Five Amazing Things to Look Forward to at Summit 2015: Recognize


by Mark Libatique Conferences are what our older cousins went to, a thing of the past. This is Summit 2015: Recognize. Here are some of the most exciting things to expect at this year’s edition of UniPro’s premier event.


You’ll Find Your Career Launchpad.

Seriously. Whether you’re in the early stages of finding your footing in your industry of choice, knee-deep in its trenches or simply looking for guidance, you’ll meet who you’ll need to at Summit: Recognize. Experts and authorities in media, community organizing, policy, food, and tech will be in attendance. You’ll want to be there too.

Filipino Kitchen

Filipino Kitchen's Maja Blanca Pancakes and Longanisa Scotch Eggs

Food. Pagkain. Sarap-ness.

Never a bad place to inject the best of Pilipino culture. Summit: Recognize will feature the up-and-coming best of America’s new favorite cuisine. Famed Filipino Kitchen will be hosting a workshop, and you’ll get a chance to get a cup full of your favorite Baonanas flavors.

Summit 2015 Raffle

Free Ticket to the Philippines. Yeah.

Thanks to Philippine Airlines, one delegate will win a free round-trip ticket to the Philippines. Registrants to Summit: Recognize will automatically be entered to win, and you can up your chances by purchasing more raffle tickets at Summit.

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Not Your Ordinary Minority Panel.

With Summit: Recognize, we’ll shift our focus as Filipinos to our role within the greater community of color that makes up minority America. There’s never been a more important time in our history to do so, and you’ll be at the forefront of it. Take a look at our amazing panel speakers.

Summit 2014 Delegates

Our delegates at Summit 2014

You’ll Probably Meet Someone Who Needs You.

We come from all fields and industries, and we’re quickly realizing that in order to be recognized, we must recognize each other. The technical term for it is “networking,” but we do it differently. These relationships last, and can produce life-changing personal results for you that will continue for years. Trust us. You might change someone’s life at Summit, too.

*To register for Summit, go to uniprosummit2015.eventbrite.com. *TODAY ONLY, 5/27: Graduation Flash Sale - $15 Off Summit Tickets

UniPro and NYU IFA Host the 2015 Opportunity Fair


New York, NY – Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) in collaboration with New York University’s International Filipino Association (NYU IFA) will be hosting the 2015 Opportunity Fair on Sunday, March 8th at the NYU Palladium Hall from 12:00pm until 5:00pm. This free event will showcase companies and organizations looking to hire passionate students and young professionals. UniPro and NYU IFA hope that this event can empower young Pilipino Americans in finding success in their careers while also attaining visibility for the community throughout various industries. The 2015 Opportunity Fair is a unique event, featuring an array of opportunities that include jobs, internships, fellowships, as well as immersion programs. The fair is also a great way to connect and network with individuals hailing from different industries and career sectors. There will also be professionals conducting on-site resume reviews for individuals looking to improve their resumes.

To further engage the attendees, there will be a workshop as well as two panels geared towards career building and professional development. UniPro’s Maria Cruz Lee and Edsel Batucan, along with Cris Mercado of GrantAnswers, will be facilitating a workshop titled, “Where I’m At: Personal Branding & Navigating the Market,” which aims to offer practical career advice and strategies for students and recent graduates. Following the workshop is the first panel “Who Run the World: Leadership & the Power of Networks,” featuring professionals who completed prestigious fellowships and leadership programs such as the Civic Corps, FYLPro, and Fulbright programs. The second panel, “Lemme Upgrade: The Journey to a Higher Degree,” will feature panelists and their journeys toward their degrees in law, medicine, and public administration.

Confirmed organizations and companies that will be present at the 2015 Opportunity Fair include: Ameriasian, Anakbayan NY/NJ, BuzzFeed, GrantWriters, J3PERSONICA, Kinding Sindaw, Legacy NY, Jeepney/Maharlika, NextDayBetter, Pagasa Social Foundation Inc., Philippine-American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM), United Federation of Fil-Am Educators (UNIFFIED), the Social Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Small Business Administration, and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Representatives will also be in attendance for fellowship programs such as Civic Corps, the NYU Leadership Initiative, Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, as well as the Kaya Collaborative Immersion Program.

Event details:

2015 Opportunity Fair

NYU Palladium Hall (140 E. 14th St.)

Sunday, March 8, 2015, 12:00 - 5:00pm

For more information and to register for the upcoming 2015 Opportunity Fair, head over to the 2015 Opportunity Fair Eventbrite page.

UniPro Expands: Promoting Unity, Collaboration, and Visibility in San Diego

New York City-Based UniPro Expands to the West Coast

Honorary Consul Audie de Castro : “This is the best time for UniPro to be created in San Diego.”

San Diego, CA – On Friday, February 6, the Pilipino American community of San Diego welcomed the arrival of the new San Diego chapter of the New York City-based Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro). Over 50 attendees gathered at the United Domestic Workers of America (UDW) Community Hall for the chapter’s official launch and town hall meeting.

The event, co-sponsored by UDW, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), and Silayan Filipina, opened with a keynote speech from the Philippine Honorary Consul for San Diego Audie de Castro. Echoing the goals of UniPro, he urged the audience to strive for unity and to promote the Pilipino American in San Diego. He stated, “In the past couple of years, our community has worked together better than ever.  A major reason is that I have seen many of you reach out to all generations and to others with different political views.  This is the best time for UniPro to be created in San Diego. I look forward to working with all of you.”

Hon. Consul Audie de Castro opens the UniPro San Diego launch.

The town hall dialogue followed the launch and consisted of small group discussions on the importance  of communities to individuals, and what UniPro can do to serve the San Diego area. Groups discussed the questions, “What does community mean to you? What were your expectations of the Pilipino American community when you first joined? How do you perceive the Pilipino American community and what are your expectations now? Identify any needs of the community and potential solutions for those needs. Identify existing community organizations and how those organizations can work together to fulfill those needs.”

The discussion groups then reconvened and presented their responses to the entire audience. Some of the recurring themes included the needs for improved communication, greater visibility in the political sphere, and professional and personal development. Some of the possible solutions presented were the creation of a Pilipino community center, a database of Pilipino American organizations in San Diego, recurring town hall meetings, and leadership and mentorship programs in the community.

Attendees participate in small group discussions at the UniPro San Diego launch.

Founded in 2009, UniPro’s San Diego chapter is the organization’s first venture outside of New York City. “UniPro has always been interested in expanding beyond the metro-NY area. How could we work towards our vision of a unified and engaged Pilipino America without a presence in other major Pilipino American communities?” asks UniPro NY President Iris Zalun. “The answer came when we became involved in the Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) conference, held in San Diego last August. Through EPYC, we met a group of passionate leaders whose values of collaboration, advocacy, and education aligned with ours. That team then approached us, expressing a need for UniPro in the San Diego community. Thus, UniPro San Diego was born.”

San Diego has been identified to have the second largest Pilipino American population in the nation. UniPro San Diego aims to identify and resolve the needs of the community while providing support, resources, and networks to organizations and individuals, most especially the youth. UniPro San Diego President Romyn Sabatchi adds, “It was humbling to be able to listen to the experiences and expectations of the Pilipino American community of new and seasoned members. Together we will be able to fulfill our needs with positive and effective solutions."

UniPro San Diego will host a Town Hall and Community Dialogue Follow-Up on May 15, 2015. For more information, read the story in the Filipino Press and contact sandiego@unipronow.org.

UniPro eboard

From left to right: UniPro San Diego Vice President Alicia Ricafrente, President Romyn Sabatchi, and Director of Community Relations Anthony DeGuzman (Photo Credit: Ernie Sasis)


Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) is a New York City-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that envisions a unified and engaged Pilipino America. Founded in 2009, UniPro's mission is to engage Pilipino Americans through collaboration, advocacy and education. It seeks to transform Pilipino students & young professionals into community leaders through its various programs, which incorporate professional development, history, and policy through the lens of the Pilipino experience.The organization allows Pilipino Americans the opportunity to explore their place in the community in the hope of owning their niche. Ultimately, UniPro asks Pilipino Americans to critically answer, "How do you define Progress?"


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens could change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

This quote has always resonated with me since my first time seeing it at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This quote validated for me the work I was doing. This told me: “Marc, you and your team can and will change the world.”

Just one week ago, I was blessed to have attended the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) 11th National Empowerment Conference - “We Break the Dawn: Master Planning the Future.” Something unique to this year’s Empowerment Conference was the implementation of the Empowering Filipin@ Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Pre-Conference on Thursday, August 7th. The purpose of this pre-conference institute was to facilitate collaboration between regional Filipino American student organizations and encourage networking and sharing of best practices for student organizing. And it did exactly that.

I don’t know if anyone realizes, but we made history that day. For the first time in history, the leaders of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue, Inc. (FIND), the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans (MAFA), the Southern California Pilipin@ American Student Alliance (SCPASA), Northwest Filipino American Student Alliance (NWFASA), and the Philippine Students - Texas (PST) were in the same room sharing their experiences, tribulations, accomplishments, and best practices of their respective organizations. I was honored to have the opportunity to share the stage with my fellow Filipino-American student leaders from across the country.

Picture 1

Up until that moment, I never realized how privileged FIND was as an organization to have such a big network and an established structure. For the past 20+ years, FIND has been growing larger, evolving and striving to be better with every passing year. I always knew that there were other Filipino-American student organizations in different regions. Last year during my first term as National Chairperson of FIND, I made an active effort to connect with the other regional student organizations. But I never truly got to know them - time, space, and lack of funds separated us from bonding and really knowing the true person behind our public image.

Although I had met two of my fellow panelists before, it was a short, brief encounter that didn’t give us a chance to really delve into the inner workings of each other’s organizations. I spent most of my time at EPYC and the rest of the Empowerment Conference bonding and getting to know these people, young leaders like myself. It was only then that I was truly empowered to make a difference. As I have shared with my fellow leaders before, I was suffering from a tremendous case of community burnout. I was dealing with long-term exhaustion in the Filipino-American student community and a diminishing interest in the work I used to be super passionate about. Even with my self-care time away from community organizing, I still found that the community wasn’t as fulfilling as it used to be. In connecting with these amazing young leaders, I’ve come to the reality that I’m not the only one who’s experienced burnout. These people have helped rekindle my passion and instill in me the Filipino value of kapwa - togetherness, community. It’s not about “me” any more, it’s about “us.”

Top Row L to R: Ron Ilagan, Aldrin Carreon, Kristine Maramot, Marian Sobretodo, Miko Jao, Marc Densing, Neil Miran, Carlo Antonio Bottom Row L to R: Sarah Poblete, Huy To, Savannah Durso, Carline Dayon, Robert Delfin, Sarah Day Dayon

I would like to take this time out to thank UniPro, the EPYC Coordinators, and NaFFAA for flying me out in the first place. It is truly an honor to have been part of an amazing conference such as this one, both as a presenter and a delegate. I would also like to thank every single person - youth or seasoned leaders - that I’ve met. It was so humbling to have shared this space with you and learn from you all. I hope that I have touched your life in some way just as much as you have touched mine. I am so thankful and grateful for my experiences in San Diego. Those memories are something that can never be taken away. Thank you all for renewing my faith, passion, and drive to make this community better and moving forward.

Cheers to the community! May we always keep moving forward, breaking the dawn, and master planning our futures as well as the future of Filipinos everywhere. Together, we stand as OneFilipino. Let’s change the world. #iamEPYC #weareEPYC

"It's not about intention, it's about IMPACT." - Leezel Ramos

"Let's stop being organizational leaders in the community, and start being community leaders in organizations." - Steven Raga

Marc Densing Headshot

Marc Densing is a rising senior at CUNY Baruch College in New York City studying Corporate Communications with a minor in Asian and Asian American Studies. Representing District Three, he is currently serving as the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND), Inc.’s National Chairperson for a second term. Outside of FIND, Marc also works with young leaders in the community who wish to further their growth through LEGACY | NY, an organization dedicated to the professional development and mentorship of rising and future Filipino-American youth leaders in NYC. In his spare time, Marc loves long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners. #iamEPYC

All photos courtesy of: Marc Densing


Introducing LEGACY: an Organization Forging a New Generation of Youth Leaders


It is often said the world is made up of two types of people: leaders and followers. Determined to be the former, I've involved myself in community organizing throughout my undergraduate career, particularly within the Pilipino community. Like many youth leaders new to the game, I encountered frustrating issues like a loss of motivation from fellow team members, minimal interest or knowledge of cultural history, disorganized planning, and lack of collaboration. The worst part? These problems persisted because of the quick turnaround time for student leaders. Once a team learned from their mistakes, the incoming team would end up committing the same mistakes only months later. Then, student leaders would graduate, take on greater community leadership roles, and pass along those practices to form a cycle of inefficiency. There was no solution, that's just the way it was. Until now. LEGACY – Leadership, Education, Guidance, and Critical thinking for the Youth – is a new organization tackling these issues at their core. LEGACY aims to build a collective of action-driven people to raise new standards for community leaders through mentorship and development programs.

The organization is the brainchild of Kristina Joyas, who in October 2013 tapped Marc Densing, Christine Sicwaten, and myself to form a founding team. Joyas's experience includes the National Organizing Committee for AF3IRM, as well as serving as UniPro's own founding Vice President and former Director of Staff Development. The rest of us are currently rooted in the college sphere. Densing serves as the National Chairperson for F.I.N.D. Inc. Sicwaten (also a UniPro staff member) is on the Executive Board of F.I.N.D. District Three and was the former president of Stony Brook's PUSO. Lastly, I'm currently serving as president of NYU's International Filipino Association. We combined our forces, identified red flags, and shared our passion for leadership to build the foundation of LEGACY, officially launching this year.



In the wake of LEGACY's launch, we'd like to announce upcoming initiatives including:

  • "Leave Your Legacy" Series – This lecture series invites prominent and seasoned senior community organizers to impart their invaluable knowledge and experiences, TED talks-style.
  • Project LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) – This is a summer-intensive project for rising leaders. It features weekly workshops which fostering necessary hard skills to encourage success among members of a group or organization.
  • LEGACY Fellowship – This fellowship invites a small cohort of aspiring leaders to participate in an individualized 10-month-long mentorship, building a foundation of Pilipino cultural education and continual leadership development.
  • National youth conferences – LEGACY will be facilitating leadership workshops at major youth leader conferences. Earlier this month, we attended the Southern California Pilipino American Student Association (SCPASA) Summit 2014, and will be heading to the East Coast Asian American Students Union Conference (ECAASU), Kapihan at Cornell University, and other upcoming events for the year across the nation.

Now more than ever, LEGACY is needed to create a collective of leaders up for the challenge of matching the Fil-Am community's growing scope and expanding needs. LEGACY's big picture envisions national coalition and goals to build a model to be used in other communities outside Pilipinos. For now, however, we are calling you to action. If you know someone itching to be a leader, someone already doing community work, or someone who has the potential and just might not know it yet – point them in LEGACY's direction.

Learn more at http://createourlegacy.org. Plus, find us on twitter: @CreateOurLEGACY