Columnist Janet Nepales with author Ruben V. Nepales and actor Clifford Banagale
(Photo by Hydee Ursolino-Abrahan)
LOS ANGELES--When my husband, Ruben V. Nepales, launched his first book, My Filipino Connection: The Philippines in Hollywood, at Carla’s Café at the CBS Studios in Studio City recently, we had people coming from various parts of the world to celebrate with us.
Ploning director Dante “Ga” Garcia flew in from the Philippines. Mike Malicsi, director of the University of Santo Tomas Office for Alumni Relations, and Pilar Romero, assistant to the University of Santo Tomas rector, also came straight from Manila to attend the event.
Acclaimed Tina Turner tribute artist Luisa Mendez-Marshall, who is featured in the book and who was also Ruben’s former coursemate at the University of Santo Tomas--they both took up Communication Arts--came from Vancouver, Canada, with her husband Steve.
The book, which is a collection of mostly published works that reflects Ruben’s advocacy to spotlight talents of Filipino heritage making it in world entertainment, includes articles on Vanessa Hudgens; Darren Criss; Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Matthew Libatique (cinematographer, Black Swan); acclaimed director Ramona Diaz; Charice; animators, including “Pixnoys” (Filipinos who work at Pixar) Ronnie del Carmen, who is co-directing his first Pixar film, Ricky Nierva, and Gini Cruz Santos; DreamWorks’s Louie del Carmen; Alec Mapa; Anna Maria Perez de Tagle; Charmaine Clamor; Bernardo Bernardo; Bessie Badilla; Luisa Mendez-Marshall; John Butiu; the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO); and many more.