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 their virtual Kapamilya Reunion with their families in the Philippines.
The families in the homeland were gathered last December 6 at the Restaurant 9501 of
ABS-CBN Corporation in Quezon City while OFs 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 to make the virtual reunion happen.
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 OFs 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 Kapamilya Reunion, Castillo said.
ABS-CBN Regional Marketing Head for Europe, Middle East and Africa Maribel Hernaez, 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, Hernaez said.
One of TFC’s answers to OFs’ yearning for their families according to ABS-CBN Asia Regional Marketing Head for Asia Pacific Eric Martin Santos is Kapamilya Reunion. Santos said: “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 OFs to share their most unforgettable Paskong `Pinas with their families, online through TFC’s facebook pages. Overseas Filipinos from all over the world heeded TFC’s 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 OF, 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.”
Aside from connecting families from different parts of the world, Kapamilya Reunion also tried to recreate the Christmas celebration, the Filipino way. In remaining true to the Filipino tradition that is Paskong `Pinoy, each of TFC team rolled out a salo-salo, sort of like a Noche Buena feast. In U.S. and Canada, choirs Praise and Glorify and the Pentecostal Ministry performed poignant Christmas songs, especially carols the OFs missed back home.
The TFC teams composed of TFC’s Regional Marketing teams headed by Castillo, Hernaez & Santos and Advertising Sales teams headed by Global Ad Sales Head Jon Gatbonton, also enabled the OFs and their families to exchange gifts courtesy of partners. The gift-giving does not stop there as the OF families in the Philippines, through TFC’s courier partner, will be able to send their gifts to their loved ones overseas for free, and with it, more happy memories to share this Christmas.
Like a true Paskong ‘Pinas, select Kapamilya stars joined kababayans who were online during the first part: OFs from U.S., Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and their families gathered at Restaurant 9501. Pangako Sa `Yo’s Thou Reyes (Takong) and DJ Jai Ho (Coring); Deal or No Deal’s MJ Lastimosa; Joj and Jai of Forevermore; Umagang Kay Ganda’s Marlo Mortell; and Jon Lucas of the viral sensation Hash Tags made the reunion extra special.
During the second part of the reunion where TFC gathered families from the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Taiwan, and South Korea, more Kapamilya stars came to inject some more happy moments: Pangako Sa `Yo’s Sue Ann Ramirez (Ligaya/Joy); Forevemore’s Sofia Andres (Kate); Arron Villaflor (Dr. Henry Nieves); Jairus Aquino of Luv U; Bonnel Balingit and Diana Meneses of Kapamilya Deal or No Deal.
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 our kababayans are going through as she herself has relatives overseas. She believes TFC’s “Kapamilya Reunion” helped shorten the distance so to speak and sustain that bond. “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,”Ramirez shared.
Pangako Sa `Yo’s Doris ‘Tart’ Carlos and Ang Probinsyano’s Vivieka Vivieka shared light moments with the OFs too as the program hosts.
Witness the touching moments of Kapamiya Reunion via TFC Connect on December 25, worldwide. For more information, visit TFC facebook pages worldwide. (TV Series Craze)
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