Saturday, March 01, 2014

Do the Right Thing

By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

In Graduate School at New York University, my former Theory, History, and Practice of Public Relations professor Fraiser Seitel, who is often invited to talk on national television practical topics such as media interview training for CEOs and executives and effective crisis communication strategies, and the author of about a dozen editions of “The Practice of Public Relations,” which every public relations practitioner should read, has ingrained in us—his former public relations students-cum-colleagues—to “always do the right thing.” Follow that cardinal rule whether you are in the midst of a stressful crisis, or smoothly running a corporate social responsibility campaign, in order to build a good reputation to any brand, personality, non-profit or for-profit organization.

Doing the right thing is not always easy—and not always popular—but apparently doing the right thing is also the chosen path to success of at least three of our featured personalities in the latest issue of Fil-Am Who’s Who: Beauty queen-fashion designer-environmentalist Joyce Penas Pilarsky, who may be Germany-based, but still hires locals in the Philippines to breathe life into her creative designs; prominent RDR Cargo’s Rommel del Rosario, who’s never embarrassed that he has had his share of bad business decisions, which made him wiser nonetheless; and our very own “sheep—not wolf—of Wall Street” stockbroker Ronald Richer, whose wealth management expertise is something he has been proud to share among the stereotypical struggling artists, who, unfortunately, are mostly clueless about the business side of the arts. Good job, Joyce, Rommel, and Ronald!

Kudos also to our truly hardworking Filipino-American performers on Broadway Frenie Acoba, who plays Lavender, the best friend of the precocious Matilda in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” on Broadway, which I saw on February 12, and Adam Jacobs, who shines in the title role in Disney Theatrical Group’s latest show on Broadway, “Aladdin,” which I saw on its first preview, February 26. Expect vibrant choreography, countless costume changes, literally grand entrances, and parodies of Disney’s own franchises in “Aladdin.” Bring the whole family!

Lastly, congratulations to the people behind the Build A Shelter Project—The Philippine Consulate General in New York, Philippine Jesuit Foundation, and Gawad Kalinga—for raising more than $223K in three months. The funds will be used in rebuilding the lives of typhoon Haiyan survivors in Samar, Philippines.

We invite Fil-Am Who’s Who readers to contribute articles, letters, comments , or pictures. Please email submissions to

You may also engage with us on facebook/FilAmWhosWho.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Two Anniversary Celebrations in a Row

By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

Besides the new beginnings that the new year brings, January 2014 also marks major milestones for two media outlets near and dear to my heart:, the largest online theater news site, where I serve as regional editor for nearly five years, is celebrating its 10th anniversary; and Fil-Am Who’s Who (FAWW), a monthly magazine that features inspiring life stories of Filipino Americans in the New York Tri-State area, where I serve as Editor-in-Chief for six months, is celebrating its first anniversary!

Just so you know, both are celebrating in style. is staging a special, sold-out 10th anniversary concert titled “ Visits Oz” at Joe’s Pub in the East Village, starring Broadway superstars Sierra Boggess (“The Phantom of the Opera”), who sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the movie musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and Norm Lewis (“Les Miserables”), who sings “Home” from the movie musical “The Wiz,” together with Mandy Gonzalez (“Wicked”), Kathy Najimi (“Sister Act”), and Jon Tartaglia (“Avenue Q”), among others. The show is directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, executive producer of the original Broadway productions of “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.”

FAWW, on the other hand, has Megan Lynne Young, the first ever Filipino American who bagged the coveted blue crown at the 2013 “Miss World” beauty—with a purpose—pageant, who graces the first anniversary cover of the magazine. Ms. Young, 23, has successfully ratcheted up her celebrity status in the Philippines and around the world: From being a well-known soap actress and television host in the Philippines to an effective humanitarian, who globetrotted London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Jakarta in less than two weeks to raise funds for the victims of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in central Philippines, whom she personally visited in November 2013.

To FAWW’s avid readers and supporters, thank you very much for “keeping us company” on our first year. The tireless team behind the magazine—Dr. Prospero Lim, Ollie David, Rolan Gutierrez, Myrna Gutierrez, Maricar CP Hampton, April Lombardi, and yours truly—will continue churning out stories that are inspiring and relevant to Filipino Americans today.

We invite our readers to contribute relevant articles, letters, comments or pictures. Please email submissions to

You may also engage with us on facebook/FilAmWhosWho.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Maraming Salamat Po

The Empire State Building lights up for the Philippines;
photo taken by Noel Calingasan.
By Oliver Oliveros, Fil-Am Who's Who magazine editor-in-chief

The first time I visited the city of Tacloban, located in the northeastern part of Leyte island in the Philippines, was in 2009. At the time, I was handling publicity for international recording artists Christian Bautista and Sam Concepcion who were featured in a concert at the 5,000-seater Tacloban City Convention Center. The concert was packed to the rafters, and everyone had a great time!

I distinctly remember how the people of Tacloban were very warm and friendly. Two-term Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, who is married to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, hosted a sumptuous banquet for our entourage. We even went to the “red beach” in Palo, Leyte to visit the historical “Leyte Landing” landmark, which is a tribute to General Douglas MacArthur, the American general who fought against the imperial Japanese army in the Philippines in the mid-1940s.

So imagine my shock when I saw on the news the massive convention center was gloomily transformed into a makeshift shelter for displaced people when typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) wrought havoc in Tacloban. On CNN, watching Councilor Romualdez in tears recounting her family’s ordeal with the storm was unimaginable.

For more than three weeks now, the Philippines has been the most popular topic in most international media outlets. Suddenly the world is paying attention to our island nation. Suddenly the world is on its toes sending humanitarian relief. Suddenly you realize that in times of crisis, the world is not jaded after all.

Apropos to recent events and to the thanksgiving season we are celebrating this week, allow me to sincerely extend my gratitude to fellow Filipinos and also to non-Filipinos — especially those who are based in the east coast region of the United States — who have donated funds and their time to countless relief efforts for my home country.

Philippine Consulate General-New York, Miss World Organization, Philippine Independence Council Inc., RDR Cargo, Lani Misalucha, Kirby Asunto, Kay Habana, Dennis Sy, Team United Maharlika Foundation Inc., Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, Ugly Kitchen, Jeepney, Maharlika, The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York, Fiesta in America, JCI Philippines New York, Filipino Legal Defense & Education Fund, Pinoy Pride Sa America, AFTA, Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Broadway cast of “Mamma Mia,” the Off-Broadway cast of “Here Lies Love” and many more…Maraming salamat po

Fil-Am Who’s Who on Facebook ( will be posting upcoming fundraising initiatives in the New York Tri-State area as their announcements arrive.

We also invite our readers to contribute relevant articles, letters, comments or pictures.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Beyond the Glitz and Glamour

On the Cover: Drs. Fred and Florie Donaire, and
Ms. Nilda Jaynal (Photos by Rolan Gutierrez)
By Oliver Oliveros, Fil-Am Who's Who magazine editor-in-chief

I hold two editorial jobs right now: One is for, a theater news site that is visited by more than 3.5 million global visitors every month; the other is for this magazine, Fil-Am Who’s Who, which is read by more than 4,000 Filipino Americans in the New York Tri-State area. Both jobs come with many perks: all-expense-paid press junkets, VIP tickets, sneak peeks at the hottest events in town and the list goes on.

However, beyond the OVERRATED glitz and glamour that comes with the job, nothing can beat the simple things that make a difference, one of which is the opportunity of sitting down for an interview or prepping for a photo shoot with the most inspiring people.

For this September/October issue of your new favorite lifestyle magazine—thank you very much for all the positive feedback you sent via email or told us in person—Fil-Am Who’s Who has gotten more personal with two unarguably inspiring people: Nilda Jaynal, whose groundbreaking community projects, such as the prototype for the annual Philippine Independence Day parade along Madison Avenue and the dedication of the Chapel of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Downtown Manhattan, have been ingrained in the Filipino New Yorker’s cultural and religious lifestyle until today; and Dr. Fred Donaire, whose utmost dedication to lead the construction of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Center in Jamaica, Queens—brick by brick, one ceramic tile at a time—is no urban legend at all.

Add to that the “not too old” and young generations of Katbaloganons, natives of Catbalogan, Samar in the Philippines, who share the enthusiasm for and responsibility of expanding their home organization, Katbaloganon USA—formed 40 years ago—by chipping in funds to support their parish church back home or by simply having a good leisure time in each other’s company.

Nilda and Dr. Francis Jaynal, Drs. Fred and Florie Donaire, and the Katbaloganons, the team behind Fil-Am Who’s Who is grateful for entrusting to us your life stories—both often told and especially the untold. We are confident that your stories will also inspire others.

We invite our readers to contribute relevant articles, letters, comments or pictures. Please email submissions to

You may also engage with us on facebook/FilAmWhosWho.