San Francisco – The Philippine American Press Club USA, during a virtual presentation on October 22, 2020, honored community leaders and outstanding journalists at its 9th Plaridel Awards for excellence in Filipino American Journalism, and the 10th Torchbearer Awards. This year’s event was hosted by 3-time Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, Henni Espinosa of ABS-CBN International.
Torchbearer Awards is about honoring outstanding individual who “bear the torch of the Filipino ideal and keeping it aflame through the winds of change and the passage of time in their work as community leaders and journalists; For selflessly dedicating immeasurable time and endless energy towards projects and activities that enable the Filipino American spirit to thrive. The 10th Torchbearer awardees are the following:
For Outstanding Journalism: Pulitzer Prize winner, Jessie Mangaliman (Posthumous Award). He previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News, New York Newsday, and The Washington Post. Mangaliman was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for articles on AIDS and immigration for New York Newsday and was a member of the paper’s team that won the 1992 Pulitzer for breaking news for a midnight subway derailment. Lloyd LaCuesta, multi-awarded broadcast journalist, gave Jessie Mangaliman a heart stirring tribute.
The Torchbearer Award for Community Leadership was awarded to Carmen Colet, Chair of the San Francisco-Manila Sister City Committee and a Commissioner at the Asian Arts Museum of San Francisco. Through her, archived and new Filipino arts at the museum were highlighted, as well as cultural presentations during the Filipino American History Month. While in the Philippines, the SFMSCC was not limited to the arts but contributed funds and equipment, and fishing boats to victims of Cyclone Yolanda. She was introduced by Radi Calalang, Chair of SFKalayaan.
For Community Leadership and Outstanding Journalism, recipient was Charito Benipayo, longtime media practitioner, and anchor of The Islander, Channel 38, and past president of the Philippine American Press Club USA (2004-2009). She founded the Bay Area Woman’s Club, a member of the General Federation of Women’s Club International the oldest women’s club founded in 1900. Benipayo continuous to be involved with various community activities. She was introduced by Atty. Rodel Rodis, co-founder of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations.
Esther Misa Chavez, Chair and founder of The Plaridel and Torchbearer Awards said “it’s a great privilege to be able to acknowledge and honor individuals and groups that make a difference in the lives of their compatriots and of the community at large by investing their time, brain and brawn to achieve their goals for the betterment of their community.”
The Plaridel Committee, Chavez said, has noticed how much stronger and bolder the submitted articles were compared to the past years. How aspiring journalists then have become polished writers and compete with veteran journalists now. Indeed, the mission of The Plaridel is working and we are so proud and humbled.” She also added that due to the proliferation of the use of social media as a platform for news – a new category was created and it is called “New Media” for indeed it is a class all its own.
The 2020 Plaridel, excellence in Filipino American Journalism winners are the following:
Best Commentary: Emil Guillermo/ Inquirer.net/”On PBS’ ‘Asian Americans’ series and Larry Itliong’s PRICE”
Nominees included: Perry Diaz/FilAm Star/ “The Politization of Coronavirus”; Cristiina Osmeña/Philippine News Today/ “A call for Housing.”
Best International Story: Jennifer Fergesen/Positively Filipino/ “Filipino Restaurateurs in Europe Grapple with Pandemic” http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/surprise-a-filipino-table-in-tbilisi
Nominees included: Myles Garcia/ Positively Filipino/ “The Secret Post-9/11 Pinoy Gitmo”. Agnes Constante/Inquirer.net/ “Cebu fabric firm’s U.S. pop-ups seek buyers for folk PH weaves”. Balitang America/”How this Mexican City Celebrates its Filipino roots”.
Best Entertainment Story: Agnes Constante/ NBCNews/ In musical “supportive White Parents, first-generation struggles get set to song” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/musical-supportive-white-parents-first-generation-struggles-get-set-song-n1075231
Best Profile Writing: Winner: Lisa Suguitan Melnick/Positively Filipino/”The Scholar Unplugged”. www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/the-scholar-unplugged
Nominees included: Marivir Montebon/OSM! Magazine/Jean Nabong-Music works wonders for special needs children”
Best Personal Essay: Elizabeth Ann Quirino/Positively Filipino/ “Last Christmas”
Nominees included: Marivir Montebon/OSM! Magazine/”Finding Meaning in my daughter’s healing journey”
Best Feature Story: Lisa Suguitan Melnick/Positively Filipino/ “Utom Unfolds T’boli Myths Through Music” http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/utom-unfolds-tboli-myths-through-music
Nominees included: Jesse T. Reyes/The Filipino Press/ ““For Family and Humanity: Fantastic Filipino frontliners heroically fight the COVID-19 pandemic on all fronts of a beleaguered world”; Lorna Dietz/Positively Filipino/ “Escabo Daan” Filipino Martial Arts for Kids”.
Best News Story: Emil Guillermo/Inquirer.net/”Filipino nurse fights covid-19 on all fronts”. https://usa.inquirer.net/54078/filipino-nurse-fights-covid-19-on-all-fronts
Nominees included: Carol Tanjutco/Inquirer.net/”Fil-Ams learn about land titling, partition, avoiding property scams in PH”; Lisa Suguitan Melnick/Positively Filipino/”The Al Robles Express is on the Right Track”
Best Food Story: Jennifer Fergesen/Positively Filipino/”Surprise! A Filipino Table in Tblisi” http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/surprise-a-filipino-table-in-tbilisi
Nominee included Elizabeth Ann Quirino/Positively Filipino/”Stop and Smell the Power of Filipino Cooking
Best Tourism Feature: Elizabeth Ann Quirino/Positively Filipino/ Food Historian Ige Ramos Serves Cavite’s Unsung Cuisine http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/food-historian-ige-ramos-serves-cavites-unsung-cuisine
Best New Media: TAYO News/Balitang America/”TAYO New” Balitang America/TFC https://www.instagram.com/p/B5rGxh3jaDm/
Nominees: Emil Guillermo/Eil Amok’s Takeout/Podcast/ “Numbers Don’t Lie:Trump Virus Spawns Anti-Asian- American Hate
TAYO NEWS is a digital news brand for younger Filipinos (Gen Z and millennials). It serves up content for the new generation of Filipinos across North America, focusing on uplifting, positive stories that make us proud of our heritage
Best Investigative Story: Myles Garcia/Positvely Filipino/ “Discovering a Long Lost 19th Century Filipino Master Painter. http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/discovering-a-long-lost-19th-century-filipino-master-painter
Nominees included: Cristina Osmeña/Philippine News Today/ “NCoV Produced at China Lab”
Best TV Documentary: Kept Six Decades of Servitude/Balitang America/TFC
BEST TV PERSONALITY PROFILE: Jannelle So in SO TRUE: Princess Punzalan/JSP PRODUCTIONS shown TFC and LA18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8hSYGZFQxs
BEST TV SERIES: Jannelle So/ So Jannelle/ JSP; shown on TFC and LA18
“Homeschool Mom Shares tips for home-schooling in time of Covid” is part of “So Cool” a segment that features Filipino and Filipino American with interesting hobbies, crafts, jobs which is a part of the TV series under “So Jannelle.” Joan Almedilla talks about her experience as homeschool mom. A segmen of SO JANNELLE
The Ocampo-Henry Memorial Award in Radio went to veteran radio host, Freska Griarte of 96.5 FM KOIT. The award honors Ness Ocampo who started his long radio career with Manila Bulletin’s DZBU in 1962 and brought his broadcasting passion to America in 1971 in particular to Northern California, Hawaii, Las Vegas and launch the FilAm Radio Network. Ness hosted the “Ness Ocampo Show” and “FilAms Now, FilAms Ngayon” which aired its last 12 consecutive years on KVTO 1400AM. He passed on in 2016.
Robert Henry was radio host of the “East-West Show which aired live from Las Vegas. In the short year and a half of his broadcasting career, he provided a unifying spirit by celebrating the diverse cultures within the growing Asian population in Nevada. He embraced new technology quickly and was able to successfully reach a worldwide audience exponentially. He died in 2014.
(A press release from the PAPC. Recording of the proceedings can be seen at the website of the Philippine American Press Club USA at www.papcusa.org)