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Welcome & Salute to the Hall of Famers 2018


By: Veronica Leighton


For the 24th annual Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame gala awards event, we are honored and proud to welcome all the 2018 inductees who have accomplished so much to excel in their varied passions, professions and interests, but also have extended their unselfish help and magnetic presence to the communities at-large. Their endeavors have gained recognitions all over as good work cannot be left unnoticed and would always leave indelible marks in this world.

These twenty awardees’ most impressive bios are fully detailed in the souvennir book that’s coming out at the most-awaited gala event, but we have printed capsulized versions on pages 36-37 to complement the VT cover feature in this edition..

We are happy to announce that our keynote speaker is coming directly from the Philippines, Attorney Wilma Eisma. Ms. Eisma is Chairman and Administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), former government position of Senator Richard Gordon. She successfully managed over three million dollars in contributions and community relations and farmer relations budget annually. She also handled and coordinated with NGO and government partners in the implementation of PMI projects. Moreover, she provided direction, supervision, and management of the company’s public affairs and contribution programs, the majority of which received various international awards in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Her knowledge in government processes, culture, and engagement brought about the enactment of the Philippine Tobacco Regulatory Act of 2003 and the Amendment to the Excise Law in 2005 and 2012.

In 2005, as Manager for Government Relations, she received the PMI President’s Award. Her work also earned her the PMI Excellence Award in 2003, 2007, and 2011. She was recognized in 2009 as an awardee of the PMI Best Contribution Program, and in 2010, the PMI Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award.

Atty. Eisma is much at home in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. As a young lawyer, she started her career as the Executive Assistant to the Chairman and member of the Legal Department during the Agency’s early years (1993 to 1998). During her tenure, she assisted in the efficient administration and supervision of SBMA, including policy-making and issues and crisis management. She was a member of the Agency team that successfully negotiated the World Bank’s assistance, as well as the entry/investment of Federal Express and various international and local investors, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs. Furthermore, she represented SBMA in local judicial courts and oversaw the SBMA Housing Department.

Before joining the private sector, she continued her public career as Head Executive Assistant and Legal Counsel to the House of Representative’s Majority Floor Leader from 1998 to 2000, and thereafter, as Chief of Staff of the Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry for a year.

A member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Atty. Eisma holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence, Ateneo De Manila University, College of Law. She was also a member of the Philippine Delegation, 1989 UNIV Forum in Rome, Italy.

For our VIA Man and Woman of the Year category, we have picked two charismatic successful personalities who are real movers and shakers in our own community as well as the communities at-large. I must mention that VIA stands for Vision, Insights/Intelligence, & Achievements, and these individuals have all these good qualities that fit well into this most coveted title.

NICK VERA PEREZ, VIA MAN OF THE YEAR: Progressively taking hikes, our VIA Man of the Year 2018, recently opened his very own entertainment company, cultivating and nurturing real and raw talents, up-lifting them to a higher standard of show business. The NVP1WORLD takes pride in being one of the major sponsors in the recently-concluded Miss Earth United States Illinois 2018, and Mr. United Nations USA 2018, supporting the conservation of earth. For his Vision, Insights, Achievements, he has supported humanitarian services hands-on and both fundraising activities; feeding the extremely cancer-stricken children, granting wishes for elderlies, and now supporting the JOMALIG project, backed up by USTNAI.

Recently, he had a very successful part 2 of his Album I Am Ready 32 concert tours in Manila Malls in 17 days, his album which bears inspirational songs are all soaring high, both in downloads and charts and has received a life-changing nomination as one of the nominated Best New Male Recording Artists bearing The Warner Music Philippines label in the recently-concluded Star Awards for Music (similar to Grammys). His next return this coming May to June 2019 bears NVPhilippines Part 3, will navigate the 68 shows in 56 days in all campuses and other provincial mall visits. He is still our top-notch finale Tv Host for Let’s Dance with Nick @ CPRTV! A nursing professional of 25 years with being a leader and achiever, all these encompass our 2018 Man Of The Year with titles bestowed on him; 2018 Entertainer Of The Year, 2018 Entrepreneur Excellence, 2018 Humanitarian Excellence, 2018 Mr Popularity and 2018 Mr Personality! With all of these, he marks his spot in the show business and has gained our trust as the Most Outstanding Staff of CPRTV!


Rowena Salas was born in Davao City, Philippines where her family lived for many years until the early 70s when they moved to the United States. Settling near the Chicago area, Rowena went on to attend North Central College where she obtained a degree in Biochemistry, and where she also currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board to the Dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship. After NCC, she continued to Rush University to graduate with a baccalaureate degree in Nursing. She has an extensive background in Neurology and Psychiatry having experiences as a staff nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital and Rush University Medical Center, where she also worked within the Human Resources and Philanthropy & Communications divisions.

Her work experience has branched out from healthcare to areas of business leadership and management, as well as philanthropy in her contributions to many nonprofit organizations such as Fox Valley Hands of Hope, Living Well Cancer Center, Fox Valley Food For Health, and Generation Rescue. Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors of the Greater St. Charles Conventions Visitors Bureau that helps promote the long-term development and marketing of St. Charles, Illinois. Along with philanthropic and community outreach, Rowena also got her entrepreneurial start when she co-owned a hair salon, and then fostered her passion for the arts by opening a fine art gallery representing 35 artists from around the world- –including well renowned Filipino artist, Romi Mananquil.

Rowena’s wide range of previous experiences have been instrumental in her current business endeavors, as well as fueling her passion and active involvement within non-profit organizations. Currently, Rowena is the co-owner of the historic Hotel Baker located on the banks of the Fox River which she and her husband, Joe Salas, acquired in 2003. Since then, it has grown into a thriving family business between her husband and two sons, and it shines as a popular downtown spot for the community of St. Charles..

It has been a tradition in the history of the Hall of Fame awards event that the Man & Woman of the Year open the Awards Ceremony for the evening ny parading around the dance floor while the featured singer sings “Ako ay Pilipino.”.

Here’s a big salute and warm welcome to the twenty most outstanding, most deserving recipients of 2018 Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Famers, now celebrating its 24th year of existence and recognition in our community!



JERRY JOYCE, running for Mayor of Chicago in the coming mayoral race in 2019, will be the recipient of the Friend of the Filipino in Public Service award. Interviewed on CPRTV by Joe Mauricio and VT;s Elsie Sy Niebar, he is shown here with the group of his campaign supporters, from left to right: Joy Rodriguez, Elsie Sy-Niebar, Veronica, Jerry Joyce, Joe Mauricio, Jun Rodriguez, Atty. Gerry Reyes, campaign manager.


A one-on-one interview with HOF awardee Winnalynn Kantaris (Excellence in Law award, by CPRTV Host Veronica).


CPRTV interview host Joe Mauricio interviews Jennifer Roan, CPA, recipient of Excellence in Finance/Accountancy.


Dr. Harold Sy, recipient of Excellence in Medicine award, in a one-on-one interview with Joe Mauricio, CPRTV Interview Host.


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