Friday, February 29, 2008

PANAWAGAN: Calamity victims need help

Several provinces in the Philippines were severely affected by recent landslides and flooding incidents. The calamities, caused by Low Pressure Area (LPA) and tail-end of a cold front, have affected the provinces of Mindoro, Bicol, Samar, Leyte and some parts of Mindanao.

As of February 25, 2008, the following areas were declared under state of calamity: Eastern Samar, Albay province, Sigma, Capiz and Magallanes, Sorsogon.

According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), 124,500 families or 597,077 individuals have been displaced from 1,297 barangays (villages) of 123 municipalities in 10 cities. The incessant rain caused the lives of 35 persons, while 27 were injured and 10 are still missing.

The estimated cost of damage to properties has now reached almost $26.6 million or Php 1.089 billion: $6.4 million on agriculture and $ 20 million on infrastructure.

The government's Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of Civil Defense and other agencies have already initiated relief operations and extended other types of assistance in the affected areas. The provincial governments together with local non-government organizations are also working together to mobilize the needed resources.

Ayala Foundation USA (AF-USA) would like to appeal for your immediate assistance as our fellow Filipinos suffer from the destruction that this severe weather condition has caused.
Please send your donations to:
Ayala Foundation USA
255 Shoreline Drive, Suite 428
Redwood City, CA 94065 USA
Tel. no. (650) 598-3126
Fax no. (650) 508-8988
Contact person: Marivic Padilla (

[press release]


Pacman is ready and raring to face Juan Manuel Marquez in the ring in two weeks.

"I've never trained harder - NEVER - for a fight. Two days ago I hit the mitts with Freddie Roach for 17 straight rounds with no timeouts. I run high in the mountains every day, then I go to the Wild Card gym and train 3 hours non-stop. I don't like timeouts while training and do not use them. I am very serious about this fight as I know Marquez is the last great Mexican to beat. There is no more Morales or Barrera. I have a lot of power. In my heart I don't believe Marquez can stand up to my power. It will be too much for him to overcome. I am focused on Marquez and my boxing career. When I am in training, that is all that matters to me," Pacquiao said during his recent open workout in San Francisco.

Added Freddie Roach: "The best thing Manny did was come to the U.S. and train. He has worked very hard. He's been very tough on his sparring partners. One got hit on the chin, went down, continued but went home the next day. Manny is very serious about Marquez, which he should me. It is a difficult fight and Manny understands that. Marquez represents the last line of defense in Manny's domination of Mexican champions. We know he's prepared to go down swinging."
Marquez-Pacquiao II Unfinished Business will take place Saturday, March 15 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Remaining tickets, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200 and $100, can be purchased at the Mandalay Bay box office and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Macy's Wrst at the Fashion Show Mall, and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000 or Mandalay Bay (702) 632-7580. Tickets are also available for purchase at or

Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank


Here's an opening if you're in the L.A. area.


Position Summary: The Asian Pacific American Legal Center seeks a Research Assistant to help implement agroundbreaking project aimed at increasing voter turnout among low-propensity Asian American voters, including those in Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian communities this election season. Underthe supervision of DRP's Project Director, the Research Assistant will manage voter data used in nightly phone banking efforts, report on daily progress, and assist in other research as needed. The position is part-time (20 hours per week) and temporary (eight weeks between April and June).

Compensation:$14 per hour and parking provided.

Application Procedure: Mail, fax, or e-mail cover letter, resume, and three references to Dan Ichinose, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, 1145 Wilshire Boulevard,Second Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017, FAX (213) 977-7595, No telephone inquiries please.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Over the weekend, hundreds of Filipinos in Southern California packed churches to be at the healing masses of Father Fernando Suarez. I'm doing a lengthy article and a Balitang America story about this former chemical engineer and Batangas native this week, if you're interested in finding out more about him.

Does he really perform healing miracles? I guess you have to see for yourself.
Here's a link to find out where to catch his healing masses. Father Fernando also accomodates online prayer requests.


Hollywood native Carina Monica Montoya recently released a book called "Filipinos in Hollywood." It features amazing photos and tells a fascinating story of Filipinos' past and present presence in Hollywood.

The book retails at $19.99 and can be purchased through Arcadia Publishing, which publishes it as part of its Images of America series. Call (888) 313-2665 or go to to order your copy.


I've watched the Oscars since I was a movie-crazy young girl living in the Philippines way back when Hollywood was just a dream destination.

One of my favorite I-can't-believe-I'm living-in-America moments was covering a pre-Oscars show in 2005 and actually walking the red carpet a couple of hours before the ceremony, thanks to my past Philippine News editor Lara Climaco who gave me that assignment.

In 2006, I also did an exclusive interview with Pia Clemente, the first Pinay Oscar nominee, in her limo ride to the event. You can watch that report here.

My favorite Oscar moments this year were seeing Once collect the Best Song honors, and catching a glimpse of Pinoy actor Dante Basco of Hook in a montage (that's him on the left in an old still photo).

If you haven't seen Once, see it now: It's my favorite 2007 movie, such a simple but hopeful movie with an amazing real-life backstory. I know that other Oscar fares such as No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood are excellent movies showing compelling stories about men, but Once has a heart and soul that you'd like to remember long after the credits rolled. Its stars Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard turn in naturalistic performances. At the Oscars, Marketa's acceptance speech about keeping your dream no matter the odds says it all.

Speaking of movies, before the Oscar telecast, I caught one on DVD called Fierce People, which featured Tagalog dialogue. It's an indie movie starring Diane Lane. It starts out charming then makes a dark and disturbing turn towards the end. The Tagalog dialogue came via a native tribe shaman. If you watch it, when you hear the familiar Tagalog words, tell me if you're elated that the language is featured in a Hollywood movie, or disappointed because it portrays Tagalog-speaking people as savages.

[photo: Dante Basco, USCU Colorado]

Saturday, February 23, 2008

FALLEN FIL AM SOLDIER: Michael T. Manibog, 31

Today, the body of a Fil Am soldier who lost his life in Iraq will be laid to rest. His name was Michael Manibog, 31, of San Leandro, California.

Michael left behind a 9-year-old son, the reason why he joined the Army in the first place. Described as a happy-go-lucky young man, Michael wanted to stay on the right path and provide a good future to his son by becoming a soldier.

The Army specialist was deployed to Iraq for the first time in December. He was among four soldiers killed Feb. 8 when their Stryker vehicle was destroyed by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, north of Baghdad.
Anyone who wants to leave a note on an online guestbook honoring Michael may do so by going to this website.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


If you're a Pinoy and you haven't heard that one of our own is once again on American Idol's top 24, you might wanna get out of that rock you live in.

Kidding aside, how cool is it that Ramiele Malubay (who corrected Simon's mangled pronunciation of her last name during her audition, by the way) came off as one of last night's best performers? Today, she graced TV's cover and its resident critic praised her and called her "gorgeous".

The 20-year-old Florida native lists Filipina singers Regine Velasquez and Lani Misalucha as two of her favorite singers in her official Fox bio. Below are some excerpts from it:

What is your most embarassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment has to be when I was singing for an event and right at the beginning of the song I slipped because of my heels.

Do you have any rituals or things you do before you perform?
I pray & hold onto the guardian angel coin with my birthstone on it that my mom gave me.

What album would your friends be surprised you own?
Spice Girls!

What are your personal goals in life?
My personal goals in life are to become a better daughter/sister, finish school, have a better relationship in the love department...just continue to be happy.

If you don't make it on American Idol, what will you do?
If I don't make it on American Idol, I'm still going to continue to sing and go to school for nursing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PINAY AT WORK: Johanna Ilagan, Nurse

Las Vegas resident Johanna Ilagan grew up in a baryo with ample rustic charm called San Antonio, located in Batangas, a beautiful city south of Manila.

Like many Pinoys raised in the Philippines before the computer age and the OFW boom, Johanna started getting a strong work ethic as soon as she entered elementary school. It's not at all forced child labor, she says, but just her own desire to help her family even in a small way and also to spend time with her like-minded friends. During summers, like many girls and boys her age, she raised money to buy school supplies for the coming schoolyear by sewing pawid leaves, materials that were used to build nipa huts. She treasures this experience because it taught her the value of hard work.

In college, she found a way to connect her homegrown diligence with her passion: by becoming a nurse.

"I love being a nurse because I am able to help people on a daily basis," she says. Currently, she works as a surgical ICU nurse at the Valley Hospital in Las Vegas.

From a proactive small girl in a small town to owning a house in and living in one of the biggest cities in the world, Johanna has come a long way. Here are her vital signs:

How she got into nursing
"I studied nursing at EAC Manila. I worked first at Medical Center Manila, then after a few years, I was hired for my first job abroad, in a Middle East hospital. In 2000, I took my NCLEX and that's when I moved to the U.S.," she says. She is now a member of several nursing organizations: American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Philippine Nurses Association, and she is licensed to practice in Nevada, California and Connecticut.

Job Perks
It is common knowledge that nursing is one of the most lucrative fields in the country. "I think the salary for RNs is about 25 thousand to 50 thousand a year, depending on experience. Plus OT and weekend and night differentials," Johanna says. She adds that whatever state you want to live in, you'll find a job easily if you have good work record.

"I work 3 days a week on a 12-hour shift. I take care of surgical patients and critical cases. When I get in, first I take the reports from the outgoing nurse, do bedside care, assess the patient, check doctor's orders... Then I take care of the patient's needs, kung kailangang paliguan, kung may kailangang gamot, kung nakakahinga ba siya ng maayos. I take care of about 1 to 4 patients a day."

Greatest Achievement
"My job provides financial stability but the greatest achievement that I get out of it is when a patient's condition improves."

Most Difficult Job Aspect
"Kapag namatayan ako ng pasyente, kahit 17 years na akong nurse, naapektuhan pa rin ako. But you have to be tough."

Her Advice To Prospective Nurses
1. "Be true to yourself. Don't get into it just for the money. I've said before that nursing is like pagma-madre - it's a vocation. You have to really care for others. Pag nagkamali ka, buhay ang nakataya."
2. "You should never stop learning. I always attend conferences and seminars."
3. "Strive hard. When I first came here, I worked in the East Coast. First time kong tumira sa Amerika, sa napakalamig na lugar pa. Tapos nag-re-review pa ako and also working at the same time. It's not easy, but it's doable."

[PINAY/PINOY AT WORK is FilipinOnline's new column featuring one of R.P.'s most admired exports: working Pinoys. If you have an interesting job and you'd like to be considered to be featured here, please e-mail me at]

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Before Valentine's Day, President Bush signed the law that will benefit some 130 million Americans. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 (H.R. 5140) ,a.k.a. tax rebate law, is the good news in the form of a check that some cash-strapped kababayans is counting on.

Intended to spur our sickly economy to life, the government is expecting the check recipients to do some serious retail therapy right after getting the money. However, my favorite financial guru, Suze Orman, has some ideas on how to spend this "found" money more responsibly.

But before natin bilangin ang mga sisiw bago mapisa ang mga itlog, let's see first if you qualify.
Makaka-receive ka ba ng check?
If you have net tax liability for 2007 and/or earned at least $3,000 last year, yes, you will.

Ano ang net tax liability? This is the amount of tax you owe entered on line 46 on the 2007 Form 1040. Most individual tax filers will have a net tax liability above $600, but if your tax liability is less, then that will be the amount of your rebate check.

Yung iba can still qualify for a rebate of $300 for single filers (double for joint filers) as long as you have at least $3,000 in income from a job or Social Security or veterans' disability benefits.

Magkano ang matatanggap ko?
Individual taxpayers could receive at least $300 and up to $600.
Married taxpayers who file joint returns will get a maximum rebate of $1,200, depending on your tax liability. Kahit yung asawa lang ninyo ang nagtrabaho, you will still get the maximum amount, just make sure to file jointly.

Most individuals who have income of $3,000 but who do not have to file a return will get $300.
Those with children can receive an additional $300 per child.

Lahat ba ng anak ko kasama sa bilang?
No. Ang qualified lang sa rebate ang yung mga anak na younger than 17.

Will nonresident aliens who work here get a rebate?

Also, mababa rin ang rebates ng mga rich taxpayers. If you're a single filer with an adjusted gross income, or AGI, of more than $75,000; more than $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, you will get less (you probably don't need the extra moolah, anyway, right?)

What do I need to do to get the check?
You need to file your 2007 income tax return. Even if you have no taxes due, it might help to let the government know that you have $3,000 earned income for 2007.

Those who don't file might still count on the IRS and Social Security Administration to find you, if you're eligible but don't have to file a return.

Kailan dadating ang check?
They will start issuing checks by mid-May, according to reports. You can check the IRS Web site during that time for updates. If you have a direct deposit account on file for your tax refund, that's probably where it will end up, too - mas mainam kasi mas madali n'yong makukuha doon kesa mag-i-intay pa kayo ng mail.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time To Stock Up On Forever Stamps

On May 12, the cost of a First-Class stamp will increase from 41 to 42 cents.

Tataas din ang presyo ng ibang mailing services, such as Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services (including single-piece Parcel Post), and Special Services.

Before May 12, you can save some money by buying Forever stamps.

Last year, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issued the Forever stamp, which will always be valid as First-Class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less, regardless of any subsequent increases in the First-Class rate.

“The Postal Service developed the Forever Stamp for consumers to ease the transition during price changes,” said Postmaster General John Potter of the USPS. “We encourage Americans to buy Forever Stamps now for 41 cents, because like the name suggests, they are good forever.”

When the price goes up to 42 cents on May 12, all Forever stamps bought at 41 cents will still (and forever, naks) be valid.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Recycling Matters

Kicking soda-drinking habits may be difficult for some of us but recycling those cans shouldn't be. Before you ditch that can into the garbage pail, think of the money you'll get back for it for its CRV (California Refund Value, typically 5 cents per), and how you can help the environment.

Sa Pilipinas we can just return the softdrinks bottle and get our deposito back sa sari-sari store, dito there are recycling centers where you can return them. If you live in California, just plug in your zip code in this page and it will give you the nearest centers. If you live elsewhere, information can be found here.

Most bottles and cans be recycled. If you have any container from the following list, you're set. To see the complete recyclable list, go to the Bottles and Cans website.

If you want to get paid by container, you have to redeem only 50 or fewer items per visit, then request being paid by count rather than by weight. Otherwise, if you have more than 50 beverage containers, recycling centers are allowed to pay by weight.