Tag Archives: FilAm

Police apprehend Filipino sexual assault suspect

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department arrested a Filipino sexual assault suspect after he turned himself in last Sept. 5, Friday.

For about two weeks, police officers had been searching for FilAm Horacio Candia Jr., who was wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman near 16th Street and Carolina in the Potrero District in San Francisco on Aug. 22. The victim managed to escape from his vehicle and called the police.

According to reports, Candia was arrested in his attorney’s office last Friday.

Candia is a former San Francisco Fire Department firefighter. After nine years, he was terminated in 2000 for refusing a drug test, according to reports.

Police alleged that Candia shows his badge to facilitate his encounters with women. He then sexually assaults them, using physical violence, according to SF Police officials.

“He lured a woman into a false sense of security,” police Inspector Elaine Economus said to the San Francisco Chronicle. “He said, ‘I’m a firefighter, everybody loves us, you can trust me.’”

The 38-year-old Candia is charged with three counts of forced oral copulation, one count of sexual battery, one count of making terrorist threats, and one count of false imprisonment.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Pinay nurse fighting extradition

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
SAN DIEGO – Lawyers for a 72-year-old Filipina nurse is calling for the US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice to stop the extradition charges of their client to Mexico.
For the past two years, Eufemia Alamo Ramirez, a US citizen from San Diego has been detained at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility awaiting extradition to stand trial on charges of being involved in a human trafficking scheme.

“She has remained [in the detention center] for the past two years, denied bail and denied any hearing on the merits of the Mexican charges,” said Shanlon Wu of Wheat Wu Law.

According to Wu, Mexico claims that in 1998 Ramirez engaged in human trafficking when she was on the same bus as four Filipino nurses, who lacked proper Mexican immigration papers.

Wu said his client had nothing to do with how the nurses entered Mexico and had no reason to believe anything was wrong with their paperwork.

“She was let go by the Mexican police after her arrest and heard nothing about the matter for the next eight years,” he said.

However, in 2006, US Marshalls arrested Ramirez at her home in San Diego.

The Marshals informed Ramirez that Mexico had issued an extradition request for her and arrested her. Ramirez is currently being detained in an ICE detention center.

Wu believes his client is innocent “but she will never be able to prove it now—nearly 10 years after the fact.”

Wu said at her extradition hearing, the law prevented Ramirez even from trying to refute Mexico’s charges.

Her legal appeals are running out. Her family is asking for the Secretary of State to exercise her power and protect this outstanding American citizen, added Wu.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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Pinay Boxer Loses Championship Bout

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LEMOORE – FilAm Pinay boxer Ana Julaton’s dream of being an undefeated champion fell apart after losing a split decision against Brooklyn native Dominga Olivo in an eight round bout at the Tachi Palace Resort and Casino last August 21.

“The girl was much more effective at 120 than she was at 135,” said Roach about Olivo. “She was very durable and quick…Not to say that Ana didn’t fight a good fight. Ana fought well. I think a few adjustments here and there and we could have outpointed Olivo.”

With only two weeks notice, Olivo accepted this match against the highly regarded Julaton after several other opponents backed out.

Fighting for her fourth world championship attempt, the 36-year-old veteran boxer looked sharp throughout the fight. She threw more punches and combinations, while Julaton seemed to have lost a step. The judges scored split-decision bout in her favor 79-73, 77-75 and 75-77.

“I wanted to pressure her and throw the stronger punches,” said Olivo, the new World Boxing Council (WBC) International Female super bantamweight titlist. “I wanted to work the body to the head and use my hooks. And you saw what happened.”

Roach said that Julaton didn’t look like her normal self during the match.

“I don’t know what it was,” said Roach about Julaton’s performance. “I’m not sure if she over prepared. I feel like Ana was a little flat in the fight. Not so much her hands but her legs.”

Julaton, who has only had five professional bouts, admits to having rookie nerves. The bright lights and championship atmosphere took the better of her.

It appeared that Julaton was the quicker fighter with the effective jabs to keep Oliva away. However, Julaton abandoned that strategy for a more brawler type fight.

“I think going into this fight I was too excited,” she said. “I knew she was a forward fighter but my ego got the best of me in terms of me just wanting to go in there and slug it out with her.

“I was a little tight,” she added. “She’s a strong fighter. I just didn’t get off the way I wanted to.”

Julaton said that the loss is a humbling moment in her short career.

“I’m taking it for what it is,” she said. “The best thing is to leave it all behind…and continue on to be better. No excuses on anything. I just need to try to get better next time. I’ll do whatever it takes to get to the next level.”

Too Soon?

Manager Angelo Reyes took the blame for Julaton’s lost.

Coming into this match questions surrounded Julaton’s management about whether she was ready for a championship bout against a very worthy opponent so early in her career.

Reyes said he was overeager to go for a championship early in Julaton’s career because women’s boxing doesn’t have the number of fights available like the men’s professional boxing.

“Look I went on record on saying that we had five top five women in the world who turned down this fight,” he said. “Why is Ana the one challenging people when it should be the other way around?”

The loss drops Julaton’s record to 4-1-1 1 KO.

Reyes said Team Julaton would go back to the drawing board and prepare a new training regiment for Julaton. Reyes added that he and Roach are already preparing for another match for Julaton scheduled for late October.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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To be loved . . . by the King of Love Songs

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
“Balatkayo lahat ang buhay sa mundo Nakangiti kahit hindi totoo Magandang bulaklak ang s’yang katulad mo Nguni’t paglapit ko’y walang bango.”
The lines above are from the classic love song entitled Balatkayo composed by the Philippines’ King of Love Songs, Anthony Castelo . The song laments how his lover has turned out to be a phony. So, he grieves that most people live life pretending; putting on an act; faking love or happiness; being balatkayo.

Fortunately, the multi-awarded singer/composer is exactly the opposite of being a balatkayo. A truly accomplished international artist, Anthony is a genuinely caring and loving human being who has lived to make a difference in the world he lives in. Despite a long list of gold records, sold-out concerts and outstanding performances for world dignitaries like US President George W. Bush, Saudi King Fahd, Moroccan King Hassan II, Princess Margaret of England, Premier Suzuki of Japan, and Pope John Paul II, he has not been dazzled by show business. He has always had an innate charitable interest in others; looking for ways to extend help, show kindness and give support.

Born in the Philippines, Anthony has a unique Eurasian mix of Filipino and Portuguese/Spanish ancestry. He studied in Los Angeles and it was there, while in his teens that he began his music career, joining the world-famous choral group The Young Americans.

Later, while still a student at the University of the Philippines, Castelo joined the Gentle Rain—a group led by well-known songwriter/producer Nonong Pedero. The quartet, whose members included Boy Camara and Rody Picar, developed an amazing quick and faithful following among the collegians. Later, Anthony was discovered by famous recording producers and OPM pioneers Vic del Rosario, Tony Ocampo, Orly Ilacad and Tito Sotto. A marvelous singer and performer gifted with a soulful baritone or tenor voice, he instantly gained the respect of his audiences everywhere.

Anthony’s success as a solo artist has been nothing short of remarkable. His songs such as Hahanapin Ko, Panaginip, Ibig Kong Ibigin Ka, Nang Dahil sa Pag-Ibig, and numerous others quickly hit the charts and Castelo was dubbed as the “Philippines’ King of Love Songs.” He has earned numerous awards for his music; among them were the ALIW and CECIL Awards (the Philippines’ version of the Grammy Awards).

In addition to music, Anthony has also starred in several hit movies together with the Philippines’ finest actors such as Christopher De Leon, Dindo Fernando, Vilma Santos, and Lorna Tolentino. His 1982 Movie of the Year Pakawalan Mo Ako, garnered him a nomination for the FAMAS (the Oscars of the Philippines).

While many would be contented with a successful career in the arts, Anthony did not rest on his laurels to give more contributions which are significant to the society. He had served as a councilor of Quezon City for which he received the BANTAYOG Award for the “Most Outstanding Quezon City Councilor” in 1999 and 2000 given by the Quezon City Press Club.

Several years ago, Castelo immigrated to the States, making his home in Los Angeles with his family. While continuing his career as a performer, Anthony also used his talent to help organizations such as the International Red Cross, the March of Dimes and other humanitarian institutions. In one occasion in Las Vegas, Anthony performed for the Sammy Davis Memorial Concert, which was held in honor of the late entertainer for the benefit of the March of Dimes Foundation.

After the 911 terrorists’ attack, Castelo composed the song, Long Live America, which he himself presented to President George W. Bush during his visit to the White House in 2002. The song soon became a best-selling hit and for this patriotic composition, the State of Maryland House of Delegates, the City of Los Angeles, and the San Diego, California Congressional District honored Castelo with special awards of artistic recognition.

“Through the years, our people have always been my inspiration in everything I do. It was through music that I’ve learned how to love God, our people and our country, and my role as a public servant is the articulation of that song of love,” Castelo said.

In 2004, through his established non-profit organization Long Live America Foundation, the singer helped secure for Engracia Gutierrez a humanitarian visa to come to the United States. Engracia is the sister and only living next-of-kin to US Lance Corporal Jose Gutierrez, an immigrant from Guatemala who died in Iraq. Likewise, with the help of city officials from Lomita and Carson, Castelo organized a 2004 Fourth of July event honoring Gutierrez and another immigrant soldier, Philippine-native US Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their adopted country.

All of Castelo’s philanthropy and help for the needy has recently earned him his most cherished award and recognition. Last April 2008, he received the prestigious “President’s Volunteer Service Award” during ceremonies at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. The award was issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a committee formed by President George W. Bush in 2003 by Executive Order. It recognizes outstanding efforts of individuals and organizations towards their community and country.

“On behalf of Long Live America Foundation, it is a privilege for me to receive this recognition and I share this honor with all Filipinos around the globe,” he said. “Through the years, America has shared its blessings of freedom and prosperity with the nations of the world. As a thankful immigrant whose native Philippines has been liberated by the United States in World War II, it is truly an honor to be of service to this great country.”

Albert Einstein once said that “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Anthony Castelo has truly made his life worthwhile by making a difference in the lives of others. (www.asianjournal.com)

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Jane Monreal: The eye in the sky

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
She provides the most important information for any Southland driver.
Everyday FilAm Jane Monreal provides millions of drivers their traffic updates. If there’s a big rig on fire on the 60 West Pomona freeways, Monreal is there. If there’s a traffic jam on the 10 West heading to Santa Monica, Monreal gives the up-to-the-minute update.

Since 2004 when Monreal started working for KABC 7 Eyewitness News This Morning team, Monreal has seen countless of accidents and traffic jams as well as providing the much-needed information for commuters.

Monreal began her reporting career in 1994 delivering weekend, overnight traffic reports and eventually became the lead afternoon traffic reporter for all-news radio station KFWB, according to the KABC website.

Her work on the afternoon news team earned her a Golden Mike award, an annual award given by the Radio and Television News Association.

She has also served as an airborne traffic reporter at KFWB, covered the North Hollywood attempted bank heist shootout in 1997, and the brush fires in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. She also served as a broadcaster on 94.7 the Wave for five years.

A University of Miami graduate, Monreal was a former Miss Asian-America Florida. She served as captain of the university’s dance team and is still active in dance.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Kristine Johnson: Beauty, Brains, and Beyond

by Nickee de Leon/AJPress
If you google Kristine Johnson on the web, you’ll come across a number of adoring fan sites. There’s Rateitall.com, a forum site where ogling men pine for the stunning half-white, half-Filipina beauty whenever they see her on TV. Cameroncole.com has a wide collection of screen captures of Kristine, while Chickipedia.com describes her as adorable but breaks through her adorability with her professionalism. “The adorability sinks back in by the end of the broadcast, but by that time, they’re talking about things like street fairs and adopting kittens, so it’s fine,” the site further quips.

Kristine is definitely more than just a pretty face. She is the co-anchor of Chris Wragge for the 5pm and 11pm News broadcasts of WCBS-TV in New York City. Before joining WCBS-TV, Kristine was the anchor for NBC News Early Today, an alternate anchor for Weekend Today and daytime anchor for MSNBC. Major newsmakers and breaking news events, such as the killing of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and the London Terror Bombings were part of Kristine’s daily fare as a journalist.

Kristine also worked as a weeknight anchor and field reporter for WPRI/WNAC-TV in Providence, RI and was responsible for field anchoring from live breaking news events in the Providence market. She is a recipient of two Emmy nominations for her contribution in the production of Brendan’s Story and Newsmakers.

Kristine was born to a Filipina mother and an American father in Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga in the Philippines. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and minors in political science, history and English. She now resides in New Jersey with her husband, Steve and their two children,  Ava, 6 and Burke,1.


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Elita Loresca: Sunny Skies for America’s Sexiest Weather Anchor

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
Television newscasters belong to the crème de la crème; a select elite of men and women possessing an extraordinary combination of beauty and brains. They must look good at all times; even if their stressful days start in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night. Not only must newscasters have a pleasant voice, good timing, excellent pronunciation, and correct English usage; they’re also expected to be well-informed about a variety of things as they are expected to “ad-lib” during the show.
Considering all these, Filipinos are mighty proud that several of their kababayans are among the select elite of beautiful and intelligent newscasters admired in American TV today.

One beautiful newscaster that stands out in American TV today is Elita Loresca. Viewers of KNBC know Elita as the pretty weather anchor in Today in LA and the Midday Report. Her past coverage of hurricanes Frances, Katrina, Rita and Wilma when she was with WSVN (FOX) in Miami, Florida have made her quite famous with American viewers.

But since October 2006, Elita is not just known as a weather anchor. She is also known as “America’s Sexiest Newscaster”, a title conferred upon her by readers of FHM Magazine, which featured her in its October 2006 issue.

Born in the Philippines, Elita Loresca moved to Southern California when she was 10 months old and grew up in both downtown Los Angeles and Chino. She took up Broadcast Journalism at Cal State Fullerton and earned the Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University.

“That is where my interest and passion for the news industry started. It wasn’t until my internship at the Orange County News Channel that I wanted to pursue a career on-air as a weather anchor. I was working with my mentor, Maria Quiban (currently an anchor and meteorologist at KCOP, Ch. 13) at the time and she inspired me to follow my dreams. I know it sounds so cliche’, but it was because of her encouragement that I wanted to get into the business and knew that I could do it. I wanted to be just like her!” she said.

Loresca began her career as a news associate at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she was responsible for the assembly of scripts and teleprompter operation during the newscasts. Then, she worked as the noon weather anchor and assignment editor for Bakersfield, California from January 2001 to August 2002. She then moved to KGPE-TV in Fresno, California, as the morning and noon weather anchor. From 2004 to 2006, she was with WSVN (FOX) in Miami, Florida until she joined  KNBC.

In an earlier interview with Asian Journal regarding her being voted “America’s Sexiest Newscaster, Loresca admitted being wowed upon learning about the news.  ““I was elated! It’s a national magazine! I was flattered by the nomination alone, but to actually win the poll, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “When I found out in June that I won, I made sure that my parents knew exactly what type of magazine this was and the demographics this catered to. I didn’t want them to be caught off guard.”

Elita’s Filipino parents were happy for their daughter. She related, “My parents are awesome! They are super supportive of the pictorial and couldn’t be prouder. My dad is so proud. He loves to brag about all his daughters and our accomplishments. He has called all of his friends from the US to the Philippines, so that they go out and buy a copy. My parents are the best!”

Her friends, including her boyfriend have been quite supportive as well. “Overall, I have gotten nothing but support from my friends and my boyfriend. I  am very blessed,” she said.

In order to further hone her skills, Loresca pursued further studies in her field. She wanted to  be a meteorologist so she took up a 3-year distance course on broadcast meteorology.

The news muse admitted that she’s not fluent in Tagalog, having moved to the US when she was just a baby.  “My tagalog is not bad. But, I can understand Tagalog much better than I can speak it,” she said. But the sexy and smart weather anchor proudly stated that she can cook Filipino food.  “I can make lumpia, chicken adobo, fried tilapia and a few of my other favorites. I try not to cook the fried stuff too often,though, ” she added.

To keep her body in shape, Elita goes for kickboxing and cycling. And to keep her spirit strong, Loresca reaches out to help the underprivileged, being actively involved as a volunteer for for Humanity and The National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth (NANAY), a non-profit Filipino organization.


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Denise Dador: A Healthy Career

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
She’s been described as the health specialist with no medical training. But Eyewitness News Health Specialist Denise Dador has been helping Americans live healthier lives since she joined ABC-7 Eyewitness News in July 1998. Her Healthy Living features has been airing regularly on the 4pm and 5pm editions of Eyewitness News, as well as other newscasts for many years.

Along with her health reporting duties, Denise has also covered major breaking news stories. These include the February 2001 Seattle Earthquake and an exclusive interview with the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding terrorist activities in the Philippines.

Denise grew up in San Francisco and attended Lowell High School. She graduated from Mills College where she majored in Communications with a minor in Comparative Government. Dador started her broadcasting career while at Mills College in the Bay Area, when she hosted Manila Manila, a FilAm TV talk show.

After graduating, Denise took a position at Fox’s KMPH-TV in Fresno, California. Initially a general assignment reporter, Denise was appointed South Valley bureau chief, and then was promoted to main anchor of the station’s weeknight 10 o’clock news.

In 1993, Denise joined the ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan as their health reporter. She was quickly promoted to the station’s weekend anchor. Public interest in her daily reports resulted in a weekly news program on healthy living.

“I was the only Asian American person in Detroit for the longest time,” she recalled. “For years, I was the only one. I think when I left they hired another one.”

Denise has received numerous journalism and community service awards. She is a recipient of the Emmy for outstanding news feature reporting, best news feature from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the “Outstanding Health Reporting” award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She has also received the Profiles in Progress award from the American Cancer Society for her series on breast cancer. The Filipino American Library, SIPA and various other notable Filipino American groups have granted her numerous honors for her commitment to community involvement. She has also been honored by the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and the Sjogren’s Foundation.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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Cher Calvin: On the Hot Seat

by Rene Villaroman/AJPress
Three years ago, Broadcast Journalist Cher Calvin burst into the Los Angeles Network news scene when she joined the award-winning KTLA Morning News. She assumed the co-anchor position that was left vacant by erstwhile morning co-anchor Sharon Tey who moved to New York City.
Born and educated in the US, Cher took up broadcast journalism in New York University and began her career at the news desk of TIME Magazine while completing her internship at Cable News Network (CNN) in New York. She was eventually offered a part-time job at CNN, and continued working at TIME and CNN simultaneously until she moved to Manila to have her taste of Philippine broadcast journalism.

After her stint in Manila, Cher came back to the US and became anchor for Las Vegas’ KVVU Fox 5. Cher immerses herself in Fil-Am community events and is often involved either as a guest, an award recipient or a Master of Ceremonies.

Two years ago, she received the honor of being awarded as “Broadcast Journalist of the Year” by Reflections. A few months after she joined KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, this writer interviewed Cher for AWE Magazine. Following are excerpts from the interview:

RV: How would you compare your anchor’s job here in LA to that in Las Vegas?

CC: I must admit that the chance I was given to work at KVVU, FOX 5 Las Vegas was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Even though the grueling work schedule of waking up in the middle of the night was not easy to become accustomed to: doing four-hour live newscast, solo, for the first six months I was there, was what I like to call “anchor boot camp.” And because of the opportunity at FOX 5, I fee very fortunate that I am now a part of KTLA News. And who wouldn’t be! The station is renowned for many “firsts” in the industry in the West Coast.

RV: How easy (or hard) was your transition from KVVU FOX 5 to KTLA ?

CC: Luckily my transition to KTLA from FOX 5 was a smooth one. And that’s only because everyone here at KTLA really is so genuinely nice. They were all so welcoming. KTLA is a family and they treat their staff with decency, respect and honor.

RV: I read stories purporting that you had a tough start in KVVU?

Well, it was tough at first at KVVU. But mostly I was culture-shocked after being in the Philippines for five years. Yes, I am an American but I became so accustomed to ABS-CBN and the lifestyle there, that when I got to Vegas I felt like I was starting all over again. So it was rough at first. But toward the end of it all, I did enjoy my time at FOX 5 and the people as well.

RV: How long did you stay in KVVU and what was your overall impression of that job?

CC: I was in Las Vegas at FOX 5 News for two years. (2003-2005). Overall, I am thankful for all I learned in Las Vegas. It wasn’t easy to get used to waking up in the middle of the night and doing a 4-hour show….but eventually I got the hang of it. Most of all, what helped me through the first few months was the e-mails from the Filipino community that had followed my shows back home. They were always encouraging. That alone made me strive to make them proud.

RV: How is your typical day like?

CC: My day begins when most people are in their deepest sleep. I have four alarms going off…one at 2:30 and the other at 2:45 and two at 3 a.m. It sounds like a fire truck is coming through my place at 3 a.m. But it’s the only way that i can get out of bed. I start my coffee, jump in the shower, get dressed and literally zoom out of the garage to work. At work, I always check in to the news desk; I’m given the day’s morning paper and then I go over my scripts before heading to make-up. By 4:45 a.m. I am ready to go to the set. On the set, with my second cup of coffee ready, I go over my scripts one more time and then it’s show time! I’m on the air from 5 to 7 am. This is by far the best part of my day. Working with Emmett Miller and Mark Kriski is beyond what I expected. They’re always watching out for me and I am constantly energized by them. I couldn’t ask for a better team. After the show, we have a morning meeting and then I go to my office, research stories that I want to work on and maybe that day I’ll have a story to shoot so I’ll go out on the field. If not, I’ll be done at about 12 noon. The rest of the day…is pretty much a toss-up between a nap, errands, lunch with friends and a drive to the beach, a movie and home by 6 so I can catch up on the news and be prepared for the newscast the next day. I’m in bed by 8 pm and then at 2:30 am the fire trucks start rolling again.

RV: Tell us about your experience working with TIME and CNN in New York.

CC: TIME Magazine is where I got my start in journalism. I worked [at] the news desk. I was only 20 when I started there part-time. And I just couldn’t believe that I got a job there! I was still in college and I had a friend who worked full time at TIME. There was an opening and he suggested I come in for an interview. So I did. It was the greatest place for me to start my career. I monitored news, breaking news mostly and alert the reporters…especially on the weekends when I worked; if there was a break in their story or breaking news that they had to report. My first big breaking news story for TIME was the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. It was a Saturday and no one was in the office except me. That was my main job. Monitor the news. Then Rabin was shot. I began the alert process…calling all the reporters in Israel, the editors in New York. The cover of the magazine had to be changed to Rabin. And trust me, it was a busy night that lasted until Sunday night. CNN New York was a whole different ball game. I started there as an intern, getting the papers for the anchors/reporters, logging tapes, serving the reporters while they do their stories on the field. Get scripts for the anchors and bring them on the set. Then after my internship I was offered a part-time job at CNN. I worked at CNN New York and TIME simultaneously until I went to Manila.

RV: You had a stint in Manila as a broadcast journalist. How would you compare it to your current job in Los Angeles in terms of the way the news is written and delivered?

CC: Manila was the best time of my life. I went from anchoring a one-minute news update on GMA News Live to doing a morning show. Then I went to ABS-CBN and hosted “F” for four years and Points of View. At one point I realized that I had to get back to anchoring the news and started with ANC and News Central. It was a fast track in broadcasting and I owe a lot to GMA and especially to ABS for believing in me and giving me the chance to have all the exposure and experience they both gave me. Asking me to compare the difference between Los Angeles and news and news back home is like comparing apples and oranges. The reason why I say that is because the concerns of the communities are different. Since I’ve been in Los Angeles, the community concerns here are nothing to be overlooked. There have been the worst landslides since the 1970s, a new mayor who is the first Latino mayor in over 130 years, and there is also so much importance put on what’s happening in your neighborhood to our newscast in the morning. Mainly, the news has the same objective: whether you are in the Philippines, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles — anywhere in the world — people want to be informed.

RV: Did you always dream of becoming a TV journalist? Was that what you had in mind when you went to NYU?

CC: I wanted to be a doctor like my mother. But my strongest subjects in school were always English and History. But trying to pursue my dream of becoming an MD, I went to NYU Pre-Med. I just couldn’t get into it. I decided I would take Political Science and on a whim, I also took a broadcast journalism class. I fell in love with broadcast journalism and really set my mind to it. The program at NYU was incredible. We would go out on the field and shoot stories and even had a TV newscast class [where] we would be assigned stories and duties to either direct, produce, write, report or anchor. We would go live every week at the end of the class and broadcast a newscast to a local cable channel at the university. The 9-hour class [went] by like a breeze. I just wanted to be a journalist so badly…and then came the opportunity to work with TIME Magazine while I was in my junior year at NYU. Everything just fell into place.

RV: Who is the greatest influence in your life?

CC: My father. Without his guidance and support I would not be the woman I am today. I am thankful for his presence in my life everyday. He is my best friend and knows me better than anyone in the world. I am lucky that we are so close and that I can count on him for sound advice and a shoulder to cry on whenever I need him. He is so wise and I know that following his advice is the reason I am where I am today.

RV: What would be your message to the FilAm community in Los Angeles?

I am so thankful and grateful for the support that I am receiving from the Fil-Am community. We are so strong here in Los Angeles and I know that my kababayans are supporting me. This is what we Filipinos do. Bagamat ako’y isinilang, lumaki at natapos ng pag-aaral sa America ang puso at damdamin ko ay makaPilipino. Maraming Salamat Po sa inyong pagtangkilik at umasa po kayong hindi kayo mabibigo. (www.asianjournal.com)

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FilAms representing top 3 groups in MTV dance show

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – FilAms are represented in every finalist dance group on season 2 of MTV’s Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance crew, a hit competition reality show that pits dance crews from the nation against one another for $100,000 cash prize and a touring contract.
On a hot sunny day at Dodgers Stadium, one-by-one the groups took the field strutting their best dance moves in front of thousands of fans and you couldn’t help but notice that many members of the groups had at least one Filipino face.

It’s a sign of things to come, according to Angelito Casal of Super Cr3w.

“This is just the beginning for us,” he said before his dance crew performed.  “You’re going to see more brown faces. You’re going to see more Filipino faces in the media and all over entertainment. This is just the beginning. Get ready for it.”

It’s a sentiment that rival member of SoReal Cru agrees.

“This is dope [cool],” said Andrew Baterina. “If you see all the teams, there’s at least one Filipino on every team and on a lot of teams the majority of them are Filipino. It’s about time. We’re getting up there especially in the dancing scene.”

Filipinos are known for dancing. With its long array of traditional cultural dances like the tinikling, Pandanggo sa Ilaw and Maglalatik, that’s how many of this year’s FilAm contestants started to dance.

“It’s in our culture. We’re drawn to dance,” said Baterina.

Top 3

Fourteen dance crews started the competition …whittled down

While the Los Angeles – based Fanny Pak has only one FilAm on the team, Cara Horibe, the other two groups rosters are made up of FilAms.

The Las Vegas based dance crew, Super Cr3w, is a heavy favorite to win the competition. The crew boasts three Pinoys including Casal, RJ Puno, and Ronnie Abaldonado. Chris Gatdula, a member of the America’s Best Dance Crew season 1 winner Jabbawockeez, was a former member of Super Cr3w.

Puno said it was just exciting to be able to perform in front a famed venue like Dodger stadium.

“We’re really excited I don’t know what to say,” said Puno. “We’re just going to get down and dirty.”

Puno added that his team is prepared to make it to the finals.

“We need to attack and execute,” he said. “We’re going to put our hearts into every performance.”

The Houston, Texas-based SoReal Cru is a predominant FilAm group. Baterina, Brian Fucanan, Mark Fucanan, Ailyn Joy Isidro, Jackie Lautchang, and Brian Puspos are all FilAms. The other member Pat Lam is a Chinese American.

Baterina said people are always surprised to see Filipinos living in Texas.

“A lot of people think that Texas is cowboys and Indians and that we ride on horses but there’s a lot of Filipinos in Houston,” he said. “It’s a big community over there.”

Baterina said America’s Best Dance Crew has so far been an once-in-a-lifetime experience for everybody in the group.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “We’re always going to remember this for the rest of our lives.”

He added that they are working hard to win the competition.

“When we wake up, we practice, we use the bathroom, we sleep and it repeats over and over again,” he said. “It’s never ending. Going to the grocery store is free time for us.”

Puno of Super Cr3w said that if his dance crew wins he’d be showing his Pinoy pride for everybody to see on MTV.

“You know I have a big Phi-lippine flag in my room,” he said. “And if we win this [competition], I’m going to show it to everybody on the dance stage.”


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