The FilAm L.A. wins 5 Plaridel Awards!

TFLA Editor Cecile Ochoa and Publisher Dante Ochoa beam with pride as they hold the plaques their magazine won, including two for their son Lawrence.  Photos by Tess Uson-Santos.

TFLA Editor Cecile Ochoa and Publisher Dante Ochoa beam with pride as they hold the plaques their magazine won, including two for their son Lawrence. Photos by Tess Uson-Santos.

TFLA Editor Cecile Ochoa (middle) celebrates with Plaridel judges Inquirer.net US Bureau Chief Rene Ciria-Cruz and Gemma Nemenzo, editor of Positively Filipino.

TFLA Editor Cecile Ochoa (middle) celebrates with Plaridel judges Inquirer.net US Bureau Chief Rene Ciria-Cruz and Gemma Nemenzo, editor of Positively Filipino.

By Dante Ochoa

Our one-year old online news magazine, The FilAm Los Angeles (TFLA) captured five Plaridel awards in four categories this year with two crystal wedge trophies in The Best Youth Voice/Lawrence Ochoa for the article, “Some things stand the test of time from the boomers to millennials;” and Best Tourism Feature Story for editor Cecile Ochoa for her article “World Traveler Odette Ricasa: 247 countries and counting.”

Lawrence also received a Certificate of Recognition for Commentary/Editorial category for “A Tale of Two Pork Barrels.” TFLA’s two photojournalists Tet Valdez and Evangeline Rodriguez each received a Certificate of Recognition for their entries, respectively, “2 Friends in Pursuit of that Perfect Shot,” and “Odette’s Neighborhood.”

TFLA publisher Dante Ochoa was delighted to accept the award for his 19-year old son Lawrence. A freshman at CalState Northridge majoring in Journalism, Lawrence’s Plaridel is his second award in the Youth Voice category in two years. Unable to attend the awards ceremony due to school commitments, Lawrence texted his mother, “Please thank the press club. This inspires me to keep on trying my best!”

In accepting her first Plaridel, the TFLA editor said, “My husband Dante and I travelled many miles, representing our press club from Los Angeles (The FilAm Press Club of LA est. 1978) to thank and acknowledge the Philippine American Press Club, USA in the Bay Area for this outstanding project of recognizing Filipino American writers’ work in their field. It inspires our journalists and photographers to compete and raise the standards in the profession.”

The Philippine American Press Club U.S., headed by Esther Misa Chavez of Inquirer.net sponsors the Plaridel Awards excellence in Filipino American journalism. On its third year, the awarding was held at a gala dinner at the Fort McKinley Restaurant in South San Francisco.

Bay Area-based Positively Filipino received six trophies in 6 categories namely: Best International Reporting, Entertainment Story/Mila de Guzman’s “Indie with a Mission”; Best Sports Story/Joseph Bautista of Escabo Daan Martial Arts with “A new path through Eskabo Daan,” Best Personal Story/Lotis Key’s “White men can’t jump start,” and Best Profile Writing/Titchie Tiongson with “The thoroughly modern Sofia de Veyra.” Publisher Mona Lisa Yuchengco and editor Gemma Nemenzo were on hand to represent some winners who couldn’t make it to the event.

Ken Kashiwahara, former ABC TV Anchor, won the Best Feature Writing Award with his piece “Ninoy’s Final Journey” published in Positively Filipino.

Philippine News bagged awards in three categories: Investigative or In-depth Story/Neil Gonzales’ “A Force in State’s Energy Battles Part 1 & II,” Best News Story/Lydia Solis with her article ”Stellar Career Culminates,” and the Best Food Story/ Cherie Querol Moreno’s “Adobo may have French Roots.”

Atty. Ted Laguatan, a columnist of Inquirer.net won the Best Commentary Category with his opinion piece “China’s military base in Philippine territory must absolutely be blocked.”

Power ng Pinoy TV won the Plaridel for Best Television Community Reporting with their “Million People March” broadcast. Laurel Fantauzzo, won the President’s Choice award with her article on “How to survive a super typhoon: Batanes” which appeared on Buzzfeed.com.

Esther Chavez, PAPC president, said that this year’s entries were three times more than the first year and was pleased to report that the Plaridel Awards seems to be taking traction.
She invited more entries from FilAm journalists and broadcasters all over the U.S. next year.

“We wouldn’t know about your work if you do not submit,” she told the audience, mostly composed of media representatives from various California news outlets.

Judges in this year’s competition include: Rene Ciria-Cruz, U.S. Bureau Chief of the Inquirer.net, Odette Keeley of New America Media, Gemma Nemenzo of Positively Filipino, award-winning photojournalist Rick Rocamora, Wennie Conedy, Paolo and Peggy Peralta and Benjie Pimentel.

Entries must have been published in a bona-fide media company. Entry Guidelines and other information can be found at www.papcusa.org/plaridel-awards.

The Plaridel Awards was launched in 2012 to celebrate the work of Filipino American journalists as they chronicle the lives of their kababayans in the U.S. or the communities they live in. Much like Marcelo H. Del Pilar, 19th century Filipino hero and expat-publisher who pursued his career as a journalist while in exile. The word Plaridel was his nom de plume.

San Jose Native Azenith Smith, KTVU general assignment reporter, was the keynote speaker. Two outstanding leaders in the community were presented the “Torch Bearer Award.” They were former Philippine Tourism Director for the San Francisco North West Area, Rene de los Santos, and Rudy Asercion, until recently, executive director of the WestBay Pilipino Multi-Service Center.

A posthumous award for “Outstanding Community Service through radio broadcasting” was presented to the widow of Robert Henry, East West Radio Host, who passed away this year.

Rick Rocamora, acclaimed Filipino photojournalist commenced the awards ceremony with a presentation on his work to encourage more journalists interested in presenting their coverage with compelling pictures.

Emcees for the evening were father-daughter tandem, Ness and Caroline Ocampo – host and producer of the Filipino American Network Radio that produced the FilAm Now – FilAm Ngayon.

A group photo with (seated left to right) Mona Lisa Yuchengco, Azenith Smith, Esther Chavez, Lorna Dietz, and  Cecile Ochoa. Standing:  Dante Ochoa (at right) with Ruben and Janet Nepales from L.A. Photo by Raymond Virata

A group photo with (seated left to right) Mona Lisa Yuchengco, Azenith Smith, Esther Chavez, Lorna Dietz, and Cecile Ochoa. Standing: Dante Ochoa (at right) with Ruben and Janet Nepales from L.A. Photo by Raymond Virata

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