The Filipino Channel’s ‘Balitang America’ turns 15


Documentary airs on November 12

“BALITANG AMERICA” (BA),  the daily newscast of ABS-CBN International’s The Filipino Channel, is celebrating its 15th year and has become the leading source for Filipinos in North America.

BA is a 30-minute newscast aired daily from Mondays to Fridays that presents news stories about Filipinos in North America, as well as news reports about currents events in America, Canada, the Philippines and around the world that affect our lives here in North America and the lives of our families in this global community — all told from our unique Filipino-American perspective.

BA was created as a result of ABS-CBN’s mission to expand news bureaus in different parts of the world where The Filipino Channel (TFC) was shown.  The mission was the driving force — to serve the overseas Filipino community.

With meager resources and limited manpower, BA premiered on September 28, 2002 as a weekly newscast, with headlines and stories focused on the aftermath of the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, specifically on the heightened security and growing anti-immigrant sentiments.

I was already anchoring the daily newscast in the Philippines for 12 years when my family immigrated to the United States in 2001 for my husband’s advanced training as a surgeon. It was in 2003 when I started to re-connect with my ABS-CBN family when BA tried to cover as many U.S. states as possible. I was based in Minnesota at that time doing real estate on the side when I was invited by BA to contribute stories about Filipinos in this part of the Midwest.

In 2005, my family moved to California. This paved the way for me to be in front of the cameras for ABS-CBN again, initially as a co-host of Atty. Michael Gurfinkel for “Citizen Pinoy,” and as a pinch-hitter for Cara Subijano for BA.

In 2007, BA became a daily newscast, and it paved the way for me to go back to anchoring the news on a daily basis.

BUT there is a bigger story on how BA came to be the most far-reaching source of news and information for Filipinos in America.

WATCH the BA documentary and find out how the newscast began, the grit and tenacity of the BA team, and the inside stories of our coverage.

“For every breaking news, for every compelling story, BA has been with you for 15 years. With our team of reporters across the United States and Canada, BA has become a voice for the most underrepresented in the community, a unifying force for important undertakings, and a rallying point during times of crisis and tragedy.”

Watch “Beyond News: 15 years of Balitang America,” airing November 12 at 7:45 p.m. across time zones – ONLY ON TFC!

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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