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 to participate in the FYL Summit. The public is still invited to attend the Summit and are requested to register at


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, 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 ( 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, contact Kit Zulueta at (808) 291-9407 or email

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