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17 June 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Noted celebrities were joined by diplomats, business leaders, lawmakers, government officials and ordinary Filipinos and Americans at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last Sunday on a common mission: to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan as they continue to rebuild their lives.

The performers in After the Storm, most of whom are either Filipino or of Filipino descent, enjoyed collaborating with each other to put on a show for the Philippines, a country for which they have a strong affinity with.

It’s incredibly heartening in this day and age when the planet comes together and joins forces to do some good,” said Filipino-American Hollywood star Lou Diamond Phillips, whose mother is from Candelaria, Zambales.

It’s a cool celebration of heritage that I am very proud of and lucky to be a part of. You can’t choose what your heritage is and I’m lucky to be a part of a community that is so supportive and so talented,” said Filipino-American Glee star and singer-songwriter Darren Criss, whose mother is a native of Cebu.

"It was such an honor to be part of such an extraordinary evening—from the world-class talent to the warm and embracing audience. On Sunday night, we came together for an important and necessary cause, not as Americans, Filipinos or any other nationality,” said Emmy Award nominee Robert Pullen who produced the concert.

“Human beings came together to stand united with other human beings in need. The language of the arts, through music and dance, spoke for all of us. To be a part of that remarkable experience, was truly a life-changing moment,” he added.

This is not the first time the artists who performed inAfter the Storm did something to raise awareness of the Philippines and the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan hit, Criss launched a charity drive that raised enough money to distribute life-saving, high-energy biscuits and rice to over one million people in typhoon-affected areas through the World Food Program.

Grammy Award-winning singer Allan Pineda Lindo, more popularly known as apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas also reached out to the Philippines after the typhoon. Through the apl.de.ap Foundation, the singer has been involved in rebuilding efforts in typhoon-affected areas.

For tenor Rodell Rosel, who left the Philippines for the United at the age of 16, the impact of Typhoon Haiyan was personal. Rosel said he had friends who were directly affected by the typhoon.

The Philippine Embassy said the concert was a culmination of combined efforts by various groups that worked together in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. One such group is Team Rubicon, which was one of the first responders on the ground in Leyte after the typhoon struck.

Team Rubicon and the Philippine Embassy have an extremely collaborative relationship since the two organizations started working together during the initial disaster response for Typhoon Haiyan, and our operation was a success because of the combined efforts with several organizations,” said Lourdes Tiglao of Team Rubicon.

In much the same way, the concert was a magnificent culmination of all the combined efforts of talents, organizers, and stakeholders to bring a magical night to the supporters and donors who watched the show,” Tiglao added.

Members of the Filipino-American Community, who were instrumental in mobilizing people in the US to help typhoon victims, were touched by the spirit of solidarity that evening.

It was inspiring to see the community come together in a spirit of solidarity to support the recovery efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan,” said Ben de Guzman, founding member of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

Some members of the Filipino-American community even traveled far distances to show their support to their kababayans in need.

"It was a great show and it was worth driving a 100 miles to come out and support our kababayans in Leyte. We appreciate all those who put their time and efforts to make this a success,” said Eleanor Alejandro Macalma, who drove from Richmond, Virginia, with her family of seven as well as other friends.

Many considered the concert a moment of Pinoy pride. With top Filipino talents on stage and the Filipino Community coming together in celebration, the spirit of bayanihan was alive and strong.

This is a clear manifestation of the bayanihan spirit. This is the first time the 33 organizations here in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia worked together. It is probably about time that we get all organizations here work as one,” said Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

For one night Filipino-Americans came together to support the efforts in rebuilding the affected provinces damaged by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It is very heart-warming to see so many happy faces specially the young Filipino-Americans who came to support the event. I am proud of our first-class artists who came from the Philippines and elsewhere, showcasing the many facets of Filipino music, dance, and entertainment,” said Bing Cardenas Branigin, Philippine Red Cross representative in Washington, D.C. and and a member of the NaFFAA Board of Governors.

The concert received rave reviews from those who were there.

I have been to many events at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, but I have never seen it so full for a National Day event. Everything was well put together and the performances were stellar. No matter what musical style you enjoy, there was something for everyone. I am honored to have been part of the audience that evening,” said D.C.-based writer Maria Kontak.

I enjoyed all of the performances, because they not only reflected the best our kababayans have to offer, but even more importantly, because they too made the choice to come and support this important effort. The diversity of the artists, in terms of genre, style, and who they are, really reflects who we are and it was great to see all of that on stage,” said NaFFAA’s de Guzman.

I enjoyed the event. The music was gorgeous along with the performances. I'm excited to hear about the impact and see what's next,” said Filipino-American singer and songwriter Trinity Edralin.

We appreciate the efforts of the organizers and performers for this event. The performers were just amazing. We congratulate the organizers for a very well organized event,” said federal employee Alan Suarez from Virginia.

I had no idea what I was coming to tonight, but this has been a wonderful celebration,” said Fr. Leo Patalinghug of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

After the Storm not only showcased Filipino talent but also celebrated the resiliency of the Filipino people as they continue to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan. It also reignited the desire of people living in the US to help Filipinos in need.

The visuals throughout the show reminded all of us that the path to rebuilding the Philippines is a long one. Just as the show was a huge success because of everyone who contributed with time and talent, it will take the combined and collaborative efforts of individuals and organizations to bring the Philippines out of the rubble and back to its original luster,” added Team Rubicon’s Tiglao.

If the talent and hard work that went into the concert is a reflection of how people back in the Philippines are, then the country will definitely be back on its feet in no time,” said Kontak.

"It was a wonderful show. I am re-inspired to support fundraising efforts for the rebuilding in the Philippines and to continue the call for Temporary Protected Status for Filipinos in the US," said Marita Etcubanez, Senior Associate at the Asian American Justice Center.

After the Storm: A Benefit Concert for the Philippines, which was directed by Baayork Lee, was also made possible through the help of generous sponsors from both the US and the Philippines.

Sponsors included the Philippine Nurses Association of America, Primescape Solutions, SM Investments Corporation, and the Manuel V. Pangilinan Group of Companies, which includes Meralco, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Smart Communications, Ayala Corporation, Banco de Oro Foundation, Fluor Corporation, Gawad Kalinga USA, International Container Terminal Services, Inc., Jollibee Foods Corporation, Philam Foundation, Philip Morris International and Procter & Gamble. ###