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.