Daily Archives: June 19, 2008

Toledo Kicks to Victory

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

NEW YORK – After almost a two-year hiatus, FilAm Muay Thai Champion Christine Toledo stepped into the ring and bested opponent Emily Bearden by majority decision at the Roseland Ballroom in New York earlier this month.

“I was very nervous,” said Toledo after the fight to the Asian Journal. “It felt like I was starting all over again.”

The 30-year-old Las Vegas native and current World Kickboxing Association (WKA) US and the Muay Thai International Association (MTIA) World Title holder Toledo last fought in December 2006 against Rima Sidhu, winning by unanimous decision. Since her last fight, a series of promotional gaffes and a medical injury forced her to take an unwelcome break.

“It’s been about a year in a half (since I last fought),” said Toledo. “I felt like 18 months is too long of a lay off. There was ring rust and it showed.”

Despite being affected by the long layoff, Toledo won in a close five round match. Coming into the fight, the odds were against her. Toledo was not only facing her own personal shortcomings (ring rust), but she was also fighting a former WKA US Muay Thai Champion in Bearden and in her hometown of New York.

“Going to somebody’s hometown, it’s hard to take away a victory,” said Toledo, who admits that it took her three rounds before shaking off the ring rust. “For the most part, you really have to beat them convincingly to get the win. For me to get that victory is a big deal because everybody there was her crowd.”

Toledo said she won by taking away her opponent’s game plan. She knew that Bearden was an aggressive fighter hoping to control her by keeping the fight inside. Toledo said she neutralized Bearden’s aggressiveness by catching her in unsuspecting leg sweeps.

“She likes to be untouchable and keeps her opponents away but she wasn’t able to do it with me,” added Toledo.

The win brings Toledo’s record to 12 wins, 2 losses with 4 KO’s. Toledo said the fight with

Bearden was a good precursor to a more difficult match up with current British Muay Thai Champion Ruth Ashdown.

Toledo will face Ashdown in a five round match at the Las Vegas Hilton on July 26.

“She beat the top people in the UK and Europe,” said Toledo of Ashdown. “[But] I think I have the right training and trainers to beat her.”


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The Great Pretender

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – Sometimes, a person who has been convicted of a crime and imprisoned for it would change his ways once he gets out of jail. But sadly, sometimes not.

Eleven years ago, Filipina Elda Beguinua made the headlines in the UK as a “Bogus Baroness” who was accused of posing as a baroness (Baroness Avilla) and trying to defraud British financial institutions of £16trillion. She was jailed for two years.

A few days ago, Elda made it to the headlines again, after she was accused of once again pretending to be royalty rolling in money, and defrauding people. She allegedly weaved a web of deceit, boasting of Spanish galleons filled with gold and a family fortune in the Philippines worth “300 followed by 41 zeros”. The 63-year-old mother of two created fake documents which she showed to her victims, including letters relating to her proposal to buy Harrods, one of the world’s most famous department stores in London, for £15billion. She also said she was looking for a new house to buy and was viewing properties worth up to £70million.

Earlier this week, jurors at Southwark Crown Court, UK were told that following Beguinua’s release from prison, she targeted victims from whom she was able to swindle more than £20,000. The victims told police they gave up their jobs and happily accepted Beguinua’s offer for them to join her “global humanitarian organization” with huge salaries and numerous other promised benefits that never materialized. They believed Beguinua’s stories and lent her money when she said red tape was holding her money overseas. It was only after months passed and they were not paid for their work, let alone the loans, that they became suspicious, according to the Daily Mail.

The “countess” denied eight counts of deception and one of attempted deception at the courts.

During Beguinua’s trial in 1997, prosecuting attorneys told the court that Elda Beguinua posed as a Spanish baroness and tried to defraud British financial institutions of £16trillion, claiming she controlled $1 trillion worth of precious metals being held on deposit by a bank. But one broker knew the huge value of the bullion Elda claimed to control (80,000 tons of precious metal) was greater than the entire world precious metal production in the last 150 years, which is around 35,000 tons.


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Filipinos Invited to GOP National Convention

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – From September 1-4, the Republican Party will hold their 2008 National Convention to nominate Senator John McCain as the party’s candidate for President of the United States, and launch him on his way to the White House. Some 45,000 attendees from across the country will join together at Saint Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, in Minneapolis for the historic event.

In connection with this, the California Delegation to the Convention met in Burbank recently for their official delegation meeting and the election of the Delegation’s leadership.

Former California Secretary of State and John McCain California Campaign Chairman Bill Jones was elected Chairman of the Delegation. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will serve as the Honorary Chairman of the Delegation. Additionally, the Delegation elected former California Governor Pete Wilson, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring as theDelegation’s Co-Chairmen.

California plays a vital part in GOP Conventions, sending the largest delegation of all states. For this coming September, the California Delegation will be composed of 173 Regular Delegates and 400 Guest Delegates, including many notable figures whose personal and professional achievements represent the best and brightest California has to offer.

A FilAm who is a Republican elected official, Mel Alfarero, is a member of the delegation.

Alfarero told the Asian Journal that he is entitled to bring along 10 Filipino Americans to represent the FilAm community as part of the California Delegation.

“I am recruiting a limited number of FilAm Republican guest delegates, preferably businesspersons. Guest delegates have the same free benefits and privileges as regular delegates. They attend the same activities, free invitations to many parties, receptions, sightseeing trips and cruise and a trip to the Mall of America, the largest in the US. Free round-trip transportation to the hotel and convention center will be provided as well. A gift pack of memorabilia from the convention allows guest delegates to make business and personal connections with their targeted GOP officials. The guest delegates, however, are exempted from seating on the convention floor with regular delegates. They are not capable of voting as well, but are able to see the proceedings,” said Alfarero.

The approximate cost to join the delegation is $2,500-$3,000 which includes fees, airfare and hotel accommodation for 5 days (shared room). The deadline for hotel room sharing for guest delegates is on July 1. Northwest Airlines is currently offering a 15% discount for airfare, but airfare rates are subject to change because of increasing fuel prices.

[FilAms who are interested in being a part of the California delegation are encouraged to apply and make reservations. Mel Alfarero may be reached at (818) 772-6933. His email address is ccalfarero@socal.rr.com .]


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Making [Pi] Noise in America

by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – There is no doubt that Filipinos are a talented bunch. In the past, the US entertainment industry has had its share of FilAm artists in their roster.

There’s funnyman Rob Schneider, born and raised in San Francisco to a Filipina mother, Pilar and Caucasian father. Rob Schneider’s comic talent made millions laugh through his movies like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick. Actor Lou Diamond Philips who is part-Filipino and was born at the Subic Naval Base in the Philippines, is a highly respected artist for his performances in La Bamba, Young Guns and many others. Tia Carrere, who is a model, actress and singer, has also made her mark Hollywood in Wayne’s World. FilAms who made headlines — Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical and Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger. Of course, there’s Apl.d.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, who gives a Filipino fl avor to their songs, like Bebot . Filipino talent has shone in American Idol with the likes of Camille Velasco, Jasmine Trias and much recently, Ramiele Malubay.

However, as we are all happy for their success, popularity and ability to penetrate the mainstream entertainment industry, other Filipino entertainers — all whom have come all the way from the Philippines — are making us truly proud to be Pinoy .

YouTube Diva.

One diehard fan, one posting on YouTube, almost a million views, one lucky chance to be viewed by the Ellen Degeneres Show — and then a life-changing experience in what was once a slow-moving career for this petite 15-year-old. Charice Pempengco, a runner-up in one of the Philippine’s local star-search, had no inkling of what was in store for her. She was hardly a household name in the Philippines before, but after her debut in Ellen, Charice has become an instant hit not only in the Filipino community in the US, but also in the mainstream as well. After all, she has been a guest in Oprah, and has performed alongside big stars like Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and David Foster.

In her recent performance at the Fiesta Filipina in San Francisco, Asian Journal had the pleasure of talking to Charice about her soaring career. When asked on what she felt after performing with big name stars during David Foster and Friends in Las Vegas where she was given a standing ovation by the audience, she replied “After nang show na yon, parang me nagbago, (After the show, something has changed,)” and added, “Yung mga malalaking tao, binati nila ako, sinasabihan nila ako na ang galing ko. (The big stars, they congratulated me, they said I was good).”

Still, in spite of her rising popularity, Charice has kept herself grounded. “Ako po, di ko po naman masasabi na narating ko ang gusto kong marating, (For me, I can’t say that I have reached my goals),” she humbly said and added, “Lagi ko pa rin iniisip na ganito pa rin ako, kung ano po ang pagkakilala nila sa akin dati, ganoon pa rin po ako. (I always keep in mind that I am still the same person they know).

An uncanny ‘Journey’ to fame

He has been singing most of his life in the Philippines, but has never made it big. Arnel Pineda’s journey from being to singing covers for popular band to being the lead singer of the rock band Journey can probably be classifi ed as a modern-day fairytale. After a long time of searching for a new lead singer for the rock band Journey, band member Neal Schon found Arnel on where else — YouTube. After a number of e-mail and phone calls, Arnel still had to believe that the offer was real. In fact, his story — from being discovered on the Internet, to how he was able to get his US visa to fi nally performing with the band — can be made into a movie.

Since then, Arnel has been rocking fans in their world tour, with his uncanny similarity — in voice and style — with former band lead singer, Steve Perry. He has also recently released his fi rst album with the band, Revelation, which has sold more than 104,000 copies in its debut week, according to Wal-Mart Stores. He has also appeared in Ellen and has been interviewed with the rest of the band on CBS’ Sunday Morning. As Sunday Morning host John Blackstone said, “Ironically, the man that they hired to keep Journey the same, has changed them in ways they couldn’t have imagined.”


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