Randy Gener’s tribute to his mother wins Plaridel Award’s outstanding essay

With his mother Cleo Driessler, who passed away before her 67th birthday

With his mother Cleo Driessler, who passed away before her 67th birthday

Editor, writer and artist Randy Gener, whose essay about his recently departed mother was published in TheFilAm magazine on what would have been her 67th birthday, garnered the Philippine American Press Club’s 2013 Plaridel Award for Outstanding Editorial Essay/Commentary at a gala dinner in Colma, California, on October 19th.

In addition, the Asian American Arts Alliance selected Gener as one of the eight top finalists for the 2013 Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts. The award is given periodically to “Asian American individuals who are making a significant contribution to the arts by demonstrating a commitment to outstanding service, advocacy and leadership.”

This year’s the Alliance received 37 nominations for the Wai Look Award. According to the alliance’s website, “Selections for the Wai Look Award are based on demonstrated and exceptional service to or participation in the field, the impact of the work and the potential for future contributions.”

Gladys Chen of Second Generation Production was named this year’s Wai Look Award winner at a gala dinner in New York on Tuesday, October 15th.

Sponsored by the 25-year-old Philippine American Press Club, USA (PAPC), the second annual Plaridel Awards for excellence in journalism honored outstanding reporters and commentators from various Filipino American news media. Esther Misa Chavez, PAPC president, welcomed honorees and guests to the awards ceremony at Rene’s Fine Dining in Colma, just outside San Francisco.

Chavez said that all the Plaridel Awards judges gave Gener “top scores” for his two-part personal essay, “A Song for My Mother,” which he published in The FilAm on May 24, 2013. An honorable mention for for outstanding editorial essay went to Dy Calica-LaPutt of Asian Journal for “The fight continues for Filipino vets.”

Unable to travel from the East Coast, Gener sent a message to the awards committee: “The Press Club and the Plaridel Awards jury have given my Mom this amazing tribute. This award is not for me. I cannot be happy when I think about how broken my heart is that Mama is not here. May this Plaridel Award serve as a healing coda to the songs of love and pain we sing in memory of my fiercely loving mom. And in praise of the American life she had fought with the depth of her soul to live.”

Another Plaridel Award winner from the TheFilAm family of online publications was Lawrence C. Ochoa, an 18-year-old freshman from Cal State Northridge, who won Outstanding Youth Voice for his article “A Teen-ager Attends His First Kalayaan.”

Founder of the The FilAm online publications Cristina Dc Pastor: “TheFilAm has done it again, two years in a row. This year, The FilAm won Outstanding Editorial Essay for Randy Gener and Outstanding Youth Voice for Lawrence Ochoa of The FilAm Los Angeles. We thank the Plaridel Awards for honoring our pool of talented writers.”

The Plaridel Awards are named after Marcelo H. Del Pilar, a Filipino journalist and publisher who went to exile during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the 16th century and wrote commentaries against the oppression of Filipinos. For a complete list of winners, visit http://globalnation.inquirer.net/88551/community-journalists-win-phil-am-press-club-awards

This year’s judges include veteran newspersons Rene Ciria-Cruz of Inquirer.net; Gemma Nemenzo of Positively Filipino; award-winning photojournalist Ric Rocamora; Wennie Conedy, Odette Keeley, Oscar Penaranda, Peggy Peralta and Benjamin Pimentel.

The PAPC was established by former members of the National Press Club of the Philippines who had immigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Its member publications (then and now): Philippine News, the Eye, Filipino Monitor, Philippine examiner, Philippine Chronicle, Filipinas Magazine, Filipino Guardian, ABS-CBN, Asian Journal, Philippines Today, Fil-Am Star, Filipino American Radio Network, Filipino Gazette, GMA Pinoy TV, Manila Mail, Inquirer.Net, Philippine Headlines, Positively Filipino, Power ng Pinoy and San Francisco Post.

Established in 2011, the Wai Look Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts is a tribute to the life and work of Wai Look, who served on the Asian American Arts Alliances board of directors from 1999 until her death in December 2010. She spent most of her career in the arts, as an administrator and in artist services, and devoted herself to helping others. Look strongly believed in the importance of volunteering, which was reflected in her personal, as well as professional life.

The Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) is dedicated to strengthening Asian American artists and arts/cultural groups in New York City through funding, promotion and community building. A4 helps support individual artists and arts organizations access and share resources online and in person. A4 builds community through programs that lead to peer-learning, collaboration, and professional development.

Leave a Reply