Gemini birthday wishes going out to everyone! I myself celebrated last week. Did you know Filipino hero Jose Rizal is gemini too? It's coming up this Saturday.

I know those of you who have been following my (paper) zine, Bamboo Girl, have been wondering when the next one's coming out. Last year I was unable to make it because of funds and my first year as a full time student (vs. part time.) But it will happen this year, though the publish date is not yet solidified. Usually during summer I hold the Annual Bamboo Girl Zine Benefit Party, with great Filipino- & Asian-American artists of all kinds. Will update on the website as updates come...

In the meantime, enjoy the summer, and take advantage of the summer events going on!

Sabrina Margarita

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June 8, 2004 Contact: Lara M.B. Manjares

Press Release No. 2004-015 Email: core_vcmember@yahoo.com

Phone: 917-951-7287

New York, NY-For the very first time on June 23rd and 24th, the Empire State Building will dazzle the Manhattan skyline with the colors of the Philippine flag. Yellow, blue and red lights will brightly illuminate the tower of the Empire State Building in honor of the Filipino community.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there are 2.3 million Americans of Filipino heritage, nearly 200,000 of whom reside in the New York Tri-State area, an increase of 55% since 1990. This incredible growth makes the Filipino community the second largest Asian American group in this country.

Spearheaded by Collaborative Opportunities for Raising Empowerment, Inc. (CORE), a New York City-based not-for-profit organization of young Filipino professionals, this year's lighting will be the beginning of an annual event on the evenings of June 23rd and 24th that will celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the Filipino community. Although June 12th, the official Philippine Independence Day, had already been reserved, CORE successfully vied for the two dates to continue the celebration of this important day.

Virgil Esguerra, the CORE volunteer who proposed the lighting, explains, "We hope to deliver two messages with this lighting. First, to our kababayan (countrymen) throughout the world, that the Filipino American community in the U.S. is very proud of our Filipino heritage and that the intensity of our bond to the homeland overcomes distance. Secondly, with New York's tallest landmark, we wanted to spotlight the vitality and contributions that Filipino Americans continue to make in this country."

This historic event highlights just one of the numerous accomplishments CORE has achieved this year. Jess Villarina, CORE Chair, believes, "Perseverance within the Filipino community has led to this accomplishment. CORE is a vehicle to accomplish these goals of creating big impact, value-added programs for the community. We are proud and honored to kick-off a new beginning for all to share."

To mark the inception of this momentous occasion, a special lighting ceremony will be held on June 23rd, 6:30 p.m., at the Philippine Consulate, Kalayaan Hall, 556 Fifth Avenue (between 45th & 46th Street). Leaders and prominent members of the community, including the officials of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, led by the Honorable Cecilia B. Rebong, Philippine Consul General, will participate at this groundbreaking event.

Consul General Rebong says, "We congratulate the members of CORE for effecting this historical and significant endeavor. This will be a monumental event and should make all Filipinos proud. This is a great tribute to the whole Filipino American community. We also express our appreciation to the management of the Empire State Building for their recognition of the Filipino community in New York through the holding of this annual event."

Lydia A. Ruth, Director of Public Relations/Special Events Coordinator for the Empire State Building, sharing the same sentiment, proclaims, "The Empire State Building is honored to recognize the Filipino American community with our world famous tower lighting."

This famous landmark was first lit in 1932 by a searchlight beacon seen for 50 miles that announced the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as president. In 1976, colored lighting was introduced when the Empire State Building's tower was lit in red, white and blue in celebration of the American Bicentennial. The tower lighting, a sight that can be seen for 80 miles on a clear night, begins at sunset and ends at midnight.

Yellow, blue and red were chosen to represent the various components of the Philippine flag. Yellow, as the top light, symbolizes the eight rays of the sun, representing the first eight Philippine provinces that revolted against Spanish rule. The middle light corresponds to the top blue field on the Philippine flag representing peace, truth and justice, and the bottom light stands for the red field signifying patriotism and valor.

The special lighting of the Empire State Building is just one of the numerous projects that CORE and its volunteers have undertaken to empower both its members of young professionals as well as the Filipino community at large. In just over a year since its establishment, CORE's list of successful initiatives continues to grow from its panel discussions and networking events to Read Philippines, a program that donates Filipino book collections to local public libraries. The next major initiative for CORE is the Speaker Series, which will be on October 1, 2004. The topic will be on public service and political empowerment.

For more information regarding this event, or other CORE events and programs, please contact Lara M.B. Manjares, Vice Chair of Membership Services, at core_vcmember@yahoo.com.

CORE, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization composed of a volunteer group of young Filipino professionals in the New York Tri-State area. CORE's primary vision is to empower young Filipino professionals as a collective body in the United States. CORE also seeks to provide an avenue for socio-economic involvement to build a stronger Filipino American professional community. To find out more about CORE, please visit www.core-nyc.org.