By Marivir R. Montebon
Summer came in warmly, and will soon leave behind great memories of events that enriched the Filipino communities of the East Coast.
New York City – After six Tuesdays of featuring 22 classic, indie, and short Filipino films, the 5th Sinehan sa Summer came to a close on August 31, 2017 featuring Carlo Obispo’s Purok 7. The award-winning film is a soft-hearted presentation of the joys of childhood of Diana (Krystle Valentino) and younger brother, Julian (Miggs Cuaderno). Their philandering father, absentee mother who worked abroad, and a kindly common-law wife/step-mother became the periphery of the innocent lives of the two siblings.
The drama of the adults is well-woven into Diana and Julian’s world, as they live in a quite supportive neighborhood. It is an indie film made so decently with a tight budget, but its message of hope and kindness shines.
After the 1.5 hour film, the viewers discussed the merits of the film, appreciating the subtlety of its drama and emphasis on the beauty of youthful, unadulterated rural children. FilAms expressed their eagerness to support indie filmmakers financially and distribution-wise. So, bring it on, let a thousand and one films be seen in here.
Sinehan sa Summer: A Well-Spring for the Indie Cinematic Arts
The Sinehan sa Summer, headed by cultural officer Olive Osias-Magpile and Consul General Tess Dizon de Vega, has been a flagship program of the Philippine Consulate of New York since 2012. Cinemalaya, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and the National Archives of the Philippines have provided film materials to this project.
Since the Philippine Center showcased obscure films of small Filipino filmmakers about five summers ago, the FilAm community here have been enthusiastic and receptive. Indie filmmakers and producers could tap in to that warmth and engage with school and church organizations in order to reach out to people, despite a low budget.
The Museum of Modern Art and the Lincoln Film Center here have shown Filipino films, albeit not yet regularly, in the last ten years.
One Ayala: Centuries-old Corporation Provides Innovative Services Globally
At the presser of the Ayala group of companies held on August 15 at the Wined Up Bar on Broadway, executives of the Philippines’ top conglomerate and service provider excitedly told business people and community leaders of the company’s innovations of its wide-range of products and services.
The event called ‘One Ayala’ served as a single marketing project outside the Philippines to assure Filipinos abroad of the company’s innovative personalized services, connectivity, and housing investments. The Ayala group, whose birth dates in 1834, includes Ayala Land, Bank of Philippine Islands, Manila Water, and Globe Telecommunications.
Amb. Marciano Paynor Jr., Ayala’s consultant for external and government relations, answered queries from the attendees. A glaring setback is the Philippines slow internet connectivity, to which Paynor had said will be addressed when the Globe cell sites will be established within the military facilities to avoid delays brought about by land issues and local legislation red tape.
Headed by CEO Jaime Zobel de Ayala, the Ayala group of companies is reputed for its quality service and marked efficiency despite political upheavals in the Philippines, such as the Martial Law years for instance. “The company takes care of their market hence the longevity,” quipped Amb. Teodoro Locsin Jr., Philippine permanent representative to the UN, who once worked for the Ayala corporation.
Fiesta in America, year 19
In Secaucus, New Jersey, the fiesta tradition of fun fare the Filipino way lives in ‘Fiesta in America’, a trade and cultural exposition spent in the middle of August for 19 years now. Always star-studded and festive in Filipino cuisine, families and hoards of friends made their trip to Meadowlands to bask in the fun last August 11 and 12.
For this year, American Idol runner up Jessica Sanchez entertained the crowd, along with Rey Valera, the Music and Magic (Fe delos Reyes, Eva Caparas, and Jet Montelibano), VST and Company, and The Drifters.
There has been a notable decline in the number of visitors in the past two years, a situation which may call for innovation, as many see it. CEO Fernando Mendez must be up for the challenge. (Featured photo is Philippine ice cream, fondly called flavor of the road, by Philippine locals, a hit at the Fiesta in America.)