Thank You for Attending Diwang Pinay


For the first time in our organizational history, Philippine Forum, KABALIKAT Domestic Workers Support Network, and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) were able to collaborate to present Diwang Pinay: Kasaysayan sa Likod ng Kababaihang Migranteng Manggagawa , The Story Behind the Migrant Woman Worker as a full length, original stage production. We are tremendously grateful to you for making the time to support our work and to hear the stories of our community. The lasting effects of this year-long collaborative process lie not only in the scripting and performance of DIWANG PINAY itself, but also in the strengthened community ties with women workers, local community groups, and you, in progressing the militant women’s movement.

If watching Diwang Pinay has moved you to the point of action, we invite you to rally for International Working Women’s Month on Saturday, 3/26, 12pm noon at the Harriet Tubman Memorial Plaza in Harlem (123rd St & St. Nicholas Blvd.) Also, if you would like to join FiRE or learn more about our programs, please email Cris Hilo at; or if you’d like more information about the programs at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside, Queens, please contact Jonna at

We thank you for bearing witness to these struggles, and hearing the voices of the working women of our community. Thank you for coming, and being a part of our community too. //

Sat, 3/26 IWWD Harlem Rally:


BUY TICKETS FOR DIWANG PINAY: Kasaysayan sa Likod ng Babaeng Manggagawa, The Story Behind the Woman Worker

DIWANG PINAY: Kasaysayan sa Likod ng Babaeng Manggagawa
The Story Behind the Woman Worker

Sunday, March 6, 2011 – 2 pm and 7pm
and March 13, 2011 – 2 pm and 7pm

Hunter College-Lang Recital Hall
695 Park Ave.
New York, NY 10065

Since February 2010, a group of Filipino women across generations, both age and migration, have gathered weekly to create an original staged play about migration, family and resilience.  Diwang Pinay follows the story of Maria, a domestic worker in the NYC area who left the Philippines to support her family by migrating only to face challenges in a new city and figure out a way to survive. See the world through her eyes as a migrant and mother.
The process of creating this original work has bestowed a multigenerational group of Filipinas, immigrant and American-born, a unique experience to write, produce and direct stories about the lives of Filipino domestic workers living and working in New York City. This production is a collaboration between Kabalikat Domestic Worker Support Network, a program of the Philippine Forum and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)-Gabriela USA

Resistance That Radiates: 25 Years of Filipina Women’s Movement Passes the Torch to NYC Pinays

Diwang Pinay FIRE GABRIELA USA 2009
Resistance That Radiates: 25 Years of Filipina Women’s Movement Passes the Torch to NYC Pinays

New York, NY–Over the past few months, Filipino women from Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), a progressive women’s organization serving in the New York/ New Jersey area, have been organizing and preparing to put on a celebration that would be strong and bold enough to honor 25 years of GABRIELA Philippines’ struggle, advances and continuing work. This year’s second annual “Diwang Pinay” (literally translated in Tagalog as “Spirit of the Filipina”) had a special bearing on the sisters of FiRE as they recently participated in the founding of a GABRIELA in the US. The theme, “Ilaw Ng Bayan” or “Light of the Nation,” carried a significant meaning as performers and artists offered their art in the name of the women who light the way towards change.

And on one of the first summery Spring nights in New York, Diwang Pinay lived up to it’s word, with 200 people in attendance, GABRIELA was certainly celebrated in high form. Highlighting the work of Filipina artists and performers, the night boasted a range of talents and creative artistry on stage. Debuting at their first Diwang Pinay, members of KABALIKAT Workers Support Network, a project of Philippine Forum, opened the show with a “Carinosa,” a traditional Filipino folk dance.Lovella Rose and L. Capco Lincoln from a multimedia artist group called Tatlo Mestiz@s based out of Philadelphia screened a powerful film about Filipino American migration and history, followed by a poetry piece.

Rona Figueroa, who has performed in four Broadway productions, serenaded the crowd with a stunning acoustic set from her self-released albums, Quasilulu and Quasilulu 2. Binky Bianca, a pop/rock/power pop band from Jersey City, performed for a second time on the Diwang stage. As the night unfolded, the audience enjoyed film screenings from Emmelle Israel and Bernadette Ellorin and performances from Danielle Parish, Hanalei Ramos and Laurel Fantauzzo. Lastly, the night closed with a performance piece called, “Ritual” from the FiRE Kultural Kollective.

Simultaneous to stage performances, Arlene Rodrigo, a visual artist, completed a live art piece of a mother and child which was auctioned off at the end of the night. The silent auction held concurrently displayed 50 or more visual art pieces from 27 artists.

“We wanted to celebrate our history of strength and resistance through the work of GABRIELA for the past 25 years,” Valerie Francisco, chair of FiRE stated, “But it was also important to us to celebrate the struggle and resilience of Pinays right here in our community. Diwang Pinay was the night to bring those flames of power together.”

In the wake of Lcpl. Daniel Smith’s acquittal and swift return to the US, Diwang Pinay shed light on the unjust ruling and the importance of unity for the women’s struggle both in the Philippines and abroad. Under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), rulings like this prove that US-Philippine relations undermine justice, not only for Nicole, victim of Smith’s rape, but also for the thousands of Filipinos that fall victim to US militarization.

“Now more than ever, the fire of struggle must continue to burn bright. And where there is injustice from New York to Manila, there will be those of us who keep our light radiant towards genuine change in the Philippines and for the Filipino people,” Francisco concluded.


New York Pinay’s 2nd Annual All-Filipina Showcase Celebrates Women’s Resilience and Art


Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chair, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, 925-726-5768,

New York Pinay’s 2nd Annual All-Filipina Showcase Celebrates Women’s Resilience and Art

New York, NY–After a momentous GABRIELA-USA assembly in Los Angeles on March 29, 2009, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) will continue celebrating the advances of Filipino women’s struggle with their own brand of New York flare. Highlighting significant Filipino women in Filipino and Filipino American history and current day heroines and artists in FilAm circles, the second annual Diwang Pinay focuses on how Filipino women are emanating a light that inspires the nation at home and abroad.

FiRE’s annual Diwang Pinay is themed “Light of the Nation” or “Ilaw Ng Bayan” to redefine a traditional saying that women are the “light of the home” or “ilaw ng tahanan.” Expanding the cultural stereotype of the domestic Filipino women, the night will celebrate 25 years of Filipino women’s resistance, led by GABRIELA in the Philippines, a national alliance of women’s organizations. The alliance not only holds a distinct role in pushing forward the women’s rights in the Philippines, historically and currently, but has also given women hope and bravery to hold on to in the face of violence, poverty, state repression and migrant issues.

This year’s theme and celebration props up the work of Pinay artists who are currently shaping the art world and the Filipino American community. Following the courageous legacies of Filipino women like Gabriela Silang, Lorena Barrios and Bullet X Marasigan. Diwang Pinay will share how Pinays are redefining the “ilaw,” the light and radiance that represent Filipino women today.

During continuous protest against Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in the Philippines, Filipinas in the US are crafting their own avenues of education, outreach and awareness around issues affecting women in the Philippines and in America. “Rarely do Pinay artists come together to revel in their artistry and more importantly their noteworthy roles as leaders and inspirations for our community,” stated Valerie Francisco, chairwoman of FiRE, “ This night is a night to celebrate ongoing Filipino women’s struggle but also the beauty that unfolds as we make our resistance our life and our art.”

Diwang Pinay (“Spirit of the Filipina”) is an annual performance and silent auction in New York City showcasing Filipina/ Filipina-American performers, writers, and visual artists. Performing at Diwang Pinay are artists Danielle Parish, Laurel Fantauzzo, Hanalei Ramos, Taospuso, Bernadette Ellorin, Tatlong Mestizas, Emmelle Israel, Binky Bianca, KABALIKAT Workers and the FiRE Kultural Kollective.

Join us as we celebrate the beauty of the Filipino women’s struggle and learn more about our fight against the Visiting Forces Agreement in the Philippines! Spend Saturday, April 25, 2009 with us at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South NYC, NY, 10012. Tickets available at brown paper tickets: Contact Irma Bajar at for questions or for more information. Please view our Diwang Pinay trailer at



Diwang Pinay NYC 2009

Hello, friends!

FiRE will be hosting our second annual DIWANG PINAY: Light of the Nation, Ilaw Ng Bayan on Saturday, April 25 at Judson Memorial Church in NYC! We are looking for PINAY (Filipina) artists and performers to grace our stage and gallery that night! Again, we will be showcasing and celebrating the art of Pinays through performance and visual art. We are reaching out to you hoping you can kindly/enthusiastically forward this message to your Pinay artist friends! (switched the order!) We’d be honored to showcase them at our event, so please HELP US GET THE WORD OUT BY FORWARDING THIS EMAIL TO ALL THE FILIPINAS YOU KNOW WHOSE ART YOU LOVE!

In any shape or form, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment would love to get in touch with Filipina women artists locally, nationally, or internationally currently producing creative work which rightfully reflects our community. I’ve enclosed the more detailed call for our Silent Auction and performer slots below if you’d like to know more. If you need to contact us with questions and concerns, please email or check out our temporary information space at:

Thank you in advance for all your help and consideration, we really appreciate the effort!

Valerie Francisco

DIWANG PINAY: Light of the Nation, Ilaw Ng Bayan

Celebrating 25 Years of Filipino Women’s Resistance

A Call for Donations for Silent Auction

(MOVED from below!) In a commemoration of Filipino women’s struggle, hardships and triumphs, Diwang Pinay’s theme is “Light of the Nation, “Ilaw Ng Bayan”: Celebrating 25 Years of Filipino Women’s Resistance.” On Saturday, April 25, 2009, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), a volunteer-run, mass-based women’s organization serving the New York City area, will celebrate the history and resistance of Filipino women in an all Filipina and Filipina-American artists’ showcase. We are currently accepting donations or art work created by and books authored by Filipina and Filipina-American artists.

Diwang Pinay (“Spirit of the Filipina”) is an annual performance and silent auction in New York City showcasing Filipina/ Filipina-American performers, writers, and visual artists. This year’s theme, “Ilaw ng Bayan, Light of the Nation,” plays with the idea found in (switched order) the traditional Filipino family where the father is considered the “Haligi ng Tahanan,” or the pillar of the home, and the mother is regarded as the “Ilaw ng Tahanan,” or the light of the home. The dominion of the woman in Filipino culture is over taking care of the children, keeping a home and being responsible for the radiance of the household. Diwang Pinay hopes to promote the work of Pinay artists everywhere and following the legacies of Gabriela Silang, Lorena Barros and Bullet X Marasigan, this event intends to redefine the “ilaw,” the light and radiance that has represented Filipino women for decades.

Although Filipino women might be traditionally regarded in this way, the past 25 years have seen Pinays break out of this mold. Her duties often extend from the home to the workplace, and endure between sunrise to sunsete. A true testament to the will and strength of the Pinay is emerging as an integral figure of social change in the Philippines and in the US. This year’s Diwang Pinay theme, Ilaw ng Bayan, embraces the tradition, revises its meaning, reflects on the advances made by Filipinas, and looks towards the future.

This year we’d like to call on Pinay artists of every medium and walk of life to reflect the theme of resistance and light, as well as imagine what the future holds for younger generations of Filipino women. Together in this project, we seek to reflect on the history of Pinays and the traditions that have hindered growth, but are also necessary reminders which help push us out of the mold. We aim to celebrate the different ways Pinays are living, resisting, and surviving today in New York City and abroad.

Filipina artists of various artistic disciplines from the New York City area and beyond are invited to donate their work to the Diwang Pinay Silent Auction. By doing so, you will be entitled to free admission for you and a guest to Diwang Pinay 2008, and recognition in the Diwang Pinay program and website. All proceeds from the sale of your work will go toward sustaining FiRE’s community education projects and its future programming.

Submission guidelines:

1) Thank you for your interest in donating your work! This means a lot to us, so please email Sara Jimenez at diwangpinay@gmail.comwith the following information. The information below must be emailed and submitted by March 21st:

Your Name

Your Phone

Your Mailing address

Your email

Artist bio

Description of submitted work

Estimated value of your piece

2) You will then be sent a mailing address where you can send in or drop off your work.

3) Should you need more information, have questions about your specific medium, or anything else, please feel free to email us Or visit to learn more about Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE.)

4) The piece itself must be submitted by March 31st. This will give FiRE enough time to display your work on the Diwang Pinay website so that others may begin bidding prior to the show on April 25th. If there are any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact Sara