FYLPro Delegates

The Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. embarked on a search for outstanding youth leaders to take part in an immersive program, which aims to transform them into effective advocates of the Filipino-American cause here in the United States.

Hundreds of qualified Filipino-Americans between the age of 18 and 40 applied for the 2nd Filipino-American Youth Leaders Program (FYLPro) that took place July 2013.

The program was initiated last year by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Mrs. Victoria J. Cuisia in cooperation with the Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI).

“We hope to attract more young Filipino-American leaders who we hope will be among the movers and shakers among the emerging generation of Filipino-Americans,” Ambassador Cuisia said.  “The involvement of these emerging leaders in the Filipino-American community is expected to further add vibrancy and dynamism to the development of the Philippines and to the Filipino-American community in the United States.”

Among the qualifications for the outstanding Filipino American achievers and leaders are the applicant’s scholastic achievements and other accolades, leadership skills,  accomplishments, active involvement in school,  civic, political, business and other organizations as well as their vision, innovativeness and commitment to making a difference in the Philippines and within the Filipino-American community.

2013 FYLPro Delegates


Julien A. Baburka – Bloomingdale, Illinois; 26 years old; Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for the Office of the Governor of the State of Illinois; Volunteer at the Almost Home Foundation and active member of the Cosmopolitan United Church; Served as Vice President of the University of Illinois’ College Democrats.

Nico Barawid – Memphis, Tennessee; 23 years old; Graduate of Yale University (with honors) in Economics and currently pursuing Master of Public Policy at the University of Oxford; Served as president of KASAMA, Yale’s Filipino student association; Delegate to Climate Change conferences and founder of organization to fight environmental exploitation; Will start work at the European Investment Bank this summer and in management consulting at the Boston Consulting Group in Miami in September.

Rex C. Brown, Jr. – Daly City, California; 25 years old; Product Associate at Google Inc., where he actively takes part in the company’s mentoring programs to promote Information Technology and Research & Development among the youth; founded Baskets 4 Hope, a nonprofit organization that empowers inner-city youth through athletic events and mentoring services; graduated from San Diego State University, summa cum laude.

Randy J. Cortez – Honolulu, Hawaii; 24 years old; Program Specialist at the US State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in Honolulu; Current president of the JCI Hawaii Filipino Junior Chamber, where he was a Presidential Merit awardee; member of Knights of Rizal, Hawaii Chapter; Fulbright-Hays scholar, Phi Beta Kappa (honor society); and Dean’s List at the University of Hawaii.

Anthony D. Guevara – Houston, Texas; 26 years old; Senior Loan Officer at Affiliated Bank Mortgage; founded the Filipino American Council of South Texas; Regional Youth Coordinator of National Federation of Filipino-American Associations-Region VI; served on the board of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Texas; graduate of Texas A&M University, where he served as president of the Philippine Student Association.

Melissa A. Medina – Washington, D.C.; 24 years old; US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Liaison and Legislative Assistant to Rep. Edward Royce; Participant in the Foreign Policy Initiative’s Congressional Scholars Program and Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program; represented California as the state’s 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival’s 100th anniversary; graduated from University of California, Berkeley.

Rachelle P. Ocampo – Levittown, New York; 25 years old; Health Educator specializing in tobacco control. She is the President of Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) with the mission to facilitate and encourage cooperation through coalition development. She is also one of the TV Co-Hosts of the 1st Fil-Am TV Talk Show in the East Coast called Makilala which means “get to know” in Tagalog. She earned a B.S. in Health Services Administration at St. John’s University and earned her M.S. Education in Science and the Public from SUNY University at Buffalo earlier this year. She was recently named as the 2014 Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL) Women’s History Month Awardee in Community Service.

Maria Bea Querido – Seattle, Washington; 28 years old; Program Management and Supply Chain Lead at the Boeing Company; was employed in Lockheed Martin as a Finance and Accounting Analyst; served as vice president of the Filipino Young Professionals in Washington, D.C.; interned at the White House and California State Senator Betty Karnette; graduate of George Washington University and Advanced Project Management Program at Stanford University.

Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. – Tamuning, Guam; 34 years old; second-term as a senator in the Guam Legislature, where he is the Legislature’s Majority Whip and chairman of the Committee on Health and Human Services, Health Insurance Reform, Economic Development and Senior Citizens; previously served as research analyst at the Committee on Municipal Affairs, Aviation, Housing and Recreation; graduate of the University of Guam.

Edward N. Santos – New York, New York; 27 years old; Consultant at School Professionals. Served in Teach for America, based in East Harlem, New York, where he worked with underserved students; recipient of special recognition for volunteer service by Rep. Charles Rangel; appointed to Manhattan Community Board 11; graduate of the University of Michigan and PACE University.

2012 FYLPro Delegates


Melissa Apuya – District Representative for California State Legislature Senator Leland Yee. Current Director of Community Affairs of the Young Filipino Professionals Association. Member of the Board of Advisors of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and Board of Directors of the San Francisco Filipino American Democratic Club. Graduated from the University of San Francisco.

Louella Rose Cabalona – Senior Project Manager of Walgreen Company. Founder/writer/singer/ creative director of Samasama Project, Filipino Folk Fusion Band and Performing Arts Group. Producer/actress of Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts-Pintig Cultural Group. Vice President for External Affairs and member of One La Salle Alumni Association of the Midwest. Graduated from De La Salle University in Manila.

Cesario Calanoc – President of ActiVentures Philippine Dive Tours and Managing Director of One Virtual Source. Board Member of the REEF Group, which helps raise awareness in the preservation of Philippine coral reefs. Chosen as ABS-CBN’s Balitang America as a Filipino Champion for philanthropic efforts. Graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.

Gregory Cendana – Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. Founder and President of “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Consulting.” Served as President of the United States Student Association and Foundation. At UCLA, involved with Samahang Pilipino as Kabalikat Coordinator. Serves on the national board for Kaya: Filipinos for Progress and the national advisory board for Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. Recently elected a D.C. delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Labor & Workplace Studies Minor.

Alexander De Ocampo – Senior Program and Project Manager of Saban Family Foundation and Saban Capital Group Corporate Affairs. First Filipino American elected as President of California College Democrats and California Young Democrats. Member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Asian Americans Pacifics in Entertainment. Former member of the California Advisory Board on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency. Graduated from California State University, Northridge.

Angela Lagdameo – Senior Analyst at the Office of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Founded Maryland Democratic Party’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Leadership Council. Recently elected as delegate to the Democratic National Convention to represent Maryland Congressional District 7. Recognized with a Philippine American Foundation for Charities Dakila Achievement Award for Public Service. At the University of Maryland, where she graduated, served as first Asian American female to become Student Body President following stint as President of the Asian American Student Union. Obtained her Master’s degree at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she started the Religion, Ethics & Public Policy Interest Caucus and was a member of the Diversity Committee.

Francine Maigue – Artistic Director/Public Relations Manager of Mystic Entertainment and Staff Writer/Weekly Columnist/Community Events Producer of Filipino Press. Also works as Creative Director of Star Media and GMA Pinoy TV Networks. Served the Filipino American community in San Diego as Miss Philippines 1999. Graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in World Arts and Cultures and from Harvard University with a Master’s Degree – specialization in General Management and Operations. Recipient of numerous awards at UCLA and founded the Women’s Empowerment Convention & Network at Harvard.

Steven Raga – Graduate student at Harvard University. Founded and organized Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro). Member of the Board of Directors of the Filipino Children’s Fund. Served as President of the Philippine United Student Organization at Stony Brook University, National Director and National Secretary for the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue and subsequently elected as its National Chairman, East Coast Director for the Sandiwa National Alliance of Fil-Am Youth, National Youth Director for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, President of Cornell University’s Society for Asian American Graduate Affairs and Campaign Officer for Asian Pacific Americans for Actions.

Michael Vea – Co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Infinity Charter School in New York City and teacher of 7th Grade American History and Journalism. The KIPP Infinity Charter School has consistently received an “A” rating from New York City’s Department of Education. In the 2008-2009 school year, the school was ranked the top public middle school in New York City. Recipient of the Frederick Sontag Prize in Urban Education and the Kinder Award for Excellence in Teaching. Graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Social Policy and from Pace University with a Master’s in Teaching.

Kit Zulueta – Communication Director for Maui County Council, former Deputy Chief of Staff, Maui County Mayor’s Office. Former Executive Assistant for Senator Loren Legarda in the Philippines.  Current Vice President of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce and PRO of UP Alumni Association of Hawaii. Creative mind behind Kit Zulueta Productions. Second dan black belt in shotokan karate. Graduated from the University of the Philippines, cum laude, BA Film and Audio Visual Communications. Other advocacies include promoting Philippines via ag tourism with rosafarms.com and extreme adventures with playphilippines.com. Columnist for FilAm Courier newspaper.


Related links:
31/05/2012: Names of 10 Chosen FAYLP Participants Announced by Ambassador Cuisia
15/05/2013: 10 FilAm Youth Leaders to Take Part in 2013 FYLPRO in Manila