December 20 2018
GMA Network recently hosted a successful immersion tour for the 2018 Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPro) delegates which consisted of ten outstanding young US-based professionals.
(Front row, L to R) GMA International Assistant Vice President for Programming Cheri Domingo, GMA Kapuso Foundation EVP and COO Rikki Escudero-Catibog, Heart Evangelista, Howie Severino, GMA Senior Assistant Vice President for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara, and GMA First Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph Francia together with the 2018 FYLPro delegates during the immersion tour and Thanksgiving dinner the GMA team hosted.
The immersion tour, led by GMA’s global arm GMA International, gave the delegates an overview of GMA’s programs as well as its contribution to the broadcast industry in the Philippines. They visited the set of Kapuso flagship newscast “24 Oras” and had a brief chat about pursuing a career in the industry with Rovilson Fernandez, the host of GMA News TV program “Ang Pinaka”. For a truly Pinoy experience, they also went to the set of “Mars” and the Mars Bazaar which showcased local products from small businesses. Some of the delegates even got the chance to be interviewed by Kapuso hosts Suzie Entrata-Abrera and Camille Prats during the ‘Ask Mars’ segment.
Moreover, the FYLPro delegates engaged in a meaningful panel discussion with GMA News Pillar Howie Severino, GMA Senior Assistant Vice President for Alternative Productions Gigi Santiago-Lara, and Kapuso actress Heart Evangelista about content creation in the Philippines and how it can be relevant to other parts of the globe. And in true Filipino-American spirit, the immersion tour concluded with a Thanksgiving dinner in celebration of Thanksgiving Day in the US.
“We once again open our doors to the FYLPRO delegates at a time when we are now in the so-called experience and sharing economy. We hope that you enjoy your interaction with our executives, stars, and staff as as we share ideas on how best to respond to the challenges of the Filipino community in the US,” GMA International Head Joseph Francia said in his welcome remarks.
Heart Evangelista expressed her appreciation for having the opportunity to talk about the topic on GMA Pinoy TV’s panel discussion on Philippine television and the global Pinoy audience. “As an actress of 20 years, I am passionate about conversations on the entertainment industry. I think nowadays, it's becoming more and more necessary to stay educated about media because of how relevant it is in our daily lives,” she said in an Instagram post.
“This is one way for GMA to find out what kind of content and programming preferences young Filipinos have or are developing. Kasi tayong producers dito, kadalasan, ang iniisip lang natin 'yung audience natin dito sa Pilipinas. Nakakalimutan natin na ang audience natin global na. It's good that we're hearing this kind of feedback and insights," Howie Severino also added.
One of the delegates, Baron Lloyd Cabalona, who was born and raised in Tacloban and is now based in Chicago as a musical director, shared how he enjoyed their visit. “This is my first time in GMA and it feels really good. The discussion we had was very refreshing because it’s nice to know that a company such as GMA is willing to adapt and hear the youth’s voice especially that of Filipino-Americans,” he said.
Fellow delegate Catherine Sy Luib echoed the same sentiment and said that they were amazed with the program. “FYLPRO is a very important platform wherein we can share our legacy projects. This is a wonderful opportunity for the delegates,” the San Diego-based physician said.
Aside from Cabalona and Luib, this year’s delegates are second generation Filipino-Americans, among which include a fellow doctor in Chicago, a PR expert in Arkansas, an educator and entrepreneur in Boston, an IT expert in New York, a multimedia and graphic designer in Washington, D.C., a policy director in New Jersey, a US Air Force officer in Hawaii, and a TV producer in Los Angeles.
The FYLPro delegates are selected each year by the Philippine Embassy in the United States, in cooperation with Ayala Foundation Inc. Under the program, the delegates visit and engage in a dialogue with the country’s policymakers, industry leaders, media, cultural experts, and social entrepreneurs for them to maintain a grassroots approach to working locally in various industries which will have an impact nationally and globally.