Boy Abunda to headline 9th Annual TOFA Awards in New York
NEW YORK — For the 5th year in a row, Asia’s “King of Talk” Dr. Boy Abunda is headlining the annual gathering in New York for The Outstanding Filipinos in America (TOFA) Awards.
Now on its 9th year, TOFA commemorates Filipino American History Month, which has been a nationally recognized celebration in the United States since 2010. Every October since then has been designated as Filipino American History Month to memorialize the arrival of the first Filipinos in America on Oct. 18, 1587 and the considerable contribution of Filipino Americans throughout the centuries.
Founded by New York-based journalist Elton Lugay in December 2010, TOFA Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have raised the profile of the Filipino American community in mainstream America.
Twenty-four honorees are being feted this year, including Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Emmy and Golden Globe awardee Darren Criss and popular comedian Jo Koy. Ambassador Libran Cabactulan is receiving TOFA’s Heritage Award while Dr. Restituto Estacio, TOFA Awards’ first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award.
With Abunda serving as master of ceremonies, TOFA night is sure to rekindle cultural pride as trailblazers, innovators, and luminaries from fields as diverse as arts and culture, human rights and LGBT advocacy, politics and public service, fashion and style, sports, education and health care take the center stage.
“I have come to associate October as TOFA season, and look forward to meeting this year’s 24 honorees, most of whom have been role models in their communities and industries for some time,” Abunda says. “There are also those whose circumstances and life choices simply give us all the ‘feels,’ and it would be interesting to get to know more about them.”
Key note speakers for the evening are Engr. Rod Mercado, founder of Financial Rescue; Ivy Wisco of Moneygram International; Steven Raga representing the New York State Assembly; NaFFAA President Brendan Flores; Ruben and Janet Nepales from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; and Ambassador Claro Cristobal, consul-general of the Philippines to New York.
Community leaders Joji Jalandoni and Debbie Ymalay joined this year’s TOFA board, which selected the 24 honorees. They serve alongside Lugay who is also the show’s executive producer. Veteran TV personality and producer Jannelle So of TFC’s “So Jannelle Show,” realtor Corazon Rivera of Bona Tierra Realty, and Miles dela Cruz and Gina Planas of M Events are likewise on the TOFA board.
Presented by Bank of America, the 9th Annual TOFA Awards will be held October 26, at the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, home of TOFA since its inception.