Hawaii Filipino Chronicl e- August 20, 2022

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AUGUST 20, 2022


What Does It Mean to Be Filipino Living in America? HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS


Defeat Monkeypox, Corona, Don’t Be Complacent!

Filipino Candidates of 2022, Primary Election Wins, Losses and Potential Outcomes


Exempt Food, Medicine — and Medical Services — from GET



Support Jo Koy’s Easter Sunday, Hollywood Needs to Be More Inclusive, It’s Smart Business Practice


oe Koy’s Easter Sunday is history in the making as it presents to audiences (over 3,000 theaters across the U.S. and Canada, and eventually hundreds more globally) on the big screen the theme of Filipino family and culture. It’s the first such movie produced and distributed by a major Hollywood studio (Universal Pictures). While it is a celebratory time for our community to relish in this moment, support the film at theaters or eventually by streaming, it should also be a time to be thinking about why has it took so long for a movie like this to come out, why are minorities still underrepresented in Hollywood and our stories rarely told. It’s important to have this discussion now in order to ensure that this movement of Asian-themed film-making is not crested, that we don’t have to wait 10 or 20 years for another Easter Sunday-type movie to be created. There was Joy Luck Club, Crazy Rich Asians prior to Easter Sunday that featured a mostly all Asian cast centered on the topic of Asians being themselves. As far as big production “Asian oriented” films in the U.S. – that’s it, and so few of them that it can hardly be considered a movie genre. This has to change. The good news is at least Hollywood is aware that the public is aware of this systemic inequality. But now the powers-that-be must act and correct this marginalizing of minority communities, especially since the nation’s population is at over 40% minority.

Major step toward inclusion in New Academy Standards The Academy set a new representation and inclusion standard for films to qualify for the 2024 awards that could make a difference. What are the new standards? These standards address on-screen representation, themes and narratives. Films can qualify for an academy award: • if they either have a lead actor from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, • have 30% of secondary and minor roles from at least two underrepresented groups, • or a storyline or subject matter centered on an underrepresented group. Films must also meet certain criteria in terms of the diversity of creative leadership and project teams, marketing, as well as the production company’s access to opportunities. So based on these standards, as an example, Easter Sunday would qualify and meet all the benchmarks the Academy has set for 2024. Given the importance of awards in the film industry as a means of validating artistic excellence as well as a major marketing and financial boost, already major Hollywood studies are starting the process of meeting these standards and are being transparent by releasing disclosures that such standards are being met. These new guidelines will not only give opportunities for otherwise ignored talent of people of color seeking jobs as actors, directors, screen writers – it will open up more organizations involved in job placement and recruiting that help to place diverse talent onto movie sets and behind the movie set as production professionals. Incentive for inclusion is there, data shows this According to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report, films with more diverse casts perform better at the box office. Eight of the top 10 theatrically-released films in 2021 featured casts that were greater than 30% minority, while films with less than 11% minority actors were the lowest box-office performers.



n the last four issues we’ve focused on empowerment by covering all the major issues and candidates before the primary election. Our focus this issue is also about empowerment, but of a different kind that most people do not necessarily perceive or associate as empowering – that is the presence of Filipinos and Asians in Hollywood. But when we speak of empowerment, how could visibility of our people, our culture, how we are perceived and career opportunities in entertainment not be part of the equation. They certainly are. For our cover story this issue HFC associate editor Edwin Quinabo writes about a historic moment for our community – the recent debut to the big screen in the U.S. and Canada the first Filipino film produced and distributed by a major Hollywood studio. The movie is Easter Sunday, starring comedian-actor Jo Koy with appearances by iconic Filipino actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Hawaii’s own Tia Carrere, and a practically all-Filipino cast. Filipinos from various parts of the world, the Philippines, U.S. mainland and Hawaii share their excitement and thoughts over the movie, what it means for Filipinos in terms of representation and validation of our presence in the U.S. It’s a fun, light comedy highlighting many aspects of Pinoy culture. But the effort it took to actualize a project of this magnitude, in a Hollywood setting still behind the times in telling stories of minority communities – this is a serious matter that goes beyond entertainment. And data from the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report 2022 confirms what most already know, that more needs to get done in equitable representation in a country now over 42% ethnically minority. This project, Easter Sunday, could mark the beginning of more movies like it to come. But it will take the support of our community to ensure Easter Sunday is enough of a box office success to make similar projects be worth investing in by Hollywood’s powerful elite. In a related topic, HFC columnist Emil Guillermo writes “What Does It Mean to Be Filipino Living In America?” an actual question by Pew Research Group that covered 66 focus groups (all Asian, including Filipinos). Identity, assimilation, alienation – these are just some of the topics covered in the Pew survey. Also in this issue, we have Election News, a recap of Filipino-Americans’ wins and losses in the Primary Election. The article goes over who will move on to the General and what a likely outcome could mean for Filipino representation after the General in the State and County levels in terms of net gain or loss. The election season is not over and we cannot assume that our preferred candidates will win in the General. We look forward to presenting to you our continued election coverage. On to public health, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko contributes an important article “Defeat Monkeypox, Corona, Don’t Be Complacent!” Nationally the Monkeypox virus has been gaining momentum. In Hawaii, the DOH reported there have been 12 cases. Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan said vaccination is available statewide. If you happen to qualify to get the vaccination, it’s highly recommended that you get it. Please be sure to read our other interesting columns and news. Lastly, to our readers and advertisers, remember to visit our website and social media pages. To Filipino organizations, please send us news of your events and we’ll gladly post them in our calendar. Thank you for supporting Hawaii’s number 1 Filipino newspaper. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. Rose Churma Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D. Caroline Julian Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias Maita Milallos Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D. Renelaine Bontol-Pfister Seneca Moraleda-Puguan Mark Lester Ranchez Jay Valdez, Psy.D. Glenn Wakai Amado Yoro

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

Neighbor Island Correspondents: Big Island (Hilo and Kona) Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros

Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Pamela Gonsalves Shalimar/ Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias

The bottom line is that diversity in Hollywood is not just about it being a moral and correct thing to do, it’s good business practice for Hollywood to move in the direction of inclusion especially in today’s global market with American films making tons of money from audiences all over the world. And this is made more possible through better technology such as streaming and other digital platforms. (continue on page 3)



People vs Special Interests: Americans Score Major Victory in Healthcare Reforms and Climate Package


n the constant political tug-of-war between the People vs Special Interests – the People scored a big win in the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, signed into law by President Joe Biden. Seniors, consumers, families, the environment – just about every American stands to benefit in some way. In both the Senate and House, lawmakers passed IRA in a party-line vote by 51-50 (vice president Kamala Harris broke tie in Senate) and House 220 to 207. Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman said IRA is the largest climate investment in the nation’s history, “mainly a climate change bill with a side helping of health reform.”

Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices

The health reforms in the bill happen to be profoundly monumental, initiatives that Pharma has fought to stave off from becoming law over the span of three decades. Arguably the most significant among them is Medicare will now be given the power to negotiate prescription drugs which experts say will ultimately help to keep down the cost of medications. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, prescription drugs represent 10% of national

health spending and nearly 20% of health benefit costs for large employers and Medicare. With IRA’s passage, Medicare would gain the power to negotiate its costs for pharmaceuticals, initially in 2026 for 10 drugs. In Hawaii there are over 280,000 seniors who get their health care through Medicare. They will be pleased to see price reductions on some of their life-saving drugs. This is long overdue and we have Congress’ Democratic party class of 2022 and President Joe Biden to thank for finally delivering on this right for Medicare to benefit our seniors.

Caps on Out-of-Pocket Costs

Another major struggle over years that Medicare, seniors and senior-advocacy groups have been fighting for is to cap Outof-Pocket costs on prescriptions drugs. This has been a financial problem for seniors who have chronic health problems and must take multiple drugs just to stay alive. Seniors have reported having to ration (take less and not as prescribed by doctors), choose between medications they can afford or do without taking medications entirely. IRA’s health reforms scored another big victory by capping Out-of- Pocket Costs at $2,000 a year for seniors with the option to break that amount into affordable monthly payments. This will start in 2025. People

with devastating illnesses like cancer that have drugs costing tens of thousands will finally get the relief they’ve been asking politicians for. In yet another major health reform, beginning next year diabetes patients who have to pay exorbitant prices for the diabetes drug insulin will pay no more than $35 monthly. There are also provisions in IRA to help keep health care premiums low for low income families. IRA’s passage is a major victory for the people. However, the criticism that must be mentioned is that these reforms should have been set to start earlier (again, price negotiations starts in 2026 and Out-of-Pocket caps begins in 2025). The Inflation Reduction Act is really a smaller scale version of the Build Back Better (BBB) plan that did not pass last year. Included in BBB but have failed to be included in IRA were plans to lower the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 62, as well as the inclusion of eyes, ear and dental as part of Medicare’s basic coverage. The fight for these provisions should be continued into the future.

Climate Change Victory

While many of the original reforms in BBB were not included as the Medicare benefits stated above, as well as the original proposals of free prekindergarten, paid family and medical

(Support ....from page 2)

Companies that do not ride this wave of inclusion, quite frankly, will be left behind. In the case of Easter Sunday, in the first two weeks with theater showings alone in the U.S. and Canada, already this movie made $10 million. The movie studio spent $17 million to create Easter Sunday. Now when it hits the global market, especially in the Philippines, in the long haul Easter Sunday will turn out to be a smart and profitable move for Universal. Hollywood knows inclusion is good for business, and that is why according to the same report, there have been improvements in diversity.

Continue to put pressure on Hollywood Even as new standards are set within Hollywood and the numbers show that inclusion is good for business, we still must put pressure onto Hollywood to see to it that old business practices change. Any reform in any industry takes time to implement and be accepted as normal business culture. We are still seeing the highest echelons in the industry from the directors and producers top screen writers are still grossly minority-underrepresented. Another significant area: in financing films -- a big make or break determinant of a film’s potential success

-- we also see that minorities are still given far less in money to make a film. What does this do? It’s basically built-in preference for minority projects to be second tier. This has to change. Why? Just look at the data, again, minority inclusion films do well.

Support Easter Sunday Changes in Hollywood is coming. To expedite that such fair and equitable changes happen, it’s imperative that movies like Easter Sunday succeed, and in a big way. We encourage our community to watch Easter Sunday not just for its entertainment value, but for empowerment of our community as well.

leave -- energy and environmental experts say that the Climate provisions of BBB were largely kept intact and passed in IRA. Still, climate experts believe more must be done. The REPEAT Project, compiled by Princeton’s ZERO Lab, has produced a side-by-side comparison of emissions cuts under the Inflation Reduction Act and the earlier House version of Build Back Better. By 2035 the IRA, they estimate, will have delivered more than 90% of the emissions reductions that BBBB would have achieved. After all that legislative drama, Biden’s climate policy has emerged essentially intact. The climate package could reduce America’s emissions by about 40% by 2030. The bill aims at expanding renewable energy sources and lowering planet-heating emissions. The bill not only reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, it will also reduce other forms of pollution, notably nitrogen oxides and sulfur, that have negative effects on death rates, illness, and crop yields, experts say.The package, which represents the largest climate investment in the nation’s history, a $369 billion price tag for decarbonization, will be paid for by a combination of tax credits

and taxing large companies. Funding aimed at consumers includes: • $9 billion in home energy rebate programs to help people electrify their home appliances and for energy-efficient retrofits, with a focus on low-income consumers • 10 years of consumer tax credits to make heat pumps, rooftop solar, electric HVAC, and water heaters more affordable, which make homes more energy efficient • $4,000 in consumer tax credits for lower- and middle-income individuals who buy used electric vehicles and up to $7,500 tax credits for new EVs • $1 billion grant program to make affordable housing more energy efficient The timing of IRA becoming law clearly could have a political implication on the midterm and benefit Democrats. How much? No one really knows. But to Democrats who’ve been criticizing that Democrat-majority politicians have failed to deliver on substantive changes – IRA’s success is certainly a big deal and it could inspire with greater vigor for voters to go to the polls.



Easter Sunday Makes History as The First Filipino Film Produced by Major Hollywood Studio by Edwin Quinabo


usan (mother, played by Lydia Gaston): “We’re sending gifts to our family in the Philippines.” Tita Theresa (aunty, played by pioneering Filipina actress from Hawaii Tia Carrere): “I’m sending this brand new hair dryer.” Susan: “If it makes your hair look like that, I wouldn’t send it.” Tita Theresa: “How dare you?” Susan: “How dare you!” Tito Arthur (uncle, played by Rodney To): “We should put them both in the box and ship it.” This is just one among several relatable scenes to millions of Filipinos – family gathers to fill Balikbayan boxes (destined for relatives in the Philippines) with gifts from canned goods to specialty items – in the Pinoy-cultural bonanza film, Easter Sunday, starring comedian-actor Jo Koy (character Joe Valencia). Inspired by Koy’s real life experiences, the feel good comedy (1hr 36 mins) is about a struggling Los Angeles-based comic’s return home (Daly City, northern CA, pop. 35% Filipino) to visit his family on Easter Sunday. Typical of Filipino family reunions and featured in the film, the gathering is loaded with laughter, singing (karaoke), dancing, chismis (gossip), rivalry and food. For that added touch of Hollywood drama (atypical of Filipino families), Valencia must save his family from gun wielding thugs collecting on his cousin’s debt. Pioneering Filipino-American actor Lou Diamond Phillips (playing himself) is weaved into this subplot where Joe scrambles to come up with money to pay off the thugs. And a would-be commodity to save the day involves the selling of a memorabilia Hawaii helped to explode Koy’s career, 2017 was a turning point Rhea’s sister Nancy Alabanza, Kapolei, also watched Easter Sunday. She became a fan after Koy’s Hawaii standup show. “I was one of the tens of thousands in Hawaii who watched Jo Koy in his first visit to Hawaii. I supported him back then and wanted

formerly belonging to another Filipino icon, boxing legend Manny Pacquaio. The film is speed-train quick with one comedic scene after another. And culminates in…(no spoilers here, you have to watch the movie for details) a memorable day of family bonding. Koy, whose real name is Joseph Glenn Herbert, told the New York Times, “So when I was thinking of a movie, I was like, how can I… talk about my culture, shine light on my ethnicity, but still tell a family story and show all the crazy characters that every family has? And I was like, Easter Sunday. That’s the day every single person in my family comes and gathers, a fight breaks out, crying happens. I wanted to be able to tell that story in one day, and that’s the one day that stands out big in my family.” Produced by Steven Spielberg’s company Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, Easter Sunday is the first Filipino-themed, almost all Filipino-cast film that is produced and released by a major Hollywood studio. The history-making movie was released in the U.S. and Canada on August 5 at 3,175 theaters and grossed $5,447,130 on its debut weekend, coming in at number eight, according to Box Office. In its second weekend (Aug 13-14), it finished 11th, hitting total ticket sales of close to $10 million for the two weeks. These figures do not include streaming or international showing. Easter Sunday is slated to open in the Philippines and other international markets the last weekend of August which is expected to soar ticket sales. The film cost $17 million to make. Film industry experts project Easter Sunday will profit enough to cover costs and could make several millions in profit. Rhea Cordero-Holms, Orange County, Cal-

to do the same with this movie as a matter of Filipino pride,” she said. In November 2017, Jo Koy sold out 11 shows at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, breaking the record for the most tickets sold by a single artist. Koy said “That response, I can’t even explain it. That was a phenomenon. That’s something that I’m always going to

remember in my career.” Koy returned to Hawaii a second time in 2018 and played in a larger venue, the Blaisdell Arena, for four shows. The 2017 record-breaking shows signaled a turning point for Koy’s career. It was well-publicized nationally. That same year his Live from Seattle (first Netflix special) was released. Koy grew up in

ifornia (formerly of Moanalua, HI) watched Easter Sunday on opening day. She said she read Jo Koy’s book Mixed Plate and seen his Netflix Original Comedy Special Live at the Los Angeles Forum (2022). Besides this latest special, Koy has three other Netflix specials and two Comedy Central Stand-Up specials. Koy said Easter Sunday was made possible because Spielberg discovered him by watching one of his Netflix stand-ups and contacted him to make a movie. “I’ve heard his live shows are really funny. I never got a chance to see him live yet so I was excited to watch his movie. My husband and I made it a date night and we enjoyed it. My two daughters who are half-Filipino, like Jo Koy, plan to watch the movie on their own. They will be able to relate to some of the cultural aspects found in the movie,” Cordero-Holms said. “I hope the movie is a money-maker so that Hollywood will have the confidence to do future Filipino-themed movies. It’s important for our community to support this movie and watch it at the theater, preferably. I hope Universal will keep showing it at theaters for at least three more weeks.”

Tacoma so Washington was the perfect place to launch his first special. After high school Koy moved to Las Vegas for college where he also started his stand-up career in 1994 playing at comedy clubs and landed a regular spot on the show Catch a Rising Star at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino..

Eventually he made his way to Los Angeles (where he currently resides) to jumpstart his career in entertainment. He received an early career boost in 2005 when Koy performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Since 2017, besides making stand-up specials, Koy appeared in three movies: Vir(continue on page 5)


COVER STORY (Easter Sunday....from page 4)

ginia, Wake, and Anastasia: Once Upon a Time. Easter Sunday is his first lead as an actor. He’s also packed with passionate Koy fans storied venues like Madison Square Garden in New York and Chase Center sports arena in San Francisco. He’s appeared on over 100 episodes of Chelsea Lately as a season regular guest, the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, VH1, The Joy Behar Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Call with Carson Daly. Significance of Filipinos on the big screen Violeta Lantin, Kapolei, retired pharmacist, saw the Easter Sunday trailer and plans to watch the movie. “From the trailer it looks like the movie depicts a lot of the Filipino quirks and habits that we have that nobody would ever know about unless they are familiar with a Filipino household,” she said. On Filipinos being showcased to the rest of the country and world in this movie, Lantin says “It’s crazy-significant! By seeing this, people will have a frame of reference, a modicum of understanding, and familiarity about who we are. It’s like introducing a new color to the rainbow. Colors have to move in the same direction when light refracts. Cultural tolerance and understanding is not so hard when one finds that colors can blend and create useful and beautiful things, as people do.” Renelaine Pfister says she will watch Easter Sunday. She attended Koy’s stand up show in Oahu and watched his specials on Netflix. “Easter Sunday is a big leap for the Filipino community which positions a Filipino-American talent such as Jo Koy alongside international stars such as Tia Carrere, Lou Diamond Phillips and Jimmy O. Yang. It is a positive thing to see more minorities appear in Hollywood films.” Imelda Joaquin, a Filipino community leader in Hawaii along with her husband Dr. Nicanor Joaquin, said they watched Easter Sunday the

opening weekend. “It was so thrilling to see FilAm culture honored in a movie that was produced and distributed specifically for U.S. audiences. I have many young FilAm family members and I am so proud that they are able to see their heritage reflected on screen. Even though FilAms are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S., there’s still a stunning lack of familiarity with Filipino culture in this country among non-Filipinos. Easter Sunday is a meaningful way to share what is important to FilAm communities -- including family, faith and of course feeding our loved ones, and to show that those values are no different than the values held by other communities.” Jim Bea Sampaga, Manila, Philippines, former Hawaii resident, plans to watch the movie when it premieres in the Philippines later this month. “I’ve seen the trailer! It’s amazing. Jo Koy is definitely funny. I loved watching his stand-up shows. I love how it’s an all Filipino cast and I can hear the Filipino accent! I don’t know...there’s something about hearing the aunties and uncles speak in that distinct Filipino accent that makes me feel seen and validated. That’s exactly how I and my relatives sounded when we first arrived in America.” Speaking in a Filipino accent is something Koy regularly does in his stand-up shows when imitating his Filipino family. Some say his Filipino accent imitations make him more relatable to his Filipino audiences, and it takes what at times – an accent – that’s perceived by some as laughable in a derogatory way into something that’s laughable in

good nature. On the film’s backing from a major Hollywood studio, Sampaga believes the movie is a start of a bigger representation of Filipinos in Hollywood. She also says Easter Sunday wouldn’t be possible without the Filipino American films and Hollywood actors that preceded it. “Shout out to Dante Basco (Hook and Avatar: The Last Airbender) and his family’s big ties and influence on Hollywood! In 2021, they released an indie film titled “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers” and it’s now streaming on Netflix PH. I watched it recently and it’s one of the reasons too that I’m excited to see Easter Sunday. There’s just something about Filipino family shenanigans that make us so unique,” Sampaga said. “Slowly but surely, Filipinos are making a mark in Hollywood. I’m pretty young but I’m proud that I’ve been seeing a lot of Filipino actors in Hollywood which is also a big thanks to the trend of switching to streaming platforms. Making Hollywood entertainment accessible made it possible to open more doors for our fellow Filipinos. Netflix producing an animated adaptation of the Filipino comic book Trese was amazing! Seeing Nico Santos, Manny Jacinto, Olivia Rodrigo, Saweetie, H.E.R., and so many more dominate the TV/film and music industry is such an amazing feeling because I know that I am finally seeing people who look and have the same background as me be represented on screen,” Sampaga said. Besides iconic actors Lou Diamond Philips and Tia Carrere who appear in Easter Sunday, some other

“Joy Luck Club and Crazy Rich Asians were successful templates for Asian movies backed by Hollywood. I hope Easter Sunday will be another successful template. Filipinos came out in mass to support Crazy Rich Asians. Let’s hope that our Chinese community and other Asians will do the same for us with Easter Sunday. With Asians still being a minority in Hollywood, we need to muster our influence and resources and stick together to get the representation we want. As consumers of movies, we Asians must also show up in force and support each other. That means buying movie tickets and paying for movies on streaming platforms.” — Rhea Cordero-Holms

Easter Sunday and Jo Koy fan

well-known Filipino-American actors are Mark Dacascos (John Wick), Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow), Vanessa (formerly Vanessa Joy Minnillo) Lachey (Disaster Movie), Nicole Scherzinger (Moana soundtrack), Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bruno Mars (Soundtrack Rio 2), Michael Copon (One Tree Hill), Darren Criss (Glee), Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars), Nia Peeples (Fame). There are international Filipino celebrities like Enrique Iglesias (Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and Lea Salonga (Mulan). Some say what separates Koy from other well-known Filipino actors is that he leans into his heritage with his work far more than others. And that’s probably a reason he was able to pitch to Hollywood execs and get a project like this one done, which focused on Filipino culture with a Hollywood slant versus what we most see of Filipino actors, them playing mainstream roles. But the film, as Koy himself says, is universal that all families can relate to. “Jo Koy is #1 on my list because his talent not only makes me feel good, but his gift also speaks to my world view,” said Lantin. Vilma Fuentes, Hawaii, mentions Jacob Batalon who

played Spider Man’s best friend in Spiderman: No Way Home, as her favorite Filipino-American actor. “I personally met him in a Filipino community event. He’s so kind.” Pfister said she was thrilled when Batalon’s (his character’s) Lola (grandmother) spoke Tagalog in the movie. Fuentes watched Easter Sunday with her coworkers. What struck her most was the show’s featuring of Filipino traditional family values, she said . Hollywood can be a rough business to break through Koy has been doing standup for 30 years. In an interview with Collider he talked about being rejected and how nobody didn’t want to make his first stand-up special. “It was just like, how many “nos” am I going to get? I didn’t understand it. I’m breaking records. I was selling out improvs three weeks in a row, like six months in advance. But for some reason, they didn’t want to make my special. And then guys that were opening for me were getting specials. It didn’t make any sense. There was a point where I wanted to quit, but I had to do it.” Koy and his manager financed his first special Live from Seattle. “My manager and I decided to shoot it, and we used our money. And even up until the day we had all the cameras inside the venue, we get another phone call saying, ‘We don’t want it. And that was Netflix that said, ‘We (continue on page 6)


COVER STORY (Easter Sunday....from page 5)

don’t want it.’ And I still proceeded to shoot it.” Netflix eventually was on board with Live from Seattle and three more Koy specials. But he says it wasn’t until his third special -- In His Elements, released in 2020 -- that he made money. But all his specials served the purpose of marketing himself as a brand which eventually led to him being known enough to start raking in money from live shows in cities across the U.S and the Philippines. Hollywood tougher to break through as a minority Koy’s early struggles in Hollywood is not uncommon. Other minorities seeking to make it big in the U.S. entertainment industry frequently experience the same obstacles. Even though people of color make up 43% of the U.S. population, according to UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report 2022, people of color are still vastly underrepresented in key, powerful roles of director and film writer. Both male and female people

of color represent 30% of directors and 32% of film writers. The study also found that women and people of color have a harder time raising financing for a film, and when they do, raise less funding for their films – they’re more likely to helm a film with a budget of less than $20 million than white men are. Women and people of color were more likely to direct films that fell into the lowest budget category of less than $20 million. For films directed by people of color, 72.3% had budgets less than $20 million, compared to 60% for white directors. Easter Sunday’s budget of $17 million would be considered on the lower end in the movie industry. Starring Brad Pitt, Bullet Train (which was released on the same day as Easter Sunday) came in at number one that weekend, but it had a budget of $90 million to produce. Money influences quality of a movie, as well as marketing and distribution. The likelihood is that bigger budgeted movies will achieve greater com-

mercial success and smaller budgeted movies will achieve less success. In this vein, commercial success is built-in to a degree, and the uphill climb is steeper for minority-led movies to flourish simply because studios invest less on minorities and their films. And while people of color are increasingly more represented as lead actor and total number of cast, they tend to appear in lower budgeted movies and do not get the widespread exposure. Minorities buy the most tickets, and films with minorities do better Critics of Hollywood find underrepresentation even more disturbing because minority audiences account for the bulk of ticket purchases. Also, films with casts that were at least 21% minority enjoyed the highest online viewing ratings among all racial groups in the all-important 18–49 age category, according to the same UCLA report. Further, among the top 10 streaming films ranked by Asian and Black households, seven had casts that were more than 30% minority. Among the top 10 films ranked by Latino and white households, six had casts that were more than 30% minority. Alabanza believes Hollywood is still set in their old ways. “The data could show that minorities are great customers and that movies with a high percentage of minorities actually do better than those with less minorities, but Hollywood is used to a culture that had been set since Hollywood started. And that’s difficult to break. Clearly the U.S. is a different country in terms of its population today. And it’s time that Hol-

lywood break old habits and tell stories, make movies that reflect today’s America. “If this is lagging still, I wouldn’t know how to explain it except that it must be systemic racism. For example, as a business owner in any other industry, you are well aware of who your customers are and you cater to them. Why is the Hollywood elite ignoring basic business principles? And why isn’t minorities up at arms over this discrimination? Could it be that we are all so used to, even brainwashed, into accepting Hollywood’s business as usual at face value,” said Alabanza. Lantin comments “With social media blurring racial lines, now more than ever, I believe Hollywood has the power to steer away from racism and promote tolerance. Racism will always be here though. You cannot eradicate it totally. But I think Hollywood has more than enough weight to tip the scales.

More representation needed, start with an Asian bloc, Asians sticking together Asians (besides Filipinos) played important roles in Easter Sunday. Helping to jumpstart Easter Sunday was Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians) who played Marvin, a merchandising hustler. Yang is from Hong Kong and also a stand-up comedian. He served as executive producer for Easter Sunday. His production company Crab Club helped to get the ball rolling for Jo Koy’s movie. Yang said Hollywood claims that capable Asian actors are hard to find are just lazy excuses, he said as he gave praises to the cast of Easter Sunday at a presser promoting the movie. Other Asians in Easter Sunday included Director Jay Chandrasekhar, screenwriter Ken Cheng, and actor Asif Ali. In the same UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, it found films directed by minorities had the highest level of cast diversity. And 78.3% of films directed by people of color featured minority leads. Easter Sunday is an example of this statistic to a tee. “To have more representation in media, we have to make sure that creators are people who are like us: Asian Ameri-

cans! We need film/TV executives who believe in Asian American representation. We need filmmakers, writers and teams of Asian Americans to convey our stories. The reason why we have The Fabulous Filipino Brothers, Easter Sunday and Shang-Chi is that they had Asian Americans on their teams, especially in the writers’ room. We will have better representation in media if the media producers are Asian Americans like us,” Sampaga said. Joaquin agrees with the need for Asians in Hollywood to work together. “As FilAms, it’s important for us to not just stand up for our community, but to also stand in solidarity with other Asian Americans.” Cordero-Holms said if Asians can stick together they’ll have more clout to make more movies like Easter Sunday. Crazy Rich Asian premiered in 2018 and to date the film grossed over $238 million on a budget of $30 million (twice the budget of Easter Sunday), making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the 2010s. “Joy Luck Club and Crazy Rich Asians were successful templates for Asian movies backed by Hollywood. I hope Easter Sunday will be another successful template. Filipinos came out in mass to support Crazy Rich Asians. Let’s hope that our Chinese community and other Asians will do the same for us with Easter Sunday. “With Asians still being a minority in Hollywood, we need to muster our influence and resources and stick together to get the representation we want. As consumers of movies, we Asians must also show up in force and support each other. That means buying movie tickets and paying for movies on streaming platforms,” Cordero-Holms said. Encouraging people to watch Easter Sunday, Koy told Movieguide, “This is art imitating life. It’s loosely based, but it’s highly relatable for all the Filipinos. Filipinos can relate to this big time, heavy. But not only that, people that aren’t Filipino can relate to this because if you look at it from the outside, it’s just a family being a family. And it’s a mom being a mom, and a son being a son. That’s it.”



“Dead” Wife Comes Back Alive. New Wife Cries: “What Now, My Love?” By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon


t the turn of the century, a California man went to Ilocos Norte, became enamored with a woman in her early 20s, courted her, and proposed marriage. “But aren’t you married?” she asked. “Yes, but I have not seen her for many years, she must be dead by now,” he replied. “You better talk to a lawyer,” she told him. A lawyer filed with the Regional Trial Court of Ilocos Norte a Petition under Article 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines for a judgment declaring the man’s absentee spouse to be “presumptively dead”. Article 41 provides: “A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent

marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. . . For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.” The Court ruled that since the man’s spouse had been absent for more than six years without any information or knowledge of her whereabouts, which had led the husband to enter a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead, the court granted the petition saying it would redound to the best interest of the husband, and declared that the man was now qualified to contract another marriage without prejudice to the effect of the re-appearance

of the absent spouse. (I was surprised to find that the well-written decision was penned by a judge who had been a close friend of mine although he has since joined our Creator.) Thereafter, the man and the young woman married. They had a child. Years later the woman immigrated to the U.S. based on a petition filed by her husband, a U.S. citizen. She brought their child with her. They had another child in the U.S. The woman applied for naturalization. The USCIS denied her application on the ground that she was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence because her husband’s prior marriage was not legally terminated at the time they got married. The USCIS declared invalid the Declaration of presumption of death by the Philippine Court because according to USCIS it received information that her husband’s first wife was alive and residing in the U.S. There-

fore, concluded the USCIS, at the time she became a permanent resident, she was not entitled to have that status because her husband remained married to his first wife, and his second marriage was therefore null and void. What Now My Love? Here’s our answer: 1. USCIS has no jurisdiction or authority to declare applicant’s marriage to her husband “invalid”. There is no law conferring jurisdiction or authority upon USCIS to declare marriages invalid. Consequently, the USCIS’s Decision is ultra vires and void. 2. Only a court has jurisdiction to declare applicant’s marriage to her husband “invalid”. There must be an action for annulment and a judgment declaring such invalidity. No such action was filed. 3. A marriage can only be declared “invalid” in a direct proceeding challenging its va-

lidity, not in a collateral proceeding, such as in an application for naturalization. 4. Philippine law governs in this case. Applicant’s marriage to her husband was contracted in the Philippines. Applicant is a Philippine citizen. Her husband, although a U.S. citizen, was a resident of the Philippines at the time of their marriage. “The general rule is that the validity of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where it was contracted or celebrated, if valid there it will be held valid everywhere.” 55 CJS, Marriage § 5, p 673. 5. The Philippine court decision declaring the first wife of applicant’s husband as presumptively dead dissolved his marriage to his first wife. Such a decision is valid, binding, and final until it is set aside by a higher Philippine court. No higher Philippine court had set aside such decision. 6. Rules of international (continue on page 15)




What Does It Mean to Be Filipino Living In America? By Emil Guillermo


f people want to see what it’s like to be Filipino American, there’s a new movie that will show you on the big screen. Yes, Nico Santos was a player in that summer of 2018 hit, “Crazy Rich Asians.” But now four years later, Jo Koy is out with his Steven Spielberg-approved “Easter Sunday,” a film about Filipino American life in the enclave south of San Francisco known as Daly City. Catch it in theaters. But mask up and don’t catch anything else. This week in Seattle, the Filipino American National Historical Society is holding its national convention celebrating 40 years of existence. Readers of my columns here know the group as a resource for tapping into the legacy of Filipino American life. But what if people just wanted a quick reference to know how Filipinos felt about being Filipino in America? The Pew Research Group has come up with a new tool based on 66 focus groups with 264 people, going over 18 Asian ethnic groups in 18 languages. And they all asked this question: “What does it mean to be (you can pick an ethnicity from Bangladeshi to Vietnamese and everything in between) living in America?” I’m no expert, but I am a Filipino over 50, so I wanted to see what “Filipinos over 50” thought about living in America, and this was the answer: “I am just experiencing a current identity crisis with myself as a Fil-Am because of what has happened in the past year with COVID… There’s this struggle in me that I’m, well, I’ve been forced to assimilate (in the U.S.) and now what do I do? I still feel like I want to share my culture (and) I want to talk about it, hence

my career as a teacher.” Whoa! I read that and related instantly. “Current identity crisis” indicates we Filipinos as ethnic Americans are constantly evolving in our relationship with this country. “Forced to assimilate.” Was it forced? Reluctant? It just happened. The America part just sunk in. “Now what do I do?” Well, she could go see the Jo Koy movie with her non-Filipino friends and then see me talk at the FANHS Conference about my new solo stage show. But you see how just reading a quote can help us understand another fellow Filipino traveler instantly. Just the one quote I picked at random manages to capture a feeling, in this case, one of alienation that we all recognize, whether we’re first generation, second generation, or even third. The tool is called an “interactive quote sorter.” It can be helpful to develop a basic understanding of one another that might lead to a deeper sense of empathy. Pew might be able to tell you that the Census shows that Filipinos grew by 78% between 2000 and 2019 to 4.2 million. But numbers can’t talk. The focus group tool adds a human context to the numbers. Not only can you test it for Filipinos, but you can also learn about other communities. For example, the tragic news of four Muslims recently killed in Albuquerque has left the entire Muslim American community in a state of “managed panic,” according to a report in the New York Times. No one is calling it a hate crime yet, not until a motive has been established. Still, there is that sense of fear. One man is quoted as saying he won’t go back to the Muslim center because he feels like “bait.” As I read the story in California, I went to the Pew tool, and put in “Pakistani, Under 50.”

And here was a quote that came up from a US-born man of Pakistani origin, 30, answering the question, “What does it mean to be Pakistani living in America?” “You’re Indian,” the man said. “You’re not Pakistani, and for the rest of the world, like we’re not even a blip on the map. Nobody cares unless there’s an attack. That’s the only time we’re relevant in the news—like that’s why we’re invisible. People don’t even know anything about us, nor do they care to so if you’re standing in a sea of brown, you’re just brown. That’s it.” Eerily, the quote from interviews at least a year ago captures the feeling now. The quote tool is my favorite among the set of research aids from Pew. I like less the 30-minute documentary that was released simultaneously, about which I have a slight complaint. In the doc, we hear from Chinese Americans, including a father and his son. There are Japanese Americans talking about the internment. And Pakistanis and Sikhs, who

talk of 9/11 and the discrimination Muslims face. And then the doc is over. All important stuff, but how can there be no reference to Filipinos? Filipinos are the third largest group among Asian Americans, but also the first colonized Americans, who came to the U.S, no papers needed. One Vietnamese woman talks about how refugees who fled war were different from those who came for opportunity, but what of the colonized Filipinos who sought democracy direct on the mainland? They weren’t fleeing war, but the Philippine-American War colonized them. In the U.S., Filipinos went through all the pains other Asian immigrants did and more. Exclusion, lynching, anti-miscegenation. Add colonization, and Filipino Americans are a people with deep psychological scars, that for some, have yet to heal. It just shows how complex

we Asian Americans are. So, I’m not keen on Pew’s mini-documentary, but give me the quote sorter to provide a quick sense of what Asian Americans are feeling about living in this country. Read the headlines, then check back with the tool to see how it matches or adds to your perceptions. Filipinos in Hawaii, anywhere, might just assume we’re full of aloha toward others, maybe other Filipinos especially. But after playing around with the Pew tool, you may find how little we know about all the other folk standing with us under our big “Asian American” umbrella. EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. He writes a column for the Inquirer’s North American Bureau. He talks about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.



Defeat Monkeypox, Corona, Don’t Be Complacent! By Elpidio R. Estioko


hile the risk to most Hawaii residents against monkeypox remains low (12 reported cases), we should not be complacent, but instead should fight the virus head-on with conviction and renewed vigor!

As of writing, we have over 10,000 monkeypox cases all over the country. Also, the fight against the surging coronavirus must go on. President Joe Biden declared monkeypox a public health emergency in the country. With this declaration, this would help mobilize resources for state health officials who are battling the outbreak. The last time the U.S. declared a public health emergency was in response to COVID-19 in January 2020.

response to the outbreak. As for Hawaii, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that in June 3, we now have a total of 12 monkeypox cases after identifying one additional case from Maui. The case of the Maui resident is associated with travel outside of Hawaiʻi, according to Hawaii DOH. “The risk to most Hawaii Health Secretary Xavier residents remains low, but Becerra said states need to action now is essential for do more to prevent transmis- protecting public health. We sion and Congress needs to continue to ensure that case pass funding to support the investigation continues, and

that testing and vaccination are available, especially in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by this outbreak,” Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan said. Vaccination is available statewide. Getting vaccinated reduces the chances of getting monkeypox and may reduce symptoms of infection. However, no vaccine is 100% effective; therefore, it is important for individuals to reduce their risk of potential exposure to monkeypox both before and after receiving a dose of JYNNEOS, the approved vaccine against monkeypox. As vaccine supplies are currently limited, DOH has developed a strategy for vaccine allocation in Hawaii to protect those at increased risk of infection or severe disease. People who are currently eligible for a JYNNEOS vaccine in this phase include Hawaii residents ages 18 years and older and individuals who have had exposure to individual(s) with confirmed orthopoxvirus/monkeypox virus within the last 14 days, or Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals with high risk intimate contact in venues (sex-on-premises events, bathhouses, sex clubs) or areas where monkeypox is known to be spreading in the last 14 days. Eligible individuals should call our monkeypox hotline at 808-586-4462 to schedule an appointment. Call the phone line Monday through Friday from 7:45am to 4:30pm Appointment scheduling through individual healthcare providers is not yet available. The Hawaii DOH said individuals exposed to monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Options are available to prevent infection after high-risk close contact through vaccination. Infection begins with flu(continue on page 10)



Bongbong’s SONA Short on Objectives 27,000 people as a result of the campaign against drugs, which was Duterte’s pet project. He did not talk about how he is going to fight corruption By Perry Diaz in government. Needless to say, by not resident Ferdi- addressing them, he did not nand “Bong- take responsibility and own bong” Marcos accountability. Jr.’s first SONA before the joint “Simplicity, economy, and efsession of Con- ficiency” gress lasted for an hour and He issued Executive Or14 minutes. It highlighted a der No.1, which abolished the 19-point legislative agenda. Presidential Anti-Corruption However, it excluded human Commission (PACC) in the rights, justice, and peace -- guise of achieving “simplicissues that have hounded the ity, economy, and efficiency.” previous Duterte regime. But instead, it created anWhat was the message or other layer of bureaucracy, what was he trying to avoid… the Deputy Secretary for Leor both? Why the sudden si- gal Affairs (DESLA), which lence on the three most im- has its hands already full of portant issues that would de- cases investigating internal termine the paths to be taken and external legal matters. by his presidency? Or could He did not mention apit be that he isn’t prepared to pointments to the Commiselevate the priorities that he sion on Human Rights (CHR) as chief steward of the ship of and Presidential Commisstate to a level of highest im- sion on Good Government portance? (PCGG) that is tasked to reAt this point, we can only cover the ill-gotten wealth of speculate just like when he his family and their cronies. refused to participate in the The PCGG was formed debates during the campaign. in 1986 in the aftermath of He probably surmised that by the People Power Revoluevading discussion of these tion that ousted the Marcos important issues, the Filipino dictatorship and ushered people would give him a pass in the government of Cory just like before. Aquino. It was tasked soleBut skipping the debates ly to recover the ill-gotten is one thing and evading the wealth of the Marcos family issues is another. After he and their cronies. skipped the debates, it left his Cristina Palabay, secrefuture direction uncharted. tary-general of human rights He didn’t have to make group Karapatan, also noted promises on how to address that there was no mention the pressing issues like the of “press freedom, disinforCovid-19 pandemic, econom- mation, death penalty, and ic downturn, drug problem, failed domestic accountabiliinflation, unemployment, ty mechanisms.” health care, rising prices of gas and rice, and recession. Justice and rule of law Unlike his predecessor, Former Senate minority former president Rodrigo floor leader Franklin Drilon Duterte, who said that he’d said the Marcos government solve the peace and order sit- should not “sweep under the uation and how he’d get rid rug” issues concerning jusof the drug and criminality tice and rule of law, saying problem in six months, Mar- that a strong justice system cos did not mention them at could also boost investors’ all. confidence. He did not talk about But Marcos raised some the issue of justice and rule concerns among business cirof law, which Duterte pur- cles when he vetoed HB 7575 sued with vigor, eliminating creating the Bulacan Airport


Pres. Bongbong Marcos

Special Economic Zone and Freeport adjacent to the proposed airport city in Bulacan province. It is expected that his veto would drive foreign investors away. Not good for his fledgling presidency. Marcos, surprisingly, included in his legislative agenda the revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. (ROTC). Surmise it to say, the ROTC could be called upon in cases of national emergency. But short of invasion by a foreign power, the ROTC need not be activated and armed. Unless of course, a civil war erupts between the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and the Muslim separatists in Mindanao, in which case the ROTC could be armed and sent to the troubled region. But between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who have a combined strength of 250,000 armed personnel, I don’t think the ROTC needs to be deployed in the war zone. Overkill But that just shows Marcos’ paranoia of national turbulence. A case in point was during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25, he ordered 21,000 armed personnel to

guard the National Museum of Fine Arts where the swearing-in occurred. It was overkill. It shows how he fears for his life. Besides, the protestors were not allowed near the building. They had to hold their rally miles away in Quezon City. Many Filipinos are apprehensive about the prospect of martial law under Bongbong Marcos. Although it’s unlikely that he’d declare martial law soon, a lot of people are expecting him to gradually undermine the existing system by changing the law, little by little. One of the laws that he needs to address is taxation. When he was elected, he commented that the government does “not have good collection on taxes,” citing the influence of corruption. “The economy of the Philippines will simply not succeed, we cannot collect duties, tariffs, etc through the BOC and we do not have good collection on taxes both on the national and local level. Hindi talaga uubra. The numbers don’t match,” Marcos said. He added, “So that’s why it’s very, very important and we have to at the very least reduce the corrosive influence of corruption in govern-

ment as a general rule,” he added. Marcos’ unpaid estate tax Last March, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) confirmed that it sent a demand letter to the Marcos family to settle their unpaid estate tax worth P203 billion. When asked about corruption in the BIR, Marcos Jr., consistent with the family’s historical denialism, said that past corruption in the agency would be forgotten. Hmm… Does that mean that he would not pursue the collection of the Marcos unpaid estate taxes? He said that it was not under his watch. “I was not in charge at the time. Now that I am governing, there shouldn’t be corruption anymore. Wait until the taxpaying people stop paying their taxes, then you can say that Mr. President. At the end of the day, I believe President Marcos Jr.’s SONA was short on objectives. I wish him all the best and may the good Lord guide him on the righteous path to governing the Filipino people. PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.



Tomorrow’s Memories By Rose Cruz Churma


ast month, the San Francisco Girls’ Choir came to Hawaii and presented a concert at the Hawaii Theater and the Paliku Theater singing excerpts from the opera that was based on a diary of a young girl, Angeles Monrayo, who described her childhood days in Hawaii from January 10, 1924 to her arrival in California on November 17, 1928 and her elopement, but ends when she was expecting her first child. Angeles Monrayo was born in Romblon province in the Philippines. As a fourmonth-old infant, she travelled with her parents, brother and several aunts and uncles to Hawaii on the SS Shinyo Maru. Her father and uncles, called sakadas, were recruited to work in the sugar plantations in Hawaii. Her first entry was on January 10, 1924 when Angeles’ family lived in Waipahu. She writes, “I would like to read about me—what everyday things happen to me—when I am old woman, right now I

am only 11 years, 5 months.” And for this, we are grateful that this young girl was able to capture an unfiltered view of those times. On her second entry, she writes about Pablo Manlapit, who led the workers’ strike in the 1920s and his daughter Mary, as the Manlapit family relocates to Honolulu to prepare for the strike. The subsequent entries describe her experiences as a child during the strike and its aftermath. The family eventually moved to central California and her last entry was on November 17, 1928. Angeles’ journal was edited for publication by her daughter Rizaline, who notes that her mom loved to read and write, as well as tell stories, which she retold in the introduction to give perspective to the contents of the diary. She also notes that Angeles Monroya eventually wrote five more books, where one contained poems written in the 1940s while the other four where diaries from April 1981 to October 1993. Her last entry was right before she had undergone glaucoma surgery, which left her blind.

This publication also contains the memoir of Alejandro S. Raymundo, Angeles’ husband and father of Rizaline, which she notes “…was typed exactly as my father taped it to retain his accent, his voice.” It covers his birth in Tondo, Manila to his days as an itinerant immigrant worker in the canneries of Alaska to the farms in California. It provides a counterpoint to Angeles’ description of everyday life within the family home, since Alejandro’s thrust is his experiences in the workplace. The book also contains essays from Jonathan W. Okamura of Hawaii and the late Dawn Bohulano Mabalon of Stockton, California.

The essay “Filipino-American History in Hawaii: A Young Visayan Woman’s Perspective” written by Jonathan Okamura, is a well-researched document that provides context to the 1920s Hawaii when Angeles wrote the first entries in her diary. The author notes that this diary “provides a contemporary female account of their life and labor prior to World War II” and “constitutes a Visayan view of the Filipino community” since the majority of similar works are from Ilocanos who comprise the largest group in the Filipino community. Despite Angeles’ limited and irregular formal education (until the fifth grade) and a non-native speaker of English (her first language was Illongo), Okamura states that “her writing ability is all the more remarkable.” Her diary entries show that she is “a very perceptive and thoughtful observer of family and community events among Filipinos at the time.” Dawn Bohulano Mabalon’s essay “Writing Angeles Monrayo into the Pages of Pinay History” is a contem-

porary Pinay’s ode to another Pinay. Mabalon writes that “Angeles’ diary is a precious gift to all of us… it provides such a wealth of information about gender roles, work, family, culture, and community life.” Angeles’ diary is an invaluable document that offers a window to the past which has been drawn largely from the viewpoint of men, and Mabalon’s essay provides a background for understanding the world that Angeles lived in. The book’s editor, Rizaline R. Raymundo is the oldest child of Angeles Monrayo and Alejandro S. Raymundo. As a child of migrant workers, she grew up in different agricultural farmlands in California. A retired school teacher, she is a member of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), which commemorates its 40th anniversary during its biennial conference in Seattle in August 2022. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established a career in architecture 40 years ago, specializing in judicial facilities planning. As a retired architect, she now has the time to do the things she always wanted to do: read books and write about them, as well as encourage others to write.


Filipino Candidates of 2022, Primary Election Wins, Losses and Potential Standing After the General Election By Edwin Quinabo


t looked promising for Hawaii’s Filipino community going into Primary Election 2022. But the overall result is a mixed bag. Big Races 0-3 Filipino-American hopefuls for large races went 0-3. In the race for Lt. Governor Sherry Menor-McNamara came in fourth out of six candidates. Sergio Alcubilla was defeated by Ed Case (76.4% to 15.4% in Hawaii Congressional District 1); and Patrick Pihana Branco lost to Jill Tokuda (48.6% to 21.1% in Hawaii Congressional District 2).

State Senate, Potentially Plus 2 seats after General, if all 6 remaining win, 2 already automatic winners from Primary) Going into the General Election, the Filipino community potentially could gain a net of 2 seat for a total of 8 of 25, or 32% in the Hawaii State Senate. The Filipino population in Hawaii is 25%. Automatic State Senate winners of Filipino ancestry after the Primary Election are Henry Aquino (District 19) and Gil Coloma Keith-Agaran (District 5). Aquino, a State House Representative defeated fellow Filipino Roger Clemente 68.6% to 16.5%. There was no incumbent

in this race due to redistricting. He has no other party challenger for the General. Agaran is the incumbent in District 5 and has no challenger for the General. State Senate candidates of Filipino ancestry moving on to the General (either they won their primary or ran unopposed) are incumbents Donovan Dela Cruz, Lorraine Rodero Inouye (who beat out a fellow incumbent State Senator, their former districts merged), Donna Mercado Kym and Joy San Buenaventura. All these Democrat candidates will face challenges from other party winners. In State Senate District 16 incumbent State Senator Ben-

nette Misalucha lost to fellow Filipino Brandon Elefante 65.6% to 27.0%. Elefante’s tenure at the City & County of Honolulu Council termed out. Elefante has a Republican challenger Patricia Yuki Beekman. Matthew Keiklani Tinay, the only Republican of Filipino ancestry), ran unopposed and will face incumbent Karl Rhoads in the General. State House (potentially win 6 seats, but already minus two from 2022 State Legislature) State Representatives of Filipino ancestry for 2022 comprised of eight members. Going into the 2022 Pri-

mary Election, five of the eight incumbents were either seeking other offices, decided not to run, and Rep. Ty Cullen quit due to allegations of corruption. The large number of candidates of Filipino ancestry (15) in 2022 running in the House, could have maintained similar or increased representation in that body (to make up for the five outgoing). But after this Primary Election, only six candidates of Filipino ancestry will move on to the General. The six either won their races or ran unopposed in the Primary. They are Micah Pookela Kim-Aiu, Della Au Belatti, Ernesto “Sonny” Ganaden, Diamond Garcia, Rachele Fernandez Lamosao and Rose Martinez. (continue on page 15)



The Joy of Homeschooling By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan


id you notice that the honeybee has a basket on her leg where she puts the pollen? Did you know that there are different kinds of wasps named after what the type of house they build? There’s a mud wasp, a paper wasp and a digger wasp. Oh, what fun to learn so many things simply by reading books to my children. I get to enjoy this privilege because of the gift of homeschooling. My 6-year-old Callie just entered first grade and my 3-year-old Yohan is in preschool. Our days are filled with dancing, singing, book reading, painting and drawing, story time, nature walks and so much more. We have art classes, piano lessons and ballet dancing. We memorize Bible verses and poems and sing worship songs. We listen to Bach and Mozart, appreciate Monet and Van Gogh. We learn about World History and Philippine Literature, Math and Nature Science by reading living books that don’t just inform but inspire. And in between all these, they have a lot of rest and playtime. We also get to travel to places anytime we want. We go to museums and parks. We hike on mountains and swim on the beach without having to excuse them from class. And we get to teach them life skills by involving them in household chores- setting up the table, cleaning their rooms, folding their clothes and vacuuming the floor. This is the joy of homeschooling. Not only do I get to teach them, I get to learn with them. We get to enjoy things together. I get to witness their progress and their milestones. We have the free-

Yohan and Callie

dom and flexibility to create our curriculum according to their interests, talents, and strengths. My husband and I get to instill in them the values and principles that we hold on to, especially our faith. I grew up going to a public school. I thought that all children went to or had to go to a school to learn. It definitely has its benefits. It has given me access to highly trained professionals and exposed me to different kinds of people which taught me teamwork, cooperation and other social skills. But it also has its cons. Instead of having the freedom to explore my own interests, I was forced to study at the same pace as my classmates. Not to mention the stress of doing assignments at home after a long day of studying in school. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the education I received growing up. I had so much fun, I forged deep friendships and I learned a lot from my teachers. Because of the pandemic, my husband and I became aware of homeschooling which we didn’t know has existed for a very long time. And living in South Korea where the cost of education is high especially for foreigners, we really had no other choice but to educate our children at home. Bullying among stu-

dents, posing higher risks to children from foreign and multicultural families, further pushed our inclination to homeschool over bringing them to a traditional school. But choosing homeschooling was not an easy decision. I had a lot of questions and doubts. Will I be able to teach my children well? What will they learn from me? Will my children be at par with or even better than their counterparts who have been traditionally schooled? Will they have confidence when they are exposed to the real world? Thankfully, these questions are being answered by being a part of a community of homeschooling moms and children. I realized that I may be alone learning with my kids at home, I am not alone in this journey. My husband, though working full-

time, gives me full support. In his free time, he reads them books, he plays with them, shares with them what he does at work and supplements whatever lessons we have learned for the day in a fun way. I also surrounded myself with moms and dads who are homeschooling their children, always ready to encourage, answer questions, give suggestions to become better homeschooling parents. And God’s grace, wisdom and strength are sufficient for each day. Indeed, I am not alone. Homeschooling takes a massive commitment on my part as a parent. Juggling it with household chores and managing our home can be very taxing, but the joys and benefits of teaching and learning with my children far outweigh

the challenges. Our motivation to homeschool may be because of finances or the fear of our children being bullied, but doing it for the second year now, I must say it is the best option for our family. We will still choose to homeschool our children even if we have enough finances to bring them to a traditional school. Our children are growing incredibly fast. Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to make the most of our time with them and mold them into becoming the man and woman God has called them to be. At the end of the day, as parents, we are merely stewards of our children. They belong to their Heavenly Father who has great plans and purpose for their lives. Homeschooling takes a lot of work, but its rewards are worth it!



Election Might Be Turning Point in Quest to Exempt Food, Medicine — and Medical Services — from GET

by Keli‘i Akina


ith inflation soaring in our already-expensive state, wouldn’t it be nice to get a discount on a few of life’s necessities? That might actually happen, if some of the candidates in the current election cycle get elected. Finding popularity in an idea that has been kicking around for decades, the candidates have been talking about exempting food and medicine from the state gen-

eral excise tax — and I’d like to encourage them to follow through on the idea if they make it into office. Why exempt food from the GET? Because even before inflation drove grocery costs up by 8.7% this year alone, Hawaii residents were spending considerably more of their budgets on food than the residents of just about anywhere else in the U.S. Given that Hawaii’s GET can be as high as 4.712% — when you include the surcharges imposed by the counties — an exemption for food would help alleviate some of the pain caused by Hawaii’s ever-increasing prices. The GET, of course, is a regressive tax, which means it falls heaviest on those who can least afford it. Offhand, that would make it seem like a good idea right there to exempt food from the GET.

However, a prominent state official recently said a GET exemption for food wouldn’t help Hawaii’s poorest residents, since purchases with food stamps already are exempt. But this misses the larger point: Not everybody uses food stamps, and for most of Hawaii’s residents who don’t, every dollar counts. That’s why we like big-box stores, discount cards, coupons and kamaaina deals. Let’s face it: Hawaii is one of only 13 states that levies a sales tax on groceries. A GET exemption for food is one way policymakers could do something constructive about the large role that taxes play in Hawaii’s high cost of living. As for medicine, our prominent state official noted that prescription drugs also are already exempt from the GET. But there are many

over-the-counter drugs that people buy for legitimate health-related reasons, and these are not exempted. If we want to help people save a few more dollars during these rough times, exempting all medicine products would be a way to do it. Nine other states and the District of Columbia do so, while a 10th state taxes OTC drugs at a lower rate. In fact, not only should Hawaii lawmakers help Hawaii families save money on food and medicine, they should exempt medical services as well, as nearly all other states do. Hawaii hospitals and medical groups don’t have to pay the GET, but private practice physicians do. Combined with the local cost of living, the high price of doing business in our state and the fact that the GET cannot be passed on to Medicare

patients, the tax on physician services makes it very difficult to run a successful medical practice in Hawaii. Physicians themselves have cited Hawaii’s tax on medical services as a contributing factor in their leaving the state to practice elsewhere. Hawaii already is suffering from a doctor shortage, overstressed hospitals and delays in access to care. The last thing we need is a tax that drives away qualified physicians and shuts down medical practices. Most other states have already seen the wisdom in exempting groceries and medical services from their sales taxes. Will this be the election season that leads to Hawaii doing so as well? 

it, so we can be ready for it! Okay, will monkeypox also affect the schools? Health officials have repeatedly emphasized that anyone can catch monkeypox through physical contact with someone who has the rash that characterizes the disease or contaminated materials such as towels and bedsheets. The CDC confirmed recently the first two US cases of children catching the virus. School officials should be aware that their students are not exceptions to them getting monkey pox. Everybody is! Students need our urgent support as they return to school after a prolonged impasse. When asked if we could face a summer COVID surge that would require a return to preventive measures like masks and isolation, epidemiologist David Dowdy said: “It’s important for us to realize that in some ways

we are already in the midst of a surge. Apparently, there is a possibility that during the summer season, we may have to contend with the original preventive measures like wearing masks, isolation and social distancing.” This is concerning because Dowdy added: “There are indicators that the level of coronavirus transmission in the U.S. now is about the same as we experienced during the Delta wave and almost as high as the surge during the first winter of the pandemic.” This is scary, so we need to have extra care in our daily life and be cautious of what we do to stay away from the pandemic. This is not the time to relax. We need to put in more efforts in combatting and winning the war against the pandemic.

KELI‘I AKINA is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

(AS I SEE IT: Defeat Monkeypox ....from page 10)

like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. Infection progresses to a rash or sores, often on the hands, feet, chest, face, or genitals. Individuals generally become ill

within 21 days of exposure. Infections generally last two to four weeks. Individuals are infectious until all lesions are scabbed over and new skin has grown. As we troop to the classrooms this coming school year next week, administrators, students, teachers, and parents need to know that the war vs. COVID is still on! It is surging! Let us not be complacent as the new variants are actively attacking everybody, even babies are not an exception. Lately, most of our students were quarantined because they were either found positive or found exhibiting symptoms of the virus. And I was surprised to know that the whole family of a relative was positive, including their one and half-year-old baby. Surprised because it was my first time to hear that even babies are now victims of the virus. This is a rare incident, but we need to be aware of

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.


COMMUNITY CALENDAR TASTE OF OAHU | Millwood Ohana Productions | First Friday of the month until December 2022, 4-10pm | Aloha Stadium | Enjoy a night with Hawaii’s best entertainments, family fun activities and over 50 food, craft and retails vendors. Tickets starts at $15 for ages 12 and older. For more information, contact (808) 533-9016. AARP SEMINARS GO “INSIDE THE MIND OF A CON ARTIST” | August 20 at 9 am at the Ala Moana Hotel; In-per-

son workshops: Aug. 18 at 9 am at the Maui Beach Hotel, Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel | To register to come to the in-person events go to aarp.cvent.com/ HIFraud. HAWAII TRIENNIAL 2022 | Hawaii State Art Museum | Until December 3, 2022 | 250 South Hotel St Second Floor, Honolulu | Even though the HT22 even officially closed on May 8, Hawaii State Art Museum will be keeping their HT22 exhibit on

display until December 2022. View the unique exhibits showcasing the fluid concept of Pacific Century interweaving themes of history, place and identity. Entrance is free. BATTLE OF THE FOOD TRUCKS | Hawaii Tourism Authority | September 11, 2-6pm | 2974 Kress Street, Lihue, Kauai | Celebrate cultural traditions around food as Kauai Food Trucks showcase their culinary talents with live music entertaining tasting guests. Tickets start at $75. To purchase, visit bestkauaifoodtrucks.com.

(WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: “Dead” Wife....from page 7)

comity require that the United States and its agencies should respect the laws and the judicial decisions of foreign tribunals. 7. If the first wife who has been declared presumptively dead on petition of her husband reappears, the husband’s second marriage to applicant is automatically terminated by the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse with the court which declared her presumptively dead. Since the first wife had not filed an affidavit of reappearance, the husband’s second marriage to applicant has not been terminated. 8. Applicant’s husband’s second marriage with applicant is valid because there was a judicial declaration that the first wife was presumptively dead which dissolved the first marriage. Consequently, the remaining spouse (applicant’s husband) was permitted to contract a subsequent marriage that was valid. 9. The Family Code of the

Philippines provides for void and voidable marriages. But the code does not include as void or voidable a second marriage by a person whose first spouse is declared presumptively dead and whose first wife reappears. Consequently, the USCIS acted contrary to law when it “declared invalid” the applicant’s marriage to her husband whose first wife was declared presumptively dead by the Philippine court. 10. Applicant’s husband’s second marriage with applicant is valid until it is “terminated”. Consequently, all acts of applicant and her husband during their marriage are valid until their marriage is terminated. Therefore, the filing of a form I-130 petition by applicant’s husband on her behalf is valid because it was made during their marriage. Where a person whose spouse has absented himself or herself for a specified period subsequently marries another person, “[t]he

former marriage in these cases is suspended and without binding effect until the subsequent marriage is annulled.” 55 CJS, Marriage § 18. Art. 43 of the Family Code provides that the termination of the subsequent marriage shall produce the following effects, among others: “The children of the subsequent marriage conceived prior to its termination shall be considered legitimate.” If the children are “legitimate,” that indicates that the second marriage of the husband whose wife was declared presumptively dead but reappears is “valid” until it is “terminated” which had not yet occurred. Consequently, the acts of Applicant and her husband during their “valid” marriage are likewise valid. This includes the filing of a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative by Applicant’s husband on behalf of Applicant during their marriage. Applicant was lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Therefore,


Sun Damage and Protecting Your Eyes By HFC Staff


ere in Hawaii, we all spend plenty of time at the beach and near the water, while we all know to wear our reef-safe sunscreen to protect our skin, we should also protect our eyes from sun damage. July is UV Safety Month and Dr. Steven Rhee, D.O., Medical Director and Cornea Specialist at Hawaiian Eye Center shared the following information and tips with us. UV rays reflected off sand and water can cause eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in temporary blindness after just a few hours. The more time spent in the sun, the more exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light which is damaging to both the skin and to our eyes, choosing to wear broadbrimmed hats, and 100% UV blocking sunglasses you can be fashionable and protected! Exposure to the sun’s UV rays is hazardous anytime during daylight hours - even if its cloudy, UV radiation is especially severe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can burn the surface of the

eyes directly or indirectly, which is why it is imperative to wear proper eye protection when in the sunlight. According to Dr. Rhee “The effects of damage from UV light often shows up slowly and therefore goes unnoticed.” Long-term exposure to bright light may lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer in and around the eyes, and pterygium—an unpleasant, noncancerous growth on the eye’s surface. He continued:” “Because of this slow onset of conditions, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially as you age.” The best way to prevent eye damage from the sun is by wearing sunglasses. No matter the style or cost, choose sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection” or “UV 400.” Wrap-around sunglasses that extend around the temples offer the best protection along with wearing a broadbrimmed hat, but always at least choose the highest UV protection available. Adding these preventative measures to your daily routine will help protect your vision!

Applicant is eligible for naturalization. COMMENT: In the 1940 movie, “The Way of All Flesh,” which I saw when I was in high school, a banker entrusted with a large sum of money was robbed. He was ashamed to return home and disappeared. Many years later, he returned to his hometown. On Christmas Eve he went to his home, peered into the window and saw his wife and another man obviously his wife’s new husband and young children celebrating. Did he barge in and proclaim “I am your husband. Your marriage is void.”? No, he just walked away into the cold and dreary night. What would you have done? ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice

before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and w rites columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com. * The information provided in this article is not legal advice. Publication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

(HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS: Filipino Candidates....from page 12)

Hawaii County (potential plus 1 after General) Dr. Addison Suero Bulosan came in 6th place and moves on to the General to compete for one of the seven-seat county council. Kauai does not have districts for its City Council. City & County of Honolulu Council (potential plus 1 after General if 2 remaining win) The 2022 City & County of Honolulu Council comprised of three members of Filipino ancestry. Radiant Cordero and Augie Tulba were not up for relection. Brandon Elefante termed out but won his Senate race (see above). After the Primary Election, three candidates of Filipino ancestry remain and will move on to the General (none of the candidates in these races reached the required 50%, plus

1 to win the Primary outright). The three candidates are Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Val Aquino Okimoto and Ron Menor. In District VI, Tyler Dos Santo-Tam (28.2%) will challenge second place finisher Traci Toguchi (28.2%) for District V1. It was a crowded Primary for this district with seven total candidates. In District VIII, Filipino candidates Ron Menor (former State Senator and City Council member) and Val Aquino Okimoto (former State House Representative) will go headto-head in November. It was a close race in the Primary Aquino Okimoto 34.0% edging out Menor 32.4% A Dos Santo-Tam and either Aquino Okimoto or Menor win -- would bring the next City & County of Honolulu to four of 9 (44.4%) members of Filipino ancestry. 

AUGUST 20, 2022