PRESS RELEASES: Filipino-American Artists in New York Come Together for Typhoon Ondoy Victims

Press Release
07 October 2009

Reference: Anne Beryl Corotan, Email: sandiwa.national@gmail.com; Phone no: 347 867 0330.

Filipino-American Artists in New York Come Together for Typhoon Ondoy Victims

NEW YORK – Before the flood waters in Metro Manila had time to recede, Broadway stars, young Filipino-American artists, and community supporters gathered in New York City to educate and fundraise for victims of Typhoon Ketsana, which ravaged the Philippine capital city with gusty winds and torrential rains on September 26.

SHINE, a benefit event for victims of Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) in the Philippines was held at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, Queens last October 2. The show, organized by concerned young Fil-Ams and co-sponsored by Sandiwa (National Alliance of Filipino American Youth) and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), promoted the Bayanihan spirit in the local community in Queens as a response to the recent tragic events in the motherland.

John-Flor Sisante, an organizer and performer of the event wrote on a facebook message addressed to those who attended,”I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making SHINE a successful event! The donation will help tremendously in making the lives better for Filipinos affected by the typhoon.” John-Flor was born in Quezon City, one of the areas badly affected by the typhoon.

Other performers of the benefit are Koba, NYFP, Hanalei Ramos, Melanie Dulfo, Jackelyn Mariano, Kali Martial Arts of the Young Educators for Health and Empowerment of the Youth (YEHEY), Ryan Bandong, and Napon Pintong who showcased their talents in poetry, Filipino martial arts, spoken word and rap.

“It is truly amazing how these beautiful young artists came together in such a short notice to help out our brothers and sister back home. Last Friday’s benefit had proven once more that the Bayanihan spirit, the spirit of unity, is alive. It shines brightly in these dark and trying times,” Hanalei Ramos, another organizer of the event and member of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment remarked.

“The government’s directives on taxing donations for Ondoy victims which are not coursed through its Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) still does not stop us from coming together to use our talents for a good cause. We’ll definitely find ways. We will continue to gather all these donations that the members of the community willingly give and will make sure that these will be sent to the rightful recipients and will not fall into the hands of our corrupt officials,” Anne Beryl Corotan, President of Sandiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth said.

On October 3, another benefit show was held at the Triad Theatre in Manhattan, New York. Dubbed, “Halo Halo Cabaret”, the event raised both awareness for the situation in the Philippines and funds for the victims of Typhoon Ketsana. Tess Paras, a Filipino actress, was the main organizer for the event.

“Being here, I wanted to do something, and since we already have a strong group of performers in New York, we felt that with our talents, we can come together to help. Luckily, the Triad Theatre was generous to lend the space, so we immediately coordinated with NAFCON, and we made the Halo Halo Cabaret possible,” stated Paras, who also read a letter from her cousin in the Philippines writing about the damages Ondoy had done.

Julia Camagong, vice president of NAFCON and Co-Executive Director of Philippine Forum, one of NAFCON’s member organizations in the North East, said, “It’s good to see all these artists coming together and we’re doing all we can to have all your donations reach the victims of typhoon Ondoy despite the Philippine government giving us a hard time in achieving this goal. We’re fighting this and we won’t let the Filipino community, here in the US and in the Philippines, down.”

Performances by Erin Quill (Avenue Q), J. Elaine Marcos (A Chorus Line), Jason Ostrowski (Company), Albert Guerzon (Mamma Mia), Ester Barosso (West End “Miss Saigon”) and artists such as Akiko Hiroshima (Happyfunsmile), and Christian Almiron (Jazz Pianist) made the night a delightful mix of musical and comedy performances.

Proceeds from both events will be donated to NAFCON and SanDiwa’s Bayanihan for Typhoon-Ondoy Disaster Relief program, a nationally coordinated campaign to send relief to hardest hit areas in the Philippines. All donations from NAFCON and SanDiwa’s relief campaign will be channeled through Migrante International, the alliance of Filipino migrant organizations all over the world and one of the people’s organizations facilitating relief efforts in the Philippines with its Oplan Sagip Migrante.

For more information or to monitor updates, and other events, please visit https://bayanihan4ondoy.wordpress.com. Drop off center for the North East region will be at NAFCON and SanDiwa’s National Office, the BAYANIHAN Filipino Community Center, 40-21 69th Street, Woodside NY 11377. Please call Anne Beryl (516) 9011832 or email at sandiwa.national@gmail.com.###

In front of young Filipino-Americans, John Flor Sisante, singer-songwriter,
performed and organized SHINE Benefit to raise funds for Ondoy victims
Anne Beryl Corotan, President of SanDiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am
Youth talks about the Philippine governments’ restrictions on donations
coming from abroad and how these undermine the Filipino-American
community’s goodwill to help Ondoy victims

Koba, renowned progressive hiphop artist performing for Ondoy victims

Melanie Dulfo of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) delivering
a poem about her cousin in the Philippines whom she has not heard from
since Ondoy hit the central part of the Philippines

Ryan Bandong and Andrew Kim, emerging young Fil-Am artists
performing for Ondoy victims
Tess Paras, organizer of the benefit event “Halo Halo cabaret”,
reading a letter from her cousin about the Ondoy tragedy
Julia Camagong, NAFCON vice president and Co-Executive Director
of Philippine Forum, acknowledging the efforts of the broadway artists’
community in coming together for Ondoy victims
Ester Barroso and Bobby Martino, Broadway performers singing with
all their heart for Ondoy victims
Tess Paras (“Broadway Backwards”), Ester Barroso (West End, “Miss Saigon”)
and Ryan Willard (Nickelodeon), organizers of Halo Halo Cabaret,
a benefit event for Ondoy victims
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