Friday, January 30, 2015

Fil-Event and Travel joins the entire Filipino people in this day of national mourning.

Our sincerest sympathies and condolences for the 44 PNP-SAF policemen who lost their lives in the Maguindanao clash.

We pray that peace will reign in the Philippines.


January 30, 2015 - National Day of Mourning

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Was just thinking earlier today that it is probably time the Philippines considers changing the justice system to include trial by jury. Why do I say this?

I am very sure that there are hundreds of excellent judges in the Philippines doing a brilliant job. dispensing justice up and down the land.

However, it also worries me that if you are the only judge in a trial and maybe you are having to judge a very high profile case for example, involving millions of pesos, if you find that person guilty, your safety may be at risk. Haven't judges ended up dead in the past? It can't be an easy job.

Of course I am not being critical of the system or indeed any particular judge, I am merely making the point that it is a massive burden of responsibility on one person who maybe has a family, life to think about etc. Also with so many incredibly rich people living in the country right now, who's to say that a judge. Police officer etc couldn't be paid off to sway the case a certain way?

I am not saying this does happen, I am just saying it could have the potential to happen.

Trial by jury seems a lot more fairer and practical. You see, 12 randomly selected people from all walks of like would then listen very carefully to the evidence and then decide. It would then be harder to penetrate any jury or sway a case in a certain way. I was just reading some comments in response to the allegation by Kat Alano that she was raped when she was 19.

I do believe this and I also don't believe in any way that Vhong Navarro had anything whatsoever to do with this. In fact I believe Vhong is a victim himself of some nasty people who are jealous of his success and out to get rich quick.

This all made me think, that even if whoever raped Kat came to trial, would people be paid off not to bring the case further? Also looking at some of the comments and blogs today, there are lots of views, opinions etc, from I guess a cross section of society, however the general view is that rape is a terrible crime and the rapist should be brought to justice.

I guess the worry for Kat is that would she be safe naming the rapist and then would that individual pay people off so he wouldn't face trial?

In the cases of impeachment of politicians, am I right in thinking that there are many senators who sit in congress to hear the evidence and then decide whether the politician is innocent or guilty?

It does seem unfair to me that politicians who may have been accused of corruption, earn the right to a trial by jury, however the average Filipino citizen has no such right?

Therefore, I support the campaign for trial by jury.


Why I now support the campaign for trial by jury in the Philippines

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I am fortunate to have been married to a Filipina now for over 17 years. We have two children, both in their late teens. Since I was 18, I developed an interest in the Philippines and Filipino people.

This stemmed from my love of the theatre and in particular Miss Saigon. I quickly discovered that the lead cast were Filipino and decided to travel to Manila to meet with Monique Wilson who I admired. I guess, I could have married somebody from the same country as me, however as I had a passion for the country, it made perfect sense to marry and settle down with someone from the country I was so passionate about.

Raising children in the UK or indeed anywhere isn't easy. There isn't a manual on how to be a parent. When you buy a car, house, electrical equipment or anything else, there are clear instructions on how to operate it. With children, I guess it's natural instinct, combined with what we have learnt from our parents or indeed advice from maybe friends or relatives.

With that in mind, we, like I suspect many other parents got plenty of advice on how or how not to bring up our children. I had always wanted our children to be able to speak Tagalog fluently, I believe this is very important. Sadly however, neither of our children can speak it. I guess the best advice I could give to parents where one of the parents is not Pinoy, is for the parent who is, to speak as much Filipino as possible to the children at a young age, maybe for the children to go back home or even live in the Philippines for a year or so.

However the question is, when? If they are very young at the time of going back to the Philippines, they would probably forget it all. If they are over 9, this would effect their education in the UK. The Philippines has an American style education with words spelt the American way. This would be highly confusing for children. I guess the alternative would be to send them to a British school in the Philippines, again there wouldn't be much point because they would be taught in English!

I know of so many even well known Filipinos where one of the parents is from another nationality and in most cases they regret not being able to speak Filipino.

I have always believed that if you marry someone from another country you should eat their cuisine. I see absolutely no point in marrying someone from the Philippines, yet refusing to eat the food, not even wanting to visit the country and on some occasions not even allowing Filipino to be spoken in the house. My advice to such people, marry somebody from your own country!

How do you expect your children to grow up appreciating both their British and Filipino culture, if they are not totally immersed in both?

I would be happy to hear your views and experiences. You can contact me through the following channels:

Twitter: FilEvent

Instagram: FilEvent

Facebook: Malcolm Conlan

Maraming salamat po until next time.

Malcolm conlan


Being part of a British Filipino family

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Although I am not Catholic, nor do I go to church as often as I should sadly, I do believe that for a number of reasons, the Pope's visit to the Philippines was so important.

Firstly, on his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, the Pope addressed the journalists on board, where he made reference to insults to religion. He went on to say that if somebody insulted his father, he would punch them on the nose, he then demonstrated this with one of his team.

I believe the point he was trying to make is that if someone insults God or religion they can expect action. Of course we are all entitled to and have the right to freedom of speech, but should not insult other people's religion and beliefs. This message would go out to Marlene Aguilar and anybody who chooses to insult religion. It does sadden me that we can't all respect one another. Praying for change.
There are many millions of Catholics in the Philippines, I believe it is only right that their leader paid them a visit. The Pope is right, the Filipino Diaspora make an amazing contribution to life around the world and this must be appreciated more.

I hope that a lot of good also comes out of this visit. I believe the Pope mentioned corruption as well during his visit. It is great to see the Pope is a very clever, well informed man who sees what goes on around the world.

I am not accusing anyone of being corrupt, all I am merely saying is that where man believes nobody is watching, God is watching and the Pope visited the Philippines to tell the people that. Praying that all will listen. God bless the Philippines, God bless the Pope as he departs the Philippines, praying for his safe journey and thank you for visiting the Philippines. God bless the Filipino people.

Malcolm Conlan


The Pope's Visit to the Philippines

My view on this lady, Marlene who said the Pope was evil and also my views on the Papal visit to the Philippines.

I have just been tagged in a post, drawing my attention to some comments by a lady called Marlene who apparently called the Pope evil and said everyone who believed in him was stupid. Well, there are millions, if not billions around the world who respect the Pope.

Personally, I don't think it comes down to believing in the Pope at all. One should believe in God and of course respect and follow the leadership of the Pope. Even for those like myself who are not Catholic, the visit to the Philippines of Pope Francis can only be good. 

The Pope is a very clever man, yet humble man. His visit to the Philippines is very important. Firstly it gives the chance for Catholics in the Philippines to see their leader, secondly, it gives Pope Francis an opportunity to see the Philippines in person. I hope and pray that a lot of good comes from this visit, also renewed faith for the Catholic believers in the country. God bless the Philippines and Filipino people and God bless the Pope.

Finally, God bless Marlene, let's not judge her, let God be her judge. With every great leader, there will always be critics.

A Quick Post on the Papal Visit

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MANILA, Philippines - Exactly an hour ago, I got an email from Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Air Asia which recently lost its airplane, Flight QZ8501 as it flew toward Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya with 162 people on board.

This is about 13 hours after the aircraft's black boxes were retreived from underwater.

I'll take you straight to the letter and you will know why Tony Fernandes is such a great CEO unlike others.

Here it is :

Dear _(my name was actually here)_,

The past few weeks have been the most difficult weeks of my life since starting AirAsia 13 years ago.

I wanted to reach out and thank you for the warmth and support given to all of us. Your messages of love and encouragement strengthen our resolve to be better. We will continue to provide updates as the investigation goes on.

Rest assured, we are committed to reviewing and improving our products and services. We are more focused than ever to provide you with nothing but the best.

Even in our toughest times, we will continue to be the world's best and be better for you.

Together with my 17,000 AirAsia Allstars, we ask that you join us in praying for the family members and loved ones of those on board QZ8501.



The 'we' in the hashtag togetherwestand was really emboldened for emphasis.

Maybe other CEOs can take tips from him.


Why Tony Fernandes Is Such A Great CEO

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to have to write you once again over my concerns regarding the treatment of Filipino Workers in your country.

I am aware of a recent letter to you from one of your citizens Jafri Basron over his concerns over the number of Pinoy's employed in your country. In it, he states that he believes that 'The presence of Overseas Filipino Workers in Singapore is causing social problems and resentment from locals looking for work'

I know several Singaporean Nationals who employ Filipinos as domestic helpers in their homes. All of which tell me that these Filipinos work very hard and do an excellent job. The point is, if there is a shortage of jobs in Singapore, why aren't these domestic helper positions filled by fellow Singaporean citizens?

I believe that Filipinos have the right to gain employment anywhere they choose to work, if your citizens decided they no longer wish to employ Filipinos and instead their fellow countrymen then that is their choice. However, whilst their is a demand for hard working Filipinos in your country this should continue to be supported by your government.

I did note with concern the letter apparently from a Filipino nurse where he apparently made offensive remarks against Singaporeans, if this was really written by a Filipino, then I am concerned about this, I am also concerned to hear claims by Jafri Basron that some Filipinos have resorted to offensive remarks towards Singaporeans.

I am calling on Filipino netizens to show restraint in these difficult times, likewise when I wrote my last letter to you, I received many hundreds of rude, racist comments towards me from Singaporean citizens about my marriage to a Filipina calling me a dog and such like.

I do believe in freedom of speech, I also believe therefore that I am also welcome to express my views, my biggest concern and one of the reasons for my letter is the concern by Jafri that Filipinos are not professional in their jobs.

I have been involved with the Filipino community for some 20 years and my overwhelming experience has been of a hard working, professional people who are employed as Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and even airline pilots, as well as of course nannies, domestic workers etc. If they are not professional, why are they hired to work in such important jobs worldwide?

Sir, I am calling on you to introduce laws banning racism and bad treatment towards OFW's.
Finally, Jafri points out that your government should lessen jobs for OFW's, again this would be fine if your own citizens would be happy to do those jobs currently being carried out by Filipinos.

Respectfully yours,

Malcolm Conlan
London, UK


An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Singapore, His Excellency Lee Hsien Loong

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A celebration of the Filipinos' success in the London Westend, in the world of musical plays, from MISS SAIGON to HERE LIES LOVE, a singing group awarded BEST NEW ARTIST GROUP CATEGORY (2013 26th Aliw Awards) joined by their husbands in this one night only show TWO WORLDS IN HARMONY featuring WEST END MAMAS and WEST END PAPAS plus special guests.

Gia, Cez, Maya have all played major roles in various musical plays in the London Westend like MISS SAIGON, LION KING, LES MISERABLES. Very recently Gia Macuja Atchison, has played Estrella Cumpas in the new musical play HERE LIES LOVE.

Joined by their better halves Nick and Gerald, who have also performed in various musical plays in the London Westend while Bob is an international concert violinist and conductor (presently lead violinist in Lion King musical).

Join us for a night of songs from your favorite and popular musicals plays.



Two Worlds In Harmony - A Show You Shouldn't Miss

Monday, January 12, 2015

A couple of nights ago, I was able to watch the final performance of Here Lies Love at the National Theatre.

I have always had an interest in the Philippines and not really known how I could channel that interest. Yes, I am married to a Filipina and yes, I have been to the Philippines many times, however, I have never really understood or indeed taken that much interest in Philippine Politics.

However, watching Here Lies Love, has left me with a burning desire to find out more about Philippine history. What really happened before and during the Marcos years, how did certain families in the Philippines gain their wealth?

Who married who? Are there any stories or truths we have not found out?

So, over the last couple of days, I have taken to intense reading, watching various YouTube videos from both camps, both trying to make me believe one side or the other.

Although my family are from the Philippines and I have a love and passion for the country, so far, I have not formed an opinion, I do not intend to comment on politics, it's hard to remain neutral, however, my thoughts and beliefs will remain private for now.

With Mark Bautista who played Ferdinand Marcos

I can say however that Here Lies Love is such a relevant and important work of theatre, not just because it focuses on the Philippines, but because it focuses on people power and the ability for people to invoke change, not through war, or violent actions, but through peaceful protest and standing United.

Hoping for the day when Here Lies Love returns to the stage again, I also hope that it is staged worldwide. It has left me with a renewed interest and desire to learn more about the country and people I am so fond of.

Malcolm Conlan


"Here Lies Love" had a profound effect on me

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to make Biko - a favorite Filipino delicacy.


2 kg glutinous rice
1 can condensed milk
4 cups water
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
banana leaves ( optional )
grated coconut meat from 4 coconuts (reserve coco milk)

1. Cook glutinous rice in water just like you do with plain steamed rice.
2. In saucepan, pour brown sugar, coconut milk, condensed milk and vanilla extract.
3. Mix, stir and let boil. Add cooked glutinous rice to coconut milk mixture and cook until thick.
4. Spread evenly on platter (or bilao) lined with banana leaves.
5. Slice and serve.

credits to Sally Estrella for the recipe


Biko - A Filipino Delicacy

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Every year, tens of thousands line the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong to witness the International Chinese New Year Night Parade – a spectacle of dazzling performers from Hong Kong and abroad that turns the whole harbour-front area into a giant outdoor street party. This is where the world comes to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

This year will really be very special for Hong Kong and the City of Bacolod, Philippines. 

The Hong Kong Tourism Board has invited the Bacolod MassKara 2014 Barangay Champion dancers, Brgy. Granada, to represent the Philippines and perform during the Chinese New Year Celebration at the HK International New Year Parade on Feb. 19 & 20, 2015.  The fame of Bacolod's Masskara Festival is indeed going worldwide as it has also garnered other awards such as the Philippine Independence Day Parade, staged annually along Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York, and where the Bacolod Masskara (New York Edition) has won consecutively for the past 3 years!

Chinese New Year is without a doubt the biggest (and most-adored) festival of the lunar calendar, with 15-days packed full of age-old traditions, cultural festivities and family celebrations.  Hong Kong will surely be treated to the unique flavor of Bacolod's Masskara Dancers and its high energy beat.

For those who are planning to go to Hong Kong this first quarter of 2015, February 19 and 20 would be great days to be there.


Bacolod Masskara Festival Joins Hong Kong New Year Night Parade

Friday, January 9, 2015

Back in October 2014, a new show to London opened at the National Theatre, Here Lies Love.

I had read about it, seen reviews on Facebook, seen postings on the walls of friends, in fact one of my friends in the

Filipino community and also Facebook friend, Gia Macuja Atchison was in the cast.

I must confess at this point for those who don't know me, I am also a massive fan of Miss Saigon. Gia was also one of the cast of Miss Saigon. She is also the manager/member of another group, West End Mamas. This group also consists of other Miss Saigon cast and has recently won an award in the Phililppines for the best New group.

It was almost impossible to get a ticket for the show, but Gia very kindly reserved one for me.

I had a choice of a few dates as the show run had been slightly extended. I chose the final night. Wow did I make a big mistake!!!

In fact, I should have chosen every date!!!!

I had a choice of a seated ticket or standing ticket, where you were on the dance floor! OMG, I can't dance to save my life, so I was a bit scared to be honest that I would have made a fool out of myself.

Was I in for a massive surprise and as I said at the start of this blog, a truly unforgettable, yet incredibly sad night.

Even though I am totally in love with the Philippines and Filipino people, I still don't know much about the history of the country, nor do I know much about politics or what happened during the Marcos era.

All I can say is that Here Lies Love is a very interesting, important and relevant story of Philippine history. I am very pleased that writer David Byrne and Fatboy Slim chose to collaborate and feature the Philippines. Historically, whenever the Philippines has been featured in anything going back a few years, there was always a focus on poverty, corruption, sadness etc. However this story focusses on what makes the Philippines a truly unique place to love and respect, from the Filipinos love of singing and dancing, to their fantastic acting abilities. The cast featured many of the cast of Miss
Saigon from around the world, including Natalie Mendoza who was quite remarkable as Imelda Marcos and of course Gia who played her childhood friend, Estrella.

Gia is an incredibly talented singer as well as Actor and this shone through, there is a scene were Imelda and Estrella confront one another and both are incredibly powerful in their portrayal.

I must confess I am also a fan of Philippine TV and cinema, so to see Mark Bautista as Ferdinand Marcos was excellent. As well as being a brilliant vocalist, Mark is also a very talented actor and dancer. Galling Mark, you nailed the performance.

Why was it also a very sad night?

Here Lies Love is a truly remarkable show, witnessing the final performance, actually dancing on stage with the cast, ending up standing on the same step as Natalie Mendoza when she sang Here Lies Love at the end of show encore was truly incredible and unforgettable, like it was meant to be. As I write this blog however, I feel an immense sense of sadness, firstly that I didn't see the show before, secondly, that I didn't bring my family to watch and finally as this was the last night, OMG incredible night. MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT GIA!!!

To Mark, Natalie and the rest of the incredible cast, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Malcolm Conlan


Here Lies Love - A truly unforgettable, yet incredibly sad night.

This is the official list of nationwide holidays for 2015.

January 1, 2015, Thursday – New Year’s Day (Regular holiday)
January 2, 2015, Friday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)

February 19, 2015, Thursday – Chinese New Year (Special non-working day)
February 25, 2015, Wednesday – EDSA Revolution anniversary (Special holiday)

April 2, 2015, Thursday – Maundy Thursday (Regular holiday)
April 3, 2015, Friday – Good Friday (Regular holiday)
April 4, 2015, Saturday – Black Saturday (Special non-working day)
April 9, 2015, Thursday – Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular holiday)

May 1, 2015, Friday – Labor Day (Regular holiday)

June 12, 2015, Friday – Independence Day (Regular holiday)

August 21, 2015, Friday – Ninoy Aquino Day (Special non-working day)
August 31, 2015, last Monday of August – National Heroes Day (Regular holiday)

November 1, 2015, Sunday – All Saints Day (Special non-working day)
November 30, 2015, Monday – Bonifacio Day (Regular holiday)

December 24, 2015, Thursday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)
December 25, 2015, Friday – Christmas Day (Regular holiday)
December 30, 2015, Wednesday – Rizal Day (Regular holiday)
December 31, 2015, Thursday – Last day of the year (Special non-working day)


Official list of nationwide holidays for 2015.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Filipino people are in my opinion generally a hard working, resourceful and caring people. There are around eleven million OFW's or Overseas Filipino Workers around the globe.

Why is this?

Life can be tough in the Philippines if you don't have a job or anyone in your family working overseas. Yes, the Philippines is abundant with natural resources and a climate and land which is able to host crops of all varieties, fruits, rice etc. However if you don't have any land or indeed seed income to plant anything then you are left with little choice but to go abroad to survive.

The Philippines does not have a state benefit system or free health service like we are fortunate to have in the UK, also although it does have a free education system as such, within the school year, there are certain costs one must pay for like, books, materials, school trips etc and of course graduation events.

Personally life is not so easy for me right now, however I guess we are all fortunate in the UK that we do have a state system to rely on.

Of course there is wealth in the Philippinnes, there are some incredibly wealthy individuals who do support charities, build schools, hand out food to the poor etc, however like in the UK and I guess entire world, the richer you are the less tax you pay.

I am quite sure that if everyone in the Philippines who had the financial means to do so, was paying all the tax they were due to pay, there would be the financial resources for a free health service and maybe even benefit system? However this is a worldwide issue, not just a Philippines one.

By resourceful, I mean nothing goes to waste and Filipinos are very creative in running businesses. Take for instance recycling. In the UK, we throw so much away still.

In the Philippines, there are organisations like the Philippine Community Fund who collect ringpulls from cans and other materials like cartons from drinks and turn these into jewellery and bags for school, pencil cases and other items which they are then able to sell to raise funds.

Local villagers even sell Ice cubes to neighbours, some set up small stores were they sell various goods to neighbours again. In the cities, there are even people who would help park your car for a few pesos, or hail a cab for you, again for a few pesos. This in my opinion shows that the Filipino people will do anything they can to make a better life for themselves and their families.

When I went back home last year, I visited the cemetery to pay my respects to family members who had sadly passed away and there are even people living in the cemetery who can pray for your relatives, sell candles, flowers and take care of you, again you would give them a few pesos donation. This is still very resourceful.

Many of the Filipino people working abroad are employed in the care sector, be it in nursing, as doctors, medical staff, working in nursing homes, hospitals, private houses, hotels or indeed in other caring professions.

Not sure why it is that so many choose that profession, other than to say that in my experience, Filipinos seem to have been brought up to respect their elders, fellow citizens and really care for others. I guess one of the pathways of leaving the Philippines to work abroad is by getting a job in the caring industry.

I know I have said this a few times now, I also aware that it has been the desire at least verbally of some politicians, that we look forward to a time when leaving the Philippines and getting a job abroad would be a choice, not a necessity.

Malcolm Conlan


Malcolm Conlan on Overseas Filipino Workers

Saturday, January 3, 2015

For many people, jazz is simply another form of music which draws up images of a saxophone player belting out improvised harmonies.  To others, jazz can't simply be music.  Jazz is a lifestyle.

Such can be said about the fun-loving people of Negros Island, Philippines, who at the end of the day's work enjoy kicking back to relax and soothe themselves with the music which embody a peculiar but distinctly Negrense way of life.  Thus, every February, the city of Bacolod comes together to enjoy and celebrate the music with which they can best identify with.

As an Englishman and native Londoner, I am deeply into musicals.  Yet, I am highly drawn to jazz and have always appreciated the quality of talent displayed by jazz musicians.  For this reason, I look forward to The Bacolod Jazz Festival, brought onstage by the Negros Jazz Society which is on its 6th Edition this 2015.  Jazz lovers not just from Bacolod City but from all over the Philipppines come to enjoy musical improvisation in all its forms.  This annual celebration features a unique mix of top-quality artists from the Philippines' local jazz scene as well as emerging stars.

This year, the 6th edition of the Bacolod JazzFest is slated on February 20, 2015 at the La Proa Ballroom, L'fisher Hotel.  Joining the Fesival will be The Mike Tambasen Project featuring Nimrod Villamarzo.

This year's Jazzfest will also feature Clara Benin.

Join the event by logging into this page :

Malcolm Conlan
London, UK


The 6th Bacolod Jazz Festival slated on February 20, 2015

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