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Pinay Visionaries Awards and Signal Rock Screening Kicks Off Filipino American History Month in the Midwest

Last October 3, the Alliance Francaise de Chicago hosted two big events for the Filipino American community – the 2019 Filipino American History Month (FAHM) Kick-Off ceremony led by Philippine Consul General of Chicago Gina A. Jamoralin and the Chicago premiere of the movie Signal Rock, Asian Pop-up Cinema and the Filipino Young Leaders Program’s offering for FAHM .

“Your presence here signifies your dedication, your commitment to really strengthen and unify the Filipino communities here in the United States, particularly here in Chicago and to also highlight our contributions to your adopted country,” said Jamoralin, delivering remarks on the occasion of the start of the FAHM celebration in the Midwest commemorated every October.

Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, 12th President of De Paul University, who has led the university since July 2017 was guest speaker. Consul General Jamoralin and Dr. Esteban also awarded three (3) Filipina visionaries – Ms. Venus Veronica B. Leighton, Ms. Adeline A. Fajardo, and Ms. Estrella R. Alamar – for their significant contributions to history and for paving the way for the Filipino American community in the Midwest.

Delivering the welcome remarks on behalf of the Filipino-American community was Mr. Ruben Salazar, President of the Philippine American Cultural Foundation. Louella Cabalona of FYLPRO and Via Times News Magazine was Master of Ceremonies.

Immediately following the Kick Off, Sophia Wong Boccio, Executive Director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema welcomed guests to the Signal Rock screening, aimed to raise funds for FYLPRO’s annual immersion program to the Philippines.

Consul General Jamoralin congratulated FYLPRO and APUC for organizing a film showing of the critically acclaimed Philippine movie directed by Filipino director, Chito Roño. Jan Paul Ferrer, Dr. Melissa Palma and Louella Cabalona, FYLPRO alumni from the Midwest spoke briefly about FYLPRO, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization of high-performing, next-generation leaders that have a passion for advancing the Philippines and the Filipino people and the importance of the immersion program inviting the audience to spread the word to potential candidates for next year.

In attendance was Mr. Christian Bables, the lead actor of the film who flew in from the Philippines. He was awarded the Bright Star Award presented by Chris Huang of ADG just before the film showing.

The Chicago community present was enthralled by Bables’ performance that earned him Best Leading actor in the recent Hanoi International Film Festival. They actively participated in the Q&A session moderated by Cabalona where Bables’ shared details behind the scenes while filming in Biri, Samar, the location of the movie and his passion for his craft, speaking in both Tagalog and English.

To cap the celebration, an exclusive reception and meet and greet offered Filipino favorites Pancit Bihon and Lumpia by Isla Filipino Restaurant and Bibingka and Ube Ice Cream Sandwich by Meat on the Street. Alexa Alfaro along with Mark Calaguas also served Coconut Rock, a special cocktail she created for the event using Philippine brand, Tanduay Rhum.

Guests also took the opportunity to take photos with the Filipino Celebrity while enjoying the food and meeting other members of the Chicago Asian American community.

“On behalf of FYLPRO, we would like to thank Sophia Wong Boccio for partnering with us and to the Filipino American Community in Chicago and our sponsors and partners for making this event a huge success,” says Cabalona who led in organizing the day’s events.

Boccio and Cabalona closed the evening encouraging guests to watch upcoming movies featured in Asian Popup Cinema and participate in other activities lined up for Filipino American History Month including the Filipino Restaurant Week from Oct 6 to 21.


Pinay Visionaries Venus Veronica B. Leighton, Adeline A. Fajardo and Estrella R. Alamar (2nd to 4th fr left) receives their award of recognition from Consul General Gina Jamoralin and Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban (3rd and 2nd fr right) along with Ruben Salazar (far left) and Master of Ceremonies, Louella Cabalona (far right) (Photo Credits: Markus Allen Photography)


Jordan Miller, representative of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot presents the Proclamation from the Office of the Mayor recognizing October as Filipino American History Month in the City of Chicago to Consul General Gina Jamoralin (Photo Credits: Markus Allen Photography)


Pianist Orlando Cabalona Sr. along with son Baron Cabalona on Double Bass performed Filipino classics during the Filipino American History Kick Off at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago (Photo Credits: Markus Allen Photography)


Guests at the Kick off – (L-R) Mark Calaguas, Amando Boncales, Maryrose Ople, Gigi Guzman RN, Pinay Visionary Adeline Fajardo, PMAC President Lourdes D. Floro MD, Pinay Visionary Estrella Alamar (seated), PMAC Secretary Maria Gaddi Herrera MD, PMAC President-Elect Zosimo Herrera MD, Gerardo Guzman MD member PMAC Board of Governors. (Photo Credits: Markus Allen Photography)


Filipino Actor Christian Bables holding his Bright Star Award with FYLPRO alumni from the Midwest (clockwise from top left) Marjorie Baltazar, Louella and Baron Cabalona, Jan Paul Ferrer, Lakhi Siap, Abbey Eusebio, Dr. Melissa Palma, Everett Icao and Mark Calaguas (Photo Credits: Black Adobo Production)


Guests enjoying the reception and meet and greet after the movie: (clockwise from top left) Susan Silvano, Michi Nafarrete, Mavie Valera, Emman Mijares, Fides Balita, Ann Abueg, Jenny Roan, Dan Abueg, Paula Arnedo and Anjo Guillermo (Photo Credits: Black Adobo Production)


Actor Christian Bables giddily answers a question as Q&A Moderator Louella Cabalona joins in the laughter (Photo Credits: Black Adobo Production)


Aimée Laberge of Alliance Francaise, Sophia Wong Boccio of Asian Pop-Up Cinema and Louella Cabalona of FYLPRO
(Photo Credits: Abhishek Dasgupta/APUC)


Pinay Visionary Veronica Leighton (middle) with Husband Joe Mauricio and Louella Cabalona


Christian Bables (center) with Sophia Wong Boccio (far right) and (fr L to R) the all volunteer staff of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, Gavin Guo, Haotian Gao, Kenny Zhao, Justin Kuo and Tracy Chan (Photo Credits: Abhishek Dasgupta/APUC)


Artist Jose Aggari, Meat on the Street co-owner Alexa Alfaro, APUC Staff Ivy, Louella ad Baron Cabalona (Photo Credits: Black Adobo Production)

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