Daily Archives: October 12, 2008

Ayala Foundation-USA: Creating Better Opportunities to Serve Others

by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress

The emergence of a ‘new golden age of philanthropy’ has pushed the number foundations all over the world.  According to a study Asian-American Philanthropy:  Expanding Knowledge, Increasing Possibilities done by Andrew Ho for The Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, the number of foundations in the United States has grown from 22,000 in the early 1980s to over 65,000 in 2004.

However, the boom in the number of foundations and their assets has also involved the issue of diversity in philanthropy – like how it is (or isn’t) a factor in giving, how ethnic and racial groups exhibit different styles, etc.  With the growth of Asian American population, there has also been an increase in diaspora philanthropy, or philanthropic giving from citizens and residents of the US to their countries of origin.

This is the thrust of Ayala Foundation-USA — to inform, motivate and inspire others to be generous in support of social development programs in the Philippines.  Established in 2000, AF-USA has become a bridge between US-based Filipino individuals and communities, and Philippine-based social development institutions.

“If Filipinos don’t help their fellow-Filipinos, who will?”  said Vicky Garchitorena, President of AF-USA and added, “Fortunately, our experience at AF-USA is that most FilAms do want to help their kababayans back home.”

However, Ms. Garchitorena also explained that often, FilAms have not helped because they do not know what the problems are, the solutions or how to give their support.  This is why AF-USA creates opportunities for Filipinos in the US to help the Philippines.  Although it does not undertake programs on its own, AF-USA encourages a number of strategic initiatives that has shown a track record of success in implementing programs that can have a long-term positive impact on its beneficiaries.

One of these projects is the Gearing up Internet Literacy and Access for Students, or GILAS.  A program implemented in cooperation with both the Philippine national and local government officials, it aims to put computer labs with Internet access in all 6,350 public high schools in the country.

“As of the end of September 2008, GILAS has connected 2,000 public high schools, thereby benefiting about 1 million underprivileged youths from Batanes to Basilan,” said Ms. Garchitorena and added, “It has a tremendous impact on the ability of our youth to find jobs when they leave school, as computer and Internet literacy skills are now basic requirements for any type of employment, whether they stay in the Philippines or go abroad.”

AF-USA gets help from their Philippine counterpart, Ayala Foundation, in encouraging local non-government organizations (NGOs) to apply for accreditation as a grantee institution.  These organizations are then evaluated and presented to the Board for approval.

But of course, there are always challenges, said Ms. Garchitorena.  “One big challenge is the fact that the FilAms are scattered all over the US.

While there are pockets of concentrations, the size of the country makes it difficult for us to reach them all.”  For this reason, AF-USA rely on other committed and dedicated FilAm network volunteers in identifying community and business leaders in cities and states.

Another challenge she says is the need to capture the attention of second or third generation FilAms who might no longer be emotionally connected to their homeland, unlike their parents or grandparents.

Still, Ms. Garchitorena explained that they have seen an increased interest among FilAms to help their hometowns, alma maters, parishes or personal charities.  For this, she invites all FilAms as well as Americans with strong ties to the Philippines to join AF-USA in helping underprivileged Filipinos in the Philippines.  She is also appealing others all over the US to join as volunteers.

“Our country still suffers from many problems related to poverty – illiteracy, homelessness, abuse, environmental degradation, and an inadequate public sector infrastructure.  The government does not have enough resources to address all our problems.  We cannot wait for the perfect time and place.”

For more information on AF-USA and how you can help Filipinos back home, you can contact their office at 255 Shoreline Dr., Suite 428 Redwood City, CA 94065 or call(650) 598-3126.  You can also log on to http://www.af-usa.org.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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Madonna tells Palin: Get off my street

NEW YORK – After kicking off the North America leg of her Sticky & Sweet tour in New Jersey over the weekend, Madonna crossed the Hudson and performed two nights in a row to sold-out audiences at the Madison Square Garden.

And what would a Madonna concert be without her political commentary?

The 50-year-old singer continued to slam the Republican bet for vice president, Sarah Palin at The Garden when she sang her hit I Love New York, which had a line that goes ‘Get off my street!’

“You know who can get off of my street? Sarah Palin! I’m gonna kick her ass if she don’t get off of my street!” Madonna said as the crowd, which included P. Diddy, Rosie O’Donnell and designer Michael Kors, screamed in approval.

Madonna began her tirade against Palin during her show Saturday at the Izod Center. “Sarah Palin can’t come to my party. Sarah Palin can’t come to my show. It’s nothing personal,” the New York Post quoted her as saying.

That was not the only time when the singer showed her political color.

Halfway through the show, a montage of images that juxtaposed Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain with Adolf Hitler and Kim Jong Il was shown on the giant screens onstage. Sen. McCain’s campaign reportedly said Madonna’s actions were “outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time.”

On the same montage, Sen. Barack Obama’s images were interspersed with photos of Oprah, Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Bono.

Politics aside, the show was, as expected, a visual spectacle.

The singer emerged onstage sitting on a queenly throne accompanied by the sound of her song Candy Shop.  The audience, just like in her two previous concert tours I watched, just stood up and started dancing. Most of them remained standing throughout the duration of the show.

“I love New York! It’s good to be home,” Madonna screamed as the audience roared. The Garden was just pulsating with high-strung energy.

The spectacle continued when a sparkling white Rolls Royce emerged onstage as a giant prop, one that Madonna maximized well and when she left the stage, a boxing ring manifested. The dizzying screens were also transformed into various sizes while green laser and almost blinding lights filled The Garden, making it New York City’s biggest club for the night.

The two-hour show featured Madonna in various stages of undress as she showed the world that she could be the fittest 50-year-old woman in the business. She danced and sprinted. She even skipped rope and strutted the catwalk.

It was more than just physical, however, as she breathed new life to some of her most memorable hits such as Like a Prayer, La Isla Bonita, Ray of Light, Borderline and Vogue. She could have called this The Reinvention Tour, Part 2 and the fans would have gobbled the tickets just the same.

My personal favorite?

It has to be her heart-felt performance of  You Must Love Me, which she did while strumming her guitar. It was so spotless and you can really feel the sincerity in her voice. There was no tight choreography, no vocal calisthenics, just pure, raw emotion.

Madonna had a grand time interacting with the audience as she performed for them and with them.

At one point in the show, she jammed with the crowd as she performed Lucky Star, which was requested by some placard-carrying members of the audience.

She also pointed out the few people who were sitting down while everyone was up on their feet clapping. “Are you bored?” she asked a couple of middle-aged men, before she politely asked them to stand up. “Come on, this is not a Barbra Streisand show,” she barked.

Her energy level was way up there and this was willingly matched by the very appreciative audience. Madonna was really having fun and it showed.

Her adoring fans couldn’t be happier. (www.asianjournal.com)

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The Reign of Sarah

by Rochelle Pangilinan/AJPress

With a box-office hit (the recent A Very Special Love), a series of successful concerts and a new album (featuring the lead single I’ll Be There, where she duets with Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough) to boot, all at the young age of 20, Sarah Geronimo is primed to rule show business.

And with her latest hit album Just Me… Sarah to promote, Sarah donned Burberry—complete with dramatic eye makeup and sophisticated slick back hair—in the October issue of Preview magazine, Sarah may yet add another title to her credit: fashion icon, something her young fans would definitely welcome.

Sarah is aware of her many young fans, one reason why she declined to shoot a kissing scene with leading man John Lloyd Cruz in A Very Special Love, where she played the Polyanna-like, fresh- out-of-college girl (armed only with colorful post-its, a fashion sense that resembles Rainbow Brite and a bright smile) thrown into the jungle-like world of men’s magazine publishing, with John Lloyd as the powerful but emotionally vacant editor-in-chief.

“A lot of young people look up to me. It would not be a good example if they saw their Ate Sarah in a kissing scene,” Sarah tells Preview magazine. She is also proudly boyfriend-less as well, as she’d rather focus her attention on her burgeoning career at the moment, but this has not stopped her many male admirers from trying to woo her.

Some admirers, however, are all just for her wonderful singing talent. Among them, international star Howie Dorough, who had no second thoughts on recording with Sarah on a track for Just Me… Sarah. I’ll Be There is produced by Christian de Walden of Hollywood and was composed by Al Taveel and Pamela Philips-Oland, the same team behind one of the most successful duets in pop music history, Too Much, Too Little, Too Late by Johnny Mathis and Denise Williams.

“I liked Sarah instantly,” says Howie. “She seems to be very sweet and humble and she did a good job with the song.”

And unlike many young stars who gain fame and fortune all too fast, “sweet and humble” are still words often associated with Sarah even after all the success she’s amassed. Since winning the grand title in Star For A Night for her rendition of the Celine Dion pop hit To Love You More at the tender age of 14, Sarah has continuously made her presence felt in the biz. And from the looks of things, Sarah is far from slowing down. Among her next projects include a follow-up movie with John Lloyd to be released early next year. By November, Sarah will be holding a major solo concert at the Araneta Coliseum and will be releasing her first-ever Christmas album, to be produced by Ryan Cayabyab, in December.

The reign of Sarah is indeed upon us.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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