Phil-Am Press Club at 30 presents Fil-Am journalism awards

/ 02:11 AM October 11, 2018

Torch Bearer honoree for Journalism and keynote speaker Bobby Caina Calvan dreamed of having his name and pictures printed in the papers he was delivering to houses in Honolulu. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

SAN FRANCISCO — The Philippine American Press Club (PAPC) marked its 30th anniversary with its 7th Plaridel Awards and 8th Torch Bearer Awards for “outstanding Filipino American community journalism” in the newly opened San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center (SFFCC) on Oct. 4.

The Torch Bearer honoree for Journalism Bobby Caina Calvan was born in the Philippines but grew up in Waimanalo, Hawaii. He was an editor at the Center of Investigative Reporting in Emeryville, California, and had worked for several mainstream newspapers.


Calvan is “a diversity warrior and ethnic media advocate, who embodies the journalistic values we all aspire to hold and the body of work to actually back it up,” said Odette Keeley, a Plaridel judge who introduced Calvan as the keynote speaker.

Calvan said he never imagined a career in journalism, but he dreamt of having his own name and pictures printed in the papers he was delivering as a boy. He confessed also that his parents had hoped that he would be “an engineer, a doctor or lawyer, and not a journalist who does not earn much.”

Hennie Espinosa of TFC/Balitang America (left) received the Best Community Reporting Award for “Box City.” FACEBOOK

The Torch Bearer honoree for Community Leadership was Professor Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, who died last summer and was posthumously awarded as a historian, author and tenured professor of Asian American Studies at the San Francisco State University. Mabalon authored “Little Manila is in the Heart: The making of the Filipino American Community in Stockton, California.” Her award was received for her by husband Jesse Gonzales.

George Washington University freshman majoring in journalism Catherine Oriel, who was a journalist for her high-school paper, and youth adviser and blogger at “Look What SHE did!” organization won the PAPC’s First Youth Journalism Scholarship Grant.

A highlight of the event was the presentation by PG&E of a $10,000 check in support of Philippine American Press Club.

A check of $10,000 was presented by PG&E officials to PAPC board member Esther Chavez (extreme left) and PAPC President Joseph Peralta (extreme right). INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

Since its inception in 2012, Plaridel awards have given out 133 trophies to outstanding Filipino American journalists and this year’s winners in their respective categories were the following:

Best Community Reporting in Television —  Hennie Espinosa of TFC/Balitang America for “Box City.” Merit Award went to Makilala TV of New York for “Gun Violence” produced by Jen Furer, Rachelle Ocampo and Cristina DC Pastor.

Best Documentary in Television —Jared Brey of TFC/Balitang America for “Age-defying Filipina Lola eye world power lifting record,” received a Merit Award.

Best Tourism Feature Story –Elizabeth Ann Quirino of Positively Filipino for her article “Savoring hidden flavors of Philippine kitchen.” Carol Tanjutco of received a Merit Award for “A FilAm Expedition to Manila & Davao.”


Best Commentary–Emil Guillermo of for “Filipinos here first to America.” Merit Award went to Perry Diaz of FilAm Star for “Give peace a chance to grow.”

Attendees at the Plaridel awards showing their support for the honorees and awardees. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

Best International Story– Rene Astudillo of Positively Filipino for his piece “Will Philippine jeepney soon be extinct.” Merit Award went to Rodel Rodis of for “Why China will declare war if PH drills for oil.”

Best Food Story — Rae Ann Ocampo Varona of Asian Journal for her article “What’s on your FilAm table for thanksgiving.”  Elizabeth Ann Quirino of Positively Filipino received the Merit Award for “Tupic from Tarlac.”

Best Entertainment Story —France Viana of Positively Filipino with her “Myth, Magic and Madonnas.” Lisa Suguitan-Melnick of the same publication won a Merit Award for “Incarcerated 6×9 on the cell-lular level.”

Jesse Gonzales (middle) receives that Torch Bearer trophy for Community Leadership for his late wife, Dawn Bohulano Mabalon, from PAPC President Joseph Peralta (extreme left) and PAPC board member Esther Chavez (extreme right). INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

Best Profile Writing —Titchie Carandang-Tiongson and Erwin Tiongson of Positively Filipino won for “The Untold story of Nina Thomas: The American woman who would have been First Lady of the Philippines.”

Rey dela Cruz of Positively Filipino won the Merit Award for his “Happy Beneath the Sea.”

Best Personal Story —Emil Guillermo of Inquirer received a Merit Award for  “Where sexual revolution and civil rights meet ‘Me Too’.”

Best Photojournalism Award— Wendell Alinea of Philippines Today won a Merit Award for his photograph entitled “Pacquiao stunned, dethroned by Australian Horn but hailed by many who said he won.”

Best News Story —Christian Esteban of won a Merit Award for “Sen. Trillanes in L.A”

Best Feature Story –Jesse T. Reyes of The Filipino Press / San Diego with his article “Timeless apple picking traditions and good times with our Montreal Filipino French Canadian families and friends.” Rey dela Cruz of Positively Filipino won a Merit Award for “Dear Satu: Letters tell the story of our lives.” columnist Emil Guillermo receives one of his three awards, from a representative of AARP. INQUIRER/Jun Nucum

The 2nd Ness Ocampo Memorial Award for Radio/Podcast was won by Emil Guillermo with his “Emil Amok’s Takeout” interview with “Ben de Guzman on the Congressional Medal of Honor for WWII Veterans.”’s Emil ‘Amok’ Guillermo had a number of awards, including Best Commentary Best Commentary for “Filipinos here first to America, a merit award for ”Best Personal Story” for  “Where sexual revolution and civil rights meet ‘Me Too’” and the 2nd Ness Ocampo Memorial Award for Radio/Podcast for his “Emil Amok’s Takeout” interview with “Ben de Guzman on the Congressional Medal of Honor for WWII Veterans.”

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TAGS: community journalism, ethnic media, Filipino American journalism, Philippine American Press Club (PAPC), Plaridel Awards, Torchbearer Awards
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