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Filipino American History Month “Extended” Events This Fall Season


By: Lou Maningas Cabalona


Temperatures are dropping and days are growing shorter! Yes, it sounds like right time to take out your snuggies and fleece blankets and get caught up on what’s on Netflix.

But before you put together a movie binge list that will last through March next year, note that October is Filipino American History Month and with all the special events that have been scheduled, clearly, a whole month is not enough to commemorate the celebration!

As a matter of fact, the festivities started early with the Wheaton College 4-week Film Series on Life, Death, Family and Faith in Philippine Film which opened last September 8.

Curated by the school’s John Stott Visiting International Scholar for 2017, Dr. Anthony “Bong” De La Fuente, a Filipino Theologian and pastor, featured four highly acclaimed Filipino movies – Transit, Thy Womb, A Thing Called Tadhana and Muro-Ami, — that highlights the diversity of experiences of the modern day Filipino and how the stories reflect our culture and values.

I had a chance to attend closing night where guests, mostly students, came to see Muro-Ami (Reef Hunters), a 1999 Filipino film that depicts one of the worst forms of child labor in the illegal fishing system. The film follows the story of Fredo, a ruthless captain of 150 Muro Ami divers, who blames the sea for his family’s death and exacts revenge by plundering its depths.

On top of having a chance to see this multi-awarded film, it was also engaging to hear the questions and insights of the non-Filipino attendees regarding the main character’s motives which Dr. De La Fuente framed fittingly as a product of the Filipino’s belief and value system.

It was enlightening to understand more about yourself through other people’s eyes!

Although the series has ended, you can still catch a couple of excellent movie screenings as well as other events that are both entertaining and educational this October.

You can experience a Food Festival showcasing specialties from different regions in the Philippines, explore exhibits on Filipino American History, participate in free workshops that tackle immigration issues affecting Filipinos and Filipino Americans, be part of a special Filipino Eucharistic celebration, and of course, be serenaded by the best Filipino American talents across the nation in a much awaited one night only concert!

Since the Holidays in the Philippines pretty much starts around (US) Labor Day, you can even have a chance to experience Philippine Christmas as early as November!

Check out the happenings around Chicagoland and other nearby big cities in the Midwest that might make you want to take one last (post) summer family outing, one last road trip before the snow takes over the highways!


Oct 20, Friday 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm – ISFFA Induction Dinner.* Victoria in the Park, 1700 Elmhurst, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056. (Contact 312- 240-9500 / chicagoisffa.officer@gmail.com, Sponsor: ISFFA)

Oct 21, Saturday 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm – Regional Food Fare.* Filipino Cultural Center, 9810 We 79th St. Overland Park, KS 66204. (Contact Ms. Lucila Rider 816-522-3854 /rider1215@yahoo.com, Sponsor: Filipino American Association of Greater Kansas City (FAAGK)

Oct 21, Saturday 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Migration Stories of Inheritance Part I.* Turkish American Society, 501 Midway Dr, Mt Prospect, IL 60056. (Contact Mr. Ruben Salazar 630-969-2971, Sponsor: FAHSC)

Oct 22, Sunday 12:00 noon – FAHM celebration in Mundelein. Mass in the chapel. St. Maria del Popolo, 116 North Lake Street, Mundelein, IL 60060. (Contact Ms. Yolly Rodrigo 847-951-0148)

Oct 22, Sunday 5:30 pm – FFM’s Handog 2017. IFI Good Shepherd Congregation, 4707 W. Pratt Avenue Lincolnwood, IL 60712. (Contact Nerissa Allegretti 224-381-6888 /allegrettineris@yahoo.com)

Oct 28, Saturday 3:00 pm – Migration Stories of Inheritance Part II.* Trickster Art Gallery, 190 S. Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193. (Contact Mr. Ruben Salazar 630-969-2971, Sponsor: FAHSC)

Oct 28, Saturday, 5:00 pm – Film showing of “Amigo” from the acclaimed writer-director John Sayles. The film was set in 1900 during the Filipino American War starring Joel Torre, Chris Cooper, Rio Locsin, Bembol Roco and Yul Vasquez. Tagalog with English subtitles. Central United Methodist Church, 8237 N. Kenton, Skokie, IL 60076. (Contact Mr. Mariano Santos 847-528-4991)

Oct 29, Sunday 2:00 pm – FAHM Display Exhibits & Film showing of “Amigo” from the acclaimed writer-director John Sayles. The film was set in 1900 during the Filipino American War starring Joel Torre, Chris Cooper, Rio Locsin, Bembol Roco and Yul Vasquez. Tagalog with English subtitles. Indian Prairie Library, 401 Plainfield Rd, Darien, IL 60561. (Contact Mr. Jose Soloria 630-915-5956 / jsoloria@ comcast.net, Sponsor: FAASD)

Nov 11, Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm – “Know Your Rights on Immigration”. A free educational event on immigration issues affecting the Filipino and Filipino-American community. Hana Center, 4300 N. California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618. (Registration via www. falachicago.org, Sponsors: AFIRE Chicago, FALA Chicago, NaFFAA Illinois Chapter)

Nov 18, Saturday, 11:00 am to 12:00nn – Christmas Around the World: Philippines The Museum of Science and Industry’s beloved annual celebration features an exhibit of more than 50 trees representing the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe from November to January. As part of the live holiday performances all weekends of the season, the PACF Performing Arts and SamaSama Project will be showcasing Filipino folk dances and Christmas carols to museum guests on Nov 18 at 11am. Show is free with museum entrance. MSI is at 700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637 (Contact Lily at 708-528- 6321 or email samasamaproject@ gmail.com)

Dec 3, Sunday, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm – “The Crystal Voice and the Piano”* Filipino American Heritage and Cultural Arts of Indiana presents the Crystal Voice of Asia, Sheryn Regis and Inspirational Pianist, Joel Sebag with Special Guest, Chicago-based Filipino Fusion band SamaSama Project for a pre-Christmas treat of world-class live entertainment in the stunningly beautiful Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 West Washington St. Indianapolis, Indiana. $75 ticket includes dinner and concert. (Contact Lily at 708-528-6321 or email samasamaproject@ gmail.com)

Dec 10 and 17, Sundays, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm – Namamasko Sa Tahanan N’yo (Caroling In Your Home) – Singer and musician members of the Filipino Musicians of Chicago are coming to your homes to sing your favorite Christmas carols as part of their fundraising for upcoming musical workshops for children slated for the summer of 2018. Limited slots are for caroling are available. (If interested, Contact Lily at 708-528-6321 or email samasamaproject@ gmail.com)

Most of the above-mentioned events offer FREE admission to the public. Please be sure to RSVP the contact person for each of the events and take note that those marked with an asterisk (*) are ticketed events.

Louella Maningas Cabalona is a singer, actor, and Senior Manager for Business Analytics, Sears Holdings. She is the lead singer of the Filipino Folk band, SamaSama Project; an active Board member of the League of Volunteers for Relief Expeditions and the Young Business United and is one of the inaugural delegates of the FYLPRO Immersion program of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. She is passionate about sharing Filipino culture in the modern world and actively supports all outstanding Filipinos around the globe. If you would like to connect, email louellarose@gmail.com


With Dr. Anthony “Bong” De La Fuente, a Filipino Theologian and Visiting Scholar at Wheaton College


Dr. Brian Howell, professor at Wheaton College watches on as Dr. De La Fuente chats with some of the few guests


Female singers of the SamaSama Family Choir after the “Christmas Around the World” performance (from L-R) Lou Ella Rose, Mary Ann Espanola, Melody Dizon, Rosemarie Tom, Alice Arellano, Ellen Delarosa Hamblet, Abegail Rodriquez, Ella Rabor, Angie Maranan


Sheryn Regis, ” The Crystal Voice of Asia” Live in Indianapolis with guest Joel Sebag – Inspirational pianist, SamaSama Project – Chicago based Filipino Band on December 3, 2017 at the The Indiana Roof Ballroom


Representing the Philippines at Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the world are the members of the SamaSama Family Choir and PACF Performing Arts


The SamaSama Family Choir composed of singers and musicians posing backstage after their successful “Christmas Around the World” performance representing the Philippines at the Museum of Science and Industry

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