Saturday, December 21, 2013


It is such wonderful feeling when you know that your work is creating an impact...

Such is the case with BOLINAO 52.  From day one after super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) destroyed Tacloban City in the Philippines, we have been busy joining efforts to raise fund for the typhoon victims.  The response was overwhelmingly positive and heartwarming.

Immediately after the devastation from the storm, Hoi Trinh, VOICE founder, sent me an email asking me to help him spreading the word about his fundraising campaign.  I agreed and asked Viet-Nam California Radio (VNCR) to assist.  VNCR, without hesitation, used its airwaves and affiliation to call for donations. On November 19, 2013, we organized a fund raiser concert at VNCR Community Center with the participation of over 20 well-known Vietnamese overseas musicians and artists like Ý Lan, Bằng Kiều, Minh Tuyết, Ngọc Hạ, Don Hồ, Hương Lan, Vũ Khang...

Here is a rendition of Nghìn Trùng Sa Cách by Ý Lan.

Ý Lan sang Nghìn Trùng Sa Cách

Hoi Trinh addressed audience about the relief effort

Volunteers counting donations

On to Canada.  Not too long after Hoi Trinh's call, I got another call from Tôn Thất Hùng of SBTN-Canada.  Hùng asked me to bring BOLINAO 52 to Canada to host a fundraiser event in Toronto.

Landed in frigid Pearson Airport in Toronto a day after Thanksgiving, I felt a bit out of place.  Having living in California for so long, freezing weather is no close friend of mine.  However, there is a familiarity in the surrounding.  Canada to me is a land of warm people wearing thick coats.  And that was what I got.  The Vietnamese Association in Toronto welcomed me with open arms.  Two showings of BOLINAO 52 brought in about 100 people and approximately  CAD$16,000.  I got to make new friends and some fantastic memories.

Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara On The Lake

Tôn Thất Hùng introduced BOLINAO 52 to audience

I got few snapshots with fellow Overseas Vietnamese in Toronto

and Young Vietnamese leadership in Toronto, Le Luong, James Nguyen and Tôn Thất Hùng
One of the staff at VAT- Vietnamese Association of Toronto is a Filipina named Lorna Jean Tabulao.  She is from the Pangasinan region in the Philippines where Bolinao is located.  Inspired by BOLINAO 52 she decided to call for donations and organized a trip to BOLINAO in 2014 to find Caloy Cagusaan, the fisherman who rescued the BOLINAO 52, and give him the money she is raising.  It has been at least 6 years since we began doing outreach with BOLINAO 52 and I still am amazed with the effects it has on people.  BOLINAO 52 continues to inspire people to take action and this is a tremendous gift the film gave me and the viewers who watched it.
This Holidays Season, please give the gift that kept on giving, order BOLINAO 52 and let its magic spread to your love ones.


B52 holiday dvd


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bolinao 52 is Creating A Legacy

The groundwork laid by Bolinao 52 is now being used to create a path by the new generation of Vietnamese overseas to build and maintain the heritage that is so central to our identity and legacy.

A group of younger Vietnamese Canadian in Montreal is taking on an initiative to bridge the generation gap in the Vietnamese Canadian community.  Spearheaded by Glenn Hoa, a young Vietnamese Canadian dentist, the Generation's Legacy is organizing events to raise fund for the Boat People Museum in Ottawa.

How does Bolinao 52 play a role in all this?

Last summer, we traveled to Calgary, Canada to attend the "PASS IT ON" conference. The 3-days conference was created to address the generation gap issues among the Vietnamese Canadian population.  Its aim is to create a new crop of leaders for the future.  Glenn Hoa at the time was a skeptical attendee.  But after watching Bolinao 52, Glenn had a change of heart.  This is what he wrote:

"Something simple, that a cynical and resistant youth, of any ethnicity, can watch and be touched by. This is why Bolinao 52 is so important! It completely changed me! In Calgary, I was just a spectator. Now, in Montreal, I have hope! And I'm just 1 person. Imagine if there are 10, 20, 30, 100 like me. Wouldn't that be awesome? Bolinao 52 does not give the answers, but it makes us think of questions. Who in my family are Boat People? Why haven't I given them more appreciation? If I could do something to honour their journey, what would it be? If the Japanese have the samurais, warriors that sacrificed their life in the name of honour, why can't the Vietnamese 2nd generations honour the Boat People as their universal source of inspiration?"

So continuing the mission of inspiring a new generation of youth to preserve the Vietnamese Boat People legacy, we will be heading to Montreal, Canada on March 2 and 3, 2013 for yet another presentation.  This time, we hope to inspire more souls like Glenn Hoa to build and preserve the legacy of Vietnamese Boat People.

For more information visit the Generation's Legacy Facebook Page: