On Global Filipinos: Growing through meaningful connections 

Music and theater are two of my favorite things. Bobby Lopez is blazing trails in these fields, and making us all proud of him and his wife Kristen. Keep on making beautiful music, and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps! Photos courtesy of Carissa Villacorta

By Loida Nicolas Lewis

Filipinos are creatures of connection. For those scattered in the diaspora, connecting with fellow Filipinos or other individuals who are our relatives near or distant, and friends or friends of friends we have shared principles and experiences with, is a necessity for our balance — sometimes even for survival. 

According to the 2023 Global Digital Report (by Meltwater and We Are Social app), the Philippines ranks No. 1 in social media usage. This means that even more so in the digital age, Filipinos prioritize social connections, whether online or offline.

I talked about such life-changing connections in my book, “Why Should Guys Have All the Fun?” From building support systems for my biracial (African-Filipino) American daughters through Jack and Jill of America, to having prayer partners in Paris, New York and the Philippines, to business partners and communities that enable me to pursue advocacies for the greater good — every connection I make, helps me to grow and achieve things that are beyond my personal abilities.

This is why, when I was invited by community builder Carissa Villacorta to speak at the #PHTimeIsNow Conference last October 2023 at The Harvard Club of New York, I immediately agreed. 

Carissa was my very effective Public Relations consultant for over 10 years, handling PR for my advocacies, causes, projects and community outreach.

PH Time Is Now organizer Carissa Villacorta is flanked by Bobby Lopez and Rechie Valdez, the 1st Filipino member of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet.
Double EGOT winner Bobby Lopez shares the stage with  Karen Davila, 1st Filipina named a UN Women National Goodwill Ambassador.  

When Carissa and her team launched PH Time Is Now in 2018, I met and connected with inspiring younger Filipinos in the US, Canada and the Philippines. Some of them look to me as a sort of mentor; but I keep reminding them that they already have what it takes to succeed: their grit, grace and a great support system.

The PHTimeIsNow 2023 speakers from various industries motivated attendees aged 18-81  to never stop hoping and believing for a better future in our chosen country and in the land of our birth.

Two-time winner of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards (EGOT) Bobby Lopez, shared about the heartwarming creative journey that led him and his wife Kristen to compose the global hits from Disney’s “Frozen” soundtrack.

Another unforgettable connection is Rechie Valdez, who was a participant back in 2018 when she was an entrepreneur and baker. Who would have thought that five years later, she would become the FIRST Filipina elected Member of Parliament and recently the First Filipino Member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet in Canada! It’s so inspiring to see her grow and continue to serve our kababayan and her other constituents in her district. Mabuhay, Hon. Rechie!

The Master of Ceremonies for the Harvard Club event was ABS-CBN TV host, (who now has her own YouTube channel) — the indefatigable Karen Davila, who is also the FIRST Filipina chosen to be a UN Women National Goodwill Ambassador.  

Also present were Myrish Cadapan Antonio, representing Geraldine Acuña Sunshine, Sheila Marcelo, founder of care.com and Ohai.ai, Doris Magsaysay Ho, President and CEO of the Magsaysay Group of Companies; Anton San Diego, Editor-in-Chief of Philippine Tatler; Myla Villanueva, serial tech entrepreneur, with her mother Aleli Crespo; Rhoda Campos Aldanese of Vogue Philippines, and other esteemed guests traveling in from California, Florida, Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Upstate New York and the Philippines.

On October 24, 2024, Thursday, PH Time Is Now will once again bridge trailblazing Filipinos, this time in Silicon Valley. Be part of the next voyage of #PHTimeIsNow at @phtimeisnow www.phtimeisnow.com.

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