Young Fil-Am journalist sweeps Plaridel Awards in SF

Plaridel Awards night: Clockwise from top right, Odette Keeley of New America Media and Joseph Peralta of Philippine American Press Club USA emceeing; Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr. ; PAPC President Esther Misa Chavez welcoming guests. SONIA DELEN

Plaridel Awards night: Clockwise from top right, Odette Keeley of New America Media and Joseph Peralta of Philippine American Press Club USA emceeing; Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr. ; PAPC President Esther Misa Chavez welcoming guests. SONIA DELEN

SAN FRANCISCO – A 23-year-old journalism graduate of George Washington University ran away with five trophies at the Fifth Plaridel Awards held Friday, Oct. 7 to a packed Kalayaan Hall at the Philippine Center on Sutter Street in San Francisco.

Christina Oriel of Asian Journal racked up a first in the history of The Plaridel, which provides a platform for previously unknown journalists covering the Filipino American community. She topped in five reporting categories.

The Philippine American Press Club USA in 2012 established the awards for excellence in Filipino American journalism as an annual competition open to journalists whose work appeared in a Filipino American publication.

“The 2016 Plaridel Awards was a milestone for PAPC. We’re on our fifth year and honored over 60 Filipino American journalists,” said PAPC President Esther Misa Chavez.

The evening’s program was dedicated to Ness Ocampo, veteran radio broadcaster, who recently passed away.

The organization started the PAPC Journalism Scholarship to assist aspiring college bound journalist and is sponsoring a child in the Philippines to be “off the streets and off to school” through Philippine International Aid, which has sent 50,000 children to school and just celebrated its 30th year.

The Torch Bearer Awards were given at the same event, honoring media and community leaders “for selflessly dedicating unmeasured time and boundless energy towards projects and activities that enable the Filipino American press/community to thrive.”

Consul General of San Francisco,Henry S. Bensurto, Jr., an expert in international marine law, was honored for his stellar contribution to the legal team at the Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague which ruled in favor of the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea issue.


SOMA Filipinas and Consul Gen. Bensurto received PAPC’s Torchbearer Awards. VALERIE FRANCISCO/SONIA DELEN

SOMA Filipinas, a project resulting from the Filipino American Development Foundation’s five-year advocacy to reclaim the historic Filipino district in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, was hailed for its “leadership in community building.”

Keynote speaker was Ted Unarce, award-wining film producer, author and founder of NDS Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to aiding victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. He also co-founded TWIFF, ( Third World Independent Film Festival, which was recently held in San Francisco.

Christina Oriel of Asian Journal. LINKED IN

Christina Oriel of Asian Journal. LINKED IN

Unarce’s award-winning documentaries include “Modern Day Slaves,” which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival and subsequently screened at institutions of higher learning across the United States. He urged Fil-Am journalists to write like they were writing for mainstream America.

Winners of 2016 Plaridel Awards were:

Best In-Depth/Investigative Story, Christina Oriel, Asian Journal

Immigrants encouraged to naturalize despite barriers”,

Best Editorial/Commentary, Wilfredo Pascual,

“How to remember Larry”

Best News Story, Christina Oriel, Asian Journal

“Hillary Clinton seeks support from FilAm, AAPI Voters”

Best Youth Voice- Christina Oriel, Asian Journal, “Filipino teacher honored by White House, LA City Hall”

Best Entertainment Story, Lotis Key, Positively Filipino , “Standing Room Only”

Best Food Story, Christina Oriel, Asian Journal, “LASA, FilAm chefs experiment Filipino flavors at Unit 120 in Chinatown

Best Personal Essay, Jennifer Suzara Cheng,, “Jennifer’s diary: Martial Law through a child’s eyes”

Best Feature Story, Emil Guillermo,, “Thousands of Filipino American WWII Vets make appeals over equity pay denial”

Best Profile Writing, Christina Oriel, Asian Journal, “An inside look at the life of LA Superior Court Judge Teresa Magno “

Best International Reporting (Tie)Jesse T. Reyes. The Filipino Press

“This one’s for all the courageous Checks who were the only other battling bastards of Bataan, too” and Manzel Delacruz, Positively Filipino, “Missions Possible”

Best Television Community Reporting, Henni Espinosa, Balitang America, “OFW concerns”

Best Television Documentary, Rommel Conclara, Balitang America, “Filipino Chef Sharwin”

Best Tourism Feature,“My Tarlac lights up the world with Belenismo,Elizabeth Ann Quirino, Positively Filipino”

Best Sports Story, Jesse T. Reyes, The Filipino Press, “Fierce fascination and fondness for ballin’ basketball forever”

Eleven-year-old Janelle Ferraro, who recently won the 2016 Junior Champion of the World Competition of Performing Artists, and Myles Garcia, who describes himself as “an amateur raconteur who dabbles in the treasures of the International and Great American Songbooks,” entertained the guests.

Sponsors were Philippine Airlines, Pacific Gas & Electric, Dept. of Tourism, and Mango Tours.


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