Friday, October 30, 2015

Aswangs -- Filipino Ghouls, Bogeymen and Creatures of the Night

"Aswang" as depicted in the NBC TV Series Grimm
Whenever halloween comes along, there is no other Filipino (being) that is more popular than the "Aswang".

Every Filipino gathering wouldn't be complete without the mention of one.

"Tik Tik"

For the most part, these beings are mythical creatures but millions of Filipinos throughout recorded history have sworn to them being real, yes even up to this age of the internet and social media, which the Filipinos are king.

Books, movies and tv shows have been made about these fantastic creatures which sometimes goes by the name of "tik tik or "wak wak"". According to stories, these beings are indigenous to the islands of the middle part of the Philippines but there would be tales where they were seen in the southern parts and the lower upper parts of the country. Of course according to some tales (movies and tv shows included) they have also infiltrated many parts of the world.

Shape Shifters

They are for the most part, shape-shifters as they seem to be quite normal and unassuming people in the day time but change into creatures straight out of your wildest dreams or even into wild animals at night.

They are also often depicted as grave robbers or fresh flesh eaters or even ghouls who feast on unborn fetuses -- sucking them from the bellies of unsuspecting sleeping pregnant women.

"Aswangs" are also said to be like witches or other ghouls of Philippine mythology and are often likened to vampires and werewolves rolled into one.

History tells us that even during the Spanish times (1500s to 1800s), stories of the "aswang" have already been widespread. It is also noteworthy to add that we shouldn't get it past those Spanish friars of old to make up these spooky stories to scare the natives, so they would be easier to subjugate or to stop them from having secret meetings or incursions at night.

Anyway, true or not, if you are interested in finding out more about this interesting and uniquely Filipino beings, here is the "aswangs" as depicted by the creators of Grimm the TV Series.

Grimm "The Aswang" -- Mommy Dearest

If those short clips, left you craving for more, then here is a full length documentary made by the "Aswang Project".

"The Aswang Phenomenon" A Documentary

And if you are really into this kind of genre, then here is the accompanying movie that they have made:

"Aswang" Movie (2008)

Filipino Movie

Those who speak Tagalog would have no problem finding several "aswang" movies. Many will remember that since the 1980s, there have been a lot of Filipino movies made which tackle the "aswang" phenomenon, including the ever popular Shake, Rattle and Roll series.

Here is one of the more recent films about these creatures.

"Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles" Tagalog Movie (2012)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Filipino Teachers

American Public School System in the Philippines

American school teacher in his classroom possibly taken in 1901
Moro School, Zamboanga, Mindanao, P.I.
In 1901, the United States of America established a public school system to be implemented throughout the entire Philippine archipelago.

They shipped in American teachers and dispersed them to the different provinces that make up the Philippine Islands. These teachers taught Filipino students the same curriculum as in the U.S., in the English language. The teachers came by way of a US Army Transport boat called "Thomas", the first batch came August 1901. Hence, these teachers got the nickname "Thomasites".

By 1903, Americans started sending selected Filipino students to the United States to actually study in U.S. high schools, colleges and universities. This practice lasted until the start of World War 2.

All if not most of these students came back to the Philippines with their diplomas and all the learning and the experience they received in the U.S. mainland. And some of them became the country's next teachers and educators themselves.

100 Years Later

Fast forward to 1999, numerous U.S. school districts in major cities in many states are having problems with the hiring of qualified teachers, some with having no applicants at all.

It got from bad to worse and school districts had to  "import" teachers from a handful of countries. And you guessed it, many came from the Philippines -- talk about coming full circle.

Export: Teachers

The teaching profession have always flourished in the Philippines since the post war era. We can say the same thing about professions involving accounting and its allied courses, nursing and other health careers, care giving, domestic work and related fields, sea faring, blue collar,skilled and entertainment jobs as well as call center, business processing and IT consulting -- which basically make up the bulk of Filipino workers who are being contracted to work overseas.

The Learning

In 2011 PBS aired a documentary titled "The Learning". This was about the face of this imported teachers phenomenon and it followed the story of four Filipino teachers who left their careers and their families to teach in Baltimore, Maryland.

What the casual reader might be missing here is that even though these teachers might be receiving salaries which are 10 times more than what they would receive in the Philippines (which is probably the only reason why they would be doing this in the first place), is that they were sacrificing a lot by leaving their careers, their pensions, their homes and their families to travel and live half-way around the world. And to come teach children in a country where they couldn't find anybody local to do it themselves.

Filipino students protesting the lost of their teachers

This is very similar to the sacrifices the "Thomasites" had to go through when they sailed from the United States in the early 1900's, leaving their American lives, their comfortable homes and their friends and families to teach people in another country where everything is very much different from what they were used to.

This old saying is is true, you reap what you sow.

Today Filipino teachers are repaying those brave, naive and idealistic American teachers who taught their grandparents by going to the U.S. and teaching their grand children.

And they themselves are enduring sacrifices which those American teachers had to go through.


To these pioneering teachers, we salute you for your service and for helping educate the next generation of people who will come after us.

Many Filipino teachers across the U.S. right now have been receiving awards and recognition and they are proving that they deserve to be teaching American school children today and for years to come.

Award Winning Filipino Teacher in New York

A Filipina Teacher is the Top Teacher in California

News Links:

Arizona Teacher Shortage Forces Schools to Go International

In Attempt To Lure New Teachers California Pulls Out All The Stops

Bringing in Educators from the Philippines is Helping Some Cities Solve their Hiring Problems

Recruiters are Tapping the Philippines to Help Fill a Void in American Classrooms

Vietnam Hires Filipino Teachers Despite Concerns

The World's "Budget English Teacher" found in the Philippines, BBC News

Poem written by E. Schneider (an American teacher)  while he was on the first boat to the Philippine Islands in 1901


O'er boundless seas and to a foreign land 

A chosen and devoted band you go; 

And those of you upon whose heads the snow 
Of age has fallen labor hand in hand 
With those who still in youth's prime vigor stand 

The selfsame task to carry out, to sow 

The seeds of truth and culture; and you know 
This is a noble duty, wisely planned. 

So let no fear of failure fill your hearts, 

Or dash your courage, or your spirits grieve; 
And let no petty doubts becloud your brain, 
Remember, while you try to do your parts, 
That, if one single spark of light you leave 
Behind, your work will not have been in vain. 

E. E. Schneider. 

May our Filipino teachers abroad be guided with the same sentiments.

Philippine Trivia

The First English Public School Teacher Was A Filipina, Not A Thomasite

Photo Credits:
George Percival Scriven,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Manuel Luis Molina Quezon

President Quezon (1942)
Manuel L. Quezon y Molina was born 1878 in Baler, Tayabas (now Quezon Province) to Lucio Quezon and Maria Molina, both school teachers, in the island of Luzon, the Philippines, which at that time was under Spanish rule for over 300 years.

Quezon went to college in Manila and went on to study law at the University of Santo Tomas. His studies were cut short because he dropped out to join the struggle for his country's independence which by then was under the control of the United States.

He stopped to join the revolutionary forces led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo during the height of the Spanish-American War.

After General Aguinaldo surrendered to the Americans at the end of the war in 1901, Manuel went back to law school to finish his degree at UST.

In 1903, Quezon passed the bar and set up a law practice in his hometown. He later gave up his private practice and joined politics.

He was elected provincial governor and served two terms. In 1907 he was elected as a representative to the newly established Philippine Assembly.

Philippine Independence

Quezon went on to serve as Resident Commissioner to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. (1909-1916). In 1916 he co-sponsored and played a major role in obtaining the passage of the Jones Act, which gave the Filipinos the power to legislate for themselves (subject to veto by the American Governor-General).

He then resigned his position and returned to the Philippines, a hero.

In 1916 Quezon was elected to the newly formed Philippine Senate.

Quezon fought for the Tydings-McDuffie Law in 1934, otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act. This law provided for Philippine independence in 1946.

President of the Philippines

In 1935, Quezon was elected as the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth government. (General Aguinaldo is generally acknowledged as the first president of the Philippine Republic in 1899).Quezon was reelected president in 1941 until the Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor and occupied Manila at the other side of the Pacific on the same day.

President Quezon and his cabinet fled the country and set up a government in exile at Washington in May 1942.

Quezon was most famous (or infamous) for his attack on the racist policies of Governor Leonard Wood and his declaration that he preferred "a government run like hell by Filipinos to one run like heaven by Americans." (be careful what you wish for, you just might get it)

Little Known Fact

Quezon, of course is no saint, like everyone else he has his faults but he did a few great things.

But what he was nonetheless less famous for and one which Steven Spielberg should really be seriously considering making a movie out of is on how he was instrumental in giving safe passages to over 1,300 Jews who were desperately trying to escape the holocaust from the late 1930s to 1941 when no other nation on earth was willing to take them in.

Quezon's List

His is a story much like how Oskar Schindler did it (ala Schindler's List) only there is so much more drama, action and suspense as the Jews they saved didn't only have to escape the Nazis in Europe but also the Japanese forces while in the Far East.

And it was very interesting how they managed to do it. Read the story on how they did it here:  CNN: How the Philippines saved 1,200+ Jews during the Holocaust.

This untold story was first recounted by Frank Ephraim in his book, Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror (University of Illinois Press, 2003), based mostly on his own eyewitness account as a child who was one of 1,300 Jewish refugees who arrived in Manila in 1939. Source: AsianWeek

Manuel Quezon donated his own land in Marikina (now a part of Quezon City) to give to these Jewish migrants to build a group home to call their own.

In 2012, there was a documentary made about the story of these holocaust survivors.

Jewish Rescue in the Philippines

Hard not get teary eyed watching that excerpt but still a Hollywood movie would give their story the global impact it so much deserves. There are only a few of these survivors who are still alive today and we need to hear their story before they pass on from this earth.

Open Doors Monument

October 2014, Tel Aviv, State of Israel featured the Open Door Monument as one of its attractions in its official city brochure-map for tourists.  This monument was unveiled on 21 June 2009 at Rishon Lezion’s Holocaust Memorial Park by then Secretary of Tourism Joseph H. Durano, along with Minister for Improvement of Government Services and Member of the Knesset Michael Eitan and Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Zur.  
The marker honors the Philippines' humanitarian act of saving the Jews fleeing the Holocaust in Europe through President Manuel L. Quezon’s “open doors” policy in 1939.  At a time when Jews were refused admission by most countries, the Philippines opened its doors to them, allowing the issuance of 10,000 visas of which 1,300 Jewish refugees reached the Philippines.  The Open Doors Monument also symbolizes the strong and enduring friendship between the Philippines and Israel, the Philippines being the only Asian country who voted in favor of UN Resolution 181 concerning the creation of the State of Israel in 1947. Source:

Video: 1935, Inauguration of Manuel L. Quezon, President of the Philippine Commonwealth

Manuel Quezon died August 1st 1944, a year before the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese and two years from Philippine independence in 1946. In fact the Philippines is the largest and most important U.S. colony (commonwealth, territory, property) to break away from the U.S.A., declare independence and become a sovereign nation. Five U.S. territories still remain today: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (plus a few small islands, atolls, reefs, banks).Two non-stateside territories have since became U.S. states, Alaska and Hawaii.

Quezon's Accomplishments

1. Establishment of minimum wage, 1936
2. Gave an order to establish a national language, 1937
3. Pushed for the establishment of a city to become the future capital of the country, replacing Manila, 1938
4. Liberation of the Philippines, 1946
5. A systematized form of government, 1946

And many more, but what every Filipino should be made aware of is that President Quezon (like Jose Rizal) believed in the Filipino. Quezon, like all other Filipino nationalists before him fought hard for Philippine independence. He envisioned a strong Filipino nation governed by Filipinos. Quezon had a list of civic and ethical duties that he prescribed to be taught in Philippine schools to develop moral character, personal discipline, civic conscience and to teach the duties of citizenship.

Quezon's Dream

80 years later, his country should have been a much stronger and united nation. Today, although the Philippines have a national language unlike most former Spanish colonies, 100 million Filipinos speak 13 major languages and over 100 regional languages. And although majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic, the Philippines is home to dozens of other religions which help to segregate the population.

But it's never too late. The U.S.A. took about a hundred years to become a strong nation, the Philippines still have time to do the same.

Quezon's Code of Citizenship and Ethics (1939)

1. Have faith in Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affections, and the source of your happiness and well-being. Its defense is your primary duty. Be ready at all times to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but also obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the majority.

6. Love and respect your parents. It is your duty to serve them gratefully and well.

7. Value your honor as you value your life. Poverty with honor is preferable to wealth with dishonor.

8. Be truthful and be honest in thought and in action. Be just and charitable, courteous but dignified in your dealings with your fellow men.

9. Lead a clean and frugal life. Do not indulge in frivolity or pretense. Be simple in your dress and modest in your behavior.

10. Live up to the noble traditions of our people. Venerate the memory of our heroes. Their lives point the way to duty and honor.

11. Be industrious. Be not afraid or ashamed to do manual labor. Productive toil is conducive to economic security and adds to the wealth of the nation.

12. Rely on your own efforts for your progress and happiness. Be not easily discouraged. Persevere in the pursuit of your legitimate ambitions.

13. Do your work cheerfully, thoroughly, and well. Work badly done is worse than work undone. Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today.

14. Contribute to the welfare of your community and promote social justice. You do not live for yourselves and your families alone. You are a part of society to which you owe definite responsibilities.

15. Cultivate the habit of using goods made in the Philippines. Patronize the products and trades of your countrymen.

16. Use and develop our natural resources and conserve them for posterity. They are the inalienable heritage of our people. Do not traffic with your citizenship.

Follow these and it's hard to go wrong.

Further Reading: 
1946 World's Fair Plan At Quezon City
1941/1949 Master Plan For Quezon City

Friday, August 7, 2015

Filipinos -- World's Craziest Basketball Fans

7'6" Yao Ming knocks out 5"6' Pacquiao  #FIBAWC
The Philippines Loses Bid to Host FIBA World Cup of Basketball 2019

Even though the Philippines boasts as being home to the craziest basketballs fans in the planet, they still lost in their bid to host the next World Cup of Basketball to China.

This will be China's first time to host the FIBA WC, the Philippines hosted one back in 1978 when they then had the largest coliseum in the world.

Today, the Philippines has since built many other venues and again is home to the biggest indoor basketball arena in the world, one that could sit 55,000. They also boast of a few other other world class indoor arenas and they were so ready for this world cup.

Watch their final petition here:

Lou Diamond Phillips, Manny Paquiao, Jimmy Alapag, Chot Reyes

Yes, as in who could have turned that down?

But no, it wasn't meant to be and people all over the world could only speculate as to what could have been.

Authentic Love for the Sport

Because these crazy Filipinos do not need to "manufacture"anything, their hearts beat basketball, it was their time, like no other time. The Philippines didn't need much of anything else, when they have the greatest and most die-hard fans in the planet.

To give you an idea of how basketball crazy Filipinos are, like in the USA, they also have three professional sports seasons in one year -- but unlike in the US, they are all played in the basketball court (no pro soccer, no pro baseball, no pro American football, volleyball, cricket or anything else) -- just basketball, all year round.

Worldwide Online and Out

100 million plus basketball crazy fans within their 7,100 islands. Tens of millions of other "kababayans" all over the world at any given time, people who would most likely buy FIBA merchandise, welcome the players like no other would, and virtually heat up social media and boost the sport like no other nation can -- they are among the top (if not the top) social media users in the world.

And who could forget this Fox Sports Film about the FIlipinos' hope, determination and resilience and their uncommon Love for Basketball.

But no, we just hope that this isn't anything like what has happened at FIFA.

This Isn't Over

Philippine basketball fans have a never-say-die attitude. They would root for their team no matter what. And they would still be fans through thick and thin.

But one thing I do know, these fans would just want to know who were the countries who voted for the Philippines' bid, so that 100 million basketball crazy Filipinos would be able to salute them and say thanks.

But then again, most would probably be more interested in knowing who were those who didn't vote for them.

Let the games begin.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Trivia: Who is the Most Well Known Filipino?


The Filipinos are the ethnic group native to the 7,100 islands of the Philippines. They now number over 100 million and are the 12th most populous in the world. About 12 million of them are overseas at any given time and about the same number cram into the mega capital city -- Manila.

If you need to know who among these mostly nameless and faceless people is the most well known, then arguably it has to be Manny Pacquiao.

And not only is he probably the most well known, he could also probably be the most well-loved Filipino today, if not of all time.

No doubt, and even if we believe it or not, his legions of fans can attest to that. Unconvinced? Let's check out some of the arguments.

World Class

First, no other Filipino in history could boast of having millions of fans worldwide and to count among them even more famous personalities than himself.

Among his supporters are of course, Mark Wahlberg, Liam Neeson, Paris Hilton, Hugh Jackman, Sylvester Stallone, Keanu Reeves and dozens and dozens of other Hollywood celebrities. He has prominent professional athlete admiters, among them, Kobe Bryant, Ronda Rousey, Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow and several past and present boxing and basketball greats. You can also count among his admirers, one-percenters, politicians, singers, dancers, TV personalities, martial artists and a few famous brothers and sisters of his faith.

Future Boxing Hall of Fame

Now if you still haven’t heard of him, then you probably would have been living under a rock. or you just do not know a lot of famous people.

And you probably haven’t heard of Floyd Mayweather either. Let me guess, you probably aren’t a fan of boxing or a fan of the many boxing greats he has taught a lesson with his trademark "Pacquiao style" of boxing. If that is the case, then you could be forgiven.

But really it’s hard not to have heard of Pacman as Manny is affectionately called, as he is a commercial endorser who has numerous TV commercials, he has a movie about his life story, he has been a flag bearer in the Olympics, he was a judge in a Miss Universe pageant, he has appeared in several Jimmy Kimmel TV shows, he has been interviewed in 60 Minutes and has appeared in the cover of Time Magazine and of course of numerous sports magazines.

Segue: The companies of the brand names stitched on the boxing shorts he will wear for his fight with Floyd Mayweather paid him a total of $2.5 million dollars. He was reported to have said, if he could wear long pants, he would.

Larger Than Life

Manny Pacquiao & Freddie Roach
Frederick Nacino, Wikimedia Commons
Anyway Pacman is first and foremost a boxer, he is much more than that. Many people today has compared him to the fictitious Rocky and to the legendary Muhammad Ali but he has transcended them both in reel and real life.

His is a real rags-to-riches story as well as a genuine inspiration to dreamers everywhere and to anybody wanting to achieve the impossible or just to better themselves and help those around them.

Fight of the Century

His career as a boxer is near the end but of course millions of boxing fans worldwide are hoping this is not the case.

Undoubtedly whatever happens on May 2, 2015 could greatly determine what happens next for Manny. On this day, he and the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. wil finally meet in the square ring -- some say for the fight of the century. But whatever the outcome, boxing fans everywhere would love at least one rematch.

Man Who Wears Many Hats

What Manny has accomplished as a boxer is probably enough for five lifetimes but a match with Money (as Floyd is known) would be the cherry on top.

As I’ve said Manny’s life as a boxer is ending as he has undoubtedly moved on to much “bigger” things all at the same time.

He is a professional basketball coach, player and team owner, he is a preacher, a businessman, an honorary member of the Boston Celtics -- yes he just loves basketball as much as he loves boxing. It was rumored that he was late to one of his boxing matches because he had to finish watching a game being played by his beloved Celtics. (Preparing for the Algieri fight, he was even playing professional basketball.)

He is also a commercial model, a recording artist, a TV and movie actor, a philanthropist, a politician and a family man.

Manny Pacquiao Movie

These "segues" have taken the edge out of being the fighter that he once was.  


The result, he lost for the first time in more than seven years (or after 15 straight) in March of 2012, which was followed by another loss by knockout no less in December of the same year.

A devastating lost, he probably needed to put his head and his heart back into fighting.

Boxing Career

To date, he is the first and the only boxer to have won eight different weight division titles. He has won a total of ten world boxing titles and he was a lineal champion in four different weight classes.

According to Forbes, in 2014, he was the 11th highest paid athlete in the world. In, 2013 he was the 14th. He was second in 2012 and 2011. He was eighth in 2010 and sixth in 2009.

He was ranked in Forbes Magazine’s Annual World's 100 Most Powerful Celebrities, three different years.

He is the highest placed Asian in the World's Richest Athletes All-Time List.

Power, Prestige, Pesos

Still unconvinced?

He is so powerful that whenever he fights anywhere in the world, the entire archipelago of the Philippines seems to stand still and the crime rate is practically zero.

Not sure if any Filipino or anybody else in the world for that matter could do something similar.

Thrilla In Manila Video

Related Reading:

Filipinos’ Love For Boxing

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembering Filipino World War 2 Veterans

November 11th Is Veterans Day.

Remembering the Forgotten U.S. War Veterans

A burial detail of Filipino prisoners of war uses improvised litters 
to carry fallen comrades at Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, 1942, 
following the Bataan Death March.  Emir214 Wikimedia Commons
Fact: 1941, the members of the Philippine Armed Forces who fought for the United States of America in World War II were U.S. nationals.

But surprisingly,  they were totally unrecognized and utterly forgotten, until 2009.

A Little History Lesson

Before World War II, the Philippines was a U.S. territory (much like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and other Pacific islands). They were since 1899.

Filipinos though have always wanted their independence, so in 1935, the United States agreed to the creation of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines. The plan was that for the next ten years, this transitional government will exist and on 1946 the Philippines will be granted their independence.


Most people must be reminded that the Philippines is the westernmost U.S. territory and just a short stop from Japan.

Both Japan and the United States were aware that whoever controlled the Philippines will have the advantage militarily in that part of the world.

With its strategic location and 7,100 islands it would be the perfect jumping point for attacking other countries in that part of the world. For the U.S., it would be the ideal location to stop that Japanese advance.

World War II

Then the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened in 1941 during which similar attacks by the Japanese Imperial forces were carried out in the Philippines, which of course wasn’t unexpected.

The United States was already slowly beefing up the Philippine Armed Forces for such an attack on the islands and on U.S. interests. The Japanese aggression since the 1930s is not lost to U.S. Top Brass, and they knew the Philippines would be a potential target.  But of course, protecting Europe from Nazi Germany is vastly more important than protecting the Philippines.

So when the island nation was finally thrust into World War II, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called on the members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army to join the war and fight the Japanese. FDR promised that they would be given all of the benefits of U.S. soldiers.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur formally inducting the Philippine Army Air Corps into 
United States Army Forces in the Far East ( Camp Murphy, Rizal Aug 15 1941).  
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
FDR called for the creation of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) Command which then absorbed the Philippine Army. These Filipino soldiers then fought for the United States under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Thousands of others also served underground in guerilla units. 

All in all, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos trained, worked hard, fought for, sacrificed and gave up their lives for the United States of America alongside their American counterparts from 1941 until the end of the war.

The Payback

After the war, the U.S. Congress under President Truman decided that there simply weren’t enough money to give these “Filipino veterans” the benefits FDR promised them. 

The Rescission Act was passed in 1946 which (retroactively) annulled the benefits that would have been payable to Filipino veterans on account of their military service under the auspices of the United States, notwithstanding that during that time the Philippines was a U.S. territory and these Filipinos were U.S. nationals.

In other words, the Rescission Act of 1946 removed full benefits from the Filipino veteran and they have been unrecognized and completely forgotten for over 60 years.

Better Late Than Never

In February 2009, after decades of petitions in and out of the U. S., the United States enacted a law that provided for $198 million in one-time direct individual payments and more importantly official service recognition to Filipino World War II veterans

Under this payment program, Filipino veterans with U.S. citizenship will receive $15,000, while non-U.S. citizen Filipino veterans will receive $9,000 -- too little, too late, but still better than nothing.

But even though these amounts were a total disgrace and too late for those who have already passed away, the law and the payments made it official that these Filipino veterans were indeed U.S. War Veterans and deserve to be recognized and remembered every Veterans Day.

Narrated by Lou Diamond Phillips​​
Produced and Directed by Donald Plata
Written by Chris Schaefer

This is the story of a group of elite US Army soldiers who fought America's first major ground battle of the Second World War.

They were General MacArthur's best soldiers at the start of the conflict.
They were credited with being widely responsible for the prolonged siege of Bataan, an action that drained so much time and resources from Imperial Japan that it prevented the Japanese invasion of Australia.

Half of them were killed in action and in captivity.  Only a few survive today.  This documentary will honor these gallant men who gave so much for the cause of freedom.

They were the United States Army's Philippine Scouts, America's FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pinoys @ Pixar and Disney

If you are Filipino, don’t you ever wonder how it seems like every Pixar (or Disney) Animated Film feels so close to your heart? Most times you might feel like it's something you may have grew up watching. And it could feel so ordinary, you might think you are watching a local Filipino film.

Well stop wondering, this is all maybe because behind every one of these films, behind every lovable character, behind every setting, behind every facial expression, and behind every little nuisance is a Filipino (or Filipina).

The PixNoys

Yes Virginia, there are a lot of Filipinos working at Pixar Animation Studios (and Disney) and other Hollywood Animation Studies. At Pixar, they are even called by their moniker, the “Pixnoys” (short for Pixar Pinoys).

Let’s meet a few of them:

Virginia "Gini" Cruz Santos

Gini is a Filipina animator involved in a ton of Pixar films.

In “Toy Story 2” (1999), she did Woody and Jesse the Cowgirl (as an Animator).

In “Monsters, Inc.” (2001) she animated Sulley and Mike, (Layout Artist, Animator and Character Developer).

In “Finding Nemo” (2003) she made Dory come amazingly alive (Animator).

In “The Incredibles” (2004), she worked on Helen (Elastigirl), Dash, Violet, Frozone and Edna Mode, (Animator).

She also did animation for these popular animated films: “A Bug's Life”, “Cars”, “Toy Story 3”, “Up”, “Lifted”, “Brave” and “Wall-E”

She is probably well known for her portrayal of the family members of “The Incredibles” and of the lovable character of Dory in “Finding Nemo”.

Gini stated in an old interview that she injected the Filipino sense of humor and facial expressions, particularly for the character of Dory, which in Tagalog can only be described as “mali-mali”.

Gini finished Fine Arts, Majoring in Advertising from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Computer Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

All the other Pixnoys have said that their natural sense of humor and willingness in story telling was fully demonstrated and made a strong impact in many Pixar films especially that of  Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003) ,The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006) , Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), and Up (2009).
The Incredibles

Pixar (Disney) Filipino Trivia
  •  Nelson Bohol added a “bahay kubo” (a native Filipino hut) to an aquarium in one of the scenes of “Finding Nemo”.
  • Nelson also added a miniature volcano inside the aquarium which was inspired by the Philippines’ arguably most well-known volcano, Mt. Mayon.
  •  The name used for the fisherman in “Finding Nemo” is P. Sherman. “Pee-Sher-man” is how a typical Filipino would actually pronounce the word “fisherman”. The Filipino language does not include the letter F.
  • Monsters University’s library is called the “Bohol Hall”, of course it was named after Filipino Nelson Bohol who designed it.
  • In “The Incredible”, there is an island called “Nomanisan Island”. Only a Filipino would come up with and actually use a name like that. Get it? “No-man-is-an Island”.
  • It seems suspicious that the baby in “The Incredibles” is named Jack-Jack. Filipino nicknames and terms of endearment are normally single syllabled and repeated.
  • In much the same way, it is a bit odd that the dog in “Up” is named Dug. It isn’t a coincidence that certain Filipinos from the Southern and Middle part of the Philippines would actually pronounce dog as dug. And yes dogs normally dig up dirt.

Ronaldo “Ronnie” Del Carmen

Ronnie has worked in various capacities for Pixar, among them as Story Artist, Story Supervisor, Character Designer, Illustrator and of course as all around pest (his own words).

Before Pixar, he worked at Dreamworks and Warner Bros.

His films include:

The Inside Out (2015) (Co-director), Dug's Special Mission (2009) (Director/writer), Up (2009) (Story Supervisor), Wall-E (2008) (Story/Character Design), Ratatouille (2006) (Story), One Man Band (2005) (Production Design), Finding Nemo (2003) (Story Supervisor), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) (Story Supervisor), Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000) (Storyboard), The Road to El Dorado (2000) (Story Supervisor), The Prince of Egypt (1998) (Story), Freakazoid! (1995) (Director), Batman: The Animated Series (1991 to 95) (Storyboard, Character Design)

Ronnie was born in the Philippines in 1959 and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Fine Arts. Incidentally he has two other brothers who also work in animation --  Louie, a Story Artist at DreamWorks Animation and Rick who works as a Storyboard Artist and Assistant Director at Fox Animation.

Dug's Special Mission (2009)
Pixar Short CGI Film  Directed by Ronnie Del Carmen

Ricky Vega Nierva

Ricky Nierva's been working for Pixar for a long time. On one of his new films "Up" where he was the Production Designer, he introduced Pixar's first major Asian-American character -- Russell, the wilderness explorer.  Pixar casted an Asian kid to play Russell.

Among his Pixar credits are : "Toy Story 2" (1999), "Monsters, Inc. (2001)", "Finding Nemo (2003) and "Up" (2009).

Ricky was born in the United States to Filipino parents from Camarines Sur. He graduated from the Cal Arts in Valencia, California. 

Nelson "Rey" Bohol

Nelson has a long list of films he was involved in including "Monsters University" (2013), "Toy Story of Terror" (2013 TV Short), "Brave" (2012), "Wall·E" (2008), "Ratatouille" (2007) and "Cars" (2006).

In fact, he has over 31 films credited to him by the IMDb website.

Several Filipino Pixar bits of trivia is attributed to Bohol. It might not be coincidental because he probably may be one the biggest Filipino names in Pixar today, and having worked there the longest wouldn't hurt.

He designed the idyllic town of Radiator Springs in the movie "Cars" and have worked in many past animated favorites such as several "Rugrats" films, "Anastasia" and "Titan A.E."

Chris Chua

Chris is a young Filipino American animator who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2-D Animation from Cal Arts. , explained the look of “Wall-E,” which is unlike other Pixar movies: It is monochromatic at times and has almost no dialogue in some scenes—an animator’s dream, or nightmare.

Chris was born in Manila to a Chinese father (William Chua) and a half-Filipino mother (Juliet), and finally moved to the United States at a young age.

His other work include animations in the Dreamworks’ films: “Sinbad”, “Shark Tale” and “Flushed Away”.

Other Filipino Animators Include:

Ruben Aquino, a Filipino who worked at Disney as Art Director, Animator and Supervising Animator.

His animated credits include Dr. Dawson (The Great Mouse Detective, 1986), Fagin (Oliver & Company, 1987), Ursula (The Little Mermaid, 1989), Maurice (Beauty and the Beast, 1991), Mc Leach (The Rescuers Down Under, 1992), Adult Simba (The Lion King, 1995), Powahatan (Pocahontas, 1996), Li Shang, Fa Li (of Mulan, 1998), and Pacha (Kingdom of the Sun, 2000).

His filmography includes, Tarzan (1999), Fantasia (2000), Lilo and Stich (2002), Brother Bear (2003) and Meet the Robinsons (2000).

He won an award at the 6th Annual International Animated Society’s Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation of Shang (in Mulan, 1998).

Mars Cabrera is an Animator, Layout Artist and Storyboard Artist in Vancouver, Canada. Among the companies he worked for were Wildbrain, Dreamworks TV, Walt Disney TV, Hahn Film, Nelvana and Cinar. He was a two-time daytime Emmy winner for his work on “Arthur” the TV series.
His filmography includes: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Silverwing”, “Joseph, King of Dreams”, “Sabrina” the TV series, “The Mask” and “Pirates of Dark Water”.
He is a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of Santo Tomas.

Ralph Fernan is an Animator at Walt Disney’s and is the Filipino behind Chicken Little. His filmography includes: “The Pagemaster”, “Once Upon a Forest”, “Quest for Camelot” (1998), “The Iron Giant” (1999), “The Tigger Movie” (2000), “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” (2000), “Eight Crazy Nights” (2002) and “Chicken Little” (2005).

Ralph is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the East, Manila.

Armand Serrano is a Visual Development Artist at Sony Pictures Animation. He worked with Sony’s very first animated feature, “Surf’s Up” (2007).  He was also involved in “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (2009) and “Open Season 2” (2009).

He previously worked at the Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios.
Armand’s film credits include “Mulan” (1998), Tarzan (1999), “Lilo & Stich” (2002), and “Brother Bear” (2003).

Armand finished Civil Engineering at the University of Santo Tomas.

Anthony Ocampo worked at Stargate Digital, a visual effects studio where he won a Visual Effects Society Award in Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial, for his Trojan horse work on the USA Network Productions special, “Helen of Troy”.

Anthony is a fine arts graduate from the University of the Philippines.

Among the Awards of Pixnoys Include:

For “Finding Nemo”

Ricky Nierva - Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Feature Production         

Gini Santos (nominated) - Outstanding Character Animation, The American Screenwriters Association

Gini Santos - Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture (for "Speaking Whale"), Visual Effects Society Awards

For “Cars”

Carlos Baena and Bobby Podesta (nominated) - Best Character Animation in a Feature

For “Ratatouille”
Pixar Won Best Animated Feature

For “Wall-E”

Ronaldo Del Carmen (nomintated) - Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production, Annie Awards

For “Monsters, Inc.”

Ricky Nierva - Outstanding Character Design in an Animated Feature Production, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

For “Monsters University”
Ricky Nierva (nominated) - Production Design in an Animated Feature Production, Annie Awards

Related Reading: