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Post-arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS) for newly-arrived OFWs at Anseong City on 20 January 2016

Post-arrival Orientation Seminar ( PAOS) for newly-arrived OFWs  to work as factory workers under the Employment Permit System ( EPS),  a government to government hiring system at KBIZ , Anseong City on 20 January 2016.


Welfare Officer Manuela Pena orienting the participants on labor and living condition of migrant workers in Korea and about programs and services of the POLO-OWWA.

LABOR COUNSELING and UPDATES orientation at the KKPTI on 15 May 2016

The POLO with Welfare Officer Manuela Pena ( 9th from left; 1st row) with  participants  to  the LABOR COUNSELING and UPDATES orientation at the KKPTI   on  15  May  2016; seminar was undertaken by the Post for Filipino factory workers under the Employment Permit System ( EPS)  who are likewise enrolled in  Forklift  Operation Training in partnership with  HRD – MOEL.


Welfare Officer conducting  ORIENTATION on LABOR UPDATES and COUNSELING among OFWs /EPS workers at KPPTI , Incheon on 15 May 2016


Welfare Officer Pena ( 3rd from L) with AS Mangune and LBP rep Leover Loyola taking photo outside the campus with KIS Radio broadcaster and KPPTI facilitator Ms. Gennie Kim ( 2nd from L)  after the Orientation


SEOUL, 12 June 2016 – Over 2,000 Filipinos in Korea – overseas workers, multicultural families, professionals, and students – gathered at an outdoor stage put up in front of the famous Some Sevit artificial islands in the Banpo Hangang Park along Han River in Seoul on 12 June 2016 to celebrate the 118th Anniversary of PH Independence Day as well as the 21st Migrant Workers Day.


The annual commemorative event, which has been called “Bayanihan sa Korea” since 2013, showcased the remarkable bayanihan (community) spirit as Filipinos from all over the country came together to celebrate their individual and collective triumphs as Filipinos while living and working in South Korea.


The daylong event featured cultural performances from local groups as well as live performances from Filipino celebrities, radio DJ Cha Cha, singer Daryl Ong, and model/actress Ellen Adarna, who flew in from Manila specifically for the event. On-site services, such as labor counseling, medical services, and financial and remittance promotion, were also made available.


Organized by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 was made more meaningful with the presence of Mr. Kim Chang-beom, Ambassador for International Relations to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Mr. Kim Pyung-hee, Vice President of the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRD Korea), and other high-ranking officials from the Korean government.


The event started at 9:30am with a Catholic mass officiated by Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, the Philippine-born Papal Nuncio accredited by the Holy See to the Republic of Korea. The mass was followed by a short program featuring congratulatory messages from Philippine and Korean government officials.


In his remarks Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez underscored the Philippine government’s continuing advocacy on safeguarding the welfare of Overseas Filipinos (OFs).


“This year’s commemoration of the 21st Migrant Workers Day is a reaffirmation of our continuing commitment to promote the welfare and protection of overseas Filipinos as ingrained in Republic Act 8042, also known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, as enhanced by R.A. 10022,” he said.


“The Philippine government, including its various missions abroad, is considered by many not only as our nation’s bulwark in promoting welfare and protecting the rights of migrant workers, but also as a model for many labor-sending countries in providing the mantle of protection to migrant workers elsewhere,” the Ambassador added.


Following the formal part of the program was the parade of the different Filipino Community organizations in Korea. Twenty-six (26) groups, in colorful traditional Filipiniana attire and festival costumes, joined the parade, the first held since 2013.


This year’s host community, the Hyehwa-dong Filipino Catholic Community in Seoul, led by Fr. Alfredo G. Africa Jr. of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center for Filipino Migrants, was awarded Best in Parade and Biggest Delegation. The Daegu Filipino Catholic Community bagged the third award, the Farthest Delegation.


The event – emceed by migrant rights advocate and DZMM radio host Mare Yao and UP Diliman Prof. Jovy Peregrino, exchange professor at the Busan Universifty of Foreign Studies – featured collective efforts by local groups, such as the Hyehwa-dong and Ansan Filipino communities performing the Sinulog and Masskara dances from Cebu and Bacolod in central Philippines.


Local Filipino artists were also given the opportunity to showcase their talents in an open mic event. Prizes, such as laptop computers, round trip tickets to Manila, and other goods donated by corporate and non-profit sponsors, were also raffled off.


Bayanihan sa Korea 2016, which was the first commemoration since the maiden festival hosted by the Incheon Metropolitan Government at the Samsan World Gymnasium in June 2013 following successive cancellations due to the MV Sewol sinking and MERS outbreak, was made possible with the support of Stimula Productions, Inc. and the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Photo 1: Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez delivers his welcoming remarks at the Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 festivities held to commemorate the 118th Philippine Independence Day and 21st Migrant Workers Day on 12 June 2016 at the Banpo Hangang Park in front of Some Sevit artificial islands on the Han River in Seoul. (Photo credit: Pinoy Clickers in South Korea)
Photo 2: Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez, Mr. Kim Chang-beom, Ambassador for International Relations to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Mr. Kim Pyung-hee, Vice President of the HRD Korea, releases the ceremonial doves at the Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 festivities held to commemorate the 118th Philippine Independence Day and 21st Migrant Workers Day on 12 June 2016 at the Banpo Hangang Park in front of Some Sevit artificial islands on the Han River in Seoul. (Photo credit: Pinoy Clickers in South Korea)
Photo 3: Filipino residents from various parts of South Korea point their cellphone cameras toward the open-air stage set up in front of Sevit Seom Floating Island in the Banpo Hangang Park next to the Banpo Rainbow Bridge on the Han River in Seoul during the daylong Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 festivities held to commemorate the 118th Philippine Independence Day and 21st Migrant Workers Day on 12 June 2016 at the Banpo Hangang Park in front of Some Sevit artificial islands on the Han River in Seoul. (Photo credit: Aleli Maghirang)
Photo 4: Members of 26 Filipino community organizations in Korea marched in their colorful traditional Filipiniana attire and festival costumes in the first Bayanihan sa Korea parade held since 2013, following cancellations due to the MV Sewol sinking and MERS outbreak in 2014 and 2015. (Photo credit: Pinoy Clickers in South Korea)
Photo 5: A Filipino community organization in South Korea performs their version of the massive Cebu carnival fiesta, Sinulog, as part of the afternoon program of the Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 festivities held to commemorate the 118th Philippine Independence Day and 21st Migrant Workers Day on 12 June 2016 at the Banpo Hangang Park in front of Some Sevit artificial islands on the Han River in Seoul. (Photo credit: Pinoy Clickers in South Korea)
Photo 6: Showbiz celebrities – radio DJ Cha Cha, actress/model Ellen Adarna and The Voice finalist Daryl Ong – were flown in by Stimula Productions, Inc. from Manila to treat the crowds to songs, contests and other light actics between performances by local groups and artists in a daylong Bayanihan sa Korea 2016 program hosted by migrant rights advocate and DZMM radio host Mare Yao and UP Diliman Prof. Jovy Peregrino, exchange professor at the private Busan Universifty of Foreign Studies at an outdoor stage next to Banpo Rainbow Bridge in the Banpo Hangang Park on 12 June 2016. (Photo credit: Maria Elena Adarna, Daryl Ong)


Your Immigration Questions are Answered Live on June 5 on Citizen Pinoy

June 2, 2016 (Quezon City, Philippines) - On its 11th year of unparalleled public service to the community, CITIZEN PINOY goes the extra mile by doing a real-time LIVE telecast on JUNE 5, Sunday, on TFC.


Host and leading US immigration attorney MICHAEL J. GURFINKEL, and the staff behind the award-winning public service program are excited about their first ever LIVE telecast.  Atty. Gurfinkel is looking forward to this endeavor.  According to him, “Now, it will be ‘real time’ contact and more interactive with viewers.”


This attempt makes CITIZEN PINOY readily available to its core audience across the whole North America.  The replies to their immigration concerns will also be immediate. As Atty. Gurfinkel underlines, “People will get the feeling of an actual “live” consultation right in the comforts of their homes.”


This early, viewers are already encouraged to send in their questions via the Facebook at or by calling these numbers: 1-650-569-1774 or 1-650-569-1835.  On the actual day of the live telecast, the same phone lines will also be set up so viewers can call in.  Questions can be sent via Facebook, twitter, phone patch and skype.  Atty. Gurfinkel invites everyone to join in with this message – “We hope the audience will find this more exciting, as the whole purpose is to provide not only the best public service, but a more interactive one.”


Save the date, and be sure to catch us when CITIZEN PINOY goes LIVE on JUNE 5, Sunday at 6:15 PM (EST/PST) on TFC.


The first batch of Massage Therapy Training towards Health and Wellness commenced last May 22, 2016 which was attended by twenty four (24) participants. The training consists of five modules for six sessions every Sunday from 9 to 12 noon.  


Resource persons are Marifi Reyes and Bolonia Cresencia who were passers of TESDA’s Onsite Assessment Program conducted last June 28, 2015 and awarded Massage Therapy National Certificate II.  They volunteered their services to impart their knowledge to their fellow workers.


“It’s payback time, we want to share our learning and experience,” says Marifi Reyes.  Coming home to our homeland will be the most exciting moments in the lives of OFWs but preparedness is very important. 


Both of them also participated in Trainers Methodology I last September 27 to October 2015 and Ms. Reyes successfully passed the examination as Assessor and supervised assessment process.       


OIC-Labor Atttache Ma. Nena German and Welfare Officer Judith Gloria-Santos expressed their gratitude to the resource persons and participants for coming.

ABS-CBN TFC launches Overseas Filipino Voting Site, Kicks off #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH campaign

New campaigns offer platform for overseas Filipino voters to make their voices heard and votes count in Philippine Elections 2016


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, MARCH 18, 2016 – As the Philippines’ top weekend variety show, “ASAP”, celebrated #ASAPKapamilyaDay last Sunday to honor the Filipino family, ABS-CBN Corporation and The Filipino Channel (TFC) also launched two video campaigns that invite Filipinos everywhere to take charge of their families’ future by actively participating in the Philippine Presidential Elections 2016.


ABS-CBN unveiled its new star-studded station ID with the theme of “Ipanalo Ang Pamilyang Pilipino” (Make the Filipino Family Win) while TFC debuted #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH – its first global video campaign that was shot and edited entirely using smartphones.


In partnership with ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs, TFC also launched its Overseas Filipino Voting site on ABS-CBN’s Halalan 2016 website to provide voters a one-stop shop of Philippine election-related information and details on how they can participate:


The Overseas Filipino Voters as Philippine Elections 2016’s “Gamechangers”

How can an overseas Filipino voter really make a difference in the Philippine Presidential Elections this year?


The simple answer is for them to register and vote.  But the path to making that happen hasn’t been encouraging during Philippine elections in recent years.  When overseas voting was made possible in the Presidential Elections of 2004, 64.89 percent of the 359,296 registered overseas Filipino voters actually voted.  By Presidential Elections 2010, a mere 25.99 percent of the 589,830 active voters casted their votes.


When TFC partnered anew with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Overseas Voting Secretariat (DFA-OVS) and the Commission on Elections Office for Overseas Voting (COMELEC-OFOV) to register and mobilize qualified overseas Filipino voters for this year’s Presidential Elections, the challenges were: one, to register over 800,000 overseas voters, and two, to increase voter turnout to about 50 to 60% percent of registered voters.


With the help of TFC’s Overseas Voter Registration PSA campaign tapping popular and respected ABS-CBN news personality Atom Araullo to push COMELEC’s i-Rehistro, an online system that enabled Filipinos to accomplish their registration applications as overseas voters, the current number of registered Filipino overseas voters has reached over 1.3 million.


Overseas Voting Secretariat Chairman and DFA Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis said that if 1.3 million overseas voters could influence at least three family members in the Philippines, their sector could bring about 5.2 million votes to their preferred candidates.


“This is a definite gamechanger for Philippine politics,” said Seguis.


#Vote4AselfieWorthyPH: Making the Voice of the Overseas Filipino Matter

For its global campaign to reach Filipino voters in partnership with DFA and Comelec, TFC tried a totally different tact for 2016.


Jay Santiago, creative director at ABS-CBN Global, explained his team’s journey in producing the video. “We were very excited to do this project of our Global Corporate Affairs & PR because this was an opportunity to do something different,” he said.  “The group’s direction was to deviate from the usual government type advisory which usually flies over the heads of the target market.  We pushed for unconventional ideas that we felt would be more appreciated by the target audience – something that is more interactive than the usual.”


Santiago talked about the “Selfie” concept: “The Philippines, being the ‘selfie capital of the world’ shows us how the mobile and digital technologies have penetrated the lives of Filipinos.  Selfies also promote the locations where they were taken.  Posting selfies is like telling the whole world what the person is up to and how he or she feels about it. The team saw the power of selfies and its ability to influence opinions and perceptions about a country.  We decided to use what has become a universal activity to harness its storytelling power and use it as handle for our message.”


Santiago and his team also applied the same rationale for their yet-to-be-shown “Groufie” version for the campaign.  To be authentic with the process, smartphones were used to shoot and edit the videos.


TFC has invited all Filipinos to take their own selfies with a backdrop of what they want to change in the Philippines, post them on their social media accounts with the hashtag, #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH, and these will automatically (if not private accounts) be published in the social media stream on


“Digital has made the world smaller,” said Santiago. “When a tree falls in the forest, we will hear it if you post the video online.  With this campaign, the image of the Philippines is now shown on the world stage.  Filipinos see this upcoming election as an opportunity for change.  They feel that this is the time to paint a picture perfect Philippines. A selfie-worthy one.”


The creative team was comprised of: Jay Santiago, creative director; Audielyn Avecilla-Riola, regional accounts management head; Charles Bautista, copy group head; Cayla Ursabia, regional account associate; Maureen Paril, producer; Barbie Javier, copywriter; Maureen Paril, producer; Rowena Mijares, production coordinator; Paz Amor Valera, production assistant; and Edber Mamisao, Kuwentista Productions Inc. director.  Meanwhile, the Halalan 2016 Overseas Filipino Voting Site was created by the team of Abraham Baladad, technical and production system head, News Digital Media of ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs with Scrum Master and IT Management Consultant John Michael Bien and web developers Aldrin Mirasol and Regie Francisco.

Unveiled at ASAP Kapamilya Day, DFA-OVS, COMELEC-OFOV and TFC's first #Vote4ASelfieWorthyPH campaign video was shot and edited on smartphone

On TFC's OF Voting site, ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez invites all Overseas Filipino voters to participate in the PH elections

Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil promote ABS-CBN and TFC's Halalan 2016 video campaigns during #ASAPKapamilya

OV mechanics

ABS-CBN TFC joins call for overseas Filipinos to be catalysts for change at 1st Regionaal Summit in Middle East and Africa

February 26, 2016 (Dubai, Middle East) – With over a 2.5 million population in the Middle East and Africa and a combined land deployment of 907,781 in 2014 according to Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, the overseas Filipinos (OF) in the two regions continue to be a force to reckon with despite the issues that currently beset the labor force in the face of the oil crisis in the Middle East.


Recognizing the huge populace of Filipinos in Middle East and Africa and how their combined numbers can impact Philippine development from economic to socio-political and other aspects, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and co-convenor Middle East and African Network of Filipino Diaspora (MENFID) are holding the first “Regional Summit of Filipinos in the Middle East and Africa” from today, February 26 to 27 at the Dessert Palm Hotel in Dubai.


With the theme “Engaging Overseas Filipinos in the Philippines Development,” CFO is tapping its public and private sector partners in order to strengthen the OF sector and enable them to make more significant contributions.  ABS-CBN (The Filipino Channel), a staunch partner of the CFO since the first Global Summit for Filipinos in the Diaspora in Manila in 2011, joins CFO, MEANFID and industry leaders, global visionaries and Filipino migrants for the two-day summit.


ABS-CBN executives Ramon “Bong” Osorio and Kai V. Rodriguez will define how ABS-CBN and international arm The Filipino Channel’s service points hope to enable and then to inspire our kababayans beyond information and entertainment, as they play a more crucial role in Philippine progress.


ABS-CBN Middle East, Europe and Africa Managing Director Kai V. Rodriguez, as an OF herself, is a testament as to how ABS-CBN’s service has gone beyond the distribution of homegrown content outside the Philippines into bringing Filipino content to the mainstream international scene, while showcasing Filipino talent to a world audience.  


TFC, as a true partner in the journey of OFs, has also been playing a vital role in involving Filipino communities in various engagements that hope to impact their lives in a sustainable way.


One of these is ABS-CBN’s election campaign “Ipanalo Ang Pamilyang Pilipino (Let the Filipino Family Win).  Beyond being a season material, the SID highlights how the participation in the 2016 elections will score a victory for the Filipino family as they choose the country’s next leaders. ABS-CBN’s election campaign station ID's recording will have its community premiere in the event.

Meantime, Osorio will share how OFs in both regions can build their capacity, and those of their families and their communities in the context of brand-building.  Osorio will talk about how image is important not only to enable OFs to keep up in the global workplace but also to equip Filipinos to be of service to their fellowmen as well.


Discussions will include an assessment on the current landscape (both private sector efforts and public policies) in the two regions, the psycho-social challenges of migration investment, business and livelihood opportunities; and return and reintegration of overseas Filipinos.


Esteemed guests include Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines to Abu Dhabi Constancio Vingno Jr., Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines to Doha, Qatar Wilfredo Santos; Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines to Manama, BahrainAlfonso Ver; and Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines to Tel Aviv, Israel Nathaniel Imperial from the public sector and European Network of Filipinos in the Diaspora’s (ENFID) Gene Alcantara US Pinoys for Good Governance’s Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis.


The event headed by CFO Chairperson Secretary Imelda Nicolas, MEANFID officers Chairperson Fidel Escurel and 2015 Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awardee Atty. Barney Almazar, will be hosted by Lalaine Benitez and moderated by Mike Motalban.


At the end of the Regional Summit, CFO, MEANFID and the multi-sectoral partners also hope to finalize the MEANFID’s structure and ratify the group’s constitution and by-laws as well.  


But more than cementing its structural framework, the Regional Summit for Filipinos in the Middle East and Africa hopes to involve OFs for a more sustainable development track towards a more progressive Philippines.


For tickets to the Regional Summit for Filipinos in the Middle East and Africa visit
For Filipinos in nearby cities and in Europe, the summit proceedings can be seen via livestream on February 27 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at

Gemmy Lontoc of UAE Exchange, Fidel Escurel, Sec. Imelda Nicolas, Bong Osorio and Manolo Llamas


Layunin ng paglulunsad ng NYMWPS Europe Chapter ang mapapalalim ang kaalaman ng mga kabataan ukol sa halaga ng West Philippine Sea sa ekonomiya at politikal na usapin ng Pilipinas.


Roma, Enero 27, 2016 - Sa pangunguna ni Dr. Celia Lamkin, ang National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea Founder at Global Chairperson at pakikipagtulungan ni Mher Alfonso, ang Co-Founder at Chairperson ng Bantay West Philippine Sea Italy ay inilunsad noong nakaraang linggo, January 24, 2016 sa Roma angNational Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) Europe Chapter o ang Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Kabataan para sa West Philippine Sea.


Apat ang pangunahing layunin sa paglulunsad ng kilusan: 1) ang tahasang ipahayag ang posisyon ng mga kabataang Pilipino na kinikilala ang karapatan at integridad ng Pilipinas sa pagkilala nito sa West Philippine Sea bilang bahagi ng bansa batay sa batas internasyunal; 2) ang palalimin pa ang pagiging pagkamakabayan ng mga kabataan; 3)ang epektibong edukasyon ukol sa halaga ng West Philippine sea sa usapin ng ekonomiya at politikal ng bansa; 4) at ang hayaan ang mga kabataang ito na lumahok sa mga aktibidad ng pangangalaga hindi lamang sa yamang dagat bagkus pati na rin sa pakikipaglaban sa karapatang ng mga islang bahagi ng karagatang pinagtatalunan.


Sa araw ng paglulunsad ay kapansin-pansin ang pagdalo ng maraming kabataang ipinanganak at lumalaki sa Italya. Bagaman kilala at alam ang isyu ukol sa West Philippine Sea, inaasahang sa tulong ng mga bagong hinirang na mga opisyales ng Europe Chapter ay mapapaigting pa ang pananaw ng mga ito.


Samantala, ang mga kinatawan buhat sa dalawang Embahada - Consul General Leila Lora Santos ng P. E. to Italy at Vice Consul Melgrace Villamayor ng P.E. to the Holy See, kasama si Weloff Loreta Vergara, ang POLO OIC at ang mga kilalang leaders sa Roma ay mainit ring sinuportahan ang magandang simulain ng kilusan. Ginanap din sa araw ng paglulunsad ang panunumpa ng katapatan sa mga layunin ng kilusan ng mga opisyales na nagkakaisa sa iisang layunin.



TFC and Kapamilya stars recreate the elements and bring forth the emotions that come with a complete Paskong Pinoy for OFs in online, worldwide get-together


December 18, 2015 (Quezon City, Philippines) - In the spirit of the holiday season that brings family and friends together in celebrations, ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel tapped the power of media and technology to gather nearly 40 overseas Filipinos (OFs) from 10 countries for their virtual Kapamilya Reunion with their families in the Philippines.


The families in the homeland were gathered last December 6 at the Restaurant 9501 of ABS-CBN Corporation in Quezon City while OFs gathered in TFC offices in Redwood City, California; Toronto in Ontario; Dubai Media City; and partner venues Bar FM in London; Salad Bar Grill and Suite, New South Wales; Kusina Restaurant in Seoul; Outback Restaurant in Singapore; and Dabarkads in Hong Kong to make the virtual reunion happen.


ABS-CBN Global Marketing Services Head Pam Castillo said she is proud that ABS-CBN TFC’s service transcends broadcasting.  “We are in the service of the Filipino worldwide and this has many layers.  We accompany OFs in their journey overseas through information and entertainment and the company of our stars.  But most importantly, we try to keep the link to home not only through TFC programs but also through our special events and engagements such as Kapamilya Reunion, Castillo said.


ABS-CBN Regional Marketing Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa Maribel Hernaez, added that what enables the TFC team to truthfully fulfill this mission is the fact that most of them are OFs themselves.  “As an overseas Filipino worker, I empathize with them – how challenging their movement was, how they consistently struggle in a foreign land, and how they remain hopeful for a chance to be with their families, Hernaez said.


One of TFC’s answers to OFs’ yearning for their families according to ABS-CBN Asia Regional Marketing Head for Asia Pacific Eric Martin Santos is Kapamilya Reunion. Santos said: “Through Kapamilya Reunion, we hope to bring Christmas to those who cannot come home for the season.  So together as a team, we brought these families together for a few hours of entertainment, an array of feasts, exchange gifts and most of all, one unforgettable Christmas.”


Launched in September, the concerted TFC teams behind Kapamilya Reunion asked the OFs to share their most unforgettable Paskong `Pinas with their family online, through TFC’s facebook pages.   Overseas Filipinos from all over the world heeded TFC’s call and sent answers from the most touching moments to childhood memories that continue to bring a smile to their faces. The winning stories were chosen based on their impact and uniqueness.


Rahmil Pamilacan of United Arab Emirates (UAE), shared a memory from way back in 2006, the last time his family was complete.  Because of the need to fend for the family, one family member worked overseas one after the other.  His mother Marie Luz who was also a former OF, understands how it is for Rahmil to be alone in UAE.  In between tears, she thanked TFC for the opportunity to bring him closer, “Hindi ko inaasahan ito.  Na-surprise ako kasi ngayon lang ako naka-experience ng ganito.  Dati susulat ka tapos after two months pa darating.  Ngayon nag-uusap kami via skype – kung anong meron.  Sobrang proud ako sa anak ko dahil laging may sorpresa sa akin.  Kahit malayo siya, may pag-aalala.”


Meantime, Mercedes Lamanilao left the Philippines ten years ago to work in Hong Kong and has not seen husband Isagani and their kids since then.  Isagani is happy that he was able to speak with Mercedes through Kapamilya Reunion but for him, the experience is bittersweet.  He said: “Masaya pero medyo malungkot kasi hindi namin siya kasama.”


Cornelio dela Cruz of Singapore understands how hard it is for one’s family to be incomplete, especially at Christmas.  He said that his brother Ino shared the story on how their last memory of a happy Christmas was when their father was still alive.”  Last five years…ang hirap dahil nabawasan kami ng isa.  Actually four lang kami so ang lungkot.  Before, naramdaman namin ang hirap umupa.  Pero magkakasama kami kasi buhay nga ang father ko noon.  Ngayon naman may house kaming sarili, pero magkakahiwalay naman kami.”


Truly, for these OFs, the company of their families is what is most important and transcends wealth and material things.  But while some relive memories with family, some hang on to tangible things to help them by.  Nenita Soledad of United Kingdom still remembers the day her grandson gave her a letter which she only opened when she arrived in UK.  To this day, she still carries the letter.  Son Isagani shares that Kapamilya Reunion enabled her to see not only grandson Kael but the entire family as well.  Isagani said: “Lagi kaming nagkikita through skype pero itong araw na ito, espesyal kasi maraming mga Filipino sa ibang bansa na nagce-celebrate na sila-sila lang pero ngayon sama-sama.  Although hindi pa December 25, we can celebrate an early Christmas now at kasama ko ang anak ko at buong pamilya ko.”


Marinette Orlanda’s (from Canada) sister Marizen Cajayon agrees that Kapamilya Reunion is different from their regular skype sessions “Masaya kami kasi may chance na magkita kami.  Of course, nagkikita rin kami kahit papaano pero mas masaya ngayon kasi kumpleto kami.”   


Magdalene Calimlim from the United States has not had this luxury of a complete family since she separated from husband Edgardo Landingin.  But through their daughter Katrina Rosaly Sianco and Kapamilya Reunion, they were able to see each other again.  Edgardo shares that the couple let bygones be bygones for the children and entire family.  He said: “Ang sugat pag nasugat na, mayroon at mayroong peklat.  Pero iba pa rin ang pamilya especially sa mga anak ko.  Sabi nga nila tumatanda, namamatay, nawawala. Pero ang mga anak at apo, pang-habang buhay.  Iba rin kung alam nila ang sitwasyon.”


Lecy Ann Alcobenas of Japan also faces the same challenge as she is a single mother.  Leaving the country was extra hard because she had to leave her one year-old daughter just to fend for her two-member family, alone.  Alcobendas wished to her family in the Philippines: “Sana manalo ako.  Puntahan ninyo iyan kasi pangarap ko iyan.  Baka saka-sakaling makasama ko ang anak ko.”


While Kapamilya Reunion was a dream come true for Lecy Ann, it was a need fulfilled for Joy Pereña of Taiwan.  Her family is not blessed with a regular internet connection so father Ignacio values the Kapamilya Reunion and affirmed: “Malaking bagay. Nakakatulong kayo.  Kahit malayo man ang mga miyembro ng mga kapamilya, ay nagkakausap man lang, sa pamamagitan ng ABS-CBN TFC.” Iyong connection, iba.  Malaking tulong sa amin.”


Aside from connecting families from different parts of the world, Kapamilya Reunion also tried to recreate the Christmas celebration, the Filipino way.  In remaining true to the Filipino tradition that is Paskong `Pinoy, each of TFC team rolled out a salo-salo, sort of like a Noche Buena feast.  In U.S. and Canada, choirs Praise and Glorify and the Pentecostal Ministry performed poignant Christmas songs, especially carols the OFs missed back home.


The TFC teams composed of TFC’s Regional Marketing teams headed by Castillo, Hernaez & Santos and Advertising Sales teams headed by Global Ad Sales Head Jon Gatbonton, also enabled the OFs and their families to exchange gifts courtesy of partners.  The gift-giving does not stop there as the OF families in the Philippines, through TFC’s courier partner, will be able to send their gifts to their loved ones overseas for free, and with it, more happy memories to share this Christmas.


Like a true Paskong ‘Pinas, select Kapamilya stars joined kababayans who were online during the first part: OFs from U.S., Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and their families gathered at Restaurant 9501.  Pangako Sa `Yo’s Thou Reyes (Takong) and DJ Jai Ho (Coring); Deal or No Deal’s MJ Lastimosa; Joj and Jai of Forevermore; Umagang Kay Ganda’s Marlo Mortell; and Jon Lucas of the viral sensation Hash Tags made the reunion extra special. 


During the second part of the reunion where TFC gathered families from the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Taiwan, and South Korea, more Kapamilya stars came to inject some more happy moments:  Pangako Sa `Yo’s Sue Ann Ramirez (Ligaya/Joy); Forevemore’s Sofia Andres (Kate); Arron Villaflor (Dr. Henry Nieves); Jairus Aquino of Luv U; Bonnel Balingit and Diana Meneses of Kapamilya Deal or No Deal.


Ramirez who plays Joy/Ligaya in the hit teleserye Pangako Sa `Yo shared that she is proud to have been be part of Kapamilya Reunion.  She said she can relate to what our kababayans are going through as she herself has relatives overseas.  She believes TFC’s “Kapamilya Reunion” helped shorten the distance so to speak and sustain that bond.  “Iba pa rin iyong mayayakap mo iyong mga mahal mo, mga pamilya mo.  Ako mismo nakikita nila sa TFC so nagiging close kami.  TFC ang naging way nila para ma-connect sa families sa Pilipinas,”Ramirez shared.


Pangako Sa `Yo’s Doris ‘Tart’ Carlos and Ang Probinsyano’s Vivieka Vivieka shared light moments with the OFs too as the program hosts.

Pinas-SAHI and TFC's "Kantawanan sa Al Khobar 2015" draws 15,000, unites OFWs on 21st Filipino Community Day

World-class ABS-CBN TFC talents Martin Nievera, Eric Nicolas deliver top Filipino entertainment, family fun and holiday spirit to OFWs in KSA


REDWOOD SHORES, CA, DECEMBER 15, 2015 – The Eastern Province is the largest province of Saudi Arabia and the center of most of the Kingdom’s oil production.  It is the hub of the state-owned Saudi Aramco, the biggest energy company in the world. The Eastern Province is home to around 250,000 overseas Filipino workers.


Located in the east on the beautiful Persian Gulf coast, the Eastern Province is a favorite destination and stopover of those who are in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, who wish to relax at the beach or go to Bahrain, a major trade route.  Just four hours away from Riyadh is the large city of Al Khobar in the Eastern Province.  Here you can find the Al Shola Tourist Village – the sun-lit setting for the 21st Filipino Community Day, Tourism & Trade Exhibit held recently by the Pinas-SAHI International Association, Inc. SAHI stands for Saudi Arabia Hiligaynon, Incorporated, which is composed of Filipinos from the Hiligaynon-speaking provinces in the Visayas.  Pinas-SAHI has grown to be one of the largest and most active Filipino organizations in the region and has been a long-time community partner of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Overseas Workers Welfare Association (POLO-OWWA).  The organization is known for its welfare assistance to distressed OFWs in the region and for promoting both investment-related projects in the Philippines and the homeland’s culture and heritage.


In 2005, Pinas-SAHI partnered with ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC) in the region to stage the TFC entertainment hour within the Filipino Community Day called, “Kantawanan sa Al Khobar”, literally meaning “song and laughter in Al Khobar”.  On December 5 last year, during TFC’s 20th anniversary, SAHI and TFC welcomed 12,000 attendees to this entertainment hour which starred TFC 20 Ambassador of Goodwill Gary Valenciano at the Cobra Amusement Park in Dammam.


Proving that the event and the Filipino population in the region continues to grow, “Kantawanan sa Al Khobar 2015” held on December 4 at Al Shola Tourist Village with Philippine Concert King and ASAP 20 mainstay Martin Nievera and Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 2 contestant Eric Nicolas, who was joined by popular action star Robin Padilla courtesy of sponsor MoneyGram, drew 15,000 attendees who enjoyed the world-class musical performances of the TFC artists and the laugh-a-minute comedy acts and contests where audience members participated.


“The best way to describe the experience is that people had a truly rollicking good time! It was a high-spirited, fun-filled celebration where everyone let their hair down and enjoyed like family. Our countrymen were in a cheerful, holiday mood but dressed in spring or even summer clothing and enjoyed the sandy setting of the resort. This ushers a unique Christmas in the region and we at TFC are very pleased to partner with Pinas-SAHI to bring this warm, authentic camaraderie in keeping with the spirit of the season,” said ABS-CBN Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Managing Director Kai V. Rodriguez.


Rodriguez added: “More importantly, with this event, our Kapamilya experienced home right here in Al Khobar.  This annual December tradition casts a spotlight on our Hiligaynon brothers and sisters in the Middle East who spearhead every year a day-long event that allows the Filipinos to celebrate our culture and connect with each other in the community. That unites, empowers and strengthens the OFWs in the Middle East.” 


The 21st Filipino Community Day had the theme of “Dakilang OFWs: Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Pag-Unlad ng Turismo at Produktong Pilipino” (The Great OFWs: The Nation’s Partners Towards Progress in Tourism and Development of Filipino Products).  Gracing the event with their distinguished presence are Philippine Consul Chris Aro, POLO-OWWA Officer Sitti Jaafar, ABS-CBN Managing Partner Engr. Fouad Taher, and Administration Manager Sami Al Milaify of Nesma & Partners, the partner sponsor of Pinas-SAHI.


“Our partnership with TFC is one of the reasons why the Filipino Community Day with Kantawanan sa Al Khobar continues to be regarded as the biggest annual gathering of Filipino OFWs in the Eastern Region, if not in the whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Pinas-SAHI President Alex Acanto.  “They are true partners in service and we look forward to working with TFC every year in supporting and growing the OFW community in Saudi Arabia.”