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Saturday, August 18, 2012

PH bags 2 gold awards at Yeosu Expo 2012

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has won two gold awards, besting other countries who participated in the Small Pavilion Category (Category C) at the Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
"This marks the first time that the Philippines won the Gold Award in an international expo, and also the first time in the entire history of the international expo that a country has won two Gold Awards," said the Department of Tourism in a press statement.
The Philippine Pavilion was adjudged by the Bureau of International des Expositions (BIE) as Gold Award winners for Creative Display and Theme Development criteria. The Pavilions were divided into four categories according to their type and size of exhibition space. Category A with 4 modules and above; Category B with 2 or 3 modules; Category C with 1 module or less; and Category D for joint pavilions.
“This expo was my very first assignment from President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III when I started as Tourism Secretary in 2011. That is why we at the DOT and TPB (Tourism Promotions Board) are very proud and happy to bring honor and recognition to our country through the excellent showing of our Philippine pavilion in Yeosu, South Korea. This is a victory not only for the country’s tourism industry, but also for the Filipino people, and we express profound gratitude to all our partners in both the public and private sectors,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.
The three-month exposition that began last May 12 drew a total of 8,203,956 visitors from across the globe, according to the International Media Center of the Expo 2012 organizers.
The theme statement of the Philippines “Island of Diversity – Seas of Connectivity” was authored by Professor Edgardo Gomez, world-renowned marine biologist and professor emeritus and founding director of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI).
The pavilion featured corals and indigenous materials. The sand was sourced from the country’s famous beaches, from the powdery white sand of Boracay to the pink sand of Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga, the brown sand of San Lorenzo in Guimaras, and the exotic black sand of Sto. Domingo in Albay. The idea was to portray the Philippines as a destination where fun and sustainable tourism coexist and form part of the indivisible whole.
“The Philippines is blessed to be at the heart of the Coral Triangle or The Amazon of the Seas. The country’s rich biodiversity is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Koreans can attest to this, as they remain to be our strongest single market. Some of them have even made the Philippines their second home,” Jimenez said.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

House bill filed to create OFW Medical Center in PHL

A bill has been filed to create the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Medical Center, which will provide medical assistance to migrant workers and their families in the Philippines.
In House Bill (HB) 6324, Manila Rep. Ma Theresa Bonoan-David proposed that the government contribute land, building equipment and facilities to a hospital which will cater the needs of OFWs and their dependents.
“Being in a different country is quite difficult given the fact that access to medical privileges is not equally granted to non-citizens, not to mention the fact that the OFWs income in times of illnesses or diseases only goes directly to medical expenses leaving their families with nothing,” the lawmaker said in a statement Thursday.
There are over 9.4 million OFWs around the world, based on latest government records.
The measure also mandates the national government to allocate P500 million for the initial operations and maintenance of the OFW Medical Center.
HB 6324 suggests that the hospital be ran by a seven-member Board of Trustees, whose composition shall be determined by the President.
Bonoan-David proposed that the board be empowered to invite foreign specialists in various medical fields to train personnel of the OFW Medical Center.
The congresswoman also suggested that the hospital be made into a research center for the prevention, care and treatment of common and recurring cases of sicknesses among OFW patients.
The bill is currently pending before the House committee on overseas workers affairs. It should get the approval of majority of the panel’s members before it can be scheduled for plenary debates. - VVP, GMA News

Why the Philippines can be a 'breakout nation'

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines can become one of the so-called "breakout nations," according to Ruchir Sharma, author of "Breakout Nations" and head of Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Asset Management.
"Breakout nations" are defined by Sharma as countries that have been beating growth expectations. Sharma noted the Philippines is one example since the economy has been exceeding expectations, albeit low expectations.
"In the case of the Philippines, after being a laggard in Asia and an economy that was reduced to being a bit of a joke, expectations are being systematically exceeded. When I came back to Manila in 2010, after a long period of time, we could see the potential for that. Expectations were very low and there was a positive change going on in the Philippines," Sharma told ANC's News Now.
One of the positive changes, Sharma said, is the Aquino administration's focus on goodgovernance and anti-corruption campaign.
"In Philippines, it is a combination of factors, starting with low expectations and a change in leadership that was much more focused on improving governance and the other faultlines in the Philippines such as corruption and cronyism," he said.
The Philippines is expected to once again exceed growth expectations this year, but Sharma noted if the government pushes with its public private partnership program and mining reforms, it can grow even more.
"(The Philippines) seems to be on course to grow at 6%, which is a very good growth rate at a time when the global economy is so weak. Just imagine the potential when it gets a couple of economic things right, whether PPP, geting the power or mining sector sorted out, if it manages to get a couple of things right from here, the Philippine economy can do even better," Sharma said.
There may be a lot of skepticism right now whether the Philippines can actually become a "breakout nation."
"As investors and market observers that's what we almost like, you want skepticism because once a story is well-known to people, it's almost too late," Sharma said.
"The Philippines has been an economy that has disappointed for a long period of time and I think there's a long way for the Philippines to go before it can convert many people and by the time many people are converted, you know its time to get skeptical. I think we are far away from that point right now."
As for the so-called BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Sharma does not believe in the hype.
"What happened with a lot of these BRIC economies is that hype has surrounded these economies and disappointment vis-a-vis expectations. Take the case of India, the growth rate during the boom was 9% and now it has fallen to 6%. It's not bad but versus expectations, that's a real disappointment. Same thing going on in China," he said.
However, Sharma warns that economic success can be fleeting, as the star economies of one decade are rarely the stars of another decade.
"That has to be the big lesson, looking back at Philippine history, in 1960s the Philippines was 2nd richest in Asia after Japan and supposed to be the next East Asian tiger with Burma and Sri Lanka and you know what happened to all of them - for the next 30-40 years, all those three economies systematically disappointed... Success is transient, it can last for a few years but it can be hard to sustain," he said. 

AIDS doctor from UP leads voting for world's outstanding people award

Filipino-American Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana currently holds the most number of votes for the annual Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of the World award.

Salvana is among 20 nominees from various countries who were nominated for the award for creating a positive change within their respective fields.

Salvana is leading in the poll with a total votes of 1,200, closely followed by Tendai Concilia Wenyika of Zimbabwe with 1,100 votes.

The voting will end on August 20.
The JCI is an international non-profit organization of people aged 18 to 40 who focus on creating positive change in their communities.
Every year, a JCI World Congress is held inTaipei, Taiwan where the honorees are feted.
This year, to commemorate its 30th anniversary, the JCI has opened an online voting poll where young people around the world can participate in selecting the honorees.
A lifelong battle against HIV/AIDS
Salvana studied at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine before going to the United States to acquire diplomas in international infectious and tropical diseases.
In the 1980s, he studied the HIV/AIDS epidemic that spread both in the US and Africa which he deems as a human catastrophe that must not be repeated.
Salvana then returned to the Philippines, discovered an increase in HIV/AIDS cases, and took action by organizing various research and awareness programs.

He is passionate about informing and protecting people against the killer disease.

Salvana's campaign against HIV/AIDS gained international attention when he presented educational and action-oriented speeches to the United Nations and US Peace Corps.
To vote for Salvana, people can click on the “Like” button at the bottom of his profile on the JCI website. - VVP, GMA News

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pinay IT exec heads Fil-Am engineers' group

Hilda Leuterio Gigioli is the first president of the Philippine Association of Metropolitan Washington Engineers (PAMWE) with an Information Technology (IT) background so it’s no wonder that she wants to take the group global.
“I have tremendous respect for the past officers who contributed to maintaining this organization,” she said in a written interview for the Manila Mail. “My vision for this organization is to embrace technology.”
And she hastened to add, “I would like to see more women engineers in our organization”. There have been only three female presidents of PAMWE.
PAMWE was born in 1980 as essentially a gentlemen’s club for Filipino immigrant engineers who have settled in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Pepito Solis, one of its founding members, recounted how Carlos Alvano invited a group of engineers to their house where they decided to form the organization and wrote its guiding principles.
PAMWE, the merry band declared, would be a group that establishes “bonds of unity and friendship”, laid down a job referral system, help its members prepare for State Professional licensing examinations, formed as PAMWE Foundation to raise funds for scholarships, and promote the professional advancement of its members.
Solis, a native of Lemery, Batangas, epitomized the early immigrant engineers in the Metro DC region. “I immigrated to the US in 1965 when the cost of gas at 25 cents per gallon was considered high, apartment rent was $125 a month and wages at $1.25 per hour,” he reminisced.
An electrical engineering graduate from Feati University, he “networked” with other Filipino engineers in the area to land jobs with consulting, architect and engineering companies and federal agencies like the Voice of America and Federal Aviation Administration where he retired after 26 years of government service.
Although he wishes PAMWE will continue doing what it’s done for over 3 decades, Solis realizes that the future of their organization lie in infusing new blood and fresh directions. “This is happening now by the active participation of younger engineers especially the presidency of daughters of a former PAMWE member,” he declared.
He was apparently referring to Gigioli and sister Hedy Leuterio Thomas, who was the group’s president until 2010 and currently sits as its chairperson.
“My father, Mariano Leuterio, was one of the early officers of PAMWE (he served as vice president). This organization was very dear to his heart so that when he passed away in 2007, my sister and I vowed to continue his legacy,” she explained.
“We need to do away with the notion that engineering is a man’s field,” Gigioli averred.
Incidentally, PAMWE is also proving to be a cradle of future leaders – her immediate predecessor, Aylene Mafnas left because she had to take over leadership of the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), a broader-based Fil-Am organization that does critical work for indigents in the mother country.
Gigioli herself, a computer science and engineering graduate from the Catholic University of America with a Masters in systems engineering from Boston University, has the distinction of being one of only two Filipinos and PAMWE members (the other was her father) to serve as President of the prestigious District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies.
“Ten years from now PAMWE will embrace the globalization of technology,” she said, such as helping Filipino engineers and engineering firms participate in the global economy.
The PAMWE has also established an engineering scholarship program at the University of Maryland along with 10 perpetual engineering scholarships in various Philippine universities. Solis revealed they have financed the construction of a classroom building in Legaspi, Albay as well as 11 similar classrooms sponsored by PAMWE members in their individual capacity as volunteers of Feed the Hungry Inc.
The group has also organized seminars on business opportunities in the Philippines at the Smithsonian and George Washington University.
As part of their calendar of activities, PAMWE is holding a benefit ball on Aug. 25 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va.

'Smaller Transformers' film to shoot in PH

MANILA, Philippines -- After the recently released action film "The Bourne Legacy," which featured numerous scenes in Manila, another Hollywood production is set to film in the Philippines, according to the local producer of the Jeremy Renner hit.
A significant portion of "Bourne Legacy" showcased the bustling Philippine capital
Lope "Jun" Juban, Jr., the Philippine producer of "Bourne," said an upcoming Hollywood movie, which he described as similar to the blockbuster film franchise "Transformers," will be shooting scenes in the country.
"[It's] a smaller version of 'Transformers,'" Juban told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "It will probably be shot on location, in Subic or Clark."
Juban expressed mixed emotions, following recent criticisms hurled at "Bourne" for showing the poverty in the Philippines.
"I'm happy and worried at the same time. I hope the Filipino audience will like 'Bourne Legacy,'" said Juban, who is part of Philippine Film Studios, Inc.
'Big league'
While critical reception to "Bourne" has been mixed, Juban has fond memories of being part of a "big league" movie production.
"This is the big league. In basketball, this is the NBA. I learned a lot from the experience," he said. "I was just a small speck in the whole production; I felt flattered that [the foreign producers] listened to all my suggestions." 
One such suggestion resulted in a scene in "Bourne" showcasing the beauty of El Nido, Palawan. 
Seen as a tourism endorsement of sorts, this closing scene in the film won't be the last international audiences will see of the Philippine's natural treasures.
According to Juban, another international edition of the reality competition "Survivor" is set to shoot in the Philippines in 2013.
The US version of "Survivor" recently shot two seasons in Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur.
"Our company just did two seasons of 'Survivor US.' We will do 'Survivor Israel' again next year," Juban said.

'Bourne' earns more than P100M in PH in 1st week

MANILA, Philippines – Despite last week's monsoon rains that affected large parts of Metro Manila and Luzon, the Hollywood action film “The Bourne Legacy” managed to rake in more than P100 million since it opened on August 8.
According to latest data from the website Box Office Mojo, the latest installment of the "Bourne" series earned P110,676,250 from August 8-12.
The movie, which was partly shot in the Philippines, earned an astonishing P17.6 million on its opening day in the country despite the floods, making it the best-selling “Bourne” film in the Philippines, according to Emy Abuan, publicist of Solar Entertainment Corp. and movie distributor United International Pictures.
“The Bourne Legacy” made its Asian premiere in the Philippines. It stars Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz.
The previous week's box office winner, Disney Pixar's latest animated feature, "Brave," was a far second in its second weekend in theaters, with a box office take of only P15,021,501 -- almost a tenth of the earnings of "Bourne Legacy." The cartoon hit has now earned P55,266,636 in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Star Cinema's horror hit, "The Healing," took its total box office take to P85,969,396 after three weeks.
The superhero movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," also continued to hang on in the Top 10 on its fourth week. The latest Batman movie has now earned P217,025,205 in the Philippines -- well below the box office earnings of two other comic hero movies, "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Avengers."

OFW guide: What to do when your boss is a jerk

Working, in itself, is not easy but if you are also having a difficult time with your boss, an inevitable conflict may be looming just beyond the horizon.
Before confronting your boss with unstable emotions, it might be smart to handle the situation first with level-headed moves.

The information site Career Know-How suggests some interesting steps to take when your boss is a jerk:
(1) Change your perspective.
If you see your boss as a jerk, try shifting that to something more neutral like seeing your boss just as a boss.
The change in perspective will allow you to direct your energy into work and other productive things instead of stressing yourself out thinking that your boss is a jerk.
(2) Manage your boss.
Sometimes, to maintain a good relationship, you have to learn how to manage the manager.
Take time to know what your boss likes and dislikes. Know how your boss wants your work to be done. As long as you are his subordinate and he is your boss, you have to follow his or her instructions as long as it is legal within the company rules.
(3) Accept that your boss won’t change.
Some people think that if they please their boss, they will stop being jerks. Sometimes they change but often, they remain jerks.
The best thing to do is to change yourself, adjust to your boss, and don’t expect him or her to change for you.
(4) Liking or disliking your boss doesn’t matter.
Your boss is your boss, whether you like it or not. To be productive at work, you have to maintain a good working relationship.
To do this, you have to be respectful and do as you are told. It may not be easy but it will make things more tolerable which is better than being in bad terms with your boss.
(5) You only have limited choices.
Just like your parents, you can never choose who your boss will be. You have to either live with it or leave the company for good.
However, if you continue getting “bad bosses” you might end up resigning from all the jobs you get hired in. It is thus important to adapt to your boss instead of avoiding him or her.
(6) Document everything.
One day, you might find the need to file an official complaint against your boss for something that he or she did. Documentation will come in handy. This will be solid proof that you are being abused.
Whether it’s your tasks for the day or a work record, make sure to document it.
(7) Evaluate yourself.
You may see your boss as a jerk but it’s also important to pause, examine yourself, and ask: “Am I being a jerk that's why my boss treats me like this?”
Sometimes, to move forward, we have to realize that the mistake lies in us and not in others.
(8) Talk with a friend.
Instead of gossiping about your boss, talk with a close friend who does not work in the same company.
This will give you unbiased opinion that will help you handle the situation in a healthy manner.
(9) You are always your boss.
Although your boss may give you instructions on what to do, you will always be the one to carry out the actions.
Make sure that you are in control and that you do the work in the best way you can.
By doing this, you will make the best choices while remaining in control.

Things not to do to your boss
 Meanwhile, the blog site Peter Stark compiled a list of things one must never do to his or her boss:
(1) Confronting your boss.
Your boss may be a jerk but he is still your boss. Respect his position and keep your issues to yourself.
If you need to rant, talk with an HR advisor or a friend who does not work in the same company.
(2) Bypassing your boss.
You might think it’s smart to bypass your boss and go directly to the big boss when your immediate superior does not listen to you. However, this will damage your working relationship.
If you feel like you are being ignored by your boss, talk with him or her in an honest and civil manner.
(3) Speaking negatively about your boss.
What goes around comes around. Even if you share these thoughts with your closest confidants at work, it will somehow find its way to your boss. This wont be good for your career.
(4) Posting nasty things about your boss through social media.
Think before you click. Always remember that anything online could be used against you so be responsible whenever you post something.
Although you have your setting to private or your boss isn’t allowed to see what you post, what if he or she sees this through the account of a common friend?

It’s best to leave things at the office and move on with your personal life.
(5) Repeatedly complaining to your boss about the same things.
Bringing up concerns with salary or workload with your boss for the first or second time is one thing. However, if you keep bugging him every week about the same things, he or she will definitely be annoyed.
These things require time to be implemented. Give your boss the benefit of the doubt and patiently wait for results while doing your best to perform better at work.
(6) Telling your boss your dissatisfaction about his leadership.
Doing so will just be downright rude and disrespectful even though it might hold some truth to it.
What you can do is to honestly tell your boss what has been bothering you about him and you can work this out eventually without having to resort to hurtful words. - VVP, GMA News

To protect Pinoy workers, recruitment agencies adopt Code of Ethics

To protect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), at least 28 land- and sea-based recruitment agencies adopted Codes of Ethics, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
“We welcome this move from the overseas employment sector and we commend them for their commitment to safeguard the interest, not only of their industry, but also of our overseas Filipino workers,” Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a news release
The 23 land-based recruitment agencies' associations and five sea-based manning agency groups signed their codes last Migrant Workers’ Day in June.
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac said the land-based group pledged to observe what is best for the workers, the sector they represent, and their stakeholders.
Cacdac said the group also promised to uphold the highest principle of ethics and integrity.
He added that the manning sector stressed its adherence to the rule of law and committed to maintain the dignity and good reputation of the Philippine manning industry.
Land-based Groups
“The land-based groups’ Commitment to Ethical Conduct and Best Recruitment Practices put into writing their assurance to comply with all legal requirements, including local laws, and those of host countries as well as international standards,” the Labor department said.
By signing the Code, the recruiting agencies promised a full disclosure of all matters pertaining to the employment of the worker and non-discrimination of applicants because of political affiliation, religion, ethnicity, nationality, and gender, especially for household services workers.
The agencies likewise vowed to support the skills development of their recruits.
The land-based agencies seek to:
  • Make the process of seeking overseas employment cost-effective;
  • Eliminate the collection of placement fees;
  • Comply with regulations on the recruitment of workers;
  • Work actively with government agencies in addressing overseas employment issues, and
  • Stop predatory recruitment.

Sea-based groups
By signing the Code, recruitment agencies seek to spare sea-based workers from “unlawful, dishonest, immoral, deceitful and predatory” conduct of recruitment.
The Code sought to prevent opportunities for exploitation of seafarers.
The other salient features of the Code include:
  • The publication of all the cost that will be shouldered by the seafarers;
  • Negotiating for the best terms and conditions of employment for the seafarers;
  • Avoiding anything that may unjustifiably jeopardize seafarer’s current work or future work opportunities;
  • Safeguarding the seafarer’s information, and
  • Actively helping the cause of the seafarers.
The recruitment agencies
The land-based groups that signed the Code were:
1.    Associated Accredited Agencies for Cyprus
2.    Association for Professionalism in the Overseas Employment Inc.
3.    Association of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Singapore Inc.
4.    Association of Manpower Agencies for Bahrain
5.    Association of Philippine Licensed Agencies for Technical Internship Program
6.    Coalition of Licensed Recruitment Agencies for Domestic and Service Workers
7.    Philippine Association of Agencies for Kuwait
8.    Federated Associations of Manpower Exporters, Inc.
9.    Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines
10.Philippine Association of Agencies Accredited to Oman
11.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies Deploying to Lebanon 
12.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Jordan
13.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Malaysia Affiliates, Inc.
14.Association of Service Contractors of the Philippines
15.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Northern America
16.Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for the United Arab Emirates
17.Philippine Association of Recruitment Agencies Deploying Artist, Inc.
18.Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc.
19.Pilipino Manpower Agencies for Taiwan
20.Philippine Recruitment Agencies Accredited to Saudi Arabia
21.Philippine Recruitment Agencies for Qatar
22.United Manpower Agencies for Israel Association, Inc.
23.Overseas Placement Association of the Philippines
Representing the five maritime associations in signing the Code were:
1.    Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc.
2.    Filipino Shipowners’ Association, Inc.
3.    International Maritime Association of the Philippines
4.    Philippine Association of Manning Agencies and Shipmanagers, Inc.
5.    Philippine-Japan Manning Consultative
“The Joint Manning Group (JMG) manifested its adherence to the rules of law and to continue the development of the industry under a relationship of mutual respect, trustworthiness, and true brotherhood,” DOLE said.
DOLE Undersecretary Lourdes Trasmonte, Cacdac, and Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administrator Carmelita Dimzon signed the Codes as witnesses. - VVP, GMA News

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Poet Eric Gamalinda's work to be showcased in New York in September

Poet Eric Gamalinda’s multi-venue work, “Deep Splendor,” brings an 8th Century Buddhist text into the age of mobile devices, the Internet and social media.
The work has been chosen as part of the Asian American Arts Alliance’s “Locating the Sacred Festival,” which launches in September with music, dance, visual, and literary arts from the Bronx to Staten Island.
The Space Within, a visual arts exhibition at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Education Center at 107 Suffolk Street, features the work of Gamalinda, Jennie Chien, Ranjit Bhatnagar and David Chang—four artists exploring the blurring of lines between the fleeting and the permanent, the transient and the immovable, as expressed in their search for the sacred within.
The 25-event, 12-day festival—which takes place in all five New York boroughs from September 12 to 23 is a vibrant collaboration between artists of all disciplines with traditionally and non-traditionally sacred spaces all across the city, exploring together the meaning of the word “sacred” and its relevance in their communities.
The festival opens on September 12 at 8 p.m. at the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village with an innovative program of transcendental music bringing together new music artist Bora Yoon with the South Asian Sufi devotional musicians of Riyaaz Qawwali.
The QRoems exhibit
Gamalinda’s work is titled “Splendor: The Way of the Bodhisattva,” and is an interactive, multi-venue exhibit of “QRoems” (pronounced “chromes”), a combination poem and QR code. A marriage of poetry, visual art, and social media, “Deep Splendor” presents 10 QRoems at different locations in the city.

Starting from a central exhibit at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, “Deep Splendor” invites the viewer on a journey based on the 10 chapters of The Way of the Bodhisattva, the 8th Century Buddhist text on how to live in harmony with the world.

The exhibit uses the typically commercial format of the QR code to serve art and to spread a humanizing message.

Viewers are encouraged to share the QRoems through their mobile phones, and maps in each venue point them to the other locations of the exhibit.

“As an artist, I consider myself a seeker—of balance, harmony, wisdom, love,” says Gamalinda in a statement. “The seeking is the hard part, and art is a source of solace, a way of getting there. This festival has put me in touch with so many kindred spirits, and I feel especially blessed.”
Gamalinda’s work includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, visual art and experimental film, and he explores ways to merge these disciplines into new and unique art forms.

He has won the Asian American Literary Award for his book of poems, Zero Gravity; other awards include the Man Asian Prize shortlist, the Cultural Center of the Philippines Independent Film and Video Awards, the Philippine Centennial Literary Prize, and the Philippine National Book Award. He has also won the Philippines’ top literary prize, the Palanca Memorial Awards, several times for poetry, fiction, non-fiction and playwriting. In 2010, his three-act play, Resurrection, was staged off-Broadway at the Clurman Theater on 42nd Street by Diverse City Inc. A collection of stories, People Are Strange, was recently released by Black Lawrence Press. 

“This amazing festival showcases the diversity and talent of the Asian American community, which now makes up more than 1 million people in New York, or 13 percent of the population,” says Andrea Louie, executive director of the Alliance.

“The festival aims to promote artists as agents of change, demonstrating the power of art and culture to unleash imagination, break down barriers, and connect communities together for the greater good.” The FilAm

Fil-Am actor: 'Bourne Legacy' portrayed Pinoys as compassionate people

NEW YORK – In 2011, for three days, from October 10 through October 12, for 12 hours a day, memories, friendships, and experiences were forged that changed everyone’s lives. A casting call was placed for Filipinos in the New York area.
When 50 Filipino background actors responded to the call, they were not aware that filming for the next series in the Bourne franchise would be taking place.

We were told the title was “Marcher” and that it involved the Philippines. At first I thought na baka tungkol sa Filipino Marching Band. I am so glad I was wrong!
I received a call from Luis Pedron to see if I was interested to take part in a Hollywood movie being shot for three days in New York.

I was definitely interested to take part, as it would be my first time experiencing the big budget movie production process.

I found out later that it was a Universal Studios production. Of course I had an opportunity to visit Universal Studios in the 1980s but now, I was going to be involved as a background actor.

As a director of music videos, short films and involved with photo and video camera work, the Universal Studio process deeply intrigued me. Of course it was simply amazing!

Dozens of individuals formed the video and audio teams; they were perfectly synchronized
and coordinated by the directors on set. It was like an army tactically breaking down every detail and every scene according to the script.
Luis Pedron is a professional actor since 1990. He has taken part in many background acting opportunities. In the feature film that has grossed $41.3 million in its opening weekend, he served in various capacities with the production of Bourne Legacy.
First, Mr. Pedron was a background actor in the film. Second, he was called upon to help reach out to the Filipino community to find interested Filipinos to serve as background actors.

Finally, he also served as a translator to other Filipinos that needed help with the directors’ instructions. Luis appeared in two different scenes: The first was the boarding of the plane headed to the Philippines by Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) and Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel

The second was with the big Filipino contingent filmed at the New York Times printing press in College Point, New York.
Mr. Pedron was honored to be a part of the production because, “It was a rare opportunity to be a part of a historic movie featuring our country, the Philippines. We will not only see talents from the Philippines like John Arcilla and Lou Veloso  but also local ordinary people from the NYC area.”
Mary Joy Hans De Leon was happy to have “worked with dozens of ‘Pinoy professional actors here in the U.S.” and looks forward to working on a big budget project in the future.
Victor Palmos, having been a makeup artist to stars in the Philippines said he had an, “Amazing experiences working with the Hollywood stars and proud to be Filipino being part of the movie.”
The Filipinos watching the Bourne Legacy premiere in New York City definitely concurred that the coverage of Manila was positive.

Momar Visaya, editor in chief of the Asian Journal newspaper, said he was, “pleasantly surprised to see how the film treated the Philippines, Manila setting…especially with the noise of jeepneys [and] tricycles.”
Troi Santos remarked a very positive image of Manila was portrayed by saying it was, “colorful, the streets were clean…no garbage, infrastructure was solid, cops were well dressed, and very beautiful cop cars.”

He was surprised to learn that we have police motorcycles used in the Philippines.
Most importantly Mr. Santos saw that Filipinos were portrayed as a very
compassionate people.
The three days of filming translated to about a minute or so on the big screen.

Though none of our group made the final cut, we are confident to be part of the Director’s Cut or the DVD/BluRay disc version of Bourne Legacy.
Mr. Pedron summarized it best when saying, “With or without getting [featured in a] scene in the movie, we can proudly say that a few of us Pinoys were able to band together and collaborate with Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Tony Gilroy in creating the Hollywood Film called ‘The Bourne Legacy.’
After watching the premiere the Filipinos found the best part of the movie was when they heard, “Manila, Philippines” announced.

At the end of the day, it is more fun in the Philippines when the Bourne series was filmed there. Nothing can beat the beauty and serenity of the Philippines waters and islands in the
province of Palawan. Mr. Visaya agrees, and his favorite part of the film was the
finale filmed in Palawan. - VVP, GMA News