Wednesday, October 31, 2007


October 22 to 26 was the week when many Southern California homes went up in flames. Here is one Filipina's account of how she almost lost everything.

LCT of San Diego is very modest and didn't want her full name to be publicized but she generously agreed to share her story.

She originally sent a version of this letter to family and friends to let them know of their status.

LCT is not a reporter – she is a nurse by profession - but her comprehensive account of her wildfire experience showed a considerable storytelling skill.

Her care for others - including remembering to pick up a freeway driving-averse relative (all of us Pinoys have one, admit it), and volunteering her services as a nurse even when she was on the brink of losing her own house – is a real lesson in selflessness.

Breathless, real, and ultimately blessed with a happy ending, LCT's account will make you wish you have her quick thinking and strength when disaster strikes. What she did first when she came back home will make you smile: The lady obviously loves her plants.
–Yong B. Chavez,

"Our house was blessedly saved from the fire. Miracles do happen. We survived the crisis.

It started Sunday for the Santa Ana weather; the wind was going 90 miles per hour. It started with two fires in the mountain but due to strong wind, the fires spread so fast and hit our place in Rancho Bernardo. On Monday, 4 a.m. I received call from 911 that we have to evacuate at once due to fire.

Got out of bed, took whatever I can: important documents, pictures and some clothes.

Of course [my husband] Ric told me not to panic.

But I wouldn't take any chances. I went out first, picked up my older sister who does not drive on the freeway, and waited for another sister in my nephew's place.

Ric finally left the house after the sheriff asked him to leave or else he will be cited. There were about 5 police cars in our street at that time knocking at every house to evacuate.

On Tuesday, the strong winds continue and the fire spread more. [We saw] our neighbors' houses burning down. The apartment they were showing on TV was just across our house.

They called this fire a tornado due fire swirling upward, kaya yun ibang bahay not affected, parang bang pinipili lang.

I did not sleep at all and continued to watch news.

Then I decided to volunteer for medical help in the shelter they asked people to go to, the Qualcomm football stadium. I am glad I did it because people there needed help and were very appreciative. My experience as a volunteer and as evacuee was so rewarding. The people of San Diego were so generous and caring. It was so organized and the evacuees were happy and comfortable, kahit na nasusunugan na, as you see in TV. They provided hot food, folding beds, blanket, tent, toiletries, day care, live band, massage for 20 minutes, assistance for insurance, Internet and Fema assistance.
Parang street fair na may give aways pa. The real homeless people from downtown, nag-fiesta nga.
Wednesday, the winds died down. We still had fire but in our place, it was contained in our place. They let the residents get in for 5 minutes to get medicines so Ric went to the site and he was escorted by police to pick up his meds.

He was in tears when he saw that the house was still intact. It's just ashes outside and in some part inside the house because I forgot that the windows were open.

It was a relief. They closed a big area in our place due to the fire so nobody will burglarize the empty houses. It was blocked by the military and police so that it was also secured when Pres. Bush delivered his speech in the affected site.

After his visit it opened to the resident na.

I was so happy to be united with our house. I checked if the inside was intact and then I watered my plants. Nag-apple picking na ako sa floor but my persimmon fruits were still intact. I was called to work that afternoon.

On my way to work, I passed by the burned down houses and started crying again up until I reached work. My director of nursing saw me crying and with my eyes so swollen, she was so considerate sent me home. I was not emotionally and physically ready to work.
It's Friday, I didn't know where to start cleaning. There is still fire in the mountain and it started to be cloudy again so I stopped cleaning.

Right now, it's like war, helicopter and police cars are making their rounds to make sure it's safe.

I am glad to be here, and to retire here. Everyone is welcome to stay in my place if you are in San Diego. I don't have a new house but a comfortable house and I will cook for you."

LCT, San Diego

A Burning Desire To Help

Nurse Juliet Danggoec was born in Baguio, lives in Yorba Linda, works in Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, and is a shining example of a good Filipino.

I found her, all-smiles and in full-nursing-mode, at the Red Cross medical tent on the day I visited the National Orange Show evacuation center as she was tending to a nauseous evacuee. It was a Sunday, her day off from work, but as she explains below, the best way to spend one's day of rest is to make sure that others who need it more can. -Yong B. Chavez,

"When Katrina happened, I wanted to go and volunteer there, too, but I wasn't able to. As soon as I heard about the fires I know that I would want to help so here I am. Instead of going to church today, I am here.

Yesterday, there was a long line of patients. Most have breathing difficulties, gastric ulcer, diarrhea. The area was packed. But today, most of the evacuees have left the center. I think most were told that they could go home already.

I didn't see any Filipinos in the center. Siguro kasi they have families, friends or relatives to stay with.

The volunteers came from different places and different hospitals. But we're all here to do whatever we can to help those who need it."

-Juliet Danggoec, Volunteer Nurse

BLAZING STORIES: Rekindled Faith

Larry Espiritu didn't panic when the fires started near his home. Instead of running away and quickly carting off his belongings, he started videotaping the blaze. In his words below, he explains why and how he knew he will be safe.

The Santa Clarita fire, which burned down 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week, was believed to have been started by a boy playing with matches. The dry conditions brought on by Santa Ana winds helped spread the fire quickly. - Yong B. Chavez, FilipinOnline

"There were seven fires in Santa Clarita Valley alone; Agua Dulce, Lake Piru , Saugus & Canyon Country on Sunday, the 21st of Oct. and Magic Mountain , Westridge & Newhall on Monday the 22nd.

The fire on Monday morning started close to Six Flags Magic Mountain and was just a few blocks away from my house. Since there were several fires the day before and already turned several houses into ashes, my neighbors were panicking, with cell phones on their hands talking and taking important documents into their cars out of their garages getting ready to evacuate.

Instead of me doing the same thing as they were, my strong faith in God that I just strengthened over the last few years taught me how to remain calm and confident in times like this. Thinking that the Lord will spare my house, I grabbed my video camera and decided to record the fire instead. But when I was walking towards my van which was parked in front of my house, I could feel the droplets of hot ashes in the air and some neighbors started crying. That made me feel nervous a little bit and hesitated to do the video taping, and I was gonna go back to my house to get ready for the evacuation.

At that point the wind blew so hard at me like it was telling me not to worry about it because it was driving the fire away from my house. So I did, I drove my van to the best spot and started to tape pretty much of it. All along the video taping, patrol cars and fire trucks were going nuts around the neighborhood and the fires already spread to Stevenson Ranch. There were still a chance that the wind direction may shift anytime but I was not worried at all. I didn’t even call my wife at work nor my son who was at his girlfriend’s house, to go home despite all of all chaos.

I finished the tape at about 7:00 p.m., about the same time when the fire was fully contained. By then, the wind shifted its direction towards my house and I didn’t like the smell.

The lesson that I learned on that day was that faith alone doesn’t move mountain: It’s wisdom and faith. When I told this to my friends, they can’t understand my rhetoric.

Some of them even thought that I’m using God in my publicity gimmick to serve my own purpose in YouTube. Those are the friends that haven’t seen my YouTube profile. Once they saw it, only then will they realize that I have other decent purpose and not just greed or self-satisfaction. Each one of us may have been called by God to do something for Him. My call is to promote wisdom and I use YouTube as one of my medium to promote it. Lot of people may believe in Him and others even think that they have strong faith on Him and that should be good enough to live fully and get saved at the end. Faith alone is meaningless without wisdom. Obeying The Ten Commandments is impossible without wisdom. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the love and respect of all His creations so wisdom and God is synonymous. God knows my faith on Him and He also knows how I’m trying to understand wisdom and He is guiding me."

- Larry Espiritu, Santa Clarita, CA

Monday, October 29, 2007


Watch out for a series of first-person accounts of Filipinos whose lives were touched by the Southern California wildfires on FilipinOnline.

Yesterday, I visited an evacuation center in San Bernardino. Today, I spoke with John Rodrigo, a former Navy man whose losses include three houses, six cars, and a wedding album. It was a lifetime's worth of blood, sweat and tears that he lost. He is devastated, but he finds it in his heart to count his blessings: "At least, walang nasaktan sa amin," he said.

[photo: Larry Espiritu - Santa Clarita fire]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Pwede ba akong kumuha ng refund for an expedited passport service that did not deliver?"


Normally, for an expedited service, it takes 2-3 weeks to receive your passport from the date you applied, so if it didn't arrive at that time, you may request a refund by writing to:

U.S. Department of State
Passport Services/PPS/Refunds
2100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. 20037-3202

Put the passport number (if available), name, date and place of birth, application date, mailing address and phone number where you can be reached.

Only the expedited fee of $60 will be refunded. The regular application fees and your overnight delivery costs, if any, won't be.

Need to know exactly how to apply for a passport in a hurry? Click on this link.

The government's passport agency has been harshly criticized for massive delays in processing passports as a result of the surge in applications due to the new security laws passed by Congress, but I actually got lucky when I applied earlier this year. I got it only 5 weeks after applying. Not a bad wait at all, I was told. When I applied, the clerk at the post office said I should expect it in 12 weeks.

On a related note, if you want to help ease the backlog, you can apply for a Passport Specialist job. Here's a link to that job posting. The pay looks so good it might make you (almost) forget your passport application woes.


Joseph Estrada, "Erap" to his movie fans, will go free this Friday. He was pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who got the post after Estrada politically drowned in a sea of corruption scandals and was driven from office in 2001.

The former president, 70, has been under house arrest for the past six and a half years. He was convicted of corruption charges and was sentenced by an anti-graft court to a maximum of 40 years in prison for taking bribes and kickbacks during his presidency.

“The motive for granting the pardon is utterly self-serving of Mrs. Arroyo,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of the leftist group Bayan, in a report. Arroyo is currently facing a scandal of her own in a case involving "$70 million in kickbacks from a multimillion-dollar broadband contract between the government and the Chinese company ZTE."

A government spokesperson said that the executive clemency, which is kicking up a dust storm of protest among anti-graft and corruption groups in the Philippines, is in line with the government’s policy to release inmates who are 70 or older.
[photo: CNN]

Monday, October 22, 2007


A friend of mine forwarded this text to me. Fr. James Reuter, S.J., is spearheading a prayer brigade through email. He is asking Filipinos all over the world to forward the text (in addition to praying, of course) to everyone they know.

by Father James Reuter, S.J.

The signs are clear.
Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence. It is not for lack of effort. We've seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups & people's organization devote themselves to the task of nation-building, often times against insurmountable odds.

But not even two people revolutions, bloodless as they may be, have made a dent in reversing this trend.

At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward.We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster.

It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It's time to claim God's promise of healing of the land for His people. It's time to gather God's people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. Is prayer really the answer?

Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I'd like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history.

England's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fuelled by intense prayers.

The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life.

Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movement swept across the land.

In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today, led by Rev. Paul Yongi Cho. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering.

Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling & seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity. YES, we believe prayer can make a difference.

It's our only hope.

Today, we launch this email brigade, to inform Filipinos from all over the world to pray, as a people, for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. We do not ask for much. We only ask for 5 minutes of your time in a day, to foward this email to your close friends and relatives.

This is the kind of unity which can make a big difference. Of course, if you feel strongly, as I do, about the power of prayer, you can be more involved by starting your own prayer group or prayer center. We have tried people power twice; in both cases, it fell short. Maybe it's time to try prayer power.

God never fails. Is there hope? YES! We can rely on God's promise, but we have to do our part.

If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land.By God's grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. God bless and God save our country will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.'(2 Chronicles 7:14).

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Fil Am hip hop group Native Guns' "Champion" recently won the Best Music Video Award the 2007 San Diego Asian Film Fest. The video was written and directed by filmmaker extraordinaire Patricio Ginelsa.

To view the award-winning video, click this.
[photo: Patricio Ginelsa]


Dr. Noel Chua, a Filipino doctor from Georgia, received a sentence of life in prison after a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict on felony murder charges in the overdose death of Jamie Carter, reports Florida-Times Union.

He was also sentenced five years in prison after he was found guilty of seven of 16 drug charges for violating the Georgia Controlled Substance Act.

Chua, 45, has been held in jail since September 2006 when he was arrested and charged with the drug overdose death of Jamie Carter III. Prosecutors say Carter, 20, died from drugs Chua prescribed for no legitimate medical purpose.
Chua told police that Carter was a former patient who was working for him and living in his home while attending college. Investigation reports said police found numerous medications while searching the home, including a hypodermic syringe that contained an unknown clear substance and an unidentified white powder in a clear plastic bag.
Several groups and opinion columns have come out in defense of the doctor from Georgia but in the end, they were not enough to help him.


La Maison du Pain, a Filipino-owned French bakery, is mentioned as one of the best places to eat in in the premiere issue of Los Angeles Times' The Guide.

Artist Gary Baseman raves: "La Maison du Pain has the best cinnamon rolls in the city. Fresh. Full. You pull them apart and they wrap around your tongue."

I wrote a feature about this wonderful bakery back in 2005. Here's a link to that article.

To Carmen Salindong (left) and Josephine Santos and the whole family:

La Maison du Pain is at 5373 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Filipina Lolas Campaign for Justice

By: Yong B. Chavez

LOS ANGELES - In the same week that an unprecedented number of Filipino Americans expressed unity in contesting a controversial line in "Desperate Housewives," and on the same day that thousands of Filipinos once again cheered as one for Manny Pacquiao in his latest boxing match, without fanfare and with only a handful of supporters, Adela Reyes Barroquillo, 78, related to a small group of book launching attendees in Historic Filipinotown why she is fighting to tell her story.

"I have to tell my story. I kept it to myself for a long, long time because I was ashamed. Sila ang dapat mahiya sa amin, I should not be the one who should be ashamed," she said. "I want justice."

Lola Adela is a survivor of Japanese military sexual slavery during World War II. The victims, their families, and supporters have been asking the Japanese government to issue an official, unequivocal apology for the crimes, as well as demanding that restitution should be made to the survivors and their families.

Adela's testimony was one of the highlights in a historic world conference recently held in Los Angeles on the sexual enslavement of women and girls by the Japanese military. U.S. House Resolution 121, authored by Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), was passed in July. It urged the Japanese government to apologize for its wartime sexual enslavement of at least 200,000 Asian women. H.R. 121's passage has strengthened a global alliance that seeks justice for surviving sex slaves.

In the new book called "Justice with Healing," an anthology of 23 Filipina survivors, Adela, a former schoolteacher and auditor bares her pain.

She was born in a small town in Capiz province to a simple family. Her father was a farmer and her mother kept the house for her and 6 siblings. Adela was the youngest.

When the war broke out, she was only 12. Two years after hiding in the mountains with her family, she received information that it was already safe to go back to her hometown. She encountered two friends, Pestang and Nita, whom she hasn't seen in years. Together they went to the public market.

There, they were accosted by Japanese soldiers and later delivered to a garrison where her and her friends' nightmare began. At 14, she was raped repeatedly by Japanese soldiers.

"I remember being forced to enter a room. I hesitated because it was very dark inside. One soldier shoved and kicked me in until I tumbled face-down on the floor. Then the soldier slapped me hard in the face until I fainted," she said.

When Adela got to this part as she was recounting her story in the book launching, she stopped abruptly. Her eyes watered while she stared ahead, looking at no one and nothing in particular. Sixty-four years after, it is as plain as day that the horror of her experience still lives and breathes within her.

For more than three months, she and the other victims suffered physical and sexual abuse. At one point, out of extreme despair, she wished that a bomb would hit the garrison and kill them all.

But it wasn't a deadly bomb that liberated them. When a group of Filipino guerillas attacked the garrison in May, 1943, Adela and her friends escaped and walked on bare feet for many miles to get home. Many other kidnapped victims of Japanese military sexual slavery died in captivity.

Except for her mother, Adela kept the horrors she experienced a secret. When her mother told her not to tell anybody else to avoid a scandal, she readily obeyed.

"I was sick for a long time after we escaped. There were days when I didn't even speak at all. I fainted sometimes. I was so afraid of people. I couldn't eat nor sleep," she said.

When the war ended, she went back to school. Eventually, she met and married her former schoolmate, Servando Barroquillo. They had six children.

Servando died in 1995 not knowing that the woman with whom he shared a life harbored a painful secret. Four years after his death and after hearing from fellow former sex slaves who have gone public with their stories, Adela felt it was time to share hers. Shortly thereafter, she joined Lolas Kampanyeras, a survivor group coordinated by Filipina human rights activist Nelia Sancho of Asian Women Human Rights Council.

"They were very young. Most of them have never even experienced having a boyfriend before they were attacked," Sancho said. "Their traumas were multiplied. They had low self-esteem and their families and the society imposed silence on them."

"Most of them kept what happened to them a secret. Many of those who shared their stories with their husbands had to endure being called "just remnants of Japanese soldiers" whenever they fight," Sancho added. Some never even recovered enough to have healthy relationships.

Unfortunately, even up to now, the survivors – euphemistically called "comfort women" – suffer from triple discrimination due to their gender, race and class.

While there are many supporters of Filipino World War veterans who are fighting for equity, Filipina "comfort women" still struggle to find champions to aid their cause. While the veterans have medals and the unstinting admiration of the community for their wartime bravery, WW II sex slave survivors, to this day, have to endure unkind words and a lack of support even from their own family and community in the Philippines.

"My children don't like that I talk about what happened to me. Some of my neighbors told me that I should just have just kept this "shame" a secret. Some tell me I'm just doing it for the money," Adela said. "But I have to fight for me."

Before Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won the election, she was a supporter but "she has changed her tune," Sancho said, adding that despite overwhelming evidence attesting to the veracity of their stories, up to now, they are also still fighting to include in Philippine history textbooks the fate the women suffered during World War II.

Their harrowing ordeal first came into light when Lola Rosa Henson came out in public in 1992 after she heard the story of a Korean sex slave survivor. There are about 400 documented Filipina survivors of sexual slavery. There were three batches of victims who came forward – one group consisted of more than a hundred survivors of mass rape in just one village in Pampanga. Around 94 have passed away without seeing justice.

In the last 15 years, Japanese soldiers have come forward to admit their wrongdoing. Recovered documents showed that the military was involved or knew about the "comfort stations," according to news reports. Many, including Japanese human rights activists, have criticized the Japanese government for admitting only moral but not legal responsibility for wartime atrocities against the women.

In 1996, Asian Women's Fund, a private fund collected by the Japanese government from its citizens, was set up to compensate the former "comfort women." Japanese officials wrote letters of apology to women who received the payments. Not all of the victims received the compensation.

In 1998, the Tokyo District Court dismissed a case brought by 46 former sex slaves from the Philippines who accused Japan of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Some of the lolas included in the lawsuit died even before the ruling was handed down.

It is because of their advancing age that the survivors and their supporters thought it was imperative to participate in the World Conference on Japanese Military Sexual Slavery held in UCLA early this month.

Some delegates of the Lolas Kampanyeras didn't make it to the Los Angeles conference due to lack of funds. Those who made it hocked their jewelries and went house to house of well-to-do Philippine families to solicit donations to fund some of the trip's expenses. Sancho's Los Angeles-based friends provided assistance to the group, from picking them up from the airport to transporting them to the conference.

When they arrived, they stayed in Fasgi, a Filipino agency that provides social services to low-income and homeless individuals.

At the book launching, Annalisa Enrile of Gabriela Network volunteered to pass a box around and asked the attendees to give what they can to provide some pocket money for the delegates. The event, which drew a very modest but enthusiastically supportive crowd, was sponsored by the Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles, Philippine Press Club, Inc., and People's Core.

Copies of "Justice with Healing," priced at $10, immediately sold out. The book includes just 23 stories - even though its researchers were able to interview 50 survivors - because of their measly publication budget.

The title of the book, a product of seven years of painstaking work and research of the Asian Women Human Rights Council and the Buhay Foundation for Women and the Girl Child, came from the group's desire to finally get justice and to provide healing to the survivors. Lolas Kampanyeras provide therapy and counseling to the victims – something that wasn't available to them for decades.

Sancho was touched by the positive reaction expressed by Filipino Americans at the event. She hopes to be able to put up a website soon where they could be easily reached and where the book can be sold.

"I'm really thankful to our kababayans and to many foreigners, too, who have shown their support to us during our trip here," Adela said. She admitted that for many years, she cannot even bring herself to look at any man who resembled a Japanese national. But she met many wonderful people at the conference who told her how they admired her courage.

At 78, the petite grandmother remains strong but her strength cracks noticeably when she hears the term "comfort woman."

"Mali at masakit kasing pakinggan eh. Hindi naman kami prostitutes (It's a wrong term, and it's painful to hear. We're not prostitutes)," she said. The euphemism was coined by Japanese military officials.

The day they were scheduled to return home to the Philippines, she was nursing a headache brought about by her group's visit to Disneyland the day before but she gamely recounted the experience, how she savored a chance to be happy on their last night in America. When asked if she went on any of the rides, she said that they actually just stayed outside of Disneyland.

"Naku, ang mahal ng tiket eh (The admission price was expensive)," she said with a laugh. Just being able to set foot on such a place was already an impossible dream come true for her, she added.

While her elusive dream of getting justice remains unrealized, Adela vows to keep on fighting for as long as she lives.

"I just hope they don't forget what happened to us," she said.
To contact Lolas Kampanyeras, e-mail Nelia Sancho at or; Phone number: (632) 433-1680.


A Filipina mom and entrepreneur is featured in the October issue of Redbook. This awesome Pinay's name is Gena Perdue. Here is her website.



Appeals For Help Sought

By: Art Pacho
FilipinOnline contributor
A noon fire broke out at the Los Angeles clubhouse of the Leyte-Samar Association on October 14.

The fire started in one of the rooms located in the second floor of the building. The City of Los Angeles Fire Department responded immediately to the incident and firefighters saved the building from major damage. No injuries were reported. As of presstime, the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but sources indicate that the fire may be due to power overload. While the fire was limited to one room, there were smoke and water damages to the building. Losses are estimated at $50,000.

A two-story Craftsman building is located on 1812 W. 49th Street in downtown Los Angeles . The Leyte-Samar Association is one of the few Filipino community organizations in Los Angeles with their own building. The building has 5 bedrooms and 3 baths with 2,582 sq. ft of space. At the time of the incident, the board of directors of the association was meeting on the first floor of the clubhouse to discuss the activities for the 63rd anniversary of the October 20, 1944 Leyte landing of the U.S. forces in the Philippines during World War II.

The association itself was founded 45 years ago. Its building is also used as a transitional housing for newly arrived immigrants from the Philippines . The clubhouse hosted Filipiniana dancers from the Leyte Normal University during its U.S. tour.

Mrs. Marcelina Ortega Jensen, current president of the association, is appealing for help from any individual or organization in repairing the clubhouse. Donations or offer of materials and volunteer services to the association will be appreciated.

To contact Mrs. Jensen, call 323. 294.8808 or visit the association website at Email may be directed to Brian Arcadio at

[picture: Leyte-Samar Association website]

Monday, October 15, 2007


- I recently spoke with Adela Barroquillo, Filipina survivor of WWII Japanese military sexual slavery, when she came here for a global conference. Her story is heartbreaking, but her courage is awe-inspiring.

- Last night, I interviewed Martin Nievera for Balitang America, and watched his concert, too. I'll do a profile on him later this week. Even as he's facing one of the most controversial times of his personal life, the Philippines' concert king still rocked the house. The concert, benefiting Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches, was held at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center.

- I also have some wonderful news: Meraly Mariano, the little Mangyan girl born with a heart problem whose story touched many people, has successfully undergone a corrective surgery. This week, I'll post her recent pictures and an update on how she's doing now. Here's a link to Meraly's story.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Do Not Call List

Hang up on annoying, unwelcome telemarketing calls:
Register your phone number to the web site.

The National Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), America's consumer protection agency. The website states that:

"The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this Website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free. Your registration will be effective for five years."

If you're one of the early birds who signed up for this nifty public service back in 2003, please be informed that your registration is about to expire and you should think about renewing your registration.



I recently received these unexpected, heartwarming e-mails. To all FilipinOnline supporters, many, many thanks!


Dear Yong,
I find it hard to find the words to describe my feelings. But I need to tell you are a wonderful and blessed person...You are a major reason that Meraly is getting the attention she needs.
I thank you with all my heart talaga. God Bless.

Your Kaibigan Palagi,
Jude Tiner

Here's a link to Meraly's story.


I want to thank you for a splendidly written article...I was visiting my family on the East Coast (for the first tine since the relapse!) when the first calls and copies about the article came in. We were all impressed by your writing. You did a wonderful job lacing everything together and ending on an inspiring, positive note. I loved reading it.

We also received calls about the video news segment on TFC. I have not seen the video but I heard you did a good job there as well! I just know that the airing of the video moved more people to sign up on the registry!

Thank you so much for coming to the Prom and continuing to make the Filipino Community aware of the need for bone marrow donors. I can shout and plead endlessly for the marrow cause but my words may only reach a few thousand people. When you speak through your media talent, the message reaches millions. Your influence is indescribable. Know that your work inspires others and truly makes a difference in this world. The community needs more people like you.

With much regard and respect,
Christine Pechera

Here's a link to Christine's story.


And finally, from fellow blogger Jason of InterOpNurse:

"I just wanted to congratulate you on a wonderful site. I love every aspect of your site and what you are trying to achieve."
Check out his wonderful website, it is chock-full of information: InterOpNurse


The Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) San Diego Chapter celebrates Filipino American History Month.

Activities include a film presentation of "Bolinao 52" at the San Diego Asian Film Festival this October 11. Bolinao 52 is a documentary about Vietnamese boat people stranded in the Pacific Ocean in 1988.

For more information on San Diego events, contact: Judy Patacsil ~

In LOS ANGELES, "History in the Moment: A Free Community Symposium in Honor of Filipino American History Month" include sessions on "Filipino American Visual Literacy in Public Art" by Eliseo Art Silva and "Making Their Way Through Southern California : A Photo Collection of the Manong and Manang Generation." The event will be held on October 27 at CSU Northridge Satellite Student Union (SSU) - Fernandeno Room.

FOR MORE DETAILS: Please visit:

(Thanks to Art Pacho for the info.)


Emil Mijares, the grandfather of Philippine Jazz, is now under hospice care in Buena Park, California, a statement from JazzPhil USA said.

Mijares suffered a severe stroke in early September.

"He was getting better for a while," the statement added, "however, Emil suffered another stroke after a couple of weeks. The doctors say he has a few days left to live."

The jazz legend had played alongside Nat King Cole, Teddy Edwards, Hannibal Marvin Peterson as well as with other Filipino jazz greats Bobby Enriquez, Romy Katindig, Lito Molina among many others.

Mijares' friends and colleagues are asking for prayers and positive thoughts for him and his family.
To hear a sampling of his talent, here's a link.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Totoo ba na may random IRS audit this year?"

Yup, this is true, so make sure that your tax documents are organized.

Why are they doing this? To close the $290 billion tax gap, which is the difference between what is collected and what should be collected. To do this, the IRS needs “fresh” data to update their computer program that statistically determines which tax returns to audit in the future to get the most money, according to a report.

In some cases, taxpayers selected for special audit won't know about them because their income and deductions can be verified through W-2 wage statements. But they may be asked by the IRS to submit documents supporting their income and deduction claims.

If you have a complicated tax return and a sit-down with IRS examiners is necessary, you might want to get in touch with a tax professional who has experience in dealing with the IRS.

Should taxpayers be worried? "In most cases, no," an IRS official said to "But, let's face it. The IRS doesn't mind if people are a little nervous."

If you purchased a tax preparation software, you might have a built-in support from a tax professional so dig that information out.

To put it in perspective, here's what Turbo Tax says:

"The chance of receiving random audit notice is slim but if you do get picked, don’t panic. Remember your chance of receiving that random audit notice is .0096%. You might have a better chance of winning the lottery!"

Here's a link to tips on avoiding an audit that you can use when you prepare your next tax return.

Lastly, when you hire a tax professional to assist you should you need it, make sure that they come highly recommended. There are lots of unsavory types who prey on people's fears so be careful.



By: Yong B. Chavez

Los Angeles news anchor Cher Calvin of KTLA Morning News joins thousands of Filipino Americans in denouncing the controversial "Desperate Housewives" joke about Philippine medical schools.

KTLA Morning News will talk about the issue at 9 AM PST today in their hot topics segment.

"I am looking forward to representing the Filipino American community as I am outraged as well and thankful for the apology from ABC as my late mother was a doctor at NYU Medical Center in New York," Calvin said.

The Emmy award-winning Filipina anchor started her broadcasting career in the Philippines.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


By Yong B. Chavez

For making a joke that put Philippine medical schools in a bad light, the producers of "Desperate Housewives" are saying sorry.

"The producers of 'Desperate Housewives' and ABC Studios offer our sincere apologies for any offense caused by the brief reference in the season premiere. There was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines. As leaders in broadcast diversity, we are committed to presenting sensitive and respectful images of all communities featured in our programs," Chandler Hayes of ABC Media Relations wrote in an e-mail to

As of Wednesday night, an online petition demanding an apology from the show has gathered close to 42,000 signatures. The petition was started by Kevin Nadal, a Filipino performance artist and activist.

In last Sunday's episode of the highly-rated show, Teri Hatcher's character (Susan) said this line to her doctor: "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines."

This throwaway line gathered a barrage of negative reactions from the U.S. Filipino community and its leaders.

In a letter addressed to the show, the leader of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) condemned "the racially-biased and culturally insensitive remarks."

"It is outrageous that in this day and age, popular media continue to demean and insult Filipinos in America," Kern said. "For more than one hundred years, we have made valuable contributions to this country, not only as health professionals but as child care providers and home care givers. These dedicated, diligent and competent workers do not deserve to be slandered and stereotyped in such a prejudicial manner if only to evoke laughter."

The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles also sent a letter of protest to the show for the "derogatory remark."

"We wish to point out that the Philippine medical profession is highly regarded all over the world, as evidenced by the high demand for Filipino healthcare professionals in many countries, including this country. The United States recognizes the academic standards of Philippine medical and nursing schools, and in general, does not require additional schooling in this county for Filipino healthcare professionals who wish to work here," Consul General Mary Jo Aragon said.

Many of the show's Filipino fans were turned off by this gaffe but some may not be writing the show off completely.

"Does this mean that I'll stop watching 'Desperate Housewives?' Only if the story lines are boring," said a blogger from

When "Desperate Housewives" premiered in 2004, it was lauded for its quirky plotlines and for having a diverse cast. Filipino American actor Alec Mapa has appeared on the show several times.

WWII Filipina Comfort Woman
To Speak This Weekend

Listen to the stories of the survivors of military sex slavery in WW II this Saturday. Our lolas are denied justice to this day. They need every Pinoy's help.

Saturday, October 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm
Manila Terrace social hall
2328 W. Temple St., Los Angeles
(across Rosemont Elem School )

Nelia Sancho, Asian Women Human Rights Council
Adela Barroquillo, Lola survivor
and the delegates from LOLAS KAMPANYERA

Book launching of Justice for Healing
Anthology of stories of Lola survivors of WWII sexual slavery

People’s CORE, Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace
Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles
Philippine Press Club, Inc.,
For info, call (310) 987-8886