Getting to know ‘Makilala,’ a FilAm talk show on QPTV

The ladies of 'Makilala,' -- Cristina DC Pastor, Jen Furer, Maria Cruz Lee and Rachelle Ocampo

The ladies of ‘Makilala,’ — Cristina DC Pastor, Jen Furer, Maria Cruz Lee and Rachelle Ocampo

By Cristina DC Pastor & Maricor Fernandez

When QPTV producer Maricor Fernandez and I met at a press conference sometime in May, it was a case of spontaneous combustion. She said she liked my online magazine; I said I liked that she has a video camera. We laughed instantaneously.

We talked about collaborating. When she told me Queens Public Television has no Filipino programming, we eyed each other conspiratorially, our looks seeming to say, ‘We have to do something about that.’

We began talking, almost stream of consciousness-like chatting via emails and texts. We were brimming with story ideas heady with editorial promise and commercial potential. We began with the Filipino veterans. When we went to Queens to film, the ‘manongs’ have all left. One dream dashed; more on the way.

We talked some more. And then it dawned on us: We were embarking on something that many others have been doing. We paused to exhale. Why not a talk show with four FilAm women. I told Maricor I’ve always wanted to do a talk show a la “The View” and this is not the first time I was letting on. I must have told this to everyone who cared to listen. Maricor took it up a notch: She brought the idea to her mentors at QPTV. She came back beaming: Great idea; greenlighted.

The team began to take shape as, one by one, the ladies we invited came on board. Jen Furer, who introduced Maria and me; Rachelle Ocampo, whom I met at UniPro’s first summit three years ago; and Maria Cruz Lee whom I met on Facebook and later interviewed for The FilAm.

Rachelle is the current president of Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. or UniPro, a nonprofit which facilitates dialogues and coalitions among various FilAm organizations. She works as a health educator for Queens Hospital Center, where she trains healthcare providers on how to educate their patients on tobacco cessation.

Her hopes for “Makilala” is for the program to educate Filipinos to be aware of their resources, whether it be for anti-smoking campaign, for Filipino-related information, or for general health. “It is time for FilAms to take charge of their lives by creating a more cohesive and educated environment for all,” she said. Rachelle is a Groupon addict and enjoys walking tours in New York City and wine tasting.

Jen is a member of the board and director of communications for Faldef, a lawyers group offering pro bono services to immigrants. Her family’s unfortunate experience with the broken immigration system led to the publication of her memoir, “Out of Status,” which tells the story of the American Dream through the struggles, hopes and tragedies shared by her family. A wife and a mother to four children, ages 12 to 24, Jen has a blog,, about motherhood, family and marriage. She has a whimsy for Tony Horton’s Power 90 exercise DVDs, yoga and Zumba.

“Makilala is a show that celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” she said about being on the show. “The show will highlight different people that are making a difference in the world.”

Maria works at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She is a project coordinator and special assistant to Commissioner Fatima Shama and runs the office’s digital strategy and social media platforms. The name “Makilala” is her brainchild. “I think it would be really great for the Filipino community, as a whole, to finally be taken seriously in the mainstream,” she said, quickly adding that “all opinions on Makilala and elsewhere are my own and do not reflect the view of the city office where I work.”

Maria also owns a side business called Katamisan where she creates wedding cakes with tropical flavors using French baking technique.

Producer Maricor Fernandez

Producer Maricor Fernandez

Maricor is an Independent Public Access TV producer for QPTV, a technical director for several of its productions, such as “Up for Discussion,” “Caribbean Classroom Live,” Healing Hearts Program” and other independent programs of QPTV. She is a production assistant for Light Millennium TV program that features interviews with UN personalities and has transcribed its Television Interviews for web publication.

She has produced and directed her own shows, among them “Jazz Moments with Jonathon Furer,” “World of Arts with Ronald Cortez” and the upcoming “Musika at Sayaw,” which will be shown sometime in September, and “Singkil” in October. “Makilala” is her first under our Marilag Production.

Maricor is a photographer, a graphics designer, a music lover, and a teacher. As a Fellow for Twin Cities International Program of the University of Minnesota, School of Social Works, she was one of the speakers in a program providing interactive curriculum component in the classroom.

All this is, of course, made possible because of this wonderful resource called QPTV. For 31 years, this broadcast facility located in Flushing has been serving Queens’ diverse neighborhoods through its multiethnic programming delivered across four stations. It has trained multitudes of Queens residents on broadcast production and enables community organizations to produce their own unique programs.

“Makilala” is proud to have as its production consultants QPTV producer Anthony Kaye and his wife Diane Kaye, a coordinating producer at CNN Headline News; John Crow, the producer and director of “Caribbean Classroom Live;” and Bircan Unver, founding president of The Light Millennium Organization, which is also an affiliate of the UN-DPI.

“Makilala” will have its first taping on July 27. Its first episode — featuring Ryan Letada of NextDayBetter — will become available in August on our Facebook page. It will premiere on QPTV in October and will continue to air every month.

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  1. mmatthews wrote:


    Indeed, great news and about high times that Filipino American community had a Fil-Am TV show on the Queens Public TV Channels Access that is hosted and produced by Filipino women. Wishing you all much success and More Power to you all, M. Matthews

  2. […] contributor, and Queens Public Television (QPTV) producer Maricor Fernandez, the talk show ‘Makilala‘ will feature four Filipina women of different ages and backgrounds talking (in English) […]

  3. matthews wrote:

    would love to be a guest on your show, m. matthews.

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