MAKILALA TV Tackles Challenges for Yolanda Aftermath
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City
At the launch party of Makilala (To Know) TV in November, New York Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. was quick to say that Philippine leaders should not politicize (the Yolanda) catastrophe, or it will be catastrophic. De Leon was the talk show’s first special guest, who responded to the question on political leaders holding on and repacking relief goods to be able to put their names on these bags.
Many Filipino-Americans in New York have expressed outrage through the social media on the delivery of relief goods which have been politicized by certain government leaders.
“It takes time to print all these stickers with their names, and put them on the packages. And people are dying. They are so shameless,” writes a Facebook denizen, which also gave a thumbs up to a viral poster which says “Proud to be Filipino, Ashamed of Philippine government.”
Understandably, the discussion on Yolanda super typhoon disaster brought out emotions from the audience, which packed the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Consulate on 5th Avenue.
Community leaders also shared their fund-raising activities to be able to send money and goods to the survivors in Eastern, Central, and Western Visayas.
The creators of Makilala TV are five Filipinas who wanted to bring forward Filipino Americans in the East Coast on mainstream television. Produced by Maricor Fernandez of the Queens Public TV, the monthly show at QPTV is anchored by Cristina DC Pastor, publisher of online magazine Fil-Am.net, Jen Furer, communications director for legal assistance office FALDEF, Maria Cruz Lee of the NYC Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, and Rachelle Ocampo, vice president for the UniPRO, a not-for-profit organization on social and immigrant concerns.
While the launch party was being closed by the hosts, New York City’s Empire State Building lit itself with the colors of the Philippine flag: yellow, blue, and red, in solidarity with the Filipinos who were dealing with the catastrophe brought about by the biggest super typhoon to hit the world this year.
Jen Furer said that was “serendipity.”
Check out Makilala TV, with these women of substance and fun, at the QPTV.
BANYUHAY Art Exhibit for Yolanda Survivors
Mona Lunot Kuker dropped down her hair upon my request for a photograph with her rendition of Gabriela Silang, the nationally known Filipina warrior, at the Mountain Province Espresso Bar in Montrose, Brooklyn. During her first and solo art exhibit, Mona figuratively dropped down her hair, of course.
As an artist, she metamorphosed in a self-taught manner. “I had my father in mind while I painted these. He was a painter and I observed keenly how he did his work. In my spare time, I attended to my craft,” she told me.
From being a domestic worker, Mona blooms into being a painter in coping with her own personal aches and melancholy as an immigrant. Hence the title of her art show, “Banyuhay” or metamorphose.
The November 30, 2013 event, commemorating the 150th birthday of national hero Andres Bonifacio of the secret society Katipunan, was brought together by Ugnayan, a youth organization in New York and New Jersey. Ugnayan was also celebrating its 9th year during the art show.
It was a huge success, more than half of Mona’s creations were sold, as guests enjoyed the sumptuous Filipino buffet (for me, the Mountain Province organic coffee with biko enriched with caramelized coconut syrup on top was to die for).
Part of the proceeds were sent to the survivors of Yolanda super typhoon in Leyte and Cebu through the non-profit organizations Gota de Leche Manila and Tigra Inc.