Monday, June 28, 2010

What Jane Monreal Knows For Sure

Fil-Am TV Personality Competes to Become Reality Show Host

By Yong Chavez

Los Angeles, CA-- Jane Monreal, 39, was laughing while apologizing for a technical glitch during an interview.

She was just talking about her show, which she proudly dubbed "high-tech," when the snafu occurred. "Ugh, forget high-tech now," she laughs.

But she quickly recovers, gathers her thoughts, and completes her story. She's good with recovering, a master adjuster who can quickly make the most out of every situation. Naturally she's in entertainment.

Monreal's family moved from the Philippines to the U.S. when she was 7. Her engineer-dad pursued good work opportunities where he could find them so the Monreals moved a lot. This, Monreal says, instilled in her a love for traveling. For her, the adventures and the people she gets to meet at each place make any travel inconvenience worthwhile.

This willingness and capacity to embrace change helped her when, a year ago, she was let go by KABC-TV Eyewitness News. Monreal became one of the casualties of the U.S. recession and the changing media landscape, now a far cry from the traditional broadcast journalism world where she came from. Her departure came as a shock to her and to fans, especially Filipino-Americans, who used to tune in to ABC-7 to see her traffic and features reports everyday.

She admits that she broke down and grieved for the job loss, "for a day, I think."

"I thought, 'This moment is making me; it's not breaking me.'"

The next day, she made plans to launch her new venture, enCompass Entertainment, LLC, which "specializes in the creation, development, production and packaging of original content for multimedia distribution, including network, cable, syndication, radio, and online media." In effect, she was embracing the emerging media world that cost her her job.

"I think a healthy amount of grieving was necessary, but I was really pragmatic about it. I said, 'Let's go, let's do something else.' Life moves on. Someone gave me an analogy, and it made me go, 'That's what happened to me,'" she says. "When you're coming up the stairs, you always have one foot ready to take the next step. Sometimes, that bottom step needs to be taken away so you can literally step it up. I needed to step it up."

So for her next employer, she decided to dream big.

How big? Try the biggest: Oprah.

When Monreal learned that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) has launched "Your OWN Show Reality Competition", she submitted her 30-minute show, See Jane Run.

See Jane Run is currently an online show self-produced by Monreal and her enCompass team. Its tag-line, "Passport to Life," aptly describes what it is: "all about life’s adventures: the joy of being a passenger, pedestrian and voyager," and making cultural connections, using social media to encourage their participation in each journey. As its website declares: "This is Eat, Pray, Love – in Jane’s high-tech world."

Monreal has big hopes but she remains realistic. Going after your dreams is never easy, she says. 

"The shoots can be grueling... I use a skeleton crew, and I'm currently using my own funds to finance the show, and let me tell you, it's becoming more and more challenging as the days go by," she says, momentarily sounding pensive. But she quickly recovers her verve. "But I am doing what I love!"

For See Jane Run, she travels to places, local and international, and features interesting stories and people. "I don't think there's a place I won't go. Or something I won't do. Oh! I won't jump out of a plane! Or eat a snake. That's Fear Factor. That's something I won't do, for sure."

To celebrate her Oprah bid, Monreal shares the other things she knows for sure.

5 Things JANE MONREAL Knows For Sure
1.  There is nothing more powerful in human life than faith. Faith guides our decisions in all things from business to matters of the heart. Faith enables us to openly receive and give love. And faith keeps us focused and on our feet when life throws us a curve ball.

2.  In time, people always show their true colors. They may not show you who they are right away, but the truth will eventually emerge.

3.  Something I’ve learned through my yoga practice: Clarity is a very good thing.  If we can tune out the noise and find clarity in our lives, we will make wiser choices.

4.  We don’t have to travel 10,000 miles or spend a ton of money to experience the world. We can discover, learn and live an adventure in our own backyards, simply by stepping out of our comfort zone and trying something new.

5.  We have only this one, short life on earth. We must make the most of it!

To VOTE FOR JANE, follow the link below. DEADLINE is JULY 3.  Five participants with the highest number of votes will become finalists to be considered for the program.

Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kobe Bryant and Filipina Businesswoman to host charity event for Philippine kids


 Los Angeles , CA-- For the first time, the Kobe Bryant Family Foundation and the Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project will host 10 underprivileged children from the Philippines with scholarships to attend the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy in Santa Barbara, California next month. In a special event to raise funds for this partnership, the Black Card Circle Foundation, a volunteer-run organization created to assist other non-profit groups, will spearhead a special Reception on July 5, 2010 at the Americana in Glendale along with Nike.

“We are so excited and honored that Kobe Bryant has provided us with this opportunity” beamed Gina Alexander. “The kids that we are bringing over from the Philippines will actually get to interact with Kobe Bryant daily and will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn the leadership skills that has brought Kobe 5 NBA Championship rings and distinguishes him as probably the greatest basketball player of all time.” Part of the mission statement of the Kobe Bryant Family Foundation is to raise leaders and teach children to be champions.

“Raising leaders is a sentiment we echo with each of our projects,” says Black Card Circle Foundation Founder and Chairman Lotay Yang. “We are honored to be able to part of this endeavor to help Gina and Kobe with their goals.” The Black Card Circle Foundation exists to attract influential donors, supporters and corporations to promote and spotlight non-profit organizations who empower individuals who otherwise may not have access to opportunities and resources to reach their full potential in life. “Charity is the backbone of BCCF. We want to emphasize that giving back to the community or helping philanthropists and worthy causes is our priority,” says Yang.

The event will include appearances by some of Hollywood ’s top celebrities, a gourmet selection of foods and live entertainment and proceeds will go directly to the Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project. To purchase tickets and for further information, please log on to

“A Reception for Underprivileged Children”
MONDAY, July 5, 2010
6:00 pm – 10:00pm

Katsuya at the Americana
589 Americana Way, Glendale, CA. 91210
Ticket prices: $300, $150, $75

Available only at
No tickets available at the door. This is a pre-sale event.

Charice Will Be on GLEE Next Season!

By Yong Chavez

It's official - Charice will be joining the cast of Glee next season!

The international star - who had to deny premature announcements that she will be on the hit show a few weeks ago - has confirmed that she will be harmonizing with TV's most popular show choir.

"Charice will have a recurring role. Multiple episodes," said Karen Moss,  Charice's press agent in the U.S. The star's mother, Racquel Pempengco, also confirmed the good news via text.

Charice is currently in London. She has been performing all over the world and promoting her chart-topping album.

Earlier this month, no other than singing legend Patti Labelle called her "phenomenal" and "will be the biggest artist in the world."

Entertainment Weekly reports that Charice will be playing a "foreign exchange student" with killer vocals.  She's expected to give Rachel, New Directions' resident diva, some competition!

Picture: from

Stay tuned for more Charice news - Glee's scripts will be written in July. More information about Charice's role will be available then.

Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Seeking children ages 9–12, with a maximum height of 58”, who can sing, dance and act to play the African lion cubs Simba and Nala. We encourage children of all backgrounds to attend. No performance experience necessary.

Be prepared to be taught the last verse of Just Can’t Wait to be King. All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Parents or guardians must remain at the audition site at all times. Be ready to wait.

Saturday, June 26, 2010
9:30am - Sign-in begins
10:00am - Auditions begin
11:00am - Sign-in ends

Screenland Studios
10501 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Casting children for the Broadway, Las Vegas and National Touring companies. Minimum weekly salary is $1,605. Payments subject to applicable state laws regarding trust funds for minors.

FOR AUDITION INFORMATION: • Audition hotline: (212) 827-5450

If you are unable to attend this audition, send a HEADSHOT and resume ASAP to: Binder Casting • Attn: The Lion King Kids 321 W. 44th Street • Suite 606 • New York, NY 10036

Job Opening: UCR looking for Tagalog Lecturer

Temporary Academic Position

Tagalog Language Lecturer
University of California, Riverside

The Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of California, Riverside invites applications for a part-time lecturer position in Tagalog language for 2010-2011 academic year. Candidates must have at least an M.A. degree in Tagalog, teaching experience at the college or university level, and a dynamic classroom presence. Duties include teaching five courses in beginning or advanced Tagalog, pending final funding. Salary per course is $4,959.56. The Fall Quarter begins September 23rd.

Please send cover letter, curriculum vitae, teaching evaluations, two or three letters of recommendation, and (optional but recommended) 20-minute VHS/DVD teaching demo to: Chair,

Tagalog Lecturer Search Committee, Department of Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0321

Questions/inquiries please email:

Review of applications will begin June 4, 2010; the position will remain open until filled. The successful candidate must show proof of employment eligibility. The University of California, Riverside, is an AA/EEO employer.

[File photo: Ginang Oliva teaching Filipino classes at Cerritos]

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hollywood Awards Show Host Picks Oliver Tolentino

“Dancing with the Stars” & “Clean This House” star Niecy Nash chose Filipino fashion designer Oliver Tolentino to dress her when she hosted the New Now Next Awards 2010.

The show will air June 17th on the Logo channel. The awards show, now in its third year, is about discovering today what will be trending next year. To that end, the New Now Next Awards gathers icons and stars-on-the-rise to crown the next "big things" in TV, music, film, print and new media long before they hit the mainstream.

Through its past discoveries, has proven it's one step ahead of the hype by calling out some of today's hottest pop culture phenoms long before they were on the mainstream radar. Highlights include Lady Gaga's first ever televised performance with a sizzling rendition of "Just Dance." Hit drama series "True Blood" received the "Best Show You're Not Watching" award months before its Emmy© nominations. Wendy Williams won "Best New Indulgence" before her daytime talk show "The Wendy Williams Show" went national. Leona Lewis received "The Kylie Award: Next International Crossover" as she was just emerging onto the U.S. music scene with her hit "Bleeding Love" and now she is a household name.

Niecy wore a black Oliver Tolentino stretchable beaded long gown for the red carpet arrival ceremonies and then changed into two other gowns for her on-air hosting duties. One was a champagne sequined gown and the other has been described as a “red cloud with shimmering, electric top.”

“Niecy told me she wanted a very dramatic entrance so I’ve tried to provide her with one,” Tolentino said.

Since launching his shop in the U.S., Tolentino has been making waves in Hollywood. His celebrity fans include Kimora Lee, who wore his dress on a cover shoot, Lea Salonga, and Patti Austin.

Fil-Am Boy Needs Donor To Live

Jamison Vincent Abrenica was diagnosed with a severe case of Aplastic Anemia last May. Jamison has undergone test after test, including a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap. Throughout all of this he has stayed strong and happy. Despite all of the poking, prodding, and needles, he still carries a beautiful smile.

Jamison will undergo chemotherapy and will need a bone marrow transplant. Because he is Filipino it may difficult to find a match for him. His only sister Malia and both of his parents are not a match for Jamison.

Jamison will be turning 2 in August. He loves to play with monster trucks and adores his older sister, Malia.

He also misses being with the other kids at daycare. This is the time of his life where he should be growing and learning and exploring the world. 

His parents are hoping that kind hearts would teach him the beauty in selflessness and humanity by becoming a registered bone marrow donor today and possibly saving Jamison's life.

Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches | 244 S. San Pedro St. #503 Los Angeles, CA 90012 
(213) 625-2802

A3M is affiliated with Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hollywood in Asia: A Film School in Cebu for International Film Students

The International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) in Cebu is actively recruiting students interested in filmmaking. Here's the extended version of my interview with Elgin Zulueta, IAFT's account executive in Los Angeles.

Yong Chavez: How is the school able to help the local economy in the Philippines?
Elgin Zulueta: There is a 50/50 ratio of Filipino and expats working at Bigfoot Corporation which is the parent company of IAFT. Our head in the Business Development for all companies is Caesar Ditan who is Filipino, an industry professional who has a masters in management program from UP Cebu. Also, we are able to reach out to the community by establishing the Bigfoot Asia Pacific Foundation which provides and supports social and educational opportunities including computer education to underprivileged public school children. The first project was build the Cotcotan Youth Center in Cebu.
What's the goal of IAFT this year?
We want to let aspiring filmmakers and actors know that there is another avenue for them to fulfill their dreams at top quality, hands-on education. I think that this is a great opportunity for Filipino-Americans to come back home and study. You not only train with the best mentors from all over the globe, you also get to experience your own roots and help build the Philippines as a destination for filmmaking.
You mentioned mas konting Pinoy students than other nationalities?
There is a 50/50 ratio when it comes to students. Most Filipino-Americans are also not aware that there is a great film school back home. Since the school also puts a "hands on" policy, the ratio of student - teacher is only 1-10. 1 teacher per 10 students. Students will get a chance to get real time review and mentorship from the teachers.
What is the Paul Ben-Victor event?
We do workshops in our LA office in Venice Beach. On July 17 we are having the acclaimed actor Paul Ben-Victor to teach the "Character / Chameleon" acting workshop. Paul's valuable workshop will focus on the process, technique, and preparation in acting that has allowed him to work consistently in TV and film for more than 20 years. He is widely recognizable from his current role in USA Network's "In Plain Sight", "The Wire", "Entourage", "John from Cincinatti". It is perfect for Filipino-Americans who wants to pursue an acting career.
Are there more Hollywood people becoming involved with IAFT?
Always. Our teachers / mentors are from Hollywood and have been in the industry working for top production outfits. I even work with a Hollywood actor, Christian Meoli our marketing consultant for the school. He appeared in Hollywood movies and one of his noted movie was the film "Alive" where he played the role of Federico Aranda.

Any success stories among the students?
We have an IAFT Filipino alumni, Steve Flor who won a Platinum Remi Award at the Worldfest Houston Film Festival last April 2010. His 3 minute short film "Breakfast with Lolo" won the judges over it's simplicity and moving story on family values and the inseperable bond between a diabetes stricken grandfather and his grandson.
Does the school give support to its graduates?
We have always supported our students and alumni in whatever way we can. There are possible internship opportunities in any of our company affiliates like Bigfoot Entertainment and FashionOne though not a guarantee. It is also an advantage to network and build relationships with the school mentors and other students from all over the globe.
Any upcoming IAFT events?
We are having our Filmmaking and Acting intakes in Aug and October for the remaining year. So for those interested to live their dreams, please let me know and I can help them. They can call me at 310.593.4734, email me at andcheck our website www.filmschool,ph. And as I have mentioned, we are coming up with the master Acting workshop this July 17 with Hollywood American actor Paul Ben-Victor. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pinay in Hollywood: LIZA LAPIRA

Watch out for this Filipino-American actress. I have a feeling she's going to have her big Hollywood moment soon.

Liza Lapira is best known for playing one of the leads in the 2008 film 21, and as the duplicitous agent who dared take on Agent Gibbs in NCIS. Her recent work include guest-starring in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse as Ivy, Topher's assistant.

She's one of the stars of a new Fox series, Mixed Signals.