The Filipino Channel celebrates 20th anniversary

Galing ng Pilipino Cover

IT WAS in the 1980s when ABS-CBN Corporation Chairman Emeritus Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr. articulated the expansion of his vision: “We will serve the Filipino wherever he may be – worldwide.” How exactly that would come about was anybody’s guess then.

Fast forward to April 23, 2014 at the Elizabeth A. Hangs Theater of Santa Clara Convention Center, in the heart of Silicon Valley – the Innovation Capital of the World: ABS-CBN through The Filipino Channel (TFC) marked an unparalleled, historic Filipino milestone by celebrating its 20th year of continuous service to Filipinos all over the world via a glittering formal gala filled with energy, nostalgia and excitement.

Before hundreds of company employees, leaders from various sectors in the Filipino American community and cable and satellite industry executives, ABS-CBN North America Managing Director Olivia De Jesus acknowledged three Filipinos who road mapped the realization of Don Geny’s vision: his two sons, ABS-CBN Corporation Chairman Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III and ABS-CBN Global COO Rafael “Raffy” Lopez, and former ABS-CBN International Manager of Network Operations and Director Jose Ramon “Monchet” Olives.

“Without their persistence, tenacity, and vision, we would not be enjoying the stories from people back home, get the news as it happens back home, and bring Home just a little bit closer every time we turn on TFC,” De Jesus said in honor of the three.

ABS-CBN Global COO Raffy Lopez honored all the “TFC pioneers” and paid tribute to everyone who worked for TFC, a channel that started in 1994 with just eight employees in a garage in Daly City. Now with a global employee workforce and offices in North America, Asia, Australia, Europe and Middle East and millions of TFC viewers, Lopez credited the employees, the organization’s ability to evolve and the purity of his father’s vision and mission as anchors that helped TFC navigate through the challenges in the last 20 years.

“Galing ng Filipino”: Honoring the Greatness of the Filipino

After enjoying the food, drinks and activities during reception that included the unveiling of the TFC History, Community and Achievement Walls designed by well-known Filipino American muralist Eliseo Art Silva, filmmaker Nelson Datu Anderson of Cinemagago and their team from Los Angeles, the much awaited TFC Gala show opened with the channel’s first ever goodwill ambassador as host, Philippine Concert King Martin Nievera, singing lines from the earliest TFC theme song:

“So run home to TFC. 20 years ‘til eternity. One vision, One dream, Let me hear you scream, “At home ka sa T-F-C.”

The show’s director, ABS-CBN Global Head of Theatricals John-D Lazatin, and his creative and technical teams wove the TFC narrative by blending first-hand pioneer stories on video, stunning visuals from giant screens using cutting edge technology, and matching storytelling songs from Nievera.

But just as its founding vision, the TFC story is more about the Filipino that it has committed to serve. It is the stage that showcases with great pride the best of the Filipino, his or her greatness or as they say in Filipino, the “galing”.

Showing that “galing” in the program were, among others:

* the rise of TFC from a channel no one in the industry believed to the success story for ethnic programming that it is today;

* the participation of some local celebrities from long-running TFC shows represented by Gel Santos-Relos, Henni Espinosa and Yong Chavez of Balitang America, Angelo Barga of Barangay USA, Atty. Michael Gurfinkel of Citizen Pinoy, and Michi Valeriano, Lee Robin Salazar and Tet Hernandez of Adobo Nation;

* the much applauded live performance of Filipina American “X Factor” standout, Ellona Santiago;

* and the presentation of the 2014 North America Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards Finalists.

UGAT Foundation Executive Director Fr. Nilo Tanalega and ABS-CBN Corporation Vice President for Special Projects and Head of Bayaning Pilipino Chit Guerrero handed plaques of recognition to Joji Babuschak representing Filipino-American Cultural and Development Center Inc. (FCDC) from Toms River, New Jersey, Daisydee Bautista representing Aksyon ng Ating Kabataan, Inc (ANAK) from Winnipeg, Canada, and Dr. Arturo De Leon representing the Carolina Medical Mission from Raleigh, North Carolina.

The show crescendoed into a climax with the appearance of the country’s Mr Pure Energy and TFC 20th Anniversary Ambassador, Gary Valenciano, who dazzled the audience with his voice and dance moves that radiated heart, hope and happiness to many.

His set consisted of a nostalgic trip down memory lane via the TFC teleserye medley, a call for homecoming to the Motherland through the song, “Babalik Ka Rin” (You Will Return), and the official public debut of the TFC 20th Anniversary theme song, “Galing ng Filipino” (Greatness of the Filipino) composed by Jonathan Manalo and Jay Santiago and arranged by Valenciano.

The music video for this song with Valenciano and his son Gab, debuted on the number one Filipino weekend variety show, “ASAP 19”, last April 27.

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