Happy 3rd Anniversary to The FilAm: Meet some of the people who read us (aw, shucks, blush!)

Michael Cruz

Michael Cruz

By Cristina DC Pastor

Last year while crushed in a packed NextDayBetter event, I was introduced to a young man trying to squeeze his way through the crowded room. When he heard the name of my magazine, he screamed. Literally. Loudly. (True story; there are witnsses!)

“I love The FilAm!” the man said above the sound of the presenter’s voice on stage and the audience’s buzzy whispers.

I was stunned, amused and felt slightly embarrassed, and forgive me if this statement may sound too self-promotional: I did not expect The FilAm to trigger a reaction reserved mostly for celebrities. But there I was smiling and shaking his hands and preserving the memory of that exhilarating scream. I do not recall the rest of my conversation with this man but I made sure to remember his name.

Robert William Magat

Robert William Magat

He is Michael Cruz, administrator of Newark Bridges High School in Newark, New Jersey. I called recently to remind him of what glorious day of our meeting and he remembered it very well.

“I am a student of history,” he said. “As a historian, I find The FilAm a primary source of material about Filipino Americans as they are today, as (their lives) are happening.”

He recalled a conversation with an elderly FilAm woman at Starbucks. The woman praised him for speaking Tagalog and lamented how her children have not imbibed the language.

“I told the ‘tita’ there’s a language school in New York and New Jersey, because I read about it in The FilAm,” said the Michael, who graduated from Stanford University in California. “The FilAm provided that connection.”

Filipino Americans of an earlier generation are well documented in books and other forms of historical archives, said Michael. The FilAm provides documentation on Filipinos of the current generation, he stressed.

Dex Bernardo with son

Dex Bernardo with son

Not a screaming fan, but likewise a faithful reader is Robert William Magat, who works for the Israeli Consulate/ Mission to the UN. He said he gets updated about community news around New York through The FilAm.

“I don’t have TFC (The Filipino Channel), so I get my news through The FilAm,” said Magat, who is a long-time New Yorker but has hardly been involved with Filipino American community activities. “I am a fan. I like reading the stories of people and events that are positive, enlightening and inspirational. The FilAm always highlights our Pinoy culture, spirit and achievements.”

Magat said he is done with controversies, scandals and scams involving Filipinos, and that getting a feed from The FilAm is “always a breath of fresh air.”

“You deserve to have more fans,” he added.

Dialysis technician Dex Bernardo of the Renal Research Institute in Manhattan said he enjoyed reading The FilAm’s story about Olympic skater Michael Martinez who competed in Sochi, Russia.

“I told my son, you and your sisters can be like him,” Dex said when interviewed.

A father of three, Dex said his U.S.-born children never knew the Philippines, but through The FilAm he introduces them to Filipinos who are well known for their exceptional skills and talent. “There’s usually something (in the magazine) to talk about among my kids,” he said.

Dex usually finds the much-talked about news from his reading list, which includes the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism website (in Manila) and The FilAm (in New York). “I liked that your articles are short, concise and direct to the point.”

Lara Manjares Ciamician

Lara Manjares Ciamician

Lara Manjares Ciamician, who lives in Manhasset, with her husband and four children, said The FilAm does a “great job” reporting on Filipino community events.
Mona Kuker

Mona Kuker

“I enjoy reading The FilAm,” said Lara, who served on the boards of FAHSI and the Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment. “It covers a wide array of topics. For example, it’s very interesting to read about a FilAm family celebrating Rosh Hashanah or about the UPenn students who want to raise the profile of Filipino Americans.”

Artist, activist and domestic worker Mona Kuker finds The FilAm a “very liberal” online magazine. She reads it for the variety of topics and its “honest stories” of Filipinos who have achieved their goals in life no matter what social class they belong to.

Mona said she would like to see a “tougher” The FilAm. “I hope that The FilAm will have more sharp, tough, courageous writers who are not afraid to stir the mind of the readers,” she said.

Thanks to our readers, writers, resource persons, tipsters, and advertisers who have supported our growth. Stay with us as we celebrate more milestones.


  1. Matthews wrote:

    I like reading the FilAm, too.


  3. […] Happy 3rd Anniversary to The FilAm: Meet some of the people who read us (aw, shucks, blush!) […]

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