Wednesday, March 28, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:

Family of deceased Purple Heart awardee needs help for burial expenses

This morning, I had the great honor of witnessing the meeting of two real-life heroes: Col. Edwin Ramsey, an American leader of Philippine guerrillas during World War II, and Bataan Death March survivor and veterans' rights leader Peping Baclig.

What dampened the spirit of this historic meeting was the sad story that Mang Peping recounted on his taped testimony for the upcoming Senate Veterans Affairs hearing.

Two days earlier, his fellow veteran, Felizardo Ticao, died after struggling with Alzheimer's disease. The Purple Heart awardee was 83 years old.

Ticao's body is at the Armstrong Mortuary in Los Angeles, and at this time, Mang Peping said, they don't even know when they could bury him.

"His wife, who only works part-time, doesn't have any funds for the burial so we are trying to find any way to help her," he said. "It's very difficult."

Ticao moved to the U.S. as a WW II veteran in 1995. Hearing nothing but good things about the country he thought that life here was easy.

"Land of milk and honey kasi kaya akala n'ya puro ginhawa dito," Baclig said. Instead, in short order, Ticao found himself homeless. Luckily, Ticao found help from the Filipino American Sevice Group, Inc's (Fasgi). They were able to help him eventually find his own apartment which he shared with his then new bride. The Ticaos were not blessed with children but they were happy together - until Alzheimer's claimed his body and mind. He stayed at a convalescent home until his death.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time - and most sadly, probably not the last - that I've seen Mang Peping agonizing over what to do with a fellow veteran's remains. A few months ago, while shooting a news story at Fasgi where he coordinates its veterans' center, I saw him having a somber meeting with other manongs.

When I asked why they were so sad, he pointed at a nondescript vase sitting on the edge of his desk. It contained the ashes of another fallen comrade.
They had to be the ones to claim the remains because the dead veteran had no family in the U.S. and no one else - not even the Philippine consulate, because the deceased was a U.S. citizen, Mang Peping said - could claim him.

And now, 85-year-old Mang Peping is once again taking care of another veteran's death.

To find out how to help Felizardo Ticao's family, please contact Mang Peping or Susan Dilkes, Fasgi's executive director and tireless champion of Filipino veterans. Their number is (213)487-9804. E-mail address

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yahoo! might cause you to say "Yehey!" in May

Here's a piece of good news for Yahoo! e-mail users:

In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, magbibigay na ang Yahoo! Mail ng unlimited email storage starting in May 2007. Yahooooo! talaga.

The hugely popular e-mail service began in 1997. They were the first to offer what was then considered as huge storage capability - 4 MB per user. Nowadays, ga-tinga'ng e-mail lang ang matatanggap mo sa 4MB.

With the unlimited storage come May, Yahoo! Mailers will never have to erase any e-mail ever again.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Cheryl Burke

She's Dancing With The Stars' two-time champ, and now, Cheryl Burke is TV Guide's newest celebrity blogger. Here's what she says about tonight's show:

"This week we're dancing the quickstep and I really think people are going to be impressed by Ian's moves. He's really working it this week. I'd tell you what our song is, but I'm going to let that be a big surprise."

Cheryl Burke Trivia:

Birth date: May 1984 in Northern California.

Height: 5' 4"

Cheryl is a middle child. She has an older sister and a younger sister.

Her mom, Sherri Bautista Burke, was from Nueva Ecija.

She finished high school in 2002.

Unfinished Business: "I want to go back to school. I wanna take up something that will help me in my career in the long run, like business management or finance. My mom's best advice to me is 'Follow your heart, follow your dream, but never forget your education.'"

She is currently dating Matthew Lawrence, the younger brother of her former dance partner, Drew. She tells People magazine: "He's a great, smart, wonderful guy. We started dating at the end of December while I was on the (Dancing with the Stars) tour (with his older brother, Joey Lawrence) and we're having a lot of fun."

Despite going through physically exhausting dance competitions for more than 17 years, she has not had any injuries. "Thank God."

She considers being away from home as the hardest part of being a professional dancer. "Sometimes I wish I could just stay home for a whole month and just be with my family and friends, maybe read a book. It's hard living out of your suitcase," she says. "But it's okay."
She still sees more dance lessons in her future. "I'm still learning. I have loads to learn. I have years and years to go."

Her motto: "Live your dream to the fullest."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:

Filipinos cause high TB rates, U.S. official says

A U.S. government official is blaming Filipino immigrants for a Northern California county's high incidence of tuberculosis cases.

Solano County's Vallejo, home to many Fil Ams, is one of the nation's top 20 hot spots for TB.

Ron Chapman, the county's public health officer, said to a newspaper that one of the chief reasons for Vallejo's high ranking is due to its large number of Filipino immigrants.

Per Contra Costa Times: "He noted that the Philippines has the sixth-highest number of TB cases in the world. He added that the Filipino government works closely with the local health department to identify arrivals who suffer from the illness."

Tuberculosis cases statewide dropped to their lowest point since 1985. But from 2005 to 2006, there were more cases in 20 counties.

California has 10 of the nation's top big cities with TB cases, including San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles, Stockton, Oakland, Sacramento, Ventura and Fresno.

The number of TB cases in California is at an all-time low but some drug-resistant strains have health officials worried.

The falling national TB rates is alarming cities with high immigrant population because they fear funding cuts.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Blue Cross, California's largest health insurance provider, is facing a $1 million fine.

Investigators found that the company systematically dropped policyholders after they became sick or pregnant. Tsk.

Kung may problema kayo sa health insurance ninyo, visit the Department of Managed Health Care's website for information on how to get help.

The website also offers the following tips when you encounter problems:
  1. If you are told that you cannot get the care you need, ask for the reason in writing.
  2. Talk to your doctor about your problem.
  3. When you make a phone call, take notes. Write down the date of your call, the name of the person you talk to, and what the person says.
  4. Have someone with you for extra support.
  5. Act soon. If you wait longer than 6 months, you may lose the right to file a complaint, ask for an IMR, or take other action against your health plan.

FilipinOnline NEWS:

Government program leads to charges against 9 men accused of child exploitation crimes

The United States Attorney's office announced today that they have brought charges to 9 men accused of child exploitation crimes.

According to Thom Mrozek, public affairs officer of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, "the government’s efforts to protect children from sexual predators, now organized under the Justice Department’s Project Safe Childhood initiative, continue to bring results, with nine men being charged over the past week in this district with child exploitation crimes. Most of the men were charged with possession of child pornography, a crime seen with increasing frequency due to technological advances such as the Internet.

Today’s announcement of the eight criminal cases comes on the same day federal officials roll out a public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate teenage girls about the potential dangers of posting and sharing personal information online."

One of those indicted this week used the Google Hello program to send child pornography images.

To report cases of child sexual exploitation, you can visit the CyberTipline website. This site also has a section for teens where they can learn how to better protect themselves from online sexual predators.


Filipino film will premiere at Tribeca Filmfest

A short film made by Pinay auteur Debbie Formoso is having a world premiere at Tribeca Filmfest.

"Pretend" (Nagpapanggap) was filmed entirely in the Philippines - in Quezon City and Tanauan, Batangas. It was set against the turbulent backdrop of a country on the edge of rebellion.

Nagpapanggap is the story of one woman's struggle to preserve her own sense of self as her husband's political power escalates. It stars Thelma Sugay, Abe Pagtama, and Kristine Sabella. Dialogue is in Tagalog with English subtitles.

Nagpapanggap has already won for Formoso the best screenplay award at the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television’s Film Outside the Frame Festival.

The NY-based Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro and partners as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center.This year, runs from April 25 to May 06.

Screening Schedule:
Thursday, April 26, 4:00 pm, A34-11
Friday, April 27, 4:30 pm, AKB-14
Saturday, April 28, 8:30 pm, AKB-12
Tuesday, May 1, 4:00 pm, RG-11 Sunday, May 6, 4:00 pm, AKB-15

AMC 34th Street (A34) 312 W. 34th Street (between 8 th and 9 th Avenues) NY, NY 10001
AMC Kips Bay (AKB) 570 Second Avenue (at 32nd St.) New York, NY 10016
Regal Cinemas Battery Park Cinemas 11 (RG) 102 North End Avenue (at Vesey Street) NY York, NY 10281

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PACMAN INSISTS: "Nasa kondisyon ako"

By: Yong B. Chavez
Can Manny Pacquiao manage a Roach-less victory?

The most famous Filipino athlete's longtime coach Freddie Roach wasn't at the presscon held Wednesday in Los Angeles but his name came up several times before the event was finished.

Roach is currently out of the country, training Oscar de la Hoya for his ring date with Floyd Mayweather.

"He will not be training me but he will be in my corner during the fight," Pacquiao said. "Di naman ako worried. Nandyan naman si Justin Fortune. Freddie entrusted him with my training."

Fortune, an Aussie who looks like a nicer version of Prison Break's Bellick, is Roach’s trusted assistant and has been Pacquiao's conditioning coach in his other fights.

Will Fortune be able to keep a distraction-prone Pacman in line? Everyone will see on April 14 when Pacman and Jorge Solis face each other in Texas.

Manny insists that he is training hard, and that he is in great shape.

"Nasa kondisyon ako. Mas mahirap pa nga ang training ko sa Pilipinas kasi sobrang init doon," he said.

At the presscon, he refused to talk about his political plans.

"Basta dyan, no comment muna ako. Boxing na lang ang pag-usapan natin," he said, before breaking into his characteristic boyish grin. "I'm focused on my training."

He also dismissed some people's notion that he is not taking his opponent seriously.

Solis, who was unable to make it to the presscon which is their supposed first meeting, is an undefeated ring warrior from Guadalajara, Mexico and a former Mexican super bantamweight champion. He has vowed to end Pacquiao’s dominance over Mexican boxers.

"He's good. He's taller than me and he has longer arms. Alam kong magaling siya kaya naghahanda talaga ako," he said.




Los Angeles County , through its Arts Commission, has given grants totaling $530,000 to 90 performing, literary, media and municipal arts organizations throughout Los Angeles County to support paid internships for college undergraduates in summer 2007.

Descriptions of and contacts for the 130 internship positions are posted on the Arts Commission’s web site. Here's the link.

Interested undergraduates should apply directly to the organization offering the internship, not the Arts Commission.

College undergraduates either resident in or attending school in Los Angeles County are eligible for the internships. Interns are paid $350 per week for ten weeks and take part in educational and arts networking activities.

Through the program, interns gain a deeper understanding of the work involved in nonprofit arts administration and the role of the arts in a community, and develop business skills that can be put to use in their future careers. Internship host organizations help mold and shape potential new workers in the arts field who may go on to arts leadership positions on staffs, boards or as volunteers.

Linda Chiavaroli, Dir. of Communications, 323 871-4554 (office), 323 810-9240 (cell),
Andrew Campbell, Dir. of Organizational Development, 213 974-1343,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007



Nakapag-file ka na ba ng tax return mo? Kung hindi pa, don't fret - hindi ka nag-iisa.

According to the IRS, as of March 10, halos kalahati pa lang ng American taxpayers ang naka-pag-submit na.

Here are some interesting tax returns data culled from this report:

  • The average refund this year is at $2,548.
  • IRS has issued 50.5 million refunds out of the 60.9 million returns received as of March 10.
  • They expect to process about 136 million individual tax returns in 2007.
  • More than 13.3 million e-filed from their personal computers. Those who file electronically can usually have their refund deposited directly into their bank accounts in two weeks or less. (Sidebar: Proven ko ito. I received my refund last year in less than 2 weeks because I e-filed.)

Kung namamahalan kayo sa singil ng tax preparer ninyo, you can avail of the FREE TAX FILING program available through the IRS. Here's the link to that site.

The Free File program is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers. It allows taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income of $52,000 or less to e-file their federal tax returns for free. Fees for state tax returns may apply.

But before you file, make sure that you avoid making some costly goofs. This article lists 10 common tax mistakes that we can sidestep.

Eto yung mga pagkakamali na kalimitang napapansin ng IRS sa mga tax returns:

  1. Claiming the wrong filing status. Maaaring hindi kayo maging eligible sa child tax credit, earned-income credit at exemptions for dependents kung mali ang inilagay ninyong status.
  2. Omitting or using wrong Social Security numbers. In 2003, my tax preparer accidentally wrote the wrong Social Security number for my daughter and my refund was delayed because of this.
  3. Make sure your handwriting is legible.
  4. Failing to use correct forms and schedules.
  5. Failing to sign and date the return. If you don't sign the return, you haven't filed. Both spouses must sign a joint return.
  6. Claiming ineligible dependents
  7. Misusing -- or not using -- the earned-income credit
  8. Failing to report domestic workers. Kung sosi kayo at may katulong sa bahay, siguraduhing na-i-report ninyo ang payroll taxes ni Lagring (o kung anuman ang pangalan ng kasama ninyo sa bahay.)
  9. Failing to report all income
  10. Failing to check for the alternative minimum tax. Here's a link to get help in determining if you are affected by AMT. AMT has been projected to hit about 19 million families in 2007, including 64% of households earning $100,000 to $200,000.

Monday, March 19, 2007




Los Angeles – The Los Angeles County Naturalization Coalition (LACNC) will host a free citizenship application assistance workshop for many Los Angeles County residents on Saturday, March 24, 2007.

The event, which begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m., will be held at 9372 Telstar Ave , El Monte , CA 91731 .

Appointments are required; interested applicants should call Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, (800)433-6251 x257, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, (213)977-7500 x217 or Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, (213)640-3918

At the workshop, attendees will receive assistance with their citizenship forms from staff and volunteers of LACNC members which include: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLS).

Applicants will be given study guides to help them prepare for their interviews. LACNC then files the papers with USCIS on behalf of the applicants.

Due to restrictions imposed by the state, only those individuals who live in the Los Angeles County area may attend the workshop.

Although the application assistance is provided at no charge, applicants must pay the required application and “biometrics” fees (total $400; applicants 75 years of age or older pay $330). Personal checks or money orders should be made payable to “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services”; cash will not be accepted. Applicants must also bring two identical passport-style photos.

Before making an appointment, applicants should make sure they are eligible for citizenship by visiting the USCIS website at “”, and clicking “Services and Benefits”, “Citizenship”, and “Naturalization Information.” They may also get the information from any adult school citizenship class or by calling LACNC members.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently proposed a fee increase for citizenship applications. The citizenship application fee, currently set at $330, would jump to $595.

The “biometrics” or fingerprinting fee (required of applicants under 75 years of age) would increase to $80, making the total cost to most citizenship applicants $675. The new fee, if implemented, would effectively prevent many immigrants from reaching their dream of citizenship, explained Mark Yoshida, staff attorney with APALC.

“Immigrants work hard to support their families, learn English, and contribute to our communities,” said Yoshida. “We are concerned the proposed fee increases may prevent qualified immigrants from achieving the highlight of their immigration experience.”

APALC citizenship outreach coordinator, Cevadne Lee, added, “We suggest that immigrants who are qualified for citizenship now to consider applying sooner rather than later,” this is because USCIS said the fee increases may go into effect in June. “The workshop is a great place to get help with applying for citizenship.”

"I'm a prospective first-time homebuyer. My friend, a recent first-time homebuyer, told me I don't need an agent. Totoo ba ito?"

When you buy a home, research shows that there are big advantages to using the services of a real estate agent. But I do know of someone who somehow regretted using one.

Last year, he bought a new home that he stumbled upon all by himself. However, out of loyalty to an agent that has shown other for-sale homes to him in the past, when he registered to see that new home, he took this agent with him. The new homebuyer did all of the work: he found the home and did all of the research himself, and the agent just showed up to register.

When he got the closing statement, he saw that the agent pocketed $12,000 in commission for almost-nothing work. Later on, he found out from other savvy homebuyers that had he not registered with an agent in tow, posibleng nabigyan s'ya ng discount sa bahay na binili n'ya.

Yikes. That's $12,000-worth of buyer remorse.

To get clarification, I asked someone who has tons of experience with homebuyers.

"It is a good idea to have an agent when you buy a resale home as it doesn't cost the buyer anything, just the seller. When buying a new home, it isn't necessary as the agent at the sales office actually represents both seller and buyer, " said Jodi Hatch, a loan officer.

'Yun ang bottom line: Decide first if you're buying a new home or a resale home.

If the house you want to buy is a new home, do some research and see if you can do it on your own. There are tons of first-time homebuying tips that can be found online.

If you have your eye on a resale home, find a good agent. According to this website, there are three reasons to use a real estate agent as a first-time homebuyer: They have negotiation skills, experience, and resources. These are all great things to have at your disposal.

(If you have a question for ASK A KABABAYAN, please e-mail To get a more detailed information, please contact a professional.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:

Manny Pacquiao Returns to L.A.

Pacman was mobbed by over 600 fans at the LAX upon his arrival Saturday night, according to Top Rank, his fight promoter.

His training will resume Monday at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, as he prepares for his 2007 ring debut. He is slated to defend his World Boxing Council International super featherweight title against undefeated Mexican pugilist Jorge Solis.

The 12-round fight will be seen live on pay-per-view (9 P.M. ET / 6 P.M. PT) from The Alamodome, in San Antonio, TX, Saturday, April 14.

Friday, March 16, 2007



Hosted By Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Assistant to the Speaker of the House

Featuring Representative Bob Filner (CA-51)
Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs

MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2007 2 p.m.

American Legion Post 206 Highland Park
227 N. Avenue 55 Los Angeles, CA 90042

Parking available in the Riordan Primary School lot at Monte Vista & Avenue 56

Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31) will host the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Representative Bob Filner (CA-51), for a discussion on veterans issues.

This event is open to the public. To RSVP, request special accommodations, or get more information please call Rep. Becerra’s office at (213) 483-1425.
(Photo credit: Fasgi)

FilipinOnline NEWS:


Kung may balak kayong bumili ng flatscreen TV, makaka-mura kayo ng malaki kung sa Pasko na kayo bibili, according to the ISuppli industry analyst group. For example, a 42-inch name-brand LCD TV which currently retails at around $1,900 could go down to $1,200 during the coming Christmas shopping season. This is due to the fierce competition among LCD TV manufacturers. No news yet if plasma TV retail prices would follow suit. (To compare LCD and plasma TVs, click here.)

Nakakataba ba ang diet soda? Could be, according to a recent report which indicated that people who drink diet soft drinks don't lose weight. In fact, they gain weight, a new study conducted by the University of Texas Health Center shows.

Simula sa June, when you buy a Spirit Airlines ticket you might get a cheaper rate. That's the good news. The bad news? Make sure you're traveling light and also not a heavy soda drinker because you will have to pay for your checked baggage and in-flight drinks. Each checked baggage will cost you $5; for a Coke or any other beverage, you'll have to fork over a buck. According to a report, this bold move might be copied by other airlines.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:

I.D. Thieves Can Access Your Personal Data Through Copy Machines

Mag-ingat sa pag-gamit ng photocopiers (or as we Philippine-born and -bred Pinoys might call it, "xerox-an").

The ubiquitous office equipment is now a target for identity thieves.

Most digital copiers retain the data being scanned, which allows others to gain access to that information. Some manufacturers are installing security features to offer more protection but this could take time.

So for now, experts suggest using copy shops with secure machines, and to ask if they are secure before making copies of documents with personal information, such as your tax return.

For more information on identity theft, how to protect yourself and what to do if you become a victim, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Web site at

FilipinOnline NEWS:


- Is Manny Pacquiao's next opponent a pushover? While Jorge Solis might not be as popular as Pacman's past boxing foes, those in the know say the brown superstar would be a fool if he takes Solis lightly.

- Jean Kennedy Schmidt, one of the nurses dubbed the "Angels of Bataan" who were held prisoner in the Philippines during World War II, has passed away. She was 88.

- Baseball superstar Milton Bradley talks about having Filipino friends in this article.

Be Safe When Fueling

Unlike sa Pilipinas where you can drive all your life without ever learning how to fill your own gas tank, dito sa America (at sa ibang bansa) walang gas attendants who will do it for you.

While I'm all for self-reliance, I am not a big fan of the static electricity that has - aside from the scary price jumps - literally given me jolts from time to time at the pumps.

Well, here are some safety tips for all of us to remember kapag nag-ga-gas tayo:

From a sticker posted at a Union 76 gas station:
Be Safe When Fueling:
- Before fueling, discharge any static electricity build up by touching your bare hand to a metal surface away from a nozzle.
- Do not re-enter your vehicle while gas is pumping. Re-entering could cause static electricity build up.

Here are additional safety tips from the U.S. Environmental Agency:
When you stop to re-fuel your automobile (or gasoline container):
- Turn off your engine.
- Do not smoke or light matches or lighters.
- Stand upwind of the nozzle while refueling and try to not breath the fumes.
- Do not top off your tank. Even little drips that fall onto the pavement can contaminate soil, groundwater, or surface water.
- Do not leave your vehicle unattended while the pump is running.

On the flip side, here's a link to a website that exposes e-mail hoaxes. One of them deals with the rumor about explosions or fires caused at gas stations by people using cell phones. It says those stories are NOT TRUE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Kadarating ko lang sa America, and my employer is offering 401(k) to me. What is it and why should I sign up?"

One of the things I regretted not knowing noong na-uumpisa pa lang akong magtrabaho sa America was the fact that I did not immediately take advantage of signing up for 401(k) even if my employer was offering it my first day of employment.

Hindi ko alam noon na sa 401(k) plan pala, makakapag-save ako for retirement while deferring income taxes on the saved money and earnings until withdrawal.

A friend of mine and a kababayan from Vallejo, Calif. who's a 401(k) proponent has more information and advice for 401(k) newbies. He's a bit shy so he prefers not to be named but he gives helpful information about this matter. Here's what he says:

"401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Most instances, an employee contributes a certain percentage of pre-tax salary to the plan where the employer may or may not match up to a certain percentage.

It can be a tax shelter. If the employer matches the contribution, you should sign up up to the percentage that your employer will match it.

However, if you have high-balance, high interest credit card debt, you might be better off paying that first.

Check out this
link for more info about 401(k)."

Additional info: After enrolling, you will periodically receive a statement of your 401(k) account. It's quite a thrill seeing how much it grows as time goes by, and you might be tempted to borrow from your 401(k) account but you should read this warning before you even think of doing so.

According to "Taking money out of a 401(k) savings plan before you're 59 1/2 [the age set by the government for withdrawal in order not to incur penalties] is one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make. It's not just the present value of the money that you're losing, but the value of the future money that it would grow into if left alone."

(If you have a question for ASK A KABABAYAN, please e-mail To get a more detailed information, please contact a professional.)

Monday, March 12, 2007


I somehow missed this rather startling news about a nationwide ad campaign by the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines promoting breast milk substitutes getting the ire of United Nations for being "misleading, deceptive, and malicious in intent."

Although the offending print ads listed the benefits of breastfeeding, it also said that "when a mother chooses not to, cannot continue, or stops breastfeeding, infant formulas prepared according to globally accepted standards and guidelines are deemed suitable and safe."

Per United Nations: "In 2003 the WHO estimated that 16,000 children under the age of 5 died in the Philippines as a result of improper feeding practices including infant formula. Today, only 16 per cent of children at four to five months of age are exclusively breastfed and 13 per cent of infants are not breastfed at all."

Details about this issue can be found here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Charmaine Clamor, America's leading Filipina jazz vocalist, returns to Hollywood's world-famous Catalina Bar & Grill solo on March 13th.

This is Charmaine's first Los Angeles appearance since headlining the critically acclaimed (and sold-out) 2nd Annual Filipino-American Jazz Festival, in December. She is appearing in the United States directly from the Philippines International Jazz & Arts Festival, where she performed before thousands in Manila.

Charmaine will be giving a sneak preview from her upcoming sophomore album called "Flippin' Out," due for release in August. She will be joined by FoxSports celebrity and CRESCENDO colleague, Michael Konik, along with his renowned Tasty Band.

Catalina Bar & Grill is located at 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Cover charge is $15 with two-drink minimum or dinner. Reservations are highly encouraged: 323/466-2210.

More information at or

For her Filipino fans, Charmaine promises to perform several Kundimans -- in Tagalog!

(Press release from from

Friday, March 9, 2007


I don't think there's anyone among us Pinoy immigrants here in the U.S. who doesn't know of an undocumented immigrant. Some of them could be our best friends, our co-workers, the nice lady who serves us at our favorite restaurant. Some of them are even our family.

And yet the support for their cause in our community has not been outstanding. The Latino community, in contrast, generally rises up as one when the deportation issue is brought up.

Even at the press conference for a Deportation and Detention Clinic specifically for Filipinos, only one other reporter showed up.

"It's a very divisive issue," said Annalisa Enrile, Gabriela Network -LA chairperson. "People are afraid to come out in the open out of fear that they will be targeted, too."

There are hundreds of thousands of them: Our kababayans who, because of ongoing immigration sweeps, live in fear that one day soon, they will be deported.

A lot of them have been here for many years, pay taxes through fake but still credited numbers, and their children haven't even been to the Philippines. Some suffer indignities, low pay and employer abuse without complaint because they feel they have no choice.

"Women stay in abusive relationships because they are so scared of being deported," said Enrile.

In order to educate them about their rights and to provide free legal advice, Gabriela joined a coalition headed by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center to offer a clinic for them. (Details about this seminar can be found if you scroll down; it was posted last week.)

"We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of deportations in Filipinos in the last few years," said APALC's Daniel Huang, co-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Fair Immigration Reform.

The statistics about this serious issue are staggering:

- Since 1996, more than 4,000 Filipinos have been deported.

- Since 9/11, Filipinos have experienced the greatest increase in deportations of any Asian American community. This increase is comparable only to the increase in deportation of immigrants from Middle Eastern nations.

- Because of immigration laws passed in 1996, a significant amount of green card holders (NOT just undocumenteds) have been deported. If a green card holder commits even a misdemeanor offense, he/she can be deported.

- Over 85,000 Filipinos are targeted for deportation, per Department of Homeland Security.

Aquilina Soriano, Executive Director of Pilipino Workers' Center, said that their office has seen an enormous increase of calls from Filipinos that have been detained by immigration officials in recent months.

She answers more questions about this issue:

How has the response been to the Deportation and Detention Clinic?
There are only a few appointments that have been scheduled for the Clinic, but we figured out that this is probably because the Asian Journal article did not mention that you need an appointment. So there could very well be a lot of people arriving tomorrow. From the workers that I talked to, they said that this is a really important workshop to have.

Why should they go to this event?
This will be a very educational event, especially for those who are not citizens, either legal permanent residents, temporary visa holders or undocumented or have family members or friends that are not citizens. All of these individuals are at risk of being detained and deported.

This clinic will help to educate them about their rights and about ways that they can protect their rights and prevent deportation. They will also receive individual assistance about their individual cases.

Overall, the Filipinocommunity should be educated about this issue because since September 11, 2001, Filipinos have had the highest increase in detentions and deportations of all Asian Americans. So it is important that we know what the issue is and how we can protect immigrants and keep families together.

Many Filipino U.S. citizens and legal residents seem so afraid to support the immigration reform campaign. Why?
Our experience is that there are a lot of Filipinos who support the immigration reform campaign but haven't been approached to know how to have their opinion counted.

For example, last year many different Filipino organizations got involved in supporting just immigration reform that had never been involved in issues. Even very mainstream organizations that are not normally involved in advocacy.

Here is another example: We made an announcement about the immigration campaign at an April Boy concert last year. We asked that the audience stop by our booth on the way out to sign a postcard in support of comprehensive immigration reform. There were about 300 in attendance and we collected about 250 postcards. There was an overwhelmingly positive response.

But there definitely are those who are afraid to openly support the campaign. Those who have immigration issues are often afraid that they might somehow jeopardize their chance of becoming a legal permanent resident or citizen. Some are afraid that it seems very anti-American.

In fact, to participate in the immigration reform campaign is very American and a part of the spirit of democracy. And another upsurge of immigrants taking action on this issue could very well push the Congress to pass reform that has paths to citizenships for all or most immigrants living here in theUnited States currently.


(323) 708 – 7679

(213) 977 – 7500

(213) 487 - 9804

Manual changing for computer and other devices necessary

Maagang darating ang Daylight Saving Time ngayong taong ito.

Instead of the usual first Sunday of April, it will happen on Sunday (March 11) this year.

This change comes courtesy of the Energy Act of 2005 signed by Pres. Bush that year.


Since our consumer devices (examples: cell phone, PDA, DVD player, TiVo, digital camera, etc.) come pre-programmed with the data that Daylight Savings Time will happen in April, you need to manually move their time information yourself one hour ahead by late Saturday or Sunday morning.

Yeah, it's a hassle but on the plus side, if you're late for an appointment on Sunday, at least you'll have a more credible excuse ("But I didn't know about the Energy Act thing!") rather than using the old standby ("But I thought it's Filipino time!")

Thursday, March 8, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:


- In this W interview, Imelda Marcos talks about getting rid of all lawsuits against her; the kindness of dictators (she defends "bad boy" Saddam Hussein and relates how Qaddafi offered to pay her bail at one point); and of course, her shoes.

- Tagalog is now one of the most widely-used languages in a Bay Area county where English speakers are now the minority.

- Often mistaken for Chinese, a Filipino performer is part of a controversial show.

- Citing several talented Fil-Am talents, this article asks why are there no Asian American pop superstars in America.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"Saan ako makakakuha ng libreng CREDIT REPORT?"

Whether you are planning to buy a car or a house, or you are simply concerned about identity theft, checking your credit report is ALWAYS a good idea.

You can get a FREE credit report at

After reviewing your report (it's always good to print a copy for your file) and you want to see your CREDIT SCORE, you can go to any of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) to get a FREE TRIAL. Tip: They will ask for a credit card number BUT they will NOT charge it until the end of the trial period (usually 30 days). So if you don't want the service (typically around $12 a month), once nakuha n'yo na ang inyong credit score, pwede n'yo ng kanselahin ang account ninyo.

Ano ba ang credit score?
According to, a credit score is used by a lender to help determine whether a person qualifies for a particular credit card, loan, or service. Most credit scores estimate the risk a company incurs by lending a person money or providing them with a service –– specifically, the likelihood that the person will make payments on time in the next two to three years.

Ang bottomline: Mas mataas ang score (ang score na makukuha ninyo ay anywhere from 330 to 830), mas maganda, kasi mabibigyan kayo ng mas magagandang deals o mas mababang interest rate sa account ninyo. Usually, ang score na 680-pataas ay okay.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS:


A Los Angeles-area law firm which has a number of Filipino employees and clients is in legal hot water for visa fraud. The ASK Law Group in Sherman Oaks is a popular immigration law firm catering to many of the area's immigrants.

Philip Abramowitz, a senior partner of ASK Group, even writes an immigration column for Filipino newspapers. He famously represented Donita Ganzon, the Filipino transgender who sued the government when it denied to give her spouse a green card. (Here's that story.)

Abramowitz has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy and visa fraud.

According to the LA Times, investigators discovered that some of their employees acquired their visas through the office illegally. They were given fake job titles and were paid "under the table".

This charge doesn't bode well for some of ASK's Filipino clientele.

Per immigration officials, if they found out that any of the firm's clients knew that their papers were acquired illegally (by using fake job titles on their visa application, etc.), they could lose their working visas.

Tune in later in the week for more details about this story.

Monday, March 5, 2007



Do you still pay $1.50 or $2 for every directory assistance phone call?

Here's a free tip: Don't.

Just dial 1-800-FREE411. (That's 1-800-3733-411.)

Jingle Networks, a Boston-based company, offers this wonderfully free service. To support it, when you call, they may play a short ad before you get the number you need but it's worth it considering the usual expensive 411 call charges you incur via your cell phone or land line.

I used it for the first time over the weekend, and except for the short ad (which is how radio and TV are supported anyhow), there really was no catch to this service. I didn't even hear an ad on my first call. On the second one, I heard a short McDonalds ad.

If you have access to a computer, there are also free online directories, like Switchboard and Yahoo! Yellow Pages. But if you're on the road, 1-800-FREE411 is your number for free directory assistance calls.




Maverick Pinoy filmmaker Patricio Ginelsa has premiered a new short film.

The blurb for THE ONES AND THE TWOS reads:
"Young Eli just wants to "get down" and "cut it up" on the "ones and twos". In this town, mobile DJ crews compete for gigs and status. Can Eli stand out and convince his DJ group to believe in him?"

The short film's music rocks and the visuals are stunning. Go see it here.

Ginelsa first gained notice through "Lumpia", a fun movie he started in high school and released in 2004. It featured a lumpia-wielding, Barong Tagalog-wearing Fil-Am hero.

The indie helmer famously wrote and directed two of's Black Eyed Peas videos, "The Apl Song" and "Bebot".

To know more about Ginelsa, here's a feature I wrote about him in 2005.

Photo credit: J.J. Casas

Saturday, March 3, 2007


American Idol's A.J. Tabaldo was robbed!

That's what several articles about his premature American Idol departure say.

The 22-year-old Santa Maria, Calif. native was voted off despite getting great feedback on his performances. This talented and determined Pinoy auditioned for Idol five times before finally and deservedly getting the spotlight this year.

He seemed to have a better chance of advancing to the finals than last year's Pinoy finalist, Sway Penala, who was doomed by Simon Cowell's "looking like a pimp" comment during the semifinals.

A.J. could have duplicated Jasmine Trias' success in the contest. Unfortunately, not enough voters called in to support him.

His surprise elimination was slammed by entertainment critics.

Per USA Today: A.J. was "eliminated in favor of vastly inferior singers."

Per the
New York Times: A.J. "gave a rousing rendition of Nina Simone's ''Feeling Good.'' Paula Abdul couldn't hide her disappointment."

Entertainment Weekly, "the first real shock of American Idol season 6 happened last night, when A.J. Tabaldo got voted off instead of Sanjaya Malakar."

So what did A.J. say about his elimination?
"...I'm glad I went out on a good note as opposed to going out on a week the judges said I was horrible," A.J. said to EW.

Aw, he's so sweet. And really talented, too. I wish we People Powered this guy's AI chances.

AJ's picture from

Friday, March 2, 2007

FilipinOnline NEWS Exclusive:

Nora Aunor did not violate the terms and conditions of her drug offense diversion program, according to her lawyer, Claire Espina.

Espina said that the recent arrest rumor, which emanated from Manila, was "false."

Aunor was arrested on March 30, 2005 when airport screeners at LAX allegedly found 7.7 grams of illegal drugs.

On March 29, 2006, she entered a drug diversion program and the charges against her are expected to be dropped once she completes the program in October.

"Nora has maintained a very active concert and show schedule a couple of which I watched last year. By all indications one can say she is back in her game," says Espina.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

FilipinOnline FYI:


"How can I gain legal status?"

"How can I protect myself from deportation?"

"What will happen to my immigration rights if I am convicted of a crime?"

"I received a 'Notice To Appear' from Immigration, what does it mean?"

These are just some of the questions that anyone can ask legal experts at a FREE Detention and Deportation Legal Clinic in L.A.
This is a project of the Asian Pacific Legal Center (APALC), Fasgi, Gabriela Network-LA, Pilipino Worker's Center, and Sipa. It is completely free and open to the public.
WHEN: March 10, Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: APALC office: 1145 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd floor, Los Angeles 90017.

Interested parties should call Jae Park, clinic coordinator, at 213-9777-7500 ext. 286 to make an appointment.