Jazz, Race and Churches

A MacArthur Foundation "genius" award is no small thing to scoff at (Google it and see how prized it is) and Han Ong, our featured author/playwright this week, is one of them. Contributing writer Elaine Elinson writes about this Filipino Chinese American phenom whose latest work, Grandeur, about another enigmatic genius Gil Scott-Heron ("godfather of hip hop") is currently being staged at San Francisco's Magic Theater. Positively Filipino readers get a 20% discount until the end of the play's run on June 25 so don't miss this rare chance to bask in the magic of genius.

Speaking of awesome, some churches in the Philippines definitely fall under this category as Ortigas Foundation Executive Director and PF Correspondent John Silva shows us in "Exceptional Philippine Churches." Keep this guide handy for your next visit to the Philippines.

Racial slur or First Amendment right? The US Supreme Court allowed an Asian American band to use the name "The Slants" under the Freedom of Speech provision. Contributing writer Ed Diokno however declares the name "A Racial Slur By All Means." What do you think?

Some historical Read Agains:

Liana Romulo's report on her distinguished grandfather's singular feat, "When Lolo's Debating Team Vanquished America"

Dr. Penelope V. Flores' popular essay, "How Filipinos Got Their Surnames"

And for your reading pleasure, a smorgasbord of In The Know links: 

The Battle for Marawi City

Hiding Christians in the Basement: Fear and Heroism in a Philippine War Zone

‘Clean your weapons,’ Iligan mayor tells gun owners as military bares Maute plan for city

Rizal's life in Germany revisited in new map

Señorita Bread Is a Carb Addiction Waiting to Happen

Author/foodie and PF Correspondent Elizabeth Ann Quirino shares with us her version of "Sabaw ng Munggo Guisado" which, she discovered, was Jose Rizal's favorite dish to cook while in exile in Dapitan.

Our Video of the Week: Australia's Marc Fennell interviews Lea Salonga on her career on Broadway.

Special Discount for Positively Filipino Readers

Grandeur will run until June 25. Readers of Positively Filipino can use the code GRANDEUR20 for 20% off tickets to GRANDEUR.[This offer expires on June 25, 2017. Discount is available on all seats. All seats are best available. Offer not valid on previous purchases and cannot be combined with any other offer. All tickets are subject to availability. Subject to change. Service charges apply to all orders.]

For tickets: http://magictheatre.org/

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino

Birds and Spirits

There's something about bird watching that brings out the poetry in everyone, particularly if you're already an award-winning poet/playwright like Reuel Molina Aguila. In "On the Wings of Bird Poems," contributing writer Ed Maranan, himself an award-winning poet and author, lets us soar on Molina Aguila's bird photographs that are accompanied by his poetry and Maranan's translations. 

Another uplifting story this week is Toronto-based contributor Maripi Leynes' profile of Arlene Oliveros, the first female Filipino certified sommelier. With the spunk and determination common among immigrants, Oliveros worked her way from caregiving to becoming a wine expert. Read "The Spirit Moves Her" and be inspired.

Father's Day happens in a few days and we wish to celebrate all fathers and mom-dads out there. Our publisher Mona Lisa Yuchengco shares with us the touching story of her father, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, who passed away recently after living a long, colorful and substantial life. 

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

How ISIS Got a Foothold in the Philippines

Rape within the family: The Philippines' silent incest problem

Priest brings psychosocial help to Mindanao conflict zone

Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy

10 Must-Visit Libraries in Metro Manila

And our post-Independence Day Happy Home Cook recipe is Arroz A La Cubana from PF Correspondent and foodie Elizabeth Ann Quirino.

Our Video of the Week: The Sing Philippines Youth Choir made up of 100 singers from from all over the country, surprise the commuters of LRT Line 2 with a flash mob performance.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino


Another June, another beginning (summer in the western hemisphere, the school year and the rainy season in the Philippines), another Independence Day celebration.

In Los Angeles, the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) will perform another enchanting concert with "The Maestro from Kawit," Bob Shroder at the helm as conductor and musical director. Contributing writer Carlos Zialcita, a professional musician himself, writes about Shroder, who declares himself "pinoy na pinoy," and the pleasure of sitting in on the rehearsal of FASO as it prepares for its annual concert on June 17.

Switching back to the Motherland, San Francisco Bay Area-based professor Michael Gonzalez revisits Baguio, a city which holds some cherished memories for him but he hasn't seen for 40 years. In "Baguio On My Mind," he notes the transformation of the provincial city of his childhood to the "super-urban" metropolis that it is now. 

As we commemorate another June 12, it's always fitting to Read Again Oscar Peñaranda's serendipitious "A Reunion of Strangers" and how it led him to the flag that his grandfather carried as he fought in the Filipino-American War at the turn of the 20th century. 

And how about making champorado from scratch? Mike Grajewski of the popular Uncle Mike's Place in Chicago, gives us his version of the traditional favorite "chocolate rice" breakfast fare. 

Here's our In The Know lineup of links to various publications this week:

Philippine sectarian bloodshed unites Muslims and Christians

Filipinos Flee Duterte’s Violent Drug Crackdown

Remembering the Manongs and Story of the Filipino Farm Worker Movement

7 Recipes Any Cebuano Would Love

Our Video of the Week, we feature a video of historical photos set to soprano Conching Rosal's “Kundiman ng Magandang Diwata” and “Mutya ng Pasig.'


Who can best shine a light on that nostalgic place where a part of you still resides than you, whose childhood memories are full of the wonders of growing up in that special place? Write about your hometown and/or send us an old photograph with a description of how your hometown looks and how it makes you feel. 

Send to pfeditor@yahoo.com and we will post them so the whole world can share the wonder.

Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino