Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Aiko wins at London filmfest; PH films in Cannes

MANILA -- Actress Aiko Melendez took home the Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film Award at the International Filmmakers Film Festival of World Cinema held on Feb. 28 at the West Ham United Hotel in London. Aiko was recognized for her role in “Asintado,” a film screened at the Directors Showcase section of the 2014 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film. Director Louie Ignacio and producer Ferdinand Lapuz accepted the award on her behalf. “Asintado” is about a mother forced to make one of the biggest and most difficult decisions of her life trying to save her children from peddlers of illegal drugs. The film will have its US screening at the 5th Queens World Film Festival in Long Island, New York on March 21. It will also compete at the 22nd Cairo International Cinema & Arts Festival for Children under the Golden, Silver and Bronze Cairo category on March 27.
     Meanwhile, critically acclaimed independent film directors Lyka Gonzalez and Valerie Martinez have made it to the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival to be held on May 13 to 24. Lyka’s “Agos: The Manila Dream” and Valerie’s “Ube” are among films that will be screened as part of the festival’s Court Métrage-Short Film Corner category, which serves as a “meeting place for short film producers and directors to present their films, make meetings reality and take decisive steps for their future careers.” “Agos: The Manila Dream” explores the surge of urban migration. “Ube,” on the other hand, revolves around a boy, his strict father and a school bully. Other works of Filipino filmmakers that was screened in Cannes in the past years are Pamela Ll. Reyes’ “Harvest,” Brillante Mendoza’s “Kinatay,” Erik Matti’s “On The Job (OTJ)” and Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan (Norte, The End Of History).” (MNS

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Political parties urged to field more female candidates in 2016 polls

President Aquino's youngest sister, Kris, salutes women members of the Philippine National Police, together with Quezon City Police Director Supt. Joel Pagdilao, during the 2015 National Women's Month Celebration at Camp Karingal in Quezon City recently. Aquino was the keynote speaker in the event. March is recognized as Women's Month and is observed in the different parts of the world as well. In San Diego , there are numerous organizations that acknowledges and honors the contributions of women who are achievers in their various fields of endeavors in Science, Technology, Business/Entrepreneurship and more (MNS photo)

MANILA -- Political parties should field more female candidates in next year’s elections to help increase the voice of women in governance and policymaking in the country. This was the call of Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, gender and family relations, who noted that on the average, only one in five elected local executives is a female.
     “At the local level, women’s representation is even lower. They occupy 22 percent of gubernatorial posts, 18 percent of vice gubernatorial posts, 18 percent of provincial board seats, 21 percent of mayoralty posts, 20 percent of city councils, and 20 percent of municipal councils,” Cayetano said in a press statement issued Friday. Even at the national level, the senator said women are underrepresented. “Despite all the gains that women have achieved in society, they continue to be grossly underrepresented in the realm of politics.        There are only six women out of 24 members in the Senate, or 25 percent, and 79 out of 289 members in the House of Representatives, or 27 percent,” she said. Aside from Cayetano, other female members in the current Senate are Nancy Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar. She said the gender imbalance reflects why many of the laws in the country are biased against women, or why women's issues and concerns relating to family are often neglected. Cayetano said political parties can play a crucial role to bridge the gender gap in Philippine politics by giving females a better chance of getting elected to public positions. “It is high time that we increase the representation of women in political parties. Moreover, political parties must espouse women’s issues as part of their party platform. This could help raise awareness and lay the foundations for developing a genuine ‘women’s vote’ in the country,” she said.                   Cayteno made the call ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 and the filing of certificates of candidacies this October for the 2016 national and local polls. She said the country already had two female presidents and quite a number of female senators which shows that Filipino voters recognize that women are as capable and qualified to run the affairs of the State and craft laws. “But how can we increase women’s representation when only a few of us are actually given the opportunity to run for political office? When you look at slates of political parties during elections, sometimes you’ll see one or maybe two women among their candidates. I don't believe it is intentional to limit women's participation, but the fact is, political parties tend to be content with token representation. This has to change,” said Cayetano.
     She said that based on Commission on Elections figures, of the 44,326 candidates who ran for various national and local elective posts in the 2013 elections, excluding party-list, only 7,925 or 18 percent were women. “We have a vast pool of talented women in various fields, such as education, health care, science and technology, finance, environmental management, law and engineering - to name a few. Women bring a different perspective and approach to governance and can offer alternative solutions to the socio-economic problems we face. Giving women this opportunity is really is one way of expanding the choices for the electorate and advancing reforms in our electoral and political system,” she said. (MNS)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Root 54 Giving Circle Awards Grants to Filipino Organizations

Root 54 Giving Circle
Root 54 Giving Circle with COPAO, ELI, KAMP and KCS

SAN DIEGO, CA -- For the second year in a row, Root 54 Giving circle provided grant money to four non-profi t organizations in San Diego’s Filipino Community. The grants ranged from $500 to $2,000. Grantees included second year recipients: KAMP - Kuya Ate Mentorship Program, and Kalusugan Community Services. While first year recipients included COPAO - Council of Pilipino American Organizations, and ELI - Emerging Leaders Institute.
     Combined with last year, they have granted over $9,000 to help foster new programs, community outreach, marketing, materials, and provide general operating support. Recipients applied for the grants in December 2014 and were notified in early February. The grants were awarded in a small ceremony at Filipino Food & Bakery in Barrio Logan. Attendees included Executive Directors from each organization as well as supporting staff.
     Root 54 was originally founded in 2013. Founding members include Mark Banez, Vince Blanco, Emmylou Dirige, Cindy Henderson, Aiza Henry, Marc Organo, Grace Pugal, Nicky Tuason, Hiyasmin Vargas, and Kathleen Vargas. Their mission is to strengthen non-profit organizations that promote Filipino-American culture and community involvement through philanthropic activities. Hiyasmin and Grace were inspired to help create the root 54 giving circle during their involvement with Southwestern College’s Pagkakaisa. Root 54 is one of 45 giving circles in the AAPIP - Asian American / Pacifi c Islanders in Philanthrophy which has collectively given over 2 Million dollars .
     Although there are no definite plans, Root 54 is looking to become even more involved this year especially through the community foundations in San Diego. They intend to expand their giving circle to those who are interested in helping out non-profit organizations in the Filipino-American community. Those who are interested in joining can contact reach them through their website

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Philippines and France share same principles in Building a Peaceful Nation

MANILA - President Benigno S. Aquino III recently pledged support for the people of France in building a peaceful nation by upholding human dignity and promoting the rule of law. In his toast during the state dinner in honor of visiting French President François Hollande at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace, President Aquino admitted that he was “appalled” by the attack on the French publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris last January where 11 people were killed. “Such savagery should have no place in this world, and my countrymen and I are in full support of the people of France, as you uphold human dignity and work to protect the blessings of democracy,” he said. The Charlie Hebdo shooting was reportedly in retaliation for the French satirical newspaper’s controversial drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
       President Aquino said the Philippines is one with France in treading a path towards building a better nation, free from terrorism, injustice, and inequality. “As leaders of our respective peoples, you and I are bound by fraternité; ours is a brotherhood pledged to protecting the principles that serve as the firm foundation of our nations: the belief in the democratic way of life, the pursuit of justice and the preservation of one’s rights, and the promotion of the rule of law,” he said.
     For his part, President Hollande pledged to build a sustainable partnership with the Philippines in terms of addressing climate change, combating corruption, and upholding the rule of law in resolving domestic issues. He said his visit was made special by the launch of the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change, which aims to engage the international community and all stakeholders in addressing climate change that has greatly affected the Philippines in recent years. “My visit is exceptional as well, given that we have launched together today the appeal of Manila. I am sure it will be heard beyond the borders of the Philippines, all around the world. I wanted to mobilize the international community in prospect of the Paris meeting, which will be crucial for the future of our planet,” he said. “You have been dealing with tsunamis and typhoons. We’ve been by your side on these occasions, and front we’ll always be. We reaffirm our commitment to stand by the Philippines when I travel to Guiuan tomorrow and confirm that we will provide all support to the projects that you’re undertaking in order to preserve your country, the environment and to introduce innovation and technology,” he added.
     President Hollande will be going to Guiuan, Eastern Samar on Friday to visit areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. President Hollande brought along a large delegation of advocates of environmental protection, led by Oscar award-winning actress Marion Cotillard, French actress Melanie Laurent, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. Nations must agree on a universal climate change pact to prevent catastrophes The international community of nations must conclude a universal climate change agreement when they meet in Paris late this year to save the planet from destruction, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday.
     In a statement during the launch of the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change in Malacañang Palace, the President said he welcomed the initiative and emphasized the need for all countries to work together to address the dangers posed by climate change. "The choice before us is clear. We can either overcome this problem together, or together reap the consequences of apathy," he said during the launch, which was attended by visiting President of the French Republic François Hollande. "For this reason, it is incumbent upon us to conclude a universal climate change agreement in Paris later this year: one that is ambitious; that is guided by science, and that allows developing countries to pursue their economic goals in the context of sustainable development." The President also assured that the Philippines will continue to exert all efforts to address the issue, and adhere to the commitments outlined in the call to action. "We stand in hope that many nations in the global community will do the same," he said.
     As a small Pacific nation, the Philippines is already feeling the effects of climate change through stronger typhoons in increasing frequency, he noted, adding that as a result, the country has found itself in a vicious and unsustainable cycle of destruction and reconstruction. President Aquino extended his gratitude to President Hollande, along with all nations that have pledged action to address the global threat. Aside from meeting President Aquino, President Hollande will travel to Eastern Samar on Friday to highlight his Philippine trip aimed at rallying nations to combat climate change. Eastern Samar saw massive destruction in November 2013, when the region was hit by Typhoon Yolanda, killing and displacing thousands of residents. (MNS)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Filipino newcomers to Canada diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age

    TORONTO -- Filipinos who move to Canada are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age than women from other parts of East Asia or Caucasians, new research has found. They are also more likely to be diagnosed with a more aggressive form of cancer and are more likely to undergo a mastectomy, according to a paper published online in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. “The Canadian Filipino community is a growing community and this new research raises the question of whether our current Canadian guidelines calling for mammograms starting at age 50 are meeting specific cultural needs of different ethnicities when it is known that it takes years for a breast cancer to develop,” said Dr. Jory Simpson, a surgical oncologist in the CIBC Breast Centre of St. Michael’s Hospital. “As Canada continues to ethnically diversify this new research only highlights and magnifies the need to take on a more personalized approach to preventing and treating breast cancer.”
     Dr. Simpson said it’s known that women of different ethnic origins have different risks of developing breast cancer. When a women emigrates from an area of low incidence of breast cancer to an area of high incidence, her risk increases, possibly due to new environmental infl uences such as diet interacting with preexisting genetics. Dr. Simpson said he believes his study – albeit a small sample at one hospital – is the fi rst to look at the incidence of breast cancer in Filipino immigrants to Canada. According to Statistics Canada, Filipinos are the third largest non-European ethnic group in the country. Of the 328,000 people of Filipino origin who live in Canada, many are young women.
     Of the 782 patients he studied at St. Michael’s, which has a sizeable Filipino patient population, Filipino newcomers to Canada were diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age (53) compared to other East Asians (55) and Caucasians (58). They were also found to be diagnosed with a form of more aggressive cancer and have a higher likelihood of undergoing a mastectomy. Thirty-seven percent had a Grade 3 tumour on a scale of 1-3, compared to less than 30 per cent for other Asians and Caucasians. In addition, 22.6 per cent tested positive for the protein HER2, or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, which promotes the growth of cancer cells. Dr. Simpson said that was “disproportionately high” compared to East Asians (14.4 per cent) and Caucasians (15.1 per cent).
     Filipino women with tumours the same size as their East Asian and Caucasian counterparts underwent more mastectomies in this study, 35 per cent, compared with 22.5 per cent for Caucasian woman and 28.3 per cent for East Asian women.
     St Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Andres Bonifacio Samahan Hosting their 30th Annual Filipino Culture Night

Students of Andres Bonifacio Samahan

SAN DIEGO, CA -- San Diego State University’s Andres Bonifacio (AB) Samahan student organization will host its 30th annual Filipino Culture Night (FCN) on March 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and March 8 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., showcasing a variety of dances and an original student-written play.
The event will be held in Montezuma Hall for an audience of 500 people for each night, perfect for AB Samahan to once more, allow audiences to delve deeper into what it means to be Filipino-American. And to Casey Chin, coordinator of this year’s Filipino Culture Night, this couldn’t be truer.
“There are a lot of events in Samahan that cover the surface of being Filipino-American,” she said. “But FCN really gets down to the foreground of why we do this.”
Like the first Filipino Culture Night, this year’s goal is to preserve the traditions that many could not get in touch with or have been lost – to give a better understanding of the Filipino-American identity.
This notion of returning to one’s roots is seen in the event’s play, “Sayaw ni Maria,” where upon his homecoming, Jan-Patrick Cagayan notices that his childhood dance troupe has lost its touch with its roots in Filipino culture and that the group has strayed too far from the traditions that it was founded on. Seeing this, he works with his childhood friend, Marisol Liwanag to bring the cultural perspective back to the Sayaw ni Maria dance troupe (named in memory of Marisol’s late mother).
Jan-Patrick’s story in the play parallels that of AB Samahan, where there just aren’t many outlets dedicated to preserving and showcasing the Filipino identity. This makes the student organization’s production all the more important, according to the organization’s Cultural Affairs Coordinator Jessica Santos.
“This is one of the main things I feel that is really important,” she said. “If our organization is here to preserve Filipino culture, FCN is the perfect venue for it. This is what we’re about.”
Chin adds that this year’s production will be carried out differently than past culture nights. Whereas in previous years the cultural dances would be held between scenes, Chin plans to have the dances merge in and out of the play’s scenes, intersecting the two in order to weave the Philippines’ many cultures into the play itself. It’s through these dances that we can better understand the history behind the Philippines and its peoples.
And it’s through addressing these issues within the Filipino-American community can we reconnect with our roots, according to Erin Nicole Vedar, vice chairperson of Andres Bonifacio Samahan.
“We need to come back to our roots and appreciate it before creating our own story,” Vedar said. “And at the core of everything, that’s what will keep us grounded.”
For more information on the Filipino Culture Night event, contact Casey Chin at fcn@absamahan. org. For more information on the Andres Bonifacio Samahan student organization, visit http://www.
Andres Bonifacio Samahan is the Filipino-American student organization at San Diego State University that supports educational enrichment and advancement through organized leadership, learning, and raising awareness of the Filipino culture in and around SDSU. AB Samahan was established at San Diego State University in 1971 to support the school’s Filipino-American community. We were founded based on the ideas of the Filipino national hero Andres Bonifacio, whose notion of “kagalanggalangan” translated into the “most high and most venerable sons of the people.” In the same way Bonifacio led the Philippines’ independence movement in the late 19th century, we as the members of AB Samahan continue the same struggle to maintain the Filipino-American identity

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mabuhay ang Los Chabacanos

By Francine Maigue
     Growing up, I would regularly accompany my parents to Point Point Joint for different community meetings on the weekends. Each visit was like a family reunion. Titas, Titos, and warm hugs galore. This extended family included Los Chabacanos of Cavite City, Inc.My dad, Butch, served as Treasurer, then as Vice President. My mother, Oly, always worked hard to assist with the coordination of big events and performances. My sister, Theresa, was even crowned Miss Los Chabacanos. Theresa and I knew that, if there was a fi esta, foundation ball, or party…we needed to be ready to perform. We offered up our talents to our community and, of course, to the Lord and Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga.
     Inspired by my parents’ and my sister’s leadership, I, too, wanted to contribute more to this very special organization, one that represented our faith, heritage, family, and hometown community in the Philippines.
     I remember being about 10 years old and sharing my desire to help LCCCI with its then President, the hardworking Gene Macapagal. I was invited to join the offi cers and board of directors on stage as they conducted a very important members’ meeting and was asked to take a seat just like them to take important notes. Though the organization obviously had a proper Secretary taking offi cial notes, I accepted my responsibility and approached it with great seriousness. I understood that these mentors were making a difference in our community—preserving and sharing an important piece of who we are and uniting and inspiring our people. I wanted to help just like them.
     When the meeting was over, I proudly presented my extensive notes to the offi cers, who graciously looked at my work and thanked me for helping and caring so much about our community. I hopped of the stage in delight when my friends, also children of the offi cers and board members ran up to me and said, “We saw you up there! It looked very important. We want to start a Los Chabacanos Kids Club. We already talked about it, and you’re going to be our President.”
      I remember feeling so honored by their faith in me, so humbled by the responsibility, and so excited that I had inspired my peers to join in and help make a difference. It was our fi rst taste of grassroots organizing. We conducted meetings, performed at events, represented our community in parades, and built great friendships… “Just like our parents,” we proudly thought.
     Fast forward to over 20 years later when I was asked by LCCCI’s current President, Julia “Jhigs” Legaspi, to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors and as its Master of Ceremonies for its upcoming gala. The rush of emotions had me feeling just like I was 10 years old again— so honored, humbled, and excited to serve our community. I thanked God and Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga for the incredible blessing and opportunity.
     On Valentine’s Day, led by our illustrious, dedicated President Jhigs, LCCCI hosted its Installation of Offi cers & Valentine’s Gala at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley. The special event only comes every two years, and this year’s was one for the memory books. Looking out from the podium at the warm, smiling faces of the very same Titas and Titos, who watched me grow up, the Reynosos, Bartolomes, Joses, Alcantaras, Villareals, Maulas, and more…I felt like I was home with my dear family… and I was.
     The beautiful, sold-out celebration was both fun and poignant, complete with a delicious dinner, special performances, installation and award ceremony, coronation of Miss Los Chabacanos, exciting raffl e, and, of course, DANCING. The full house was especially moved by President Jhigs’s beautifully written speech, which moved attendees to both hearty laughs and tears of inspiration.
     Thank you, Los Chabacanos of Cavite City for 43 years of outstanding leadership. You continue to bless our community with events that preserve important tenets of our culture and unite & inspire our people. Mabuhay!
     SPECIAL EVENT The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce is hosting its first big event of 2015. Back by popular demand is FACC’s Monthly Mixer program. This event, which welcomes ALL members of our community is part networking night, part inspirational TEDx Talk. It is an opportunity to mix and mingle with community leaders, learn of new resources to grow your business or organization, and hear tips from a featured speaker. This month’s speaker happens to be (drumroll, please) yours truly.
     Join us this Tuesday, February 24th, 6pm, at the beautiful Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center located at 769 Medical Center Drive. CRAFT Pizza, San Diego’s hottest new artisan pizzeria, will open the event with a delicious reception during which we encourage hearty eating and hearty networking. My presentation will focus on, “Our NET Worth: The importance of Networking across sectors, Engaging under & mis-represented communities, and Teaching & empowering our young people.” Following the presentation, attendees are welcome to take a special guided tour of the awe-inspiring Barnhart Cancer Center.
     I hope to see you all there, my friends! Your support means everything to me…such a blessing. Maraming, maraming salamat po. Space is limited, RSVP today! To RSVP, contact Alicia DeLeon Torres: or 619.985.5904. Originally from Cavite City, Philippines and raised in Chula Vista, Francine Maigue received her master’s degree from Harvard University and bachelor’s degree from UCLA. Francine is the District Director for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, serves as Secretary of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of San Diego County, is a Board Member of the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Foundation and Los Chabacanos of Cavite City, is a member of the San Diego United Lions Club and Silayan Filipina, and is a former Miss Philippines of San Diego. A trusted voice in the community, Francine serves as a Special Advisor to Philippine Honorary Consul General of San Diego, Audie de Castro.
     Exclusively here in The Filipino Press--Follow Francine Maigue’s adventures as she represents our region with grace and honor as the FilipinoAmerican History Achievement Award Winner in Humanitarianism, Arts, and Community Service and as an Outstanding Filipino American Young Leaders Awardee as selected by His Excellency Ambassador Cuisia and the Philippine Consuls.
     Want to view more event photos and join fun chats with other Francine fans? Visit or search “Francine Maigue” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your comments could be featured here! See you online! Got an organization, business, or event Francine should know about? Wish to agree or “agree to disagree” with her? Want to send her a love note? (She loves those.) Email Francine at