USA: Pinoy community opens heart and purse to victims of “Sendong”

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Words and photos by Dionesio C. Grava

January 21, 2012 – It was a big day to be generous to those in need. The two-pronged event that started with an art auction and capped with a star-studded show was a stunning success and a testament to the generosity of Filipino immigrants to their brothers and sisters in need.

It was organized by members of Filipino-American media in Los Angeles. According to Nimfa U. Rueda, a Philippine Daily Inquirer U.S. correspondent who was one of the movers of the event, the art auction raised $400. Another of the organizers, Lou Sabas, indicated that the event “have raised at least $9,000.” She said “the target was to raise $5,000 but thank God, we were blessed with $4,000 more.”

The sold-out event was started at about 7:57 p.m. with two numbers from Justin Bieber’s backup group Legaci consisting of Chris Abad, Micah Tolentino, Del Lazaro and Jay Atencion. Little Sam Santiago was an early favorite. Alex Arrieta hit the high notes of Phantom of the Opera; as did Louie Reyes, Queen of Philippine jazz, with her medley. Lianna Gutierrez offered her One and Only and, of course, rap artist Vicoy BagongSigaw rapped. Mon Concepcion had a vastly enhanced performance since I last saw him at Mayflower in Chinatown and Malou Toler, well, the troubador never fail to impress as a wow performer.

They were kindhearted greats, all of them, including, but of course, Florante, Becca Godinez, Miguel Vera, Jonathan Badon, Jo Awayan, Annie Nepomuceno, Janine Bernardo, Alan del Rosario, April Velasco, Joni Villamil and Rhony Laigo.

The instruments were in capable hands with Bob Shroder, well applauded especially with his Titanic theme. Andy Tecson did a medley of folksongs, Tateng Katindig as usual was unsurpassed in his musical piece of choice, and so was Ner De Leon.

Truthfully I felt challenged keeping pace with the non-stop entertainment occasionally hindered only by a misbehaving sound system. The visual arts display/auction had the works of Jess Española, Rafael Maniago, Vics Magsaysay, Rodolfo Samonte, Bienvenido Sibug, Magoo Valencia and Mat Relox. Some of them did an on-the-spot drawing event. Needless to state, they were all superb and commendable. As noted above, they donated the proceeds of their work to the cause.

The task of emceeing the evening show fell on the capable hands of thespian Bernardo Bernardo and TV host/producer Janelle So. Makati Mayor Junjun Binay showed his support by coming with some of his relatives. He was seated in the group of community leaders Darna Umayam and Trini Foliente.

Earlier, Ms. Rueda informed PWD that the impetus for the fundraising event was an appeal for help from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) addressed to colleagues on behalf of media workers who have been ravaged by typhoon “Sendong”. NUJP chairman Nestor P. Burgos Jr. said that hundreds have died and many more have been left homeless and dispossessed due to the calamity that struck the cities of Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete and other areas.

The need for assistance is massive, it was said, and that the most immediate and practical at this time is cash.

The fund-raising to help the victims of the calamity is ongoing. Fr Eric Velandria, SJ, head of a partnership management committee said that a project is established for building a community of responsible citizens who will care for one another, for our city and for the environment. If possible, he said, every donation we give to emergencies like Sendong should be used to “teach people how to fish” and not to just feed them for a day or two and then, they are left to their own resources to rehabilitate after the calamity.

OTHER FUNDRAISINGS. On the same day that the media event was held at the Noypitz Bar & Restaurant in Glendale, the Bukidnon Association of California and the Kagay-anon International of Southern California joined hands to produce a benefit concert dubbed Tulong Sulong Sa Biktima Ni Sendong at the Ehlers Recreation Center, Buena Park. Among the performing artists were Florante, Ric Manrique, Jr., Harana, Live Project, Ner de Leon, Highway 54, Jo Awayan, Joseph Gelito, Justin, Dion and surprise guests.

On Feb. 25, 2012, starting at 6 pm, the Colburn Chamber Orchestra of the Colburn School will entertain with wonderful music conducted by Maxim Eshkenazy. The place, Cerritos Park East at E. 166th St. The City of Cerritos is cosponsoring
this concert to raise funds for the victims of typhoon “Sendong”.

In San Francisco, SF CHRP will present I Heart HR (Human Rights) A Night of Love, Laughter and Community also dedicated to the “Sendong” victims. It will feature live performances, comedy and delicious food (vegan & non-vegan) on Feb. 11, 2012, starting at 6:30 pm at the Bayanihan Community Center, Mission St.




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