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TRAVEL NEWS AND FEATURES

Fil-Am Hollywood Celebrities, Film Producers to Visit RP to Promote Wow Philippines

01 August 2003

Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere along with film producer and director Fritz Friedman and Gene Cajayon respectively, will be visiting the Philippines from August 6-11 to help promote the "WOW Philippines"
Fil-Am Hollywood Celebrities, Film Producers to Visit RP to Promote Wow Philippines
Fil-Am Hollywood celebrities volunteer for "WOW Philippines". Tourism Secretary Richard J. Gordon (center) welcomes Fil-Am Hollywood stars Lou Diamond Phillips (second from left) and Tia Carrere (fourth from left) at a reception party at the Coconut Palace. The two Hollywood celebrities have volunteered to appear in the "WOW Philippines" TV commercials due for international release. (L-R) Lucita Aranas-Phillips (Lou's mom), Lou Diamond, Gordon, Tia and her husband, Simon Wakelin.

A cclaimed Filipino-American Hollywood celebrities, Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere along with film producer and director Fritz Friedman and Gene Cajayon respectively, will be visiting the Philippines from August 6-11 to help promote the "WOW Philippines" campaign of the Department of Tourism. Tourism Secretary Richard J. Gordon announced that the visit of the Hollywood celebrities and film producers was made possible through the invitation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Phillips, Carrere, Friedman and Cajayon, whose success stories in the world's premier entertainment arena have immensely contributed to the upliftment of the Filipino image abroad. Both Phillips and Carrere, Gordon revealed, have volunteered their services in an upcoming commercial promoting Philippine tourism and in a video lobbying for the recognition of the Filipino heroes of World War II which will be aired at the American Congress.

"The patriotism that Lou Diamond Phillips and Tia Carrere exude for these important endeavors demonstrates how deep their Filipino heritage is imbued in their personalities," Gordon said. This is not the first time that Phillips is scheduled to visit the Philippines. He was in the country in 2000 for the premiere of his film "Bats", with the visit also made possible through the invitation of then Vice-President Arroyo.

Born to a Filipino mother and an American father, Lou has always been proud of his Filipino ancestry. " I have always been proud of my Filipino heritage. In many articles and interviews, I have always emphasized my being half- Filipino. In Hollywood, when I am asked what my ethnic background is, I am always happy to offer up the fact that I have Filipino lineage."

Having starred in more than 30 Hollywood films including the blockbuster hits such as Young Guns 1 & 2 (with Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen) and Courage Under Fire (alongside Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan), Phillips is considered as one of the most successful Filipino-American actors in Hollywood today. His latest film, "Hollywood Homicide" pits him alongside screen legend Harrison Ford and Pearl Harbor's Josh Hartnett and is due for release this August. Actress and model Tia Carrere, Althea Duhino Janairo in real life, has a mixture of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish blood. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and has moved in Toronto, Canada as her home town.

Tia Carerre started in several features, but has also been in big movies like Wyne's World, Rising Sun and True Lies. She has released her album in the Philippines entitled "DREAM" and presently working on her new album. She has also a syndicated TV show every Saturday nights called "Relic Hunter". Born to a Filipino father and a mixture of Vietnamese and French mother, director Gene Cajayon was then a student of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles when he made his student thesis, a 10-minuter called "Debut".

"The Debut" is a winner of the 2001 AMMY Award for Best Independent Feature Film and the 2000 Best Feature Film Award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. The film has received lavish praise throughout its year-long run, including rave reviews from film critics Roger Ebert and Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times. The movie also depicts the experience of growing up Filipino in America through the eyes of the young, white-washed Filipino-American who is reacquainted with his ethnic culture while dealing with both a tradition-minded father and a romantic infatuation.

Producer Fritz Friedman who is a senior vice president of Sony, Colombia and Tri-Star Pictures is considered the highest-ranking Filipino-American executive in the US entertainment industry. He is also known for his various philanthropic and civil rights causes, including AIDS and the Filipino World War II veteran's fight for benefits.

Aside from their TV commercial shooting in Metro Manila and Palawan, the four celebrities are schedule to grace the opening of the 5th CineManila Film Festival at the Greenbelt Mall on August 7 where they will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contributions to the cause of Fil-Am war veterans and the upliftment of the Filipino image abroad. They are likewise invited for a cocktails and a dinner with President Gloria as well as with the local film industry on August 9.

The visit of the Fit-Am 'Hollywood celebrities is made possible through the generous support of industry partners, particularly Philippine Airlines (PAL) which provided their roundtrip tickets from the U.S. .For Makati and Volvo Philippines are extending vehicle services, while Tesoro's and Jewelmer are providing souvenir gift items including Filipiniana attire and Mother of Pearl gift sets.

The celebrities will be officially housed at the Makati Shangri-La. Tia Carrere will also spend a relaxing weekend at EI Nido Resort in Palawan.

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