Saturday, December 19, 2015

Proud Filipino Nurses

By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

Filipino nurses in New York are a dime a dozen, but contrary to the “lackluster value” that the idiomatic expression “a dime a dozen” connotes, these selfless caregivers’ service to their patients is invaluable.

Filipino nurses working abroad, especially in Manhattan and its nearby boroughs, are proud Filipino nurses. Shouldn’t we be proud as Filipinos like them?

On my second year as a graduate student at New York University (NYU), back in 2012, I found myself at one of the clinics at the NYU Health Center on 726 Broadway for my annual physical examination. As a Filipino nurse was about to administer a flu vaccine to me, she asked me (curiously), “Are you a Filipino?” I answered, “I could be easily mistaken for a Thai or a Vietnamese, but I’m proud to be a Filipino!” The nurse’s face lit up, because according to her, it’s seldom that Filipino students at NYU admit that they’re Filipinos.

“They seem to be embarrassed to reveal they’re Filipinos,” she said.

“Not me,” I told her. “And I’m very happy that a Filipino nurse is attending to my needs.”

Accordingly, I’m also very grateful that three superPinay nurses are also gracing our cover in this special Christmas issue of Fil-Am Who’s Who: Sally Nunez, Maria Lea Batomalaque, and Florida Lucas of RN Express Staffing Registry. Sally, Lea, and Florida first worked together at the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan during their first few years into their nursing careers. They’ve been inseparable friends and business partners since, learning further from each other, as well as drawing strength and inspiration from each other.

“[Filipino nurses] being naturally hard working, caring, hospitable, helpful, and generous set us apart from the others,” said Lea in our cover story. Read more on pages 8-9.

A FRIENDLY REMINDER: We celebrate Christmas to rejoice greatly the birth of Jesus Christ. This Christmas season, let’s avoid too much commercialism; let’s put back Christ in Christmas instead! 

Fil-Am Who’s Who encourages its readers to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures. Email submissions at filamwhoswho@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hallmarks of Great Leadership

By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

In various Filipino-American (Fil-Am) organizations, we’ve seen and occasionally worked with leaders with different leadership styles: some are autocratic; some are didactic while some are comfortable delegating tasks to their team members, which is a form of empowerment, especially to those who are sharing their time and talents as volunteers.

“Great leaders are aware of their own style and make the effort to learn how their style actually comes across to their team. They learn to flex their leadership style to individual team members so that they communicate and behave in ways that motivate and inspire,” said Michael Burke of MSR Communications.

Exemplary character traits make an effective leader.

Among those good traits, right off my head, are transparency (being honest), strategic thinking (knowing where you are now, and knowing where you are going), passion (living and breathing your raison d’être), and respect and trust in the workplace.

Our cover subject for the month, Ma. Consuelo “Connie” Almonte, president of PAGASA Social Foundation Inc. (PAGASAsfi), a nonprofit for Fil-Am seniors, is one conscientious leader who is competent, dutiful, and self-disciplined.

But above all, Connie is not greedy for power: she delegates tasks to her nonprofit’s volunteers whom she considers the lifeblood of the organization, and she knows when it’s time to pass the baton of leadership to her worthy successor.

“The greatest challenge is to get everyone to work together in the most efficient and harmonious way,” Connie said in our cover story.

“Leadership is all about being able to inspire and communicate to people and to make them understand what your objectives are.”

Connie, kudos for all your tireless work for Fil-Am seniors.

You are an awesomely courageous woman!

Fil-Am Who’s Who encourages its readers to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures. Email submissions at filamwhoswho@gmail.com.

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Saturday, September 05, 2015

Finding Own Voice, Reinstilling Pride

By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

There are two recurring themes in this issue of Fil-Am Who’s Who: (1) Finding your own voice in a cultural landscape that is so diverse—so that you will be heard and can make a ripple effect; and (2) Reinstilling pride in the Filipino people, especially in those who live, work, or study in the United States—no matter how cliché it is.

Besides the repeated mention, “finding your own voice” and “reinstilling pride in Filipinos” also share an important causal relationship:

Knowing your unique cultural identity sets you apart from the rest, which can make you become more familiar with yourself. “You can only love something that is familiar to you,” Doris Magsaysay Ho, Asia Society Philippines chair, pointed out to me in a recent interview. Essentially, that love for what is familiar can lead to nurturing a sense of pride and belonging.

The ongoing exhibition at Asia Society Museum dubbed as “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” works exactly in the same manner:

By piquing interest and creating awareness that early Filipinos were relatively affluent, sophisticated people, contrary to what history teachers taught us, creates a new familiarity; and by displaying nearly 120 jaw-dropping pieces of gold work from the 10th to 13th -century Philippines, a sense of great pride is being restored.

For four months, this groundbreaking exhibition is on display for the first time in the United States. I strongly urge you, please check it out. Expose yourself to historical art gold pieces that beam early Filipino ingenuity and rich culture.

All that glitters is “gold” in this show.

Fil-Am Who’s Who invites its readers to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures. Please email submissions to filamwhoswho@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mama Renee's Living Legacy

By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

Ollie David, who was the overall chair of Philippine fashion icon Renee Salud’s recent smash hit fashion shows held at Double Tree Newark Hotel in New Jersey and at the Philippine Center, the building that houses the Philippine Consulate General in New York, pinned down in her opening remarks that Mama Renee, a moniker for the well-loved fashion designer, who rose to fame in the ‘80s, has been “at the forefront of creating intricate masterpieces that weave native piña (pineapple fiber), abaca, and the Maguindanaon’s inaul, among others, even way before other Filipino and non-Filipino fashion designers started to claim that same exact design process.”

“Mama Renee’s original intent and his still ever-burning passion to promote only the Philippines’ indigenous fabrics in his fashion pieces makes him even more relevant till this very day,” Ollie added.

For Mama Renee, he did it—and still doing it—to show his enduring love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. He also believes our native fabrics and meticulous beadwork and embroidery should be seen all over the world.

So it’s not at all (or hardly) surprising to meet a brood of young fashion designers today who have been following the footsteps of Mama Renee. One of these promising young designers is San Francisco-based Anthony Cruz Legarda, whom I had the pleasure of meeting with at San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel in Manhattan a few years ago. Legarda incorporates authentic hand-woven fabrics especially that of the piña, into unique American wear. In fact, Mama Renee and Legarda, alongside fellow Filipino fashion designers Patis Tesoro and Dita Sandico Ong, not too long ago collaborated on a fashion-trade show called “Fibre Filippine,” which features high-fashion pieces made from local fabrics abaca, banana, salago, maguey, buri and, of course, piña, held in Rome.

In the same league as Mama Renee and Legarda is Betina Ocampo, one of this year’s recipients of The Outstanding Filipino-Americans In New York (TOFA-NY) awards. Also inspired by the complex handmade fashion pieces of tribal communities in the Philippines, Ocampo launched a luxury t-shirt line, Betina, in 2012, while finishing her studies at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. To her credit, her designs have been featured in premier fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan.

And the list goes on.

Bottom line is that what Mama Renee, together with a few fashion designers, started several decades ago has continued to grow in the safe hands of our new generation of Filipino couturiers.

Fil-Am Who’s Who invites its readers to contribute articles, letters, comments, or pictures. Please email submissions to filamwhoswho@gmail.com.

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Friday, August 07, 2015

Know Your Rights as a Landlord


First Published on PropertyAsia.ph 

If you’re a landlord, there’s this high probability of encountering problems with your tenants every once in a while. Fundamentally, to solve any problem between you and your tenants, you have to know your basic rights, including the dos and the don’ts, as a landlord.

To help you further, we’ve listed some of these rights you have in your hands as a lessor:

Choosing a Tenant 

As a landlord, one of your major rights is to choose your tenants. You can do that by asking for income and credit information, rental history, and guarantees. You may also want to be picky about accepting tenants, but you can’t refuse a tenant based on one’s race, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, and disability.

If you want to make sure you’re choosing the right tenants, work hard on the inspection process and take time to know them personally before you accept them.

Collecting Deposit and Rent 

Before your tenants move in to your property, you have the right to collect a rent deposit. When you both sign the lease tenancy agreement, you may collect the rent deposit in full. The agreement should state the amount of the rent deposit and when it is due.

As for increasing the rent, you have the right to do so but only once in a 12-month period and depending on your lease tenancy agreement. If you’re to raise the rent, make sure the new amount is justifiable and can be compared to similar properties in your neighborhood. 

Entering the Premises 

Landlords can only enter the property in case of emergency and for the purposes of inspecting the premises, cleaning, and making repairs and improvements. You can also enter the premises to show the property to prospective buyer or tenant. However, you’re not allowed to enter the premises impromptu. If you would like to inspect the property, you should give prior notice to the tenants.

In case of a tenant’s extended absence, which is seven days or more, you can enter the property to inspect for damages that may need repairs.

Maintaining the Property 

Maintaining the property can be more like a responsibility than a right. However, it’s not just you who’s responsible for the maintenance but also your tenants. They should also take care of your property during their stay, and you have the right to charge them for any damages. If the tenants refuse to pay for the cost of the repair, you can make a deduction from the tenants’ damage deposit. 

However, you can’t charge your tenants right away. You should be able to show a proof that the damage was caused while your property was occupied by them. Therefore, it’s wise to take detailed photos of the entire property before your tenants move in, so any “future damages” can be spotted quickly.

By the way, you can’t charge the repair of normal wear and tear of furnishings, e.g. carpets and furniture, to your tenants.

Evicting Tenants 

If your tenants didn’t pay for a long period and no solution was offered, you have the right to evict them. Make sure to give them notice first. You can’t harass your tenants in any way so inform them in the most proper way.

If they remain in your property at the end of the notice, you can apply for a possession order; if they don’t comply, you can then apply for an eviction warrant—in such a situation, only the police can evict tenants under court order.

For more practical tips, visit PropertyAsia.ph
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

5 Great Reasons To Invest In Home Automation


First Published on PropertyAsia.ph  

Home automation is the process of controlling basic home features remotely and automatically. Using smart devices such as a smartphone or a tablet, you can easily automate and schedule operation of security, heating, and airconditioning systems; water sprinkling and lighting equipment; and even different appliances at home.

Below, we’ve listed some of the ways on how home automation can make your life a lot easier.

Safety & Security 

One of the myriad reasons why people opt for home automation is because of safety and security. Since you’re able to control lighting and appliance functions, for instance, you can ensure your home will be safe from any wear out caused by electronic devices. By simply tapping your finger on your device, you can control all the lights in your house and make sure they are turned off when you’re away at night. You may also turn them on anytime you want.

What’s more, you can ensure security inside your home through security cameras and automated door locks. Wherever you are—just as long you’re close to your smart device—you can easily see if someone is entering or trying to enter your home, thus increasing the safety of your house and family.

Convenience

Having a home automation system is truly convenient. Whether you’re away or just relaxing at home, you don’t need to check on everything from time to time because everything is scheduled and automated. Additionally, when you’re on vacation or at work, you can easily control things the way you want it. You don’t’ have to call someone inside the house to do a thing for you because you’ll be able to do it yourself.

Time Management

Home automation is very ideal for busy people. In the morning, you don’t have to rush to check out and set things and worry about being late for work. Also, when something is left turned on inside your home, you don’t need to stop by or call people to check on it. Now, those time saved can be devoted to more meaningful and important tasks for the day.

Peace of Mind 

When you have an automation system at home, you’re certain that everything and everyone is safe, which can give you peace of mind. You don’t have to call your children and check if they turned everything off before going to school, for instance—HINT: that is sometimes irritating to the kids. 

Energy/Cost Efficiency

Lastly, when you’re controlling your electronic devices and appliances at home, you’re also controlling energy, which can help you lower your utility bills, thus saving money. By automating your home, you’re also only using resources and energy that you actually need. Therefore, you’re not only helping yourself, but you’re also protecting the environment. Home automation systems are expensive though, but in the end it will be all worth it, especially with all these sound benefits.

For more practical tips, visit PropertyAsia.ph
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