The FAYLP program specifically is an initiative of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. He explains “we decided to formalize a program where we would select ten outstanding young Fil-Am leaders whom we thought could be the nucleus of a movement to get to try to get the younger generation to be more involved in promoting the activities of the Embassy and the Consulate which are intended of course to get them to become better citizens of the U.S., to contribute to the shaping of their own society and at the same time contribute to the betterment of the Philippines.”
The FAYLP tour aimed to immerse the young Filipino–American awardees in their motherland and identify pertinent points by which they can serve their fellow Filipinos and country. Part of their itinerary were visits to government leaders led by Jejomar Binay, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, business icons such as Fernando Zobel de Ayala of the Ayala Group of Companies; head of social entrepreneurship programs Tony Meloto at Gawad Kalinga site Enchanted Farm; environmental sustainability site Manila Water in Taguig City and key areas showcasing Filipino culture such as ABS-CBN Corporation studios and booths.
In the ACGDT delegates’ tour of ABS-CBN Corporation studios and booths , some delegates of the FAYLP Melissa Apuya, Francine Maigue and Cesario “JR” Calanoc participated in the high-energy game show “It’s Showtime” last July 11. Francine and JR who both won cash prizes, wanted to just donate the money to other more needy Filipinos until the “It’s Showtime” staff themselves refused, saying the two deserved the money. Just yesterday, JR donated his entire Php10,000 (USD 239*) prize money to ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Bata 163 program.
In the actual tour, the 78 delegates were shown Studio 5, the biggest studio in ABS-CBN where long-running variety show, “ASAP” is staged live weekly; Studio 7 where “TV Patrol” and news breaks are aired live, sometimes as events happen; and the radio booths of both DZMM and DWRR, both ABS-CBN’s premier radio stations whose live feed are also seen worldwide via TFC’s satellite and video-on-demand service.
The partnership kicked off this March when North East (N.E.) U.S. Consul General Mario de Leon visited ABS-CBN Corporation in a tour of its studios and other facilities in March. During the same tour, Con Gen de Leon also met with ABS-CBN Corporation officers Eugenio ‘Gabby’ Lopez III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Charo Santos-Concio, President and Chief Content Officer; Chit Guerrero, Head for Special Projects, Bong Osorio, Head for Corporate Communications and Regina Reyes, Head for News and Current Affairs.
On August 2 Pacific Time, the ten Filipino young leaders who were also part of the ACGTD’s tour were featured in Ako Ang Simula, a social advocacy program hosted by Karen Davila. The program showcased the crucial reasons why the ten young leaders got nominated by reaching out to Filipinos in the U.S. and most importantly in the Philippines in programs such as Bantay Bata, Gawad Kalinga and Sendong All My Love.
The young leaders include Melissa Apuya, Lou Cabalona, JR Calanoc, Gregory Cendaña, Angela Lagdameo, Francine Maigue, Alex Ocampo, Steven Raga, Michael Vera and Katrina “Kit” Zulueta.
Melissa, aside from her legislative work as part of the San Francisco Filipino-American Democratic Club Board of Directors, has been nominated for her involvement in the Alvarado Project, a photo exhibit that features the lives of Filipinos during California’s farmworker movement of the 1950s and 60s.
Lou’s band, Sama-sama Project, has successfully raised funds via the Sendong All My Love program which benefitted two families in Iligan City.
Meanwhile, JR Calanoc has been donating to Bantay Bata for years and will be swimming in Cebu this August for the benefit of the beneficiaries who are children in need.
Greg has a timely advocacy and is involved in the final stages of joining the advisory board for the Washington D.C. Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender (GLBT) Affairs to address the growing need for the GLBT Asian Pacific American youth support, mentoring and leadership development.
Alex on the other hand is starting his political dreams young. He is running for a seat in the City Council of Los Angeles, with his platform for political empowerment in November.
Angela meanwhile does her own share of political advocacy via legislature as Senior Analyst for the Office of Policy at the Office of the Governor State House in Annapolis in Maryland.
Francine shares her service via her talent and has taught young Filipinos via dance at the University of the Philippines grounds last July.
A fellow performer, Michael, does his own share in terms of teaching not in terms of talent but in terms of free education for minorities. He plans to encourage Filipinos to enroll in his school for free in the future.
Steven Raga for his part is supporting the Filipino Childrens’ Fund and the Advancement for Rural Kids (ARK) in Iloilo City in the Philippines.
Lastly, Kit, in her visit to the Philippines with the Maui County Council of which she is a member, forged a sisterhood with San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte, Philippines promising support for the city from Maui among other projects.
“Ako Ang Simula’s” episode on the young Filipino-American leaders aired August 2, 12:05 p.m.,Thursday via TFC’s cable and satellite service in the U.S. and will have its replay on August 8 at 9:05 p.m. Pacific Time. “Ako Ang Simula’s” August 2/8 episode and “It’s Showtime’s”