Hercules Residents Close Ties with Typhoon Victims in the Philippines


A few days after typhoon Ondong hit the Philippines, relatives and friends were silent on Facebook. Then one by one families & friends report back on the devastation. Fil-Ams & City of Hercules commit to raise funds towards typhoon victims.



PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 23, 2009 – Local Hercules residents got close ties in the Philippines badly affected by the recent typhoon Ondong. "I first heard about the flooding from my friend Martino of La Strada Restaurant. I said 'It always floods in the Philippines,' but not until I saw actual images of the devastation that I realized it was gravely serious. My relatives and friends were silent in Facebook, and it concerned me." says Jojo Soriano, Community Services and Library Commissioner for the City of Hercules. "Finally I heard back from my grand nephew Jaypi via Facebook and received the terrible news about the devastation. Jaypi's mother, my cousin Jhie, reported also that she had to stay at a neighbor's house since their house was submerged deep in water." added Soriano who had produced a movie promo entitled JOIN US based on his facebook connections with his grandnephew Jaypi during the typhoon Ondong. The movie was recently released and is available on DVD (suggested donation $20 to go towards the typhoon victims).




"I have a lot of former classmates who were badly affected by this." says Cheri Soriano-Escalante, co-chair of the New Year's Eve benefit event to raise funds for the Typhoon victims. Most of whom live in Manila and its suburbs. Marikina for one was heavily affected, and we have lots of relatives there."


"My wife's sister had to be carried up by construction workers up to the second level of her mother's unfinished house when the flood took over their homes." says Jun Soriano, of Hercules. "She wasn't able to save anything. Some of the furniture and kitchen appliances were carried off by the flood. Her refrigerator ended up in the backyard; in the end, she was left with an entire house full of mud, debris and its entire contents and personal belongings utterly ruined." added Jun Soriano.


"We have friends who were in the Philippines on vacation who got stranded for many hours. Many of them had to be air-lifted by helicopters onto safer grounds," says Martino of La Strada, also a Hercules resident. "I know how serious the devastation was, and we want to help in any way we can!" Martino of La Strada restaurant in San Pablo and Napa has committed to be the major sponsor of the fund-raising event in Hercules.


Cheri & Jojo, siblings and both realtors are urging other realtors to help out. Both are Fil-Ams of Hercules board of directors who are helping organize a fund-raising event on New Year's Eve at the Hercules Community Center on Dec. 31st, 2009.


Spearheading this effort are former Mayor and Councilman Ed Balico, former Mayor Frank Batara and their wives, Evelyn and Didi, respectively.


"This is the first time in this magnitude that I'm raising funds for our native land." says Ed Balico. "It may take up to 5 years to rebuild those areas and lives affected by this typhoon."


Some have already contributed financially with many well-known charitable organizations, and some were skeptical about the aid going directly to those who need them most. "We are conducting a few interviews with regards to selecting the conduit for the funds that we raise." says Frank Batara. "We've also talked about sending one of ours to the Philippines so we can see first-hand how the monies and/or aids are being disbursed. Of course we want to make sure that the aid goes directly to the needy. We're very close on selecting the right agency to appropriate the funds." added Batara.


A movie promo entitled JOIN US has been produced by Jojo Soriano who owns SEEDesign.com, a marketing and design firm based in Hercules. The movie was recently released last Nov. 17th at La Strada Restaurant private showing, and many were moved and touched. "Everytime I show this movie, I keep hearing the words "I didn't know it was that bad!" says Jojo.


Fil-Ams of Hercules and the City of Hercules have teamed up once again to raise funds not only for the typhoon victims in the Philippines but also to support some of our local youth projects during the New Year's Eve celebration in Hercules. They are urging people to buy tickets ($75 each) even if they cannot attend. "We've been planning this event for a few weeks now, and I know it's going to be really fun. The theme is Viva Las Vegas with casino gaming tables, food, full-bar, dancing with a seasoned disc jockey!" says Cheri.


"We're urging people to donate raffle and live auction items, buy tickets as gifts, spread the word by showing the DVD of the movie JOIN US. One area we can use right now is publicity. We need media sponsors from both print and broadcast. We have a movie promo that we can air on TV or cable. We are also urging businesses to sponsor this event financially! When you see the actual footage and images of the devastation, you'll see how very very lucky and fortunate we are despite the economic challenges we've faced the past few years!" says Jojo Soriano.


Write donation checks payable to Fil-Ams of Hercules and mail to 2246 Lupine Road, Hercules, CA 94547.


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