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Emmie Joaquin      Thank you for the music

It was a fabulous night! And true to what we envisioned it to be, the Pinoy Pop Star Grand Finals on March 23rd on the Main Stage of McPhillips Station Casino was more than just a contest; it was a great concert showcasing some of the best of our Filipino-Canadian performers in Winnipeg.

Congratulations to our Grand Champion, Grace Ann Panganiban. She took to the stage like a pro and mesmerized all of us who were watching her. Singing the song from Dream Girls, Love You I Do, Grace undoubtedly owned the song. She was a delight to watch as she conquered the audience and the main stage during her vibrant performance.

We also wish to congratulate our first runner-up Daisy Crisostomo and Second runner-up Aiza Luna for the exceptionally wonderful renditions of their songs. Kudos to all the 14 finalists. They showed that they were not only great vocalists but also total performers who really captured the attention of their audience.

From the time we announced the 14 finalists on February 24th, they all had a chance to see and work with each other through workshops and rehearsals that we asked them to attend. We, the Pilipino Express, are very happy to see how they all bonded and eventually became good friends. When the names of the major winners were announced at the finalé of the Grand Finals, any one could see that the sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie among them was strong and the other 11 finalists showed how happy they were for the winners.

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It was a successful event. For one, it was sold out. Thanks to every one who watched the show, you were a great audience. My cell phone had so many voice messages from people (many of them I didn’t even know personally) who wanted to buy tickets to the show. Unfortunately, I retrieved their messages after the grand finals because my cell phone was on “silent” throughout the show. And even if I had heard their messages before the concert started, I did not have any say on the tickets that were sold through Ticket Master.

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Thanks to our many volunteers: Anita Lubosch, Joey de Silva, Cherie Calaqui, Malaya Marcelino, Tess Marcelino, Baby Bengco, Anna Lacanilao, Issi Bartolome, Neil Soliven, JP and Quennie Sumbillo, 13th Cloud Digital Video Productions (Mike and Daisy Araneta, Michale Chong, Tim Ferrer, Annabel Dimapilis), we couldn’t have done it without all of you.

To our emcees – A-yen Dandan Zamora and Dale Burgos – whose professionalism tied the flow of the program very tightly – it was great working with both of you again this year.

To our judges who had a hard time judging the 14 performances – Michele Majul, Lucille Nolasco, Howard Rissin, Frank Urbano, and Maui Zamora – our thanks, too, for sharing with all of us your professionalism, competence and knowledge.

To our guests – Zachariah and his dancers, Jesse James Baris and his band, and of course, the young lady with that powerful voice that brought the house down in the 2009 Grand Finals, last year’s Pop Star Grand Champion Elsaida Alerta – your presence made the show even more memorable.

To our counterparts at the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation – Jaime Glenat and Gloria Veale and the technical production team; as well as our dear friends Karen Kingsland and Lori Mann – we are very grateful for your support.

To our sponsors – Horizon Eye Care (Rod and Emily de Guzman), Vigcor Music Studio (Rudy and Cora Baris), Jejomar Bake Shop (Mila Laqui and family), UMAC Express Cargo (Gary and Aida Montierro), Weston Bakeries, and Sun Life Financial (Dale Milne, Jason Bonneteau and Kevin Harold) – we thank you for helping us promote the appreciation of Filipino talents in Manitoba.

To all who tried out during the live auditions and to all of you who followed the growth of our Pinoy Pop Star contest from start to the Grand Finals, from all of us at Pilipino Express – Rey-ar Reyes, Paul Morrow and yours truly – Maraming salamat po!

Prevention of elder abuse

Some years ago, when I was still a broadcaster on CKJS Radio, I received a call from one of my listeners that left me feeling very helpless. A senior lady called me one wintry morning, right after my co-host Joe Sulit and I had signed off from our morning show. She said she needed help. “Sabi ng anak ko, umuwi na raw ako [sa Pilipinas] o kaya tumalon na lang ako sa bintana para mawala na ako… at mawala na ang problema niya… ano’ng gagawin ko (my daughter told me to go back [to the Philippines] or jump from the window so she could get rid of me… so her problem would disappear…what should I do)?” cried the lady on the other end of the line. I was aghast by her question. I did not know her or her daughter personally. I was caught off guard by her confession and I felt helpless because I did not know how to respond to her.

If she were a spouse that was being abused by her partner, I knew at that time that there was zero tolerance and I could tell her to call the police and direct her to safe houses like the Osborne House that would provide safe shelter to victims of domestic abuse. But she was a 75-year old grandmother who did not see eye-to-eye with her daughter who, according to her, had an alcohol addiction.

I asked her if her daughter had physically abused her. She said no. Their argument began when she confronted her daughter about always coming home late and neglecting her children. That particular time, though, it escalated into a shouting match until her daughter ordered her out of the house. I finally asked her if she had a church or a pastor. She said that since she joined her daughter in Winnipeg, she did not have time to go out and socialize because she was helping her single mom daughter to keep the house and children in order. Not knowing what to tell her, I just asked her to stay in her room and let the situation cool down. I also told her that I could consult a social worker about her situation. When I explained to her that someone would call her and investigate, she backed out. “Ayaw kong ma-trouble ang anak ko… [I don’t want my daughter to be in trouble…]” she objected. At that point, I realized that our conversation would not resolve anything for the senior, she only wanted someone to talk to and listen to her woes.

I am sure you have met and talked to one or two seniors who may have been in the same situation. They suffer in silence and embrace that suffering because they don’t want to get any of their loved ones “in trouble.”

That’s is why when the Knights of Rizal and MAFTI announced that they have received funding for a project designed to create awareness and prevent elder abuse, I thought of that Filipina grandmother who called me sometime in mid-1990s. There are still many of them in our community and perhaps, in other ethnic communities, too. There is a need to empower our seniors. I look forward to the successful implementation of the ICAPEA project of the KoR and MAFTI.

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