“The impact of what you do should extend beyond the borders of America”

Taken from Rovaira’s FB account:

revsRovaira Dasig:

I was invited to give a speech at the FYLPro Summit in Hawaii, which is funny because I don’t really relate to many Fil-Ams, especially those in America.

Days and even hours leading up to the event, I still didn’t know what to say. Parang it was like I was seeing it from the PH-based pinoy’s perspective .. medyong mayabang diba yong Fil-Am? Parang hindo ko.. eh, medyong intimidating I think. Not because I worried that I didn’t stack up to them, but grabe, sometimes I felt like they don’t quite understand what it’s like for Filipinos in the Philippines. And also, bakit naman, itong program (FYLPro), why don’t they recognize the Fil-Ams who are already IN the Philippines?! Already collaborating with Filipinos and together doing some pretty exciting things?

Anyway, I realized that what I wanted to do with this talk was basically recognize all my fellow crazies in Manila. Even though we may not always agree, and internally, we continue to challenge each other to do better work, to the rest of the world and those Fil-Ams in America, you better believe I’ve got all your backs. And it’s our collective work, struggles and celebrations in Manila that I spoke about today.

Here’s a part of my talk:

“Like I said potential is the new buzz word around town, what with our better than expected rate of economic growth and all these international publications declaring us the new tiger of Asia. [SLIDE 14] But it’s also laden in something inexplicable: the feeling that something is happening. This realization that you can do what you do, what you love, what you’re good at, there in the Philippines – that’s what hooks Fil-Am to the Motherland. Because as I’ve learned while living there, it’s not enough to say you should come to the Philippines to “help the Philippines.” Realistically, social responsibility and accountability only goes so far. If you want lasting, sustainable impact, you have to pitch it in a different way. In a way that’s grounded in peoples’ passions and fosters collaboration with those in the Philippines.

But don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been easy! Imagine, we are young, Fil-Ams, who on our own resources, often with no family connections or barkada, made our way to the Philippines and through hard work and determination, stumbles and tears of frustration, have found a way to make it happen. Perhaps FYLPro, this could be an opportunity to expand your capacity and link those Fil-Am delegates in America with those young Fil-Ams already doing work in the Philippines? Building those bridges. Because what better way to learn or execute than from collaborating with your friends in Manila who’ve gone through a lot of it already?

But now living in the Philippines, and learning what I’ve learned, programs and initiatives like FYLPro are important, especially – and I can’t stress this enough – if the organizing is centered on understanding the Philippines, where you come from, the history and current issues of the country. Perhaps some of you will agree with me that one Fil-Am issue many of us see is our lack of understanding of the Motherland. And that’s a problem, because to continue to cultivate this transnational, diasporic bridge building, it’s on us to better understand where we’ve come from. And however way you do that, I challenge you to try.

I’m not saying you have to move to the Philippines, but believe me when I say that being able to relate with your kababayan in the Philippines in ways that demonstrate your understanding of the history, culture and current issues they face – well, that’s beautiful and is necessary for any of THIS to work. The impact of what you do should extend beyond the borders of America.”

Right after walking off the stage, Ambassador Cuisia came up to me and said, “let’s make that happen.” I hope this is the beginning of folks starting to recognize our experiences and supporting our work.

I’ve shared this with some of you before, but it wasn’t until I moved to the Philippines that I really started to understand my “Filipino-ness.” America wasn’t going to do that for me. And for sure, it wasn’t gonna happen from hanging out with other Fil-Ams in America. It’s all of you and the amazing PH-raised “local Filipino” friends I’ve made over the past three years who every day challenge us to be better people, better Filipinos.

I owe so much to the Philippines. And in my work, I hope I always embody something we talk about with PULSE: We will never profit off the Filipino. Creative work should be accessible to all – at all stages of the cycle – and nothing is worth doing if it means skipping over the people who should benefit the most.

Thank you, friends, for giving me something to be incredibly proud of today.

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Panel reactors, lunch speaker set for FilAm Young Leaders Summit

WAIPAHU, Hawaii – The FilAm Young Leaders Program announced today the delegation of panel reactors and lunch speaker ROVAIRA DASIG of Pulse.ph to participate in the FYL Summit. The public is still invited to attend the Summit and are requested to register at www.fylsummit.com.


Born in the Philippines, Dasig migrated to the US as a child, growing up solidly “American,” becoming class president, valedictorian and studying economics at one of the nation’s leading universities, Wellesley College, outside of Boston.

Dasig said she imagined what her life would have been like in the Philippines if they had not left the country. This was a realization she made during her first trip back to Manila when she saw where her mother grew up, and realistically, the life she should have had.

In 2011, Dasig moved back to the Philippines. In 2012, she and her friends founded The PULSE Group – Creative Partners, Inc., where she currently serves as president.  PULSE is a creative firm based in Manila, which helps individuals, particularly those underserved, build passion-driven creative careers in the Philippines.  She is also the creator and co-producer of MNL – A FilAm TV Original Production, a sitcom about Filipino-Americans searching for belonging and purpose in Manila.  She also serves on the board of TIGRA Philippines, a migrant development NGO supporting Fil-Am immigrants, working toward a vision in which migration is a choice, not a necessity, for a better life.


A group of  reactors selected from a wide list of Hawaii young leaders are individuals that may provide feedback and insight in the breakout sessions. The sessions will cover a range of topics from politics, culture & arts, education, entrepreneurship, to ways on how to give back to the community.

CARMILLE LIM is the executive director of Common Cause Hawaii. Lim worked as development and advocacy manager for the YWCA of Oahu and she serves as board member for National Association of Commissions for Women. She is a commissioner on the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, a University of Hawaii-Manoa graduate, one of Pacific Business News’ 2012 Forty under 40, Hawaii Business magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2014, and recognized as an Outstanding Young Filipino by the Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber.

NICOLE VELASCO is the executive secretary of the Honolulu City and County’s Neighborhood Commission, overseeing 33 neighborhood boards island-wide. Velasco worked as a government affairs specialist at Ashford and Wriston, LLP, and as an analyst for the State Office of the Auditor. Velasco serves on the board of managers for the Kalihi YMCA and coaches the Farrington Women’s Water Polo team. She is a graduate of Princeton University, named Outstanding Young Filipino by the Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber, and recognized as one of Hawaii Business magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2014.

JEFFREY ACIDO, a Student Regent at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is currently pursuing his Ph.D. After graduating from Farrington High School, he attended UH and earned a B.A in Religion. He decided to enter the seminary at the Pacific School of Religion at Berkeley, California earning him a Masters in Theological Studies. He worked in varied fields of employment—food service industry, truck delivery, non-profit organizations, community college promoter, DOE part-time teacher and a lecturer at UHManoa, where Acido continues to teach Philippine Popular Culture for the Ilokano program.

IRIS GIL VIACRUSIS is an artist, a fashion designer and a cultural warrior whose discerning eye and talent creates amazing masterpieces. Iris had been designing dresses for over 15 years and in interior design for over six years using fabrics from India, Japan and Philippines.  His love for Filipino fashion and culture led to exhibit after exhibit which promoted one of his advocacies called “Pinay Dressing-Wearing Culture in Everyday Apparel”. He attended Ecole Chambre Syndical dela Coutre, a premier fashion school in Paris in 2001, and worked in Interior Design in Dallas, Texas in 2004. He now has his own business Iris Gil Design, a dress shop specializing in Filipiniana and Hawaiian attire.

GABRIEL TORNO has lead the award-winning Tekniqlingz Crew, a traditional and modern Philippine folk dance group which perpetuates the Filipino American youth culture through the creative fusion of traditional Philippine folk dances and the world of hip-hop. Torno has served and has been involved in many organizations including the Honolulu Filipino Junior Chamber of Commerce, where he was recognized as an Outstanding Young Filipino, Fort Shafter Youth Center, Bishop Museum, and Read Aloud America. Torno is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies.

JANE CLEMENT is the President of the Congress of Visayan Organization Foundation and the President of the Kona Visayan Club. Her leadership and energy have been instrumental in numerous projects that promoted Filipino culture and in the development of relationships among governments in the Philippines and in Hawaii county. She is a legislative assistant to Councilmember Dru Kanuha. In addition to numerous volunteer activities, Clement hosts “Truly Pinoy,” a Filipino television show on the local cable channel and is a column writer in the Fil-Am Courier newspaper.

ROUEL VELASCO is the educator and advisor at University of Hawaii West Oahu as the Student Life Coordinator. Rouel is actively involved in the community, focusing his energies and talents towards youth empowerment and community capacity building. His passion lies in creating opportunities for young people to self-actualize their potential and be an “agent” of change for their self, families, communities, and the world beyond. Some of the organizations he is actively involved in include: Sariling Gawa Youth Council, National Federation of Filipino Americans Associations, The Aloha Project and Wai’anae High School’s Leadership and Student Activities Program.

JASON UBAY is the managing editor and social media manager for Hawaii Business magazine, the oldest regional business magazine in the United States reaching more than 58,000 business decision makers each month. He is also the president of the Asian American Journalists Association-Hawaii chapter. Ubay was born and raised in Orange County, California, then moved to Hawaii in 2001, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

DAVID AQUINO is a project specialist for Blue Planet Foundation. He graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he led the Energy Team of Sustainable UH. Aquino’s team engaged campus groups in energy efficiency efforts, training them in how to assess the energy consumption in their campus facilities. He was one of three students chosen by Blue Planet Foundation to attend the Powershift conference in Washington DC. The conference brought together 12,000 young activists from across the globe to lobby for clean energy and green jobs in front of the nation’s Capitol. David has since carried this momentum forward and continues to deliver the clean energy message to Hawaii’s youth.

DESIREA AGUINALDO-HELSHAM is the CEO of OneSource, Inc., which provides businesses the opportunity to outsource human resources functions such as payroll and workers’ compensation. She has been named Pacific Business News’ 2012 Young Business Leader of the Year. Aguinaldo-Helsham is active in the community through various organizations, including the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. She is a founder of The Aloha Project, a Hawaii born, grass-roots organization devoted to developing human potential and making real world change through projects in Hawaii and around the world.

JEOFFREY CUDIAMAT, a USC Summa Cum Laude, owns Structural Builders Hawaii, Inc., a general contracting company and Cudiamat Design and Engineering Services, an outsourced architectural and engineering firm based out of Cubao, Quezon City. He was a former Chief Engineer for the City and County of Honolulu and the current president of the Filipino American League of Engineers and Architects. He was recognized as Pacific Business News’ Forty under 40 in 2010, and his company as one of Hawaii’s fastest growing in 2009. He was awarded the Young Filipino Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 by the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and Young Engineer of the Year by the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies. At USC, he was a founding father a Filipino-American fraternity, Zeta Phi Rho.

MARIA ANDREA JURADO is currently a senior at Waipahu High School. Jurado excels in academics, most especially in history and in science & technology. She has repeatedly represented her school at the Annual Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair where she was awarded Best in Mathematics. She also won Best in Biochemistry at her District Science Fair. Jurado is a 2013 Alexander Hamilton Leaders Academy scholar and won Reiyukai America’s Letter to my Parents contest where she detailed her experience growing up as a young Filipina who immigrated to Hawaii.

DANIEL EISEN, PH.D.  started his work on the subject of Filipino ethnic identity while earning his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Hawaii. To this day, he continues his research on the role of education and role models during the process of molding a Filipino ethnic identity. Eisen is currently an assistant professor of sociology and assistant dean of strategic initiatives at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Before moving to the mainland, Eisen taught at Honolulu Community College in the sociology department. In addition to racial identity construction, Eisen also studies the racial tensions and spatial politics that occur in diverse cultural contexts, specifically focusing on small college campuses similar to Honolulu Community College.

ZHOYDELL MAGAOAY is the current president of the Honolulu Filipino Junior Chamber of Commerce and is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Argosy University. He received his Master of Arts in Education, Special Education in 2003, and Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology in 2012. He is a Student Services Coordinator and Teacher at Farrington High School. He is a recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Filipinos award in 2011, given by the Filipino Jaycees as part of The Outstanding Young Professional program. He is an active member of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, serving as Vice-President Elect for 2014-2016 for the Honolulu Chapter. He is also a dance instructor at Dance Hawaii and at the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association.

PATRICIA ESPIRITU HALAGAO, PH.D. is an associate professor of multicultural education and social studies in the College of Education at UH Manoa. Her scholarship focuses on culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy, particularly the education of Filipino Americans. She is co-founder of Pinoy Teach and recipient of two Smithsonian Institution grants to develop their Centennial online and multimedia Filipino American curriculum, iJeepney.com. Halagao is also project director of a federal grant, the Filipino American Education Institute, which engages professors, teachers, and community to meet the academic and social needs of Filipino American students (www.filameducation.com). She received the first Young Pioneer Award from the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) for her innovative work with Filipino Americans and education.

To find out more about the Summit or how to register, visit www.fylsummit.com, contact Kit Zulueta at (808) 291-9407 or email faylshawaii@gmail.com.

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Fil-Am leadership conferences across the nation collaborate on a unifying theme


New York, New York – Delegates from across the nation will, for the first time, attend Filipino American leadership conferences that are under one, unified theme – “Your Move.”

Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UniPro), Fil-Am Young Leaders Program (FYLPro), and Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) agreed on the theme with hopes that this initiative will jump-start a movement of cohesion between all Fil-Am leadership conferences across the country.

After collaborating with other organizers across the country, members of Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. developed a concept to challenge delegates to leave their mark by making their move.

“We wanted to show that unity can be accomplished and all it took was to reach out and talk to each other,” President of UniPro Rachelle Ocampo said.  “The usual talk about collaboration among Filipino organizations across the nation is old news, but this milestone is significant.

“We encourage organizers with similar interests to contact us.”

The first of three conferences will be the Fil-Am Young Leaders Summit on Saturday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, Hawaii.  The Summit’s keynote speaker will be Tony Olaes, President and CEO of ODM Enterprise as well as Chairman of U.S. Gawad Kalinga.

The Summit intends to bring outstanding young leaders of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia’s FIlAm Young Leaders Program from all over the country to empower, inspire and discuss solutions on how to advance Fil-Am interests. For more information, please visit www.fylsummit.com

The movement will continue to New York City with the Annual UniPro Summit: The Multinational Forum for Pilipino Young Adults, Students and Youth at Fashion Institute of Technology on Saturday, May 31. UniPro wants to challenge the delegates to find themselves in their community and address its needs by aligning themselves with organizations to not limit their potential.

Through panel discussion, guest speakers will present how they found their place in the community, and will share what they have accomplished, what issues they are tackling, what still needs to be accomplished and how the delegates can contribute. For more information, please visit www.unipronow.org.

The third conference under the same theme “Your Move”  is the youth -oriented component of The National Federation of Filipino American Association’s (NaFFAA) annual empowerment conference called Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) in San Diego, California from August 7 to August 10.

The leadership development institute aims to facilitate collaboration between regional Filipino American student organizations across North America, for the purpose of networking and sharing of best practices for student organizing. They envision an international community of Filipino American student leaders that consistently communicate, learn from each other, and exchange ideas to improve its reach and impact to Filipino American youth. The conference  would like to promote substantial, sustainable and more effective mobilization of the youth. For more information, please
visit www.empowerment.naffaa10.org.

Continue the discussion by sharing what your move is with: #MyMoveIs
FYLPro – KIT ZULUETA faylsummit@gmail.com (808) 291-9407

UniPro – RACHELLE OCAMPO info@unipronow.org (908)UNIPRO8

EPYC – LEEZEL RAMOS leezel@naffaa10.org


Philippine Consulate General of Honolulu encourages participation to #FilAmSummitHI

HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Philippine Consulate General of Honolulu has issued a concurrent press release supporting the May 3rd FilAm Young Leaders Summit.

Philippine Consul General Julius Torres expressed support of the Summit since its early planning stages at a meeting with Event Chair Kit Zulueta late November 2013.  ConGen Torres said that even though the event is titled ‘young leaders,’ he encourages participation from all ages and says that the Summit would benefit everyone.

The Philippine Consulate General of Honolulu has offered their phone lines for any inquiries about the event. Feel free to browse within this website for information or call (808) 295-6316 to 19.

PR-02-2014 Hawaii to Host 1st Fil-Am Youth Summit (page  1)





PR-02-2014 Hawaii to Host 1st Fil-Am Youth Summit (page  2)

Attendees sought for Filipino-American summit in Hawaii

February 8, 2014

Press release by:
Fil-Am Young Leaders Program (FYLPro)

Please contact:
(808) 291-9407

Attendees sought for Filipino-American summit in Hawaii

WAIPAHU, Hawai`i – Delegates from across the country are coming to Hawaii for the inaugural Fil-Am Young Leaders Summit on Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, Hawaii, FYLPro delegates announced today.

Cover poster2

The Summit intends to bring leaders together to empower, inspire and discuss solutions on how to advance Filipino-American advocacies in similar communities across the nation. Participants are invited to register online at www.fylsummit.com. A registration fee of $50 will include conference packets and lunch.

Invited guest speaker for the Summit is San Diego successful entrepreneur and U.S. Gawad Kalinga Chairman Tony Olaes, who considers himself a ‘born-again’ Filipino after a life-changing experience in the Philippines.

The Fil-Am Young Leaders Program was the brainchild of Ambassador Cuisia where top leaders were selected from hundreds of applicants to participate in a week-long all-expense paid trip to learn more about the Philippines. Since then, the program alumni have continued their advocacies in the United States, in promoting Philippine talent and tourism, social entrepreneurship, voter awareness and education, and have launched political campaigns of their own.

“The increased involvement of the youth in the affairs of the community has been among my advocacies since assuming office,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia said. “The Summit will serve as an invaluable opportunity to discuss pressing issues that members of the diaspora confront.

“I urge everyone to participate in and support the Summit, so together we may also identify avenues for collaboration and courses of action that would contribute to the Philippines’ further development.”

The Summit is an event to support the program’s continuity and momentum. Leaders in the community now recognize the potential of Filipino-Americans as a powerful force in community-building.

There are approximately 4 million Filipino-Americans in the United States, which make up the 2nd largest Asian American population in the country. The largest concentration of Filipino Americans is in California, followed by Hawaii.

The 2010 census showed that Filipinos are now Hawaii’s largest ethnic group. With the proper guidance and support, the Filipino-American is on its way to becoming the most influential ethnic group in the United States.

Companies and individuals who wish to be part of this movement may also support the program via tax-deductible sponsorship packages.

For more information about the Summit, contact Hawaii delegate Kit Zulueta at (808) 291-9407 or email faylshawaii@gmail.com. Use the official hashtag #FilAmSummitHI and find FilAm Young Leaders Program on Facebook.

Subscribe to the event website www.fylsummit.com for special updates.

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