridge.


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    Fil-Ams mobilize opposition to “looming Philippine dictatorship”

    November 19th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    MALAYA, a U.S.-based alliance against the killings in the Philippines, on Friday night held a forum in downtown Los Angeles to galvanize Filipinos and non-Filipinos to oppose President Rodrigo Duterte.

    The forum, “Voices From The Frontlines: Stories from the Human Rights Crisis in the Philippines and the Struggle for Justice,” was hosted by actress and activist Giselle “G” Tongi together with Hiyas Saturay and Eric Tandoc, two community journalists who were hurt and detained while covering the NutriAsia strike in the Philippines.

    Workers in the Philippines are suffering more, as wages remain low and prices of basic necessities are increasing,” said Saturay.

    The attacks on the press reflect the sad state of democracy in the country. It is an alarming sign of an increasingly fascist rule.” Tandoc said, who is also the secretary general of the Philippines-US Solidarity Organization – Southern California (PUSO-SoCal).


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    Alejano inducts officers of Samahang Magdalo-US chapter

    November 13th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Rep. Gary Alejano belts out a song shortly after inducting the officers of Samahang Magdalo US-California chapter in Lakewood City last November 3. Photo by Ren Arrieta

    As long as the purpose of God in your life is not yet done, you are immortal. Hindi ka mamamatay. Pero ‘pag ang purpose ng Diyos sa buhay mo ay tapos na, you could die anytime, even in your sleep.”

    Thus said Philippine legislator and opposition leader Rep. Gary Alejano before a crowd of Filipino Americans who came to witness the induction of the officers of the Samahang Magdalo International (US-California Chapter) in the City of Lakewood, a suburb in Los Angeles County.

    Alejano, a former military officer imprisoned for his participation in at least two uprisings some years back, said he founded Samahang Magdalo in 2008-2009.

    According to him, the need to form the volunteer group became evident when a fellow mutineer, former Philippine Navy Lieutenant SG Antonio Trillanes IV, won as senator while in detention.

    People granted as the mandate. It was a miracle. Thus we decided to open our ranks to volunteer Filipinos,” Alejano recalled.

    Looking back, Alejano traced their group’s steps in deciding to run for government positions.

    In our desire to push for change – naghanap po kami ng mga lider na pwede naming maasahan. But they all fell short of our expectations,” Alejano said.

    We need to be inside in order to use that platform to influence people about good governance so we decided to join politics in the person of Senator Trillanes.”

    It was a hard decision, aware kami na maari kaming kainin ng politics.”

    Alejano narrated that most of the officers and soldiers studied during detention through the help of professors from the University of the Philippines (UP). He said they were able to study behind the backs of their guards.

    We know that we need to equip ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually in order for us to change the country,” Alejano explained.

    Alejano earned two master’s degrees, one of them on public management, from their group’s endeavors while in detention.

    The comic relief in Alejano’s speech came when he revealed that three of his children were conceived while he was jailed.

    I have five children; tatlo sa loob, dalawa sa labas,” he joked, explaining that he and his wife gave birth to twins before getting inside the jail, and then, conceived three more children while inside jail.

    Huwag n’yo na lang tanungin kung paano nagawa sa kulungan,” Alejano quipped as the crowd burst into laughter.

    Alejano recalled that his wife almost lost their twins over the tension that she endured and gave birth to them about two weeks earlier than the projected delivery date. It was the time when the mutineers were rounded up and brought to Camp Aguinaldo for detention.

    Here is list of the Samahang Magdalo US-California chapter officers that were sworn in by Alejano: Remedy Medina, president; JC Sarmiento, vice president; Maimai Sianson, secretary; Tess Solis, treasurer; Vange Lara, adviser; Lilian Enriquez, auditor; Resti Bags, soc-med administrator; Abel Santa Isabel, public relations officer; Boots Canlas, membership relations officer; Jhun Conga, strategist; Eli Salvador, political analyst; Fe Koons, media relations officer; Rolando Velasco, Sergeant-at-arms and Gregg Asuncion; historian.

    The induction ceremony was held at the Civic Center.


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    Fil-Am community still in shock over last Wednesday’s mass shooting

    November 12th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Alaina Housley. Photo by Napa Valley Register

    THE Filipino community in Los Angles is still in shock over last Wednesday’s mass shooting in a bar in Thousand Oaks where a Fil-American college novice was among those who died.

    In a phone interview, Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, Adel S. Cruz, expressed sadness over the death of Alaina Housley, 18, a resident of Napa Valley. He said the news has devastated Filipino Americans even more, as they try to absorb the news of the senseless death of 12 people.

    Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz Photo © Philippine Consulate General Los Angeles California

    Cruz said he has talked to Housley’s grandfather, Ernie Punzalan, who lives in a valley around Los Angeles.

    I told him that the Philippine Consulate General is ready to assist and help in whatever way possible,” Cruz said.

    Earlier in his Facebook post, Cruz expressed shock and sadness over what he called “senseless and brutal mass shootings in Thousand Oaks, California.”

    My deepest condolences and prayers to her family and the families of the other victims of this tragedy.”

    To drive home a point, Cruz also sent to local media entities a link to the “Gun Violence Archive” at www. The site seeks to provide free online access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the United States.

    Meanwhile, former executive at the Philippine Department of Tourism in Los Angeles Manny Ilagan, broke the news of Housley’s death to the Filipino American community through a post in his Facebook page.

    So Sorry to be the bearer of a heartbreaking news — One of the victims in the Thousand Oaks shooting incident is a grandchild of a family friend Fil Am couple,” wrote Ilagan in his post.

    Ilagan added that Alaina was the daughter of Hannah Punzalan and Arik Housley, and grandchild of Ernesto and Leticia Punzalan.

    Alaina was the niece of host Tamera Mowry-Housley and her husband Adam Housley.

    “I was blessed to know you ever since you were five. You stole my heart,” the TV personality wrote in her Instagram account.

    “I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano. Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game.”

    Alaina started at the Pepperdine University in August. She was a resident of DeBell house, an English major involved with the Pepperdine Choir and was starting Mock Trial.

    Thousand Oaks is situated 50 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

    Suspected gunman Ian David Long. Photo by Sky News

    Reports said a 28-year-old US Marine veteran Ian David Long entered the Borderline Grill and Bar at about 11 pm on Wednesday night (November 7) where a “college night” was being held.

    Armed with a Glock .45 caliber pistol, Long went inside the bar at started shooting at people. He killed 12 people, including a Ventura County Sheriff’s sergeant Ron Helus.

    Helus was on the phone talking to his wife when he heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene.

    About 200 people were believed to be in the country music bar during the shooting, many of them students from nearby colleges.


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    Filipino church vies for federal historic monument status

    November 8th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    The historical Filipino Disciples Christian Church at 301 N. Union St., Los Angeles. Photo by Abner Galino

    A RETIRED Philippine ambassador and career diplomat recently led a group of Filipino Americans in lobbying for the elevation of the Filipino Disciples Christian Church to the status of “historic cultural monument” at the US federal level.

    Rodolfo Dumapias joined a group of Filipino Americans at the Los Angeles City Hall last October 26 in a hearing called by the California State Historical Resources Commission.

    Dumapias, was born in Manila but came to the US when he was a kid with his parents, who were also diplomats, and his siblings. He grew up in Los Angeles and attended junior high, high school and college at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC) for his graduate studies.

    The retired diplomat told the members of the state historical commission that he was a youth leader and an active participant in Filipino-American community affairs in the 1960’s. He went on to testify that the Filipino Christian Church, now called Filipino Disciples Christian Church, had been instrumental in the establishment of the “social and cultural foundation upon which a humble ethnic community blossomed into what is now Historic Filipino-town.”

    Filipino Americans led by former ambassador Rodolfo Dumapias (second from left on the front row) pose during a recess of the California State Historical Resources Commission hearing at the Los Angeles City Hall last October 26, 2018. Photo by Abner Galino

    According to Dumapias, the founders of the L.A. Philippine Women’s Club and its junior unit, the L.A. Philippine Junior Women’s Club, were active members of the Filipino Christian Church since its beginning. The said organization just recently celebrated its 57th founding anniversary.

    The historic church, Dumapias added, provide venue for the rehearsals of youths learning or preparing for performances of Filipino folk dances and songs.

    “Whenever the Philippine Consulate General and FACLA needed to present cultural programs or participate in television and citywide multicultural shows, their participants met and rehearsed at FCC. There was no other place large enough and free to use except the generous use of the church,” Dumapias recalled.

    “As president Philippine Junior Cultural Organization of the youth club for several successive terms, we represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe Parade, Christmas Parade in Disneyland, TV shows and at the International Institute.”

    The Filipino Cultural School was opened in the mid-sixties in the said church and the school offered studies on Philippine customs and tradition, Tagalog, history, folklore, songs and traditional dances.

    Dumapias said that if the national historical recognition would be accorded to the Filipino Disciples Christian Church, “it will open doors for future generations” of Filipino Americans to understand their roots and to take part in keeping their ethnic culture alive.

    The state’s historical commission chaired by Marshall McKay, among other agendas, heard the nominations for national register of seven sites within the Los Angeles county.

    In 1951, because the leaders of the Filipino Christian Fellowship were low-wage earners, didn’t have credit history and were discriminated by bankers, the Disciples of Christ Board of Church Extension provided the “downpayment, and granted the Filipino Christian Church the full real estate loan without qualification” to purchase a property at 301 North Union Street, Los Angeles.

    In that property rose what will come to be known as the Filipino Disciples Christian Church.

    On May 5, 1998, the church, which was made more prominent by its German Gothic Revival architecture, was designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 651 by the City Council. It remains as the city’s lone historic cultural monument with Filipino origins.

    All these remarkable acts, events and people — which illustrated the potency of faith, hope and human compassion were recognized and honored in a recent resolution unanimously passed by the City Council and subsequently signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

    The resolution was presented to Don Dewey, co-regional minister of the Disciples of Christ Pacific Southwest Region last July 22, 2017 at the plenary hall of the church at Union St.


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    ABS CBN’s People’s Queen launches in Hollywood

    October 20th, 2018

    By Abner Galino and Joy Marino*

    One of the producers, Glenn Meehan, congratulates the cast and crew of People’s Queen during its launch at the Penthouse in West Hollywood. Photo by Joe Cobilla

    ABS CBN International has unwrapped its first English-speaking reality show Tuesday with an all-Asian cast in a fabulous launch party in West Hollywood.

    The show is titled: The People’s Queen.

    It will be jointly hosted by Cecilio “Cece” Asuncion and beauty pageant critic Voltaire Tayag.

    Asuncion is also the owner and director of Slay Model Management in Los Angeles.

    The beauties who will live in a mansion for six weeks during their journey to the “crown,” are Katarina Rodriguez, Michelle Thorlund, Nikita McElroy, Jennifer Levy and Katrina Dimaranan.

    The women will be coached on fashion and self projection, and as well as subjected to intense challenges and trials that would measure their capabilities, skills and aptitude as to be worthy of the honor of becoming the “People’s Queen.”

    Jun del Rosario, one of the show’s producer, said People’s Queen fits into one of the most popular passions of Filipinos as the show caters to the details and workings of beauty pageants and beauty queens.

    Del Rosario added that ABS CBN International is aspiring to create more programming in the US “as part of our growth here in the community.”

    We will represent diverse voices, we will represent diverse stories,” del Rosario said.

    The show’s other producers are Olivia de Jesus, John Lazatin and Glenn Meehan.

    The show will premiere on October 24 on ABS CBN’s TFC-TV, MYX TV, Lifestyle Network and Metro channels.

    Video on demand (VOD) platforms will be announced soon.

    *Joy Marino is the advertising manager of Weekend Balita, a well respected Filipino community paper in Los Angeles.


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    LA: Gearing for the storms and looking for money

    October 19th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Sandy Close (at the rostrum) of the Ethnic Media Services poses a question to Los Angeles County Department of Public Works officials composed of (from left to right) Kerjon Lee, Edel Vizcarra, Jolene Guerrero and Eric Batman during a press conference at the Oxford Basin in Marina Del Rey last week. Photo by Abner Galino

    LONG ago, engineers design cities to make storm water go away as quickly as possible. Today, with the upsurge in urban dwellers and with the day-to-day weather conditions growing increasingly erratic and extreme, such designs no longer work for cities and its dwellers.

    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LADPW) has since rolled out a game plan intended to capture the water, clean it, make it safe and make the structural component of the conservation efforts to work for everyone.

    But always one of the big questions is: Where to get the money?

    On October 4, the media was afforded a close look at how a storm water management system works. A press conference was held at the Oxford Basin Multiuse Enhancement Project in Marina Del Rey.

    LADWP experts saw an opportunity to broadcast the 65 percent chance that Los Angeles County will get an El Nino winter, and along with it, drumbeat for conservation efforts and the modernization plan for the county’s 100-year-old water infrastructure.

    It’s a two and a half cent per square foot of impermeable area parcel tax for private property in LA County. It’s gonna generate roughly US$300 million a year to build projects that you see behind me,” said one of the speakers, Edel Vizcarra of LADPW, pointing to the Oxford Basin facility behind him.

    Vizcarra was talking about Measure W, a storm water funding measure that will be on the ballot on November 6.

    According to him, projects such as the Oxford Basin could be built around the county when the said measure gets the voters’ approval.

    According to Vizcarra about “two thirds of our water that we use here in LA County comes from outside sources” and this supply can be cut back if drought strikes the region.

    Media people walk around the perimeter of the Oxford Basin in Marina Del Rey as a Los Angeles public works official explains how such a structure is helping conserve water and, at the same time, improve the quality of life in the community. Photo by Abner Galino

    Measure W could generate money to build systems similar to the Oxford Basin and other watershed-based projects; while about 40 percent of the funds would go back to the cities in the form of local returns. 

    For every dollar that’s generated on a parcel in a disadvantaged community, they get a dollar and ten cents,” Vizcarra added.

    Money from the said measure would also be spent creating school curriculum meant to increase awareness on water conservation and related matters, job trainings, et cetera.

    October 1st, this past Monday, is what we call our water year. And on Sunday, September 30, was the end of our previous water year,” Eric Batman said, senior civil engineer at the LADWP.

    Batman said the “odds are tilted in our favor” as far as the possibility of LA county getting more rain during this so-called water year.

    Every year we make sure that we go out before the storm season starts and make sure that our facilities are ready to go,” Batman added.

    Another LADPW official, Jolene Guererro, told the media that the Oxford Basin was developed in 1959 to capture storm water. It was re-built in 2015 and was fitted with structural enhancements to adapt to the native ecosystem.

    They cleaned up the sediment, they added native plants around the edges that could help capture some of the pollutants that flow with the rain water,” Guerrero said.

    Guerrero noted that the Oxford Basin didn’t just improved the water quality in the area but also improved the community, noting the walking trails that were added to its design.

    Some 100 billion gallons run down the curbs and drain into the ocean every year. Measure W will help build the infrastructure to filter toxins before they enter local waterways and flow onto the beach.


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    Can a food supplement really alleviate symptoms of autism?

    October 17th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Dr. Susan Barlin stresses a point during a product presentation at the Double Tree Hotel in Carson City last week. She also presented a video about a teenager with autism who whose aggressive behavior was alleviated through a regular dose of a dietary supplement called IMUREGEN. Photo by Jun Camacho

    ONE in four children or adults with autism may show aggressive behavior such as hitting others, destroying property or throwing temper tantrums.

    On moments of anger and frustration, persons with autism sometimes lash out at their caregivers or family members who take care of them. In some cases, persons with autism are even aggressive to themselves.

    Because of this, some parents worry about their safety and that of their child with autism and/or his/her siblings.

    Studies though haven’t found a reason to even consider that autism may lead to intentional violent behavior. Doctors, on the other hand, suggest that caregivers and/or families should instead look for ways to ease aggression in individuals with the disorder; among them: alleviating problems with sleep, attention and anger rumination.

    Last week, Dr. Susan Barlin, a successful real estate executive and now a networking executive, presented a segment of her television show in the Philippines wherein a male adolescent with autism was initially shown with aggressive behavior.

    The parents of the teenager with the disorder were distraught. The mother was even crying during the interview.

    However, after the teenager was given a regular serving of ImuRegen, supposedly a food supplement in capsule or liquid form, the aggressive behavior just vanished.

    To the delight of the parents, their son showed cheerful and obedient attitude, not only towards them, but as well as to every one else who interact with him daily.

    Apparently, Barlin said, ImuRegen has helped the teenager because it has provided nutrients to support healthy sleep patterns and increases a person’s energy level.

    It has essential amino acids that enhances mental and physical health. It also has forms of oligopeptides and peptides (proteins) that include lipids and nucleoproteins,” Barlin told the Filipino American crowd who attended the presentation at the Double Tree Hotel in Carson City.

    Our product increases the body’s immunity and affect cellular regeneration, thus it helps a lot in the rebuilding of body tissues and rejuvenating the basic organs of our bodies,” Barlin explained.

    At the end of her talk, Barlin, CEO of Forever Healthy Products, said that the products that she was endorsed can only be had through multi-level marketing, otherwise known as networking.

    I know the stigma that goes with networking companies nowadays. I just want to drive home the fact, that unlike other businesses that thrived on duping people into investing and then scooting away with their money, Forever Healthy is a legitimate company with legitimate products that really help promote health,” Barlin said.

    This is not a get-rich-quick scheme.”


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    “Call her Ganda” screens in Los Angeles

    October 16th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Jennifer Laude. Photo by

    THE much talked about documentary about a transgender Filipina who was murdered by an American serviceman in Olongapo City four years ago got another screening in Los Angeles early this month.

    Call her Ganda” is about murder victim Jennifer Laude, her mother Julita who pursued justice for her death, US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton (who was accused, tried and convicted for the killing), the lawyers who represented the victim and the transgender journalist who pursued the story.

    The recent Los Angeles screening which was held October 6, was sponsored by the Sundance Documentary Film Program and the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC).

    The film dealt with the themes of homophobia, colonialism and the arrogance of U.S. military forces abroad.

    In 2014, then 26-year-old Laude, was found dead in a bathroom of a motel room. Her head was submerged in a toilet.

    Laude was said to be sex worker who met Pemberton, then a 19-year-old marine soldier, in a disco.

    Pemberton apparently snapped and killed Jennifer when he discovered that she was a transgender. The killing caused a political firestorm.

    Three women were prominently featured in the film: Jennifer’s mother Julita, Meredith Talusan, a transgender investigative journalist and Atty. Virgie Suarez, the victim’s lawyer.

    The film begins with Julita tearfully displaying her slain daughter’s bedroom. Then, the movie went on to show the tumult that followed after the story of her death hogged the headlines.

    Another transgender activist (whose name I failed to recall while writing) was also featured prominently in the film.

    The said activist was present in many protest actions and court hearings. She sees Jennifer’s death as a defining moment in the history of the Filipino transgender movement.

    Hateful tweets against transgender people were also shown in the film apparently to demonstrate how ignorance continues to reinforce a culture of violence against gays, lesbians and transgenders.

    Also, for many activists who joined the protests, the greater issue was the Philippine sovereignty, as the content of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) seems to violate it. The VFA allows the U.S. government to retain jurisdiction over military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines, except under special circumstances.

    Although quite brief, there was a scene in the film where Pemberton’s mother told a journalist that her son has no bias toward transgender people because his sister was a lesbian.

    A short history of the Philippines and its colonization by the US provided context to the film.

    The election of President Rodrigo Duterte and his criticisms of the United States were also presented. Although, even Duterte’s supposed anti-US stance doesn’t seem to change the treatment being accorded to the US soldier.

    Pemberton was found guilty of homicide for Laude’s slay on December 1, 2015 and was sentenced to serve a jail term of six to 10 years. He is serving his sentence in a detention facility inside the Philippine military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

    The devotion and perseverance of the victim’s mother Julita, lawyer Suarez and journalist Talusan provided the movie with an emotional strength.

    The film was directed by PJ Raval, produced by Kara-Magsanoc-Alikpala, Marty Syjuco and Lisa Valencia-Svensson.


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    Can “Unlovable” get some love from Pinoy viewers?

    October 7th, 2018

    By Abner Galino*

    Filipino American actor Abe Pagtama poses with “Unlovable” co-writer and main actress Charlene DeGuzman. The movie was directed by Suzi Yoonessi. Photo by Gabe Pagtama

    I got four friends named “Joy” on my Facebook alone. Two of them are my real friends. And all of the four are Filipinas.

    Some 50 years of American colonization, which left more a than a million Filipinos dead during its first three years (Philippine-American War — February 1899 to July 1902), left us too with such names as Joy and Jake that compete with Spanish names such as Maria and Mario.

    In the movie “Unlovable,” Joy is a second generation Filipino American. As I understand it, Joy is in great part an impersonation of Charlene DeGuzman, the woman who owns the story, co-wrote it with Mark Duplass and played the character in the movie.

    In real life, Charlene DeGuzman is a “kayumanggi” (brown) stunner. My wife threw the compliment shortly after we were introduced to her by Filipino American actor Abe Pagtama (who played Joy’s father in the movie) before the showing of “Unlovable” at the ArcLight Cinema in Santa Monica.

    The movie was then participating in the Buzz section of the Los Angeles Film Festival which ended on September 28. (I erroneously said that it was competing in the said film festival and I apologize to Unlovable’s cast and crew).

    My wife and I agreed that Charlene was more charming and willowy than Joy who was raggedy for the most part in the movie — which was just fine, considering the ordeal that she has to go through in the movie.

    I don’t know about Charlene, but I didn’t see anything Filipina in Joy anymore. Not that it was a fault in the creation of Joy’s character. On the other hand, Joy was even a near-perfect example of many culturally unrecognizable second-generation immigrants.

    But then, Joy’s predicament has nothing to do with her being an offspring of immigrants. Sex addiction is a disorder that does not distinguish on age, race and gender.

    For a short while though (through the roles played by Filipinos Abe Pagtama and Gigette Reyes), the movie showed how culture and awareness could impact someone’s resilience against the malady.

    Expectedly, the more patriarchal a society is, the harder it is for sex addiction victims to be understood, especially when the sufferer was a woman.

    The amount of suffering was wackily portrayed in the movie when Joy attempted to kill herself. She confessed to “having a gaping hole in her soul” and wrote a suicide note that said: “She died doing what she loved: wanting to die.”

    Joy ended up cleaning up the floor of colorful and slimy puke – a result of trying to overdose from cough syrup and cake.

    I’m not so sure, but I have a feeling that Filipino viewers would opt for a tearful interpretation of the said scene. You know, we Filipinos love to see our actors cry and scream over the slightest swing of emotions.

    I know that it is even harder to infuse hilarity on acts that present a chain of misfortunes and sufferings. But you couldn’t blame me for asking, it’s one of those cultural things.

    Joy, an actress on a kids’ show who kept a dozen stuffed animals, soon lost her boyfriend, her job and her home.

    By the way, Joy also has a drinking problem, which probably aggravate the other affliction, or vice verza.

    The boyfriend told Joy to get help so she joined a support group where she met Maddie (played by Melissa Leo). Maddie set her up in her grandmother’s backhouse for a 30-day recovery plan.

    Joy met Maddie’s recluse brother Jim (played by John Hawkes). Maddie and Jim were not in good terms. Jim lives in the main house and takes care of their grandmother. Jim and Joy awkwardly built a sort of friendship.

    It turned out Jim was a songwriter and soon the duo were playing music together in the garage.

    My expectation was Jim and Joy would fall in love despite the age gap. (Jim was the older one.) But they didn’t.

    Despite the joy that Joy found in the friendship, she still relapsed. In rage, Joy ticked off the pink masking tape strips that she routinely plastered on the wall to mark her days of sobriety.

    By the way, before the heightened drama, Joy discovered that a recovering sex addict used to live in the same backhouse room and that woman succeeded in killing herself.

    This and other things, helped Joy to regain her senses and encouraged her to give herself another chance.

    Charlene as Joy was convincing. And so were John and Melissa.

    “Unlovable” is a good movie with good actors. It is not a feel good movie. In fact, I stepped out of the movie house with a heavy heart, fully aware that there are many more “Joys” out there who are desperately trying to be understood by loved ones; and trying to break free from the choking clutch of such an affliction.

    The movie was directed by Suzi Yoonessi.

    *This story was updated


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    PNP Global Police Community Relations drumbeats in LA

    October 5th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    PNP-PCRO Chief Supt. Rhodel Sermonia and Consul General Adelio Cruz,

    A CONTINGENT from the Philippine National Police, particularly from its Police Community Relations Office went to Los Angeles last week (September 21) to drumbeat for their so-called “Global Police Community Relations” program.

    The chief of the PNP-PCRO, Chief Supt. Rhodel Sermonia, and his men held a town hall meeting at the Philippine Consulate Office in Los Angeles wherein they explained the details of the said program and at the same time asked for support from the Filipino American community.

    “We want to connect to all our kababayans abroad. We want to be able to answer their questions or concerns like about ‘yung anak nila nalulong sa droga at hindi na pumapasok sa klase. Nakulong ‘yung kamag-anak nila at hindi na nila alam kung ano na ang nangyari,” explained Sermonia after a video presentation by his team.

    Sermonia said that through the Global PCR website and as well as through other social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, Filipinos abroad will be able to report crimes from abroad and/or seek assistance from Philippine-based law enforcement.

    “We want to be able to address their problems, including emotional problems, in connection with their loved ones that they left in the Philippines,” Sermonia told the Filipino American crowd.

    Sermonia also said that among the goals of the Global PCR is to connect with other international law enforcement groups and develop collaborative programs with them in order to help distressed Filipinos overseas.

    Consul General Adelio S. Cruz expressed elation over the choice of the PNP-PCRO to hold its first overseas campaign for Global Police Community Relations at the Philippine Consulate’s office in Los Angeles.

    “We must take advantage of this opportunity that the PNP is reaching out to each and every kababayan all over the world. Ano man po ang kailangan nilang tulong, kahit nasa Pilipinas po, magagawan nila ng paraan,” Cruz said during a brief speech.

    Cruz added that he wants the Philippine Consulate General office in Los Angeles to be the first consular post to register with the Global Police Community Relations website.

    In a booklet distributed during the town hall meeting, the Philippine government agencies on board with the Global PCR were listed as; the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Tourism (DoT), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

    The Global PCR is a social media platform that overseas Filipinos/overseas Filipino workers (OFs/OFWs) can use for free if they want “fully interactive websites or portals.”

    These portals are networked together and linked to the Global PCR ( and such will allow open communications between the Global PCR and the OF/OFW groups around the world through email, social media and mobile applications for text messaging.

    The network would also allow individuals to create their own online and/or offline events which could range from conferences, to sports events and other social activities.

    Members of the site would have the ability to create unlimited number of “fully branded interactive websites and pages for their business and personal pursuits.”


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    Fil-Ams remember 46th Philippine martial law anniversary in LA

    October 3rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Filipino Americans, mostly youths, line up the sidewalk in front of the building that houses the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles to recall the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. Photo by Ren Arrieta

    ON September 21, just as a group from the Philippine National Police (PNP) was presenting the mechanics of one of their programs for overseas Filipinos in a building housing the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, a motley group of Filipino Americans demonstrated in front of the same building to denounce the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines.

    The demonstrators who could be seen and heard from the window of the Philippine Consulate General on the 5th floor of the building, offered prayers for the victims of human rights violations, particularly those who were tortured and killed during the 20-year rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.

    Carrying placards and banners, the protesters fell into two lines on the sidewalk. With their lines facing each other, the protesters chanted slogans denouncing martial law and as well as the current government of President Rodrigo Duterte whom they accused of having anti-democratic tendencies.

    Photo by Ren Arrieta

    We take this history with us to expose Duterte’s actions that have killed and harmed the lives of thousands of Filipinos, and for repeating this violent history after declaring martial law over the whole island of Mindanao in 2017,” said one of the speakers of the demonstration.

    The rallyists also called for the end to the TRAIN Law (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) which was supposedly causing the prices of goods to rise up, making daily survival harder for the poor. They also called on the Duterte government to stop the persecution of known political personalities and to end its attacks on the truth and press freedom.

    One of Duterte’s critics, Senator Leila de Lima, has been in jail on supposed trumped up charges. Another government critic, Senator Antonio Trillanes is on the risk of going back to jail after his amnesty was revoked. Protesting alleged corruption in the government and the military, Trillanes, then junior military officer participated in an uprising called the Oakwood Mutiny in 2003.

    The speakers also mentioned the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) in Brussels, Belgium which they said was helping raise awareness on the ongoing violations of human rights in the Philippines.

    The said demonstration was participated by members of BAYAN-US, Anakbayan, Gabriela and Migrante International.

    In a related incident, Filipino Americans composed of faith leaders, students and church members gathered at the First United Methodist Church of Wilmington for an evening of prayer service to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines.

    The mass action was sponsored by the National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns (NEFFCON) and Malaya, a US movement against killings and dictatorship in the Philippines. It brought together different religious denominations in the South Bay area, particularly the members of First United Methodist Church of Torrance, United Methodist Women, Intervarsity at Cal State Long Beach, and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

    September 21st is not an ordinary day for Filipinos as we mark the declaration of martial law, a decree that spells human rights violations, tyranny, and fascism in the Philippines,” said Fr. Lito Mombay of Iglesia Filipina Independiente and NEFFCON in his welcome remarks.

    Just as we are doing in advance today, Filipinos in the Philippines and all over the world will gather in solidarity for a mass and prayer service to commemorate martial law and say never again to tyranny and never again to dictatorship.”

    There were prayers and songs and speakers discussed the historical significance of martial law and the importance of remembering the past.

    The group also honored and prayed for the souls of Father “Tito” Paez, Father Mark Ventura, and Father Richmond Nilo — Catholic priests who have all been killed within last year for their respective involvement in activism and social works.

    William Lazarte from the First UMC Torrance urged the faithfuls to find hope in the example of prophet Habakkuk and “to trust in God alone, for that is the essence of true faith. A faith that defies circumstances; a faith that uplifts the downtrodden; a faith that speaks for the voiceless; a faith that empower the weak; a faith that stands up to the tyrants and bullies; a faith that exposes the lies and upholds the truth; a faith that comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. And finally a faith that steadfastly trusts and believes that God was, is and will always be in control.”

    Organizer Janelle Rivera of Anakbayan Long Beach and NEFFCON reflected on the victims of martial law in her prayer, remembering the over 300,000 people in Marawi that were displaced and forced to live in overcrowded evacuation centers after their homes were bombed to rubble.

    All of this suffering,” Rivera said,“is only to advance the interests of big landlords, businessmen, and the military. But God’s kingdom is an upside down kingdom that protects the interests of, not the rich and powerful but, the poor and powerless.”

    Those in attendance were reminded that “those in power want us to forget (the past) because they are the ones who benefit when we are silent,” stated Janelle Viray of NEFFCON and one of the organizers of the service.

    Therefore we are called to not stay silent, we must interrupt indifference, we must shed light on our true history and current concrete conditions, we must continue to speak out for justice for the targeted victims of the Marcos regime and each subsequent regime after him. We must not allow the tools of control, power, and oppression to remain in the hands of dictators and fascists,” Viray said.


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    2018 “Best Picture of the Year” competition opens on October 1

    September 26th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Jhay “JhayO” Otamias shows the trophy and the Manny Pacquiao victory photo that won him the top spot in the Pamana ng Lahi’s Best Picture of the Year 2017 photo contest. Photo © Teodoro Yap

    THE 2018 “Best Picture of the Year” competition is set to open on October 1, as the Filipino American History Month is celebrated throughout the US.

    The photography contest, which is on its second year, is jointly sponsored by the Philippine Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC) and the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA).

    Deadline for the submission of entries will be on October 13 and the awarding of winners will be on October 27.

    FACLA is the organization that runs the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) at 1740 W Temple St., Los Angeles. It is where the entries are to be put on display and as well as where the ceremonies will take place.

    Last year, the “Best Picture of the Year” photo contest was won by Jason “JhayO” Otamias, a boxing photo enthusiast from Torrance. The second place went to the prolific and award-winning painter Bienvenido Sibug. The third place went to Irwin Jazmines. The three winners were given trophies and cash prizes.

    The photograph of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao with his arms in raised in victory after beating Mexican-American Jesse Vargas won the first place for Otamias. The photo was taken on November 5, 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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    Most of Otamias’ work could be seen on the largest boxing portal outside of the US. He also contributes to the GMA network through Chino Trinidad and to and

    A five-person jury picked the three winning photos from a pool of 21 entries.

    The panel was composed of Maestro Dexter Grey (formerly a concert pianist), Romeo Balboa (professional photographer), Cao Yong (Chinese artist and photographer), Cesar Angeles (Public Information Officer of Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles) and Fernandico Gonong (president of Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA).

    Here are the guidelines for the photo contest:
    1. Participants should be Filipino or Filipino American.
    2. Entry should have been taken from October 1, 2017 to October 1, 2018.
    3. Subject/s of entry should be about Filipinos in the US, Filipino Americans and/or about Philippine arts, culture and events.
    4. Entries should have been published in local newspapers, the social media and or the internet for whatever purposes (dates and places of publication should be indicated in the entry.)
    5. Entries should be submitted before October 20, 2018; printed on minimum size of 10 x 8 inches frame (cardboard frames will be accepted and as well as other kinds of frames); titled and bearing the name of contestant, date when photo was taken and where/when published.
    6. Three outstanding photos will be chosen by a five-member panel to be selected by PILAC.

    Judging criteria:
    1. Relevance/importance to the Filipino American community
    2. Composition, display of photographic skills
    3. Impact on viewers
    4. Less use or absence of technological enhancement

    No member of the Pamana ng Lahi organizing team can join the contest, as well as members of PILAC and FACLA.

    Entries can delivered personally between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday or they can be mailed to the Filipino Cultural Center at 1740 W Temple St., Los Angeles 90026.


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    Janice Javier to sing with musician father in LA (To raise funds for the rehab of her voice)

    September 24th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Janice Javier clowns behind her musician father Rollie in this recent photo.

    ROLANDO “Rollie” Javier used to be the “famous” musician in the family. After all, he had a short stint with the “Hotdog,” the popular Filipino band that set out the classic songs “Manila” and “Annie Batongbakal” into the airwaves.

    “That was 1978,” Rollie recalled, “I stayed with them for a short while until I got into another band, a 12-man band.”

    Well, that was one for the books for sure. But the said feat has since been eclipsed on September 2013 when his daughter Janice became one of the four finalists in the well-liked television show “The Voice of the Philippines.”

    Janice was so impressive that while she was still competing in the talent show, she was also guested in popular TV noontime shows such as Showtime, ASAP, and the Singing Bee game show.

    Rollie’s daughter lost The Voice of the Philippines Season 1 crown to Mitoy Yonting but that did not dampen her star’s shine.

    Janice went on to perform with the icons like Gary Valenciano,, Morisette Amon, Lolita, True Faith and Zsa Zsa Padilla, among others.

    A band vocalist in Bangkok, Thailand before she joined the Philippine competition, Janice later got back to performing with bands around Asia, US and Australia.

    Janice has since won the Awit Award for Best Performance by a Female Recording Artist and was nominated for the Awit Award for Best Dance Recording.

    Last year, Javier released her self-titled debut album that contained songs such as “Imagine,” “I Believe I Can fly,”

    “Greatest Love of All,” “Chain of Fools,” “He’s Out Of My Life,” “Why Can’t It be” and “Starting Over Again.”

    Unfortunately, Janice’s powerful voice has been damaged recently after she had a vocal chord surgery to remove a polyp. She has been under stringent care for two months and has since stopped performing due to her post surgery condition.

    Rollie revealed that some of the songs in Janice’s repertoire for her upcoming concert on September 30 at the Josephine’s Restaurant in Cerritos have been adjusted to be at least half a note lower than the original.

    “Yung mga dati na kayang-kaya niyang kantahin, medyo pinababaan muna para hindi siya masyadong mahirapan,” Rollie intimated.

    Another concert has been set on November 9 at The Alpine Village Restaurant in Torrance.

    “Music is her passion and her life. Her ultimate purpose is to give joy and happiness to everyone by sharing her God-given talent. Through ‘The Voice for Life Encore’ benefit concert event and with your generous support, the proceeds will help cover her medical expense needs in the Philippines,” wrote a blogger at Carpe Diem, a Los Angeles based on line site.


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    Pinoy vs Pinoy fights fail to excite fans

    September 19th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Nietes and Palicte exchange blows during their fight last week at the The Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo by Jhay Otamias

    BOXING fans are probably the most uninhibited of all sports fans. And when fights were boring, they certainly knew the things to shout away to unshackle themselves from the humdrum.

    That’s just what exactly happened last September 8 at “The Forum” in Inglewood, California.

    That Saturday had been touted for its historic significance for Philippine boxing fans and as well as for the anticipated explosive duel between Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and Aston “Mighty” Palicte for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight division crown.

    Nietes and Palicte both fought skillfully but no bomb exploded. The boxing fans filled up the void.

    Inadvertently, the judges provided the meat for some post-game excitements by ruling that the Nietes-Palicte fight was a “split draw.”

    All the excitements were confined to the verbal assaults that went the way of the two of the five judges who were deemed to have erred in their scoring of the Nietes-Palicte match up.

    I couldn’t blame them, particularly the Filipino scribes, as the decision indeed robbed Nietes of what should have been another world title in a fourth weight class.

    It would have been another world record for Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KO) who used to be world champion in the 105 lbs., 108 lbs., and 112 lbs. divisions.

    The same can be said of Palicte, who also holds an impressive record of 24-2-1 (win-loss-draw), and who told the media during a pre-fight conference that he was dedicating the fight to a son who was then celebrating a birthday —and fittingly, because that would have been his first world crown.

    Why the Nietes-Palicte fight turned out to be a dud is beyond me.

    The average punches thrown in a boxing match is said to range from 500 to 600 punches on a 12-rounder. The computers counted about the same numbers of punches for both Nietes and Palicte — which indicated that while the Filipino fighters didn’t hold back, they apparently missed their targets a lot.

    Interestingly, fans also observed dull moments during another championship fight between Filipino fighters last May 26 in Fresno, California.

    The fight between two Filipino fighters who were both known to possess aggressive boxing styles, International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and Jonas Sultan, also failed to explode the fireworks when on top of the ring.

    Of course, it would be unfair to say that that was deliberate.

    On other hand, there is this nagging desire to find out what went really wrong on both well-publicized fights between these world-class Filipino boxers.

    Back home, Filipino boxers fight exciting fights against one another. Otherwise, boxing wouldn’t have came up as the country’s most loved sports next to basketball.

    But why such kind of match ups turned out to be duds when played in international boxing arenas?

    I guess there are many, particularly here in Los Angeles, who want that mystery figured out.

    But setting this aside, the bout between Nietes and Palicte was one for the Philippine boxing history books. The same goes for the match up between Ancajas and Sultan that was fought in Fresno.

    Exactly 93 years ago was the last time that two Filipino fighters fought against each other for a world title belt. It was fought between the legendary boxer Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo and Clever Sencio.

    That fight happened in Manila and was won by “Pancho Villa,” who had held the world flyweight title for two years prior to that bout against a compatriot.

    Of course, we have reasons to celebrate.


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    Hollywood welcomes RP’s Wish bus 107.5

    September 17th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Wish Bus 107. 5 innovator Kuya Daniel Razon poses with wife Arlene (on the left) and DJ Jelly (on the right) before the start of the show at the Universal CityWalk performance stage. Photo by Rudy Autor

    THE Philippines’ iconic radio bus, known as the Wish Bus 107.5, has been duplicated in Los Angeles — a city known as the world’s entertainment capital.

    The choice of Filipino American YouTube sensation AJ Rafael as the Wish bus USA’s first performer on board provided a somewhat encapsulated message as to the purpose of the gargantuan undertaking.

    AJ Rafael performed with three other musicians inside the Wish Bus 107.5 amidst posters of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL) in the backdrop.

    Rafael’s group was the only band that played inside the Wish Bus 107.5 as the rest of the performers did their acts on the Universal Citywalk’s performance stage.

    “I am so honored to part of this,” Rafael told the media during the red carpet walk.

    PAL, one of the event’s major sponsors, was represented by its Los Angeles senior account manager Maricel Wall.
    Wall expressed pride in PAL’s involvement in the historic event.

    Thousands of Filipinos from different states of US, and as well as from Canada, flew to Los Angeles to witness the unveiling of the Wish Bus 107.5 at the Universal Citywalk grounds last Saturday (September 8).

    Philippine media personality, Daniel Razon, the man behind the trailblazing concept, told the crowd that the arrival of Wish bus 107.5’s in the US was just the start of Wish FM radio global expansion.

    “Above all, we are thankful to God for allowing us to walk this extra mile. And now that we have reached Hollywood, we are looking forward to be moving a notch higher again. We are planning to move not only here in the US, but in other parts of the globe (as well). The next stop that we are looking at is the Middle East,” Razon said.

    A very young Filipino American artist Michael Keith, pumped up the show — not only through his remarkable talent to sing and dance — but as well as through his ability to connect with the crowd.

    “I am so happy to be here and be part of this event,” Keith said as he posed for photographers before the start of the show.
    Talents from the Philippines kept the energy up, chief of them DJ Robin Nievera, Annie Nepomuceno and Michael Regalado.

    Nievera was amply helped in hosting the show by a former Miss California contestant Maaikee K, another Filipino American talent and Los Angeles local.

    Filipino artists gather on stage for a final number. They are (from left to right) Perf de Castro (his back facing the crowd), AJ Rafael, Annie Nepomuceno, Jonathan Buencamino, Robin Nievera (partly hidden), Michael Regalado, Michael Keith and host Maaikee K. Photo by Rudy Autor

    A group from the 1990’s Philippine music scene, the Introvoys (who are now based in Los Angeles), spiced up the show with its rock ‘n roll songs.

    Original Pilipino Music (OPM) lead guitarist Perf de Castro was among those who performed on stage.

    The management of Wish FM, the Philippine’s number one FM YouTube channel, initially envisioned the “Wish Bus” to become a stage for Filipino artists to showcase their talents worldwide.

    But since its operation, the Wish Bus has also hosted international artists like David Archuleta, Jasmine Thompson, Dua Lipa and The Moffatts.


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    “Restorative care villages” to augment fight vs homelessness in Los Angeles

    September 16th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Homeless in Los Angeles. Image ©

    THE Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously voted to bring “restorative care villages” to county facilities as part of its wide-ranging initiative to fight homelessness.

    These so-called “restorative care villages” are a key element in the county’s ambitious efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness. It would seek to bring urgently needed interim housing to patients who would otherwise return to the streets after being discharged from county medical facilities.

    These villages will be built in places that include LAC+USC Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

    On-site services will enable patients to move easily to the appropriate level of care, with the goal of supporting community reintegration for people with mental health disorders, victims of violence and abuse, substance use, serious disabilities, and psycho-social and economic challenges.

    This week, the Board of Supervisors also voted unanimously to begin developing plans for a restorative and recuperative care facility in the Antelope Valley.

    Previously, the Board of Supervisors voted to create a state-of-the-art behavioral health care cent on the Martin Luther King, Jr. health care campus.

    The restorative care village projects—which will bring together housing and a wide range of treatments and services in a series of villages on medical campuses—will undergo environmental review before project budgets and design details are finalized.

    Supervisors were united in their praise for the new model, and its potential to change lives.

    “By adopting and making these capital projects happen, the County is modeling an innovative, integrated, and exceptionally coordinated model of care that is a first in the nation. It will improve health outcomes as well as support full recovery and community reintegration,” said Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.
    “Restorative care is transformational care. It’s not only good for the individual and our health system, it’s good for all the communities in which we live.”

    “The Restorative Village project is creating a public/private, multi-stakeholder community partnership that is bringing together medical leaders who serve the area surrounding the LAC+USC campus,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

    “My vision of a ‘Healthy Village’ will bring a range of benefits to families and communities in the interrelated issues of health, economic opportunity, and wellbeing.”

    “By developing restorative villages on our medical campuses, we are showing our commitment to the most vulnerable populations in our County,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

    “This is about the public sector delivering on its promise.”

    “Many people experiencing homelessness get trapped in a seemingly endless cycle—alternating between the hospital and the streets,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

    “By using the Restorative Care Village model we can intervene at a key moment, give people the support they need to heal, and put them on a path toward a home.”

    “Restorative Care Villages will better equip the County to care for our most vulnerable residents who are in need of holistic treatment and care,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said.

    “This will be a vital component of the County system that will drastically improve health and wellness outcomes. These investments into restorative care will be impactful throughout the County, especially in the Antelope Valley.”


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    High heel shoe-wearing Pinoy all-male dance crew exits AGT

    September 14th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    JNS members pose with supporters shortly after losing their championship bid at the America’s Got Talent at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Photo by Abner Galino

    THE run of the high heel shoe-wearing Junior New System in the 13th season of the popular America’s Got Talent has ended but their legacy as the only Filipino dance crew that has gone so far in the said competition will surely live on.

    The all-male Pinoy dance crew was eliminated last September 5, during an hour-long semi-final show at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California but only after shining in the dance floor. The group’s elimination shattered the dreams of their members and fans to compete in the show’s customary Las Vegas finals.

    “We really cried hard,” the dancers admitted shortly after their elimination was announced.

    But despite the heavy hearts, the Filipino dancers still met and hang out with supporters when the show was over.

    “We all thank you, all of the Filipino communities here in the United States na sumuporta po sa amin at walang sawang bumoto po sa aming lahat. Even if, hindi po kami nakapasok ng finals, we feel great po and honored po na mai-represent po namin ang Philippines,” said the dance group’s leader Christian Ian Santos.

    Nonie Belarmino, owner of the iDance Studio in Carson City, where the JNS members prepared their dance routine before joining the competition, congratulated the JNS members for the impressive run.

    “It is the first time that a Filipino dance crew was able to get this far in this competition,” Belarmino added.

    The JNS is the 2016 World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) senior grand champion. Members of the team came from a poor neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila.

    (Read More:

    Before they were famous, some of the boys collected and sold recyclable materials on the streets while some of them sold kakanin the Filipino native merienda (snack) to earn a living.

    Visda trained and organized the boys into an impressive dance group.

    The JNS crew has been in the US for more than a year now. They returned to the US in 2017 to avail of an arts scholarship award they won from joining the WCOPA after being granted performers’ visas.

    Since then they have become regular features in Filipino American shows and concerts.


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    LA County helps families keep sight of loved ones with autism, dementia

    September 11th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    An LA County sheriff shows the tracking device that will be installed on county helicopters to track missing persons under the project “LA Found.” Looking on are LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn (5th from the left on the background) and LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. Photo by Abner Galino

    THE County of Los Angeles last week launched a countywide program dubbed as “L.A. Found,” which was aimed at quickly finding persons with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease whenever they wander and go missing.

    The Wednesday launching of the project was led by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and Cynthia Banks, director of the L.A. County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department (WDACS).

    The program involves a system of electronic bracelets that can be tracked by receivers installed in L.A. Sheriff’s Department helicopters and its designated ground units.

    During a short launching ceremony at the LA Sheriff Department’s helicopter launch pad, Supervisor Hahn told the media that “L.A Found” was the culmination of recommendations from experts and community stakeholders.

    It formed part of an initiative called “Bringing Our Loved Ones Home (BOLOH) Task Force,” which was reportedly originally proposed through a motion authored by Hahn and co-authored by Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

    In February 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a comprehensive set of strategies proposed by the BOLOH Task Force, including a countywide pilot program to provide trackable bracelets to County residents (now known as L.A. Found).

    If you have cared for someone with dementia or autism, you know the fear of what might happen if you turn your back for just one minute,” said Supervisor Hahn.

    L.A. Found will not only save lives, it will finally give caregivers some peace of mind. If someone you love goes missing, L.A. County is ready to step in and help find them.”

    Wandering is a common problem associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and autism.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60% of people with dementia will wander at some point while a study by the Interactive Autism Network found that 49% of children with autism will engage in wandering behavior.

    We want caregivers to know that the County is here for you. Through L.A. Found we are not only providing access to tracking bracelets, but collaborating with law enforcement agencies, municipalities and other partners to improve emergency coordination, while providing information and resources to support individuals caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or autism,” said Cynthia D. Banks, WDACS Director.

    While the vast majority of these individuals are recovered, wandering cases can end in tragedy.

    Our LASD mission is to be the eyes and ears in the sky and on the ground. This technology literally enables lost loved ones to communicate their location to us and enable us to do all we can as first responders, to bring peace, comfort and families back together again,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

    According to the office of Supervisor Hahn, the L.A. County has more than 177,000 residents with Alzheimer’s disease. It added that LA County also has “a large population of people with autism and other developmental disorders that make them susceptible to wandering.”

    L.A. Found is a voluntary system of trackable bracelets provided by the non-profit organization Project Lifesaver.

    Hahn’s office said the bracelet is not going to be under constant monitoring. It will only be monitored when a caregiver calls 911 after an individual wearing a bracelet goes missing.

    As soon as help has been asked, the Sheriff’s Department Mental Evaluation Team will deploy receivers to help locate the missing person.

    The Project Lifesaver bracelet uses radio frequency technology to transmit an electronic “chirping” signal to help rescuers locate the wearer.

    Hahn’s office noted that “electronic handheld receivers are used to locate missing persons with the bracelets and are being used by law enforcement agencies across the country with great success.”

    The designated LA County helicopters would enhance the capability of authorities to detect signals during search operations.

    To qualify for the program, caregivers must first schedule a phone interview with either the Sheriff’s Department or WDACS through the website at www.

    A trackable bracelet cost US$325, plus shipping and handling.

    There are also leasing opportunities available through Project Lifesaver.

    There is currently a waiting list to be considered for a free bracelet. Those who want to placed on waiting list can call 1-833-569-7651 or email LA Found@LACOUNTY.GOV.


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    Fil-Ams decry harassment of Senator Trillanes

    September 10th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Members of Samahang Magdalo and allies demonstrate in front of Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles on Friday in support of embattled Senator Antonio Trillanes. Photo by Ren Arrieta

    HUMAN rights advocates and other Filipino American cause-oriented groups in Los Angeles have denounced the alleged political harassment of Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for being a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Arturo Garcia of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) in Los Angeles said their group is standing by with the members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Samahang Magdalo in protesting the alleged unlawful actions of the Philippine government against Trillanes.

    It is obvious, he (Trillanes) is the most active resistance leader against the de facto martial law of President Duterte,” Garcia said.

    He supported the filing of complaint against Duterte in the International Criminal Court (in The Hague in the Netherlands). He exposed the irregular government contracts cornered by Calida (Philippine Solicitor General Jose Calida). He has been speaking against extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. He is an outspoken critic of the Duterte administration and they are out to silence him.”

    Remedy Medina, a leader of the Samahang Magdalo in Los Angeles, posted an online video wherein he called the alleged political persecution against Senator Trillanes as a mere “diversionary tactic” of the Duterte administration.

    Eto ‘yung diversionary tactic na ginagawa ni Duterte ngayon. ‘Yung high inflation rate na abot na sa 6 percent, ‘yung economy, ‘yung mga bukbok (rotten rice), ‘yung galunggong, his ratings is probably been down in the gutter and they know that. And this is one of the measures that they are going to do, para mailihis ‘yung atensiyon ng mga tao sa tunay na kalagayan nila,” Medina said.

    Donny Deleon, a US veteran and also a member of FAHRA based in San Francisco, called the Philippine government’s action against Trillanes as an alleged political vendetta.

    Hindi po tama iyan, political vendetta po iyan. Wala pong legal basis iyan. Katulad po ng ginawa nila kay Senador de Lima,” Deleon argued.

    Deleon said that if the Filipino people would remain silent on the face of alleged harassment done to opposition leaders, it wouldn’t be far fetched that the same fate could befall Vice President Leni Robredo.

    Fe Koons, a Los Angeles based writer and activist, called the Philippine government’s action against Senator Trillanes a “violation of human rights.”

    The prices of basic goods continue to rise. Duterte should alleviate the socioeconomic conditions of poor Filipinos instead of going after Trillanes,” Koons said.

    Meanwhile, a mass action by Filipino Americans was held last Friday in front of the building that houses the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles to show support to the embattled Philippine senator.

    Duterte has voided the amnesty given to Senator Trillanes when he was jailed while still a junior officer in the Philippine Navy.

    Trillanes was detained for years before his election to the Philippine Senate because of his involvement in three military mutinies between the years 2003 and 2007. The renegade soldiers broke ranks to protest corruption in the military and the government.

    The Duterte government has cited technicalities in revoking the amnesty given to Trillanes.

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo told the media that Senator Trillanes “will be reverted to his status as active military personnel subject to military law and military discipline.” He added that Senator Trillanes could also be tried in a military court.

    Several military officers who also received amnesties for taking part in the failed coup are employed in the Duterte administration, but so far, only Senator Trillanes has been subjected to the revocation of pardon.

    Opposition leader, Senator Franklin Drilon, said attempting to resurrect rebellion cases against Senator Trillanes would amount to “double jeopardy.”

    Trillanes, for his part, said his lawyers will petition the Supreme Court to declare the government actions against him as illegal.


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    PWC praises fresh victory for California domestic workers

    September 3rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Members of Pilipino Workers Center unfurl their banner during a recent lobbying effort to pass a domestic workers’ protection and just compensation law in Sacramento. The group is part of the California Domestic Worker Coalition. Photo from PWC Facebook page

    THE Pilipino Workers Center recently joined domestic workers, particularly caregivers and nannies, in celebrating another victory in their continuing fight for better pay and better working conditions.

    The celebration was over the passage of AB 2314, also known as The Domestic Work Rights and Education Act, which passed the California Senate last August 23.

    The bill is now awaiting the signature of California Governor Jerry Brown.

    The Pilipino Workers Center is part of the California Domestic Worker Coalition that crafted and lobbied for the passage of the proposed law.

    When signed into law, AB 2314 will establish a program within the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement that will promote the implementation of labor standards for the domestic work industry.

    The said program will also provide resources, education and training for domestic workers and their employers.

    There are over 300,000 workers in California who work as cleaners, nannies and caregivers in nearly two million households.

    Domestic workers are historically excluded from most labor protections and as well as from legislated compensations.

    The current climate of escalated attacks on immigrants disproportionately impacts domestic workers — a labor force comprised primarily of immigrant women.

    Advocates noted that many of these domestic workers are breadwinners to their families.

    According to a handout sent out by advocates, AB2314 builds on SB54 & AB450 by seeking to uplift and protect the primarily immigrant workforce.

    Advocates noted that “domestic work is unique, violations are frequent, and domestic workers face multiple barriers to enforcing their rights.”

    Domestic worker organizations reported that “frequent violations of wage and hour laws and a strong trend of under-reporting of violations among workers.”

    Among the reasons cited for these violations were “lack of clear and basic information on their rights especially given the complexity of the law, language barriers, immigration status, fear of job loss and blacklisting, and lack of job security.”

    Sponsored by Assembly members Philip Ting and Gonzales Fletcher, when passed into law, it will be added as Section 1455 to the California Labor Code, and will read as follows:

    (a) The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement shall, upon appropriation of funds to the division for purposes of this section, establish and maintain a Domestic Work Enforcement Pilot Program in collaboration with qualified organizations. The program shall increase the capacity and expertise of the division to improve education and enforcement of labor standards in the domestic work industry.

    The program shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    (1) Education and training for domestic work employees and employers addressing minimum wage, overtime, sick leave, record keeping, wage adjudication, and retaliation.

    (2) Training for domestic worker leaders to provide peer-to-peer support and wraparound service referrals to domestic work employees who have elected to file wage claims or take other actions seeking remedy from employers.

    (3) Development of core training curriculum to be used in the education and training of domestic work employees and employers.

    (4) Provision of technical and legal assistance to domestic work employees through a statewide telephone help line and the promotion of the help line to domestic worker populations.

    (5) Development of an online resource hub to provide information for employers on state labor laws and guidelines on fair employment.

    (b) For the purposes of this section, “qualified organization” means:

    (1) A nonprofit organization that has a minimum of five years of experience working with domestic work employees or employers.

    (2) An organization that works with a nonprofit organization that has a minimum of five years of experience working with domestic work employees or employers.

    (c) Qualified organizations that collaborate under subdivision (a) shall issue reports and meet quarterly with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to review the implementation and success of the program.


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    Filipinotown hosts two Pinoy boxers anew who gun for world title

    September 2nd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Flanked by Tecate models on both ends, are Filipina American TV host and model Cynthia Conte (2nd from left), trainer Rodel Mayol, boxer Aston Palicte, boxing promoter Tom Loefller, three division world champion Donnie Nietes, trainer Edito Villamor and Australian Filipina boxer Luisa Hawton. The photo was taken during a meet and greet with fans at the Filipino Cultural Center in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Bobby Crisostomo

    FILIPINO American pride has been tickled anew recently as two kababayan fighters held a press conference at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Los Angeles to drumbeat their upcoming battle against each other for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super flyweight division crown.

    The said WBO title fight is another history in the making as it will mark the third time that Filipino fighters faced each other for a world title.

    Three division world champion and longest Filipino reigning champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes is scheduled to slug it out with countryman Aston ‘Mighty’ Palicte on September 8 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

    The fight is set to broadcast on HBO.

    Last May 26, International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas retained his world boxing belt against fellow Filipino fighter Jonas Sultan during their fight in Fresno, California.

    Looking back some 93 years ago – the last time that two Filipino fighters fought against each other for a world title belt was when the legendary boxer Francisco “Pancho Villa” Guilledo slugged it out with fellow kababayan Clever Sencio. Pancho Villa won that fight which was held in Manila, Philippines. By the time Pancho Villa and Guilledo fought, the former is already the world flyweight title champion for two years.

    Going back to the impending contest between Nietes and Palicte, their press conference at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) was hosted by Filipino American Cynthia Conte.

    Conte made it known to everyone about her Filipino ethnicity by speaking a couple of Filipino lines as she opened up the press conference for the boxers.

    The Filipino dominated guest table also featured Australian-Filipina undercard fighter, “Bang Bang Lulu” Louisa Hawton, (8-1-0, 4 KO’s) of Perth, Australia.

    Hawton proudly presented her “Filipino side” during her turn to speak. She will face Brenda Flores, (12-4-1, 2KO’s) of Tijuana, Mexico for the World Boxing Council Women’s Atomweight World Title.

    Fighters promise exciting clash

    For me hindi naman siguro advantage yung height para sa akin. Marami na rin naman akong nakalaban na matataas. At the same time hindi naman basketball itong paglalabanan namin, boxing naman, suntukan naman ito. So kahit na anong taas niya makiki sabayan ako. Kasi pinag-aralan naman namin ‘yung istilo niya. Magaling siya, malakas pero pinag-aralan talaga namin kung paano makuha ‘yung style niya,” three division world champion Nietes said during his turn to speak — soliciting laughter from the crowd.

    Nietes is three inches shorter than opponent Palicte who stands at 5’ 7”.

    For his part, Palicte said a win against Nietes might just be the start of his childhood dream becoming real.

    Bata pa po ako, nangangarap na po akong maging world champion,” he told the crowd. “Yung training namin doble. Sabi nila bakit dalawang Pilipino raw (who would fighting), hindi, sa akin trabaho lang po. Sport lang.”

    Fight promoter Tom Loeffler of 360 Promotions noted that the fight between Nietes and Palicte triggers mixed emotions for Filipino American fight fans.

    But it showed the quality of the Filipino boxers, these two world class fighter – ranked number 1 and number 2 in the world – fighting for the vacant title. So the Philippines should be proud that they will have another world champion after September 8,” Loeffler added.

    Loeffler has been known as the promoter for middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

    Three division world champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes poses with challenger and fellow Filipino Ashton “Mighty” Palicte during a workout show off at the famous Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. Photo by Tony Garcia

    On Wednesday (August 29), Nietes and Palicte a both held workouts for the media at Freddie Roach’s Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.

    The clash between Nietes and Palicte for the WBO world super flyweight title fight is a co-feature match on the so-called “Superfly 3” scheduled on Sep. 8 at The Forum at Inglewood.

    To headline the said event is former flyweight and super flyweight world champion Juan Francisco Estrada who will go up against fellow Mexican Felipe Orucuta.

    A match up between Japanese Kazuto Ioka and Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo is also slated on the same event.


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    Fil-Ams remembers Ninoy in LA

    August 29th, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    A group of Filipino Americans offer a prayer for former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., during the commemoration of his assassination last August 21 in front of the Philippine Consular Office in Los Angeles. Photo by Mabuhay Lara

    A GROUP of Filipino Americans on August 21 said a prayer in front of the building housing the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the assassination of former Philippine Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

    The political action was attended by members of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance and Magdalo Group-Los Angeles chapter.

    Community leader Art Garcia said in a telephone interview that while their mass action may appear to be numerically small, its significance could not be belittled.

    “Yung maliliit na pagkilos, diyan nagsisimula yan,” Garcia said, adding that the gathering was almost spontaneous.

    Writer and activist Fe Koons, on other hand, said the action was also meant for the victims of the extra-judicial killings that happened during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos and the current President Rodrigo Duterte.

    “We commemorated the victims of martial law, primarily Senator Benigno Aquino, and at the same time reminding the Fil-Ams of what is happening in the Philippines with the war on drugs – is the same conditions during martial law,” Koons said.

    “The Marcoses are also allowed political opportunity which is wrong because Ferdinand Marcos was a dictator responsible for the death, torture of thousands of victims,” she added.

    One of the protesters, Mabuhay Lara, wore an armband bearing the name of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, an innocent 17-year-old student who was killed in police anti-drug operation in Caloocan City.

    Magdalo leader in Los Angeles Remedy Medina in an interview with reporters said “Ninoy Aquino lost his life trying to regain freedom for most of us and he should be remembered.”

    “Because of the death of Ninoy (Aquino) the seed democracy and freedom was implanted in the hearts of all Filipinos, leading to the ouster of Marcos. And we need the same spirit and the same kind of heroism today with the situation in the Philippines,” Father Ben Sagra said before leading the group’s prayer.

    August 21 is a national non-working holiday celebrated yearly in the Philippines to commemorate the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

    In 1980, Aquino was allowed to go out of prison to seek medical treatment in the United States where he remained in exile for three years.

    While in the US, Aquino continued his fight against the Marcos dictatorship. He returned to the Philippines on August 21, 1983. He was assassinated shortly after soldiers and policemen escorted him out of the plane that brought him to the Manila terminal.

    The martyr’s wife, Corazon (popularly known as Cory) led a protest movement that led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. She became a president of the country after a bloodless revolution dubbed as EDSA People Power Revolt.

    The event was first celebrated as a national holiday in 2004 through Republic Act 9256. The law was passed during the incumbency of House Speaker Jose De Venecia, Senate President Franklin Drilon and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


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    When a business is not all about money

    August 23rd, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Blesilda Brucelas at Little Blessings shop. Photo by Abner Galino

    BEING your own boss and hustling your way to make bigger money through a business idea is normally how it works.

    But couple Giovanni and Blesilda Mejia-Brucelas of San Jacinto, California – who are threading separate careers in health care – were not exactly driven by these motives when they recently opened up a new business.

    Also, they actually embarked on a kind of business that did not align with their core competencies. They decided to open up a thrift shop, specifically carrying gently used children’s clothing, toys and other accessories.

    Well, on second thought, Blesilda being a mother of four kids – one of them is still a two-year-old boy – should know a lot about children’s stuff. And upping that motherly knowledge to an entrepreneurial sense wasn’t that hard.

    Fortuitously, Blesilda need not build a store for her new venture as she has enough space to run her thrift shop in the office where she also holds her home health staffing business. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

    I’ve always wanted to have a thrift store. I’m a thrifty person and I like the idea of saving money on anything. I would love to share the same opportunity to mothers like me by providing them option to do so,” Blesilda said.

    And I’d like to give a boutique experience with yard sale prices.”

    For his part, Giovanni – the better half – provided the sales pitch for their new endeavor: “Children clothes are very expensive yet they are slightly used. So this is an option against paying large amount of money for new clothes that your kids would barely use because they grow out of them so fast. We have a big family so we have the luxury of passing down the clothes from one baby to another. Not all families have that option.”

    At this early, Giovanni and Blesilda, who are both devout Christians, are already sold to the idea that their new endeavor would not, by its nature, reap them a windfall.

    I’ve done some math and I know that the profitability part of this endeavor isn’t that exciting. But what is exciting though, is the probability of helping other mothers like me save a lot of money by offering quality goods for a lot less. I handpick everything I put in the store and I wouldn’t put anything I wouldn’t want for my own children,” Blesilda said.

    Just a day after opening her thrift shop’s door, an expectant mother came in —with her two little ones — wanting to swap her single-seat stroller for a double stroller in the store, which was already tagged at a bargain price. She said she could not afford to pay the difference so she wanted to see if she could do an even swap.

    Blesilda knew that it didn’t make good business sense to do the even swap, but she also knew that it was an opportunity to bridge the gap for this mom. So she took in the single-seat stroller and gave the double stroller away.

    What happened was an exception to the rule, but Blesilda said she wasn’t scared to break her own rules.

    I believe that God has given me this store as an opportunity to serve the underserved. I always consider it a blessing when I am presented with opportunities to help someone in dire need,” Blesilda said.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is still business and it has to make financial sense for me to run it – but I like the idea of making money on the side, being able to bless others, yet have a lot of fun in the process. What more could I ask for? After all, this is a season in my life where I get to do exactly what I enjoy doing without the fear of failing. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world,” she added.

    By the way, the shop is at 1520 S San Jacinto Avenue # 9, San Jacinto, CA 92583. Telephone no. 951-800-2275.


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    Concert marks Buwan ng Wika celebration in Filipinotown

    August 21st, 2018

    By Abner Galino

    Michael Keith poses with fellow performer Sydney Noelle (2nd from right) and host Rinoa Felix. Also in the picture are members of the TROPAE Group – Abner and Odette Galino and Elizabeth Zaide. Photo by Tony Garcia

    THE “Buwan ng Wika” celebration at the Filipino Cultural Center (FCC) in Los Angeles was remarkably amplified with the sterling performances of veteran performer Jo “Live Wire” Awayan, newly-arrived Philippine world singing champion Cristiani Rebada and the rising local young star Michael Keith.

    The Johaness Line Dance and Cultural Group was a revelation — injecting the show with a folksy and spirited atmosphere. Aside from performing the front act, the dance group later joined the main performers on stage as “back up dancers,” which greatly enhanced the excitement in the house.

    Michael Keith (who sung, danced and played guitar), showed the audience how he has steadily been transforming into a total performer.

    On Friday’s show, Michael also showed his ability to involve his audience into his act, resulting in a burst of energy and glee in the house.

    Rebada, the World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) 2017 grand champion, lived up to his billing. He performed four Original Pilipino Music (OPM) songs that amply showed the incredible range of his voice and his versatility.

    Rebada particularly impressed the 2017 WCOPA judges by singing operatic tenor, in the style of Italian legend Luciano Favarotti.

    Jo “Live Wire” Awayan, who insisted on a very short introduction, put the exclamation point to the show’s finale.

    As she has been known for, Jo Awayan’s energy and charm quickly filled the room as she stepped on the stage. She masterfully weaved music and humor by delivering hilarious jokes in between songs.

    Jo Awayan engaged not only her audience, but as well as her fellow artists, particularly Michael Keith.

    Guest artist Sydney Noelle was also a revelation. The 12-year-old Filipina American is a singer, songwriter and an actress from Orange County, California.

    The show was competently hosted by 2018 Miss Teen Cosmos Rinoa Felix and Miss Teen Mundial 2017 Nathalie Barry.

    The show was hastily organized for the celebration of Buwan ng Wika by the Philippine Institute for Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC), the TROPAE Group and the Filipino Cultural Center.

    DJ Karl provided the show’s lights and sound.

    The show was written and directed by Beyond Deadlines’ Los Angeles Bureau Chief Abner Galino.


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