ASAP Live in LA: More than just entertainment

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES – They came miles away with shirts and signs to celebrate the 20th year of The Filipino Channel, and of course, to see their favorite artists at ASAP Live in LA.

Zeny Fabros drove ten hours from Arizona and named her favorites stars: Gary Valenciano, Maja Salvador, Gerald Anderson, and Kim Chiu as she waited for the doors to open.

While they’ve followed their favorite stars and shows while in the Philippines, for the past 20 years they were able to continue following them through TFC – but they say the channel is more than entertainment.

“I was so excited so happy. I feel like home, I feel like I’m in the Philippines,” explained Lily Simbahan from Temecula, California.

“You don’t feel so much homesick,” said Ledy Espinosa, who lives three hours away in Bakersfield.

While major events drawing thousands are now common year round extravaganzas, many remember TFC’s humble Northern California roots.

“Nobody knew what The Filipino Channel was and it was so difficult to get people to sell this product. I remember our first sale to our first hundredth sale, and today were almost at a half a million,” recalled Raffy Lopez, ABS-CBN Chief Operating Officer.

“I was the very first person to have any kind of role in passing out fliers to introduce this new concept called The Filipino Channel; it was just a concept, just an idea, big satellite dish. It was just an idea that turned to what it is today. Twenty years later it’s like the best thing they’ve invented since the balikbayan box,” said long time kapamilya star Martin Nievera.

ABS-CBN President Charo Santos Concio saw the early days differently. “I knew in my heart it was just a matter of time, yes, because the Filipinos love artists, love entertainment, and you know we’re one of the happiest people on earth,” she said.

Shortly before the show, the mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti had presented a proclamation read on stage by Senior Vice President Ging Reyes. The proclamation declared October 11, 2014 as “ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel ASAP Live in LA Community Empowerment Day”.

“For us to have been able to be part of the lives for the community for this long, it’s just, I think, something that’s really an inspiring thing, and I expect will go on for 20 more, and many more beyond my lifetime,” said Lopez.

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