Express Week

UPA&FR Gives To Community

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The New Jersey-based University of the Philippines Alumni & Friends Rondalla was one of eleven Filipino string instrumentalists based in the United States and in the Philippines who donated their music towards the production of a CD entitled Pamanang Pinoy. 100% of the CD sales go to relief and rehabilitation programs for Philippine calamity victims.


In answer to an appeal by Military Bishop Leopoldo S. Tumulak , DD, the Pamanang Pinoy CD project donated P200,000 to Pondo ng Pinoy’s HAPAG-ASA FAST2FEED to help feed hungry and malnourished children in areas heavily affected by series of man-made and natural calamities in  Zamboanga, Bohol, Cebu, Samar and Iloilo.  The program also helps the parents learn skills and value to improve their capacity to care for their children, and livelihood training to give them access to employment and income-generating activities.

Thus far, a running total of P475,000 has been shared from the Pamanang Pinoy CD proceeds as    direct assistance to various displaced communities:

a) Provided funds to ABS-CBN Foundation, Intl. Sagip- Kapamilya for the emergency feeding and packaged goods distribution;

b) Provided funds to Maasin Archdiocese, Leyte (thru Outreach Asia and Salesian brothers of Cebu) for the emergency feeding and packaged goods distribution;

c) Provided water containers, pots and pans for women residents of Basey and Marabut, Leyte to cook the much-appreciated donated goods.

d) Helped establish lumber production venture out of the millions of downed coconut trees in Bgy. Patoc, Dagami, Leyte and Bgy. Miguelay, San Juan, Leyte by providing them with commercial type chain saws.  Cleared areas were re-planted with new coconut trees, and vegetable gardens made on the open free areas. The coco lumber produced were sold to local residents at reduced price for use in rebuilding their homes, while extra lumber were sold to nearby communities.

e) Helped rebuild a house in Mission San Jose, Dagami, Leyte to inspire many to help rebuild other destroyed houses at minimal cost with some material and sweat factor help from the home owner in a timely manner.

The Pamanang Pinoy CD project, spearheaded by California-based Pagyamanin Likas Musika (PLM) project director George Gange, originally was produced to benefit the PLM Rondalla Instruments Lending Program for children in underserved areas in the Philippines.  From its humble beginnings in 2010, the Rondalla Instrument Lending Program has to date accounted for fifty (50) community/school beneficiaries. This number includes an orphanage in Davao; foundations caring for street children in Quezon City, Pasay City and Bacoor City; elementary schools in Payatas and Southern Leyte; Gawad Kalinga villages in Imus , Cavite and Angat, Bulacan; indigenous tribes in Roxas, Palawan; a school for the visually impaired in Davao, and the Philippine National School for the Blind in Pasay City. Several additional Philippine villages and schools have been nominated, and are awaiting funding to obtain the beneficiaries’ rondalla instruments. 

The UPA&FR had designated the PLM Rondalla Instruments Lending Program as beneficiary of its 20th anniversary concert in 2012 and also co-sponsored the annual PLM Rondalla Festival held in the Philippines wherein several children’s rondalla beneficiaries come together and perform.

In addition, the UPA&FR has also been performing for various fundraising events in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to benefit Philippine calamities and typhoon Haiyan victims.

a) Immediately after Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, on November 13, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish International Night in Stamford, CT, whence the group was featured, UPA&FR took the opportunity to pass the hat for the typhoon victims.

b) Once more, on December 28, the group participated in Typhoon Haiyan Appeal Mini-Concert at St. Anastasia Church in Teaneck, NJ organized by Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET-NJ) and PhilanTruePeace.

c) On December 14, members of UPA&FR participated in Project Mabuhay organized by the National Alliance for Filipino Affairs at Louise & Jerry’s at Hoboken, NJ for the same cause.

d) On January 15, UPA&FR welcomed 700 attendees with their music at the Relief for the Philippines Fundraiser at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, NY.  Presented by the Filipino community through the San Lorenzo Ruiz Association of Staten Island, the event raised over $70,000 for the Archdiocese of New York for direct aid to the victims.

The Pamanang Pinoy CD is dedicated in honor of the memory of Bayani Mendoza de Leon (1942-2013), Presidential Awardee for Philippine Heritage, who had tremendous influence in raising awareness and appreciation of Philippine music in the United States.   Prof. de Leon was also the first music director of the UPA&FR when it was established in 1992.  A CD with UPA&FR entitled “Musika Rondalla, consisting of beautiful rondalla arrangements by Prof. de Leon was his last rondalla recording.  The group aims to have his legacy reach as many people as possible. 

Calling rondalla enthusiasts!  The UPA&FR offers free lessons on Sunday afternoons in Linden, NJ to all age groups with all musical abilities (beginners to experienced) interested in learning to play the bandurria, laud, octavina, guitar, and bass.


To purchase the CD’s, and for more information on rondalla lessons and performances, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (732)-317-3364 or visit

The Filipino Express

2711 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07306 USA.

Phone: 201 434-1114
Fax: 201 434-0880

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