NEW YORK — An American in New York looking to share the love through charity, found his true love instead – with a little help from the things he learned through The Filipino Channel.
When journalist Jonathan Block gave the gift of education to a Filipino child through Children International’s sponsorship program back in 2007, he found a way to learn more about the 14-year-old Bicolano’s Filipino background and culture.
“I discovered that there was TFC, oh let me go and start checking this out, I was able to get it in my cable system — and luckily a lot of the programs they have English subtitles and from there, my love for the Philippines just got stronger and stronger.”
From balut to sisig, Woodside, New York’s “Little Manila” became his favorite destination to satisfy his Filipino food cravings.
“TFC and Chill” means spending weekends with his husband — catching up on all the teleseryes or their favorite contestants on The Voice Kids.
“I love everything about the Philippines. I wanted to fall in love — as many people do and I said to myself, the person I’m likely to be most compatible with is a Filipino because they would probably appreciate that I understand Filipino culture and history.”
Just when he thought he was going to be single for the rest of his life, Block met an immigration paralegal named Pepe Delicana, when a friend asked him to pick up him up on his way to a Filipino party in 2013.
“He started talking about the Philippines, TFC, telenovelas, Vice Ganda, any celebrity… I was like how can this white guy become very into the Philippines? So I become very very curious,” said Pepe.
“There was a time where I thought I would never fall in love,” said Block. “I was in a few relationships including some Filipinos, and like a teleserye, my heart was broken by some of them.”
With his heart now whole again – Pepe and Jonathan exchanged vows last April 2019 and has been sharing their love for TFC, love for Filipino food and karaoke ever since.
“Let’s be honest, it’s more fun in the Philippines.”
Just like the teleseryes Block has been watching – he said, now that he found his forever, he plans to spend the rest of their retirement lives together in the Philippines.