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MICA (P) 199/01/2011

Vol. 1, No. 8 Free Copy

travel: Dare to Fly conGress reports: JinGGoy sounDs alarm on traGic oFW Deaths Diaspora to Development: the First Global summit oF Filipinos in the Diaspora usapanG leGal: introDuction to traDemarks the pearl oF the orient

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Publisher’s Note What is it that every Filipino can contribute to their country's progress? i have always ask this question whenever i go back home or even when i just think of the Philippines. then, i remember the moral legacy of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal on social changes. he said, "with the head and heart, we ought to work always; with the arm when the time comes when physical strength is needed. the principal tool of the heart and the head is the pen. Other prefer the brush; others the chisel. On my part, i prefer the pen." Like Rizal, it is my ardent desire to work with both my head and heart and even with my arm whenever it is needed by my country and my fellowmen. And my tool is my fascination and passion to do something out of the ordinary. to see beyond what others cannot see. My decision to attend and participate in the very first three-day global Summit for Filipinos in the Diaspora, which was organized by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, have inspired me on a higher level to take a look back again of a country i left behind. A country of so many firsts, but is currently considered lagging behind of those it used to lead. We Filipinos are unique in so many ways. We are one of a kind. While we are proud of our

contributions to the world, we are also aware of the fact that we have lost our competitiveness along the way. As Dr. Federico Macaranas of the Asian institute of Management simply puts it,"Filipinos plan but others implement." this is true and i agree. While others have greatly benefitted, politically and economically from our great ideas and plans, we are still looking, in awe, of what might have been and could have been. Personally, i do not believe that we are mediocre and i do not accept that the reason for our moving backward is mediocrity. We are not, but sometimes we have the tendency to settle for less. Our government does not lack strategic plans and coherent programs for our people. On the contrary, we have one of the best set of laws in the world. the Philippines is home to a great people in history and at present times. the Filipinos' greatness encompasses all things including its wretchedness, because he or she knows it. We knew it and we can laugh at ourselves without being apologetic most of the time. in the 21st century, brains (kaalaman) and (kakayahan) brawns must come together. As Filipinos, we have to do our part in the process in helping the Philippines conquer the global market. We cannot be competitive without thinking of scaling up.

growth, these are the goals of which the global Summit hinges on and hopes to achieve through the leadership of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas in partnership with the private sector and the local and national government units. Rizal concluded that "the main thing is that every Filipino must be a good man. A good citizen so that he can help his country to progress by contributing his heart, and if need be, his arm." As global Filipinos we have to trust ourselves and trust our leaders. this is imperative. We cannot afford not to put our confidence on the visions set by our government. Cooperation in the implementation is a must. there must be partnership to achieve progress. Let us rediscover the Filipino spirit in us. We can only hope for the better. We can always contribute significantly to our country's productivity so that one day migration will be a choice rather than a necessity. Yes, we can. god bless us all, god bless the Philippines, and Mabuhay po tayong lahat.

Job creation, competitiveness and inclusive



Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora


Music To My Ears

EDITORIAL BOARD Publisher MARYJANE SALOMON (Singapore) Editorial Consultants DEtCh P. NONAN-MERCADO (Singapore) SANkiE SiMbuLAN (Philippines) tALA MARALit (Philippines) OMAR SiERvO (uk) Editor bhENJAR ROSALES tOOR (Philippines) Columnists CRiStY viCENtiNA (Singapore) AttY. hAzEL RiguERA (Philippines) PAMSY L. tiOSECO (Philippines) DR. MARigLO viCENtE CAMERO (Philippines)

22 Cover Story:



Travel: Dare To Fly! 2 Bagong Bayani APRIL 2011


Food Review

Contributors CAShMER DiRAMPAtEN (Singapore) ANNE LuiSA viLLARiCO (Singapore) DR. MARiLYN SuRiO (Philippines) MONiCA guERRA (Philippines) JuStiCE FRANCiSCO-SChAFFER (Singapore) Art Director LANCE SiSON of Ars Nova Designs (Singapore) Creative Consultant CESA FRAMiL (Singapore) Circulation Manager ANDEE bARCO (Singapore) Photographers JO bENNEtt (Singapore) PiNOYgRAPhERS (Singapore) CgD (Singapore) ERiC PARRENO (Singapore) Advertising Enquiries: Email: | Mobile: +65 9388 6515 | Office: +65 6235 8153 Published monthly by Salomon Publishing Singapore Pte Ltd. 304 Orchard Road, #04-65 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863 the Publisher uses due care and diligence in the preparation of this magazine but is not liable for any mistake, misprint, omission or typographical error. the Publisher prints the advertisement provided by the advertisers but gives no warranty and makes no representations as to the truth, accuracy or sufficiency of any description, photograph or statement. the Publisher accepts no liability for any loss that may be suffered by any person who relies either in whole or in part upon any description, photograph or statement contained therein. the Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. No part of this publication may be copied either in whole or in part without prior permission from the Publisher. MiCA (P) 199/01/2011 Printing by: SuN RiSE PRiNtiNg & SuPPLiES PtE LtD


First Diaspora confab held; convenors vow stronger presence for OFWs By Bhenjar Toor


HE Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) spearheaded a three-day Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora starting September 27 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) with no less than the Secretary for the Commission on Filipinos Overseas Imelda Nicolas hosting the gathering. Diaspora refers to “the movement, migration or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland.’ The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines it as “members of ethnic and national communities, who have left, but maintain links with their homeland.” Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III lauded the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) for their contribution in improving the Philippine economy as they try to secure their families’ future. “Your countrymen are, indeed, grateful for your hard work, which has improved the lives of the people you love and has contributed much to our common goal of revitalizing the Philippines,’ the Chief Executive remarked in a message for the participants of the first Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora. The President, for his part, assured the convenors and participants that he will prioritize in his administration’s agenda programs that will boost the government’s Diaspora to Development initiatives. He insisted that the government is keen on “intensifying efforts in minimizing the social costs of migration.” Aquino pointed out that it would be his administration’s objective to assist Overseas Filipino Workers because it is only through this that “…we can continue to establish and strengthen a more enabling and facilitating environment to boost your economic and social gains in the Philippines .” 4 Bagong Bayani September 2011

He also emphasized that it will “secure a seamless and mutually beneficial reintegration to the country” once the migrant workers decide to return and settle down in his homeland. For her part, Sec. Nicolas underscored the importance of a well-planned approach to the Filipino Diaspora by indicating that “the new vision, mission, and 10-point goals, is to make migration and development the framework for all our policy advocacies, programs, services, and activities.” The vision of an “empowered and productive overseas Filipino community with strong socio-cultural-economic-political ties with the motherland” becomes the paramount goal. “I am pleased to report that in less than one year in office, we were able to realize parts of our vision and mission,” she remarked. “There are now more local government units developing their own investment and reintegration plans for their returning migrants with the help of civil society organizations, private sector, and multi-lateral agencies.” The summit comes at an opportune time when the Philippines finds itself in the midst of Asian political, economic, and military squabbles ranging from the hostage crisis in Manila to foreign incursions in the Philippine-claimed Kalayaan group of Islands in the Spratlys, conflicts in North Africa and Middle East countries, and the reeling American economy. CFO and the other Global Summit convenors, U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA), and the Youth Leaders in the Diaspora (YouLead) saw the need to organize a strong movement that will solidify the OFWs bid to consolidate efforts to connect with Filipinos worldwide in terms of providing assistance abroad and aid to those who are in the process of being repatriated.


Among those prioritized in the Diaspora to Development Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora are the overseas absentee voting law amendments, human trafficking issues, migration and development, and government and non-government organizations’ programs for migrant workers.

Filipino Migration and its psychosocial-econoMic iMpact The global village has become smaller and smaller at each turn of the year, and the Filipinos have become a crucial backbone of foreign economies through various functions. In fact, the Philippines accounts for 4.3 million emigrants according to the 2011 Migration and Remittances Fact book from the World Bank. Ranking 9th among countries exporting manpower, it is not surprising to see that Filipinos have tried grabbed opportunities in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and even in war torn countries or calamity-stricken regions that offer attractive salaries and compensations. Albeit working conditions in various countries differ, and sometimes worse than homeland, Filipinos still take their chances because they find it as their only way out of poverty aside from momentary relapse into betting games such as the lotto and the sweepstakes, lottery draws sponsored by the government which are announced on televisions and reported in major newspapers and tabloids. “It is to be expected since parents want to give the best life they can to their children,” Dr. Mariglo Vicente Camero, a diplomate from the New York American Academy, and professor of Psychology and Psycho-Trauma Clinical Psychologist and Therapist from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the Philippines, said. “This has repercussions. The lack of attention of children whose 6 Bagong Bayani September 2011

parents are working abroad would try to get it from their guardians. Absenteeism in school, having disruptive behaviors manifested through alcoholism, cutting classes, and smoking are just a few of the things that children go through,” Dr. Camero remarked. “In the long run, this becomes depression and what they go through becomes prolonged. Once depression becomes continuous, it becomes chronic and this disables them from coping with the situation,” she elaborated. The same things sometimes happen to the parents on a different level. To assist the OFWs and their children, Dr. Camero recommends that they should go with people who can influence them positively, maintain constant communication since hearing each other’s voice can help a lot to soothe emotional strains, and constant guidance and counseling. “Results may vary. Some become robotic and detached because of the need to cope emotionally while others suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD),” she explained. “RAD is suffered more by children because of a persistent failure to initiate or respond to most social interactions in a developmentally appropriate way—known as the “inhibited” form—or can present itself as indiscriminate sociability, such as excessive familiarity with relative strangers—known as the “disinhibited form,” she added. “Staying with your children is a priceless legacy. Leaving them behind means accepting the painful reality of anything that comes with it,” she remarked. In the end, it is the children that suffer the most, but the realities that set in cannot be taken for granted that it has really become a double-edged sword. If parents stay in the country, it would be difficult to alleviate their financial situation since the rising cost of living is not at par with the increases in wages. However, if they opt to leave for a job abroad, children are left under the care of


a relative or a guardian; they may not be assured that the same level of care and guidance can be given since children always biologically respond more to their real parents. Even so, there seem to be no end in sight. Kingsley Atkins and Nicola White pointed out in their Global Diaspora primer that “out of every 1 out of every 33 persons in the world today is a migrant.” Economic migrants “account for over 85% of total migrants.” Looking at these figures, this only explains that migration, despite changes in patterns, will continue in the 21st century at a gradually rising pace.

A comebAck in the mAking It was this that served as basis to Senate Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Sen. Edgardo Angara to comment that the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) “brain gain” project, which aims to counter the growing number of Filipinos choosing to work abroad, can possibly revive the country’s ailing science and technology (S&T) industry.

sound economic and fiscal policies are being instituted. The decisive response, the firm handling of diplomatic setbacks resulting to the Manila Hostage crisis, and other positive developments in various areas of the economy, politics, military, and education have given every one high hopes that some sense of dignity and direction can be infused back into the life of every Filipino. Much is learned from the recent past that everyone is optimistic that the present leadership’s strong showing against graft and corruption would stimulate more business and give OFWs more reasons to go back to their country. “It is just ironic that we seem incapable of doing things without any tinge of corruption when Filipinos are very talented and can hold their own against the rest of the world,” Angelo Carlo Rosales, a Technology Consultant based in Manila for the Hewlett Packard Company, an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA.

In a statement, Angara said the program can reel in highly qualified Filipino professionals from abroad and help steer the sector to growth. “A big percentage of our highly trained professionals such as scientists, doctors and engineers are lured by the higher salaries offered in other countries—and we cannot blame them,” he explained while underscoring the need for the reintegration programs of the government agency to enable OFWs contribute much of what they have gained abroad and stay here for good.

“Take our case in the IT industry. Filipinos are very much respected as ICT experts because we can easily assimilate technology. The line of work is very much the same. We collaborate with our American, European, and Asian counterparts, and oftentimes, we can come out with better strategies since we see and understand the needs of even the most ordinary client,” Rosales intimated. “In fact, our advantage over our foreign competitors, whether to be seen positively or negatively, is that our labor cost is cheaper while we deliver the same, sometimes even better, results.

The second Aquino administration, in a move to put substance to plans of stimulating the local industries, promises programs that will serve as stepping stones that will lead Filipino entrepreneurs and businessmen up the economic ladder as key reforms and

Having traveled to different Southeast Asian countries, Rosales noted that Singapore’s approach paves the way to maximizing its human potential as well as getting the most out of its imported manpower. “Singapore, just like other first world countries, has a September 2011 Bagong Bayani 7


workforce that is composed of many nationalities who are all wellrepresented. There is a check and balance. They follow rules and they enforce the law.” “Here in the Philippines, if we can do away with useless red tape and impose only those procedures that are necessary to safeguard our businesses and our interest from that of a few unscrupulous individuals, then there won’t be any need to go abroad and deal with so many irregularities brought about by human trafficking, military conflicts, and at times, breach of contracts,” he opined. “There are still many foreign countries that treat foreign workers with preference because of their talents or skills and because it is that system of transparency and fairness that attracts more foreign professionals to try their luck in their country,” he later on clarified. At present, the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) noted the big contribution of the OFWs in helping the Philippine economy. “The developments in the Philippine economy ended last year on a strong note as the country emerged from the global economic turmoil with a solid performance. Notwithstanding the growing concerns on the weak and uneven pace of global activity, the country’s International Investment Position (IIP) further improved at end-2010 on the back of strong growth prospects and sustained appetite for emerging markets’ assets,” the BSP revealed in one of its issued statements. Based on the latest statistical data made available by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Filipino Migrant Workers neighboring countries as Asia remains the primary destination with 72, 921. Of these, 245,264 go to the Middle East, 28, 794 go to Hong Kong, and 27, 845 go to Taiwan. Among the continents, Africa logged 9, 469, the Americas with 5, 702, Europe with 4, 624, and Oceania with 1, 748 new hires, respectively. 8 Bagong Bayani September 2011

Given the increasing number of Filipinos seeking greener pastures abroad, the government has increased its mobilization of its personnel in the different countries through their embassies and consulates leading to faster and more efficient response as in the case of the Libyan, Egyptian, and Syrian crises that rocked the Arab world recently. Though Filipinos continue to work in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan where work bans exist, the government has made use of the media and other forms of communications to keep aspiring overseas workers aware of existing conditions in other countries. The government has also taken direct management of certain cases that require immediate attention. Just a few months ago, Vice president Jejomar Binay went to China to appeal the death sentence of three Filipinos who were allegedly used at drug mules by foreign syndicates even as President Aquino exhausted all diplomatic options to either commute the sentence or obtain presidential clemency. While Filipinos continue to aspire for better future for their families, the government, in partnership with the different nongovernment organizations, has explored various strategies and options. That time when work in the Philippines will no longer be scarce and will offer better pay may still be a thing of the future, but with the present pursuits of the NGOs and government agencies, it is not impossible. The Philippine brain drain may still yet turn to brain gain as the OFWs reintegrate to the social mainstream and bring with them the best practices they have acquired abroad and mix it with the best Filipino values that balance family life with other segments of Philippines society. And this is precisely what the Global Summit envisions to accomplish, and what President Aquino has set out to accomplish. Citing migration-related policies in his 16-point platform of government, he committed that his transformational leadership will prioritize their welfare and protection.

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congress reports

Congress Reports By Pamsy L. Tioseco

Senators Lament US Ambassador Sex Tourism Claim; Calls For Vigilance, Apology


enator Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero lambasted the US Ambassador for the latter’s statement that 40% of foreign men who visit the Philippines come for sexual tourism. He noted that the statement issued by Harry K. Thomas Jr. last week must first be scrutinized to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve it.   “Whether it is 1% or 40%, it is a serious issue that the government must address. However, I would like to know the source of and basis of the good Ambassador for his claim and assertion. I task the Department of Foreign Affairs to make the necessary representations and inquiries with the US Ambassador where these figures came from.”   “It is unfortunate that he made such a public statement on the heels of President Benigno Aquino III’s visit to the United States. The timing of the statement is in bad taste or uncalled for. It could have been properly channeled to the Department of Tourism, the National Bureau of Investigation or the Bureau of Immigration but certainly not through a press conference.”   “While it is true that we are recipients of certain aids from the US government and without making excuses for the misgivings of our law enforcement, it is not for foreign entities to rate us or grade us or whether we pass their benchmark or not, especially when no bases are given. We are not their students and they are not our teachers to say the least.”

ambassador to the Philippines “The Palace and Sec. Jimenez appear to be in a state of denial regarding the existence and continued proliferation of sex tourism in our country. The remark made by Ambassador Thomas that up to 40% of male foreign tourists come here primarily for sex was met by an avalanche of denials from the government,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations.   “Instead of directly addressing the issue, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte and Sec. Jimenez dwelt on questioning the accuracy of the ambassador’s statistics. But in the first place, may we ask, what has the government been doing to address these problems?” She asked.   “Whether it’s 40%, 20%, or 10%, one wouldn’t need to hire a survey outfit to find out that sex tourism is happening in many of our tourist destinations and luring many foreign tourists. In fact, we don’t even have to physically visit these areas to verify for ourselves because with just one click of a


Meanwhile, Senator Pia Cayetano took to task Malacanang and newly-appointed Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez for downplaying the remarks made recently by the United States

10 Bagong Bayani september 2011


congress reports

mouse, we will see that sex tours to the Philippines are openly being promoted to foreigners through the internet and social networking sites.” Moreover, Cayetano pointed out that the government has been saying one thing and doing another.  “Sec. Jimenez has also stated that our ‘message’ to all tourists is that ‘if you come here for darker reasons, we don’t want your business.’ But really now, do we see this message being aggressively conveyed in our airports, hotels and motels, or in known red light districts all over the country?”   “In Cambodia, for instance, signs are literally posted all over, including in strategic areas like inside men’s toilets, warning would-be offenders that pedophilia is a crime in their country. At the same time, the public is encouraged to report

people acting suspiciously, including foreign nationals, to police authorities or to their respective embassies by dialing a government hotline against pedophilia,“ Cayetano added. Cayetano is set to deliver a privilege speech last September 26   to discuss the problems of prostitution and sex tourism in the country and call on the Senate to prioritize Senate Bill No.2341, the proposed ‘Anti-Prostitution Act,’ which she also authored.   The measure seeks to change the treatment of persons exploited in prostitution as victims of the system and not as criminals. It also shifts the accountability of prostitution from the prostituted person to the exploiters by amending existing provisions in the Revised Penal Code. 

september 2011 Bagong Bayani 11

congress reports

Jinggoy Sounds Alarm On Tragic OFW Deaths


enate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada intends to look into the numerous reported tragic cases of deaths of overseas Filipino workers. He expressed interest into learning what the Philippine embassies and representations abroad have done, if any, to prevent these from happening. Sen. Estrada, concurrent Chairman of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs, sympathizes with the family and relatives of OFWs whose bodies were recently repatriated.   One of these cases is the death of Joy Pampangan, 25, an OFW whose body was sent home a year after her questionable death from Jordan. Joy’s body had nothing on except for a pair of adult diapers. Together with the body were three death certificates stating different dates, June 21, June 22 and July 22, 2010, which led to suspicions of foul play. Another case of tragic death is that of Romilyn Ibañez, an OFW from Saudi Arabia, whose remains were returned this week mutilated and burned after a year of delay since her mysterious “acid burning” death.   “There should be a thorough investigation on the part of the Philippine Embassies in countries where our OFWs had been victims of brutal and unnerving maltreatment. We owe our modern heroes and fellow Filipinos justice and final resolution of their cases,” Sen. Estrada asserted, as he wondered how many death cases were actually considered “case closed. “   An online report cites Migrante, a non-government organization of OFWs, to have recorded at least 15 cases as of February 2011, mostly involving women, of OFWs who died under mysterious circumstances and are considered unresolved.    Sen. Estrada pointed out that the recent amendment to the Migrant Workers’ Act under Republic Act 10022 provides

12 Bagong Bayani september 2011

that the State through its official missions abroad must assess the overall working conditions in receiving countries of our migrant workers, and no OFW should be deployed to countries with unfavorable and unjust employment conditions. “This refers not only to absence of wars or uprising, but also to the existence of social and labor laws as well as positive, concrete actions undertaken by the host countries in protecting the rights of migrant workers,” Sen. Estrada elaborated.   “The heinous deaths of our kababayans must prompt embassy and labor officials to step up in its efforts to proactively protect our workers from abusive employers and illegal recruiters,” he remarked.


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The auThor is a parTicipanT To The very firsT Global summiT of filipinos in The Diaspora which was helD from 27-29 sepTember 2011 aT picc, manila philippines. she has been chosen as one of The 25 oriGinal founDinG members of The newly creaTeD Global filipinos Diaspora council, To represenT The filipino communiTy in sinGapore.

Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora By Mary Jane Salomon


he Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora with its main theme: Diaspora to Development was a wake up call to every Filipino living and working overseas to bring home the bacon and contribute to nation building, in due time. The summit was held at the PICC, Manila, Philippines from September 27 to 29 and was made possible through the active support and participation of US Pinoys for Good Governance, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations, and the Youth Leaders in the Diaspora, as partners.   In his social contract with the Filipino people, President Benigno

14 Bagong Bayani September 2011

S. Aquino III made a commitment to transformational leadership wherein he laid out his 16-point platform of Government. According to Point 10 which is migration-related, “from a government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange, disregarding the social cost to Filipino families to a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity, and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority.” And in response to this, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas through the proactive leadership of Secretary Imelda Nicolas, an


The auThor wiTh The enerGeTic Tandem of usec mary Grace ampil-Tirona, execuTive direcTor of The commisison on filipinos overseas and secreTary imelda nicolas of The commission on filipinos overseas.

The auThor is humbly honored To share special momenTs wiTh one of her inspiraTions, aTTy. loida nicolas lewis, naffaa naTional chair emeriTa, us pinoy for Good Governance naTional chair and Global filipinos diaspora council chair.

The auThor is flanked by GreaT women leaders, sisTers secreTary imelda nicolas and aTTy. loida nicolas lewis.

agency under the Office of the President which is tasked to promote and uphold the interest, rights and welfare of Overseas Filipinos, and preserve and strengthen ties with Filipino communities overseas, launched the very first Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora. During the three-day conference, the CFO and its close to 500 participants, including presidential awardees from different parts of the world, successfully launched the Diaspora to Development or D2D program which aims to engage, consult, network and cooperate with overseas Filipinos in development initiatives and in achieving competitiveness and inclusive growth as the twin pillars of Philippine Development Plan.   And to facilitate and reinforce the significance of the program, workshops have been conducted on Arts and Culture Exchange, Diaspora Investment, Diaspora Philanthropy, Global Legal Assistance and Advocacy, Return and Reintegration, Tourism Initiatives, Brain Gain, Teach-Share and Educational Exchange, Business Advisory Circle and Medical Mission Coordination, all geared towards creating a better Philippines.   The summit gave birth to a special group called Global Filipino

Diaspora Council of which 25 members were selected from all over the world to represent their respective host country community in our collective effort to give justice to the diaspora to development program of the CFO and the government. I am honored and proud to be chosen as one of the founding members and with the great Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis as the chairperson. I was number 15. As a proud Filipino in the Diaspora and a proud participant of the summit, I personally would like to congratulate the very energetic Sec. Imelda Nicolas and her team at the CFO, the US Pinoys for Good Governance, The National Federation of Filipino American Associations, YouLeaD and the Philippine government for coming up with a summit that we can all be proud of and will make as realize that there is no place like home especially when the government and its agencies are serious in providing a well established framework for all Overseas Filipinos as and when anyone decides to come home to the Philippines.   Already, I am looking forward to the next summit two years from now, which has been scheduled on February 28 to 26.   To  all the participants, it was a job well done!

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 15

usapang legal

Introduction To Trademarks Atty. Hazel R. Riguera


he increasing movement of people and trade across borders has led to the importance of knowing intellectual property laws, specifically the law on trademarks. It would pay for Filipino overseas workers to have at least a basic knowledge of trademark laws as their work, either for employers or in selfemployed or entrepreneurial status, would be affected by it.     While this brief article is based on trademark law as embodied in the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines , it should be noted that this code is fundamentally similar to foreign intellectual property codes. This is the result of the harmonization of intellectual property laws under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to which our country adhered to on December 4, 1994. The term “trade name” means the name or designation identifying or distinguishing an enterprise. (Section 121.3, Intellectual Property Code of the Phil.) On the other hand, the term “mark” means any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. (Section 121.1, Intellectual Property Code of the Phil.)  Conversely, “Collective mark” means any visible sign designated as such in the application for registration and capable of distinguishing the origin or any other common characteristic, including the quality of goods or services of different enterprises which use the sign under the control of the registered owner of the collective mark. (Section 121.2, Intellectual Property Code of the Phil.)

Functions oF a Mark 1. Economic Function Through trademarks, the products of one manufacturer are distinguished fromt those of the others. Trademarks identify and promote products to consumers.     2. The Source-Indicating Function

16 Bagong Bayani september 2011

Trademarks indicate the source or origin of the goods on which it is used.   3. Guarantee Function Trademarks serve to guarantee that the product to which they are affixed comes up to a certain standard of quality.   4. The Advertisement Function The advertisement function of trademark is of special importance given the modern technology and the growth of international trade.  Through media advertisement,   trademarks  establish a connection between the trademarked products and the public in regions where he trademarked products are not manufactured or sold. A well-earned reputation may be gained in places where no business connection has been established by the trademark owner.   The rights in a mark shall be acquired through registration made validly in accordance with the legal provisions. (Section 122, Intellectual Property Code). A certificate of registration shall be in force for ten (10) years provided that the registrant shall file a declaration of actual use and evidence to that effect, or shall show valid reasons based on the existence of obstacles to such use, as prescribed by the Regulations, within one (1) year from the fifth anniversary of the date of the date of the registration of the mark.  Otherwise, the mark shall be removed from the Register by the Office. (Section 145, Intellectual Property Code)  

What can be registered as Mark?

All marks, except those enumerated in Section 123 of the Intellectual Property Code, among which are the following: • • • • • •

Immoral or scandalous words Words that embarrass or ridicule a person, dead or alive Flag or coat of arms of the Philippines , of any political subdivision, or any foreign nation Name/signature of a living person, except by his written consent Name/signature/portrait of a deceased person during the life of his widow, except by written consent of his widow Confusingly similar or identical with a registered mark, or with

usapang legal •

a mark covered by an earlier application confusingly similar or identical with a well known local or international mark, whether registered or not in our country

Below are some Supreme Court decisions on trademarks:   1. The same mark ESSO can be registered simultaneously if they will be used for unrelated goods in different classes.  In this case, the mark ESSO was used for cigarettes and the other mark ESSO was used for petroleum products. (Esso Standard vs CA, 116 SCRA 336) 2.




6.   7.


The simultaneous registration of the marks ATUSSIN and PERTUSSIN, were allowed, even if for the same class. The court reasoned out that since both were for pharmaceutical goods, they will be covered by prescription and therefore, will not create confusing similarity. (Ethepa vs. Director of Patents, 16 SCRA 495)  The simultaneous registration of the word CAMIA   even if the same word was used for the same class, was allowed, as one is for ham and the other is for lard, butter, etc.  The Court held that “emphasis should be on the similarity of products involved and not on the arbitrary classification or general description of their properties.”  In this case, the word CAMIA was used for unrelated goods, even if the goods belong to the same class. (PRC vs. Ng Sam, 115 SCRA 472)


The certificate of registration confers upon the trademark owner the exclusive right to use its own symbol only to those goods specified I the certificates, subject to the conditions and limitations stated therein. (Canon Kabushiki Kaisha vs. CA, 336 SCRA 266)

10. The exclusive right to trademarks may be lost by non-use, such as in the case where a trade mark has not been used in the Philippines for the last 35 years. (Bata Industries, Ltd. Vs. CA, 1 SCRA 318)   An application for registration of a mark, or its registration, may be assigned or transferred with or without the transfer of the business using the mark. (Sec. 149.1, Intellectual Property Code of the Phil.).  Said assignment or transfer shall be in writing and signed by the contracting parties.  However, such assignment or transfer shall be void if it is liable to mislead the public.   It is hoped that a basic knowledge of trademark law will help our overseas workers comply with foreign and international trademark laws thereby enhancing their value as workers and at the same time avoiding civil, administrative, and criminal prosecution.  

Mark registration is not enough. It is important that the mark is actually used in commerce before protection is given to it. (Philip Morris vs. CA, 224 SCRA 576)    It is important for the registrant to prove the popularity for the design covered in the registration and that the respondent is capitalizing on the popularity of such design. (Levi Strauss & Co. et al vs. Clinton Apparelle, 470 SCRA 236) “ Wellington ”, being a city in New Zealand , may not be registered. (Ang vs. Wellington Dep’t Store, 92 Phil 488) “Bayer” registered for Aspirin was permitted registration another entity for insecticides since there is no danger of deceit since different products are involved.  ( Sterling Products vs. Farbenfabriken Bayer (27 SCRA 1214) “Solimet”, a liquid medicine for chickens, was allowed registration despite opposition from “Sulmetine” which are tablets for human use. (American Cyanamid vs. Director of Patents)

september 2011 Bagong Bayani 17



Music To My Ears By Justice Francisco-Schaffer

I grew up in a family who loves music. I don’t know anyone in our family who doesn’t appreciate it. My grandfather played his ice age record player with the gigantic CD of Victor Wood in the afternoons. My grandmother sewing laces on our “So-en’s” to the music of Celeste Legaspi & Pilita Corales. And my parents? They bought one of the latest models of the Filipino invented Karaoke Sing Along System that time, after my mom discovered that my 3rd sister has the voice of her favorite Filipina Divas: Kuh Ledesma & Zsa Zsa Padilla to be precise. We Filipinos have a gift when it comes to singing. Our unconscious exposure from day one as our parents, grandparents, and nannies hummed us to sleep made music a part of us. It is very rare to go to a place in the Philippines where there is NO music playing at all. But it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that I started to become more conscious of the Filipino artists who made our country proud. There were big names starting with Lea Salonga who played the lead role in Miss Saigon and the singing voices for Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and Mulan. Jose Mari Chan, who writes beautiful, has romantic songs listened to and sung by Filipinos around the world. Then there is Arnel Pineda who was discovered by Neal Schon (from the band Journey) via YouTube andis now the band’s lead vocalist. But the one that struck me most was when I found out that Freddie Aguilar’s song “Anak” has been translated into 26 languages already! It’s actually one of my favorite songs now

18 Bagong Bayani September 2011

because of its simple yet real lyrics. Besides, being well-known in the international theatre and recording industry, we have quickly introduced ourselves as international entertainers as well as seen in the most famous hotels, bars, and resorts worldwide. 20 years ago, I would have seen these singers differently. Now, I’m silently thankful to our singer “Kababayans” for earning us that respect and popularity around the world. Because of them, I’ve been told countless of times that all Filipinos can sing---and I never heard myself disagreeing with it. How can I? Here in Singapore, most of the bars I go to have Filipino singers and musicians. In fact, my friend Amy is one of them. She is happily singing and dancing to every beat by just feeling the music. She sings all the different genres.From love songs to rockto rap, if there’s a tune, there’s singer for it. Nowadays, when our family goes on vacation in some resort in Thailand or Malaysia, we are more than certain that the singers will be from the Philippines. My kids will ask me, “Mommy, are they Filipinos?” And before I could reply, my husband would look at me and give me an answer so certain by saying “Kabayan mo” with a smile.  Justice Francisco-Schaffer is currently working in an investment trading company as the office administrator. She is married with 3 children and has lived in the US and Germany before moving to Singapore on 2006.

psyche me up

Persona: The Shadow Behind The Mask By Dr. Mariglo Vicente Camero, RGC, CCI, DAAETS


“Life is a box of chocolates”. You’ll never know what’s inside unless you open it, see it, and taste it. Some appear in different colors, in different shapes, in different flavors, and in different “sweet” tastes. Like chocolates, life is colorful and sweet because of entertainment, performing arts, visual or graphic arts where Filipinos are known to be brilliant for. Our Filipino personality (“pagkatao”), better understood in Filipino Psychology (“Sikolohiyang Pilipino”), through Dr. Virgilio Enriquez, acknowledged by many as the Father of Filipino Psychology,   will tell us that one of our profound traits is that we almost always like to participate (“lumahok”; ”makilahok”); not just to participate but to actively participate and join others in activities.  This is truly visible when we see our fellow “kababayans” join or audition for contests (singing contests, talent contests, comedy shows, game shows and the like).  One can really observe that most Filipinos are persevering, patient, very creative, prone to taking chances (“makipagsapalaran”), filled with happiness (even if we don’t have it, we often look for it and go for it!). Our capacity to be naturally sensitive to ourselves and to others,  not to mention that most of us highly make use of

our emotions (“damdamin”), bring out the best in us which makes it easier to creatively express what we want and what we feel either on stage, on the camera, or on output designs. Performing and showing off our talent in other form serve as a “public or generalized catharsis” where we can uniquely and creatively express what we cannot when we are with our real self and in real time space.  Neuropsychologically speaking, the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex (specializes in reading & expressing emotions); lobes such as occipital (visual), parietal (movement) and temporal (sound and speech); plus the limbic system which hosts a more specific structure like the amygdala (primary role in memory & emotional reactions) which sends signal to hippocampus (for memory functions; especially useful when memorizing lines or lyrics) and hypothalamus (for emotional responses); and neurotransmitters responsible (norepinephrine and dopamine) are very functional among the Filipinos renowned in the arts. Filipino artists do not just settle for a mediocre performance or creative output. It is always effervescent, stunning and outstanding.   Talking about sensation, perception and learning, people

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 19

psyche me up can be either visually, kinesthetically, or auditorilly inclined. This is mostly applicable for those of us who are good in arts like expressing oneself in painting, drawing, computer graphics and others.    Those who are great in kinesthetic or movement would excel in the field of performing arts like theater and movies that are action packed or filled with a lot of artistic expression.   Individuals who are good in auditory do well in the music industry.  Filipino music is known all over the world for its unique, exceedingly emotional, and communicative ways. 

“It has always been my dream to take my turn at the most respected concert hall in the world. As enormous as that is for me, I still plan on making it an intimate show, singing the songs I love to sing and making some good music with a band of musicians the good old fashioned way.” - Lea Salonga (Broadway Diva)

“It is the most complicated thing in the world; it’s the most mysterious because it’s something you can’t control (on love).” -Sharon Cuneta (Megastar)

“I can’t deliver the news because I make too much news.” - Kris Aquino (Presidential daughter/sister, actress, endorser)

What does it actually feel like to be when you are on stage?     When you are performing (like you act, dance, sing or even do something else on stage)? One would say that “It feels that “You know!” - Manny Pacquiao you are on top of the world.  You hear the clap and cheer of (World Champion boxer, also into performing) the audience; most of us clamor for this”. The excitement, the   sense of popularity it gives, the fame and admiration all add to it.  Again, all of these comprise our relatedness needs and “I’ve got to do my best .. just one time.. I sang and after that the psychological needs (like our need for achievement, need for magic happened.. - Charice (International pop singer) fun, need for power and belongingness) which reflect our   being “social” beings. Our compensatory strivings would also dictate that there are aspects of ourselves that would want to excel in some other ways where there are “gray areas” in ourselves.  The archetypes, one of which is what Carl Jung popularly called the shadow, which may come out when we express ourselves in something that has to do with arts.

“I’m so excited. I hope I don’t get nervous when I perform with her together on stage.” - Sarah Geronimo (Female pop superstar, endorser, model)

“Well for now that will be Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera who always, always inspire us…” - Christian Bautista (Asian male pop superstar, model)

As someone who is into performing arts myself, “I feel that when I’m on stage or in front of a camera, I can conquer the world. I can be who I am not, I can be who I am, the real me. What I really I want or what I really do not want to be (not even in my wildest dreams). My fantasies come to life. Emotion that is powerful & striking. It brings out the best or the worst in me.” Singapore is a “hot spot” where many of our Filipino performing artists would gladly hold their concerts, shows, theater acts, and share their keenness or love for the arts. Some of the most famous Filipino artists known both locally and internationally with their famous statements or their private thoughts candidly shared in public:

“Oh! Uh, just the same things i do. I think if he has been on the moon for so long, I think when he comes over he wants to change, I guess”. - Gloria Diaz (Miss Universe 1969)

20 Bagong Bayani September 2011

“So far I was able to do everything that I wanted to do”. -Regine Velasquez (Asia ’s songbird)  

“I’m so glad to reach 80. I love my job.. My showbiz life. My family life. Everything is there. It’s like a confession (his book).” -Dolphy (Comedy King; All-time favorite actor of Philippine movie)

“O-ha!” - Jimmy Santos (PBA basketball player, comedienne) Whether you are recognized or not for your talent or performance, what matters most is that your passion is apparent wherever you are in any part of the globe; and it will be that way until the end of time. No one can stop you and no one can take it away from you.  It’s what you’ve got and it’s what you can share with others that are considerably PRICELESS and that makes you STAND OUT as a Filipino. 

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The Journey not the destination by Gavin Bagares


amela Wildheart dons many hats. Her description reads like a converging pool of talent upon talent: Recording Artiste, Songwriter and Music Composer, Celebrity Show host, Radio and Voice personality (in English and Japanese), Academic Lecturer, Course Trainer, Writer, Marketing Communication Management expert, former Radio Programme Head, Theatre Actress, Rock Diva, and former Senior Manager for Singapore Zoo - Night Safari & Jurong Bird Park. Add soon to this formidable list “Book Author,” as she is busily penning two DIYs of sorts. Wildheart conducts personal workshops and training on vocal-hosting and hospitality-training in between shows, recordings, lectures, and leads the rockstar way of life. She’s not the kind to stop now after hitting the mid-century mark; she contributes to publications like OFW Pinoy Star and Bagong Bayani here in Singapore. That Pamela was born in Cebu, Philippines is no accident. Cebu has been dubbed “the Singapore of the Philippines” at one point or the other. The Queen City of the South certainly does not have the Lion State’s spicand-span systems but it does boasts of similar energy in commerce and industry. Arguably, what Cebu has always had is the creative force that has brought forth world-class talents. There, for example, was Pilita Corrales for music and Gloria Sevilla for film. More current crop includes Kenneth Cobunpue for furniture design and Monique Lhuillier for fashion. A true-blue Cebuana, Pamela possesses this creative force in no mean measure. Born Pamela Pilapil to the socially-prominent and close-knit clan of Liloan, Cebu, Pamela counts among her talented kin the award-winning Philippine actor and erstwhile beauty queen Pilar Pilapil. Before coming to Singapore, Pamela was already juggling her Mass Communication studies at the University of the Philippines - Cebu with nightly gigs and solo concerts at the city’s most exciting watering holes like Shakey’s and Cebu Plaza Hotel (now The Marco Polo Plaza). Her doctor father and culinary entrepreneur mother were well-positioned to see her through the Philippines’ topmost university where she was a bona fide campus figure. But Pamela’s early sense of independence prevailed. During the early stage of her career she travelled extensively to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, and Indonesia for guest performances armed only with a guitar and an indomitable spirit. Wherever she went she made news for her electrifying performances.

The Turning-poinT Cebu’s Metro Pop Music Festival, where she penned Kabataang Paglaum, 22 Bagong Bayani SEPTEMBER 2011

with other Cebuano songwriters, proved a watershed. As finalist, Pam worked with Homer Flores as arranger and other accomplished musicians. The songwriting became unstoppable. The music became not just a passion but a way of life. Theatre was the natural evolution, but the goal to further her education was never forgotten. And in between university life and the work-related travels were her regular columns in newspapers and journals. After a highly successful stint at Petaling Jaya Hilton - Malaysia during a Singapore stop-over, Pamela was recruited by an agent who booked her at a small pub, Bier Keller, owned by the popular Jumaboy family where she performed back-to-back with Douglas Oliveiro who would become another big Singapore name. As the trite phrase goes - the rest is history! She was offered to perform again with her band. It was shows, concerts, gigs…in-between the hubbub, a deepening relationship with the Singaporean man of her dreams – Clifford Kho, the businessman she met in Malaysia and became her biggest fan, Singapore tour guide, and later her husband and best friend. Having decided to stay in Singapore - which she felt right at the start to be connected to her psychically as both she and the city state celebrate the leonine August 9 as their special day – birthday for Pamela and National Day for Singapore - Pamela examined her options with then supportive boyfriend Clifford. “My performances spiraled into bigger contracts with bands and finally ended with Bill Bailey’s Bar at the Dynasty Hotel, now the Marriott

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Pamela & heads together at the Petaling Jaya hilton, malaysia

Pamela With Prezzure at the Bill Bailey’s Bar noW the marriott singaPore

Singapore. I then continued to perform at the PJ Hilton, Malaysia and other Asian countries. Despite my constant travels, I still went back to Singapore like it was home to me. As this is really where I left my heart with my then special man, Clifford, soon to become my husband, a Singaporean,” recalls Pamela of this period.

Radio gaga

Pamela Wildheart’s early music days started With guitar and solo Performances

How Pamela got into radio and become one of its shining stars is a story in itself. In her own words, she tells a tale of serendipity and of ripe opportunities that do not happen every day:

“I applied to SBC, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (Television) now called Media Corporation Singapore, but unknown to me Clifford applied my name and sent my CV to NTUC RADIO, or National Trades Union Congress, RADIO HEART 91.3 FM, which has just started its operation and needed qualified radio presenters/broadcasters. It was a pioneer radio station in magazine format allowing chats and talks, then a rarity in the Singapore radio scene. Despite a promising Television career, having written the opening liner for Caldecott Productions (the production arm of SBC then), I decided to attend the interview.” What happened next is familiar to every Singaporean in the 1990s.

recording artiste manny laPingcao and Pamela Widheart Perform at the suBstation singaPore for a concert!

Proving her rock goddess self, early solo concert at ladyhill singaPore to full house attendance!

“My Singapore Broadcast Career is exceptionally successful. I first became an outrageously named radio star PAMELA WILDHEART. All other radio personalities were named with HEART monikers. Our then adviser and chairman was the late Mr Ong Teng Cheong, who later became the president of Singapore,” Pamela looks back with pride. PAMELA WILDHEART’s radio persona became a smashing hit in Singapore radio Heart 91.3 FM. Her signature fast style and “hyena” laughter catapulted her to Singapore Celebrity Disc Jockey status. Her media-mileage exceeded many others: Asiaweek, Straits Times, and New Paper featured her in their pages. Celebrity interviews, TV appearances, and travel to international events became the norm as well as meeting with stars like Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Cyndi Lauper, Julio Iglesias, David Beckham, Gary Lineker, and even presidents and other plenipotentiaries. She then became the Filipino Voice on radio for her 7-years with the exceptional radio show MABUHAY PHILIPPINES! - the longest running English-Pinoy dedicated show that made her a household name on air. Pamela was hired as the in-flight voice of 13 airlines like Philippine Airlines, Emirates, Saudi Air, Singapore Airlines, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, and others. Her knowledge of Japanese was another advantage and she hosted shows with HELLO FM, a Singapore-based Japanese station under MediaCorp. On her meteoric rise, she ticks-off her promotion as follows: “I was promoted to Senior Programme Presenter and later on became Head, Radio Programmes, for English and Malay... Malay is one language for the Malay community group. Singapore comprises of the Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians.” Pamela became the stations programme head for English and Malay

instant heart 91.3 fm radio star Pamela Wildheart Became the life of the Primetime morning shoW

finally a chance to meet tom Jones, the voice!

James ingram, grammy Winner and famous for the song Just once and one hundred Ways

anita saraWak the main goddess and diva of asian entertainment

SEPTEMBER 2011 Bagong Bayani 23

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stations of NTUC Radio. Then came the retirement, much to the shock of fans.

Communication from the prestigious Macquarie University Australia in collaboration with National Productivity Board Singapore.

The wild years

The scholar in her took strength and she lectures part-time at Singapore Institute of Management, SMa Institute of Higher Learning, Curtin Singapore, Marketing Institute of Singapore, MDIS, Regent Business School, NUS courses extension in partnership with RMIT, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, Oklahoma University, and many others. She specializes in Mass Communication, Asia Pacific Campaign and Marketing Communication, Marketing, Radio and TV production, Journalism, Media Audience and Publics, Advertising, Global and International Marketing, and other subjects.

To pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an academic lecturer, Pamela Wildheart, the iconic radio star, got “off” air by choice. Her path to a lecturer’s post is roundabout, so for close to nine years, Pamela Wildheart worked with real wildlife at the magnificent trifecta of the Singapore Zoo, the Night Safari, and the Jurong Bird Park. The worldclass attractions are owned by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. There, Pamela’s corporate management, advertising, public relations, event management, international sales, sponsorship, and creative programming talents came to a unified fore. “The leisure industry posed a challenged to me, I worked endlessly and specially in Jurong BirdPark, where I was given every opportunity by my bosses to use my talents in shows, music, events, advertising, adoption and people into good use,” Pamela has been quoted as saying. She adds: “I travelled extensively for trade missions and meetings, but SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD spotted me again! This time the invitation to visit India for the Uniquely Singapore road shows in five cities as the main host and performer. Wow, I frequented India often for three weeks shows; then came STB Korea’s invitation for me to perform at Hyundai-Coex in Seoul, then Guangzhou, China, and more.” While the travel and leisure industry was so busy, Pamela never stopped teaching and learning. She completed her Master of Arts in Mass


24 Bagong Bayani SEPTEMBER 2011

In 2008, Pamela decided to “retire” from, the colourful world of birds and animals. Her goal this time was to put back the music in her life through album recordings. For fourteen years, Singapore’s rock star, Moliano, from the highly acclaimed group Lovehunters has wooed her to publish her own music and sound.

On The rOad again “I can’t look back, Wild & Wicked; my debut album was an eye-opener for me. For years, I’ve sold my music for jingles, commercials, and even wrote Caldecott Productions’ launching stinger and the late Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong’s birthday song from the radio station. A new life dawned on me.” Pamela now a certified golden girl elucidates on her decision to go back to her music. Now embarking on the second album Flowers which now have ten original tracks self-penned, it will seal her fate as a songwriting dynamo: “Working with Moliano brought the music and rock back to my life. It’s not



cover story easy being an independent artiste and I’m funding my own efforts... The aim is never to be managed by commercial enterprise but to document my soul, music, and original sound into my own production. Moliano is a partner and a gifted genius, hard to come by. I am blessed.”

Wild & Wicked, the Pamela Wildheart debut album Was shot at el toro singaPore

during the solo concert at dxo, singaPore

FloWers the neWly 2nd Pamela Wildheart albun cover

“I write about Mother Earth, flowers and men, sincere love, lost longings, empty nights and about my parents and experiences. My first album only featured two covers, Anak by Freddie Aguilar and It’s a Heartache by Bonnie Tyler. Flowers will be all-original. Please support Bisdak talent, a pure-bred Bisaya (born in the Visayan island of Cebu). I’m raring for the coming concerts as most of my shows are filled to capacity, I wish to stamp my way with my own music, not dictated by commercial enterprises. Because over and above, I am an artist, not just a product,” Pamela continues. A cock-eyed optimist, Pamela is all plans: “I need to accomplish my two books about Show hosting professionally the PAMELA WILDHEART way and the customer service for the leisure industry. I want to discover all the talents I’m blessed with. Life is a miracle. Everyone has so much to share and I’m still discovering them along the way…”

very appreciative even of small gestures…” A sampler of her philosophy may be gleaned from her favorite quotations. One is from Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Insist on yourself. Never imitate.” Another is an obscure gem from Marie Rey – “No one grows old by living – only by losing interest in living.” From David Burns in Intimate Connections, Pamela swears by the words, “There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you.” And she would not want readers to miss W.C. Fields’ “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” These quotes resonate in Pamela’s life through her originality, curiosity, self-motivation, and doggedness. Pamela has personal heroes to echo these life verses: Ellen Degeneres for her outstanding shows; Mother Teresa of Calcutta for giving up on all things material for a noble cause; Randy Pausch for his enjoyment of living (“it’s contagious!); blind Pianist Kevin Kern, who enchants us with his music; and Tina Turner for her boundless energy and music, and for her compleat denial of the ravages of age.

The New hero Heroes were stuff of myths and of superhuman deeds only a rare few had seemed capable of. The term new hero, the “Bagong Bayani” has embraced a greater number of people to its fold and the semantic no longer excludes the ordinary Filipino worker who risks life and limb to go abroad - out of their comfort zones - to literally and figuratively bring home the bacon where it is needed most. The Bagong Bayani’s mythology is in one’s traversing of the Vale of Tears to support distant love ones while suffering alienation and privation on their own – it is in the act of transcendent self-sacrifice. Pamela is no exception. She supports her old and sickly nanny. Sends cash and kind to sundry relatives and friends who are in need. When a transsexual friend needed a place to stay for her treatments with the late great Prof. S.S. Ratnam, her flat was home away from home. Indeed, it is a tale all too familiar with fellow overseas workers. But it is not just in being able to help that keeps her fulfilled. Having followed her bliss, as Joseph

No bed of roses

Pamela’s success is, of course, by no means an easy one. As every overseas worker knows blood, sweat, and tears are very much part of the equation. When this author visited with Pamela in Singapore of the 1990’s at the height of her Wildheart radio fame, Pamela would confide of having to deal with racial slurs. But she trudged on, a certified nose-to-the-grindstone type that she is. Talent is abundant, she told this writer then, but attitude, personality, and the untiring ability to deliver will win the day. Being the writer that she is also, Pamela has five key phrases that best captures her spirit: Generous Soul – she loves sharing thoughts, gifts, music, laughter and love, advice, time, food, etc.; Decisive –When she sets her mind to things I want, I rarely lose track; Confident Charmer- she’s read that confidence heightens sex appeal, yes she’s truly a confident personality inside out…; Voracious Learner – she loves new knowledge and she wants to explore new concepts at all times, too; and, Zestful- she takes enjoyment in things she does, music, food, friends and she’s usually

the Word bayani has an imPortant meaning to it. it is a call For heroism and one's resPonsibility to Play a universal role in society.

SEPTEMBER 2011 Bagong Bayani 25

cover story who display leanings towards special talents. The mentoring process can be for a lifetime or just a few months. Yet, the change and influence can be monitored for future production or opportunities.” “The Government can also reward talents with opportunities and not just with money. Other activities maybe—free lessons and lectures for those who wish to learn more. The Government should also woo the talents who are based overseas so they can come back and impart their basic skills and exceptional talents to those who have not even travelled,” she adds. Pamela closes her drift with a piece of advice to folks back home who want to live and work in Singapore fruitfully: “Learn everything fast, correctly, and efficiently! Persevere, have faith in people. Do not worry about finding a job—they are a-plenty, but worry about not being able to deliver quality work! Worry about not being able to excel in the job. If you are skilled and excellent in your work, the job will find you.”

a citizen of the world People who have met Pamela are wont to say that she is spiritual and not religious, a trait that translates to her being a citizen of the world, a trait built on faith in the boundlessness of what life has to offer rather than on borders and limitations.


Campbell once advised, has allowed her to be an inspiration to others, too. “It is a privilege to be considered a modern-day heroine…As a hero you are supposed to inspire people to do their best in their work. You are a role model, iconic symbol of the ultimate goal. I think being recognized as such is not for me to say so but for people to acknowledge,” Pamela admits. “Still this header—Bagong Bayani carries with it not just prestige but responsibilities and a sound reputation which should be preserved and revered. You can influence people (the readers) and they may explore further their prospects in life. I hope that my being a Bayani will continue to change lives and allow room for those who aspire for perfection and study to achieve one’s goals…Being a Bayani should not get into one’s head, rather one should shoulder the tremendous role of ensuring you can motivate, inspire, activate dreams and ambitions positively…” she trails off with characteristic drama.

This lack of margin between what is possible and impossible allows her to develop her own theories on the phenomenon of the Global Pinoy; the Filipino prospering in all corners of the world. Her first theory is that there is a need to ensure that Filipinos think as a nation and to continue on improving their skills despite being already widespread the world over: “We must consistently think of how, as successful talents overseas, we can contribute not only to the Filipino residing in the “adopted” countries we live, but to the Filipinos in the Philippines as well.” Pamela’s second theory is of an empowered Global Pinay—of the century: “The Filipina woman has evolved, too, and is now a successful entrepreneur, musician, banker, hotelier, management guru, and educationist, whatever… How we can contribute as a new Filipina of these times and how we can better the image of Pinays not only in our new “adopted” countries but back home also.” On being Filipina, she shares a food for thought: “I am proud to be a Filipina woman of the new century. Years ago, women may not be as privileged as we are today, I foresee a bright future for the empowered and genuinely talented Filipinos and Filipinas, but only if we continue learning

Government plays a part “The Philippine Government remains a central and key figure in nurturing Filipino talents. It should be an initiator rather than just a trend follower that is so often becomes,” states Pamela boldly. She continues on her thesis: “To promote Filipino talents, the government should recognize it early and work towards its development at the early stage. There are so many ways which can be enriching and gratifying as well. Talent Mentoring begins early. Spotting talents is no mean feat. Government programmes can include finding a top notch star that can mentor the weaker talents. Mentor a talent can be done for those 26 Bagong Bayani SEPTEMBER 2011



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Supporting the open heartS project to raiSe fundS cambodian children’S claSSroomS, held at hard rock cafe SentoSa Singapore

lending Support to tampineS eaSt community club, pamela Wildheart WaS ShoWhoSt to the graSSrootS international friendShip day

new things and new styles and approaches to a field of interest. For example: Music. We can’t just sit and be contented with all the compliments we receive. They say Filipinos are great musicians, but we should also listen to other styles and cultures with respect and be even better. Being humble is a great trait, but being accomplished in many fields is a marvel and a miracle. MABUHAY!”

“Singaporeans are very exceptionally-skilled with management and this is one aspect of the corporate world that we Filipinos should learn more from. I find that Singapore today is even more exciting and moving really fast towards a more techno-savvy country with more coordinated projects to woo tourists and foreign talents to compete, yet without forgetting its core nationals.”

Here to stay Pamela Wildheart’s tremendous success in her chosen arenas is a testament to Singapore’s own brand of crafting and honoring Big Talent. Pamela is all praises for Singapore and concludes: “I find that Singapore has changed dramatically through these years. It has become more cosmopolitan and foreigners are becoming a-plenty from all walks of life. Singaporeans are also better educated and bringing back to Singapore a new brand of international experience. Many are influenced by the global trends and this can be seen in almost every aspect of the industry whether leisure, broadcasting, media, commerce, or banking. Pamela Wildheart has substance behind the style…here’s a rundoWn of her aWards received through the years: 1981 Cebu, Philippines, Finalist for Metro Popular Music Festival, for original song composition ‘KABATAANG PAGLAUM.” Youngest songwriter member of KAMSU, Kausahang Musikero sa Sugbo. Winning song was recorded and arranged by Homer Flores 1990 Nominated “BAGONG BAYANI” by the Philippine Embassy in Singapore as recommended by then Ambassador Frank Benedicto, and then labour Attaché Abraham Mali. 1991 Singapore, Finalist, Interpreter, National Concert for the Disabled (Wataboshi) sponsored by the Community Chest of Singapore Song ‘How Wonderful to See Hands Talk” 2002 Selected WORLD CLASS FILIPINO by World Class Television. Produced & Presented by Anabelle Tecson Abaya, former President Ramos spokesperson. The global cable show featured only “prime” Filipino talents and high achievers worldwide like Jose Mari Chan and others. 2004 Selected for PIPOL—by ABS-CBN-the Philippine’s prime television show on successful Filipinos overseas, shown nationwide on December 26 & 28, 2000 in Philippine Television 2008 Recipient of Star Category, Excellence Service Award (EXSA) Singapore’s  national recognition in the Singapore leisure industry by ten industry  bodies like ASA, SPRING, NATAS, LTA, SHA, CAAS, RAS, Singapore Health Services, ABS and

“Singapore respects talents, and in this way I love being here.” “Singapore is a country which never sits still; it is a consistent and dedicated player in business, commerce, arts, sports and media. It reinvents itself and is steadily learning from every year’s past experiences. The future is forever exciting as there are jobs available to those who are qualified, so best is to be excellent and qualified if you wish to relevant and hirable, not only in Singapore but around the world.” “Singapore is a land of opportunity! It has been a rewarding experience for me all along. I have been through so many challenges in my career shifts.” Public Service Division 2009 16 June 2009, Award Recipient, The Outstanding Filipinos in Singapore 2009 during the Philippine Independence Day Celebration 2009, SingaporeAwardee, Selected out of 150,000 Filipinos in Singapore, this is considered a major award for recognition and contribution to the Filipino culture in Singapore. The award is given by The Philippine Independence Day Celebration 2009 Committee, Embassy of the Philippines, Singapore, and University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Singapore). 2010 August Invited Guest Speaker and Moderator for Panel Discussion, The Asia Business Forum, The Asia Business Revolution Conference at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore. The key topic is on CRM, Tools and Technology, CRM in Marketing and Sales Force, CRM in Customer Service and Call Centre. PAMELA WILDHEART will speak on CRM in Marketing and Sales Force, Integration of Values, Identities & Branding with New Social Media, 24 August 12 noon. 2011 NIE (National Institute of Education) Certificate of Achievement in Higher Education Teaching & Learning, Singapore  & SIM Singapore Institute of Management Advanced Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Singapore 2011 March Lecturer Service Award, in recognition and appreciation of ten years of dedicated service, Singapore Institute of Management Global Education and Singapore Institute of Management University, Singapore For more of PAMELA WILDHEART visit

SEPTEMBER 2011 Bagong Bayani 27


Dare To Fly!

By Sankie G. Simbulan Soar like an eagle with Asia’s longest dual-cable zipline at Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon, Philippines.


ne of the best things about being a Filipino working overseas is having that extra purchasing power that allows you to get the most fromyour hard earned money, especially on selfrewarding spending sprees like travel! If you are looking for your next holiday destination, I highly recommend this wonderful Philippine eco-tourism site in Bukidnon (from the Visayan vernacular ‘Bukid’ or mountain), the highland province at the heart of Mindanao island blessed with nature’s rolling grassland plateaus, deep canyons and valleys, alternating with low plains, that makes it a picturesque vista for tourists who are lucky enough to behold its pristine glory. Bukidnon’s high terrain, with an elevation averaging 3,000 feet above sea level, brings with it a nice, cool climate perfect for producing food crops such as rice, corn, sugar, coffee, rubber, pineapples, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables, making it one of the Philippines’ important food baskets.

powerful birds in the world. It is a scenic ride going to the Dahilayan Adventure Park and Forest Park. On both sides of the road you will see pineapple fields as far as your eyes can see, and on the horizon you’ll find the breathtaking Kitanglad mountain range. I was joined by my work colleagues Suiee and Faye, who were also raring to experience the adventures that Dahilayan has to offer. I must say the place is truly world-class with its own cozy wooden cottages for those who want to stay overnight or more, complete with restaurant café, spaces for picnics and bonfires, as well as souvenir shops. This Bukidnon tourist attraction has also paved the way for generating local employment marked by distinct Filipino hospitality. I truly felt at home with the very professional, friendly, cheerful and ever-accommodating staff of Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park.

Now, as for the eco-tourism destination in Bukidnon that I was talking about is concerned, it is no other than the Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park, two of the latest attractions of Bukidnon province that local and foreign tourists alike have come to discover and rave about.

ready to take fliGht

GettinG there

We first tried the shorter ziplines, which were really a relaxing and a happy thrill, as we skimmed through the top of the pine trees.

Dahilayan is located in the Bukidnon municipality of ManoloFortich, about 40 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City passing by Del Monte Camp Phillips. It is in the foot of the Mount Kitanglad Range National Park, home of the majestic Philippine Eagle, one of the rarest, largest, and most

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Dahilayan Adventure Park is home to Zipzone, perfect for zipline fanatics, with its 150-meter, 320-meter, and longest 840-meter ziplines. Aside from the ziplines, the Adventure Park also has a challenging Ropes Course and Wall Climbing zone.

After we built confidence and experienced the thrill of the shorter ziplines, we were now all prepped to try out thezipline of all ziplines! First off, we boarded the huge truck that would take us to higher

travel breathtaking mountains from our car window on our way to dahilayan adventure Park and forest Park

with the very friendly and Professional staff of dahilayan adventure Park. here i am with dahilayan forest Park’s marky Plaza.

here’s suiee, faye and i with a Photo of the roPes course area at dahilayan adventure Park.

here i am getting straPPed into the ziPline safety harness for the shorter ziPline -- no sweat as this ziPline is in a relaxing sitting Position.

ground for Asia’s longest dual-cable zipline, an 840-meter stretch that promises to take us soaring through tall pine trees and lush vegetation. This time we will be in a face down position with arms spread like an eagle simulating a bird in flight. So this is what it feels like to fly! The elevation drop was 100 meters with an estimated zipping speed ranging from 60 – 100 kilometers per hour. With arms clipped on the side of the body, you can go faster. With arms opened wide, you have a little more air resistance. After the initial jitters, I decided to just let go and live in the moment. It was fantastic! Even Faye had to say after conquering the longest zipline, “I feel like I can do just about anything now!” Next for us  adventure-seekers were the equally exciting activities at the Dahilayan Forest Park that is just beside Dahilayan Adventure Park. Like the zipzone, the Forest Park is another ideal place for bonding with family and friends, with thrilling activities amidst the beauty of nature. Suiee and I tried the Forest Park’s Tree Top Adventure, which whisked me back to my childhood days. The Tree Top Adventure is a 21-platform course atop pine trees where you walk through ropes, swinging planks of wood, a tight rope, and even a moving skateboard! Challenging but the loads of fun will definitely give anyone who accomplishes it a sense of achievement! Next on our agenda was to try the Buggy Trail Adventure through an off-road course around the park. The buggy is easy to drive but navigating around the rough, dirt roads really made me feel like an adventure sports driver!

While I am not a big fan of bungee, I couldn’t help but try the Forest Park’s Bungee Bounce, which does not involve plunging through scary depths but bouncing on a trampoline! Suiee and I felt like we were defying gravity and threw our cares away as we made funny poses while jumping high up in the air. As a final activity, Suiee, Faye, and I tried zorbing or rolling downhill in an orb or sphere made of plastic. Suiee tried the dry zorb, where he was harnessed to the zorb and literally followed the plastic ball’s motion as it rolled down hill. Faye and I wanted to try the wet zorb, which meant that we would get ourselves soaking wet! Inside the ball, there is no harness but only water that acts as a lubricant to keep Faye and I at the bottom of the ball as it rolled downhill. We truly felt like wet hamsters inside the zorb! We screamed our hearts out as the ball gained speed and we got tossed around the wet zorb.

Adventures to our heArt’s content At the end of a of fun and excitement, we found ourselves grinning from ear to ear and felt a flow of endorphins -- the happy hormones – through our body. We then enjoyed a sumptuous meal at the park’s restaurant and got ourselves a souvenir photo, shirt and mug. There are still more attractions being developed at the Dahilayan Adventure Park and Dahilayan Forest Park. I can’t wait until our next visit! It’s your turn to try this adventure! For more information: Dahilayan Adventure Park: Visit http://www. or email Dahilayan Forest Park: Visit or email

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 29


The Pearl of the Orient Seas : a convergence of Malayan and Western culture in the Sea Lion’s lair Reflections of an Ethereal Mind By Bhenjar Toor


he arts have always defined the very soul of a nation. It is the mirror that reflects the rise and fall of its people whether for its greater glory or for its infamous notoriety.

Spanning centuries of discovery, colonization, despondence, and reincarnation, the Philippines has seen the finest and worst that history can offer as reflected in its literature and arts. Like the pliant bamboo that has been used as one of the national symbols of a nation groping for identity. True to form, the Filipinos have not only assimilated, but have even embarked to radiate the world with his own flamboyance in his interpretation through words, sounds, and images of the world around him.   Any nation, great or small, after a series of conquests or struggles to either dominate another or win its freedom always turn to the humanities – that is the arts, music, literature, sculpture, and a lot more – to showcase its talents and achievements that define its national psyche.   More often than not, the arts, as usually highlighted, become the very soul of a nation that permeates into the consciousness of each citizen. Its myriad of representations becoming part of the people’s sensibilities that it becomes repugnant if a deviation from these well-defined sketches of our artistic pride is not taken conservatively even as we try to adapt to the changing times.   The Philippines, a nation located at the heart of the Orient seas, have seen different cultures affect its artistic landscape so much so that it has taken its rightful place among the civilized nations of the world that saw it reach sturdier heights in time, and just how Jose Rizal, one of its brightest minds and greatest personage would put it, “genius knows no boundaries.” Whether unwittingly or not, Filipino artists have given more meaning to his remarks by either twisting it or by bringing it high unto a pedestal. Not by arms, but by its charms, the Philippines has conquered the taste of another nation.  

An Artistic blood compAct

The national Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Arts Council of the Philippines-Singapore Cultural

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Cooperation Programme has had a partnership for quite a long time. Cooperation was strengthened when representatives from both countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in august 2001 binding each to a sharing arts and cultural heritages substantiated by exchange visits, performances, and joint programs between cultural and educational institutions in the Philippines and Singapore . It must be noted that from November 2004 to June 2005, a popular exhibition regarded as a homecoming of major artworks by some of the most prominent Filipino artists was presented at the Ayala Museum . Dubbed as “Crossings: Philippine Works from the Singapore Art Museum ,” this local exhibit included masterpieces of Filipino art icons Juan Luna, Anita MagsaysayHo, Fabian de la Rosa, and Vicente Manansala. It commemorated the five-year partnership between the Ayala Museum and the Singapore National Heritage Board under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh and Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala.   Not to be outdone, Singaporeans have also frequented the Philippines to showcase their own rendition of the arts that has pervaded their national consciousness as resplendently reflected in the order and cleanliness of their city-state that defines a modern “megapolis” and industrialized modern state.   The exchange of artists and talents continue with notable names like the late Pacita Abad and Benedicto Reyes Cabrera heralding the Filipino brush under the Singapore Tyler Print Institute’s Visiting Artists Programme with the former leaving a legacy that will always be recalled by Singaporeans as among the finest they have ever seen.   “Asia’s Nightingale”Lani Misalucha mesmerized the Singaporeans with her powerful voice when she performed at  charity concert in the tiny city-state in 2003 in support of Community Chest, an umbrella organization of charitable institutions. On the other hand, Singaporean sensation Tanya Chua performed in Manila in support of the Philippine Arts Month while top Singaporean sculptor Baet Yeok Kuan participated in a three-week long Artist



Residency Program at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 2003. His works with the students helped hone their skills in the sculpting.


An edifice of imeldA or A bridge to breAk culturAl divides Criticized for her lavish spending and the alleged ostentatious living best symbolized by the building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) at the height of the Marcos regime, Imelda Marcos’ monumental beacon for culture has become the envy of one of its most progressive neighbors so much so that in an article published in one of the major dailies in the Philippines, the journalist noted how Rolando Tinio, Asian Cultural representative, fascinated the Singaporean’s in one of his workshops that they wanted a similar edifice to be built in their country. Tinio’s knowledge of the Western Classics, of the various Humanities, so impressed the former British colony that they would like to duplicate the feat of the tiny island nation.   Regarded as a cultural and economic backwater because of its limited natural resources until recently, Singapore is now counted among the world’s economic elite. But whatever gains it had in the past years, it remained an “entrepot” by importing almost everything from meat, fruit, and vegetables to cooking utensils, drinking water, and soil.   A young country that has been dynamically transformed, its cultural tradition has been a mix of the Occidental and Oriental cultures following almost the same patterns that history bestowed on the Philippines . Colonized by Spain , assimilated by the United States , and usurped by the Japan , the latter has become a mixture of its own Asian heritage very much similar with the former which has become a melting pot of diverse cultures.  

In 2009, the Philippines held a “Philippine Fiesta” in line with the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations with Singapore . These featured Philippine treasures such as the Botero public art, the Pascual collection that displayed the 19-century Maranao Sarimanok, a 9th century earthen burial collection from Negros Oriental, and pre-colonial precious items. Moreover, Singaporean museums also feature rare portraits of Jose Rizal, which was drawn by Juan Luna, and paintings by Fernando Amorsolo to name a few more. If translated into its monetary value, the staggering amount can be likened to having the US Dream Team play an exhibition game with the Philippine Basketball icons with the Philippines being a basketball being the primary preoccupation of a nation that fell in love with the American Sports more than any other things that it should have embraced.   This, however, is a testament to Filipino ingenuity in terms of talent and passion and a painful reminder that much needs to be done to bring into the light the Filipino artistic works that are the cornerstone of culture and identity.  

A stunning imAgery of the nAked truth

Nobody wants to see the truth in all its nakedness that is why we clothe them with the tapestries of our inhibitions and idiosyncrasies. The artist, however, must reflect the clothed truth, however blinding it may be in its hypnotic gaze and abstract representations, if only to cut across race and creed and pun the message it intends to weave in the minds of its audience. The Philippines and Singapore are both proud members of the Malayan race that have survived the test of time. Intertwined by history and united by the same regional economic, sociopolitical, and cultural interests and drives, both embrace art as a manifestation of its people’s innermost desires, often interpreted differently but always keeping in earnest only one true meaning.   The Pearl of the Orient Seas have decorated the Sea Lion that whoever turn his eyes towards that horizon may know that these two people’s interlocked history and fate are woven in the drapery of portraits and carved by sculptors on the smooth stones of edifices.   It is a haunting image of a gem placed on a crown. The Philippines , being a child of beauty, has made Singapore a lover of sublimity.

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featured artist

Amy Bondi: Singer, Guitarist, Bassist The lady is a “star.” Imelda Concepcion Marasigan Bondi’s career path has been virtually a loyalist to the music industry. At 15 years old, she began her “baptism of fire” with an all-female band where she sang and earned her way during the early years.   From 1987 to 1991, it was a lifestyle of in between pubs and clubs and mainly from Manila to Naga City . Places like Crown Prince Hotel, Sa Tabing Ilog, Folk house and restaurant, Josephine Pub & Restaurant Moraville Hotel Lounge in Naga City were her regular gig venues.   Then came Manila. The awakening came first at Patio Salo Salo Pub & Restaurant.   Later in 1991, after a series of performances with the band, Amy decided to try her luck by going solo and with her acoustic guitar.   Her talent opened doors to her at hotels and beach resorts. Soon she was a regular performing artist in Malaysia and Thailand until she discovered Singapore.   In Singapore, which she now calls her home having stayed there for 13 years,  her exceptional talents did not go unnoticed especially in a city hungry for female soloists who plays the guitar and bass.   Amy’s life took an exciting turn and very soon she became a sought after performer. The gigs came solely because of her exceptional talent, but humble and down-to-earth as she is, she attributes this to her Filipino heritage.   “Filipino musicians, artists, entertainers or (any role in) any other field are the first choice of the clients in my own opinion. I am not trying hard not to be biased but based this on my experience. It is true people see the passion in us when we perform.”   32 Bagong Bayani September 2011

Amy’s warmth is truly helpful when working in the Lion city where the music scene is small. She further adds, “If your crowd is screaming for you when you perform, you know you are in the right field. You wouldn’t find it hard to look for work, and keeping in touch with your fellow musicians/artists helping one another to find gigs helps a lot too.”   Amy’s animated stories translate itself to such exciting pace when she recalled one New Year Countdown in the 90’s in Malaysia. Amy was privileged to share the stage and sang with the world’s most loved voice talents—The Platters.  The experience left her with such beautiful memories worthy of 10 years solo performance—as she says in her own words.   The learning process gave her an added boost to even do better. Her simple sources of fulfillment are when the same venue renews her contract and asks for her “return engagement”, a word every artiste revels.   While she had a few disappointments, she recalls a bit with regret how she turned down a Las Vegas contract just to be with her family and loved ones. Looking back, she smiles with satisfaction-. “Seeing my family together—ah that’s the ultimate satisfaction.”   To a lady who made her way through her enduring struggles and superb talents, Amy has her feet firmly rooted to the ground and gets inspiration from God.  

featured artist “As a believer of God, I am inspired to live my life according to his will. Without God and His blessings, I wouldn’t be where I am today. His love for me is my strength to give upon my family, my husband, my children & my friends. He is the reason for everything and the provider for all areas in my life. So I am thankful and I will continue to spread the will of His book. All this He made possible for me.”   Amy believes that talent itself is not enough to make it in the industry. You have to have an inner drive, a self-belief and lots of hard work. She draws this power from her strong will to provide for her family back in the Philippines .   “Perseverance is the word to describe it, Faith and believe in God who is the provider and the successor of your life. I am blessed enough to be living here in Singapore with my husband and kids and I want my family to be living in comfort just like the way I live here.   For Amy, despite one’s talents, it would be a longer climb to the top with too little friends. Connections and friendships are needed in the industry. You need to know the right people and you need to invest in your public relations skills. Confidence is a must as an entertainer and to dream big is indeed what one should go for.  

“Go for it! Have faith, work hard and let God do the rest”, she adds with energy.   Everyone has an inspiration and for Amy it is her mother. From her mom,   Amy cultivated a natural gift. Her mom gave up her singing career to raise all five kids and even nephews and nieces.   “Unlike my mom, I did not give up my career. Today, I have a daughter who is a professional hip hop dancer and a son who at 5 years old began playing drums.”   The lady is indeed a dynamo and with her strong and positive attitude towards her goals, it will not surprise us all if she achieves one more goal. She dreams of being a leader and be of service to the nation and to her countrymen by having a government where fairness and balance are parts of the daily management style.   As a special gift to Bagong Bayani readers, Amy wishes to share the gift of inspiration.   “At all times, be positive and be an optimist.”

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 33

featured artist

Charles Frederick “Enero” Basa –The Rapper


hat would you do if you could inspire people? Would you welcome the changes that it would bring to your life as you did theirs? What if you could change an industry paradigm? Would you stay resilient against the criticism of naysayers? At least, Enero would. These are some of the questions Charles “Enero” Basa constantly asks himself as a rapper before he begins composing his lyrics. What started out as an innocent affinity for rap music would later become a source of identity for him. Being a young foreigner in Singapore , he found rapping a beneficial tool in thinning the language barrier he often faced in secondary school. It provided him with charisma and an identity that was unique from his peers (as superficial as it sounds). The fact that he had a knack for it better than anyone else in his social circle, an ambition eventually developed. Esplanade, *SCAPE, Zouk, Home Club, Blujaz Café and The Arts House are venues he often performs in whenever a hip-hop showcase is organized. Each venue is frequented by a different genre of music enthusiasts. Having a diversity of audience meant adapting to them; rapping over music ranging from funk to one as mellow as acoustic, and at times also performing spoken word poetry. He believes that there is no such thing as a lousy crowd, only an ignorant emcee.

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Although the average listener in Singapore may not be receptive to rap as they are to other music, battle rapping refutes this thought. A subgenre of rap where rappers compete face-toface by performing content meant to insult. This has gained appeal due to the shock value when local references are incorporated into crafty satire lyrics. Charles has won close to a dozen competitions such as the recent No Sheath and Holster event at Home Club; where he won himself a S$700 Beats By Dr. Dre Headphones amongst other prizes. Recently, he has also gone into organizing his own events by spearheading a local rap battle league – Duels Official. Starting with only nine competing rappers during its conception in February this year, the numbers have tripled since and still growing. Even rock musicians and a stand-up comedian have taken part and are most supportive of the movement. With that, it can be justified that rap does carry local mass appeal despite vehement scepticism. When all is said and done, Charles hopes that his lyrics and attitude has inspired many to practice the art; and become catalysts in transcending its level of competitiveness beyond our shores. The foundation has been laid and the bricks are being stacked. So as far as his dreams and its mirage of impossibility go, his goal is already within the range of his telescope. This 21 year old, Pinoy “star” rapper shares his recollections of his early days in Singapore.

featured artist “It was tough at first. There was a language barrier that I often faced when my classmates conversed in their mother tongues with their other friends. Soon enough, understanding and sensitivity on both sides grew and I’ve adapted well to such situations. Singapore is almost like the perfect place to settle down. I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else to be honest. Food, world-class facilities & service and entertainment and shopping, etc.” While he cites no particular character or personality, he draws inspiration from past experiences. Enero have moments of enlightenment from his disappointments, imperfections, triumphs, and the thought of being an underdog just to name a few. Being a foreigner can have its disadvantages. In his words, as much as he hates to admit, presence of racial bias does exist. He noted that very seldom does it manifest but it does exist. It only made him want to prove himself even more. More importantly, the thought of being able to inspire others one way or another has given him adrenalin to write even more “poetry” into his raps. Charles recalls one unforgettable moment when he championed at a rap battle event at Home Club in March this year. He came to the event alone with barely any friends showing up.

The audience were strangers and a few acquaintances. But after garnering top prize and new friends and the unexpected and overwhelming support from crowd, it was to him the ultimate high in his career. While young in age, Charles displays an immense maturity when asked about his faith in God. “God definitely has been a big part in my life. I don’t always have faith in myself but I always do in God. And he always reciprocates. So in a way, no matter how tough things get, I end up making it through.” This young charmer continues on with his personal credo I life “The lowest point of a man’s life is the highest point of his expression;’ It’s a quote a close friend shared with me. With that belief, I’m able to welcome every emotion and thought, no matter how neurotic, and incorporate them into my lyrics.” This young rapper sure can go places; his zest for his inner calling is genuinely passionate and so positive! Let’s hope he will incorporate inspiring messages to the youth, especially for the Pinoy community in Singapore and the world who like him as he continues transcend barriers a go to a higher level in promoting Rap art.

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304 Orchard Road #04-61/62 Lucky Plaza Singapore 238863 Tel: 6738 3343 • Fax: 6732 9919 September 2011 Bagong Bayani 35

featured artist

Celia Defato: Cultural Dancer


etermined. Achiever. Marketer. A true-blue crusader of cultural Filipino dance arts; these words best describe Celia Defato, the founding executive director of Kultural Performing Arts Pte. Ltd. Singapore. Who would have thought that after graduating from a Business Management degree from the prestigious St. Scholastica’s College in Manila, Celia will become immersed in the spread of cultural dance arts?   Most will assume that such business acumen will be put to use for some personal company focused on profits and losses.   After leaving the Philippines for Los Angeles, California, Celia’s passion for the dance art took a major spin.   “Kultura Philippine Folk Arts started 19 years ago in Los Angeles, California when colleagues from the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company and I founded a forum for Filipino-Americans to learn about their Philippine heritage through folk music and dance. What started as an activity to express our love for dance evolved to be a center where families gathered to find a sense of cultural identity and reconnect to being Filipino through the arts.”   Now based in Singapore, Celia shares her first few months in the Lion City.   “In my first months in Singapore, I participated in doing Marketing and PR work for 7107 Flavours Philippine Cuisine promoting our culture through food. While Celia continued to put the business sense into good use,

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and this time coupled with her marketing communications skills, her leanings towards the spread of Filipino cultural dance remained. “Due to the lack of a Philippine dance company that can provide experience and training in Singapore, the Philippines is not seen as a prominent Southeast Asian nation; hence, it does not take its share of the cultural scenario,“ Celia adds with a slight hint of regret.   Celia considers it a setback in her goals to see how Filipinos would rather engage in a pop concert, a foreign or western show, that a Filipino cultural event. This has not dampened her spirit, but made her even more persistent to pursue the cause of Philippine cultural dance in Singapore.   Celia’s amazing organizational and leadership skills took roots during her life in Los Angeles, USA. In 1995, Celia was a CORO Arts Leadership Fellow at the California Arts Council. From 1995 to 1997, she became the President of the Philippine Arts Council of the Pacific Asia Museum. She then took membership for the SFV Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce from 2000-2003. It wasn’t long before people noticed and she got elected as President, Filipino-American Business Association of Glendale (FABAG) in 2000-2002. Finally she was Advisory Council for Finance & Budgets at the St. Stephen’s Elementary School in 2007 to 2010.   Not only was Celia admired and respected in the circles, she was also a full-fledged career woman still pursuing her inner calling to the dance arts. As the Founding Executive Director of the KULTURA Philippine Folk Arts in Los Angeles, California from 1992 to 2010, Celia’s days were busy with the challenges of the organization.   Her tasks were no mean feat. She took the helm and ensured

featured artist the weekly workshops for Philippine folk dances to be introduced. Event management, media, and PR relations networking, event direction and execution, managing artistic personnel, practitioners and volunteers, and even the facilitation of outreach progammes were eventually part of the daily activities and management of the organization. Celia’s high respect and love for the Filipino cultural dance art remains obvious and was never lost despite all the changes in her living environs- from Los Angeles to Singapore.   “We Filipinos are amazingly gifted in the arts. Collaboration with other artists or fellow Filipinos with the same vision have allowed our work to be seen world-class as exemplified by Kultura’s “Dance, Rhythm, Harmony: MABUHAY,” which premiered in the US and will soon hit the Singaporean theatre scene  and to be participated by local Filipino talents.”   Celia just landed in Singapore but she already went on to check out her plans and upcoming projects. We can expect more colour and vibrancy in the Philippine Dance & Cultural arena here soon.   Her perseverance and determination to the cause is inspiring.   “If you’re going to do something, give it your best shot. You get in life what you put in. I see myself an ENABLER in making the Filipino rediscover his roots and be proud of who he is through our culture --- food, music, dance, arts crafts, values, rituals and traditions.” To Celia her driving influences remain the most powerful forces in her life. Her mother Emilia Diaz, a musician who ensured that the arts be a part of their lives is foremost. She also considers Oprah Winfrey an inspiration for her projects with the underprivileged.   Celia’s energy is contagious and we can only envision what’s next n the Singapore scene for the Filipino talents. Already, Celia has started the groundwork with schedules and information to those who are keen to learn more about Philippine dance lessons for all ages. They will soon become available by the last quarter of 2011.    As a parting shot, Celia’s message to aspiring talents in Singapore and elsewhere in the world gives us plenty to think about.   “The Filipino is a Global Citizen of the World. We excel in everything we do. Unfortunately, we have a reputation of being a corrupt country. Let us be the example that we can be honest and produce good quality work.”

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 37

featured artist

Manuel Cabrera ll: Guitarist ConCert review by Dr. Chang tou Liang, pubLisheD in the straits times on 4 apriL 2011 with the titLe “sweet strumming”. “The Filipino guitarist Manuel Cabrera II, a resident of Singapore, is a new name to this reviewer. On the strength of this solo recital, he is a considerable artist well worth following. Playing a programme of guitar music from around the world, he exuded a quiet industry and authority which belied a soft-spoken and almost diffident stage demeanor.” “Guitarist Manuel Cabrera II played music from round the world with authority” Comment by robert Luse, DistinguisheD teaCher anD Composer in singapore, 3 apriL, 2011 “Congratulations Manuel, on a superb recital. Your wealth of musicianship, flawless execution and above all, transcendental grasp of the guitar’s many cultural strands marks you out as an artist of the very first rank. The Singapore guitar community is indeed fortunate to have such a standard bearer residing amongst us.” artistiC aLChemy, Jess Q. Cruz, the phiLippine star, 20 DeCember 2004 “In a concert or theatrical presentation, one artist – much more likely than not – will shine with more brilliance than the others. Very rarely will they all perform equally well even in an ensemble. But one individual player is likely to rise above the rest... In the final presentation of the Filipino Artists Series, guitarist Manuel Cabrera II had the stage of the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) Little Theater all to himself and the full attention of an enthralled audience.”

38 Bagong Bayani September 2011

Manuel Cabrera’s achievements are colossal and well worthy of his recent feature from ABS-CBN. In the show he was honoured as an internationally-recognized Filipino classical guitarist at the Global Pinoy (Global Filipino) segment of its cable channel, The Filipino Channel. Manuel graduated with a Master of Music in Guitar Performance from the Elisabeth University of Music Hiroshima, Japan and Bachelor of Music in Guitar Performance from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music Manila, Philippines. As a student, Manuel won major competitions in the Philippines and all over Japan, including 1st prize at the 1999 National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Manila, Philippines); 1st prize at the “GITARA” Competition, University of the Philippines, Diliman;1st prize at the 31st Nippon Guitar Competition Solo Category, Osaka Japan; 2nd prize at the Classical Guitar Competition, Tokyo, Japan; and 5th prize at the 49th Tokyo International Guitar Competition. As a performer, he had been featured at the 2004 “Filipino Artists Series” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and at the “New Artists Concert” at Elisabeth University of Music, Hiroshima. He had also been featured as a Soloist with the University of the Philippines Chamber Orchestra and with the University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra at the “Concert at the Park”, Rizal Park, Manila. He has also performed at solo concerts in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka, Japan and was featured as a performer at the Guitarra 2010 International Guitar Festival. Earlier this year, he held his successful solo debut concert at The Esplanade, earning him positive reviews from critics.

featured artist Manuel is also a dedicated and accomplished pedagogue. He taught at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music from 2000 to 2007. He is now based in Singapore and is actively pursuing a career in performing and teaching.

“Let us always excel in what we do – regardless of the kind of job or profession we are in. Wherever we go, we carry the Filipino identity, so we should always endeavour to bring honour to our country, even in little ways.”

Manuel strongly believes that talent alone does not guarantee success. It must be accompanied with hard work, perseverance, and sincere love for what you are doing

“Filipinos are known as world-class talents and we should uphold that and even do better. But at the same time, we should also keep the Filipino values wherever we are, so we can command not only admiration from other races, but also respect from them.”

“An artist must have passion for his work. I can achieve what I’d like to achieve as long as I put my heart, mind and time into it. As a Bagong Bayani, Manuel feels that one should not assume any role to play for the country, rather it is more a desire to bring glory and honour by excelling in the field as a musician. “Being in a foreign country, I am and will always be identified as a Filipino. So I would like to put my country in a good light always by trying to be the best in my area as a classical guitarist.” To the Filipino talents in Singapore and elsewhere in the world, Manuel has wise and precise words to say.

Wise words from a super-talent who has travelled and excelled in many countries worldwide. Manuel thinks that in a foreign land one must persevere and learn to adjust to the realities of the new or adopted place. No doubt not all of our expectations will be met, but despite all these challenges, one can’t lose focus to meet one’s goals. A truly inspirational message from a global talent who has lived well to tell the tale!


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featured artist

Angelito C. Pangilinan a.k.a Angel Gomez Flamenco and Spanish Dance


s Angel glides with precise and skillful bravado, one can feel the passion and fire of an authentic Flamenco dancer! Angel Gomez is no ordinary dancer. He has feet with wings. Despite his small frame and diminutive height, he commands an air usually only a trained Flamenco Latino inspires. Although enjoying a truly successful life and receiving accolades worldwide, Angel’s real inspiration is his family, which has been his driving force. He makes it a point to call his family at least once a week, despite the hectic demands of his performances; a routine which energizes him - just hearing his family members’ voices.   His teacher, Guillermo Gomes was first to discover the Spanish and Flamenco soul in Angel.   After completing his Bachelor of Arts Major in Mass Communication at Adamson University, Manila in 1998, Angel then studied at the Spanish Dance Institute in Australia where he completed all levels with honours and distinction. Presently, he is also an assistant lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, a position held since 2002.   Despite working as a Public Relations and Advertising Director at Goodwill Bookstore from 2000-2002, Angel realized that there was more to Flamenco and Spanish dances that he needed to learn from Rose Borromeo. Dame Rose Borromeo is one of the most respected icons of Spanish and Flamenco dances and further strengthened Angel’s resolve to pursue his dance career.   40 Bagong Bayani September 2011

Angel very soon became the head of the Spanish Department for Dance Circle Studios, a company managed by Rose Borromeo. To this day, he holds this position with pride and prestige. His talents also made him the founding member, lead dancer, and choreographer of the Rose Borromeo Spanish Dance Company, Singapore since 2004 until today. All his hard work paid off.  He became Profesor de Baile Mayor (PdBMy) of Instituto de la Danza Espanola, Australia in 2008. He is also the first Filipino to have a professorship from the distinguished dance institution.   In international competitions Angel’s excellence is undisputed.  He won first place at the National Solo Open Section, Commonwealth Society of teachers of Dance, Singapore in 2003.   He was also hailed Hero of Dance in the Philippine Dance Magazine, Indayog.   Angel admits that there is competition everywhere, “The Filipinos are “closer” to Spain in many aspects of life, and perhaps this is our edge. They have lived in our country for hundreds of years, making us understand their way of life.”   “Apart from being a registered teacher of Instituto de la Danza Espanola, I am able to journey together with all my students in dance. I have gained confidence, trust, friendship and approval even among the Spanish Community here and abroad.”

featured artist “The above are important elements in the way we communicate and deal with artistes. Filipinos are great communicators,” he adds.   For Angel his educational trips abroad were welcome opportunities to further his inherent abilities.   First, came the regular trips to Australia for his examinations for the Professorship title under Instituto de la Danza Espanola in 2002, 2004 and 2008. Then the much-awaited travels to Madrid, Granada, Sevilla and Jerez to further take classes under some of the world’s renowned and respected maestros in Flamenco in 2004 and 2009. Finally in 2011, Angel joined the Flamenco workshop by Maestro Farruquito better known as “heir of Flamenco.”   Angel’s appearances and engagements also grew.  He also conducted workshops and made appearances to Espana Extension, Ballet Philippines and the Pasion y Fuego, in Manila in 2007. Then also the Fundacion Centro Flamenco in Manila in 2007 and Flamencomania, Danza Viva in Australia in 2004.   Some of the clients Angel and the company has performed include the Arts House at Old Parliament Lane, Asian Civilisations Museum, Audi Car, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Lyric Opera, Spanish Tourist Office,  Singapore Tourism Board, Swarovski, University Cultural Centre, NUS, Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain, Embassy of the  Philippines, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and many more.   Angel also performs company dance concerts like Romanza Espanola in 2004 & 5 in Singapore, Sueno de Amor in 2007 which premiered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Noche de Estrellas in 2010 in Singapore.   Looking back at all the effort and struggles Angel has put into his career, he remembers with a sense of pride his greatest achievement when he won first place in a dance competition conducted by the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dance held here in Singapore winning over other nationalities.   The invitation by the Ballet Philippines as guest artist for the production España Extension, also gave him a sense of belonging and satisfaction.   The Filipino in Angel is dear to his heart. He is firm on his values and thinks that the common threads that bind Filipinos together are the family values and those values we uphold for our friends, even strangers, and our devotion to God. These are some traits that his family has taught him since childhood to cherish the most.   “In this industry, I wish to be your most loyal friend for as long as

you deserve it. Like most relationship, friendship should become intense through the test of time. A good relationship is the most important thing in this world for me. Understanding this makes us citizens of the world with good impressions for humanity to share.” “I feel like a vessel, when I think of ways I can inspire our kababayans.   If I were given a major role to change and shape things today, I would love to be an advocator of Flamenco and Spanish dance education.”   “As Filipinos we can impact and touch people’s lives through our God-given talents. We can share it with no reservations. For as long as you can perceive it, you can achieve it.  Mabuhay! “

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 41

featured artist

SININGapor: A Class Act 0f High Class Artists


photo exhibit inspired by the Filipino diaspora, the artistic representations through the brush are images that try to answer the most common questions each Filipino asks.

What is life like as an overseas professional worker? And what is it like to live in Singapore? What are the things that you choose to see as a tourist and those that you are forced to deal with as a resident?   A loose collection of Singapore-based Filipino artists united by sporadic weekend meetings over cups of good coffee, food, cool toys, and booze; Oh, and art, SININGgapor is one artistic presentation that will leave anyone in complete amazement.   “Sining” is a Filipino word for art, while “Gapor” is a colloquial term that most Filipinos use to refer to Singapore.   Hence, the term SININGapor; a representation of Filipino artists collective and personal experiences in the island nation.   Meet some of the artists whose craft and whose passion for the arts have given another look to Filipino-Singaporean culture:  

Oliver Jarudal MenOr

Oliver has a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from the College of St. Benilde – De La Salle University in the Philippines. Ollie has been painting since the age of fourteen and has been dutifully seeking out every perceptive subject subject layouts to add to his gallery. Oliver has been working in Singapore for over a year as an interior designer in a Singapore-based interior design firm. He remarks

42 Bagong Bayani September 2011

how Singapore reveals the gateways of life for the world’s cultures, being a proud Filipino contributing to the progression of other Filipino artists outside of the homeland. My painting shows  the deep interconnectedness of all life and of all people and of all religions, he says.   The 36-year old senior interior designer recently married and said that he tries to be a good husband and a friend to his wife, Donna, by being creative as much as he can to enjoy his married life.   He said he learned the importance of being tough or “pagiging matatag” from his late brother who died from cancer and was also an OFW.   “Do what you love to do and do it at your best, and everything will follow,” Oliver remarked.

dOnna lynne Osea-MenOr A nursing graduate from the College of the Holy Spirit, Donna is also an interior designer whose passion for the arts has made her explore her many ways for self-expression. She was determined to be the best that she can be.   At an early age, Donna yearned to be an artist. She prepared instructional visual aids for her teachers. She is also popular among her classmates for effortlessly completing art projects, much to the chagrin of her adoring teachers.   “Setbacks offer new opportunities. This reminds us that art must not be stagnant in one particular sphere. I’m exploring. When I

featured artist raise the flag in ne domain, I will raise it at another,” she said. Among the greatest artist of all time, Juan Luna influenced her the most because he “captures the objectivity of the subject. Strokes defines the expression and cultivates the prospectively.”   Donna believes that “beneath everyone’s self-worth is the courage to respect. With this in mind, we value our life and that of others.”  

Nilo Parrila

He is a commercial director and producer of Miracle Showcase Pte Ltd., a post-production and design house based in Singapore. He graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts and the University of the Philippines – College of Fine Arts.   A multi-awarded editor, graphic designer and special effects expert, and director, Nilo is among the founding members of “SininGapor” and has been a constant participant of many exhibits through the years.   Nilo believes that if there is one word that would best describe him, it would be rain because “be it about art or life,” he will try to “nourish other people’s growth starting from their roots.”   “God is the ‘Maestro’ and we are his paintings. We have different roles on his canvas. Some are small and some are big, but what is important is the composition, how each element would complement each other and bring about the beauty of mankind as a whole,” he said.   “As a friend, husband, and follower of God, I try to do my role according to his plan and not mine.”   He added that as “an Art Ambassador,” he would represent Filipino art with his group in Singapore. “We are in the best position to assume that role since we have the talent, we grew up in the Philippines, we brought with us the culture and traditions of the Filipinos and we are currently residing here in Singapore,” he explained.   “Let’s make the world more colorful by showcasing our Godgiven talents,” he added.

JasmiN orosa A Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service graduate from the Lyceum of the Philippines, Jasmin was an office clerk first in the Public Attorney’s Office in the Affiliates of the Department of Justice before she moved to Singapore. She shared that when she went to Singapore, she became a

mother of two and was focused on them for almost 20 years since she was not working. But after she separated with her estranged husband, she had no other recourse but to find a job. At first, it was difficult but she eventually found a teaching post at a German European School in Singapore and has been handling Creative Arts for the past two years.   Brought up in a strict family that is also religious, she believes that life is full of surprises. “We cannot expect what will happen to us. I was on top of the world until everything went down,” she surmised.   “Believe in yourself, have faith in God, and don’t ever give up,” she opined. “There’s always hope and a future for all of us.”  

CelestiNo GulaPa

A native of Sablayan, Occidental, Mindoro, Philippines, Celestino married Delphine Tay, a Singaporean, and had three kids. He earned his Degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Advertising Arts from the University of Santo Tomas, in España, Manila and has since then made waves in the field of the arts. “The whole Singapore experience has been my life’s greatest blessing. Not only did it bring me a job that turned into a rewarding career, this is also where I met my wife and where we had been blessed with three loving children,’ he shared.   He said that working as a Filipino artist, the edge is definitely something that comes from the environment he was brought up. “In the Philippines, we had an educational and cultural system which encourages discussion and participation,” he said. “Students are encouraged to explore. This environment fosters creativity.”   “We tend to be unafraid to think out of the box by exploring situations from different angles,” he added.   As an artist, he believes that he must do the best he can so that he can maximize the talent God has given him. He also believes that if there is one word that can best describe him, that would be: BLESSED.   Filipino artists are certainly among the finest in the world. It is not surprising that they can mix art from different places to make it involve into a unique masterpiece. SININGapor, just like the city state is a mixture of foreign and local taste. It is a melting pot of talent, beauty, and artistry.   Art is in the bloodstreams of many Filipinos. It is not surprising that this group of talented individuals is showing the world just that.

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 43

featured artist


Filipino Voice Symphony (FVS)

hen working Filipinos convene, there’s bound to be some musical sparks somewhere. Filipinos love to perform and sing, and this is exactly how the story of The Filipino Voice Symphony began. It began with a common bond—a capella music. Then online discussion threads and forums blew to proportions where individuals who had various choral backgrounds way back home began to participate.   Eventually, the professionals decided to formalize the plans and thus the birth of The Filipino Voice Symphony (FVS)   The early struggles raised issues with the juggling of full-time jobs and retaining the members. Some were unable to attend rehearsals regularly owing to the challenges of overtime demands in the offices.   Many have family member living with them in Singapore; and with the hectic office schedules, spend their remaining spare time with the family.   The camaraderie in the group is apparent since they treat each other  like real family members. Rehearsals are held after office hours at the musical director’s residence. His eight-month old baby is witness to the dedicated vocalization and pitching exercises in the apartment.   Although FVS is a commercial choir, it has its fair share of community service. A quarter of the members are from St. Vincent de Paul Church’s choir. The group, when available, readily lends its voices for the anniversary celebration offerings of the church.   Despite some members leaving and some joining, the “seniors” of the FVS remain steadfast in their endeavour to form an a cappella choir in Singapore.   When the group became the champion for the 2010 Pop Choir Category of the Singapore A cappella Championships, it drew the bond amongst members even closer.   Their performances grew as their popularity soared amongst communities in Singapore .   One memorable performance was when the group performed at the Esplanade Concourse and the management team congratulated the show and dubbed it as the group performance that got “the best response” from an audience ever.   The group’s musicality gets inspiration from the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the UP Singing Ambassadors,  and other world 44 Bagong Bayani September 2011

renowned Filipino choral groups. To the members, their Filipino pride and resolve keeps them going. Being Filipinos inspires them to strive for excellence noting that the Filipinos’ reputation for being great singers and performers supersedes them always. The group echoes their special magic word “eager.” They are eager to learn, eager to improve, eager to transcend, and eager to impart.   FVS, coming from a 3rd world country,  wishes  to become ambassadors of the performing arts. They wish to impart their talents and be recognized for these efforts and not just as overseas workers in a foreign land.   The group aims that this “shadow of misfortunes” about the Philippines will be conveniently ignored for moments of quality music and talents.   To those who aspire to venture into forming their own choral groups in Singapore, or those who will be working here, it’s not smooth sailing all the way.   As an advice to those who wish to work in Singapore, FVS shares this, “Know the culture of the country you’re going to, bring your best foot forward, and carry along your good manners and right conduct; be humble at all times. After all, we are all only just guests in the Lion City.”

book review

Before Ever After A Novel by Samantha Sotto

From debut novelist Samantha Sotto comes a modern day fairy tale that asks, “What if your happy ending was only the beginning?”

Praise for Before ever after: “A smartly written romance, mystery and historical adventure all wrapped up in a page-turner that will have you guessing until the very end. I could not stop thinking about it.” —Adena Halpern, author of The Ten Best Days of My Life “I was floored by the gutsy scope of this

During their journey, Shelley tries to make sense of Paolo’s revelation, and finds herself scrutinizing her memories of “The Slight Detour,” the budget European tour package where she met and fell in love with her tour guide husband. Reality descends as Shelley begins to realize that Max’s vivid stories of bloody Parisian rebellions, medieval Austrian monasteries, and doomed Venetian cities may not have been stories at all.

highly unusual love story. Before Ever After is one of those books that challenge the natural laws of fiction writing, and Samantha Sotto pulls it off in a frisky and highly entertaining way.” – Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet “First-time author Sotto’s lush literary gifts draw one in to the terrible beauty of her tale of immortality.” —Library Journal


hat if ‘til death do us part meant longer than you realized? Samantha Sotto’s debut novel BEFORE EVER AFTER (Crown Trade: August 2, 2011) is a love story that defies the boundaries of time and space to redefine our notion of forever. Shelley Gallus’ happy ending abruptly ended three years ago when her husband Max died. She has settled into life as a widow, braving Sunday mornings alone with a cup of Jasmine tea and a poor imitation of Max’s famous baked eggs and cheese, until her fragile recovery is shattered one morning when the doorbell rings. On her doorstep she finds handsome young Paolo, who bears not only an uncanny resemblance to her late husband but some unbelievable news: Max is alive! Shelley would be overjoyed if not for two small details. First, Max was blown to bits by a Madrid subway bomb. And second, Paolo claims to be her 32-year-old husband’s 32-year-old grandson. Still, the single spark of hope that she could be reunited with the love of her life is all Shelley needs to launch her across the globe with Paolo in search of Max.

46 Bagong Bayani September 2011

Shelley had always believed her marriage was the stuff of fairy tales. But when fantasy collides hard with reality, and she and Paolo come closer to discovering the truth about Max, Shelley faces an agonizing leap of faith before she can have her happily ever after.

aBoUt tHe aUtHor SAMANTHA SOTTO fell in love with Europe’s cobbled streets and damp castles when she moved to the Netherlands as a teenager. Since then, she has spent nights huddled next to her backpack on a beach in Greece, honeymooned in Paris, and attended business meetings in Dusseldorf in the pleasant company of a corporate credit card. Before Ever After was inspired by her experiences living, studying, and traveling in Europe. This is her first novel. Visit Samantha on the web at

Before ever after: a Novel samaNtHa sotto Crown Trade On-sale: August 2, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-307-71987-4 Hardcover • Price: $23.00 • 304 pages Also available as an eBook: 978-0-307-71989-8

food review

Heart-Warming, Tummy-Filling

Halo-Halo Philippines Promotion at Mandarin Orchard

By Detch Nonan-Mercado


alivating in anticipation of a hearty meal that would surely ease my homesickness and satisfy my very-Filipino palate, I willingly skipped lunch on the day I was to have dinner aat the Mandarin Orchard’s Triple Three Restaurant so I could create space in my tummy for my evening meal. As I met up with friends and went about my errands no one suspected that I was already imagining the lechon de leche (roasted pig) that would be waiting for me. After all, was not the buffet dubbed “Halo Halo Philippines Promotion”? Meaning there was going to be an authentic Filipino spread. Surely our old friend, Mr. Lechon, would be there! And I was right. There was lechon. I felt happy just by seeing it. After all it was supposed to be the reason I went to Mandarin Orchard. Or so I thought. As it turned out, other items on the menu caught, rather, stole my attention: the Red snapper in tamarind broth (sinigang na maya maya sa sampaloc), the adobo fried rice with scrambled egg and spring onion (sinangag na kanin sa sarsa ng adobo, may halong itlog at sibuyas dahon), the braised yam leaves with coconut milk and shrimp paste (laing na may bagoong alamang). In the end, lechon served as my “by-the-way” item and not my main event, as I initially thought it would be. A soup person tests his soup by the way it lands in his tummy. Is the soup too heavy? It must be starchy. Is it very light? Is it runny? It could be meant that way, or it could be a boil away from perfection. Subjected to my expert soup test, the red snapper in tamarind broth was a winner. I wanted to do tapaw (take out) so I could have it for breakfast the following day. Honestly, after “swimming” in two bowls of the soup, I was

ready to call it a day but then the baked prawns with coconut milk (hinornong sugpo sa gata, the chicken adobo, the lamb shoulder braised in beer and dark soy with anise, peppercorn and broccoli leaves (cervesang tupa), and the braised osso bucco in garlic sauce (bulalo with Spanish influence) were similarly irresistible! Yummy! Yummy! But I disciplined myself not to fill up on those because I saw that at the other corner of the restaurant some more delicious treats were waiting for me, including the remarkable kilawin tanigue and the ensaladang allimango, and the kamatis-hilaw mangga-talong ensalada. Wow, I felt like I was really back in Manila! The kamatis-kesong puti (laguna white chees sprinkled with candied cashew nuts drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction) looked inviting but it was more than just “inviting” when I tasted it. There was something in it that told my brain I was participating in a tribute to my Filipino heritage. I had to change plates a couple of times and was hesitant to get a fresh plate for dessert. However, the pandan jelly cubes with coconut strips (buko pandan gulaman) changed my mind. (Yes, mga kababayan, I do use plate for my buko pandan!) Its not-sweetnot bland taste did whet my appetite for sugar so I went ahead and got for myself buko pandan’s sweeter cousin, the mighty halo halo (red beans, sweetened garbanzos, nata de coco, jackfruit preserve, macapuno strips, evaporated milk, yam, leche flan, cream). People were starting to stare at me (where is she putting all that food?) but I could not care less. I just wanted to enjoy my meal. If I put on weight due to that one-off experience at the luxurious Mandarin Orchard, it is all the fault of two wonderful Dusit Thani Manila chefs, Willie Ortega Alvarez and Dionisio Singson, Jr. They ruined my diet, but they warmed my heart by bringing to Singapore food that reminded me of home.

September 2011 Bagong Bayani 47

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Bagong Bayani eMagazine  

Bagong Bayani Magazine Vol. 1, No. 8 September 2011

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