How I met Barack Obama

Inquirer.net’s Global Nation Section
November 2008

Text and videos by Ted Regencia


CHICAGO — Pressed against the steel railings, I struggled to keep myself from being completely crushed by the delirious crowd, all wanting to shake the hands of their idol. It was past 11 pm in Des Moines last January, and Barack Obama had just finished delivering his speech following a decisive victory in the Iowa Caucus that would propel him to the Democratic nomination.

Anxious not to miss a single moment, I feverishly clicked on my camera, now completely aimed on the subject who was inching closer and closer to me. All of a sudden, I hear Secret Service agents barking orders to people, “show your hands; show your hands.” It was part of the security measure to protect the candidate.

I had to clear my hands too. The next thing I knew, I was face-to-face with the would-be American president. He extended his right hand to me and flashed a toothy smile. All I could say was, “Thank You” as he I shook his rather skinny hand and looked him in the eye. Thank you? What was I thinking?
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RP firm poised to sign deal with Chicago architectural outfit

PINOY Newsmagazine/Philippine News
December 2007

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — A Chicago-based architectural company is poised to sign a deal that would allow Filipino architects to produce designs for their projects, Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) Executive Director Celeste Ilagan said.

“We are very positive that this trip will result to a number of contracts for this company in Chicago. This is one of the most productive legs of the trip,” Ilagan said in an exclusive interview. Details of the deal remain sealed until the contract is finalized.

Ilagan was in Chicago for an investment mission promoting the Philippines as a location for Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled services. While here, she also spoke at the “Bayanihan Sa Amerika” conference hosted by the Philippine Consulate last October 27 at the Sheraton Gateway Suites.
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NaFFAA’s Loida Lewis stumps for Hillary in Windy City

PINOY Newsmagazine/Philippine News
December 2007

Text and photos by Ted Regencia


CHICAGO — “As a woman, I am calling all the women of America to rise up. We rise up this time, and get the first woman president elected to the White House,” Loida Nicolas-Lewis, former president of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) declared.

Lewis made the assertion in a one-on-one interview, before she spoke to an assembly of Chicago-based Filipino American supporters of New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who gathered in Chicago last November 20, to show their support for the presidential bid of the former First Lady.

While Clinton operatives try to play down the role of gender in the campaign trail, Lewis took the issue head-on saying, “America is still very sexist. There’s a lot of baggage in the American psyche, and one of them is the gender issue.”
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Fil-Am seeks to topple top Chicago alderman

PINOY Newsmagazine/Philippine News
March 2007

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — A Filipino American community leader moves closer to making history in Chicago.

Naisy Dolar captured 28.3 percent of the votes in the city’s 50th ward during the February 27 local elections, forcing the 34-year incumbent Bernard Stone into a run-off on April 17.

“We are a step closer to a whole new ward,” declared Dolar to a cheering crowd of supporters on election night. “It’s time for a change.”
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Exclusive Interview: Chicago’s top cop is Fil-Am

PINOY Newsmagazine
September 2005

By Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — In an unprecedented development for the Filipino American community in Chicago, one of its own has been designated by Chicago Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline as district commander.

Charles “Chuck” Dulay officially took over his post as head of District 17 covering Albany Park, last July 1, capping 37 years of service in the Chicago police force, and making history for the Filipino American community in the Chicagoland.
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Exclusive Interview: This Filipino chef cooks for Oprah

PINOY Newsmagazine/Philippine News
April 2005

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — “I am not financially well-off, but I am rich in experience. So I want to give something back to our less fortunate countrymen,” Chicago-based Filipino American chef Ron Bilaro says, speaking of his trip to the Philippines this November to help raise funds for the Gawad Kalinga (GK) project for the poor.

For the event, Ron will travel to Manila with his mentor Art Smith, private chef to Oprah Winfrey. Ron also cooks for the entertainment mogul as sous-chef to Smith. Smith, who has his own children’s foundation, Common Threads, was inspired to team up with Ron, and visit the Philippines after learning of the latter’s charity work.

After the White House has named Filipino American Cristeta Pasia Comerford as its executive chef, a sense of kinship among Pinoy chefs in the U.S.has been established.

One of those who emerged from anonymity is Ron Bilaro. He invited this reporter to his hip residence located near the heart of Wicker Park’s yuppie village. Ron’s digs, which offers a stunning view of the Chicago skyline, is surrounded by upscale restaurants, which he visits often to try out new tastes.
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Exclusive Interview: Heart-to-heart talk with Oprah’s cardiologist

PINOY Newsmagazine/Inquirer.net/Philippine News
April 2005

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — Because of “poor diet,” many Filipinos are vulnerable to heart disease, the number one killer in the United States.

Take that valuable words of caution from Dr. Annabelle Santos Volgman, one of the top cardiologists in the country. Volgman is the director of the Electrocardiography Services at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She also happens to be the cardiologist of TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

In an exclusive interview, the Marikina-born, New York-raised, medical practitioner laid out the scientific facts and enumerated crucial life-saving measures to protect one’s heart.

“Eighty percent of strokes and heart attacks are preventable,” Volgman declared. “And if more people knew that it’s in their hands to prevent them, I think they will change their lifestyle.”

For Filipino families, that change of lifestyle starts in the kitchen.
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Obama reaches out to Filipino-American voters

PINOY Newsmagazine
Originally published in September 2004

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — Discounting not a single vote in his historic bid for a seat in the United States Senate, State Senator Barack Obama reached out to the Filipino-American community in Illinois, and extended to them his “message of hope.”

In an exclusive telephone interview with this reporter, Obama highlighted his progressive immigration policy, which seeks to give a “path to citizenship” to long-time undocumented residents. This, provided that they “obeyed the laws of the United States and paid the proper taxes.”
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U.S. health care crisis fuels Pinoys’ American dream

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com
September 2, 2002

By Ted A. Regencia

CHICAGO — Lisa, 25, is a computer engineer from Mindanao. Desperate for a job, she left the Philippines for the United States in 1999. Three years of hard work and loneliness have paid off. She now drives her own car and leads a comfortable life in a Chicago suburb.

DJ, Lisa’s cousin, is also an engineer. Lured by the promise of pay in greenbacks, he gave up his 10-year-old job in Makati to pursue his American dream. As a reward, he was able to finance the repair of his parents’ house in their provincial hometown, send money to his relatives and save enough for his and his wife’s first born that is due in November.

Lisa and DJ are making money not because they are engineers. Both are caregivers, a job they never imagined doing while they were still in college back in the Philippines.
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