Makilala TV celebrates milestone, looks forward to Year 2 with bigger shows
By Cristina DC Pastor
Makilala TV, the first Filipino American television talk show in New York, celebrated its one-year anniversary with a July 19 taping at its home studio at Queens Public Television (QPTV) in Flushing.
The three hosts, Jen Furer, Rachelle Ocampo, and Cristina DC Pastor, presented a one-hour program with animated discussions on the immigration quandary of Jose Antonio Vargas, women’s obsession with body image, and a musical number singing Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” They were joined by guest co-hosts Charina Nadura, Jessy Daing Musbeh, Hanna Choa Yu, Carolyn Joyce Pena, Josephina Tapia, Lisa Nohs, and Loren San Diego. Makeup artist Victor Palmos joined the discussion on body image. Young singer Kirby Asunto provided the intermission numbers, belting Disney classics “Let It Go” and “Reflection.”
Makilala is the brainchild of Maricor Fernandez, a QPTV producer, and Cristina, a community journalist. They met last year and began a conversation about their desire to “do something on television.” They met again for several days after that to form Marilag Productions, brainstorm and refine their idea of a talk show with four women and guests a la “The View.”
“A group of women, a guest and a table. That’s the only similarity between us and ‘The View,’” said Cristina. “Our issues, our temperament, our ways are different.”
The show is hosted by Jen Furer, author of “Out of Status;” Rachelle Ocampo, who is president of UniPro; and Cristina DC Pastor, founding editor of The FilAm. The departure of Maria Cruz Lee, who was then working for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, paved the way for Makilala to launch a search for a fourth co-host. More than a dozen women, who responded to the search, now form Makilala’s cohorts of talented and accomplished Filipina Americans who take turns co-hosting the monthly show.
Makilala’s first guest was Ryan Letada, co-founder of NextDayBetter, who appeared on July 24, 2013 to talk about the issue of “Social good.” The latest episode, which taped on June 14, 2014 featured theater actors Jaygee Macapugay and Jose Llana discussing what it’s like to be “Filipinos on Broadway.”
The show has also interviewed the following leaders and community trailblazers: Rhodora Ursua of Kalusugan Coalition, Merit Salud of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, Venessa Manzano and student Isa You of The Filipino School of NY/NJ, Ayesha Vera-Yu of the Advancement for Rural Kids, Cheryl Ocampo of Queens County Parents Autism Coalition, Edward Santos of the Filipino American Young Leaders Program, businesswoman Lisa Nohs of Lockers 4 Laundry, retired nurse Juliet Oberlin, educator and former actress Lorli Villanueva and daughter Sibyl Raymundo of Soho International Film Festival, Janet Salazar and Constance Peak of IMPACT 21, and theater actors Jose Llana and Jaygee Macapugay of “Here Lies Love.”
“May you continue to have more years of spreading inspiration and quality discussions.” said Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. in a video-recorded congratulatory message.
“I learned so much about the various FilAms who are making their mark here in the U.S. and in the Philippines. Issues that not only affect our community but other communities as well,” said Jen, a mother of four from Cranford, New Jersey. She is also the Scholarship Officer or ‘Dreammaker’ at the grassroots organization Advancement for Rural Kids.
Makilala has invited guests Vice Consul Khrys Corpuz to talk about “Filipino millennials,” and NYC Commissioner Maria Torres Springer to discuss how the city is helping grow small businesses and enterprises.
The ladies shared deeply personal thoughts about hosting the groundbreaking show.
“I am still in denial that I can call myself a co-host for a TV show, a FilAm TV talk show,” said Rachelle, who is two-time president of the Pilipino American Unity for Progress, or UniPro. “I remember when I was first approached to be a host. It never occurred to me the importance of having a second-gen voice on this type of platform of education and awareness.”
She said Makilala has provided a platform for innovators and leaders to highlight their work, their interests, and hopes for the community.
Through Makilala, Jen said she is forced to confront her “fear of speaking.”
“My kids and hubby make fun of me and say that language is my second language,” she said. “Although I still stutter at times and have this out-of- body experience, I continue to face my fear because there are a lot of stories to be celebrated, people who want to empower, give back and inspire.”
The ladies are grateful to QPTV, a unit of Time Warner, for being an important media resource in New York’s multicultural community, and for giving Filipino Americans a platform to reach out and engage the community. Although QPTV stations are available only to Queens residents, Makilala episodes may be accessed through YouTube, makilalatv.com and the show’s Facebook page.
Said Rachelle, “We have been blessed to have QPTV to project our voices as FilAm women. The crew has been so committed to volunteering their time and service so we can have a smooth and efficient show.”
The production crew, with their technical skills and expertise, has made Makilala soar into the airwaves, said Maricor. “They are the steam engine of this show.”
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