At PhilDev event: From left, Fe Cabactulan, Eleanor de Leon, Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. Sen. Loren Legarda, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Debbie Gatan.  (Filipino Reporter photo)

“Acting is a question of absorbing other people’s personalities and adding some of your own experience.” — Paul Newman


MONDAY is lights out on Broadway.

But, last Monday, the lights shone bright at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall when about 60 Filipino-American artists generously lent their time and talent to help build a new Philippine economy.

Led by Tony award winner Lea Salonga, the Fil-Am Broadway stars performed Suites by Sondheim, a benefit concert staged by the Philippine Development Foundation, or PhilDev for short.

For three hours, the full-packed hall (estimated at 1,000) sat enthralled as acclaimed music by Stephen Sondheim came alive through the voices of Broadway talents under the able direction of Victor Lirio, with music direction and orchestrations by Tom Myron.

Among the evening’s high points was the PhilDev Award of Excellence handed to Bobby Lopez who gained a Tony Award for “Book of Mormon.”

He wrote the widely popular play now on Broadway, as well as co-writing “Avenue Q.”

The concert was ushered by a special VIP pre-reception held at the Morgan Stanley Lobby in Alice Tully Hall.

PhilDev gala co-chair and trustee Loida Nicolas Lewis introduced two special guests, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York’s 14th congressional district and Philippine Sen. Loren Legarda.

Guests in black tie and Filipiniana listened to short bursts of approval to popular Filipino music at cocktail hour by the San Lorenzo Ruiz Choral Group.

Seen milling around, exchanging pleasantries, making beso-beso, air kissing and enjoying cocktails were such tiptops like Rep. Maloney, Sen. Legarda, Loida N. Lewis, Dado Banatao (chair, PhilDev Foundation), Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Abigail and Tony Alvarez, Ronna Reyes Sieh, Michael Balaoing, Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. and wife Eleanor, Mrs. Fe Cabactulan whose husband, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, was still in Washington, Mrs. Debbie Gatan, wife of Philippine ambassador to Canada Leslie Gatan, Washington Sycip with son, Joanne de Asis, Vicky Garchitorena (president, PhilDev), Ambassador Romy and Dr. Ennie Arguelles, Josie and Ken Natori, MiG Ayesa, Jerry Sibal, Edwin Josue, Michael and Millie Gurfinkel, Deputy Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega, Niles Perlas, Lea Salonga, most of the Broadway stars and PhilDev movers and shakers too beautiful and too numerous to name, as well as so many non-Fil-Am guests from Broadway, business sector, the glitterati, the diplomati and the literati, the politirati, etcetera, etcetera.

Boy, that was a magical evening of wonderful music.

We’re proud of our Fil-Am artists — they are world-class!


Margie Wisotsky, who is Mrs. PAFCOM 2011, recently celebrated her birthday together with her husband Paul Danny Wisotsky with a Halloween party.

She was dressed as an enchanting princess and her hubby as the handsome Prince Philip.

All the guests came in Halloween outfit, and the couple gave prizes for the best costume.

Everyone enjoyed lots of entertainment and dancing.

The Wisotskys are blessed with three children.


Hooray to Mrs. PAFCOM 2011 Margie Wisotsky, shown with husband Paul Daniel Wisotsky.


From proud grandpa Gavino “Ping” Abaya.

Craig and Samantha Abaya Campos of Nutley, N.J. win 2011 Hall of Famer title in TV5 show “Talentadong Pinoy” in Manila.

It was a vacation that turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience for the brother-sister team of Craig and Samantha, who were the junior champions of “Dancing with the Stars” Season 7 in 2008 in the U.S.

Last summer, Craig and Samantha were in Manila for guest appearances on several TV shows — GMA’s “Party Pilipinas,” ABS-CBN’s “Showtime” and TV5’s “Hey It’s Saberday.”

After those guest appearances, TV5 asked them to compete in their “Talentadong Pinoy” show which has the same concept as “America’s Got Talent” show in the U.S.

The rules were that a contestant needs to win eight times in eight episodes to be in the Hall of Famer, with the contest being presided by a panel of judges.

The first episode started on Aug. 6, 2011 during which Craig and Samantha danced a modern cha-cha, and which they won by beating a three-time champion group and impressing the judges that Craig and Samantha were in a league of their own.

They continued to battle every week in the succeeding episodes during which the judges were critical in their comments but appreciative of their efforts to change and make every dance different.

It was almost a close call for them when they were competing with children who were considered “Masa” material.

However, Craig and Samantha proved to the public that in the end they were Filipinos despite the huge controversy on Facebook on the “Talentadong Pinoy” page.

The final episode was the turning point when Craig and Samantha won in the eighth episode and the Hall of Famer title, which earned them the right to return in 2012 to fight it out with seven other Hall of Famers for the title of “The Ultimate Talentadong Pinoy,” and be able to compete worldwide for the international event.

The event will take place at the largest coliseum in the Philippines, the Araneta Coliseum.

In that event not only will the celebrity judges be voting but will also include the public to TEXT vote for their choice of which Hall of Famer they want to win, which is expected to take place in March or April 2012.

The Abaya-Campos family is very grateful to all their supporters in the U.S., and they hope they will spread the word to their families and friends in the Philippines to support and vote for Craig and Samantha.

TV5 is expected to be aired soon in the United States.

Proud of this bro-and-sis team!



Congratulations to Craig and Samantha Abaya Campos, 2011 Hall of Famer.



Craig and Samantha Abaya Campos performing a Filipino medley.



Craig and Samantha Abaya Campos with their mother Irene Abaya Campos (left) during a break in the dancing competition.


Good quote.

Title: Irish Blessing.

Sent by the Talangbayan family of Penn Valley, Pennsylvania.

May there always be work for your hands to do.

May your purse always hold a coin or two.

May the sun always shine on your windowpane.

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near you.

May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer.

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