Happy 1st birthday, ‘The FilAm’

By Cristina DC Pastor

On March 15, 2011, my last day as managing editor of Philippine News, The FilAm online magazine went live.

The idea has been bouncing around my head for a while, but I wasn’t quite sure where to take it. I’ve always known that Filipinos would like to read something different, but I didn’t know what that was at the time. What I knew is that copy-and-paste journalism has dogged some in the community press, and it was easy to make the decision not to go there.

The FilAm began to offer a buffet of articles — first-person essays, Q-As, personality features, commentaries, book & movie reviews and even news. I was hoping to hit on a formula that would click. (Someone suggested occasional investigative reporting. We’re working on it. )

As I needed original content, I was fortunate to have a coterie of very good friends to get the site up and running. They know who they are. Thank you, guys, your friendship and dread of deadline mean a lot to me. I wrote in equal parts if no one was available to write or no one was willing to do it pro bono. Along the way I met new friends and reconnected with old ones and acquaintances. I wasn’t sure they’d write for a start-up magazine or that they’d write on “please and thanks” alone. They did. If people I hold in awe would lend their name to The FilAm, I should be in a good place.

The FilAm’s list of contributing and guest writers continued to grow. And then in January as Jesse Eisenberg’s “Asuncion” was wrapping up its final week in the city, I invited actress Camille Mana if she could share her thoughts about leaving New York. This warm-hearted Californian turned in a 1,700-plus word essay about living in Manhattan and how it began with a room she found on Craigslist. Camille can write as she can act!

We’ve had a deluge of articles, requests for interviews and press releases (even from locations outside of the New York area). The net has been cast. We started getting invitations to events considered mainstream (New York Fashion Week was one), and covered a lot of pan Asian conferences that wanted to spread their advocacy within the Filipino community. Usually, they’d begin their email with: “So and so said you’re the magazine to talk to…” We’re still waiting for advertising and donations to become sustainable.

As I moved around the city, I came to know a lot more Filipinos with stories deep in their hearts. Some want to share, others not yet. Maybe at a later time. We’ll wait. When you’re ready our pages are here for you. The FilAm is here for the long haul.


Some stats after one year:

8,200 average monthly unique views
98,433 total views since March 15, 2011
Readers: male 59 percent; female 41 percent
Age: 35 to 44 years
Locations of readers: U.S., Philippines and Canada
Referral sites: Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo

We’re still working on our high bounce rate and poor average time. I’m now speaking in tech tongues.


  1. lenn almadin-thornhill wrote:

    You forgot to add Trinidad and Tobago.

  2. M. Matthews wrote:

    Happy Birthday The FilAm!

    Ms. Pastor, I would like to salute you and to congratulate you on your first anniversary publication of your fine online magazine.

    I do hope in due time that it will be read by hundreds of thousands of Filipino from all over the USA. Keep up the good work and good luck. I do remain

    Very truly,

    M. Matthews, an avid reader of The FilAm

  3. Albertina wrote:

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  4. Happy Birthday The FilAm! It is great to be your colleague as well as a reader. The FilAm is definitely a great read and way to keep up with the latest news.


  5. […] learn more about The FilAm, check out the following articles: Happy 1st birthday, The FilAm The FilAm at 2: The rocks and the horse in our blogging life Happy 3rd Anniversary to The FilAm: […]

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