Hail The FilAm (on its 5th year). May it live forever!

Reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach

Reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach

By Cristina DC Pastor

On the Ides of March when Julius Caesar was assassinated, Rome was thrown into the chaos of a civil war.

The FilAm, which is celebrating its fifth year on March 15, is nowhere close to that dire day in Roman history. The only thing The FilAm shares with the great Caesar is that our online magazine was born on the same day he died more than 2,000 years ago.

Why am I making a connection between my magazine and the immortal Caesar? Nothing that I can think of. The FilAm is not an empire, is not THAT great – yet, is a one-woman bucket shop run out of my residence in New Jersey, and continues to cover the madness and greatness of Filipino Americans in the New York metropolitan area.

However, it has made a little bit of its own history. It is the first FilAm magazine that has gained recognition and attention as an independent and serious online publication both from the FilAm community and from the wider panorama of American journalism when it was featured in an interactive exhibit at The Newseum in 2015.

The FilAm was graced with a visit from the Voice of America which did a story of how a “website supports Philippines relief efforts” as Typhoon Haiyan raged in 2013.

The FilAm is probably the first Filipino website in the New York area to publish a series of investigative reports. One report exposed the vicious infighting within community organizations, and another documented how Filipinos were among the earliest pioneers in American theater.
The FilAm is the community’s gadfly. It pokes its nose into issues and often asks questions that may seem out of turn and sometimes embarrassing. Because we ask a lot of pesky questions, we learn a lot of things, and we pass them on to our readers.

We learned for example that:

• An annual PIDCI Independence Day parade rings up a tab of about $280,000;

• Community photographers are making a killing from leaders who want their pictures splashed all over Facebook;

• NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis is an ardent devotee of the Our Lady of Fatima;

NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis

NYC Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis

• YouTube celebrity Judy Travis is proudly Filipina;

• Two Filipino restaurants that sit next to each other on Queens Boulevard have almost identical menus;

• Many Boston College students could care less that their alumna Grace Poe is running for President;

• Many Filipinos are devout Catholics and also compulsive gamblers, according to sociologist Dr. Fred Andes;

• Designer Josie Natori is an advocate against domestic violence;

• Nena Lozada Smith revolutionized fundraising galas;

• Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach keeps a diary;

Singer Angel Ram

Singer Angel Ram

• Angel Ram is the first Filipina to sing at the popular BB King jazz club on Times Square;

• It’s been almost four months since Seton Hall student John Fernandez went missing and police have ruled out suicide and ended their search for the body;

• U.S. diplomat to the UN Michelle Sison is a Filipina whose parents are from Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Who knows what The FilAm will be as it goes past childhood and enters puberty? Please hang around and keep reading. Also, please advertise. Remember, the right people read us.

Cristina DC Pastor is the Founding Editor of The FilAm, which came out swinging on March 15, 2011.

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