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S Bu om t t e Th he fi ev peo t e r er p th he b y k st t y n le l b a o n im o iv yo elie t sa un ow e w a e w e u v y, d s ag n i wo ver cre e th “T arie om ain d th thin p r k a a h s et . e ye oss ld f now te. t th is i don hin Ra n, s the t a ib o . S e s ’ g th o li ch hos rs— ilit r th Bu ome fut me t m tha er me nes u , t a t th on , s o e t y e t th om ose line hat . Th firs eve peo re i his tter mo an e w bec a a et t s t e t r p s i . s s a a th nd t’s a hin o b tha he b y k tim y no le l not s w It’s t of ee c kes use t e se l g el t o n e w iv s ha w u o t th he y y se es l th yo iev say un ow ag an e w om t I ha s fo nst up a hat c o e e th ey u e , d so ai d it e ’m t r ra n ’s so hoo se l ars po e w ev cre tha “Th arie me n. R th hin thin ca you get int d s all en t g p d o , t e t t m s in — ss o e a t s t an hat’ eth e to es tha ibil rld r kn te. S the is is do hin athe , so he yo abl o o ver hey es t hey h e t d s i b th t it f o o f m n g r m li u e u t th hey se all ng eli at the y. T or t w. B me utu e, ’t m tha tha eo nes wa of… tsid he y see e w ver t e s es th yo e sa h h p re t a t n n , it ” e e p o k ch hos yea ee p th ey u c ve t y, “ bou ey e fir ut e eo is his tter mo se e w bec for T tho ars oss rld now so oo e l rs o e w ev re ha Th nd kn st ve ple no is . I st e c ak au , b he se — ibi for . m se in — ssi o er ate t t is ar ow tim ry li t s wh t’s of on es se ut y li th lit c n a y et t es th bi rld kn . he i ie v o hi o b th at lit f o So f s m s so e a now e w me at I wh us f stra up tha som hoo es t . ng e at th y. or w m ut e do m g a it th ’m at or in an t’s e se yo liev sa e b Th the . Bu e p ure , th n’t eth ain nd hin ing ca you get t, t d s all thin to u e t y, ou ey fi t e eo is is m in . R th th y pa d ov he ee th g cr h “T n k rs v p n is at g at en e ou b o e y s ey ea at h da no t t er le ot w te th h , li w le ou r t se th te th is ri w im y n liv so h r. at er so ne a of ts he e e . e is es s e o e m at It m th m s, it … id fu m d om ag w w et I’ ’s os an eo be fo ” e tu e, on e a an ith hi m wh t o s ne c r, T re th ’t th in d in ng ca a f ee w au bu he is is m ing . R th th y pa t y us co ak se t y no is att t at en e ou bl ou fo n es t s w er. ha he , s lin w e o do rge str u om ha I t m r t om es ait f… o t ain p et t I’mt’s w os han eo , be for ” uts ove t, hi n t , T i r ng ca hat of see e w cau bu he de yo pab yo us f co ak se t y u le u d or ns es wa o o ge tra up it f… ou t o in fo ” ts ve t, r, T id r bu he e t y

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UniPro

Now

AWAKEN

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A Letter from the Editor Sabrina Causin Echaluce

Profiles: Up Close With This Year’s Summit Speakers Pilipino Renaissance: The Second Annual Multinational Forum for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students and Youth UniPro Summit

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Untitled, Anthony Castro Visual Op-Ed

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“We are all Renaissance.” Constructing the Past, Present and Future of the Pilipino Community

Staff and Contributors Meet the Minds Behind the Magazine

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aspirations; and the flourishing of the global Pilipino community, marked by the representation and success of Pilipinos and determined by the realization of The second volume of UniPro our potential. If this definition, Now is a product of inspiration as well as the approaches to the drawn from the energy, ambition “Pilipino Renaissance” offered and talent featured at the second by speakers and writers, appears annual Multinational Forum for imprecise or contradictory at times, Pilipino Young Professionals, I can only argue that the opposite Students and Youth, also known case would be nearly impossible as UniPro Summit. We sought and incredibly suspect. The to celebrate the amazing group course of the Pilipino from this of speakers at the 2012 Summit point forward relies as much on by highlighting their unique changing conceptualizations of the perspectives and contributions to the Pilipino community—through Pilipino identity as it does on varied photographs, biographies, interview framings of the past or expectations for the future. It is a constant and questions, Op-Ed pieces, etc. evolving process, absent a definitive The process proved challenging, beginning or end… with the though insightful, as speakers and exception of the ones we construct writers reflected on their past and for ourselves. revealed visions of the future. In the meantime, the individuals featured in the magazine addressed This does not mean that the the present through the conceptual efforts of those involved in the vehicle of the 2012 Summit theme UniPro Summit and other forms of activism are wasted. On the of “Pilipino Renaissance.” contrary, such efforts reinforce the possibility of having a hand UniPro defines “Pilipino in shaping our circumstances and Renaissance” as follows: the identities. Furthermore, a collective awakening of the individual attempt at transformation presents Pilipino’s earnest passions and an opportunity to establish a aspirations; the creation of a Pilipino community, a group bound community that nurtures the by a shared affinity or sentiment individual Pilipino’s passions and

Mabuhay

A Letter from the Editor unipro now, Vol. 2

June 2012

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toward a Philippine imagining rather than state boundaries, nationality or ethnicity. A few acknowledgments are in order before continuing on to the magazine. In keeping with the tradition of UniPro as an organization, UniPro Now was published by a team of students and young professionals in the midst of planning for the Summit. Thanks to Alyssa Esteban, a fine arts and graphics design student at Rutgers University, for the hours spent designing and creating the magazine; Iris Zalun, Director of Communications at UniPro, for doing everything possible to assist with the magazine on top of organizing for the Summit; Marissa Guiang, a fellow Cornellian, for being a reliable source of support in the drafting and editing process; and Bryan Lozano, Executive Director of UniPro, for providing the opportunity and resources to create the second volume of UniPro Now. –Sabrina Causin Echaluce

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Pilipino Renaissance: The Second Annual Multinational Forum for Pilipino Young Professionals, Students and Youth UniPro Summit

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PROFILES

UP CLOSE WITH THIS YEAR’S SUMMIT SPEAKERS

Jerry Topitzer Co-founder of Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), Investment Banker at JPMorgan

The Pilipino Renaissance is... “an awakening of America, the globe, and most importantly the Pilipino community to the amazing culture of a genuinely wonderful people.” You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “This will never happen, as I know my wife Ayesha Vera-Yu (Co-Founder and CEO of ARK) would be the cover. I would be in the background supporting her! The cover would read, ‘Revolutionizing Development One School at a Time.’” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “There was a picture that hung in my mother-inlaw’s home of two Pilipinas laughing. It was so very colorful and exudes the warmth and sense of humor of the Pilipino culture. No matter what the painting physically portrayed – perhaps updated to be more ‘modern’ in subject - I would hope it would demonstrate the same enduring feelings.”

Nicole Ponseca Restauranteur, Lumpia Maker

You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Don’t cry. You’ll find your way.”’ 3

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You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “A Filipino version of the soft-cubism as represented by Tamara de Lempicka. Sultry, modernistic and featuring the beauty of the darkskinned Pinoy.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “The Maharlika Years- as translated to sankrit as mahar-leeka or noble work.”

Kilusan Bautista Performance Artist

The Pilipino Renaissance... “recognizes that we are alive and actively expressing our thoughts, feelings, ideas and talents. The Pilipino Renaissance embraces all transformative identities that push for progress. The Pilipino Renaissance connects us all to our ancestors and legacies in the Philippines and throughout the global diaspora. The Pilipino Renaissance broadens the images and messages of contemporary Pilipinos in order to raise the collective consciousness/confidence for future generations.” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “I imagine myself at the tender age of 5 years-old in kindergarten. The advice I give to myself is ‘to always love with all of your heart, to speak from June 2012

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your heart, to follow your heart’s calling in life and to always find new ways to express your love so that love is contagious.’” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “The theme of the painting would be: family embraces all. I see the Catholic church, Muslim temples, indigenous tribes and the LGBT community holding dialogues in order to establish a collective theology of Pilipino liberation. I see the rich opening up shelters and schools for impoverished children. I see national industrialization that brings up the Philippine economy out of the shadows of 3rd world poverty.

Darwin Dion Ignacio Art Director and Founder of BUSOG

The Pilipino Renaissance is... “being a doer and not a sayer. I have encountered way too many people who say they’re going to do stuff, or even envy people about the stuff they’ve done and use the phrase, ‘I can do that.’ Well, then do it, because the people you’re talking about already did.” You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “Darwin Dion opens flagship store and restaurant on Fifth Avenue. It’s the most anticipated store/ restaurant opening in NYC!” unipro now, Vol. 2

You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “It would be flourishing with even-minded individuals interacting with each other with no egos and everyone on the same playing field.”

Randy Gener Editor, Writer, Artist, Curator at Filipino Mundo - NYC

You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Work through the struggle. Break it down into parts. Take a longer time. Don’t wait for later. Do it now.” You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “The song playing during the opening credits would be ‘Init sa Magdamag’ (lyrics and music by Willy Cruz), a duet performed by Nonoy Zuniga and Sharon Cuneta. The song on the closing credits will be ‘Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas’ (also by Willy Cruz), performed by Sharon Cuneta. Tagalog OPM songs speak to me. Sumisigaw ang bawat sandali.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “It will be the start of an ‘Age of Pilipino Arts Enlightenment.’ This Age will produce some of the most exciting poetry, drama, dance, music, visual art, fiction, films, digital art, and other art forms yet to come. In this post-postmodern period, where the marginalized are coming forward, the June 2012

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recognition of the existence of Pilipino philosophy in several senses—traditional, cultural, national and trans-national—will signal fluidity and global shift. In this Pilipino philosophy, no one approach will claim as dominant. Because of the focus on cultivating the basis for such an arts aesthetic,my government can only seed it, actively encourage it, nurture it, but leave it on its own. Historians will argue if my presidency actually brought about its emergence.”

Alex Lacson Lawyer, Book Author, Public Speaker on Faith in the Filipino, Patriotism and Good Citizenship

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘Lacson’s Formula Builds Our Country’s Economy; Creates Prosperity Among Our People.’” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Go into a social business early, but start writing books during the night. In between, love, laugh, and travel a lot.” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “Thousands of Filipino people, victorious in face and all dressed elegantly, gathering to celebrate the inauguration of a new tower building that’s very modern and artistic in architecture and clearly demonstrates the identity of the Filipino from the rest of humanity. The tower is the Filipino version of the French’s Eiffel Tower or Malaysia’s Petronas Towers.” 5

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Damayan Migrant Workers Association

Leezel Ramos GEAR UP Coordinator (College Outreach/Student Affairs Officer) at University of California, San Diego

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “And they said it couldn’t be done.” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “The world is bigger than you think. Love is out there.” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “Colors woven together that span across the canvas with specks of stars, landmarks of world cities that we live and thrive in, and faint imprints of faces of Pilipino youth leaders and symbols that inspire self-discovery and creativity.”

Tony Olaes

PROFILES

UP CLOSE WITH THIS YEAR’S SUMMIT SPEAKERS

You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “‘Paraiso’ by Ryan Cayabyab. It is the one song that continues to move me because of what it stands for:   ‘Paraiso, help me make a stand,   Paraiso, take me by the hand,   Paraiso, make the world understand,   That if I could see a single bird, what a joy,   This tired and hungry land could expect,   Some truth and hope and respect,   From the rest of the world.’ ‘Truth, hope and respect from the rest of the world’- That is what I am seeking for the Filipino people that is why I do what I do.” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “It will be a Amorsolo-like painting of the modern-day bayanihan. On a big palette is the image of the Philippine Islands with highlights on what is beautiful about the country (nipa huts, the rice terraces, the chocolate hills, etc.) being carried over the shoulders of the Filipino diaspora. It is only when we come together that we can truly uplift our country.”

Ayesha Vera-Yu Executive Director of Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK)

gawad kalinga America

You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Be careful of who you call or tease as a ‘FOB’ or ‘fresh off the boat.’ One day, in your perfectly accented English, you’ll be proud to be one of them. June 2012

Ayesha Vera Yu makes things happen! As CEO and Co-Founder of Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK), Ayesha has been intimately involved in developing the vision, implementing the mission, and ensuring that the organization makes a real impact. Prior to ARK, Ayesha “sold her soul” and “worked like a dog” in investment banking unipro now, Vol. 2

for 12 years as a Director at the largest French Bank, BNP Paribas. In 2006 Ayesha invested in restructuring the family farm into an organic and integrated one – wherecarabaos, chickens, ducks, and goats live happily with rice and vegetables. Ayesha studied biology and chemistry at Mount Holyoke College and received her MBA from Columbia University. She lives in NYC, and you can reach her at ayesha@ruralkids.org.

Carmencita-Mia Q. Fulgado Staff Attorney with Brooklyn Housing & Family Services

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “32 year-old Filipina-American from Queens Wins Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest!” You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “‘Firework’ by Katy Perry” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “My term would be the ‘Magnanimous Period.’ The petty selfishness growing from unforgiving miserly conduct of politicians who are vindictive is such a shame when we, the Philippines, is supposed to be the Citadel of Christianity in the non-Christian Asia. As President of the June 2012

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Philippines, my administration will expound on magnanimity, the nobility of Filipinos, whereas those who are not will be put to shame. It’s in giving that we receive. One does not have to be rich to give. Charity can be provided in thoughts, words, and most importantly, action.”

Illac Diaz Founder and Executive Director, MyShelter Foundation

Alex Cena Youth Development

Fidelindo Lim Clinical Faculty- New York University, Nurse Educator- NY Downtown Hospital

You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “‘The Health Epoch.’ The greatest capital of mankind is health. Right now the Philippines is witnessing a staggering rise in lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and heart failure. In the context of poverty, the toll from these noncommunicable diseases is unimaginable.” You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘Filipino Nurse Won Nobel Peace Prize.’ Of course, this is an outrageous fantasy. I only want to imagine that nurses are agents of peace at every patient care interface.”

The Pilipino Renaissance is… “an era of time where there is a renewed fervor in celebrating our heritage in ways that transcend the traditional models.” You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “He Said He Never Stopped Dreaming” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “I wouldn’t run for president. I like to stay grounded near the people.”

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also a Co-Founder of Kalusugan Coalition, Inc., (KC) a nonprofit community-based organization dedicated to creating a unified voice to improve the health of the Filipino American community in the New York/New Jersey area through network and resource development, educational activities, research, community action, and advocacy. In these roles, Rhodora cultivates partnerships with key stakeholders and supports Community Health Workers so that many underserved Filipinos receive health screening services, lifestyle coaching, and navigation through the healthcare system. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator of Project Hakbang which examines factors impacting cardiovascular health and mental health among Filipino American nurses and domestic workers in NY. She received a Masters in Public Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health with a focus in Population and Family Health.

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Esperanza Garcia Master of Science of Sustainability Management Candidate at Columbia University, President of the Columbia University Coalition for Sustainable Development, Blogger/Speaker for Ecohope

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘First woman UN Secretary General is a Filipino.’ Kidding.” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Keep the passion alive.”

Ray Sison Art Director for Nike and Digital Sports

Rhodora Ursua

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “Ray Sison is the first man on Mars.”

Kalusugan Coalition

You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “I am not very visionary, so I would rather imagine a more nostalgic look of the Philippines. Perhaps, a photo exposition of the 19th century portraits or street scenes of Manila.”

You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “‘The Period of Technology.’ Investing in more technology would help the Philippines greatly by helping people be more informative, as well as more open to new things.”

Rhodora has worked at the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health since 2004 as the Director of Project AsPIRE. Project AsPIRE is an 8 year NIH-funded initiative aimed at improving cardiovascular health and access to healthcare for the Filipino community living in NYC. She is

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You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “A painting of teens and children dressed up in different uniforms. They would range from all types of occupations, such as designers, astronauts, architects, etc.”

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You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “A CNN article predicted the Philippines to be the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050. By this time, the Philippines will become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. I am confident that the Philippines has the potential to become an example for the rest of the world to achieve this in a sustainable manner.” (http://business.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/12/ worlds-top-economies-in-2050-will-be/)

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Untitled Anthony Castro

Castro is a visual artist and designer, born in Romblon, Phillippines, grew up in San Jose, CA, unipro now, Vol. 2

and works and lives in Brooklyn, NYC . His current role as Creative Director for Maharlika Filipino Moderno keeps him attuned to the visual epiphanies of Filipino popular culture and heritage. Check out his work at castroesque.com

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UP CLOSE WITH THIS YEAR’S SUMMIT SPEAKERS

Merit Salud FILAM Community Activist

The Pilipino Renaissance is... “a long dream finally realized. The catalyst is the generation of Filipinos born, raised and/or educated outside their parents’ native land, but still strongly connected to their ancestors’ land of birth. Coming together, they pooled their talents and resources. From many came out one. From discordant voices of people bound by a common history, culture and heritage, a symphony of sound melded, bringing out the message: ‘Hallelujah! The Philippines has come!’” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Be more daring, think out of the box and pray for heavenly guidance!” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “The Philippines, Unplugged!”

Oliver Oliveros Public Relations Practitioner, Contributing Editor for BroadwayWorld.com

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “Boxing superstar Manny Pacquaio makes Broadway debut in Rocky, The Musical; New Yorkbased theater journalist Oliver Oliveros has the 15 exclusive story.” 11

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You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “You have made the right decision not to pursue a physical therapy degree; digital communicatiown is the wave of the future.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “History textbooks could call this period as the apex of contemporary art and culture in the Philippines.”

Father Ben Beltran

PROFILES

UP CLOSE WITH THIS YEAR’S SUMMIT SPEAKERS

God in whom alone all truth can be found is the cornerstone of the justice and the freedom our forefathers fought for against colonial masters. If we are to veer away from the path that leads to extinction, Filipinos have to re-learn the values of their forefathers which were framed by their faith in God and, in short, undergo the Pilipino Renaissance.” You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘Garbage Priest Wins Nobel Peace Prize’” You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “A song that I have written: ‘Bata, Bata, Ano Ang Pangarap Mo?’”

(CEO) Chief Empowerment Optimist of SeveralNon-profit Organizations

The Pilipino Renaissance is... “the converging dynamic of kalayaan (freedom) and sambayanan (community), which shaped the lives of our forefathers, moving Filipinos forward to a new future for all humanity and for Mother Earth. The Pilipino Renaissance is the integration of all parts of the loob (inner self) and rebirth in the sambayanan (community), identifying and connecting with others in solidarity in the passage from darkness into the light. Light is understood here in terms of kalayaan, of enlightenment, prosperity and true brotherhood and sisterhood, which can be accomplished through awa (mercy) and damay (compassion) for human beings, animals and inanimate objects. The journey towards kalayaan includes, not only concern for the liberation of all persons, but also the struggle for economic equilibrium, political participation and self-transcendence. The vision of the triune June 2012

Rafe Bartholomew Author of Pacific Rims, Senior Editor at Grantland.com

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘American author devotes his career to research and writing about Philippine culture.’ That’s probably not a best seller, though. How about, ‘Kanong may-akda skandal sa Cartimar!’ Of course, that’s Bulgar, not the Inquirer.” You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “‘Pag Nananalo ang Ginebra’ by Gary Granada” unipro now, Vol. 2

You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “Since it’s constitutionally impossible for me to be elected President of the Philippines (I’m an American citizen and my ethnic background is Slovak, Irish, French, and German), maybe I’d be named an adviser to a compassionate President who is dedicated to creating sustainable livelihoods for all Philippine citizens. The name is up to the historians.”

Loida Lewis (CEO) Chief Empowerment Optimist of SeveralNon-profit Organizations

Loida Nicolas Lewis is Chair and CEO, TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm. An attorney by profession, admitted to practice in the Philippines and New York, Mrs. Lewis was the first Filipino woman to pass the New York bar without attending law school in the United States. After her ten years stint as General Attorney in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (currently U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services) having won her discrimination case against INS in 1987 and awarded three years back pay, Mrs. Lewis co-authored “How to Get A Green Card”, now on its 8th edition, a best-seller in its genre. She is one of the founders of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) an advocacy group in the United States. She is also one of the founders of Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF), June 2012

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and of the newly organized US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), after the election in May 2010 of Benigno Simeon Aquino III as President of the Philippines She is chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, which has donated to Harvard Law School, Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Virginia State University all of which resulted in the naming of its building after Mr. Lewis. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Register and the Apollo Theater Foundation. She speaks several languages: Filipino, English, French and Spanish.

Romeo Candido

Liza de Guia Founder and Chief Storyteller, FOOD CURATED.

Ana Serrano Producer, Prison Dancer, Inc. and Chief Digital Officer, Canadian Film Centre

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘Ana Serrano produces new Cyber-Punk Thriller set in Manila, written by Neal Stephenson, directed by Romeo Candido, and starring Mikey Bustos with Rachel McAdams!’” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “That the self is diffused, not only made up of one’s thoughts and feelings.”

Composer, Writer, Director, Prison Dancer

An award-winning transmedia producer and creator, Candido’s credits include a CBC comedy short Rolling Longaniza, Ang Pamana: The Inheritance, the first Philippine / Canadian co- production that was released theatrically in the Philippines to critical acclaim. He produced the Philippines’ first mobile only series entitled Me, My Cel and I, for Globe telecom. He then went on to produce with DDBPhil the viral series ‘Sightings” which became a viral hit receiving over a million views. He has received 4 Dora Award nominations for his work as a composer / sound designer (Banana Boys, Sinkil, People Power, Lady In The Red Dress). His directorial feature film debut, Lolo’s Child, a ‘musical dramedy’, won the prestigious Ishmael Bernal award at the 2002 Cinemanila Film Festival. 13

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You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “Kapisanan Period.”

Renjie Butalid Entrepreneur

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “Startup Philippines announces 750M pesos seed venture fund for high-impact social entrepreneurs.” June 2012

PROFILES

UP CLOSE WITH THIS YEAR’S SUMMIT SPEAKERS

You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Whenever you are faced with a series of lifechanging decisions, trust your instincts and go with the one that makes for the better story. You are awesome and have a lot to offer the world, never forget that. And trust me, although there will be times when you feel that you’ve hit rock bottom, things always work themselves out. I would know.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “My presidency would be the period in Philippine history when our fellow countrymen no longer had to seek work abroad and be separated from their loved ones but, instead, could choose to stay in the country given all of the job opportunities available. It would also be the period in world history where the term ‘Pilipino’ became synonymous with ‘French’ or ‘Italian’ gourmet cooking in terms of taste, quality and reputation (and yes, I absolutely LOVE Pilipino food!).”

You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “It would be street art style, for sure. Bright, vibrant, bold colors exuding images of empowerment, pamilya and strength. Yes, I know I said two terms that essentially mean the same thing. Suffice it to say, I believe in power, particularly self-empowerment.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “What a tough question. First, I’d never want to be president. But, if this were to happen, I suppose it’d be called, “Soaring to New Heights” or some clever quip about my height since I’m pretty tall especially for a Filipina.”

Tony Meloto Founder of Gawad Kalinga

While Gawad Kalinga is about many people, its public face is that of one man: Tony Meloto.

Leah Villanueva Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs, University of Florida

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “I’m not sure, but probably something having to do with Manny Pacquiao, a dating scandal, or some combination of both those aforementioned topics.” unipro now, Vol. 2

After receiving Asia’s most prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Leadership in 2006 (a Rockefeller Foundation initiative), Antonio “Tony” Meloto did not rest on the laurels of a dramatic and growing success of the work he founded, Gawad Kalinga. Because of its impact on the various sectors of society and the active engagement with national and local governments, Gawad Kalinga is evolving to be a serious template for social, economic and political development. June 2012

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In addition to the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership Award, Tony received numerous awards as founder and visionary of Gawad Kalinga, most recently, the prestigious Social Entrepreneur Award by the Skoll Foundation to be awarded in Oxford, England on March 29, 2012. Tony has been one of the Plenary Speakers for the World Economic Forum for East Asia in Jakarta in June 2011 and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 2012. Tony has also authored the very inspirational book “Builders of Dream” about his journey in Gawad Kalinga.

Jennine Ventura Deputy Secretary General—Internal Education, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)/ GABRIELA-USA; Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, City of New York

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘Pinay Power: Beyond Beauty Pageants & Commercial Commodities’ is what the headline would read. Filipinas are all too often commodified, whether as beauty pageant winners, foreign brides, or cheap labor. The untold story of Filipinas is about the true power that we hold as selfless mothers who raise a nation in spite of tremendous sacrifice; as determined sisters who are unafraid to assert our rights and demand justice; as resilient women who uphold the struggle for self-determination.” 15

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You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “I’m a music fiend, so I would try to purchase licenses to use several songs for different episodes. But if I only have the budget for one song, I think I would go with ‘I N I’ by Amel Larrieux. ‘Someone else’s eyes don’t see what I see/Followin’ like I’m blind just won’t do for me’ – that’s essentially how I live my life.” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “It may be idealistic to expect this in five years, but I hope an inverted class triangle more accurately depicts the Filipino community in the future. Currently, the vast majority of Filipinos in the homeland is comprised of peasant farmers, the working class, the middle class, and national business owners—literally the 99% (long before the emergence of Occupy)—under the dominance of the 1% ruling elite. A painting of the future Filipino community will hopefully portray peasant farmers, workers, students, professionals, and others at the top of an inverted triangle triumphing over the former ruling elite at the bottom.”

Rich Kiamco Comedian

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘First Queer Fil-Am Comedian To Have HBO Special’” June 2012

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You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Relax! Have fun and do not run from what you love- pursue it full blast. Do not judge yourself as harshly as your parents taught you to, excellence can come without beating yourself up. P.S. Don’t let that guy who threatened you at your first paid comedy gig stop you. Eat tons more vegetables and less meat. Don’t use credit cards (they will haunt you more than your parents’ criticisms). Live within your means. Your means will not define you.” You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “A mash-up of Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ with Gwen Stefani’s cover of Talk Talk’s ‘It’s My Life’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’”

!llmind Producer, Engineer

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “!llmind Does It Again!”.. could refer to a number of things.. one long term goal of mine is to open up a chain of affordable music production schools offered to kids (and adults) who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to learn the art form.” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “I wouldn’t say anything to be honest with you. It wouldn’t feel right to give myself advice like that. I like where I am and wouldn’t change or alter it for anything.” unipro now, Vol. 2

You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “The Love Movement”

Ryan Letada social entrepreneur

Ryan Letada is a foodie, Fulbright Fellow, and social entrepreneurship junkie. He recently started a new social venture called Next Day Better and is a co-founder of eKindling. He is a team member of Catchafire - an award-winning, startup social enterprise and online platform that matches professionals who want to give their skills with nonprofits that need their help. He is also TEDxYouth speaker on personal failures for social change. Ultimately, his life goal is to squeeze social good out of awesome ideas and to make the world better as a result of his presence. Follow him: @rletada

Suzette Briones Pediatrician

You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “While humility shows character, confidence won’t lose you any either. I am not sure whether it has been my culture or my family, but I always had this mentality that others will notice your qualities without your effort in exhibiting it. When the missed opportunities kept piling on, I realized, ‘How could they have known?’” June 2012

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The Pilipino Renaissance is...: “the realization of the qualities we have always possessed as individuals and the transformation of these into the achievements of a community, continually proving to ourselves that things can happen and evolve so long as we put the effort into it.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “During my ‘Presidency of the Philippines,’ I would like one of the main focuses to be on young adults, inspiring them towards lives of purpose. As welcomed as our trained professionals are in other countries, they are even more valuable and necessary in the Philippines. We would have great incentives with minimal complications. This will drive the Philippines to be more self-sufficient. It would be the Era of Self-Sufficiency.”

Born in the Philippines, he emigrated to the United States at age 12. Stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage, Vargas wrote the groundbreaking essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine in the summer of 2011.He lives in New York City.

Stefanie Walmsley Film Producer

Stefanie Walmsley was born and raised in Manila, Philippines where she began acting professionally at the age of 7. At 18 she was cast opposite Bob Hoskins in Showtime’s “Noriega: God’s Favorite”, and was later cast as the adopted daughter of Chad Lowe and Kristin Davis in “The John Denver Story”. After high school, she moved to New York to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Jose Antonio Vargas Journalist

Jose Antonio Vargas, an award-winning multimedia journalist, is the founder of Define American, a new campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration. He’s been a journalist for over a decade, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country. Most recently, he was a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections. News media’s evolution, and the breakdown of barriers between print and broadcast journalism, 18

has guided his reporting career. He’s written for daily newspapers (Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle) and national magazines (New Yorker, Rolling Stone) and has appeared on CNN, ABC News and PBS NewsHour.

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The highlight of her career, thus far, has been her role as one of the producers on “God of Love” which won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. Stefanie currently lives in Manhattan where she continues to try and master the art of the shuffle. She is currently working in the locations department on Ben Stiller’s new film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” and hopes to one day return June 2012

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to the Philippines to start a production company focused on cultivating local independent cinema and helping it thrive.

Ninotchka Rosca Writer, Activist

You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “‘Je Ne Regrette Rien’ by Edith Piaf” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “The Period of Living Dangerously.” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Watch out for constructs.”

Noilyn AbesamisMendoza Health Policy Manager at the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families

Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza, MPH is the Health Policy Director at the Coalition for Asian American Children & Families. In her capacity, she leads health advocacy initiatives to improve unipro now, Vol. 2

language access, cultural competence, and health care affordability. Among her major responsibilities is Project CHARGE (Coalition for Health Access to Reach Greater Equity), a panAsian network of 14 partners aiming to expand access to health care. Additionally, Noilyn oversees the APA HEALIN’ collaborative (Healthy Eating and Active Living in our Neighborhoods) to foster healthier lifestyle choices through increasing access to healthy food as well as safe places to play, work, and gather. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis & Design from the University of California, Irvine, and an Master in Public Health, Sociomedical Sciences from the Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health.

Susan Gador President, Philippine Nurses Association NY

Ms. Susan Annabelle Gador, Adult Nurse Practitioner, obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from St. La Salle University, the former La Salle College in Bacolod City. Her first nursing career was nurtured and enhanced at the former Philippine Heart Center for Asia in Manila. At present, Susan is one of the revered nurse practitioner in postoperative pain management not just locally but nationally and internationally. Besides a clinician, Susan is the current President of the Philippine Nurses Association of New York. Her work as the president is voluntary and she always tell everyone that both her jobs are what make her as an ideal nurse. She will June 2012

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remain an active advisor of the association and rest assured that her work will continue to affect evidence-based changes in her profession and the community.

organization based in McLean Virginia. Their members are doctors, nurses, professionals, seniors, veterans and community advocates. The Phil. Nurses Assn. of America, the Natl. Federation of Fil. Am Assns., Philippine Retirement Authority, and Presidential Commission on Filipino Overseas are official campaign partners.

Ariel Estrada

Eric is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in Political Science. He attended the International Relations Masters Program at the California State University in Los Angeles.

Actor, Executive Producer, Leviathan Lab

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “‘First Filipino-American to Win Oscar for Best Actor Thanks Ariel Estrada and the Leadership of Leviathan Lab for the Inspiration and Support.’” You’re a time traveler heading toward the past. What advice would you give your younger self? “Don’t give in to your fear or inner racism. Dream as if racism didn’t exist at all, and dream big. No, dream bigger.” You’ve just been elected President of the Philippines for a six-year term. Congratulations! What would this period in Philippine history be called in textbooks? “Integrity and Honesty.”

Eric Lachica Executive Director, American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, Inc.

Eric is the organizer for US MEDICARE PHILIPPINES, Inc., a new nonprofit advocacy 19

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ABS-CBN TV International Foundation has honored his organization with their Bayanihang Pilipino Special Award.

Yves Nibungco Community Organizer, National Chairperson, Anakbayan-USA

You’re on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the best-selling issue to date. What does the headline read? “If I were to be featured in the front page of PDI, the headline would read ‘Filipino Youth Uphold Revolutionary Tradition.’ Often times, when we talk about reconnecting with our Filipino roots and rediscovering our culture, we are made to forget about our revolutionary tradition of resistance. For hundreds of years, our people have been waging resistance in various forms against oppression and exploitation, from Lapu-lapu to the Katipunan to the modern-day youth in the streets and in the countryside.” June 2012

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You’re producing a television show based on your life. What song plays during the opening credits? “I would play ‘Tatsulok’ by Buklod. ‘Hangga’t mas maraming ang lugmok sa kahirapan at ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman. Habang may tatsulok, at sila ang nasa tuktok, hindi matatapos itong gulo.’ (As long as the majority is buried in poverty and justice is only for the rich. As long as there’s the triangle and they’re the ones on top, the struggle won’t stop.) ‘Tatsulok’ or ‘Triangle’ symbolizes the structure of Philippine society wherein the big landlords, corrupt politicians and U.S. Imperialism is on top, keeping the majority of Filipinos in poverty. The line I quoted captures the context of my life.” You’re a visionary artist. What would a painting of the Pilipino community look like five years from today? “If I could paint the Filipino community, I would paint a family that is reunited in the Philippines... farmers farming their own land, workers happily working, youth and students studying and working in the community. I would also paint workers, students, youth, women and other sectors of society linking arms with their raised fists- a free, independent and progressive Philippines brought about by the determined struggle of our people.”

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Constructing the Past, Present and Future of the Pilipino Community

“We are all Renaissance.� unipro now, Vol. 2

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ERICK ESTEBAN A “Minny” Renaissance The sun on the Pilipino flag symbolizes the dawning of an era of self-determination. I took that meaning to heart as I hung the flag in the background of the first “Minny Pacquaio” episode. This was my first venture into shooting my own comedy sketch with my own camera, editing it myself, and then uploading it tomy own YouTube channel. I wanted to create a comedy sketch like the ones I grew up watching on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color. However, it had it be a Pilipino-American themed comedy sketch. I came up as an actor on-stage in Chicago at Second City and Improv Olympic, both famous comedy clubs that produced some of the world’s best comedians. However, in both places, I was unable to have Pilipino characters as central characters in the sketches. “Minny Pacquiao” was my sketch, my show, and he was going to be a central Pilipino character. I ordered a “Team Pacquiao” jacket direct from the Philippines, strapped my old Nike gym shoes to my knees to give the visual effect that I was a little person, put on a black Bruce Lee wig, glued a fake moustache and goatee to my face, and “Minny Pacquiao” was born.

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For the first episode, I read from Shakepeare’s Henry V Act 3 Scene 1 as Minny Pacquiao. I really didn’t know how it was going to turn out, or how it would be received. However, I thought it was funny. For me, that is really all that mattered. Then, something began to happen. People watched it and shared it. Then some people commented on it, others sent me messages asking for more “Minny Pacquiao.” Before I knew it, I was doing an episode every month. I was adding characters like “Minny Buboy” and “Money Mayweather” and “Uncle May-May,” as well as visiting the Wild Card Gym and taking a picture with Freddie Roach giving Minny Pacquiao bunny ears. Then, believe it or not, I’m meeting Manny Pacquiao himself, face to face. It all happened so fast. Who knew strapping old gym shoes to my knees would get me this far? That thought ran through my head so many times during my adventures as Minny Pacquiao, but perhaps no more so then when Tim at Ricecooker Studios sent me their animated version of “Minny Pacquiao.” It was a simple walk cycle where Minny was walking down an animated road. Here was my Pilipino-American comedy sketch idea turned into a walking, talking cartoon. It was incredibly surreal. I had always dreamed of creating cartoon characters from my comedy, and here was that

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realized dream playing over and over on my computer screen. It was a Pilipino character animated by a Pilipino animation studio. After my production company the One Too Productions and the Ricecooker Studios produced the first episode of “Minny Facts,” an animated online short that highlights facts about the Philippines starring Minny Pacquiao and his sidekick Minny Buboy, I got the animated Minny Pacquiao image tattooed on the inner part of my right ankle. Now, Minny Pacquiao will always be with me to remind me that every great journey begins with a single step. Erick Esteban has been a professional actor on stage, screen and television for over 15 years. He is also the founder and CEO of the One Too Productions.

Carmel Tajonera I Am Not a Nurse

hard work and exhausting hours they put in each day.

However, this field is not for everyone. For some, being a nurse may very well be their life’s calling. For others, it may be the only way I am not a doctor. I am not a into financial security and stability. lawyer. I am not the daughter of And yet, there are some who are a senator or wealthy businessman. pressured to pursue nursing by I am not a nurse. Often times, their families and other members the field one chooses for a career measures the success of a life; there of their community. I realize that is an expectation to stick to careers many parents out there are simply that have shown great success and concerned for their children’s that can almost guarantee the safety financial security after college and see nursing as a stable profession. net our parents sought after. But I But does money really equate to am none of these. I am, rather, a young woman still in the process of true happiness? crafting her own path in life. I am very blessed to have parents who have supported me every step Growing up in Houston, Texas, of the way– including the decision home to the renowned Texas not to pursue nursing studies. Medical Center, I was surrounded However, I cannot say the same by nurses every day. My mother is a nurse. The mothers of my closest for some of my dearest friends– many of whom are brilliant artists, friends are nurses. Nearly every tita I know is a nurse. So, for most writers, and musicians– now unwillingly spending their nights of my younger years, there was an with nursing textbooks. When the unspoken expectation from many that my friends and I pursue careers college search was looming in high as medical and health professionals. school, friends’ parents would ask, “What will you study? Nursing?” Even my non-Pilipino friends will I would just smile and nervously joke around and ask, “Why aren’t laugh with a response like, “Oh, I’m you a nurse too?” not sure yet. Maybe!” However, I realized that there was a creative, Despite the constant presence of free spirit within me that was dying nurses in my life, I ran far—far to break free and be nurtured. away from that field. This is not to say that nursing is not a Looking to explore “nonprofession of great merit. It is difficult work—physically, mentally, traditional” options, I decided to attend a small liberal arts college and emotionally. If anything, in Texas. There, I met a number nurses are not recognized and of independent thinkers, learned appreciated enough for all the unipro now, Vol. 2

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the beauty of collaboration, and simply fell in love with this new view of the world. I realized that I could still make a difference in people’s lives without being a nurse. I pursued studies in business and communication. As a recent graduate, these are areas that I am excited to explore in the “real” world. As times have changed, it has been interesting to see the divide between the millennial generation of Pilipinos and the generation before. However, I do see that this divide is gradually coming together and closing the gap. Our parents want us to have a better life. Whether that involves being a teacher, artist, engineer, lawyer, doctor, or even a nurse, it should include true happiness. Happiness is not measured by how many zeros are on the end of your paycheck. Rather, it is measured by your willingness to take risks and pursue what is close to your heart. Therefore, I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, or a nurse- yet, I am none of these. I am just a fresh graduate who is still on the hunt for a grown-up job doing something that makes me happy. Carmel Tajonera is a native of Houston, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Trinity University (San Antonio, TX) receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Communication.

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Leah Villanueva What is the reason for my amused cynicism toward the land I’ve called my home for the majority of my privileged, blessed, enormously first-world problem-riddled life? Call it a lack of “essence,” “je ne sais quoi,” or “swag,” as the young folk would say. Florida, as wondrous as it can be (yes, sarcasm aside, there really are some gems down here), is a random splattering of suburban sprawlage and Florida. The land of Mickey, Miami, and malls. Outlet malls, strip sprawlers. It’s a conglomeration of drifters from around the country malls, mally-malls (is that even a and world who, either by choice or word…?). Nevertheless, I digress. force, flock to greener, swampier pastures with the insatiable desire While many people find for sun, fun, water, and all the exhilaration and promise in the freshly-picked oranges you can mere utterance of “Florida,” as stomach. In my jaded perspective, a Filipina Torontonian-native Florida is a land of nomadic, heattransplanted at a young age to seeking, snow-avoiding dreamthe “gun” (cough-cough) of the United States, I find myself floating believers settling their roots in a somewhat rootless (albeit sunny in aimlessly in the doldrums of the nation’s jutting appendage. For the the absence of hurricanes) territory. people who refer to Florida as the “South”- honey, this ain’t the South. This lack of a clear-cut identity creates a sense of internal disarray Sure, in some areas of the Florida when I think about my Floridian of yesteryear, especially in the Panhandle (or “lower Alabama” as upbringing. While the consumers it’s affectionately referred to), you’ll who can afford to live the “good life” by adorning their Tommy be more apt to find a buttermilk Bahama and Life is Good apparel biscuit (emphasis on the butter), sweeter-than-diabetes sweet tea and might chalk up being Floridian to a a Paula Deen doppelganger serving “Margaritaville” and “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” mentality, I call and this death on a platter to you with a begrudging side-eyed glance than yearn (unbeknownst to the Leah of my youth) for a greater definition you would swaying palm trees and of a Floridian identity besides the cocktails served in a coconut to a geriatric patient with Pitbull cast as limiting definition conjured by others rather than myself. the soundtrack to our sun-kissed, perma-sweat-induced lives. Dale. (Enter dazzling beam of Florida sunshine) But, again, I digress.

Being Filipina in the South Florida

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That’s it. In all my years spent subconsciously, unconsciously, and consciously grappling for a sense of a Floridian definition, I realize what I’d really been searching for is a sense of home—a true sense of belonging and a true understanding of being me. While the majority of this article has dealt with Florida, the heart of the matter is that I’ve been (and still am) on a quest for the definition of what it is to be Filipina; essentially, what it means to be me. Given my context, I’m looking for the proverbial “Holy Grail” of “Filipina-ness” (and “Leah-ness”) in Florida. So, rather than tackle the tough issue of self-definition, I dismiss my surroundings and find fault in as many aspects of it as possible to cast blame for my lack of ability to really articulate the essence of simply being me. Me, me, me. Me, myself, and I. Pardon me if I sound as egoistic as Kanye West, but it must be said that as much of a communal society as we are, being Filipinos, we undervalue ourselves. Each of us, as individuals, matter. We matter so much, yet we don’t acknowledge or appreciate the level of our significance. Each of us has the tremendous ability to achieve beyond our wildest dreams, but without really having a sound grip on who we are as individuals, will we ever be able to reach that level of self-actualization that’s supposedly as bomb as (insert noun of choice here)? Will we ever get to that highest level of (Cont. p. 28)

Sarah Meier the idea of what something should or might be that takes precedence over many a crucial (and often painfully basic) thing in a culture still reeling from colonial identity crises. If that means our local cops exerting efforts to look like It’s 95 degrees out, and I’m wearing flannel pajama pants, which American Interstate Highway Patrol with the aviators and the I’m not sure has any significance dust heeled stroll—because this to what I’m about to write other is what “respectable” looks like— than the fact that in the two never mind then that apprehended decades that I’ve lived here, my illogical choice of outerwear is just motorists are quick to either speed one of the many examples of being away, knowing they are less than likely to be chased, or slow down completely unmoved by the truth and succumb to the strain of of situational realities. corruption by handing over what’s in their wallets. Never mind then Because lets face it—as Gang that the local rapper thinks that Badoy, founder of RockEd, so spitting over an Eminem beat aptly brought to our attention makes him better or that our radio one morning as we interviewed her on radio—what is the purpose, jocks and their fabricated accents precisely, of our policemen having have become the ideal. to wear thick and full legged I am in Manila because the Filipino uniforms in this blistering heat? What is it about the Filipino psyche Renaissance is real—and while much that refuses to legitimize or respect of the movement has gained traction with our global residents, a law enforcement agent that the true understanding of what is wears shorts? required for thorough and sustained improvement for our country Perhaps my pajamas do have means regularly crossing the bridge; answers after all. I wear them exchanging problems for solutions, because I associate them with carrying stories, ideas, concepts, comfort. They remind me of hoody weather, running to the deli values, and systems repeatedly both ways. in the brisk New York midnight air, and the refuge of returning My husband drove this realization to my couch with a quart of Ben home best. In a project the and Jerry’s. To wear them in the Department of Tourism asked us to Philippines? Impractical, but be representatives for, I borrowed sentimental, appropriating form from a thought-provoking desperately to function. conversation I had with Banj, where he, as a New York-raised Similarly, it is the association with

Hello from Manila

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Filipino, asked me to define the Filipino Dream. I asked, “Locally?” He nodded. I remember my heart sinking even before I could answer. He smiled knowingly and waited for me to say, “It’s to leave the Philippines. All our people want to do is leave.” I am in Manila despite having episodes of deep knowing that the industries I am involved in are nowhere near mature enough to house, support, or mentor my ability. Perhaps one day I will fold, but until then, the purpose has been the same for the past eight years, and it has kept me in the motherland: building bridges and platforms, voicing out on television and radio, penning pieces, empowering, connecting, and growing individuals and movements in music, fashion, and all of verge culture. We built thebridgefiles.com to start cross-ocean conversations in those particular arenas. We launched Platform to celebrate and strengthen independent local creativity and retail. We contributed to the Department of Tourism’s “It’s More Fun In the Philippines” campaign, and have tirelessly supported Philippine Fashion Week since my manager conceived it thirteen years ago. Most recently, we started the Postura Project, a challenge to wear at least one Filipino made thing daily. It is our way of telling people that they don’t need to be crazy dedicated activists (Cont. p. 28) 26


Tony Olaes

Op-Eds Continued

Power as a collective group influences spending; that is when corporations listen. Politicians carry the issue of voters with a large group base. By having an identity as a group, we will have a voice in politics, major corporations and other entities will pay attention, and standards in our communities will rise.

(Leah Villanueva from p. 25) being, a sort of nirvana, if you will, without a realization of self ? And, that, my friends, aking mahal na mga kaibigan (according to Google translation since I don’t know my own language), is the heart of the matter.

The Awakening I was born and raised in America. Throughout my youth, I have always seen myself as just an American. Being labeled FilipinoAmerican never made sense, because other than inheriting my parents’ brown skin, I never knew what it meant to be a Filipino. It has to be more than just liking adobo or sinigang. It is a dilemma I share with countless second and third-generation children growing up in immigrant or multi-racial households. This dilemma becomes a lingering issue in the community; it is a known fact that a very small percentage of second-generation Fil-Ams will get involved in the community. The majority will just evolve to being fully “American,” and be swallowed by the system. Being Filipino-American needs to be more than just a description of where we were born or the citizenship we carry. It has to be a way of being defined by knowing where we really come from as a collective whole with a voice and an identity. This place can only come from the Philippines. My generation has to be awakened from this deep sleep or matrix called “just being an American with brown skin.” It is by getting out of this state of complacency that workability and progress will start to happen. 27

America is a melting pot of cultures. It does not give anything for free. The only way we can have a voice and affect change is if we come together. Coming together will emanate from the source that molded our way of being—the Motherland; this is why we need to bridge the disconnect, learn to care and share, and be part of building the nation. As our national hero Jose Rizal quipped, “If we do not look back to where we’ve been, we will never see where we are going.” It is that way of being that is uniquely Filipino that will unify us. This is where true power lies. It is not just about looking Filipino; it is by being Filipino. Tony Olaes is the founder and current Chairman of the Board for Olaes Enterprises, Inc. (“ODM”) and the Managing Member of Olaes Properties, LLC, which maintains real estate holdings throughout the United States.

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Our community’s progress and advancement depends on each of us, as individuals, powering through the muck of life to find, nay, seize, recapture, occupy our being. Our lands and minds were violently and unapologetically colonized and ransacked, but no more. Throw off the chains of mental enslavement and breathe in the sweet, intoxicatingly liberating air of true self-agency. With this 750-word (plus or minus 113 words) verbal grappling of what it means to be Filipina in Florida coming to a close, I’m left with a charge for myself and for all who read this: the Pilipino Renaissance is not so much a movement for representation and resources, but more so a battle for the freedom and self-ownership that each of us are entitled to simply by the fact of being human. So, with that, ante up, pares. Battles are never won by one soldier; it takes an army, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re all enlisted whether we know or like it.

(Sarah Meier from p. 26) to contribute to, implement, or significantly participate in social change. So while I have friends that send me e-mails that say, “Will be holding office underwater for the next week—e-mail my assistant for anything urgent,” because they are dedicated to saving the Philippine Seas, or others that are waking up every morning finding the strength to remedy a deeply entangled government system from within, truth is, we are not all wired to propel the Filipino Renaissance forward in the same way. But we do all shoulder part of the responsibility. I am electrified to hear your “how”. We are all teammates in redefining the Filipino Dream. Come (visit) home. Sarah Meier is a model with CalCarrie’s Int’l Models Philippines, a host for Philippine Fashion Week TV, a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and a contributing writer for Status Magazine. She is also a former VJ for MTV Asia and radio host for U92 and Power 108.

Leah Villanueva is the Director of Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs at the University of Florida.

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Contributing Writers

Bryan Lozano Executive Director of UniPro

Erick Esteban Carmel Tajonera Leah Villanueva Sarah Meier Tony Olaes

Alyssa Esteban Designer

Contributing Designer

Sabrina Echaluce

Anthony Castro

Editor-in-Chief

Special Thanks

Iris Zalun

Steve Raga Randy Gonzalez Rachelle Ocampo

Managing Editor

Staff and Contributors i

unipro now, Vol. 2

June 2012

Marissa Guiang Associate Editor

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UniPro Now Vol. II  

UniPro Magazine 2012

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