Another glittering evening as Reflections celebrates 18th year

by Oliver Carnay

(Photo: R-Page, Inc., producer of the recent US-Philippines Expo held in Pomona, CA, accepted the 'Cultural Award,' shown here presented by movie actress Juliana Palermo.

Reflections, the longest-running and most prestigious awards-fashion show in the Filipino-American communities in the southland, celebrated its 18th year, and honored some of the notable personalities with Styles and Visions (this year’s theme). Spanning eighteen years of glamorous fashion and awards presentation, the event honored Filipino and Filipino Americans who have excelled in their chosen field of career and helped uplift the community’s stature in America. The 18th annual Reflections Awards is truly worth-remembering with its Hollywood-ish presentation, complete with a colorful Reflections XVIII backdrop and parade of celebrities/awardees during red carpet arrivals.

Held at Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn in Burbank, California on Sunday, November 12, 2006, the event was adorned with famous personalities, as well as young achievers who are shaping up as future pillars in the Filipinos-and Filipino-American communities in the United States.

Filipino entertainers Jessa Zaragoza and Dingdong Avanzado, who recently joined the group of immigrant entertainers in California was awarded as ‘Best Couple in Entertainment.’ Filipino celebrity entertainer, Ms. Kuh Ledesma, who continuous to give pride abroad, received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her contribution in the field of entertainment. Although, she was not present due to her hectic schedules in the Philippines, daughter Isabella was present to read her well-written message.

Fil-Am Hollywood actor Sean Michael Afable, who recently appeared in “Akeelah and the Bee” received the ‘Young Achiever’s Award.’

Former television show personality Frieda Fonda (from the popular tv show T.O.D.A.S. and once popularly-known as the Ms. Body Language of the Philippines), is now known as Dr. Frieda V. Brookshire, a popular and successful dental practitioner with a degree of DDS, MS, FICOI, was awarded this year as Reflections’ ‘Woman of the Year’ and was also given the ‘People’s Choice’ Award, much to her surprise.

Beauty and brain -Jannelle So, who hosts the only daily Philippine tv show in the southland - Kababayan L.A. (under LA18tv) was honored with ‘Excellence with Broadcast Journalism/ TV Hosting’ and was surprised when she was called the Belle of the Night as another special award. Other awardees include: Angelique Gradney (Queen of the Philippines-USA); Christian Mendoza (Queens of Reflections); Ivory Cunanan (Fil-Am Queen); Lily M. Lara (Hall of Fame Award) and was also announced as Best Dressed of the Night together with L.A.’s Patron of the Arts - Bong Prada Lim as counterpart; Mary Janet Valdecañas, MD (Outstanding Woman in Lipotherapy, Facial Contouring & Body Sculpting); Estela Cottle of Estela Cottle Skin Care Clinic, Olivia Quido of O’Skin Care, Joceylane M. Dinsay of Aesthetic Skin Center, Dani Ancog of Simple Elements Floral, and Dr. Robert & Teresa Tostado of Biologica, shared the honors for Beauty & Style;

Alex Pineda (Man of Style); Seafood City Supermarket (Award of Recognition in Education), for raising fund amounting to 1.3 million pesos helping improve education in the Philippines, in cooperation with Ayala Foundation and Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students (GILAS); Loi Herrera (Humanitarian of the Year Award);

Charles Torroba (Outstanding Young Man in Community Service); Paul Ireton (Outstanding Young Man in Finance); Joseph Pagsibigan Lopez (Outstanding Young Man in Realty); Ana Puno of Starmedia Entertainment Group received the ‘Concert of the Year Award’ for U.S. tour of Forever After starring Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Rico J. Puno, and Ai-Ai de las Alas; The Panopio Family (headed by its Founder and CEO Mr. Ruben Panopio) of R-Page, Inc. received the Cultural Award for the successful staging of the recent U.S.-Philippines Expo this last August 2006.

Among celebrity presenters and special guests for the evening were Mr. Griff O’Neil (Founder and President of World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA), three-time Emmy winner Angelo Santos (Couture designer of CBS’ The Bold & The Beautiful), movie actress Juliana Palermo, Sthanlee B. Mirador (Hollywood Celebrity Photographer), and Mark Temple (Hollywood Entertainment Lawyer).

Among those who provided entertainment were Jessa Zaragoza and Dingdong Avanzado, 12-year old fast-rising entertainer Jasmine Villegas (the latest protégé of Damon Dash), and 19-years old Sean Collado, who was last year’s WCOPA 8-time medalist. Collections by Karina was also featured in the fashion show segment.

Bantay Bata Foundation received a donation this year. The event was hosted by Hollywood Fil-Am actress Leslie-Ann-Huff (ER) and Benny Lagos and was covered by ABS-CBN International, Inc., Kababayan L.A., and Lhar Santiago of GMA 7. More pics from the 18th annual Reflections XVIII at Photo Gallery.