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Star Washington Bureau: Washington deputy mayor a Filipina

Posted by FAN Admin in Home, News on 04 24th, 2010

Washington deputy mayor a Filipina
By Jose Katigbak, STAR Washington bureau (The Philippine Star) Updated April 24, 2010 12:00 AM

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WASHINGTON – Valerie Santos is a Filipina in a hurry.

She wants to make a difference as Washington’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development and frets there are not enough hours in a day to get things done to bring growth and prosperity to the district.

Appointed in June 2009, she is one of the most visible and highest ranking Filipino Americans in public office.

Santos, 36, is responsible for implementing Mayor Adrian Fenty’s economic development vision and managing a development pipeline worth more than $13 billion comprising public-private housing, retail, office and parks projects throughout the district.

It’s a big job and she describes it variously as exhilarating, exciting, humbling and, for some perverse reason, fun.

In an interview with The STAR, she said her father Dante Santos was the eldest of nine children, all of whom grew up in a one-bedroom apartment in Pasig with their parents.

The Santoses had a small 10 x 10 ft. shop in a local market which sold sewing, quilting and embroidery supplies, buttons and clasps and threads.

“My grandparents raised the family in a sewing notions store in a local palenke (market),” she said. “That’s how they put their children to school.”

She said her father, originally from Bulacan, emigrated to the United States in the 1960s after college in search of a better life and received his MBA at Santa Clara University in California.

Her mother Milagros was born and raised in Zamboanga, the eldest of five children. She also emigrated to the US in the 1960s, first to Cincinnati and later to California.

“Among the things I learned from my parents is the value of education and hard work,” Santos said.

Like many Filipinos who come to America, she said her parents worked hard to be able to send money home to help their families.

Her mother paid for the education of several of her siblings.

“She put off her life and didn’t get married until she was 40 to be able to help her family,” she said.

Valerie, born and raised in San Francisco, is an only child.

She is a graduate of Santa Clara University and earned her MBA at Harvard Business School and a Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

After finishing college in 1994 at the age of 20 she went to the Philippines for one year to get to know the rest of her family – she has 22 first cousins on her father’s side and 15 first cousins on her mother’s side – and to give back to the community.

She joined the Jesuit Volunteers Philippines (JVP) Foundation, Inc., a volunteer organization that sends fresh graduates and young professionals to under-resourced communities nationwide for one year.

Volunteers are prepared and assisted by the foundation in developing the skills necessary to address basic community needs whether as teachers, campus ministers, parish or community development workers.

Santos was sent to Ateneo de Zamboanga where she taught three classes of freshmen English and one class of senior literature. She lived in a dorm and received a stipend equivalent to $120 a month.

“I have always been passionate about public service and about using my many privileges in life, whether they be the privilege of education or the privilege of being born in the US to help people,” she said.

Philippine Ambassador Willie Gaa called on her two weeks ago and found her to be a “very decisive and personable lady.”

She is also “substantantive and supportive” and willing to be more active in the Filipino-American community in the area, Gaa said.

Maurice Owens said she and about a dozen other Filipino-American community leaders in the Washington area also met with Santos in October soon after her confirmation as deputy mayor, and described her as “approachable, welcoming, charming and vivacious.”

“It’s nice to see a smart Filipina up there,” Owens said.

Prior to becoming deputy mayor, Santos served as the Planning and Economic Development Office’s chief operating officer. Before joining the district government she worked with real estate groups where she specialized in urban public-private development.

According to the official District of Colombia website, the Office of the Deputy Mayor is charged with bringing federal, nonprofit and private and community partners together to expand the district’s economic base, attract and retain businesses, bring good-paying jobs for residents and promote the city as a competitive, welcoming place to do business.

“The scope of what I do is what gets me excited – developing affordable housing for people, looking to improve our waterfront, finding more jobs for our work force – there is such a breath of issues and diversity across the city that we have an opportunity to touch all aspects of life while advancing the mayor’s core mission of increasing tax revenue and promoting growth,” she said.

Santos visits the Philippines regularly.

“I was there in 2003 and 2006 and it’s definitely time to pay a visit again,” she said.

Her paternal grandmother, Iluminada or Lola Luming as she calls her, still lives in Pasig on Lopez Jaena street.

Santos speaks emotionally of the sacrifices her grandparents and parents went through to improve the lot of the family and says that “even when I am having the worst possible day, I know how fortunate I am compared with those who came before me.”

“People tell me it’s exciting to see a Filipino-American doing well because of hard work and all that. I feel honored but don’t consciously try to see myself as a role model,” she said.

It is unfortunate Filipinos have to go overseas to make their mark because “with so much energy and intellect in the Philippines all one needs there is a chance,” she said.

Asked what her normal day was like, she replied, “I don’t know if I have one. I typically work 14 hours a day and I find the work fun.”

“But I do make time for friends, for other things that are important to me.”

She relaxes by reading, spending time with friends and cooking for them and hanging out with her dog and her cat.

She says she is a good cook but cooks Filipino food only when her parents visit her.

With White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford and Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos leading the way, Filipinas are making inroads in the capital city of the world’s only superpower.

Brillante Mendoza’s “Lola” screens at Tribeca Film Festival on April 22-24 – NYC

Posted by FAN Admin in Connections, Events, Home, News on 04 12th, 2010

Brillante Mendoza’s “Lola” screens at Tribeca Film Festival on April 22-24

Cannes-winning Filipino Director Brillante Mendoza (“Kinatay”, 2009) returns with a powerful drama of struggle and redemption. After premiering in last year’s Venice Film Festival, “Lola” (Tagalog for “Grandmother”) has won major prizes at the Dubai and Miami international fests.

Two elderly matriarchs bear the consequences of a crime involving their grandsons: One is murdered, the other is the suspect. As the intense financial strains of a burial and legal case weigh on both women, they individually traipse around the prisons, funeral homes, and courtrooms of Manila amidst torrents of rain, while simultaneously struggling to maintain their families’ lives in the makeshift shacks built along the city’s rising waterways. Face-to-face with each other, they work together to reach a common, if compromised, resolution.

Capturing the desperate and frantically beautiful texture of the urban Manila landscape, Lola confirms the depth and range of Filipino director Brillante Mendoza’s vision. Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio deliver incisive performances as the two determined leads in writer Linda Casimiro’s penetrating critique of the criminal justice system, its accompanying bureaucracy, and the incomplete quest for justice and reconciliation. (From the program notes of the Tribeca Film Festival.)

Buy tickets now to screenings of “Lola” at the Tribeca Film Festival HERE.

Or visit this URL:

Primary Cast: Anita Linda, Rustica Carpio, Tanya Gomez, Jhong Hilario, Ketchup Eusebio
Director: Brillante Mendoza
Screenwriter: Linda Casimiro
Producer: Didier Costet
Editor: Kats Serraon
Director of Photography: Odyssey Flores
Production Designer: Dante Mendoza
Composer: Teresa Barrozo

* IndioBravo Foundation is an organization dedicated to promoting independent Filipino cinema here in the USA as well as in the Philippine. Our mailing address is: IndioBravo, 50 West 93rd Street, Suite 3L, New York, NY 10025

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Filipino Heritage Night with the SF Giants! April 27th

Posted by FAN Admin in FAN Announcements, Home, News on 04 7th, 2010
Filipino Heritage Night I

Filipino Heritage Night I

Tuesday, 4/27 vs. PHI at 7:15pm
Purchase Tickets Buy tickets »
Building on the success of two of the 2009 season’s biggest events, the Giants are proud to present the first Filipino Heritage Night of 2010! Come support the Bay Area’s strong Filipino culture as the Giants take on the Philadelphia Phillies. All Filipino Heritage Night ticketholders will be seated in the same sections of the stadium, creating a community feel at the ballpark, and cultural performers will entertain fans leading up to the start of the game. All special event ticketholders will also receive a stylish Filipino-themed Giants beanie, included in the price of your ticket purchase. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Filipino charities to assist in recovery efforts from the devastating flooding suffered in late 2009. Come show your Filipino and Giants pride here at AT&T Park!

Filipinos Demand Apology from Adam Carolla for Racist Comments!

Posted by FAN Admin in Connections, FAN Announcements, News on 04 2nd, 2010
Boycott Adam Carolla

Unfortunately this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Adam Carolla chose to use very degrading and racist remarks about

Manny Pacqauiao, the Filipino culture and our people. Please view the video and the sign the petition.


Dear Kababayan, Friends, and Allies,

Radio host and comedian Adam Carolla has recently made several
disparaging remarks about Manny Pacquiao and Filipinos. He has
insinuated that Filipinos “pray to chicken bones” and that the
Philippines is nothing but “Manny Pacquiao and sex tours.”

Hear more about his hate here:
(Warning: This is vulgar and may not be suitable for children).

As a community, we  must stand up again and let it be known that we
will not allow such hateful words to be made about our community.
These messages of hate help to promote the negative stereotypes about
Filipinos and Filipino Americans and we must put an end to it.

Please read and sign the petition at

And please forward this to your colleagues, family, and friends.


Kevin Nadal, PhD

Asian American Showcase – Chicago, IL – April 2-15, 2010

Posted by FAN Admin in Connections, FAN Announcements, News on 04 1st, 2010

The Gene Siskel Film Center and the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media present the 15th edition of Asian American Showcase (April 2-15), Chicago’s only film and arts festival of the Asian-American experience with nine fiction features, eight documentaries, and two shorts programs, plus special events. Highlights include opening night movie The People I’ve Slept With with director Quentin Lee in person; closing night Indian-American movie Raspberry Magic; as well as festival favorite Children of Invention; and powerful documentaries Going Home, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, and Wo Ai Ni Mommy, which focus on the Asian adoptee experience.

Some films that we thought may interest you from our showcase:

Going Home; Directed by Jason Hoffman

Saturday, April 3, 5:00 pm

Going Home is an intimate record of filmmaker Hoffman’s first trip to Korea for the purpose of meeting the birth mother who gave him up for adoption more than twenty years before. Through his experience he has confronted situations that will alter his identity.

Wo Ai Ni Mommy; Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Saturday, April 10, 3:30 pm

Wo Ai Ni Mommy (which translates to I love you Mommy) follows an adoptee Fang Sui Yong, soon to be known by her American name Faith, in her journey of assimilating into the U.S. culture. While her Long Island family ponders what cultural pitfalls the future may bring.

Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam; Directed by Tammy Nguyen Lee

Sunday, April 11, 3:15 pm

Operation Babylift brought 2500 Vietnamese infants to the U.S. for adoption in the final days of the Vietnam War. Now in there thirties they describe their experience of alienation and discrimination and their search for their family and culture of birth.

To find out more about the festival, visit

Tickets are $10/general admission, $7/students, $5/members. Tickets are available at the Film Center Box Office. Hours: 5pm-9pm Monday-Friday, 2pm-9pm Saturdays, 2pm-6pm Sunday. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 800-982-2787, visiting, or visiting any Ticketmaster outlet

The Gene Siskel Film Center is located at 164 N. State Street. Our phone number is 312-846-2600. For more information, visit our website: or call our movie hotline at 312-846-2800