Lea Salonga, Darren Criss, Bobby Lopez Join TOFA Awards 10th-Anniversary Virtual Celebration
"Empire State is privileged to honor outstanding Filipinos." - Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York, N.Y. - Carnegie Hall has canceled all its events until 7 January 2021. However, this does not deter The Outstanding Filipino American (TOFA) Awards, whose formal ceremonies are held annually at Carnegie's Weil Recital Hall, from celebrating its 10th anniversary - albeit virtually.
To be hosted by the Philippines' "King of Talk," Dr. Boy Abunda, TOFA Awards' 10th-anniversary special, titled Luminaries, features Broadway stars Lea Salonga and Darren Criss and EGOT winner Bobby Lopez (all previous TOFA Awards recipients). Joe Biden, former vice president, and Democratic presidential candidate, is expected to grace the virtual event, which premieres on YouTube and Facebook on 30 June 2020, at 9 p.m. EST.
Customarily, the annual TOFA Awards are held every October, in time for the Filipino-American History Month, commemorating the arrival of the first Filipinos in America in 1587. The awards also recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations that have raised the Filipino-American community's profile in mainstream America.
"Our world is changing so fast. For many of us, the past few months have been grueling with the lockdown, and so many lives lost to COVID-19. Perhaps 2020 will leave us with bittersweet memories. I want this show to be one of the sweet moments we can all cherish. It's TOFA's 10th-anniversary special. It's our very first virtual gathering even made more fabulous by the participation of so many TOFA luminaries, honored guests, and warm-hearted sponsors," says Elton Lugay, TOFA Awards founder and executive producer.
Special guests include Loida Nicolas Lewis, Lorna Schofield, Rob Bonta, Ron Falconi, Gil Quinones, Cris Comerford, Mario de Leon, Libran Cabactulan, Tess Dizon de Vega, Josie Natori, Brendan Flores (honorary board member), Rod Mercado, Maria Ressa, Ruben and Janet Nepales, Marc Nicolas, Jannelle So (honorary board member), Katherine Creag, Martin Nievera, Lani Misalucha, Jake Zyrus, Cecile Azarcon, Dessa, Fe Delos Reyes, Jelly Balbuena, Jo Awayan, Jonathan Badon, Miriam Pantig, Parangal Dance Co., Bima Baje, Corazon Rivera, Joji Jalandoni, Ken Mendoza, Nora Galleros, Reagan John Raga, the TOFA Performing Artists, and the Tri-State New York Filam All-Stars.
Presented by Bank of America, Jollibee, and Financial Rescue, TOFA Awards' Luminaries is written, produced, and directed by Elton Lugay, line produced by Miles Dela Cruz and Badette Tagoc, and filmed and edited by Erwin Pajarillo.
Photos: Walter McBride