THREE years after leaving the Philippines, Dabawenya TV reporter Ethel Cantor Constantino renews her romance with broadcast journalism as she hosts a Filipino TV program in Queens, New York.
Ethel will also be working as the writer and co-producer of the magazine show Iam Pinoy, Proud Ako, a 30-minute bilingual, live-to-tape program that started airing on May 7 over three different channels under Queens Public Television (QPTV) in New York.
The program will feature the lives of ordinary Fil-Ams to the exceptional achievers and leaders in the community.
In its pilot episode, the program highlighted the colorful stories of Fil-Am designer Darius Gibbs, actor and filmmaker Luis Pedron, the Pinoy group called Filharmonic, and Philippine Consulate General Mario de Leon, Jr.
“Despite the growing population of Filipinos living in the US, there is very little or limited information available about their accomplishments, struggles and hopes as individuals away from the Philippines, their home,” said Ethel, a graduate of Communications Arts form the Ateneo de Davao University. “The program was born out of our desire to discover the tell stories of inspiration, survival, the dreams of Filipinos in the US.”
These stories, according to Ethel, are hoped to inspire and encourage other Filipinos living in the US.
“There are a lot of things to learn from these people, from these stories. I am very happy that I have this opportunity to share and tell these stories to others,” she said.
Gibbs, for instance, had his creativity and perseverance tested before making it to the fashion capital of the world. He now owns the designer line Dark by DBG.
He said, “young and new designers who want to penetrate the US market must start it small and grow from there. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Pedron’s story tells of his journey as an actor and filmmaker who founded the International Film Festival Manhattan that annually gathers over 400 films from across the world every October. He considers the film fest his “simple and humble” way of “honoring” films and filmmakers and actors and artists around the world — including Filipinos. Pedron is soon to release an e-book — sort of a manual — on how to join film festivals.
The Filharmonic is a seven-member group known among Filipinos in New York for their songs that bring them back home. One of the members of the group is Cutuy Herrero, daughter of the late character actor Subas Herrero. She tells of how she was drawn away from pursuing music because “I never thought I was good enough” and how “great it is to be singing for the Filipino community.”
The group, along with other Fil-Am artists, recorded We Shall Rise, a song dedicated to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. The song is available on iTunes and the proceeds will go to the Philippine National Red Cross.
De Leon’s story centers on the services offered by the Philippine Consulate in New York.
I Am Pinoy, Proud Ako! is a production of Pinoy Pride sa America, in collaboration with Empyre Media Productions and Genix Productions.
“This is my way of serving the Filipino community here,” Ethel said, adding that the show has offered her “to do what I really love doing.”
Ethel started her media career as executive producer and host of several ABS-CBN shows in Davao City, including TV Patrol Mindanao, Hoy Gising-Davao and Maayong Buntag Mindanao. She also pioneered GMA Davao news department before moving to PTV where she also hosted “Talk Mindanao” and “Mag-UmaSenso Ta!”
She is an alumna of East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii under its Senior Journalist Seminar Program and became the only Filipina journalist who became a recipient of TV Reporting Tour of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The experience gave her the opportunity to document the lives of Muslim-Americans after 9/11. The program was under the Office of Broadcast Services of the US State Department. | Jefry M. Tupas, NewsDesk