fil-am whoâ€™S WHo DECEMBER 2015
RN Express: Sally Nunez, Maria Lea Batomalaque and Florida Lucas
Staffing Home Healthcare
In This Issue. . . 4 November Rewind 5 Kirby’s 18th Birthday
Cover Story: The Power of Three
10 Fork it Out 11
Oliver Oliveros Proud Filipino Nurses
Filipino nurses in New York are a dime a dozen, but contrary to the “lackluster value” that the idiomatic expression “a dime a dozen” connotes, these selfless caregivers’ service to their patients is invaluable. Filipino nurses working abroad, especially in Manhattan and its nearby boroughs, are proud Filipino nurses. Shouldn’t we be proud as Filipinos like them?
A Word from The Editor
On my second year as a graduate student at New York University (NYU), back in 2012, I found myself at one of the clinics at the NYU Health Center on 726 Broadway for my annual physical examination. As a Filipino nurse was about to administer a flu vaccine to me, she asked me (curiously), “Are you a Filipino?” I answered, “I could be easily mistaken for a Thai or a Vietnamese, but I’m proud to be a Filipino!” The nurse’s face lit up, because according to her, it’s seldom that Filipino students at NYU admit that they’re Filipinos. “They seem to be embarrassed to reveal they’re Filipinos,” she said. “Not me,” I told her. “And I’m very happy that a Filipino nurse is attending to my needs.” Accordingly, I’m also very grateful that three superPinay nurses are also gracing our cover in this special Christmas issue of Fil-Am Who’s Who: Sally Nunez, Maria Lea Batomalaque, and Florida Lucas of RN Express Staffing Registry. Sally, Lea, and Florida first worked together at the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan during their first few years into their nursing careers. They’ve been inseparable friends and business partners since, learning further from each other, as well as drawing strength and inspiration from each other. “[Filipino nurses] being naturally hard working, caring, hospitable, helpful, and generous set us apart from the others,” said Lea in our cover story. Read more on pages 8-9. A FRIENDLY REMINDER: We celebrate Christmas to rejoice greatly the birth of Jesus Christ. This Christmas season, let’s avoid too much commercialism; let’s put back Christ in Christmas instead! Fil-Am Who’s Who encourages its readers to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures. Email submissions at email@example.com.
We use information sources that we believe to be reliable, but do not warrant the accuracy of those sources. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that Fil-Am Who’s Who articles and other information on the website are up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the publication date.
fil-am who’s who 2 FIL-AM WHO’S WHO
STAFF Editor-in-Chief Oliver Oliveros • Managing Editor Myrna Gutierrez • Layout Artist & Photo Editor Rolan Gutierrez • Marketing/Sales Director & Columnist Ollie David • Marketing/ Sales Executive & Columnist Prospero A. Lim, MD • Contributing Writer Maricar CP Hampton Contributing Writer Ria Serrano • Contributing Writer Rachel Kelly Davis • Publisher Fil-Am Who’s Who, Inc. Copyright © 2015 Fil-Am Who’s Who, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Fil-Am Who’s Who invites you to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures to the editor. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising inquiries, please email email@example.com or call (732) 499-7995, (917) 502-9887, or (917) 502-9891.
‘Tis the Season to be Thankful!
FIL-AM WHO’S WHO 3
Milestones & Moments Myrna Gutierrez
By Lumen Castaneda Photos by Rolan Gutierrez Young singer Kirby Asunto, daughter of Liberato and Shirley Asunto, was born in Paranaque, Manila, where she grew up until she was 8 years old. At that time, she was brought to America by doting mom, Shirley, to rejoin her dad. From then on, the two—the mother and daughter team—became inseparable. Kirby went to Linden High School in New Jersey. But since they have been going back and forth to Leyte and Cebu, the Philippines to hold fundraising shows for the survivors of the recent earthquake in Bohol and super typhoon Haiyan, Kirby had decided to revert to homeschooling. Prior to those fundraisers, in 2012, Kirby and Arnel Pineda of the famous band Journey had a show here in New York City to also raise funds for their home country. During Manny Pacquaio’s bout with Timothy Bradley in 2012. Manny asked Kirby to sing the Philippine National Anthem, which she sang so powerfully. Unfortunately, Manny lost that fight not that Kirby was the jinx. In 2013, Kirby was featured in “Noli Me Tangere,” the opera, as Sisa’s son, Basilio. The New York Times showered her praises on her performance. She was truly excellent in that role as everybody who saw it testified. Last year, she joined forces anew with Arnel Pineda for a fund-raising concert in Bohol to benefit the Loon Day Care Center, which was ravaged by the earthquake before typhoon Haiyan. Kirby at 18 years old is unlike any other young lady of her age. Instead of thinking of signature dresses, shoes and bags, and parties, Kirby is thinking of the children in the Philippines. In fact, she has been helping Bahay Aruga, which houses about 100 children that are being treated for cancer and other diseases at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila. She recently gave these kids a multi cab van to use when traveling to and fro the patients’ home and the hospital. What a wonderful young lady she has become!
Lani Misalucha, Live in New York! with Special Guest Jared Martin The Town Hall
November Rewind Rolan Gutierrez
Jared Martin joins Lani Misalucha
November Rewind Rolan Gutierrez
Homecoming Sa Konsulado Philippine Center
Homecoming speaker Dr. Marcelito C. Custodio (Diplomate Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology) and Ambassador Mario Lopez de Leon Jr.
Parol making contest on site. St. Paul College
Maria San Jose wins the round-trip raffle prize.
6 FIL-AM WHOâ€™S WHO
Philippine Women’s University
Mindanao State University
Sani Guil ena celebrates his 67th birthday
Sani Guillena with ‘Elvis Presley’ performer
With wife Beth DECEMBER 2015
FIL-AM WHO’S WHO 7
By Maricar CP Hampton
‘Lord, please guide me to a profession where I can of help to others,’ but I never thought of the nursing field,” Sally recalled.
“The US healthcare’s focus in the future is to keep the elderly in the community and to consolidate healthcare services, i.e. hospital and skilled nursing care and home care can be accessed through one healthcare provider,” Sally said.
Lea added, “We’re not really businesswomen. We just want to help.”
urses Sally Nunez, Maria Lea Batomalaque, and Florida Lucas know all too well that when their current patients, mostly baby boomers, age, the demand for healthcare workers, especially in the home care setting, will dramatically increase.
Lea added, “There will always be a great need for the nursing job in different settings: hospital and nursing home, more so in a home care setting.” Sally, Lea, and Florida were co-workers at Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan and as fate would have it they quickly
It was this burning desire to help others that led Sally and her two friends to establish RN Express. “Entrepreneurship was not in my blood and even beyond my imagination,” Sally said.
For Florida, being a nurse and ultimately coming to the US has always been a dream. “I remember telling my parents, ‘I want to be a nurse when I grow up, I want to take care of the sick, and go abroad.’ Growing up, I always thought I would someday be a nurse, an amazing nurse,” she shared. While grateful for the opportunity to work in the US, Lea, on the other hand, did not
Photos by Rolan Gutierrez
they are ready, they are placed in different nursing home facilities across New York. “Being a nurse in the US requires you to be competent in all aspects,” explained Florida, who is also the assistant director of nursing at Amsterdam Nursing Home. “The demand for excellence in the US is high, thus competent nurses are expected.” She continued, “As a nurse in nursing home setting, not only will you become a direct caregiver to the needs of the geriatric patients, but you become a vital member of the healthcare team.” Known for the ability to provide genuine care and respect to their patients, Filipino nurses have been a top choice in the healthcare field. “No matter what the person’s social status is, we have to treat patients equally with great respect,” Lea said. “Being naturally hard working, caring, hospitable, helpful,
Front L-R: Florida Lucas, Lea Batomalaque, Sally Nunez, Aida Duran Back L-R: Joseph Cruz, Anne Inamac, Alex Alejandrino became close friends. “I consider them as my soul mates,” Sally declared. Sally never thought she would become a nurse much less become the CEO and president of RN Express, a healthcare staffing company. “I remember praying one night, I was graduating from high school then, I said,
plan a career in the nursing field.“Being a nurse was not on my list after high school graduation. I always wanted to be a CPA. It was to everyone’s surprise when I enrolled at a nursing school.” With over 85 years of combined experience, together they train fresh graduates and new immigrants on nursing practices in a home care setting. Once
and generous also set us apart from the others.” Although most of their clinical experiences were achieved through the home care setting, they are proud of what they have accomplished. “My nursing home experience developed more patience in me,” Sally said, as she
works in different nursing management facilities and community nursing such as adult day programs. In Florida’s case, she learned that working in a nursing home can be quite challenging. “You’re dealing with different types of people, different cultures. Some are demanding, but some are pleasant and nice,” she said. “It is how you deal with the situation. Just listen, attend to their needs, and always smile.” Lea, who is also a recovery nurse in the post anesthetic care unit at Mount Sinai Roosevelt agreed, “It is very rewarding to work with the elderly. Working in a nursing home requires a special kind of person. It takes a lot of caring and sensitivity.” She continued, “You need to know how to separate yourself from the job. The job is hectic at times and you need to handle it well.”
Front L-R: Anne Inamac, Florida Lucas, Lea Batomalaque, Sally Nunez, Aida Duran Back L-R: Joseph Cruz, Alex Alejandrino, Luz de Leon
For Sally, who transitioned from being a director of admission and case management, a position she held before
leaving Amsterdam Nursing Home, to the head of RN Express, her nursing home experience helped her to become a strong leader. “I was prepared by my nursing home experiences to become a CEO.” Established in 2009, RN Express has already produced numerous successful nurses. “We have nurses who have been working here in the US for 3-10 years before joining RN Express; their families were in the Philippines. Now they are together because of the RN Express,” Sally shared. “We also had a 25-year-old female nurse with no clinical work experience. After a year, she became a nursing supervisor working in a sub-acute unit in a nursing home. Three years later, she is now into quality assurance in a nursing home.” Aside from their business partnership and strong friendship, Sally, Lea, and Florida also credit their personal and professional successes to God. “God is always good. He is the source of everything we accomplished in life. We’re always thankful for all the good things and we’d like to share them to others,” Sally said. 20 years from now, Sally and her partners hope to see RN Express fully developed and financially stronger to continuously produce quality nurses. RN Express: Sally Nunez, Maria Lea Batomalaque, Florida Lucas
Despite the stresses of the nursing profession, these hardworking Pinays know how to have fun: they turn to shopping, traveling, and even playing golf to unwind. D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 5 FIL-AM WHO’S WHO 9
NJ Express Ria Serrano
Photos by Darwin Ocampo Emcees Ria Serrano and Rene Ballenas
or the incoming president of TANGLAW, Atty. Carlos Garcia, a petty action became a source of renewed commitment to serve, which he shared at a gala event held at Leonard’s in Long Island, New York.
He once tossed a bottle with a note, “Call me at this number for a reward,” into an open water. Lo and behold, five years later, someone called him back, and without much thought that this would have happened, he sent a $50 money order so as not to crush the dream of the boy who found the bottle. The boy later sent him a message to let him know that the money he sent allowed the former to buy a new pair of shoes that he has always wanted but was never able to afford. Atty. Garcia compounded his inspiring story by reminding the people at the event that someone doesn’t need to wait for five years to help someone unknowingly. At the same event, TANGLAW recognized two beautiful young ladies, Ms. Teen Tanglaw Rebecca Garcia and Ms. Young Teen Tanglaw Jaycee Manalo. Both young ladies’ contribution to their community was highlighted, and as an appreciation from both,
Ms. Tanglaw beauties Jaycee Manalo and Rebecca Garcia with the Tanglaw officers and event emcees
Filipino School of NY and NJ Participates at Fil-Am Festival Last October, the students of the Filipino School of New York and New Jersey’s “Sayawan Na! Philippine Folk (Fall) Dance Program” participated in the 3rd annual Filipino-American festival in Overpeck County Park, Ridgefield, N.J.
22 students, dressed in traditional Filipino attire, performed Philippine folk dances, specifically the subli and polkabol—dances we have loved while we were growing up back home. To enroll at the Filipino School of New York and New Jersey, contact Vanessa Manzano at 774-257-4669 or visit www.filschool-nynj.org.
Jaycee serenaded the audience while Rebecca delivered a speech about her commitment to serving underprivileged youths via the non-profit organization Coder Dojo NYC. The event was also glittered with a pasodoble dance performed by several community leaders. TANGLAW is a Filipino-American society club in Long Island, which helps several underserved communities in the Philippines.
Photos courtesy of Ria Serrano
Pasodoble Dancers at the Tanglaw Gala Event
Rachel Kelly Davis
reat food, for me, is food that elicits an emotional and very passionate reaction that’s not seen necessarily with food, but with an artistic expression; something that’s observed, ingested, and experienced so fully by an individual that it changes the person’s perspective on life.” - Bjorn dela Cruz, Manila Social Club Most true foodies know that many of the world’s best cooks received no formal training. Those professionally trained are even willing to admit that the perfect dishes were made because the people behind those dishes were born to do so. And while learning the proper technique and skill can take you far, the best chefs really rely on their creativity and imagination—two things Manila Social Club clearly has in abundance. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and run by a trio of siblings: Bjorn dela Cruz, Catherine Khan, and Samuel Ware, Manila Social Club fulfills the wishes of many Filipinos who want to show off their country’s delicious cuisine without having to apologize for its presentation—whether that be on a plate or surrounding. As Bjorn puts it, “The only Filipino presentation is really bad fluorescent lights and really terrible music, and it doesn’t look good...We love those places, except for the person that’s looking to go out and experience something new...to get Filipino food in a nice dining facility.” Bjorn, who is the mastermind behind the restaurant’s dishes, is one of those at the forefront of the recent trend of contemporary and elevated Filipino cuisine, using classic French techniques to bring out familiar flavors from ingredients not often used in the Philippines. Teaching himself to cook from a very young age, Bjorn credits his parents on the many trips they took as a family, which enabled him to explore different cuisines. It was this exposure to different flavors and techniques as well as a great love for Filipino food that shaped his recipes. No other place in the city serves foie gras with pancit or duck adobo with sunchoke puree. Bjorn, formerly a violinist who later worked in the fashion industry, started his culinary career with pop-up restaurants. As word spread around and the pop-up restaurants gained popularity, he called on his siblings for help. It wasn’t long after they found themselves looking at spaces, moving to New York (in the case of Samuel), and creating a menu they both love to serve and eat. For both Bjorn and Samuel, it is passion, mission, and fun. An absolute labor of love that had them sanding the floor and painting the walls themselves, Manila Social Club is not only a presentation of the former’s creativity, but a tribute to their parents and their upbringing, which is probably why the atmosphere of the restaurant is so welcoming and warm, much like someone’s home. That attitude carried on to their marketing strategy as well. Unlike some restaurateurs, who wish to go big right away, Samuel explains that what they wanted was to build a relationship with their neighbors—the residents of the area. The strategy worked, and their restaurant is a local favorite. The instagrammable nature of their food, however, is gaining attention from the millennials and people coming from all over the city. “We’re slammed for brunch,”
says Samuel. That means a long line for those eager to snap the photo of their ube iced latte or mango souffle pancake. Proving that the inspiration from your mother’s and grandmother’s kitchen may be all the driving force you need, Manila Social Club is definitely a must-visit restaurant for those hoping to go out for a well-plated, well-thought out, and excellently executed Filipino dining experience.
Manila Social Club is at No.2 Hope St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn For reservations, call 718-384-4396
The World is My Oyster
Dr. Prospero A. Lim
SHOOTER’S TIP This photo was taken during Sani Guilena’s birthday party (see November Rewind on page 7). I asked my beautiful model Tanya to pose behind the DJ lights. This gives the photo a foreground and a colorful background. Thus adding depth to the image. Happy shooting!
12 FIL-AM WHO’S WHO
Community Calendar Now Thru January 3
Miguel Vera, a theater actor and singer, pays tribute to Filipino composers George Canseco. Willy Cruz, and Ryan Cayabyab in “An Intimate Evening with Miguel Vera,” which features guests Annie Nepomuceno and Kit Navarro, at St. Peter’s University Duncan Skyroom (2641 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, N.J.) at 8 p.m.
Philippine Gold: Treasures of Ongoing Forgotten Kingdoms
For the first time in the United States, Philippine pre-colonial gold artifacts dating from the 10th-13th century are on view at Asia Society Museum (725 Park Ave. and 70th St.). This extraordinary exhibition showcases the little-known rich culture and heritage of early Filipinos. For tickets, call 212-517-ASIA or visit tickets.asiasociety.org. January 24-31
51st Eucharistic Congress In Cebu
Miguel Vera Pays Tribute to George Canseco, Willy Cruz and Ryan Cayabyab
CLEVER LITTLE LIES Plays Off-Broadway
Co-produced by Jhett Tolentino, “Clever Little Lies” is an outrageous new comedy of sex, love, and secrets, which plays at the Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd St.). It stars Marlo Thomas, Greg Mullavey, George Merrick, and Kate Wetherhead. For tickets, visit www.telecharge.com. Ongoing
ALLEGIANCE, Starring Lea Salonga, Plays Broadway
Join the pilgrimage to the 51st Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, Philippines. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of the Archdiocese in New York, is one of the speakers. For more information, contact Father Joseph Marabe at gotojoseph@ outlook.com.
ALLEGIANCE, a new American musical, starring Lea Salonga, George Takei, and Telly Leung, which tells the story about internment camps on U.S. soil during World War II, is now playing at Longacre Theatre on Broadway. For tickets and more information, visit allegiancemusical.com.
Aiza Seguerra Live in Concert in NYC
Acoustic singer Aiza Seguerra performs in a dinner show at Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel (135-20 39th Ave., Flushing, N.Y.). VIP tickets (with dinner) sold at $125; general admission at $85. For tickets, contact Chris (914) 309-9564; Myrna (917) 502-9887; Arnel (646) 623-3294.
Find Philippine Properties for Sale and Rent Online
Visit www.propertyasia.ph to find Philippine properties for sale and rent. The website is a one-stop online marketplace for property hunters and sellers, which offers a free and comprehensive list of properties in the Philippines.
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FIL-AM WHO’S WHO 13
WHO We Are
We’re Now A One-Stop-Shop Media Company
Fil-Am Who’s Who, your favorite community lifestyle magazine, is only two years old; but we feel we have so much more to offer beyond the magazine. Thus we recently expanded our publishing
company’s products and services from the monthly magazine to public relations and social media management, photography and videography, instant photo print services, journal production, event management and production. Of note, our instant photo print service has proved to be a big hit at various Filipino-American community events. Attendees to these events are photographed by professional photographer Rolan Gutierrez; photo prints—enclosed Dr. Prospero A. Lim in classy cardboard frames—are made available in just a few minutes for an affordable price. With more than 50 years of combined experience in media and communication, Fil-Am Who’s Who Inc.’s experienced senior staff members Oliver Oliveros, Dr. Prospero Lim, Ollie David, Rolan Gutierrez, and Myrna Gutierrez assure our growing list of clients only quality outputs and consistent communication campaigns from corporate headshots to single, multiple camera event coverage; from publicity efforts to social media engagement; and from brand positioning to integrated marketing communications.
Ollie David is a multi-award winning retired math and science teacher who taught at Newark Public Schools District for nearly 40 years. She has been recognized as a distinguished educator by “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for her sustained excellence in teaching. She has served as chairperson of the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc.’s grand marshal ball. She is also a medical volunteer for the Philippine Medical Association of America. Ollie David
Oliver Oliveros holds a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from New York University. For nearly 20 years, he has been handling reputation and media management for various brands, including Pepsi and Nickelodeon, Broadway shows and stars, and international recording and concert artists. Besides Fil-Am Who’s Who, his column also appears regularly on BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theater news site on the Internet primarily covering Broadway, London’s West End, and regional and international theater productions.
Oliver Oliveros Dr. Prospero A. Lim, former president of the University of Santo Tomas Medical Association of New York, has a private psychiatry practice in Staten Island, where he has been a longtime resident since the late ‘70s. He has been a competent leader for several organizations such as the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc., Knights of San Lorenzo, Waray Community Association USA, Katbaloganon Association USA, Empire City Medical Lions Club, Knights of Rizal-New York, San Lorenzo Ruiz Association in America and Philippine Medical Association in America. Rolan Gutierrez Myrna Gutierrez
14 FIL-AM WHO’S WHO
Rolan Gutierrez, a computer programmer turned photographer and print layout designer, began his photography career as a landscape photographer with the UP-Diliman Mountaineers during his college days. For so many years later, he has been doing portraiture, event coverage, and designing organizational publications. He served as the official photographer during 2013 Miss World Megan Young’s recent visit to New York and New Jersey, which successfully raised funds for super typhoon Haiyan victims in central Philippines. He is co-founder of Queens Asian Fest, an event company. Lastly, our business manager Myrna Gutierrez is a computer programmer who graduated from Maryknoll College. She is also a sought-after community organizer and entertainment producer who co-founded Queens Asian Fest.
To engage our newest services call 917-502-9887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org DECEMBER 2015
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