Three Commemorations and a Headache

Our Vancouver-based contributor Sandie Gilles writes a fitting Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada) tribute not just to our valiant fighting soldiers, but also to her mother, Dr. Alice Benitez, who is actively promoting the Filipino veterans' cause in speeches and during the recent awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, DC.

A commemoration of a century-old miracle is bringing thousands of Catholic pilgrims to Fatima, among them our publisher, Mona Lisa Yuchengco, who brings us her pictorial essay on her pilgrimage and the Filipinos she met along the way.

And another commemoration: on the 4th anniversary of the devastating super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, American film producer/director Nick Spark, who was there shortly after the disaster happened to shoot his award-winning documentary Right Footed, returns to Tacloban and finds a markedly different -- and inspiring -- scene.

Back to the present and immediate future: the proposed House Republican tax reform bill hits home for seniors like Evangeline Canonizado Buell, who has to contend with senior ailments, rising health care costs and, if the bill passes, possible penury. We're posting her testimony here that she delivered during a press conference in San Francisco on the real-life effects of the bill.

For those of you who wondered where you got your surname, here's a popular Read Again:

And our In The Know links for this week:

Why should Trump care about thousands killed, when there are deals to be done?

Thirty countries use 'armies of opinion shapers' to manipulate democracy – report

Meet the Filipina supervising animator behind the upcoming Pixar film Coco

Butterfly in the Spring's feature on Sunshine Puey

Thanksgiving in the US is just a few sleeps away but before you indulge yourself in rich, fatty, cholesterol-laden dishes, how about enjoying a meal of Vegan Filipino Spaghetti? Vegan chef Richgail Enriquez lends us her recipe.

Our Video of the Week features a a little boy with a big achievement: Enzo Cox, a Filipino American, delivers a stirring TED talk.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino

Mother Mary's Call and Hope for Children

As we all know, the Catholic world is big on miracles, thus this entire year it celebrates the centenary of the miracle of Fatima, with thousands of pilgrims visiting Portugal to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. For Linda Nietes-Little, who owns the most established Filipino bookstore in southern California, her affirmation of faith is more personal and she shares with us her story, "When Mama Mary Called from Fatima."

Moving now to the secular world, Los Angeles-based fashion designer Oliver Tolentino headlines this year's fundraising event for Philippine International Aid (PIA), the foundation established more than 30 years by our publisher, Mona Lisa Yuchengco. PIA provides educational funds for needy children in the Philippines. Tolentino, a stalwart in the Hollywood fashion scene, has prepared a collection of 60 new and original outfits for the November 19 extravaganza in San Francisco, as he tells PF Correspondent Myles A. Garcia. Read the story for more details.

Every year, art-inclined staff of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center participate in the UCSF ARTshow, an event that combines treatment modalities and the creative arts in one of the country's most famous medical facility. Regular PF contributor Manzel Delacruz highlights the works of two Filipino Americans -- sculptor Rex Dacanay and painter/illustrator Nannette Nemenzo (a distant relation), both analysts in the Department of Pediatrics.

Everyone's gearing up for Christmas and for this week's Happy Home Cook, we feature the Macadamia-Jackfruit Cake of San Francisco foodie Voltaire Gungab -- a cake pretty and delicious enough for gift-giving or for enjoying with the clan.

Here's our In The Know links for this week:

The True Story of the Mindanaoan Slave Whose Skin Was Displayed at Oxford

The Fascinating History Behind Pinoy Slang

Celebrating Fil-Am History Month without Fil-Am History

Dignified: A Filipina Taking Pride in Caregiving

And our Video of the Week: AJ Plus' Sana Saeed looks into the history of Filipino American nurses.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino

Heroes Old and New

The recently ended war in Marawi City was an unfamiliar one for the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was not guerrilla warfare, the strategy that the communist insurgency had long employed and on which the army is trained. It was urban warfare -- face-to-face, street-to-street fighting, with the enemy well-armed and well-motivated, its troop movements almost as organized and as massive as the republic's defenders. Thus, along with the immeasurable costs of infrastructure damage, lives and properties lost, and intense traumas among fighters and civilians, come tales of spine-tingling heroism from soldiers who had to employ every iota of courage, bravado, military knowledge and quick-thinking each of them possessed to save their lives and those of their troops, and to attain the objectives of their operations.

One such outstanding fighter was Lt. Geraldo Alvarez of the 51st Mechanized Infantry Company, who was tasked early on in the Marawi siege to rescue an officer wounded in the battlefield. What was normally a relatively easy operation transformed into a very intense four-day battle that Alvarez and his platoon never anticipated. Veteran journalist Criselda Yabes, who spent almost ten hours interviewing Alvarez, writes "Escape Through Death's Door," the very detailed narrative of a military operation that reads better than any fictional movie script.

Meanwhile, Heroes from a different war are the focus of Washington DC-based contributor Jon Melegrito, who reports on the long-overdue Congressional Gold Medal award for Filipino veterans of WWII. 

First-time contributor José Esteban Arcellana recalls the day he departed for the US and the variety of emotions it extracted from him and his family. "Departure Date 1973.August.05" is the first of our Immigrant Stories series. I hope we get yours soon. 

Here's our In the Know compilation of stories this week that will pique your interest:

How could Martial Law happen?

How Scout Ranger commander won hostages’ release

Migrant Life in Qatar

How Daly City's Filipino Mobile DJ Scene Changed Hip-Hop Forever

And for our Happy Home Cook, enjoy Beef Pot Roast, a traditional American dish with a Filipino twist, as shared by my friend, Melanie Q. Suzara.

And for Video of the Week, Catherine Ceniza Choy reads excerpts from her book “Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History” at Berkeley Writers at Work. 

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino