Fourth Plaridel toasts writers in the U.S.

Plaridel winners with PAPC President, Esther Chavez, third from left and San Francisco Con-Gen Henry Bensurto.  TFLA photos

Plaridel winners with PAPC President, Esther Chavez, third from left and San Francisco Con-Gen Henry Bensurto. TFLA photos

Special to TheFILAMLA

TheFILAMLA editor and writer Cecile Caguingin Ochoa, won Plaridel’s Award in “Best In-Depth/ Story held at the Fort McKinley Restaurant in South San Francisco.

Ochoa joined other winners of the Fourth Plaridel Awards, Excellence in Journalism. The biggest winner of the evening was Asian Journal, based in Los Angeles, California and owned by husband and wife team of Roger and Cora Oriel.

The broadsheet’s young journalists ran away with six awards out of fifteen. Two of the writers, Agnes Constante and Allyson Escobar won multiple awards each.

Ochoa’s winning story “DACA, Confessions of a formerly undocumented youth,” was published in, a content partner of TheFILAMLA. This article earlier won a New America Media (NAM) Immigration Reporting Fellowship.

Esther Misa Chavez, president of the Philippine American Press Club, USA (PAPC), whose crown project is the Plaridel Awards, said “We’ve seen the whole range of journalists, from the most seasoned to aspiring young college writers submit their entries without hesitation, shoulder to shoulder – each confident that his or her story are worth of The Plaridel.” U.S. Bureau Chief Rene Ciria-Cruz, Cecile Ochoa and TFLA publisher Dante Ochoa U.S. Bureau Chief Rene Ciria-Cruz, Cecile Ochoa and TFLA publisher Dante Ochoa

“Their stories delve equally on current critical issues, personal drama, sports, Pinoy food, commentary, international reporting – the whole gamut of topics that journalists write about in the pursuit of their career as story tellers or of giving voice to the voiceless. We applaud them all and thank them for giving the Plaridel Awards credence.” Ms. Chavez said.

Keynote speaker of the evening was Brian Flores, anchor of the Morning News at KTVU, Fox 2, a third generation journalist, he was assigned to the Bay Area newsroom in 2012. Brian is son of the late Ernie Flores, Jr. the first Filipino American journalist for the Arizona Republic and San Diego Union in the late 1960s. Ernie was one of the pioneering members of The Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles (est. 1978), a counterpart of the PAPC in the Southland.

Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. accepted the Torch Bearer Award given to Ambassador Albert Del Rosario of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He exhorted the Filipino American communities overseas to support the efforts of the Philippines to legally win its claim of the surrounding areas of the Spratleys in the China Sea. The Filipino Channel (TFC) ABS-CBN was honored as another “Torch Bearer.”

Con-Gen Bensurto likewise presented Cecile Ochoa her Plaridel, a second after she won the “Best Tourism Story” published in TheFILAMLA, an online news magazine last year.

The 2015 Plaridel Awardees are:

Best International Reporting – Dr. Jorge Emanuel, Positively Filipino “My Battle with Ebola”
Best Entertainment Story – Lisa Suguitan Melnick, Positively Filipino, “Maseg, an artistic Tempest”
Best Sports Story – Myles Garcia, Positively Filipino, “Before Elorde, Before Pacquiao…there was Luis Logan”
Best Food Story – Allyson Escobar, Asian Journal, “Cooking Hawaiian Style: The art of Island cuisine”
Best Youth Voice – Allyson Escobar, Asian Journal, Passion Planner: Creating your life journey in a notebook”
Best News Story – Allyson Escobar, Asian Journal, “Maj. Gen Taguba Shares “Unfiltered” version of Abu Graib investigation”
Best Personal Essay – Lotis Key, Positively Filipino, “Feeding my Fiipino”
Best Feature Story – Agnes Constante, Asian Jounal, Lovelyn Mawquex Prueher, The First FilAm Teacher of the Year for California”
Best Profile Writing – Agnes Constante, “Carlene Bonnivier, Retracing her Filipino Roots and enriching cultural identity.”
Best In-Depth Story – Cecile Caguingin-Ochoa,, “DACA, Confessions of a formerly undocumented youth”
Best Commentary – Emil Guillermo,, “Are you Charlie Hebdo? Or just Charlie Adobo?”
Best Tourism Feature Story – Christina Oriel, Asian Journal, Huma Island: An Island hideaway in the Tropical Paradise of Busuanga”
Best TV Community Reporting – Rommel Conclara, Balitang America/TFC, “Grandson and Grandma Create Memories through art”
Best TV Personality Profile – Henni Espinosa, Balitang America/TFC, “Pinoy Mortician”
The Robert Henry Memorial Award for Radio – Allan Alvarez, KPHI 96.7 FM

A round trip California-Manila economy ticket donated by Philippine Airlines was raffled to the winners of The Plaridel, and the Manila-bound winner was Myles Garcia who confessed he hasn’t been home in 11 years. Christina Oriel who won the Best Tourism Feature Story won a two-day stay at the Hotel Centro in the island of Palawan, courtesy of Mango Tours. Sponsors of the Plaridel this year were PG&E, Philippine Air Lines,, Department of Tourism, San Francisco, Ramar Foods,, Mango Tours, Mariluz Floral Design and friends.

For more information about the Plaridel and the Philippine American Press Club, USA, visit
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