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Showing posts from 2014

Back to The Shire, Back to the True Essence of Christmas

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By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

I am convinced it was a wise decision for Warner Bros. Pictures and Oscar Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson to move the official release of the first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Hobbit” film series, “An Unexpected Journey (2012),” from summer to Christmas, which the next two parts, “The Desolation of Smaug (2103)” and “The Battle of the Five Armies (2014),” followed suit.

The fantasy novel and the films' main protagonist, 50-year-old hobbit Bilbo Baggins, accompanied by Gandalf the Grey and a company of militant dwarves, has only one true wish throughout his long arduous journey across The Shire to Erebor: to return home among his equally home-loving family and friends in the Hobbiton village, which I believe shares the same essence of Christmas: to return home—physically or virtually—for the holidays, and welcome back home Christ whose birth as a man more than 2,000 years ago is why we celebrate Christmas after all.

Welcoming …

Preparing for the Inevitable

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By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

Sometimes life reminds us that life itself is short.

When my youngest sister, Joi, suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in the afternoon of June 12, 2002, her critical care doctor straightforwardly told me and my parents to just go home; wait for the medical staff's phone call; and prepare for the inevitable. I can still vividly remember that Joi woke up early that morning; took over all the household chores; and fed her two-year-old son like nothing unforeseen was about to happen.

Alas, shortly after my parents and I got home, the phone rang; the voice on the other side of the line broke the sad news: Joi had already died. She was only 22 years old.

A death in the family is certain to happen, sometimes at the most unexpected time. Fortunately, my family's emergency preparedness at that time helped us get through those tough moments. Without missing a beat, my mom was able to pull her pre-need funeral insurance policy out of her drawer in the…

“Practice Makes Permanent”

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By Oliver Oliveros, Editor-In-Chief

Several times in the past 10 years, I was able to work with Philippine-based concert and theater director Freddie Santos, who is now directing the well-received Manila run of “Noli Me Tangere: The Opera,” the same production, produced by businesspeople Loida Nicolas Lewis, Jerry Sibal, and Edwin Josue, which premiered in Manhattan last Fall, and played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last summer.

Interestingly, besides the fact that Direk Freddie was one of the pioneering image consultants of singer Chona Velasquez aka Regine Velasquez when she was just starting out in the music business in the '90s; and Direk Freddie has written one of my favorite songs recorded by Gary Valenciano, which was “Could You Be Messiah”; it was also Direk Freddie who tried to correct me when I once told a theater actor that “practice makes perfect.”

“Oliver, practice makes permanent, not perfect,” Direk Freddie said.

Come to think of it, he was right. Perf…

Hit the Road and Go

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By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

With American country singer Johnny Cash’s “Hit the Road and Go” playing on my phone, I recently escaped the bustling sounds of New York City—on board a Greyhound bus—to explore the sprawling roadways, hills, and valleys of Southwest Virginia. 

That is usually how I spend summer vacations: hit the road—with my 70-liter trekking backpack; my mind set on a shoestring budget—and go to places I have never been to. Proud to say that made my first time visit to the busy streets of Jakarta, Indonesia in 2008; pristine, pure white sand beaches in Krabi, South Thailand in 2010; and for that matter, the star-studded Broadway theatres in New York City, United States of America in 2009, in cliché, unforgettable.

My first trip to Southwest, Virginia was no different in any other way. In fact, spending nearly 19 hours in transit on a Wi-Fi friendly, Dallas-bound Greyhound bus was somehow a thrilling experience. I got to meet a bunch of interesting people: first…

Coming Home

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Norton, Virginia—Today, Sunday, June 29, 2014, St. Anthony Church welcomes home a four-foot-tall brown-skinned wooden statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), the Philippines’ first saint and protomarytr.

Carved by Junior Cayanan of the famed Cayanan woodcarvers of Santa Barbara in Bacolor, Pampanga in the Philippines, the serene statue of the saint, made from santol wood, and whose two palms are folded together, holding a rosary—a fitting tribute to the saint’s devotion to the Confradia del Santissimo Rosario (Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary)—is a gift from my family in Manila to Dr. Francis Jaynal, and his wife of 50 years, Mrs. Nilda Jaynal, whose kindest hospitality offered me a roof over my head when I had none midway my post-graduate studies at New York University.

For the both of us (the statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz and me), it has been a long arduous journey “finding home” since the past three years, peppered with divine interventions (which I’m a firm believer) that were …

“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs”

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“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs” – Victor Hugo 

 By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

When I finally got my Master’s Degree in Public Relations (PR) and Corporate Communication in May 2013 at New York University, where the first PR course was taught in the 1920s—a legacy that lured me to pursue higher education in New York—my family and friends admired me for my perseverance.

And they were spot on!

Persevering through two and a half years in graduate school with scarce resources: a partial Fulbright grant that shouldered only eight percent of my total tuition and fees; just enough private sponsorships that defrayed my living expenses; and a Philippine Peso checking account that was shrinking; was no mean feat.

But no pain, no gain, right?

I just had to keep my eyes on the prize, and finish what I started.

So when I was told the academic life story of Philippine Association of Medical Technologists’ (PAMET) pioneering president, Ismael “Mike” Jampayas, our cover subject for this …

Ilocos’ Fearsome Delight: Papaitan

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By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

I wear my “adventure hat,” similar to that of intrepid traveler and foodie Anthony Bourdain, when I visit far-flung places, whose geographical locations are actually relative to fleeting points of origin—because I travel a lot for work. The main idea, though, is to try out local culinary specialties in order to experience a bit of the food culture of the place you’re visiting. Sometimes the experience lingers on: a case in point, the Ilocos Region’s (in the Philippines) fearsome papaitan.

Chicago-based gastronome Victor Merano, who’s an advocate for Filipino cuisine, and who blogs at panlasangpinoy.com, best describes the distinctly Ilocano food: “Papaitan is a famous Ilocano soup dish mostly composed of cow or goat innards. The name of this dish was derived from the Filipino word ‘pait,’ which means ‘bitter.’ The bitter taste of this soup comes from the bile. This is a bitter juice extracted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder to aid digest…

Seeing Beyond the Numbers of Migration

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By Oliver Oliveros, editor-in-chief

It’s no wonder why one of the early favorite papabiles—possible candidates to be elected pope—at the papal conclave held last year was our very own Philippine cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. Aligned with the current Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, Pope Saint John XXIII, and the Second Vatican Council’s emphatic outlook toward others, Cardinal Tagle believes in the “medicine of nursing and compassion.

“We hold on to a moral teaching, but we hold on to it with compassion,” he said to an intimate group of journalists, including yours truly, an hour before the cardinal accepted a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from President Joseph McShane, S.J. and the Board of Trustees of Fordham University at its Rose Hill campus in the Bronx last month.

A member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (PCPCMI), Cardinal Tagle urges people to see beyond the staggering statistics about compelled migration, i.e.…

Do the Right Thing

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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 persona…

Two Anniversary Celebrations in a Row

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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: BroadwayWorld.com, 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.

BroadwayWorld.com is staging a special, sold-out 10th anniversary concert titled “BroadwayWorld.com 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,” togethe…