Friday, July 24, 2009

My American Idol Interviews: Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre

I've been getting great comments for these interviews that were posted on other websites and I realized I haven't even posted them on my own. Here they are. (Hey, I know they're not Filipinos but they have a lot of Filipino fans. My story on them where they greeted their Pinoy fans came out on Balitang America the other day.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Daughter of Filipino OFWs Wins Gold
in Hollywood

By Yong B. Chavez

"K. O. T. S. Kim Owns The Stage." That's what Kim Molina says to herself over and over again to conquer her stage fright before she sings. Last week in Hollywood, she did own the stage. The 18-year-old music student was World Championships of Performing Arts senior vocals gold champion. The annual competition attracts talents all over the world each year. Performers compete all week in elimination rounds as the best contestants move on to the finals.

The daughter of Saudi Arabia overseas foreign workers (OFWs) took the grand prize in her category by singing "New York, New York," a song she learned only a week before her performance.

"I don't even know the lyrics to the whole song. I just learned one minute of it," she says.

She was the lone contestant from Saudi Arabia, although the Philippine team fielded 20 contestants. In the end, Filipino singers got 25 golds in different categories. Rhap Salazar was the biggest winner, taking home the Junior Grand Champion Performer of the World prize.

Molina's voice has attracted talent scouts and has people calling her the next Charice Pempengco.

"Parang I'm still floating actually, I don't know what's happening now but I'm really thankful to God for everything, for all the blessings. Just really thankful," Molina says.

She almost didn't make it to the competition because the trip to the U.S. was expensive. But through the support of OFWs in the Middle East where she sang at fundraising shows prior to her departure, she was able to go.

Watch TFC's "Balitang America" tonight for my full story on Kim's victory.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Filipina Girl Needs Liver Transplant

By Yong B. Chavez

Two years ago, I wrote a story about Meraly, the brave, funny and adorable girl who needed a heart surgery to save her life. Many responded with help and Meraly got her operation and a new life.

Now, another girl is fighting for her life. I'm hoping that good-hearted individuals and organizations would also help Janine Victoria.

Here's her mother's letter:

My name is Johanna Tejada-Medalla and I am a mother of two young boys and daughter named Jorge Rafael, Julian Hanns and Janine Marie Victoria. We are living in my parent’s house at 40 Kennedy Drive Tandang Sora Quezon City 1116, Philippines.

I wrote this letter to ask for your support to our only daughter Janine Marie Victoria. My daughter Janine was born with a life threatening disease called “Biliary Atresia” . It is a congenital condition characterized by the absence or closure of the bile ducts that drain bile from the liver. Biliary Atresia is a progressive inflammatory process that begins very soon after birth. In Janine’s case, she was diagnosed initially with Neonatal Hepatitis at 2 1/2 months and after two weeks of medication nothing changes with her color and stool that make her paediatrician decided to have another biopsy, eventually it turned out to be Biliary Atresia. During that time, there was already a significant amount of damage to her liver. White blood cells invaded the ducts, which became damaged or closed completely, bile was then trapped inside the liver and rapidly caused liver cirrhosis.

An operation called “KASAI Method” was done on Janine by Dra. Esther Saguil at the Philippine General Hospital last April 14, 2009. It is an operation that removes the damaged biliary ducts ouside the liver. Then, the small intestine is directly attached to the liver at the spot where bile is found or expected to drain. This procedure is not a cure but rather a temporary solution to be able to give Janine more time to find the necessary funding for her operation and the matching liver type. Unfortunately, although the operation was done, her liver continued to fail. Our doctors told us that there is no other course but to have a liver transplant.

Unfortunately, liver transplant is not yet available locally but it can be done in Taiwan for P3 Million pesos (approx. $60,000 USD). This amount is simply beyond the means of our family. If my daughter will not be able to have a liver transplant soon, she will die. All we want is to see our daughter live that’s why we are appealing for you charity and compassion.

We are entrusting Janine to God’s hand and we believe that He will deliver Janine from this ordeal, through your help and prayers. Thank you for your time in reading my letter and we are hoping for your kind help. God Bless.

Contact Info:
Phone: (02)9368516
Cell: 09228291299/09177943673
40 Kennedy Drive Tandang Sora
Quezon City, Philippines