It Was Fun While It Lasted
During the past two weeks, a flurry of events paraded before the Filipino community, all geared towards providing fun and entertainment to our dreary brethren, who by now needed this much respite from these present hardships and harsh times in these United States. What is appreciable here and worth ones’ own time, no matter how the public receive them, is that those persons putting up these shows do their damn best to concoct a fleeting trip to fantasy land. Fun and entertainment seem to be their reason for being, so to speak. These guys deserve a pat on the back.
On August 25, 2012, two set-ups competed for the attention of the Fil-Am public, by putting on presentations dubbed “all white party” and “all yellow Party”. The former was presented by designer Lou Razon and the latter by entertainment promoter Mutch Carino. Lou Razon”s was a fashion show involving children, teens and adults. The show was well attended and could be considered a financial success. As for the presentation’s artistic level, the critics were divided in their judgment. For really, the clothes could pass muster of excellent quality and the models were all beautiful and professional, but the pace was dragging and boring, as if you’re looking at zombies walking.
Mutch Carino’s Pistahan reminded me of small town fairs in the Philippines, where there is something for everyone. This is no surprise because Mutch hailed from the province of Pangasinan, in central Luzon, where the towns and the people are fond of putting up “Ferias” as part of their town fiesta celebrations. They say that Pistahan was not well attended, and as we used to call this failure some years back in the Philippines: “linangaw sa takilya”, meaning a financial flop, it is really disheartening that the event which represents a part of our culture should meet this kind of fate. They say it was the venue which made it difficult for the public to attend.
At the Noypitz, a Filipino owned restaurant in Glendale, a fundraising event called Damayan Sa Bayan was held last Thursday on August 30, 2012, promoted by Miss Lou Sabas and Mon Parel, which starred the venerable Imelda Papin, with a hosts of several known and budding performers in supporting roles, among them the reliable and able singer Long Espina and upcoming, but a newcomer in the entertainment world, songwriter Mon Concepcion singing his own compositions. The show was stitched together within two weeks, with Miss Sabas doing a yeoman”s job. The show was a resounding success, because the mission to help out the flood victims in the Philippines was received by the audience with much applause and generosity. The show itself was much fun and entertaining.
In terms of scope and financial involvement, these honest and well-meaning petite presentations pale in comparison with the hugeness and spectacle which attended the Darna Umayam extravaganza: the Search for the 100 Outstanding Filipino-Americans in the United States. However, the Umayam event was marked with a lot of questions, and as one led to the other, the disputes found their way to the courts, with the undisputed queen of fundraisers being sued for libel, and for exemplary damages hanging in the balance as a sword of Damocles, As for these petite presentations, it was fun while it lasted.
By the way, a lot more shows and a lot more fundraising are in the works this year, but one is tempted to ask: are these organizations legitimate. If you lack the legitimacy, bear in mind that a noble cause is no justification for shortcuts. Seek advice and help.
Perhaps the biggest event this year for the Fil-Am community is the unveiling and installation of the Rizal monument in Carson City on September 29, 2012 and a Gala to be tendered by the Jose P. Rizal Memorial Monument Foundation in the evening of the same day. It is the fruition of the labor of Chito Mandap, President of the foundation, and former chapter commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, Los Angeles Chapter. The journey began in 2004, when he was the chairman of the Kalayaan Committee which oversaw the celebrations of Philippines Independence Day that year and dedicated all the proceeds from the event to the purchase of a 7 foot bronze statue of the national hero, to be made by a Filipino sculptor. Later on, he created a memorial foundation to raise more funds to finance the project. When the statue was finished, he kept it in a warehouse in Manila for storage and the statue stayed there for some five or six years. The statue and the storage alone could have cost a fortune. Laudable and commendable may all his efforts be, I agree, and he should deserve this honor and everlasting credit, I feel like an eel to even have the temerity to ask questions like: 1. Was the Kalayaan Committee already registered as a non-profit charitable organization in the state during Mr. Mandap’s tenure as chairman in 2004? 2. Was the committee already in possession of a 501c3 from the IRS? 3. How about the Foundation, does it possessed all these requirements already? 4. Where are the financial statements for both accounts, if any? The answers will strengthen Mr. Mandap’s credibility and honesty.