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by Jannelle So

Jannelle So

Jannelle So

We were created to connect. That’s why they say “No man is an island.” So we go through life building and nurturing connections, some bonds stronger than others; but important interactions, nonetheless. We connect with other individual and groups; and for a group of Filipino-American individuals, they say they long to connect to their heritage.

 “About two years ago, I was not very Filipino at all. I was raised very Americanized and it’s because I’ve been immersed in the American culture,” said Krizia Medenilla of Redefined Magazine.

Krizia is also the spokesperson of the “Bayani Tour,” a GK-USA project aimed at bringing the Fil-Ams back to the Philippines; bridging the gap between Filipino Americans and Filipino immigrants (Fil-Ams and Fil-ims); and hopefully encourage every Filipino to build a better nation. In an interview on “Kababayan LA,” she said that one of the great things about the tour is that it gives people like her a chance to “be immersed in the Philippine culture, experience the Filipino people, taste Filipino food.”

The group is set to leave on February 14 and will spend a few days in the Philippines, with a three-part itinerary that will include introducing tour participants to the rich kababayan history, with stops at Intramuros, Luneta Park and the Ayala Museum. The second part will give tour participants a chance to bask in the rich natural beauty of the Philippines, with a visit to the Underground  River and other attractions in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. The third part will take participants to some of the Gawad Kalinga Villages, to show them what can be achieved through the spirit of “bayanihan.”

 “I’ve been to the Philippines twice now and it was until then that I understood what it meant to be a Filipino – to see where my mom grew up, to see where my dad grew up, to see the people and the land – and having the opportunity to go back and give back through this tour, that’s what’s great.” Krizia added.

The group will be joined by YouTube sensations Joseph Vincent, Jeremy Passion and AJ Rafael who said: “I’m so, so excited to go the Philippines on the Bayani Tour with my fellow Filipino American singer/songwriters. It should be a really fun time and it’s always a little more fun in the Philippines.”

These singers/songwriters are sure connecting to fans with their music; and are smart enough to use social media to their advantage in promoting their songs, videos, albums and even concert tours. And when you’re connecting to that many people virally, “buzz” is sure to follow, which is what’s important for any up and coming artists.

Aspiring artist Rel Princeton knows this, too, as he aims to make a name for himself in the hip-hop music industry, armed with profound thoughts and a talent for poetry that enables him to write impressive lyrics.

 “My goal is to be the best lyricist I can be,” said Rel. “I knew that having a goal means having to sacrifice other things to reach that goal and I was prepared for that,” he said, adding that while his friends were out clubbing and chasing after the party life, he chose to bury himself in the studio to hone his craft.

And because hard work always pays off, Rel has been able to release albums and mix tapes. He’s also worked with the likes of Ray J and Bizzy Bone.

 “But I’m not stopping there. I know what I can do and achieve and I’m willing to work hard to get there,” he said in a recent interview on “Kababayan LA.”

Well, I sure hope he doesn’t stop. Rel is a young and talented man who has a lot to say or rap about, for that matter. And in this world of superficial connections, only connections with substance last. And if you’re looking for substance, here are samples lines from one of Rel’s songs:

“You don’t know what courage is till you been afraid and you’ll never know what freedom is till you been a slave. If didn’t get lost then I would never have had found myself, and if I didn’t die then I never would have lived”

For complete interviews and more information about the artists mentioned, check out previous “Kababayan LA” segments – www.youtube.com/kababayanla18.

 Jannelle So is Host/Producer of “Kababayan LA” that airs daily at 4:30pm on KSCITV-LA18. Catch previous programs at www.youtube.com/kababayanla18. Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JannelleSoOFFICIAL. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JannelleSo.

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