Posts by Dani:

    Philippine Consulate to open in Houston soon

    August 16th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Honorary Consul Ethel Mercado

    A RANKING Filipino diplomat said the Philippine Consulate in Houston is set to open soon even as she admits that its opening has been delayed due to unexpected developments.

    Philippine Honorary Consul in Dallas Ethel Mercado confirmed that the initial plan for a soft opening of the Consulate in Houston in late summer of 2018 is delayed. She added, however, that the core members of the consular officials have already arrived in Houston and working hard in preparing all the logistics and permits needed to open the office.

    This is an exhaustive and time-consuming process. Every step of the process must be approved not only by the Philippine Department of Affairs (DFA) but also by the U.S. State Department. Imagine processing requests through two bureaucracies, Mercado said.

    Meanwhile, in light of the delay in the opening of the Houston Consulate, the plans for Consular Outreach in Dallas, San Antonio, and McAllen, commonly referred to in Texas as (RGV); which were earlier shelved may be revisited before the end of 2018. The purpose of reviving the outreach is to help kababayans who need the services urgently for remainder of 2018 as a stop-gap measure.

    What Kinds of Services Are Available through a Consulate Office

    Among the services that the Embassy/Consulates General provides are the following:

    • Consular Outreach Program
    • Passport | Travel Documents | Visas
    • Adult New Applicant
    • Adult Renewal Applicant
    • Minor New/Renewal Applicant
    • Travel Document
    • Authentication / Acknowledgment
    • Civil Registry
    • Solemnization of Marriage
    • Report of Marriage
    • Report of Birth
    • Report of Death and/or Consular Mortuary Certificate
    • Dual Citizenship
    • Visa -Non-immigrant and Immigrant
    • Waiver of Exclusion Ground
    • Certificate of Not the Same Person
    • Balikbayan Program
    • Pet Transport to the Philippines
    • Applying for NBI clearances
    • Renewal of Philippine driver’s license
    • Medical Missions to the Philippines
    • Securing of J-1 waivers
    • Other – Authentication/acknowledgment of documents, such as SPAs, Deeds, school and medical records, even Trademarks

    Key Texas Organization(s) Supporting the ConGen

    At the same time, Mercado took the time to thank the Philippine American Chambers of Commerce of Texas (PACC-Texas) and its chapters in Houston, Dallas, McAllen, San Antonio for its consistency in supporting the Consulate Outreach program in Texas. She said their volunteers have been showing up for a decade to each consulate outreach to assist their kababayans.

    “Texas Kababayans should be very happy and proud of what they have accomplished. This collaboration has helped more than 30,000 Filipinos in Texas and neighboring states in the last 10 years alone,” Mercado said.

    It is estimated that with the regular Consulate Outreaches, the Filipinos in Texas saved US$15 million in travel expenses since they no longer need to go to Los Angeles in California to avail of the consulate services.

    Additional Information

    “Until further notice and at least through 2019, the Honorary Consulate in Dallas headed by Honorary Consul Ethel Mercado will continue to grant emergency passports and other travel documents for those who have to go home urgently but with expired passports.

    It will also continue to process SPAs, Authentication documents, Reports of Birth and Marriage, and other consular documents.

    Call Consular Assistant Nelia Africa for appointment: 940-728-2222 or email

    The Dallas office is open 5 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Requests for emergency passports are usually processed on the same day.

    Handy Links to Organizations in the Philippines


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    Fil-Am Green Beret killed in Afghanistan

    August 15th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Sgt. 1st Class Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion died five days after he sustained injuries from an improvised explosive device blast, the Department of Defense announced Monday. File Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

    A HIGHLY decorated Filipino American member of the American Special Forces was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device in Afghanistan.

    The United States Department of Defense identified the fatality as 36-year old Staff Sgt. Reymund Rarogal Transfiguracion. He is the fifth American military service member to be killed in Afghanistan this year.

    Transfiguracion, who is from Waikoloa, Hawaii; was a member of Green Beret and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He is on a supporting role for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel when slain.

    Operation Freedom’s Sentinel

    Operation Freedom’s Sentinel is a counter-terrorism mission that also seeks to support NATO allies in helping to bolster Afghan security forces. This operation is targeting ISIS-Khorasan and Al Qaeda. It is one of two follow-on missions to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The other being Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

    According to the DOD report, Transfiguracion died on Sunday, in a civilian hospital in Germany due to the severity of the wounds he suffered from an IED that was detonated near him while he was conducting combat patrol operations in Helmand Province last week. This was his fourth combat deployment.

    Highly Decorated Commando

    The DOD said Transfiguracion is a highly decorated solider. His awards and decorations include Meritorious Unit Commendation, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart (second award), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal (third award), Army Good Conduct Medal (third award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (second award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (second award), NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Army Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Basic Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge.

    He was posthumously promoted to Sgt. 1st Class and awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

    Ilocos Norte Native

    Transfiguracion was born in Sarrat Ilocos Norte, Philippines, on May 20, 1982. He was the second oldest of six brothers. In addition to his wife, he’s survived by two young children.

    Incident Under Investigation
    The incident is under investigation per the US Department of Defense (DOD).For More Information

    More information

    For more information regarding Staff Sgt. Transfiguracion, contact Maj. Beth Riordan, 1st Special Forces Command Public Affairs, at (910) 908-3947 or


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    Tropical storm Karding (Yagi) showcases the incredible imagery and resilience of talented Filipino photographers, videographers and citizens journos

    August 13th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Tropical Storm Karding. Image © CNN Philippines

    MANY areas in the Philippines experienced flash flooding due to a south-west Monsoon or Hanging Habagat. exacerbated by Tropical Storm Karding (Yagi).

    Karding, the 11th storm to hit the country this year, brought flooding, heavy rains and fierce wind to Metro Manila. Southern and Central Luzon. Heavy rain poured on Saturday, flooding several areas in Metro Manila and the adjoining Rizal province.

    At 8 pm on Saturday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a red rainfall warning for Metro Manila and Rizal.

    PAGASA also issued an orange rainfall warning for Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Bulacan. A yellow rainfall warning was issued for Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas and northern Quezon.

    In one form or another all three color codes warned residents to expect heavy rain persisting in these areas for two hours, and possible flooding in low-lying areas.

    Hotline 911 Reminder

    Just a reminder, President Rodrigo Duterte institutionalized 911 as the nationwide emergency hotline. Duterte signed Executive Order No. 56 on May 25, 2018 making 911 as the nationwide emergency hotline, replacing PATROL 117.

    Government Updates

    To get the latest updates be sure to go to Facebook and follow:

    Photojournalists, Photographers and Videographers of Note During #Karding

    Some unique videos are coming out of the flooding by talented photojournalists, photographers, videographers, and even amateurs being present and capturing powerful imagery.

    One of the most popular is the video of a bride who waded up the aisle during Philippines flood in Bulacan in the Philippines on Saturday August 11, 2018. The bride and her parents waded down the aisle through murky water, up to the barefoot groom who was waiting by the altar. You can check out that video here:

    Chest Deep Flooding in some areas of the city were also caught on video and shared on Rappler’s platform. You can check that video out here:

    A powerful video come from Jhemleth Magboo on YouTube and is definitely worth a watch, be sure to click back here and not get lost in YouTubeLandia. We all know how that goes.

    Another YouTuber @Tsuks Eladia contributed this video in #MarikinaCity:

    Check out this great video from YouTube user @Richmond Butalid  of hanging habagat:

    Here’s another one ulat panahon ni @Em Rodillas on YouTube:

    Here are several pictures from @AlvnKasiban on Instagram showing the flooding. He is an Artist, Manila Bulletin Staff Photographer, and #Thomasian. You can email him at

    Jilson Tiu captured an amazing image of Tropical Storm Karding hitting Manila Bay on Instagram. Jilson Tiu is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist who is based in the Philippines. He can be contacted via email at Check out his images from #Karding:

    Raging ocean typhoon #karding #philippines #monsoon #typhoon #whphidden

    A post shared by Jilson Tiu (@jilson.tiu) on

    Rain Road #everydayphilippines #everydayeverywhere #philippines #monsoon

    A post shared by Jilson Tiu (@jilson.tiu) on

    Another Instagramer shared a picture of the impact on pets during #Karding. Check out this video from IG: @thequeerofsoul

    Karl Davin Hui @karldavinhuiphotography is photographer and artist from Manila, Philippines and his IG accounts are Design – @kdh_designstudio and Personal – @karldavinhui Check out this pic from Karl:

    #typhoon #rain #flood #manila

    A post shared by Karl Davin Hui (@karldavinhuiphotography) on

    Children remind you to find the joy. Check out Karl’s picture of some kids at play during #Karding:

    Children play under heavy rain. #typhoon #rain #flood #manila #karding

    A post shared by Karl Davin Hui (@karldavinhuiphotography) on

    This incredible image of the plugged sewage system is from IG: @dammitroxy and made it to the Philippine Star!

    Ano, taon taon na lang? We deserve a better sewarage system. Next year iboto natin yung mga active, matalino, tapat, at well-being ng mga filipino talaga inuuna. (di katulad ni Sotto at ang kanyang panukalang 14th month pay, parang suhol ang dating. Pag may namatay tayong kamag-anak o nasira bahay natin sa mga ganitong kalamidad, di kasya yang 14th month pay na yan). And most important of all, asking for accountability from our officials is not a "dami reklamo/rally na walang kwenta/walang nagawa sa bansa" nonsense. Because its their fucking job to keep us safe in times like this. Also pls lang maging logical naman tayo wag puro delawan at DDS. Loyal tayo dapat sa kapwa at sa bansa natin hindi sa mga partida na yan. #habagat2018 #halalan2019 #philippines #pinas #pinoypolitics #karding

    A post shared by Roxy 🇵🇭 (@dammitroxy) on

    Praying for the Philippines
    Let us all utter a short prayer to the Kababayans in the PH to keep safe as many have families back in the PH who are impacted by the flooding.
    “Lord, gabayan nyo po ang bawat isa na makauwi ng maayos at ligtas sa kani-kanilang tahanan.” Mga kababayans and kaibigans you will get through this isa na namang mapaminsalang kalamidad na dumaan sa Pilipinas dahil sa Bagyong Karding like you always do. Be safe and smart!
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    Team France’s goalkeeper in FIFA World Cup games is Filipino

    August 8th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Alphonse Areola. image from

    HOUSTON, TX– Here is a great #ICYMI, there was another testament to the power of Filipino ethnic identity and solidarity in the World Cup July 15, 2018 in Moscow!

    This time a French Filipino is in the news! We should be proud that football player Alphonse Areola, one of France’s national pride ng France, is Pinoy even if he did not wave the Philippine flag on the champions podium in Russia.

    Filipino-French Alphonse Areola is the 3rd string goalkeeper for the French Soccer Team! He is now the first Filipino FIFA world champion, Champion du Monde for the Equipe de France!!

    Alphonse is a World Cup winner despite never having won a single cap in France to date! He is chided for this on social media. It is a unique record of sorts – to be the first player in France’s history to be a World Champion without playing a single minute with Les Bleus, as the French National Team is nicknamed.

    The French National Men’s Football team spent a month battling their way to the top and defeated Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final to win. This was France’s second time to hoist the World Cup Trophy, 20 years after their first and only other win.

    More About Alphonse

    The 25 year-old Alphonse was born to Filipino immigrant parents in France. He started playing football because of the access his parents’ wealthy employers provided him.

    Alphonse has been a footballer since 2008. He played in the youth teams from 2008 to 2014. In 2015, he was called up to play in the seniors. While still in the youth league he made some major moves. More about that a little later.

    Alphonse is married. His wife Marrion is also half-pinoy; she loves to cook adobo and sinigang for him. Marrion Areola is a former model. Her mother is Filipina and her dad is Lebanese.

    Alphonse even has a “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas” tattoo on his left arm as a tribute!

    Trevor Noah and other European comedians acknowledge the African roots of many of the French Team players, 13 of the 23 players is of African descent, most of them like Pogba (Guinea) and Mbappe (Cameroon) are from former French colonies, territories, and protectorates.

    Alphonse is 1 of 18 French players with an immigrant background. It is only fair to acknowledge the Filipino roots of one of the players, too! Mabuhay Alphonse!

    Alphonse and Marrion were privileged to recently meet the cast of the hit TV show “Ang Probinsyano” per a picture on his Instagram account. He posed with Coco Martin, Yassi Pressman, Lito Lapid, John Prats, and other stars from the show. (Instagram: @areolaofficiel)

    His official Twitter is @AreolaOfficiel and here is the link to the Twitter account is

    What’s Next for Alphonse?

    Alphonse will still play for club team Paris Saint-Germain. He had some remarkable plays with the team such as the saved spot-kicks in 2013 in FIFA U-20 in a penalty shoot out. That lead to France’s first ever title in that tournament!

    Rumor has it on the FIFA world that Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea is interested in the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) goalkeeper. It is said that the PSG is internally split over what to about this dashing French Filipino’s international future. Rumor has it that Alphonse wants to sign a contract extension with PSG; and then go out on loan to secure a spot. Il privilegie la Premier League!

    Al-Khelaifi wants to keep Alphonse whereas Antero Henrique is open to selling him in the transfer market.

    If Thibault #Courtois leaves his spot for Real Madrid, the football world is alignment in believing that Alphonse should replace him for #ChelseaFC. Alphonse appears to be in the running with Gianluigi Donnarumma as ChelseaFC’s top two choices.


    The fact that Alphonse Areola won the FIFA World Cup and is still eligible to play for Philippines National Team (NT) is extraordinary. That’s the magic of FIFA rules.

    Many in the football world feel that Alphonse would be the perfect player for Sarri’s system because he is fantastic on the ball and still has time to improve and become one of the world’s top goalkeepers! #PSG #CFC #ASRoma He kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in Ligue 1 last season, a total of 17 sheets.

    You can check player stats at

    Vive Les Philippines! Congratulations to Alphonse and the rest of the Les Bleus! We wish you continued success wherever your journey takes you.

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    Filipina Houstonian artist Crystal Lallego nominated for the Global Arts Awards

    July 25th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Crystal Lallego. Photo ©

    HOUSTON, TX – A Filipina artist of local renown was nominated for The Global Arts Awards 2018.

    Crystal Lallego

    Houston based Crystal Lallego held her first ever Solo Art Exhibit on September 23, 2017. That show featured live music by Vanessa McGrew, Nicole Aimi, and Kathryn Rose (Houston Fil-Am musician), glow in the Dark Bucket Performance by Brian Perales (Houston Fil-Am photographer), a dance performance by “Team Rose”, a Fashion Show featuring painted purses by Crystal and Jewels by Pamela McKinney, food trucks, complimentary hors d’oeuvre and drinks.

    Moreover, I got the awesome opportunity to interview her during that red carpet night. She came to SLAY that night and I say she did!

    Crystal, who has been a RAW Artist since 2015, says she still remembers her first art contests. Her art was the one selected and got showcased in an art gallery and that feeling of elation, accomplishment, and pride.

    As her love of art grew she has humbly grown to appreciate her own talent has grown too. She says she learned to enjoy the unexpected and learned to love the transformative power of artwork. Coming from an Artistic family – musical and visual arts, she says she was blessed to spend her free time surrounded by amazing art, or out discovering it.

    She has already ‘rubbed shoulders’ with some of the most fascinating people in the world. A nomination for the Global Arts Awards 2018 is a continuation of that meteoric rise of this Filipina-Houstonian.

    Life is amazing!” Crystal says and we agree! Congratulations Crystal!

    One of the fascinating art works of Crystal Lallego

    About the Global Arts Award

    The Global Art Awards is an award program to recognize International Visual Artists. The Artists are also honored for their achievements and positive contributions to their art form, art galleries, and art professionals worldwide.

    The outstanding artists are awarded live in front of the public and press, giving the winners the recognition that they deserve, boosting their careers with a ‘Best Global Artist’ title to claim for the rest of their career.

    This year, The Global Art Awards will be on November 21, 2018 at the FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai. It will be hosted at The Penthouse of the FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel.

    This spectacular gala and red carpet event will include: Cocktails, an Art Exhibition, Live Performances, Live Painting, a DJ and Live Music, Special Celebrity Guests, and Juries of Honors going until 2:00 am local time. This is the second time the GAA ceremony will be held at The Penthouse of the FIVE Palm Jumeihrah, Hotel.

    (Read More:


    Voting is open now! Support Filipino artists across the diaspora. Please go to this link: today to vote!

    Vote now! Bumoto ngayon!

    For more information

    Be sure to go by JoMar Visions to check out her studio. Crystal is an Artist in Residence in Studio 10B. The studio address is: at 5247-5249 Langfield Rd. Houston, Texas 77040 You can also reach her at

    You can also check out her official Facebook site here:


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    June 28th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    DALLAS, TX – Today @Slack went down and the millennial world of communication was thrown into chaos. As usual people took to Twitter to add hilarity to the communication apocalypse. Yes, SLACK is DOWN, and we will survive!


    First off for those non-millennials, let’s explain what Slack is. Wikipedia, an internet based free source site, describes Slack as, “…a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services, founded by Stewart Butterfield. Slack began as an internal tool used by his company, Tiny Speck, in the development of Glitch, a now defunct online game.” The name is an acronym for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”.


    The popular real-time messaging tool Slack went dark for millions of users on Wednesday morning, June 27, around 9:30 am Eastern Standard Time.

    As of 12:45 pm EST, Slack still had not resolved its connectivity issues.

    Slack said on its website on it was experiencing connectivity issues across “all work spaces” and the cause for the outage is under investigation. Initially, only some people were unable to access the network and Slack addresses the issue.

    Later, the service became inaccessible to everyone. The outage left millions of professionals scrambling for ways to communicate with their colleagues. But instead of freaking out, “old heads” will just shake their heads and quietly mumbled under the breath: “Millennials.


    Many took to Twitter to share their frustration and make witty, biting comments. The visual representation at @PostGradProblem is a perfect gif for what workplaces are experiencing:

    “The three stages of Slack being down.“


    “With @SlackHQ still down, I can only communicate by phone, text, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, GroupMe, Instagram, and Snapchat. Now I know how my grandparents did business,” said a Slack user.

    “When #Slack is down the whole tech world descends into chaos. We are lost. Directionless. Will we ever see the light again?! What is this archaic thing the Elders call “e-mail”? said another Slack user

    A Reddit user joked, “Loot. Pillage. Mayhem. Chaos. @SlackHQ is down.”

    “How am I supposed to tell my team that Slack is down when I don’t have Slack to tell them at Slack is down?” joked a user.

    “There’s always Morse code,” wrote one.

    “Be free. No gods no masters no editors,” joked another.

    “That means we get the day off, right?” asked another.

    “When Slack is down and you have to actually talk to your co-workers in person” wrote another.


    Articles from trending millennial websites already sprang up such as this one from @Mashable – “Slack is down, and I talked to my colleagues…in the face???


    It’s ok really though. You can still be productive. There’s the phone, Google Hangouts, SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, even that old dinosaur “EMAIL.”

    Yep, email is still around.

    With Slack being down, we can still while away the day swapping GIFs and memes without Slack. Catch up on your emails – I know scary thought right. Just select then all and hit “Delete All”. There, done.

    Get started on that report you’ve been putting off – start writing that movie script that will hit big in Hollywood. Take this Slack Sabbatical and use it to focus, because we all know multitasking is a lie – that Slack helps us perpetuate.

    P.S. Remember these salient points from a Slack user on Twitter, “While Slack is down, don’t spend the time realizing they now have a database of all your business strategies, corporate secrets, infighting, petty rivalries, affairs, legal cases, and could blackmail the entire world economy with the press of a button. Enjoy your donut!”


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    Winnie Mandela dies @ 81

    April 6th, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Winnie Mandela. Photo © Ladysmith Gazette

    HOUSTON, TX – Winnie Madikizela Mandela, an African National Congress struggle veteran has died at aged 81 in South Africa.

    Mandela, who is also known as The Mother of South Africa (SA), passed away on April 2, 2018 at NetCare’s Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg due to an unspecified lingering illness.

    According to knowledgeable sources, Mama Mandela, whose Xhosa name is Nomzamo (She who tries), lived a controversial life although she does not deserve the shame she suffered. Many South Africans will celebrate her as great freedom fighter.

    The same sources said that in her youth, Mama Mandela was offered a scholarship in the USA but decided to stay in South Africa. She then moved to Johannesburg alone, a young girl from Pondoland, and started work at Bara. Her sacrifices for SA started long before her marriage to Nelson Mandela.

    They added that Mama Mandela was politically aware and involved in activism from a young age. She is also the first qualified black social worker in SA. A bright student, top of her class, she did research in Alexandra township to establish the rate of infantile mortality.


    Her supporters asked that as Mama Mandela is remembered, the SA nation should take a moment to reflect on what she went through when she was imprisoned in solitary confinement for 491 days.

    On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and as he paid tribute to Mama Mandela, Rev. Jesse Jackson shared his memories of Mam’ Winnie and the intersection of the South African anti-apartheid struggle with the US civil rights movement.

    He told the listeners of the South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) that “We will always remember her, and her struggle till the end. She had a strength that was universal. Jail cells could not contain the struggle for freedom and dignity in South Africa.”

    On the other hand, the families of some former ANC presidents in KwaZulu-Natal have described Ms. Mandela as a woman who remained resilient despite being terrorized by apartheid police.

    They quoted Mama Mandela as saying “There is no longer anything I can fear. There is nothing the apartheid government has not done to me. There isn’t any pain I haven’t known…I am honored to have served my people and to live my purpose.”

    According to them her courage was incomparable. Many South Africans always looked at her fierce fearless spirit throughout the course of history as a source of motivation and inspiration, encouragement for them to continue to fight, confront the enemy without fear. She led the fight against colonialism from the front.

    A nation in mourning

    SA authorities, meanwhile, said the funeral of the late ANC stalwart will be held at Orlando Stadium, Soweto, Johannesburg on Saturday the 14th of April, 2018.

    All flags across the country and at all South African missions abroad are flying at half-mast until the evening of anti- apartheid struggle icon funeral. Moreover, 12 days of national mourning, beginning April 3, were declared in the country.

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    SXSW, the power of creative economy

    March 23rd, 2018

    By Daniella Flanagan

    Image ©

    HOUSTON, TX – On March 14, the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia here in cooperation with Indonesian-American Chamber of Commerce of Southeastern Central USA and The Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy held an interactive and fun South by South West panel of Indonesian startup business.

    The power of Indonesian creative economy

    I was invited to attend this three-hour presentation, discussion, and business matching under the header “The Power of Indonesian Creative Economy.”

    The air was punctuated by the smell of Indonesian delicacies and the taste of investment opportunities with some of Indonesia’s rising business stars – Seruni Audio, Mycotech,, Squline, Saft7Robotics, Minikino, Vestifarm.

    The March 9 to 18, 2018 SXSW event held at the Austin Convention Center was an opportunity to meet Indonesian start-up companies in the creative economy industry who participated. This time there are seven Indonesian start up companies who joined the event – Seruniaudio,, Mycotech, Saft7robotics, Squline, Vestifarm, Minikino & Telkomsel NextDev.

    It seems to me that the global impact of SXSW on the startup community is undeniable.

    What is SXSW?

    It is definitely more than just free food, drinks, and band showcases. What began as a regional showcase of musical talent over 30 years ago is now a globally renowned event during which tech professionals, recording artists and filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and other creatives converge for more than a week in downtown Austin, Texas.

    The SXSW, which was free and open to the public, attracts the world’s leading creative professionals to Austin for an unparalleled event that includes a conference, trade shows, and festivals.

    For the past 30 years, SXSW has successfully helped creative people achieve their goals while catapulting Austin onto the world stage each March by transforming the city into a global mecca for creative professionals.

    SXSW is perhaps the best example how American cities and states can change in a way that reflects the best of who we are as members of the local and global communities.

    Despite the evolution of the event, SXSW maintains its focus on helping provide a launchpad for innovative ideas—whether it is in music, film or technology.

    I discovered that seemingly disparate tracks—tech, social impact, and art—can come together in surprising ways to strengthen and propel each other forward – globally.

    SXSW is surely a global launchpad.

    In that corner of Texas that was Indonesia, I saw emerging technologies bring together artists, inventors, politicians, philanthropists, and thought leaders from all over Asia and the United States.

    In 2016 alone, SXSW—and by extension, Austin, Texas—achieved over 110 billion broadcast, print, and online impressions.

    The ubiquity of SXSW media coverage is unique and tremendously valuable to ASEAN countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.

    The annual SXSW continues to break down boundaries and step boldly and confidently into the unknown. If you as an entrepreneur have never attended, make this one of your MOST DO list in life. Partnerships are critical to make small entrepreneurs and startups successes.

    Nonprofits, foundations, and governments must work deliberately with private companies and budding entrepreneurs to create and implement growth solutions for businesses and development for their nations.


    The creative, ambitious, and sometimes unorthodox thinking that SXSW showcases is the same kind of thinking needed to transform lives with global innovation and funding of entrepreneurs.

    Whether it be in Austin, Manila, Jakarta, Nairobi, Seattle, or Accra; we should always be looking for fresh ways to develop, integrate, and scale innovation to support thriving, healthy, and self-reliant communities in our respective nations.

    Maraming Salamat Po to the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Houston, the Indonesian-American Chamber of Commerce of Southeastern Central USA (IACC- SCU) and The Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy for the invitation.

    Special thanks to Karbela Rachman, Ira Damayanti and Paul Wahyudin for your coordination efforts for that amazing night.

    SXSW Video URL:
    Consulate Link:
    Indonesian Chamber Link:
    Media listing source:

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    The Isleños of Louisiana

    March 1st, 2018

    The Isleños of Louisiana. Image ©

    HOUSTON, TX – Our research team, meaning me, took a look around at the Mardi Gras festival here in Southeast Texas and the associated people raised in different cultures that celebrate it here in the Southern States of the US. One unique, almost obscure, story popped up – a people called the Isleños.

    The Isleños, like Filipinos, have Spanish and indigenous roots. They are Spanish speaking immigrants from Haiti and Canary Islands that came to Louisiana following the first wave of Filipino immigrants there.

    The Isleños of Louisiana settled in Spanish Louisiana during the 18th century, between 1778 and 1783. The Isleños of Louisiana of today are still very family oriented and, like their ancestors and Filipinos of today, strongly profess the Catholic faith.

    The Isleños in Louisiana make up three communities that speak Spanish based that include the Isleños of Saint Bernard Parish; the Brulis, who are scattered in southern Louisiana and speak a dialect with French loaned words; and the Adaeseños in the Natchitoches and Sabine parishes who speak a very similar dialect with loan words from the Nahuatl language of Mexico.

    Most of the Isleños of Saint Bernard can now only speak English. The eradication of the language was hastened by the compulsory English-only language instruction in the schools through laws passed in the 20th century by the Louisiana government. For example, the my grandparents were forbidden to speak their language at school and only permitted to speak their language at home.

    If you are like me who enjoy film and TV, there is a truly wonderful and inspiring film that perfectly encapsulates the complete history of the Louisiana Isleños. “Isleños, a root of America” is a documentary film telling the story of a small American community of Canarian origin. It showcases how this community has managed to maintain a unique identity even after more than 200 years, preserving their culture and traditions from the Canary Islands, that date from the 18th century and struggling to defend their ancestral roots right in the epicenter of globalization.

    The film is a journey back in time through the history of the United States under the guidance of a community unknown to the general public that played an influential role in politics, arts and culture, military history and in the American society in a significant and unique way.

    It has been a pleasure to connect you with more of the hidden pockets of diversity and culture here in the Southern United States through Beyond Deadlines. Hope you had a Happy Mardi Gras and you are following all your Lenten traditions!

    Follow Beyond Deadlines on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @beyonddeadlines.

    Enjoy the trailer on Vimeo .


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    In the US? Take precaution for it is now flu season

    January 11th, 2018

    Image ©

    MURRIETA, California – The 2018 flu season is shaping up to be bad and potentially more severe than the one that affected America in 2014-2015, which, according to the United States Center for Disease Control in its latest flu outbreak update, was already “the most severe season in recent years.”

    The US. is mostly being affected by the A(H3N2) strain of influenza this flu season, the same strain which highly impacted Australia in its recently ended flu season. The Southern Hemisphere outbreak is a prediction for what is going to occur the Northern Hemisphere.

    So, where does the Philippines fall into this time schedule? In the Philippines, the flu season peaks from July to October.

    What is the Flu?

    The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. According to traditional medical personnel, the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

    Common flu symptoms / Mga palatandaan at sintomas ng trangkaso

    According to the US-CDC the indicators that one may have the flu are: fever and/or chills, cough, sore throat, a runny and/or stuffed nose, body aches, headaches, and fatigue. These symptoms may present in groups of two or three or all at once while some will also experience diarrhea and vomiting.

    Madalas na madama ng mga taong may trangkaso ang ilan o lahat ng mga palatandaan at sintomas na ito:

    • Lagnat, masamang pakiramdam o panginginig
    • Ubo
    • Namamagang lalamunan
    • Baradong ilong o tumutulong sipon
    • Masakit na kalamnan
    • Sakit ng ulo
    • Panghihina at kapaguran
    • Ang at ilan ay maaaring makaranas naman nang pagsusuka at pagtatae, bagaman ito ay higit na karaniwan sa mga bata kaysa mga matatanda

    The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when the symptoms manifest is about one to four days, with an average of about two days.

    How the Flu Spreads

    Influenza, commonly known as the “flu” or trangkaso in Filipino, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The virus is easily spread through droplets from coughs or sneezes. These mucus droplets can land in the mouth or nose of a nearby person.

    One may also get infected by touching their mouth or nose, or rubbing ones’ eyes after touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it. The virus can be caught from hard surfaces such as doorknobs, computer keyboards and phones.

    An a symptomatic infected person may be able to innocently pass on the flu to someone else.

    What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?

    In children

    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Bluish skin color
    • Not drinking enough fluids
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
    • Fever with a rash

    In adults

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    • Sudden dizziness
    • Confusion
    • Severe or persistent vomiting
    • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

    In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

    • Being unable to eat
    • Has trouble breathing
    • Has no tears when crying
    • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

    Is it too late to get a flu shot?

    Flu shots are often available for free through the employer’s health programs or at retail clinics such as Walgreens and CVS. For those without insurance, a shot will cost less than $20 out of pocket. It’s still a good idea to receive your flu shot even though the ideal time is in the fall; after all, the vaccine is meant to protect others who might not be able to cope with the sickness as well as you.

    Remember, it can take 10-14 days for the shot to become effective.

    It isn’t too late to get the flu shot!

    Yes, there are concerns about the flu vaccine’s effectiveness, however, everyone is still recommended to get one. Wag nang intayin na trangkasuhin. Do not wait until you have the flu. Protect yourself and your family by having your flu shot this early.

    In summary, make sure to wash hands carefully to limit the spread of the virus and try to avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, please avoid contact with others. Stay home, don’t go to work, don’t go to the gym, don’t go to religious services. Don’t be “Typhoid Mary!”

    If you get sick, call your provider, because they might prescribe an antiviral medications. If doctors caught the disease early enough, they can prescribe medicines that could make your infection less severe, and likely more complicated.

    People who get infected should also keep up with the fluids and immediately seek medical attention if they start to feel worse or develop shortness of breath, worsening congestion or cough.

    Ginger Honey Lemon Tea is perfect for fever, aches, pains, a cough, or a sore throat. Ginger may be used as an alternative treatment for symptoms of the flu. It is recommended that you always consult with your doctor before using herbs.

    Stay healthy mga Kababayan at Kapatid!

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    Enjoy your “Ispageti”

    January 8th, 2018

    Filipino style spaghetti. Image ©

    MURRIETA, California – The National Spaghetti Day on January 4 recognized the worldwide favorite for ages and loved by millions – the long, thin cylindrical pasta of Italian and Sicilian origin – spaghetti!

    There are a variety of different pasta dishes that are based on spaghetti (the Italian plural of the diminutive spago) from spaghetti ala Carbonara or garlic and oil, to spaghetti with tomato sauce, meat sauce, bolognese, Alfredo sauce, clam sauce or other sauces. Spaghetti dishes are traditionally served topped with grated hard cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, or other cheeses.

    Spaghetti is found around the world, even in the Philippines where it is locally spelled as ispageti.

    DYK: Foodie Fact

    I bet you did not know that there is Filipino-style spaghetti! Filipino spaghetti is sweet! Filipino fusion goes back to 1900!

    With somewhat overcooked noodles and sliced red hotdogs in its saccharine-sweet sauce, Filipino sweet spaghetti is an anomaly in a world where al dente pasta and a tart-savory red sauce (without bright red sliced hotdogs) are the hallmarks of a perfectly-executed spaghetti dish. It is a heavily-bastardized Italian dish but an undeniably Filipino favorite from childhood. It is the ultimate nostalgia evoking birthday dish-slash-comfort food in the Philippines.

    Carrots, garlic, onions, and red or yellow bell peppers garlic, evaporated milk are examples of things that can show up in some of the recipes. Some sweeten the sauce with banana ketchup instead of adding more sugar. Others add red sausage and melted cheese, especially the classic way Eden cheese that comes in a blue box.

    Commercialized the Nostaligia

    If you’re heading to the Philippines, you can find it at big fast food chains like McDonalds, called the McSpaghetti. And the Filipino fast-food franchise Jollibee’s has their own version that has developed a following. Even KFC serves it up with their fried chicken in the Philippines!

    Spaghetti Fun Fact

    An Italian restaurant called Buca di Beppo in Garden Grove, California filled a swimming pool re-purposed as a pasta bowl measuring 15′ in diameter by 3.5′ high with more than 13,786 pounds of pasta and 120 gallons of sauce – setting a new world record for the Largest Bowl of Pasta!

    The world’s Largest Bowl of Pasta was not wasted. Buca di Beppo donated it to a local agricultural community to be used as animal feed. The chain was committed to donating 10,000 pounds (4,535.9 kg) of dry pasta to charities nationwide as part of this event.

    The Spaghetti Song

    Spaghetti is so popular in the United States that a song was created. It was once sung on the All American show, “Sesame Street”. The song is sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky,” the fun children’s song, “On Top of Spaghetti” was written and originally sung by folk singer Tom Glazer with the Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus in 1963.

    On top of spaghetti,
    All covered with cheese,
    I lost my poor meatball,
    When somebody sneezed.
    It rolled off the table,
    And on to the floor,
    And then my poor meatball,
    Rolled out of the door.”

    (Watch More:

    Google a Filipino spaghetti recipe, whip some up for you, the kaibigan, and the pamilya, then use #NationalSpaghettiDay to post on social media. Goditi gli spaghetti! Enjoyin ang ispageti!

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    January is US’ National Soup Month

    January 5th, 2018

    Image ©

    MURRIETA, CA – January is National Soup Month in the United States. It is celebrated during the whole month annually. Although this is an American holiday, it celebrates all types of soups from around the world.

    Eight Fun Soup Facts:

    1. The pop culture catchphrase “No soup for you!;” used as a response to someone’s request or demand that will not be fulfilled, originated from a 1995 episode of the TV show “Seinfeld.”
    2. The earliest archaeological evidence for the consumption of soup dates back to 6000 BCE., in Greece.
    3. Soups are classified into two groups: clear soups and thick soups.
    4. The most popular soup variety in the US. is chicken noodle.
    5. Condensed soup was invented by Dr. John T. Dorrance, a chemist with the Campbell Soup Company, in 1897.
    6. Condensing soup allows soup to be packaged into a smaller can and sold at a lower price than other canned soups.
    7. The soup is usually doubled in volume by adding a “can full” of water or milk or about 10 ounces.
    8. Which gender eats more soup? Men or women? Well, for a typical lunch, women seem to be more than twice as likely to eat soup as men. Statistics say, 9.6% vs. 4.0%.

    Whether you’re partial to broth or bisque, a hearty bowl of soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods—especially with some delicious, hearty crusty bread for dipping.

    Kababayan and Kaibigan with all the soup options available on the shelves of your local grocery store, you can warm up with a great Filipino soup, too.

    How to Celebrate Soup Month:

    As cold winter weather blankets over 100,000,000 Americans, from Michigan, Texas, Florida to Maine, it’s the perfect time for soup. To celebrate the Filipino version of National Soup Month, make a soup with your families at home and share the soul-warming liquid and the flavors that we all know and love from the Philippines with our friends and neighbors.

    1. Sinigang – Here are some of our Sinigang (boiled in tamarind) recipes that you might try: Pork Sinigang, Sinigang na ulo ng Salmon, and Sinigang na Hipon.
    2. Nilagang Baka – Nilagang Baka or “Boiled Beef Soup” is probably the easiest and simplest Filipino Soup to make. Having this soup on a cold winter night can make you feel more comfortable.
    3. Bulalo – A boiled tender beef shank soup with marrows intact and vegetables. This is one of the most popular Filipino dishes; it is often consumed during the cold days.
    4. Tinola – Tinola is a ginger and onion based soup that uses chicken as the core ingredient. It is best served during cold and rainy weather because of the warming effect of the soup.
    5. Molo – also sometimes called “Pancit Molo” is a soup dish that contains a mixture of ground pork wrapped in wanton wrapper, shredded chicken meat, and shrimps. This dish resembles the Chinese wonton soup but the array of ingredients and flavor makes it purely Filipino. This is a perfect tasty soup to have during a cold wintry day.
    6. Chicken Sotanghon – You have a whole rotisserie chicken for the family to have for lunch; and you have a lot left over, this chicken sotanghon soup recipe is a great way to use the leftover chicken.
    7. Patola with Tokwa – It calls for ground beef and really soft, mushy wheat noodles called misua. You could find these two kinds of noodles at most Asian and Filipino grocery stores. And while you’re at it, pick up the tokwa and patola or sponge gourd, there too. (V)
    8. Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa – Nothing says fall than squash and coconut milk! This one is usually paired with garlic-fried rice.

    (V)The (V) behind the soup means it’s an easily veganizable (vegan) Filipino option for those observing “Veganuary”! Facebook/Pinterest/Google +/Twitter/Instagram: @veganuary URL:

    Hope you are lucky enough to have a Lola (grandmother) living with you or a Filipino restaurant within driving distance, or an Asian grocery store within driving distance!

    Pour over the choices, make your shopping list, and whip up and enjoy some Filipino soup!

    Use the hashtag #BeyondSoup and post a pic so we can feature your creation on our social media.

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    Calamities and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    December 12th, 2017

    Image @

    MURRIETA, California – The last 100 days in my journey called life included preparations for a Category 4 Hurricane, failure to prepare for two Earthquakes and a hurried readiness for a wildfire, of which the last two events occurred within 48 hours of each other.


    I watched in disbelief this week as firefighting planes fly over and fire engines sped toward the Liberty Fire in Murrieta. The people standing next to me, as I capture the footage of the wildfire with my camera, had no idea of the pain that I witnessed and experienced in Houston with Hurricane Harvey. Now, here I stood having left one landscape that looked like a war zone only to enter another.

    (Read More:

    As I continue to snap pictures, I could not help looking back in my mind at the pictures of the debris piles from the homes of families I knew and met in Houston. It started me thinking, what if all the joking around about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that I heard after the hurricane is actually not a joke?

    What does trauma or PTSD “look like”? What resources are available?”

    Hurricane Harvey and the California fire storm

    Hurricane Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in 13 years and the strongest on record to strike the southern state of Texas since 1961’s Hurricane Carla.

    Yes, Harvey’s winds and torrential rains have long ended yet many people in Texas and Florida continue to feel the impact of the said hurricane in hidden and dramatic ways.

    Similarly, Murrieta residents are feeling the impact of the wildfire in many ways. The images are all over the news and social media all day for everyone to see. The trauma of watching their homes and belongings burn can lead to PTSD, a debilitating psychological condition.

    There are four types of PTSD – 1) intrusive memories, 2) avoidance, 3) adverse changes in mood and thought, and 4) emotional reactions and physical changes.

    Extreme Weather

    Extreme events like wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes have an incremental impact on human health. Trauma isn’t characterized by the event but by one’s reactions to it. Any overwhelming and distressing experience can cause trauma which could only be recognized through its symptoms.

    Like many trauma causes, natural disasters can be sudden and overwhelming.

    Additionally, trauma victims do not need to have experienced the disaster firsthand in order to be psychologically affected.

    For example, someone living in California with relatives in Houston at the time of Hurricane Harvey could have been subjected to countless hours of television coverage about death and devastation and most likely their natural reaction would be anxiety and this type of response, if intense, could take an emotional impact on someone even from afar and lead to PTSD.

    According to the American Psychological Association, “the following are common symptoms of trauma:

    • Feelings become intense and sometimes are unpredictable. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and depression are coming manifestations of this.

    • Flashbacks: repeated and vivid memories of the event that lead to physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat or sweating

    • Confusion or difficulty making decisions

    • Sleep or eating issues

    • Fear that the emotional event will be repeated

    • A change in interpersonal relationships skills, such as an increase in conflict or a more withdrawn and avoidant personality

    • Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and chest pain”

    Predicting PTSD

    It’s hard to predict when PTSD will set in on a survivor of a traumatic event.

    Psychological issues could arise following a traumatic event from “direct exposure,” to being in danger and seeing other people imperiled. Some victims at first seem perfectly, or even abnormally fine, only to be beset with symptoms later.

    For example, reports from the Veterans Administration indicate that “the Southern California fires in the 2003 California Firestorm forced 100,000 people out of their homes. Data collected from survivors at nearby disaster relief facilities showed that over two-thirds had feared for their life or that of a loved one. When these survivors were screened three months later, one-third screened positive for depression and almost one-fourth screened positive for PTSD.”

    Resources – Disaster Distress Helpline

    If you experienced a traumatic event, there are resources available like the Disaster Distress Helpline which can be contacted at 800-985-5990. The helpline have crisis counselors that are manning the phone 24/7 throughout the year for those individuals who are experiencing stress, distress, emotional, anxiety and depression.

    The helpline can respond in over 100 languages, anyone and everyone can call or text the disaster helpline. A waiting counselor will offer tips for managing your mental health symptoms and steer you to available community resources.

    The Disaster Distress Helpline also has a text function. You can text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. The hot-line is also available on Twitter and via Mobile app.

    Disaster Distress Helpline for Spanish Speakers

    • Call 1-800-985-5990 and press “2”

    • From the US., text Hablanos to 66746

    • From Puerto Rico or the US. Virgin Islands, text Hablanos to 1-212-461-4635

    • From American Samoa, Guam, Palau, Marshall Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, text Hablanos to 1-206-430-1097

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    Pinoy Houston TV’s exemplary service to the community recognized

    December 6th, 2017

    HOUSTON, Texas – THE Caribbean Chamber of Commerce recognized Pinoy Houston TV’s exemplary service to the community by presenting it with the APEX Media Award during its formal celebration of the Caribbean Heritage Month last Saturday.

    The APEX Award is given annually to Houston organizations for their achievements in Local News, New Business, Education, Community Service, and more.

    Aside from exemplary service, the award is a recognition of PHTV efforts to reach out to the diverse Houston communities in 2017. PHTV Executive Producer Loloy Reyes, and Managing Director Noemi Frias received the award.

    Pinoy Houston TV, the first and only Filipino television station in this southern state, first went on air July 16, 2016. The date was declared by the Houston City government led by Mayor Sylvester Turner as Pinoy Houston TV Day.

    Since its initial broadcast, PHTV has reported reported about the different incidents or affairs affecting Houston which includes the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the installation of the new Consul General of Indonesia in Houston TX, the launching of the Indonesian Culinary Festival-Houston, the return of Danny Nguyen, one of Vietnam’s well known fashion designer, to Houston among others.

    Pinoy Houston TV Managing Director Noemi Frias and Executive Producer Loloy Reyes

    Reyes and Frias, in a later interview, thanked and congratulated the Pinoy Houston TV production team and the hosts of all its Howdy Philippines segments – Beyond Deadlines, Health Corner, Kultura, Teatro, The Local Vibe, RexJetSetGo, Street Talk, Rocko Stedy’s Rescue Your Gifts, Jayroso, Halo Halo, The Legal Brief, Sing to Stardom, Thomas Orlina’s Your Time with Thomas, and #OperationMalong – for their hard work, which brought honor not only for the television station but to the Filipino community as well.

    Where to Watch Pinoy Houston TV

    Pinoy Houston TV is available on Channel KVVV-LD 15.3 in Houston, TX every Saturday at 1:00 pm. CST with a repeat broadcast the following at 5:30 pm CST. Cable TV is not required.

    Pinoy Houston TV can also be viewed in its YouTube Channel Howdy Philippines.


    Simbang Gabi, A Filipino tradition

    November 29th, 2017

    Parol adorned Holy Infant Church in North Carolina. Image ©

    LOS Angeles, California—Simbang Gabi is a beloved Christmas tradition for Filipino Catholics that features a devotional novena of nine Masses leading to Christmas Day in expectancy of the Nativity and in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    In the Philippines, the Eucharistic Celebrations of Simbang Gabi are usually held in the early hours of the morning but in Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles they are celebrated in the evening to allow more people to attend. The Simbang Gabi tradition is a clear expression of Filipino spirituality and the official beginning of the Advent season.

    Simbang Gabi starts on 16th December and last until Christmas although the Filipino yuletide celebrations continue to January 6, the traditional date of the Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings.

    Latin Roots

    Simbang Gabi traces its roots in Mexico when, in 1587, the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, to hold Christmas mass outdoors because the Church could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the evening mass.

    Pope Sixtus V, for his part, gave Augustinians in the Americas permission to celebrate the Misa de Gallo on the nine days leading up to Christmas.

    Spanish Roman Catholic preachers, who traveled from the New World across the Pacific to the Philippines continued the tradition of celebrating nine days of Misa de Gallo also known as Aguinaldo Mass and found it a good way to spread the faith to the people.

    The faithful is expected to make every effort to attend early morning Mass for nine days prior to Christmas day in preparation to receiving God’s greatest gift or “aguinaldo” that is “Jesus, the Savior of the World.”

    Moreover, the tradition also became an expression of the deep devotion of Filipinos to Mary, Mother of God. It is also the way of the people to join and accompany Mary as she awaits the birth of her son thus the Masses celebrated on those nine days are also solemnly offered in her honor.

    What might an attendee experience

    Part of the experience of attending a Simbang Gabi is one’s immersion in colorful lights coming from native Filipino lanterns called Parol, which fill the streets. Beautiful Parol are hung in every window while songs of the season fill the air.

    Noche Buena

    At Christmas Eve evening, after the last Simbang Gabi‘, traditional Filipino families share a midnight feast called “Noche Buena.”

    The Noche Buena is a big, open house celebration with family, friends and neighbors dropping by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

    Families from all walks of life gather in their homes to celebrate Noche Buena and feast on various delicacies like lechon (roasted pig), queso de bola (or Edam Cheese), bibingka (rice cakes), puto bungbong (purple sticky rice), or a drink of salabat (ginger tea), or hot chocolate.


    In Texas, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where it an extremely active Filipino Catholic community, nearly 30 parishes from Conroe to Nassau Bay offer Simbang Gabi which leads up to an archdiocesan Mass on the last night of the novena.

    Here are some locations around the Houston metroplex where you can experience Simbang Gabi:

    1. Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, 11507 Huffmeister Road, Houston, Texas 77065

    2. Prince of Peace Catholic Community, 19222 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77070

    3. First Filipino American United Methodist Church, 8603 S Kirkwood Rd., Houston TX 77099

    Share the Tradition

    Sharing this tradition with the young Filipinos and non-Filipinos is wonderful for it helps them understand the true meaning of Christmas for Filipinos. Simbang Gabi is among the many Filipino was they could experience spirituality and the holiness of the Advent Season.

    Merry Christmas Y’all!, Maligayang Pasko, Malipayon nga Pascua, Maayong Pasko, Maugmang Pasko, Maabig ya pasko, Magayagan inkianac, Maupay Nga Pasko.

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