Why New York

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By Noel G. Tulabut

My Palm Notes

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


A LOT of friends and colleagues have asked me why the photo exhibit I have just staged at SM City Clark was about New York.

Such observation is partly correct. But if I may add, for starters, the I Love New York photo exhibit did have one panel (or two sides of plywood panel) that was dedicated to the celebration of Philippine Independence Day at the Big Apple.

The panel featured the photos of Sammy Sanchez on the independence day parade at Manhattan District in the past few years. Mr. Sanchez, or Uncle Sam as I call him, is a Capampangan based in NYC.

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The panel titled “Philippines in New York” also featured the Philippine Center in Fifth Avenue, the seal of the Republic side by side with famous Pampanga’s parols, the Philippine flag hoisted at the Rockefeller Plaza, a Pinoy family all dressed up with a PH flag-based tee-shirt design, among other shots.

There was even one photo that contained the country's stand against China's claim on disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea. It was a photo of a float refuting such claim on a backdrop of an international tribunal.

There was also special participation of Consul and Minister Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC who is a professional photographer from college days.

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New York is one city I have visited every year since 2005 or the year I started covering the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The photos were taken while walking from UN Headquarters on First Avenue up to Fifth Avenue where the Philippine Center is located. That’s seven-block walk, including Madison, Park and Lexington Avenues.

They were taken from point-and-shoot and phone cameras. I am not a professional photographer as some people thought. I staged the exhibit to share the photos to those who love art and those who love to see some places.

Did someone ask why I did not take taxis? Well, aside from the expensive cabs, the place could get a gridlock of a traffic when heads of states come down for the UNGA.

It was a yearly routine where I also had to chance to see other sites and landmarks in the last nine years. Thanks mainly to sponsors who supported me in airfare.

After 2009, I have given focus on the initiatives of the Philippine Mission to the UN (PMUN). I was fortunate too to have a sit down interview with Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, Philippine Permanent Representative to UN. That was something I failed to accomplish during the incumbencies of former Ambassadors Lauro Baja and Hilario Davide. My thanks to Consul Robert E.A. Borje who serves as Press Officer at the said post.

Fortunately too, my former editor at Today Newspaper (now Manila Standard Today) Elmer Cato was also stationed at PMUN in 2005 (until 2008, I think). He and lovely wife Melanie served as my host at the city where it could really be costly to get hotel rooms.

He helped processed my accreditations at the UN and at the same time get some juicy stories during the coverages. I have written quite a few pieces about UN and the PMUN in the past for Sunstar. They included a full page report titled “Going Global: Covering the UN.” It was part of a personal advocacy where local newspapering could be elevated to global fronts.

When Elmer’s assignment at PMUN ended, I was blessed too to have been “adopted” by Uncle Sam, a cousin of Elmer’s mom from Magalang, Pampanga. Living all by himself in a humble Brooklyn abode, Uncle Sam has been a terrific host since then.

Just like Elmer’s parents where I also alternatively stayed, Uncle Sam is so gracious and kind. They cooked me hot meals and they would not almost let me out of the house for a tiring day without a filled tummy. Such graciousness, I could only repay with prayers for more blessings in their lives. I could only do so much for them in return. These people are like second parents to me.

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My heartfelt appreciation to individuals, entities and groups who helped me in the exhibit.

Foremost are major sponsors SM City Clark, Canon Marketing Phils – Regional Operations, Smart Communications and Asiana Airlines.

SM City Clark Staff - Miss Ana Datu, Mall Manager, Mr. Aaron Montenegro, Asst. Mall Manager, Miss Andrea Madlangbayan, Asst. Mall Manager, Miss Venus Manalang, PR Officer, Mr. Nico Legaspi, Marketing Officer, SM Engineering, Security and Maintenance.

Canon - Mr. Dennis Amores, Head of Regional Operations, Robbie Sarmiento, technician, Karen Dionisio.

Smart – My good friend Jose “Wo” Rosete, head of External Affairs, staff Vicky Sambilay and Penny Po.

Asiana Airlines – Mr. DJ Kim, Clark Sales Manager and staff Melissa Mangune and Kim Zamar.

Mabalacat City Mayor Marino P. Morales and Chief of Staff June Magbalot, Angeles City Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan, CIAC President Victor Jose I. Luciano, Ron Nethercutt, Mekeni Food President Pruds Garcia, Mr. Levy P. Laus, Board Member Cherry Manalo and Alex Dyreyes.

Production Group - Borj Meneses, Photo editor; Dodjie Aguinaldo, Layout and Video Editor; Advisers Bong Lacson, Jojo Due, Peter Alagos, Ceferina Yepez; Ric Gonzales, Production Design; Lhot Paule, Documentation; and, Eric Jimenez, Publicity.

Media Partners: Sun.Star Pampanga, Punto Central Luzon, Headline Gitnang Luzon, Central Luzon Daily, The Voice, Angeles Observer, Angeles City Business Week, 95.1 DWRW-FM, DU 105.5, 99.1 DWGV-FM, PEP TV.

Tulabut Family – my wife Annette and children Asher and Allysa. My siblings who came down to see the photos and nephew Lemuel Collada from Dallas, Texas.

To God be the Glory!

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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