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Communities> Metro > Virginia
 
 

ABS-CBN International Honors Filipino-American "Unsung Heroes" in the U.S.

U.S. GAWAD GENY LOPEZ JR. BAYANING PILIPINO
Eminent Scientist Receives Award
Virginia's Mendoza, Calderon-Alarcon among 7 finalists

REDWOOD SHORES, CALIF., Apr 27, 2006 (BASTA PINOY NEWS) -- ABS-CBN International (ABS-CBNi), the U.S.-based subsidiary of ABS-CBN Broadcasting, the Philippines' largest entertainment and broadcasting company, announced the recipient for its Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards, Felipe Tolentino, a distinguished scientist and ophthalmologist from Boston. The awards were jointly hosted with the Ugnayan at Tulong para sa Maralitang Pamilya (UGAT) Foundation and honored the seven finalists at a private gala earlier this month.


"The Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards" program aired on The Filipino Channel on April 30th at 1:00 p.m. EDT - 10:00 a.m. PDT.

"To accept this most prestigious award is an overwhelming experience - I'm truly honored and humbled," said Tolentino. "To tell the truth, the achievements for which I'm being honored for were not accomplished by me alone. I would like to dedicate this award to my wife and all the special people who've helped make this possible. I realize that the other finalists are equally deserving of the award and I congratulate them as well."
 
Tolentino founded and leads three medical institutions that have provided free eye consultations and treatment to more than 65,000 patients in Manila. He has also authored and co-authored medical books that have paved the way in saving the sight of many. With nearly 50 years of experience in ophthalmology, Tolentino has made outstanding contributions not only in his specialized field, but for humanity as well. Not only is he a pioneer in the study of the vitreous and retina, Tolentino has consistently led the way for charitable projects benefiting the marginalized sectors in the Philippines.
"As part of our mission to serve fellow Filipinos around the world, this award pays tribute to Filipino values of humanitarianism, industry, determination and dedication to service," said Raffy Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBNi. "Dr. Tolentino embodies all of those admirable qualities and is an excellent example for the great things ordinary people can achieve at improving the lives of others."

The six other finalists honored were: Norma Benzon, Texas; Teresita Calderon-Alarcon, Virginia; Ken Mendoza, Virginia; Joel Sebag, Arkansas; Honesto Tria, California; and Alejandro Vinluan, Wisconsin. This is the second time the award has been issued in North America. As recipient of the award, Tolentino will be representing the U.S. in Manila at a final awards ceremony later this year.

"Dr. Tolentino and all the finalists define what is a leader relevant to today's times," said Fr. Nilo Tanalega, director of UGAT. "They are the unsung heroes of the Filipino-American community who have made public service their personal mission and inspire people everywhere to lend others a helping hand."

Judges for the award included Ruth Cobb-Hill, Ph.D., Francis Padua Papica, Esq., and Rodel Rodis, Esq. Ruth Cobb-Hill is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist from UC Berkeley and has been on the Board of Directors of the Philippine International Aid since 1987. Francis Padua Papica was a recipient of the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards in 2004. Rodel Rodis, Esq. is a columnist, author of the column, "Telltale Signs in America," National Director on Issue for the NaFFAA, and a former President of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.
“Unsung Heroes”

“This year’s finalists represent a breed of extraordinary individuals who have made public service their personal mission as well as their personal responsibility,” said Raffy Lopez, managing director of ABS-CBNi. “These unsung heroes of the Filipino-American community embody all that is good about humanity and inspire Americans of all types.”

The North America finalists, in alphabetical order, are:

Norma Benzon, Texas

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Norma Benzon was one of the first community volunteers responding to the pleas of evacuees by delivering food to affected areas. Based on her established credibility as a volunteer and community leader, Norma was elected Executive Director of a Filipino Disaster Relief Task Force and worked tirelessly in relief efforts. She is a frequent speaker for hurricane recovery efforts and has helped countless people affected by the calamity.
 
Calderon-Alarcon, Virginia
In 1983, Teresita Calderon-Alarcon founded the Feed the Hungry Foundation with her husband. Since then, they have recruited Filipino volunteers in the U.S., distributing food, toys, medicine, school supplies and toiletries to those in need in the motherland. To date, the program has serviced almost 97% of the provinces in the Philippines. Teresita’s enthusiasm and generosity has served as a strategic link between those with a desire to help, and the opportunities where help is needed.

 
  Ken Mendoza, Virginia
Ken Mendoza has taught many young people in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area valuable lessons in life on the basketball courts of the Filipino-American Basketball Association (FABA) that he founded. Through FABA, Ken helped local youths find not only their heritage, culture and roots, but their unique identity as Filipinos-Americans living and thriving in the U.S.
 

Joel Sebag, Arkansas


Joel Sebag is a registered physical therapist and a gifted pianist who utilizes his skills to help people. In 2004, after seeing the unfortunate condition of the abused children in Bulacan, he established the MountainCrest Foundation, providing physical and occupational therapy, rehabilitation and medical supplies to the area. Joel regularly participates in community activities by giving lectures and workshops on health and wellness issues. He also holds concerts to raise the awareness of the Filipinos and Americans in Harrison, Arkansas about the children in the Philippines who are in need of help.

Felipe Tolentino, Massachusetts

Dr. Felipe Tolentino is a distinguished scientist and ophthalmologist. Not only is he a pioneer in the study of the vitreous and retina, Dr. Tolentino has consistently led the way for charitable projects benefiting the marginalized sectors in the Philippines. Dr. Tolentino has founded and headed three medical institutions that have together provided free eye consultations and treatment to more than 65,000 patients in the City of Manila.

Honesto Tria, California

Honesto Tria is a 77-year old retiree and active philanthropist. In his 20-plus years of public service, Honesto has founded and lead several charitable organizations such as Save-a-Tahanan, Inc. (STI), Save a Tahanan Movement Philippines (STMP), and the Association of Former MERALCO Employees (AFME). Knowing and believing in the importance of education, he and his wife also started the self-funded scholarship program, The Concerned Citizens Scholarship Program of USA, in 1996. To date, more than 30 poor students have benefited from the scholarship.

Alejandro Vinluan, Wisconsin

Alejandro Vinluan is a physician who obtained his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1955. Inspired by charitable causes while in practice in the Philippines, he continued his desire to help when he moved to the US. He helped establish the Filipino American Medical Association and the Rizal-MacArthur Memorial Foundation, Inc. Raising funds and sometimes even donating his own money, Alejandro and his medical missions have provided medical treatment, supply, and facilities to many in the Philippines.

_______


The Bayaning Pilipino Awards is a tribute to Filipino values of humanitarianism, industry, determination and dedication to service. The award recognizes every day heroes who have rendered exemplary service to Filipinos everywhere and can be emulated by ordinary people around the world. North America will have one top finalist to be sent to Manila for a final awards event later this year.

ABS-CBN International (ABS-CBNi) was created to be of service for all Filipinos 12 years ago. With the launch of The Filipino Channel, the company was the first and most successful Filipino broadcaster in the U.S. The company offers telecommunication, retail, money remittance and cargo forwarding services along with philanthropic support of Filipinos and the communities they now call home. Based in Redwood Shores, Calif., ABS-CBNi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABS-CBN, the Philippines largest entertainment and broadcasting company. For more information, visit www.abs-cbni.com. (BASTA PINOY NEWS / ABSCBNi)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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