TFC brings 40 overseas Pinoys ‘home’ for Christmas
In the spirit of the holiday season that brings family and friends together in celebrations, ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel tapped the power of media and technology to gather nearly 40 overseas Filipinos (OFs) from 10 countries for the virtual “Kapamilya Reunion” event with their families in the Philippines.
The families in the homeland were gathered at Restaurant 9501 of ABS-CBN Corp. in Quezon City, while overseas Filipinos gathered in TFC offices in Redwood City, California; Toronto in Ontario; Dubai Media City; and partner venues Bar FM in London; Salad Bar Grill and Suite, New South Wales; Kusina Restaurant in Seoul; Outback Restaurant in Singapore; and Dabarkads in Hong Kong.
ABS-CBN Global Marketing Services Head Pam Castillo said she is proud that ABS-CBN TFC’s service transcends broadcasting.
“We are in the service of the Filipino worldwide and this has many layers. We accompany OFWs in their journey overseas through information and entertainment and the company of our stars. But most importantly, we try to keep the link to home not only through TFC programs but also through our special events and engagements such as this Kapamilya Reunion,” she stated.
ABS-CBN Regional Marketing Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa Maribel Hernae, added that what enables the TFC team to truthfully fulfill this mission is the fact that most of them are OFs themselves.
“As an overseas Filipino worker, I empathize with them – how challenging their movement was, how they consistently struggle in a foreign land, and how they remain hopeful for a chance to be with their families,” he related.
The Kapamilya Reunion is TFC’s answers to overseas Filipinos’ yearning for their families according to ABS-CBN Asia Regional Marketing Head for Asia Pacific Eric Martin Santos: “Through Kapamilya Reunion, we hope to bring Christmas to those who cannot come home for the season. So together as a team, we brought these families together for a few hours of entertainment, an array of feasts, exchange gifts and most of all, one unforgettable Christmas.”
Launched in September, the concerted TFC teams behind Kapamilya Reunion asked the overseas Filipinos to share their most unforgettable “Paskong `Pinas” with their families, online through TFC’s Facebook pages. Overseas Filipinos from all over the world quickly heeded the call and sent answers from the most touching moments to childhood memories that continue to bring a smile to their faces. The winning stories were chosen based on their impact and uniqueness.
Rahmil Pamilacan of United Arab Emirates (UAE) shared a memory from way back in 2006, the last time his family was complete. Because of the need to fend for the family, one family member worked overseas one after the other. His mother Marie Luz who was also a former overseas Filipino, understands how it is for Rahmil to be alone in UAE.
In between tears, she thanked TFC for the opportunity to bring him closer: “Hindi ko inaasahan ito. Na-surprise ako kasi ngayon lang ako naka-experience ng ganito. Dati susulat ka tapos after two months pa darating. Ngayon nag-uusap kami via Skype – kung anong meron. Sobrang proud ako sa anak ko dahil laging may sorpresa sa akin. Kahit malayo siya, may pag-aalala.”
Besides connecting families from different parts of the world, Kapamilya Reunion also tried to recreate Christmas the Filipino way. In remaining true to the Filipino tradition that is “Paskong `Pinoy,” each TFC team rolled a Noche Buena feast. In the US and Canada, choirs Praise and Glorify and the Pentecostal Ministry performed poignant Christmas songs, especially carols the overseas Filipinos missed from back home.
The TFC teams composed also enabled those abroad and their families to exchange gifts courtesy of partners.
Like a true “Paskong ‘Pinas,” select ABS-CBN stars also joined overseas Filipinos who were online during the reunion. They were Thou Reyes, DJ Jai Ho, MJ Lastimosa; Joj and Jai, Marlo Mortell, Jon Lucas, Ann Ramirez, Sofia Andres, Arron Villaflor, Jairus Aquino, Bonnel Balingi,t and Diana Meneses.
Ramirez who plays Joy/Ligaya in the hit teleserye Pangako Sa `Yo shared that she is proud to have been be part of Kapamilya Reunion. She said she can relate to what overseas Filipinos are going through as she herself has relatives abroad.
“Iba pa rin iyong mayayakap mo iyong mga mahal mo, mga pamilya mo. Ako mismo nakikita nila sa TFC so nagiging close kami. TFC ang naging way nila para ma-connect sa families sa Pilipinas,” she acknowledged.
Witness the touching moments of Kapamiya Reunion via TFC Connect on December 25, worldwide.