JULY 2017


..."Home away from home"

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Living here in America, I am undoubtedly lucky. I have opportunities that some may never have. But living in America, especially in an area where we are not involved and immersed in a Filipino community, also means that I can't help but feel a barrier between my heritage and me.

Going to the Philippines may help me to finally connect with my culture, beyond what I feel is only a vague impression of it, and I welcome the chance to learn all that I can. As with any journey, going to the Philippines with my family would allow us to make new memories and gain new experiences. Regrettably, I do not know the family that lives in the Philippines- they are distant relatives that I never see or communicate with; I hardly ever hear of them. Going to the Philippines would not only allow me finally to get to meet this invisible side of the family, but also to reconnect with the place where my parents were born, where my grandparents, and great-grandparents were born. And, of course, the best part about this trip is that we would go as a family, making new memories together and gaining new experiences together.

Some say that home is where your heart is, and I agree. My home is with my family. However, I also believe that we will always find a home where we find our roots, where we find our past.

Of course, there are two sides to every coin. Because going to the Philippines, at least for my family, is a very rare trip, there is no doubt we would be away from home for at least a month. I would be leaving behind friends, and I would have a difficult time doing the things that I planned on doing this summer, such as looking at colleges or training with my school's cross country team.

Any of the discomforts I might experience there, like the blazing sun or the abundance of insects, are excusable, but leaving home for a month? Leaving the comfortable amenities and conveniences of home behind… when was the last time I did that? I felt secure in that at least I would be with family.

Suddenly, I snap back to reality and I realize that my parents are staring at me, smiles frozen on their faces, waiting for a response.

“I would love to go,” I assure them with a grin on my face. Rushing on about visiting a practically new place and making new experiences with my family would be absolutely worth leaving familiarity for a while. After all, how often does an opportunity like this come around?

As my parents turn towards each other once again, continuing their discussion, this time they are more animated. The childlike anticipation at the thought of returning home never gets old, it seems. And as I turn away, a song appears in my mind and I hum it to myself, I'm coming home, coming home. Tell the world that I'm coming home. I smile, knowing that I will always be home. Just… home away from home.


..."Central USA KOR Commemorates 156th birthday of Jose Rizal"

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Also nominated were Sir Ruben Salazar, KOR, for his leadesership in the annual "Piyesta Pinoy," Sir Herminio de Guia, KOR, for his leadership in "Gawad Kalinga," Sir Gerry Crisostomo, KOR, for his service for the seniors and founding of the Jose Rizal Lions Club, Sir Jimmy Alban, KCR, for his community service and Lady Dr. Cleofe G. Casambre for her cultural leadership in Filipino Music and her composition of the music for "Ultimo Adios."

New KOR members were also announced including Sirs Edward Brotonel, KR, (Maynilad), Sir James Choi, KR, (Maynilad) and Sir Francis Icao, KR (Malyaya)
Deputy Consul Romulo Israel, KCR, is also slated to take over the commandership of the Manilad after Sir ConGen Calonge's term of service in Chicago ends in August. Meanwhile Consul Melchor P. Lalulio, KOR, has transfered kis membership to the Maynilad and Sir Rey Elazegui, KR, to the Malaya Chapter.

Consul General Calonge, in his remarks, expressed his hope that Filipinos would continue to be guided by the life and teachings of Dr. Jose P. Rizal. He stated that, “For as long as there are Filipinos who honor and commemorate Rizal and his works, his legacy will live on and will always be remembered.”


..."Fil-Am actor, Jose Llana, underscores the relevance of “The King and I”

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“It is so sad that more than 60 percent of the Filipinos approved of the administration in the Philippines,” bewailed Llana. “The Filipino youth seems to have not learned the lessons of history…the influx of money from their parents working abroad made them feeling affluent and indifferent to compelling issues like human rights,” he added.

Llana and his family left their home in the City of Marikina with his parents in 1979 when he was only three. It was the sixth year of the martial law regime of Marcos. Although his parents were originally from Ilocos Sur, his mother was an activist in college opposing the militarization of the Philippines. He grew up in Springfield, Virginia where he finished high school.

During his first year at Manhattan School of Music, he auditioned for the 1996 revival of “The King and I” and won the role of the star-crossed lover, LunTha, singing two of the favorites, “We Kiss in a Shadow” and “I Have Dreamed,” which he recorded later. Another Filipino American actor was then playing the title role of the king—Lou Diamond Phillips.

Twenty years later in 2015, Llana succeeded famous actor, Ken Watanabe, in the role of King of Siam in the Lincoln Center’s revival of “The King and I,” which would win four major Tony Awards—including Best Musical revival. Llana got rave reviews for his role and went on to perform in New York for 11 weeks. When the production went on the road, Llana was the first choice to play the King

In its winter debut at Hollywood Pantages Theater, Los Angeles critic, Deborah Wilker, wrote: “Because the late Yul Brynner inhabited this role so completely on stage and screen for more than 30 years, it became something close to folly for an actor even to try to do his own thing in the part. But Llana is a force, and his tormented, relatable King is another reason this evening is so dreamy.”

How true. I’ve seen last year a revival at the Chicago Lyric Opera with another Filipino American actor, Paolo Montalban, playing the king. While the stage of the Lyric is far much larger than the Oriental Theater in the Chicago Loop and the capacity of the latter is just about the third of the Lyric’s, the current production is more innovative and engaging—no longer feeling like you are watching a reprise of the Century 20th Fox 1956 film version, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner who won a Best Actor Oscar award for his role.

A non-musical version of  “Anna and the King of Siam” based on Margaret Landon’s 1944  book on Anna Leonowens’ diary came out in 1946 with Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison in the tile roles. Jodie Foster and Chow Yum-fat starred in the 1999 version, “Anna and the King.”

Aside from Llana , no fewer than a dozen Filipino Americans are part of the cast assembled by the able director, Bartlett Sher. You’ll never forget Joan Almedilla, playing Lady Thian, the king’s premier wife, singing “Something Wonderful,” authoritatively sweet, knowing she is the mother of the heir apparent, Prince Chulalongkorn.

The play runs a little under three hours but feels just like a moment, making one feel ready for one more delightful song. But then Llana, perfectly matched with Laura Michelle Kelly as Anna, leaves one humming and whistling “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance,” “Getting to Know You” and all the lovely and happy tunes --long after the final curtain call.


The state of human rights and the martial law in Mindanao were explored in a press conference at the AFIRE’s office at Hana Center June 28 with Ellecer Carlos (9th standing fr. L) of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEPEND) and Ben Sumog-oy (6th standing fr. L), an iDEPEND convenor in Gen. Santos City reported on the impact of President Duterte’s War on Drugs on the aspiration for self-determination for Bangsamoro.

The two speakers called for an early end to the martial law because of its negative impact on the rights of many citizens especially with poor Filipinos. They pointed out that martial law can only be constitutionally justified by an invasion or rebellion—conditions that had not been met today. Visit www.pilippinehumanrights.org to learn more and to support the Campaign to end EJK. Jerry Clarito facilitated the presscon. (PINOY Photo)


..."Leyte local execs appeal for food, water for quake victims"

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Killed during the landslide was Rhissa Rosales, 19, a resident of Barangay Cabaon-an, Ormoc City who was hit by concrete debris during the landslide.

Her six-month-old baby survived.

At least 170 people were wounded during the earthquake and landslides in Ormoc.
In Kananga, the lone fatality was identified as Jerry Novilla who died when a three-story building collapsed during the earthquake.

At least 37 people were wounded while two school buildings in Barangays Lim-au and Rizal were damaged. Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla suspended all classes in all levels in the province to give way for the evaluation and inspection of all schoolbuildings for any possible damage due to the earthquake.

Petilla said that heavy equipment from the provincial engineering office had been deployed to help in clearing operations.

Ormoc, Kananga and the rest of Leyte as well as Southern Leyte and Samar Island were still without power as the quake caused power transmission system to trip off and damaged power sources. (Inquirer News Service)


NaFFAA EPYC Ambassadors Program;Application deadline extended to July 16

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) announces the official launch of the Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Ambassadors Program. Through this program, NaFFAA seeks to equip young leaders to refine their skills and learn new strategies in order to better serve their communities. The EPYC Ambassadors Program is a one-year commitment focused on the growth of Fil-Am young leaders through leadership development, civic engagement, and advocacy.

Ambassadors will participate in monthly “train-the-trainer” webinars, conduct outreach through in-person events, social media, and a capstone initiative called “My EPYC Project.” Applications are open until Sunday, July 9 at 11:59pm ET. Applicants must be between ages of 18 to 34 at the time of application, and must be currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program OR have graduated from a degree-seeking program no more than 2-3 years before the time of application. For more information, email epyc@naffaa.org.


Pinoy gets 45 years for sexually assaulting
foster child; faces charges for 2nd victim

By Mariano “Anong” Santos
PINOY Newsmagazine Special

CHICAGO—A Filipino American from a far western suburb of this city has been sentenced June 15 to 45 years in prison for sexually assaulting a foster child between January and May in 2004.

Noel F. Buhay, 49, of Sugar Grove, Illinois was convicted in March by a jury of three felony counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child who was under 12 years old at the time of the crime which took place at Buhay’s house.

above photo: Noel f. Buhay (LinkedIn Photo)

Assistant State’s prosecutor Lori Schmidt said during her opening statement last March, “The boy, who hoped for a normal life complete with family vacations and stability, was taken advantage of by Buhay, who saw the child as a ‘perfect victim,’" was placed under the care of Buhay and his wife by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in early 2004.

The prosecutors of the Kane County state’s attorney’s office said in a press statement that Buhay has to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he will qualify for parole. However, Buhay’s trial and tribulations are far from over.

In 2013, Buhay was accused of 27 counts alleging sexually abusing and assaulting a second boy. Buhay then contacted his former foster child to tell him to keep quiet about the allegations made against him.

It was only then, in 2014, that Kane County prosecutors charged Buhay on the crimes he committed against his foster child. Buhay is due in court on August 24 for the charges involving his alleged second victim.


PIWC beauty queens join Fourth of July Parades in Skokie, Morton Grove

CHICAGO—July 4th is Independence Day in America, but the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) made it known to Fourth of July parade-watchers in the Villages of Skokie and Morton Grove, the two contiguous communities just north of Chicago, that it is also celebrated as Philippine American Friendship Day.

Dely Villalon, PIWC board of trustees chairperson, contracted a float that showcased during the villages’ parade on July 4th, the group’s 2017 beauty queens who were crowned on the recent Philippine Independence day dinner-ball, June 17.
The Skokie parade started from the Oakton Community College and ended at the Oakton Park.

The celebrity grand marshal for the Skokie parade was Dave Kaplan, ESPN radio host of Kap & Co. Kaplan, and a writer for the Chicago Tribune. Rob Johnson, CBS (Channel 2) news anchor was the celebrity announcer for the day.

The Morton Grove parade started at the corner of Dempster Street and Central Ave. just west of the Edens Expressway and ended at Dempster and Fernald Street. The PIWC were joined by the Filipino Americans of St. Martha Catholic Church led by Village trustee, Ed Ramos.

PIWC 2017 Chairperson, Lourdes Livas, led the eight beauty queens, including Mrs. Philippines Geraldine Gaden, Miss Philippines PIWC Joi Hunter, Little Miss Philippines Noami Polintan and Little Princess Alpha J. Ramos.

Meanwhile, a PIWC appreciation dinner is scheduled on Saturday, July 15, at the Avalon Banquet Hall in Des Plaines. For reservation, call Mrs. Lydia R. Tayco (773) 733-2998. (MS/PINOY)


Calamba Association USA Grand Reunion, July 14-16

The Calamba Association USA will host a grand reunion for three days from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16  to foster closer ties with town mates and keep the Filipino culture alive. Though members of the Association are thousands of miles from home and scattered throughout the U.S., they still cherish their Calambeno heritage.

The reunion will begin with a welcome dinner at 6:30 PM at the Belvedere Events & Banquets, 1170 W. Devon Ave. in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Its farewell activity will be a picnic on July 16 at the Richard E. John's Park, 2101 Central Rd, Glenview, IL Reservations for hotel accommodations can be made at the adjacent Belvedere Hotel (847-985-0101).

The formation of the Calamba Association of Illinois was inspired by the fact that Calambenos are town mates of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The schedule of activities are as follows:
July 14 (Friday) - Welcome Dinner at 6:30 PM at the Belvedere Events & Banquets. Welcome address will be by Reny T. Elazegui. Attire is Business casual.
July 15 (Saturday) -Dinner/Dance at Belvedere Banquets at 6:30 PM. Speaker is Leah Tan Montoya, System VP for Care Management Services, Ingalls Health System in Illinois. Attire is Formal.
July 16 (Sunday) - Picnic & Farewell at 11:30 AM at the Richard E. John’s Park in Glenview. Attire is Casual.

The first USA reunion was hosted by the Calamba Association of Southern California in November 14-16, 2014 in Norwalk, CA. The chairpersons for this second reunion are Ed Tolentino and Wally Rizal.

For more information call Ed Tolentino at 630-788-6499, Wally Rizal at 773-592-3718, Liza Villanueva at 847-204-4816 or Lindy Tan 847-506-0811. (Rey T. Elazegui)


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