Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pinoy Pod 32

FilAm Author Patricia Laurel

In this week's edition of Pinoy Pod, author Patricia Laurel talks about how she hopes her latest book, "Only If You Can Find Me," helps Filipino American youth appreciate their cultural heritage.

The book is the tale of a young Filipino American girl named Samantha Plum, who lives in San Francisco.

But when Sammy travels to the Philippines for the first time for her family's town fiesta, she encounters the spirits of her ancestors, learns she has inherited her family's psychic abilities and discovers her heritage.

Laurel is the great-grandniece of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. In this phone interview from her home in Hawaii, Laurel tells The Chronicle's Michelle Louie about her inspiration for the book, which is the first of a trilogy, and hints at what's coming next.

Check out the Pinoy Pod page at SFGate.com.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pinoy Pod 31

The Story of the Parol

This week on Pinoy Pod, we look at the rich and diverse history of Filipino Christmas lanterns known as parols.

M.C. Canlas, founder and director of San Francisco's annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade, calls the parol a "symbol of Filipino nationhood.''

More on Pinoy Pod at SFGate.com


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pinoy Pod 30

Covering the People Power Revolution

Photographer Kim Komenich won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the People Power Revolution that forced President Ferdinand Marcos from office 20 years ago.

At the time, Komenich was a photographer with the San Francisco Examiner and covered the story with then-reporter Phil Bronstein. Both are now with The Chronicle, and Bronstein is the paper's editor.

Komenich said they covered "heroes'' and "larger than life'' people on both sides of the revolution, from rebel priest Father Conrado Balweg to Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. He survived getting shelled by Marcos troops and getting caught in a crossfire in Manila. They ate "off the earth'' one week and at Malacanang Palace the next.

This week on Pinoy Pod, Komenich remembers his travels and adventures throughout the Philippines, starting in 1984 when he first photographed Corazon Aquino.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pinoy Pod 29

The struggle for Little Manila

From the 1920s through the 1960s, Little Manila in Stockton was a center of the Filipino American community, a vibrant neighborhood where the likes of Carlos Bulosan and other prominent Pinoys lived and worked.

But by the 1980s, Little Manila was disappearing as developers replaced the historic structures with fast food joints and parking lots.

When the last buildings were scheduled for demolition, San Francisco State University professor Dawn Mabalon and other FilAms led a campaign to save the neighborhood. Today, Little Manila is an official historic site.

In an interview with Pinoy Pod, Mabalon talked about growing up in Little Manila, where her grandfather became good friends with Bulosan, the famous Filipino American writer and activist. She also recalled what made her decide to help preserve the neighbhorhood's colorful past.