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One Kapamilya Go Canada an unforgettable night for TFC fans

Balitang America - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 07:43

CALGARY, Alberta – The Filipino Channel’s biggest event of the year, One Kapamilya Go, brought tons of fun and entertainment to our kababayans in Canada over the weekend. Quay Evano tells us all about it in this report.


Categories: Pinoy Migration

Fil-Am trangender woman, PH consulate find temporary fix to ID troubles

Balitang America - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 07:37

NEW YORK – Just like many Filipino Americans, transgender woman Morena Cipriano is planning to spend her retirement in the Philippines when that times comes.

Cipriano said, “Sooner or later balak ko mag-retire sa Philippines. Tapos bumili rin ng properties or mag-invest. That’s the reason why I want to have a dual passport.”

This Filipina housekeeper in New York was assigned male at birth but now identifies as female.

Morena came to the US in 2003 and became naturalized US Citizen in 2007.

“My mom petitioned me as a boy, so I have to come here as a boy. When I was here, it was really hard for me. It was very struggling,” she said.

Four years later, she legally changed her name and gender to female, as reflected on her current US passport and New York driver’s license.

Last Friday, she attempted to apply for dual citizenship and a Philippine passport at the New York Philippine Consulate in Manhattan.

“Sabi nila this is the first time they will encounter this kind of situation. Yun ang sabi nila sa akin. But now I brought all my documents,” Cipriano said. “Let’s see what they can do with my application. But I’m not taking no as an answer.”

But Deputy Consul General Kira Azucena says based on existing Philippine laws, Morena will be granted dual citizenship and a Philippine passport, but these documents can only carry her male name and male gender as shown on her birth certificate.

“Ibig sabihin, in her case, if her birth certificate issued in the Philippines still reflects the original name, then that’s what we need to reflect also in the identification certificate, the oath of allegiance that the consulate will issue,” Azucena said.

But according to Morena, to be issued a Philippine passport that would reflect her former male name and male gender is not only hurtful, it’s also inconvenient.

“When they look at my documents that I am a male and I look like a female, there’s a discrimination,” Cipriano said. “But ever since I changed my name and my gender, I did not experience that.”

Azucena says, though, there is one acceptable fix that may help in Morena’s case – the inclusion of both names in the documents they will issue.

“In Morena’s case, her identification certificate will reflect both the original name as reflected in the Philippine birth certificate and the name as reflected in the US passport, pero merong ‘also known as’ of ‘aka’,” Azucena said.

Azucena says, Morena can also file a petition in a Philippine court for the Philippine government to finally recognize her current US legal name.

But even with a court order, her birth-assigned gender will remain as male because existing Philippine laws do not legally recognize gender identity change at this time.

Morena says this temporary fix will do for now. But she vows to challenge the Philippine government to find a permanent fix to this issue.

You may contact Don Tagala at [email protected] for more information.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Pemberton’s mom a no-show, trial delayed anew

Balitang America - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:24

By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — For the second straight week, the presentation of the first defense witness in the murder trial of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton was again postponed.

Lisa Pemberton, the mother of accused US Marine, was supposed to be presented today in court but she did not show up.

This dismayed Julita Laude, the mother of slain transgender Jennifer Laude.

Lawyers from both sides accused each other for the delay.

Atty. Harry Roque, private lawyer for the Laude family, accused defense lawyers of employing dilatory tactics so that the one-year prescriptive period in hearing cases under the Visiting Forces Agreement would expire.

However, Atty. Rowena Flores Garcia, lead defense lawyer, said the delay was because the prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration on the rejection of Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of some important pieces of evidence submitted by the prosecution.

She said the defense can only present a witness and evidence after the judge has ruled on the motion for reconsideration.

Garcia added that they are also studying the possibility of filing a demurrer to evidence. This means that they will no longer present evidence since they believe that the prosecution’s evidence is weak and not enough to convict Pemberton.

Olongapo City Prosecutor Emilie Fe de los Santos earlier said the rejection of the crucial pieces of evidence puts the murder case of Pemberton at risk of being downgraded to homicide.

According to Delos Santos, despite the delays in the defense’s presentation of evidence, she is still optimistic that the trial will be finished within one year.

She said based on the schedule, the defense has until September to present their evidence. Delos Santos said that as soon as the judge rules on their two motions, only then can the defense present its witness.

The prosecution is asking the court to reconsider its order rejecting the evidence against Pemberton. It is also asking for a clarification on the court’s position on the testimonies and laboratory report pertaining to the condom wrapper found at the crime scene.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Pinay caregiver charged with stealing over $6K from cancer patient

Balitang America - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:10

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A Filipina caregiver from Palatine, Ill. has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from her 76-year-old cancer patient.

Christine Ablaza, 49, reportedly swindled her employer who was undergoing cancer treatments.

Authorities linked Ablaza to eight unauthorized withdrawals on the woman’s bank account amounting to over $6,000.

In April, Ablaza reportedly quit, telling her employer she had to go back to the Philippines. Investigators say that story was false.

Authorities issued a warrant of arrest for her and charged her with a felony theft.

She turned herself in on Aug 6.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Review: Nothing fantastic about “Fantastic Four” reboot

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 07:29

This weekend kababayans have three movies to watch out for: “Fantastic Four”, “The Gift”, and “Ricki and the Flash”. But which film is Manny the Movie Guy’s pick of the week?


Categories: Pinoy Migration

How Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” became a launching pad for Hollywood comedians

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 07:23

On Thursday night, Jon Stewart bid farewell to “The Daily Show” in a star-studded finale that highlighted his huge influence in politics, media, and show business for the last 16 years. Yong Chavez has this story and an exclusive chat with one of  breakout stars of “The Daily Show”.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Alabama Pinoy found beaten nearly to death in hotel room

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 07:13

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A Filipino hairstylist was found beaten nearly to death in a hotel room in the town of Homewood, Ala.

Police found 38-year-old Michael Aguirre unresponsive in his room at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Monday.

According to police, Aguirre was found with trauma to the head and face and was admitted to a nearby hospital under critical condition. He’s since been upgraded to stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

Aguirre was reportedly a frequent customer of the hotel, and police say they found no motive nor evidence of forced entry into the hotel room.

Police have arrested an unidentified suspect that they say has a criminal history.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Mayweather reflects on Pacquiao fight as he announces his final match

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 07:02

LOS ANGELES – Fresh off his latest victory, Floyd Mayweather is now getting ready for his next fight. It’s one that he says is his final stop in a lucrative and historic 19-year run which includes last May’s victory over Manny Pacquiao.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Fil-Am youth immersed in Pinoy culture at UP alumni summer camp

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 06:46

DALY CITY, Calif. – In an effort to reconnect Filipino children and youth to their Filipino roots, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco held its third annual Filipino Cultural Immersion summer camp.

During the two-week program, young Fil-Ams learned more about the Filipino language, history, music, food and culture.

“It is vital that they connect to their cultural roots,” said Letty Quizon. “We’re giving them that knowledge framework and from there we hope once their engaged they may be able to help the Philippines as well as our community here.”

Many of the participants were born and raised in the U.S. and have never been to the Philippines. Organizers say the camp is a for them to learn about their heritage while having fun.

“I learned Tagalog words,” said Layla Alabado. “I learned Filipino history and Filipino songs.”

“I didn’t know what my heritage was about and I knew very little — just the food,” said Nicholas Fernandez.

“The best thing about camp was [learning] mostly about the history that was happening in the Philippines like Jose Rizal, Lapu-Lapu, and many more of our heroes,” said Jaden Fernandez.

“Filipinos are awesome,” exclaimed Hailey Oakes. “All the people in the past who were Filipino did great things to help the Philippines.”

The camp also taught the kids what it means to be a leader through stories and teachings from elected officials and achievers in the community.

“I really enjoyed the guest speakers,” said camper Mia Alabado. “I guess that was the best part is listening to what they have to say and describing their jobs and all that.”

Parents and organizers say that while the camp was only two-weeks, it was rewarding to see that the children learned so much.

“It’s kind of cute to hear them speak the dialect and the national Philippine language,” said parent Laila Muyco. “Yes, I feel so proud as a parent.”

“It’s when I listen to them and they talk to us in Tagalog and talk about their culture with more confidence and more proud in them,” said Quizon. “To me that means that we would have achieved our goal of instilling that pride in being a Filipino.”

For more information about future camps and programs you can visit the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of San Francisco at

You can contact Rommel Conclara at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

No one eclipses Donald Trump at GOP debate

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 05:44


(CNN) - It was the most dramatic opening to a presidential debate in recent memory—and Donald Trump stole the show before he’d even said a word.

Perched comfortably at the top of the polls and lapping his closest rivals by double digits, Trump was expected to do well at the first GOP presidential debate of the 2016 season on Thursday night. The onus was on his competitors to seize the spotlight, but none of them managed to change the dynamics in a race that Trump has dominated for more than a month.

Many contenders delivered strong performances and polished answers. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio showed his formidable political skills and compelling personal narrative. Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave crisp answers as he played to his home state audience. And Rand Paul and Chris Christie slammed each other during an impassioned debate over government surveillance.

For more than a month, Trump has defied the normal patterns of politics and Thursday night was no exception. But it was harder to tell how his answers would wear on voters over time, particularly when matched — as he was Thursday night — with nine other contenders who have strong resumes and far more detailed policy plans.

None of contenders made noticeable blunders. But none of them could outshine Trump.

That was true with the most uncomfortable questions. Though it was Trump’s first political debate—and perhaps one of his first experiences with time constraints and a buzzer—Trump navigated the debate stage with ease, even when faced with unexpectedly sharp questions like the first from Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly.

“One of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter,” Kelly said to Trump in the opening minutes. “However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump interjected to laughter.

“For the record, it was well beyond Rosie,” Kelly shot back, noting that Trump had told one contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” that it would be a pretty picture to “see her on her knees.” “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly asked.

Setting the tone for the debate, Trump didn’t flinch and didn’t apologize.

“I think the big problem this country has — is being politically correct,” he said, channeling the appeal that has catapulted him to the top of the polls. “And I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

He brushed off some of his harsher commentary as “fun” remarks that were made in jest: “We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry.”

Trump launched an offensive against Kelly on Friday, making a series of posts on Twitter saying she “really bombed” and that she “was not very good or professional.”

Trump’s no-holds-barred performance and comments about women could represent a missed opportunity to broaden his appeal. But the biggest risk the unpredictable real estate magnate took Thursday night was when he refused to rule out a third party presidential run that could spell defeat for the Republican Party.

Fox Moderator Bret Baier had asked anyone who wouldn’t pledge not to run as an independent to raise their hand. Only Trump did.

The audience booed. Rand Paul started shouting insults. Trump basically shrugged them off.

“I want to win as a Republican, I want to run as the Republican nominee,” Trump told Baier. “I will not make the pledge at this time.”

Many Republican stalwarts may have recoiled at that answer, and it is certain to cost him votes among the hard core GOP voters who most reliably show up for the primaries. But it is virtually impossible to tell with any certainty how many voters will hold that against Trump at a time when many view both parties with contempt and frustration.

Trump continued to give very few specifics about his plans, or the evidence for his claims about Mexican immigrants, for example. And when challenged on flipping on his position on abortion, Trump uttered words that make most politicians shiver: “I’ve evolved.”

He sounded cavalier and somewhat callous when confronted with a question about the bankruptcy of one of his companies in Atlantic City that led to the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. Once again, Trump made no apologies, and pivoted to take a dig at Christie, noting New Jersey’s economic troubles.

“I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt. Every company — Chris [Christie] can tell you — every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt,” Trump said. “I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it…. By the way, this country right now owes $19 trillion. And they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess.”

With the exception of Rand Paul, who may have won some fans by taking on Trump vigorously and repeatedly, the other candidates handled Trump gently, wary perhaps of alienating the voters who are attracted to his blunt brand of politics.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had an uneven performance, but did not appear to make any major mistakes, denied reports that he had called Trump a “clown” and another expletive in a private conversation, but admitted that he had taken issue with Trump’s harsh tone in his announcement speech.

In response to that gentle reproach from Bush, Trump chose to be magnanimous to the former governor, who he has attacked on the campaign trail — even going to so far as to call him a gentleman.

Beyond Trump, other standouts were Paul, a once formidable candidate who piqued the interest of Republican voters and then receded, Christie, who has fallen from favor in the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal, and Kasich, who drew an enthusiastic welcome from a home-state audience.

Paul and Christie tangled in a passionate debate over government surveillance that highlighted the wide gulf in the Republican Party between libertarian-leaning Republicans like the Kentucky senator and national security hawks like the New Jersey governor.

Christie was asked about his criticism of Paul’s objections to the NSA’s collection of phone records and his statement that the Kentucky senator should be called before Congress to answer for it if the U.S. was hit by a terrorist attack.

It gave Christie an opening to highlight his work as a federal prosecutor who has “prosecuted, investigated and jailed terrorists in this country after September 11th.”

When Paul replied that he wanted to collect “more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” Christie dismissed his statement as “a completely ridiculous answer,” at one point accusing Paul of sitting in a subcommittee in the Senate “blowing hot air.” Paul parried back by reminding Republican primary voters of the fact that Christie hugged President Obama after super storm Sandy.

Before the hug debate, it was a substantive exchange over policy. But at this point in the Republican race it’s unclear how many voters will pay attention. As long as Trump is in the race, many may just be tuned in for the show.

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Categories: Pinoy Migration

Can the GOP’s 2016 presidential hopefuls sway Fil-Am voters?

Balitang America - Sat, 08/08/2015 - 05:30

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Filipino American political analyst Prof. Jay Gonzalez weighs in on the GOP debate’s top performers and the likelihood that this crop of Republican candidates can rally support from Fil-Am voters.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.
Categories: Pinoy Migration

GOP presidential hopefuls reveal stricter immigration stances before first debate

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 08:14

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Thursday night brings the first primary debates of this election cycle. Cleveland, Ohio is hosting the ten leading candidates for the Republican nomination that will face off against each other on prime time television.

But before going into the first GOP, top contenders Donald Trump and Jeb Bush recently provided additional details about their plans to address the country’s immigration problems. The issue of immigration has propelled Trump to front-runner status and he has told the media that if elected, he would force undocumented immigrants, especially the criminals, to go back to their countries of origin.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump stated, “I get rid of the bad ones because we have a lot of really bad apples. We have a lot of bad dudes that are causing tremendous problems.”

For undocumented immigrants who could become assets to America, Trump encourages them to come back in a legal way. He remarked, “I’d let them back legally. They have to come through a legal system. And I’d make that system much quicker, much faster. I want people to come into the country.”

The real estate mogul also wants Mexico to pay for a wall on the Southern U.S. border to help stop undocumented immigrants from crossing into the United States. Trump said, “Mexico is making a fortune from us and they will pay for it. Mark my words — it’s called negotiation.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on the other hand, released his plans to increase border security, his plan includes a flesible and “forward-leaning” border patrol, new technology to patrol the border, improved border infrastructure, electronic verification of workers, crackdowns on visa over-stayers and sanctuary city policies.

In a written statement, Bush said, “These proposals, when combined with a rigorous path to earned legal status, would realistically and honestly address the status of the 11 million people here illegally today and protect against future illegal immigration.”

Other Republican presidential hopefuls like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker raised the possibility of curbing legal immigration and Senator Marco Rubio said he now rejects a comprehensive approach and wants to tackle border security first. It’s a wait-and-see how big an issue immigration will become — not just in the first GOP debate — but as the campaign season heats up.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at [email protected] for more information.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

San Francisco Fil-Ams denounce evictions at I-Hotel anniversary

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 08:11

SAN FRANCISCO – To commemorate the 38th anniversary of the evictions of the International Hotel or the I-Hotel, the community and tenants rights advocates honored the eviction fighters who fought in the 70s and those who continue to fight today.

In 1977 the tenants of the I-Hotel, many of whom were Filipino, were forcibly evicted from their homes so that real estate developers could tear the building down to expand the financial district.

Even though the building was rebuilt 30 years later for affordable housing, the fight continues with reports of more people being evicted from their homes in the city to make way for complexes with high monthly rentals.

“There’s a lot of similarities,” said Tony Robles of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. “We have a situation where you have a lot of capital from overseas. You have short term rentals. You have developers that want to build on lands that are premium over here.”

Robles also cites how developers tend to target seniors and that many have suffered from health related problems and even ended up dying due to the stress that comes with being evicted.

“We’re tired of being treated like the furniture that came with the place when people moved here,” said Robles. “It’s good to see young people following suit and following the examples set here by the elders of the I-Hotel.”

Many Fil-Am community advocates are taking the fight to the mayor and other city officials to call for justice.

“We need to make sure that policies and government is working for the people and we need to continue fighting not just 38 years ago,” said community advocate Angelica Cabande. “We need to continue fighting and strengthening tenants rights protection, making sure the Filipino heritage district in the South of Market is passed before any development is moved forward.”

Teresa Dulalas is a single mother who has been evicted three times says that the I-Hotel situation is a sign of history repeating itself.

“I don’t know if it’s time or if it is as a cycle that it goes around but right now when I look at it it’s really important we know what’s happening in the community concerning around the Filipino Americans and the struggle going on ever since,” said Dulalas.

She also says that lessons were learned from that struggle so they can continue to fight for tenant rights today.

“If we don’t fight who will,” asks Dulalas. “We will continue doing it to let people know that there is a struggle happening here.”

These advocates are calling for expanded tenant protections, regulation of short term rentals and more affordable housing.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Filipino burning trial temporarily halted over witness troubles

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 06:15

VANCOUVER, CANADA – The judge presiding over the trial of a suspected white supremacist charged with setting a Filipino man on fire put a temporary halt to the proceedings.

Robertson Conley Trimble De Chazal is on trial for setting Filipino John Vincent Ragjay on fire back in 2009.

Ragjay was sleeping on an abandoned couch outside a Vancouver building when he was set aflame. He survived, but suffered burns to his head, neck, and arms.

The temporary halt came after the prosecution said its third witness claimed to be high on drugs and could not recall a fire in connection to the incident.

Despite De Chazal’s alleged link to a white supremacist group, there’s no word if hate will be considered as a motive.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

LA Mayor’s office tackles immigration issues with a hack-a-thon

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 05:54

LOS ANGELES – LA’s city leaders are bringing together some of the top scientific minds to use technology to improve the lives of immigrants, both documented and undocumented.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Miles Teller on his worst rejection and how he got over it

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 05:48

One of Hollywood’s best young talents is back on the big screen… this time as a superhero. Yong Chavez talks with Miles Teller who shares how he overcame a challenging period in his life while he was trying to make a name in Hollywood.

Categories: Pinoy Migration

US thanks PH for help in catching pedophile

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 05:43


MANILA – The United States thanked the Philippines for providing information that led to the arrest of an American pedophile.

The US Embassy in Manila said in a statement that United States District Judge sentenced American Ronald Carey Shirley to 20 years in Federal prison on June 29 after he pleaded guilty to child pornography charges.

Shirley, 64, admitted to using social media to have girls in the Philippines and Vietnam send him sexually explicit photos of themselves, the embassy said.

The embassy said the Philippine National Police and the Manila office of the Homeland Security Investigations conducted an investigation after Shirley was linked by the National Center for missing and Exploited Children to a social media account suspected of involvement in child sexual exploitation.

”As a result of our partnership with the Philippine National Police Anti Cyber-Crime Group, we were able to locate and obtain damaging evidence from the victims that proved Shirley coerced them to send sexually explicit images,” HSI Attaché Ransom Avilla said.

”We will continue to work with the PNP to prevent predators from preying upon children in the Philippines. Our joint effort resulted in the judge sentencing Shirley to additional years in prison.”

Shirley was arrested in February at the Los Angeles International Airport as he was about to depart for Vietnam, supposedly to visit minor girls he had communicated with on social media.

”This sentence should serve as a sobering warning to every sexual predator who thinks they can hide from the law by violating the innocence of children overseas,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles.

”There can be no place for the abuse of foreign children by our citizens, and HSI will seek to vindicate the rights of those victims no matter how far they live from our shores.”

Categories: Pinoy Migration

Pinoy culture takes spotlight at Canada’s Folklorama festival

Balitang America - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 05:00

By Rhia Alcantara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

WINNIPEG, Canada – Kababayans take part at the annual Folklorama where Pinoy culture is proudly celebrated in one of the biggest multi-cultural events across Canada.


Categories: Pinoy Migration