Friday, September 28, 2007

Philippine Cinderella film

ABADEHA The Philippine Cinderella at NIIVF Film Festival

ABADEHA Neo-Ethnic Rock Cinderella, the first Philippine Cinderella film ever produced is an Official Selection for exhibition at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival at the Sunset 5 Laemmle Theatres in West Hollywood, on October 4, 2007. Laemmle Theatres is the premiere art house chain in Los Angeles.

A recovery and reconstruction of the Philippine version of the most-loved fairy tale in the world, the film ABADEHA Neo-Ethnic Rock Cinderella is a visual re-telling of the age-old Cinderella story of the Philippines. Told with a contemporary interpretation, the story flows through dramatic dialogue, songs, indigenous dance, rituals, folkways, customs, poetry, and the fusion of native and present-day music and sounds.

While consistent with the universal Cinderella themes of mother-daughter conflict, and sibling rivalry, ABADEHA Neo-Ethnic Rock Cinderella is distinctly Filipino.

Interwoven in the story-telling of the film, is the depiction of the environmentally-reverent indigenous Philippine culture. The close affinity with the earth; i.e. reverence for the natural environment and living things, respect for ancestral wisdom, and a strong belief in the human co-existence and harmony with nature inherent in Philippine indigenous traditions are embedded in the film. The central character, Abadeha, the Philippine Cinderella, lives in an environment where the characters practice their indigenous, social, and spiritual values, customs, and traditions.

ABADEHA Neo-Ethnic Rock Cinderella gives new life to the Cinderella story of the Philippines in a contemporary setting with a neo-ethnic concept. Myrna J. de la Paz, educator, author of ABADEHA The Philippine Cinderella, wrote, produced, and directed the film, ABADEHA Neo-Ethnic Rock Cinderella.

For Movie/After Party tickets at the Sunset 5 Laemmle Theatre ($12.00 ) and Opening Night Event and Party at the The Cabana Club ($12.00) please, call (323) 259-8918.

Press Release



Photo tool will help employers detect some forms of identity fraud

WASHINGTON- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new photo-screening tool that will help employers comply with immigration law while also strengthening worksite enforcement. The photo tool will be the first step in giving employers the tools they need to help detect some forms of identity fraud in the employment eligibility process. The photo tool is the first enhancement in E-Verify, the agency's Web-based system that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. More than 23,000 employers are currently enrolled in the program - with more than 2,000 more joining each month - and will now be able to access the new photo screening tool to more accurately verify a new non-citizen employee's identity.

"Our current E-Verify system is not fraud-proof and was not designed to detect identity fraud," said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez. "The photo tool enhancement will give employers an additional resource to help verify identity and employment authorization status and is just one more valuable enhancement to an effective, fair and viable program."

Friday, September 21, 2007


Filipino teachers who were supposed to start at the Pasadena Unified School District have yet to arrive due to immigration and credentialing process delays.

The 20 educators were recruited from the Philippines to teach math, science and special education and were supposed to arrive last August.

But due to processing delays, their trips are still pending. Meanwhile, some of the jobs they were supposed to take have been filled, a school district said in a report. The three teachers who are expected to arrive by early October will still have full-time jobs waiting for them while others might have to start off as substitutes.

A lot of American schools are hiring from the Philippines due to increased teacher shortage in the nation.

Though many thrive in the opportunity to work in the U.S., it's not always the ideal situation for some recruited Filipino teachers. Sources say that they, to start, they have to shell out up to $10,000 in recruitment fees. Once here, they usually are left to fend on their own by recruiters, although this practice is supposedly explained to them before they leave the Philippines.

Apart from the culture shock, a lot of the teachers face unruly students when they start to work in school districts in high-risk areas. One recruit has related an incident when her accent was made fun of by the students. Another one was attacked when students threw books at her when she entered a dimly-lit classroom.

In frustration, some teachers have even tried to become nurses.

In Los Angeles, luckily, they get assistance from a group of Filipino teachers, although not all take advantage of this help.


By: Yong B. Chavez

Filipino nurses on a picnic in a South Carolina park helped save a man after an alligator bit off his arm.

Members of the Bicol Assocation of Charleston were having a Sunday feast, eating and dancing, on September 16 when they saw a bloody Bill Hedden stumbling and grasping his left shoulder. The 59-year-old retired Navy master chief's arm was bitten off by a 550-pound, 11-foot-long alligator while he was snorkeling.

"We saw a guy bleeding profusely. We thought he was just kidding," said Jerome Bien, one of the Filipino picnickers.

Immediately, at least five Filipino registered nurses from the group rushed to his aid. They iced Hedden's wound and worked to stop the bleeding. They kept him awake until paramedics arrived, one of the nurses said to a reporter. Bien later saw the alligator in the lake with Hedden's arm still in the animal's jaw. Officials said that it was one of the worst alligator attacks in South Carolina's history.

"One of [the nurses] keep on encouraging him to breathe because he was turning blue," said Jo Masauding, one of the Filipino nurses on the scene.

A Department of Natural Resources contractor killed the alligator and retrieved Hedden's arm from the gator's belly but doctors were unable to reattach it. Hedden is currently recovering in a hospital and is now listed in fair condition.

Hedden is fortunate to be alive, thanks to the Filipino nurses picnicking nearby, CNN reported in its Heroes segment where the story was first featured.

Here's a
video of this amazing story. Thanks to FilipinOnline contributor Art Pacho for the news tip.


"I bought a new computer with free Internet protection. Mag-e-expire na yung protection, should I renew?"

You definitely should renew, or purchase a different one, if you find a better product than the one that came pre-installed in your computer. It's necessary. Your computer will always be vulnerable and prone to computer virus and malicious software attacks if you don't have one.

When I first purchased a home computer (back in the '90s), binalewala ko yung alerts that pop up saying that my Internet protection was expiring na. The result: my computer was attacked by viruses and I never got it to run as smooth as before. Sayang. From then on, I always make sure that I update my Internet protection religiously.

I've been using Norton, but there are so many other products to choose from, you can even download them from the Internet pero for your peace of mind, magtanong-tanong ka in person sa mga computer products salespeople kung ano'ng dapat mong piliin. Ang importante, shop around for the best deals and install one before your current Internet protection expires.

Asians For Equal Marriage Rights, Arroyo Faces Another Kickback Controversy, and Imelda Gets More Shoes

- A coalition of over 50 local, state, and national Asian American organizations will be filing a legal brief in support of equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in the consolidated California Marriage Cases currently before the California Supreme Court. The brief focuses on past marriage discrimination against Asian immigrants in California, according to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.
- The Philippine government is strongly defending itself against allegations of multi-million dollar kickback over a controversial telecommunications deal with a Chinese firm. Arroyo's husband is reportedly involved in this deal.
- Imelda Marcos' new shoes won't be quite as expensive and bling-y as her other ones but she sure is happy to get them.
[photo: BBC]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


In the course of saving someone's life, Demetrio Nagtalon, 63, lost his.

In December 2006, Nagtalon rented a U-Haul truck. Upon discovering a faulty brake, he sought to have it replaced so he returned it to a U-Haul rental center in San Francisco.

Instead of replacing the truck, a customer representative, Bobby Johnson, tried to repair the brake himself although, reports would later say, he is not a trained mechanic. Johnson also didn't block the vehicle's wheels.

Without turning the engine of the vehicle off, Johnson depressed the parking brake, and then attempted to release the brake with his hand. The handle of the brake came off in his hand. Johnson tried unsuccessfully to reattach the handle, and then went to get a pair of pliers and then continued trying to repair the brake.

When the truck began moving, Nagtalon rushed forward and pushed Johnson away from harm. However, by saving Johnson, Nagtalon himself was pinned between the truck and a steel pillar. He suffered massive internal bleeding and a crushed pelvis.

The father of four and grandfather of 13 died two hours later at a hospital. In a police report, Johnson reportedly called Nagtalon "a hero."

But U-Haul doesn't seem to share Johnson's belief.

The Nagtalon family recently filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against U-Haul, the country's largest supplier of rental trucks and trailers.

In a report, U-Haul indicated that Nagtalon was to blame for his own death.

"The cause of this accident was Mr. Nagtalon's actions, which placed his safety at risk in a situation where his assistance was not required," lawyers for U-Haul and Johnson said in court documents, according to the the Los Angeles Times.

"They've already begun their cover-up," said the Nagtalons' attorney, Matt Kumin. The case is now in the discovery stage and their attempts to interview Johnson has been blocked, Kumin added.

"I think we have a very good case against U-Haul," Kumin said. "They've been putting money ahead of safety."

In June, the Los Angeles Times published a series documenting the safety problems with U-Haul trucks and trailers.

The truck that killed Nagtalon was 13 years old and had logged 180,000 miles and had been in the shop because of the same parking brake problem that he encountered.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Below is the story I wrote for Philippines News this week.

Purita, 55, spoke to me over the phone while she was on a Northern California train heading to work. At first Purita was a bit hesistant to talk but as she spoke of Richard, her dearly departed husband, her voice perked up. Because she was in transit, her cellphone's reception was choppy, medyo mahina ang boses n'ya, but she was still able to clearly convey her hurt in being "stripped" of her right to be called Richard's wife because he had died.

It was through fate that they met, but it was Richard's dogged determination to win her over that sealed their relationship.

In the early days of her courtship, Richard was hospitalized and when he opened his eyes, the first face that he saw was Purita's.

"He told me then that he will never let me go, that I have to be his wife," Purita said.

Filipino widows file lawsuit over green cards

Yong B. Chavez, Sep 05, 2007
LOS ANGELES — Purita Manuel Poindexter had every reason to be happy. She had found the love of her life, Richard, in the country that she also loves. They exchanged wedding vows on November 6, 2006.

About a month after, Richard, a U. S. citizen, filed a “petition for alien relative” and permanent residency application for Purita. She was scheduled for an interview on February 15, 2007.

Two weeks before the interview, on January 29, 2007, Richard was hospitalized for intestinal bleeding and died unexpectedly.

On March 7, Purita received a letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) saying that her application had been denied.

“Doon ko na-realize na lahat wala na (That’s when I realized that everything was gone),” Purita tearfully recounted.

Still reeling from the loss of her husband, she sought legal counsel to find out if she had any other options.

Her stepchildren, Richard’s adult children from a previous marriage, couldn’t believe that she would be deported.

Purita’s lawyer, however, did not think that her case had a chance because under a current immigration law, if the citizen dies before authorities approve the petition, the application is no longer valid.

“But my husband’s daughter told me not to give up. She promised to help in finding a way to appeal my case,” Purita said.

Her stepdaughter found Brent Renison, pro bono counsel of a group called Surviving Spouses Against Deportation. Purita joined the group which seeks to put an end to what Renison calls “widow penalty.”

Renison, together with Los Angeles attorney Alan Diamante, recently filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. The complaint aims to reopen Purita’s and nearly two dozen other cases like hers. They are seeking to challenge the “widow penalty, whereby the USCIS denies legal status to surviving spouses of American citizens due to the death of their spouse during lengthy administrative visa processing.”

“It’s a disgusting practice,” Renison said.

Another Filipina, Sarah Bayor, 40, is also named as a plaintiff-petitioner in the lawsuit. Sarah married Stephen Bayor, a U.S. citizen, in January 2006 and her petition papers were filed the following month.

While waiting for her permanent residency approval, Stephen died. In August, 2007, three months after his death, Sarah received her letter of denial on the basis that she was no longer the spouse of a U.S. citizen.Interestingly, Matter of Varela, a frequently cited legal case in matters involving the death of a U.S. citizen spouse, was about the denial of the residency application of a Filipina widow in 1970. Her husband was a petty officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and died of a heart attack while still on active duty. After his death, it was decided that she “was not the spouse of a United States citizen. His death had stripped her of that status.”

Currently, there are exceptions made for spouses of military personnel who die in combat. Unfortunately, this did not apply to Venezuela-born Dahianna Heard whose husband died while working for a private security contractor in Iraq. She is also a petitioner of the class action lawsuit.

The immigrants should not be “stripped of the status of a spouse” just because their husband or wife died, Renison said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s nobody’s fault, and no one should be faulted.”

An amendment to change the law was part of the failed comprehensive immigration bill.

Reached via e-mail, an immigration official declined to comment on the issue.“We don’t comment on matters pending litigation,” Sharon Rummery of USCIS wrote. “I don’t understand why they don’t consider me his wife,” Purita said, adding that in every other aspect of her life, she remains Mrs. Poindexter.

It’s a tough battle, Purita admits, but she says she gets her strength from remembering the happy though short life she had with Richard.They met in 2005 and became inseparable almost immediately.

“We liked to talk and argue about politics,” she said. “He had a very sharp mind.”Before his death, Richard was writing a memoir while Purita was also busy writing her own little masterpiece: their love story.

“It was eight pages long,” she said. “Naiiyak ako pag naiisip ko na wala na s’ya. (I cry when I think about the fact that he’s gone.)”

Like the other members of the Surviving Spouses Against Deportation, Purita is pinning her hopes for a bit of a happy ending on the outcome of their lawsuit.

The Filipino Leader of "10th Mountain"

The 7th Annual Valley Film Festival presents:
"The 10th Mountain"'
El Portal Theatre (North Hollywood, CA)
Saturday, Sep. 15 @ 1:30pm $10.00

In the WWII drama "The 10th Mountain," an elite squad from the 10th Mountain division receives a new leader, a Filipino. The squad's mixed views on their new Captain are tested as new orders have them infiltrating a German base in Italy.

For more info, click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

CONSUMER ALERT: There's only one website where you can get FREE credit reports...

...and that is

Every consumer is entitled to a free credit report from each of the Big 3 reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It's good to be always updated with your credit report because it will show whether someone is trying to get credit in your name. Order from a credit bureau every four months. Don't order the reports simultaneously to get continuous updates.

There's one that's called which provides a free 30-day trial but after 30 days, if you don't cancel, this company will automatically charge $12.95 per month to your credit card so be careful what you sign up for.

The charge is labeled under another name - CIC Triple Advantage - so if you don't scrutinize your credit card charges, it's easy to miss. Kung hindi malinaw sa inyo na sisingilin kayo after ng trial period, you can ask for a refund.


Come Celebrate Community Spirit at the 16th Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture !

Community’s Diverse Artistry, Culture, Cuisine and People Converge For Highly Anticipated Festival Weekend Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture
The 16th Annual (FPAC), Southern California 's largest and most lauded ongoing Filipino American tradition, is on! Taking place on Sept. 8and 9, 2007 at breathtaking Point Fermin Park,807 Paseo del Mar in San Pedro, this year’s theme is “Handog,” or “Offering” – in celebration of true community spirit as Filipino Americans from different walks of life gather together to bring you this 16th edition of pure community soul through artistry, culture, and food.

Popular international comedian Rex Naverrete returns to headline FPAC, with multi-awarded singer / songwriter Anthony Castelo and the world Hip Hop champions: Philippine All Stars, making their respective debuts.

Upcoming Jazz singer Charmaine Clamor returns as well. Authentic, traditional music and dance are brought to you by a host of cultural dance troupes in Kayamanan ng Lahi, BIBAK (Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga - 5 major tribes of the Northern Philippines ), Kultura, and others. Demonstrations of the Filipino martial arts, Kali /Eskrima are brought to you by eskrimadors Kapisanang Mandirigma, Pakamut, and Bahala Na.

There's so much in store for everyone, so 'wag n'yong kalimutang pumunta!

Initiated by the City of Los Angeles back in 1990, the stewardship of the Annual Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture was transferred over to a non-profit organization now called FilAm ARTS – the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts & Culture.“Still true to its original intent since its inception, the Festival is designed to be a ‘common ground.’ The aim of FPAC is to be as inclusive in every which way possible,” says Executive Director Jilly Canizares.

For more details:, or call (323) 913-4663.