PHOTO Coverage: TOFA-NY Awards at Carnegie Hall

By: Oct. 29, 2013
New York, October 29, 2013--Heroism and excellence in the nursing profession won the predominantly Filipino American audience that gave a well-deserved standing ovation to NYU Langone nurse Menchu De Luna Sanchez--superstorm Sandy's hero nurse--when she personally received her The Oustanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY) award from Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron and Southern District of New York Judge Lorna Schofield at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall Saturday night.


Organized by founder Elton Lugay and co-producer Sally Nunez, TOFA-NY Awards--its third year at the famous concert hall--recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and organizations that have raised the profile of the emerging leaders in the Filipino-American community in the New York Tri-State area.


De Luna Sanchez was one among the 17 individuals and organizations feted that evening that was sporadically interspersed with nuggets of practical wisdom from keynote speakers Schofield, Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. and former Chairman of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Ruben Nepales.

The straight-from-the-heart one-minute acceptance speeches from the awardees from multiple, diverse categories, whose thousands of social media followers voted for them on Facebook; energetic and edgy moves by young street dancers PCSNJ Youth Group, whose take on YouTube sensation Mikey Bustos' Tagalog version of Psy's "Gangnam Style" effortlessly brought the house down; and the jaw-dropping vocal prowess of Las Vegas-based chanteuse Lani Misalucha, whose Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson et al. medley would have you clamor for more, were among the highlights of the sold out affair.

The third annual TOFA-NY Awards' other honorees included Sibyl Santiago for arts and culture; Jaena Valles for business and entrepreneurship; Maya Rowencak for community service and advocacy; Jen Furer for courage of conviction; Marietta Geraldino for education, research, and technology; Christine Sienicki for entertainment; Guenevere Rodriguez for fashion and style; Aris Tuazon for food and restaurants; Irma Bajar for LGBT advocacy; Katherine Creag for media and publishing--who also engagingly emceed the awarding ceremonies; Atty. Rio Guerrero for public service and politics; and Esperanza Garcia for youth and sports.


This year's Heritage Awards, TOFA-NY Awards' highest accolades, were given to Joe Bataan, Filipino-African Latin soul musician--who generously performed two jazz musical numbers that fitted Carnegie Hall to a T; Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national organization that primarily provides pro bono legal services; Foundation for Filipino Artists Inc., co-producers of the New York stage debut of Felipe Padilla De Leon and Guillermo Tolentino's opera "Noli Me Tangere"; and Monique Lhuillier, leading couture bridal and ready-to-wear designer.

Local talents: tenors Jared Martin and John Pio, soprano Kirby Asunto, flutist April Talangbayan, and musical theater actress Christine Joyce Lam also performed.

Besides Lugay and Nunez, award-winning multimedia journalist Cristina Dc Pastor, multi-award winning marketer Grace Labaguis, and public relations consultant and editor Oliver Oliveros make up this year's TOFA-NY Awards' board of directors.

Photos by Arman and Joyce David of AJ Images

WNBC 4's Katherine Creag

PCSNJ Youth Group

Sibyl Santiago

Maya Rowencak

Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron, Jen Furer, Judge Lorna Schofield

Consul GenerAl Mario de Leon Jr.

Kirby Asunto

DCG Zaldy Patron, Lumen Castaneda, Marietta Geraldino, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Christine Sienicki, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Judge Lorna Schofield, Guenevere Rodriguez

Maya Rowencak, Sibyl Santiago, Menchu De Luna Sanchez, Katherine Creag, Jaena Valles, Christine Sienicki

DCG Zaldy Patron, Aris Tuazon, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Menchu De Luna Sanchez

April Talangbayan

John Pio

DCG Zaldy Patron, Irma Bajar, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Atty. Rio Guerrero, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Esperanza Garcia, Judge Lorna Schofield

Christine Joyce Lam

DCG Zaldy Patron, Joe Bataan, Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Edwin Josue (for the Foundation for Filipino Artists Inc.), Judge Lorna Schofield

DCG Zaldy Patron, Grace Labaguis (for Monique Lhuillier), Judge Lorna Schofield

Ruben Nepales

Sally Nunez

Lani Misalucha

Lani Misalucha, awardees

Lani Misalucha, awardees, board of directors

Lani Misalucha, awardees, board of directors, founder Elton Lugay