Making A Difference: Filipino Talent Owning It In 2017

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I like to equate 2017’s Kong: Skull Island took a page from 1997’s Anaconda where in that film, a Puerto-Rican woman and an African American male were the only survivors. So, to see a majority of the PoC cast including the character of ‘Reles’ (played by our 2015 Hollywood Actors Panelist, Eugene Cordero) survived their escape from Skull Island.  I was secretly rooting for his character not to end up as a casualty.  Wiped my sweat off my brow.

Eugene Cordero as ‘Reles’ in Warner Brothers Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island

Netflix released Jo Koy‘s Live from Seattle comedy special.  Since then, he’s been selling out shows, most recently in Hawaii with a total of thirteen shows in Maui and Oahu.  He broke Honolulu’s record with over 23,000 tickets sold — and that was when he had eleven shows sold out!

Jo Koy in Netflix’s Live from Seattle

2017 celebrated the 20th anniversary of the made-for-television movie musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  It aired on ABC on November 2, 1997 and earned over 60 million viewers.  It landed on the Nielsen ratinged #1 spot for that week.  The TV movie starred Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston, Jason Alexander, Victor Garber, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters and introduced Paolo Montalban.

Paolo Montalban as ‘Prince Charming’ in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella 

Kimee Balmilero was upgraded from recurring to cast as ‘Dr. Noelani Cunha’ on the eight season of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0.

Jessalyn Wanlim as ‘Jenny’ on CBC’s Workin’ Moms.

Lexa Doig is one of many actors on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.

Lexa Doig as ‘Deann Anderson’ in E! Entertainment’s The Arrangement.

Lexa Doig as ‘Talia al Ghul’ in The CW’s Arrow.

Another Filipina actress joined the DC superhero fray was Vanessa Hudgens in Powerless. Here in this scene is where her character said she is half-Filipina.

Vanessa Hudgens as ‘Emily’ in NBC’s Powerless.

Jaime Barcelon (who starred in FilAm Creations‘ short film, Lolo Pepe) guest starred on Criminal Minds.

Jaime Barcelon as ‘Marcus Manning’ in CBS’ Criminal Minds.

Ginger Gonzaga is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.  She appeared in TBS’ Wrecked and Hulu’s Chance.  She even wrote, directed and starred in the film, Your Day.

Ginger Gonzaga as ‘Maggie’ in Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here.

Mig Macario as ‘Dr. Michael Bateman’ on CBS’ Criminal Minds.

Nico Santos as ‘Mateo’ in NBC’s Superstore.

Reggie Lee is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.  He guest starred on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine as ‘Dr. Ronald Yee.’

Reggie Lee guest starred as ‘Joey Kang’ on CBS’ Hawaii Five-O.

Aris Juson as ‘Aiden’ in the viral short Star Wars: The Force And The Fury

Our 2017 Hollywood Actors Panelist, Manny Jacinto is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.

Manny Jacinto guest stars as ‘Bobby Ato’ in ABC’s The Good Doctor

Manny Jacinto as ‘Jason Mendoza’ in NBC’s The Good Place

Josephine Leily in a Prego Spaghetti commercial

Sonya Balmores as ‘Auran’ in ABC’s Marvel’s The Inhumans

Darion Basco as ‘Javier’ and Maureen Sebastian as ‘Adele’ in CBS’ S.W.A.T.

Jacob Batalon as ‘Ned Leeds’ and Ethan Dizon as ‘Tiny’ (the latter not included in this clip) in Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Hailee Steinfeld performed on NBC’s The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

Marc Fajardo as ‘Danny’ on CBS’ S.W.A.T.

Erin Lim hosts E! Entertainment’s The Rundown at Snapchat.

Liza Lapira as ‘Eve’ in CBS’ 9JKL

Alex Mallari, Jr. as ‘Ryo’ in SYFY’s Dark Matter.

Ivory Aquino as ‘Cecilia Chung’ on ABC’s When We Rise

Zedrick Restauro as ‘Street Vendor’ shared a scene with Vanessa Hudgens on NBC’s Powerless.

Eden Estrella as ‘Sam’ on Universal Pictures’ The Fate of the Furious

Kamran Lucas as ‘Harris’ on Disney XD’s Mech-X4

Anatalia Villaranda competed on NBC’s The Voice

Tia Carrere as ‘Chow Lin’ on CBS’ Blue Bloods

The question asked this year was, “Is Lars Barriga a Filipino?”  You be the judge.

Deedee Magno, Shelby Rabara, Jennifer Paz and Charlyne Yi voice the characters on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe

Conrad Ricamora as ‘Oliver Hampton’ on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder

Tamlyn Tomita as ‘Allegra Aoki’ on ABC’s The Good Doctor.

Rob Schneider as ‘Rob’ on Netflix’s Real Rob

Joel de la Fuente guest stars as ‘Datu Andrada’ on CBS’ Madam Secretary.

Jaclyn Aimee (of FilAm CreationsWhat You Don’t Say? and Uncle Eddy) has done two commercials.

Jaclyn Aimee in an Amazon Prime commercial released in December, 2016

Jaclyn Aimee in an ADT commercial released in November, 2017.

Mathew Belnas‘ web series, Sons of the Universe.

Our 2017 2nd Television Writers Panelist, Philip Buiser wrote an episode in 2017 for AMC’s Preacher.

Dean Devlin directed a feature and continues to produce his weekly television show.

Dean Devlin directed Geostorm released in October, 2017.

Dean Devlin‘s The Librarians returned to TNT in December, 2017.

Dave Bautista had three feature films released in 2017.

Dave Bautista as ‘Stupe’ in RLJ Entertainments’ Bushwick.

Dave Bautista as ‘Drax’ in Walt Disney Pictures’ Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

Dave Bautista as ‘Sapper Morton’ in Columbia Pictures’ Blade Runner 2049.

Our 2016 Television Writers Panelist, Ray Utarnachitt wrote four episodes in 2017 for the CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in Seasons 2 and 3.  The first Season 3 episode he wrote titled Zari introduced the first television Muslim superheroine, Zari Tomaz.

Ray Utarnachitt wrote two episodes in 2017; Zari for the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow.

TJ Perkins wrestled against Lince Dorado on the WWE Network’s 205 Live.

Melanie Anne Padernal as ‘Celia’ in Dan Mirvish’s Bernard and Huey.

Bruno Mars performed live at the Apollo Theater

Our 2017 Hollywood Actors Panelist, Vincent Rodriguez III is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.  He guest starred on ABC’s Designated Survivor as ‘Owen Saldua.’

Vincent Rodriguez III as ‘Josh Chan’ on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Our 2017 2nd Television Writers Panelist, Dennis Saldua wrote two episodes in 2017 for CBS’ Salvation.

The first female professional to win on the show, Cheryl Burke returned to Dancing With The Stars.  She also became the new instructor on Dance Moms.  And, her Love On The Floor Tour played in the U.S. after its run in Japan this year.

Our 2017 Hollywood Actors Panelist, Angela Relucio is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.  She recurs on History’s SIX as ‘Lt. Camille Fung.’

Angela Relucio as ‘Risa Park’ on CBS’ Code Black.

Matthew Libatique was the cinematographer for Paramount Pictures’ Mother!

Fallah Bahh wrestles at Pop TV’s Impact Wrestling.

Charlyne Yi is another actor on this list who have worked in more than one television show in 2017 other than Steven Universe. And, she is also in a film.

Charlene Yi as ‘Safoya’ on A24 Films’ The Disaster Artist.

Charlene Yi as ‘Ruby’ on Showtime’s Twin Peaks.

Sheaden Gabriel and Dante Basco star in Bangarang: The Hook Prequel.

Our 2017 Hollywood Actors Panelist, Aina Dumlao is another actor on this list who have appeared in more than one television show in 2017.  She recurred on HBO’s Ballers as ‘Natalie.’

Aina Dumlao as ‘Andi Lee’ on CBS’ MacGyver.

Teo Briones is another actor on this list who have worked in more than one project in 2017.  He starred in Wind River as ‘Casey’ with Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen and Graham Greene.

Teo Briones as ‘Will Jin’ on Amazon Prime’s Will vs. The Future.

DJZ returns to Pop TV’s Impact Wrestling at AAA’s TripleMania.

Bob Morley as ‘Bellamy Blake’ on the CW’s The 100.

Charles Michael Davis as ‘Marcel Gerard’ on the CW’s The Originals.

World Wonder Ring Stardom’s wrestler Kris Wolf featured on CBS This Morning.

Nadine Nicole as ‘Casey’ in Hulu’s Casual.

Tess Paras and Vincent Rodriguez III in TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything

Marie Jamora‘s award winning film, Flip The Record stars Courtney Bandeko, Michael Rosete, Derek Basco, Olga Natividad, Jon Viktor Corpuz, JD Charisma and Sammay Dizon.

Gabe De Guzman, Jenna AlvarezLeanne Tessa and writer Nathan Ramos join Disney’s Club Mickey Mouse.

Angelica Hale on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.

Academy Award-winning songwriting duo of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote ‘Remember Me’ for Disney-Pixar’s Coco (by Pixar’s first female animation supervisor, Gini Santos).



Rachel Leyco – NBC’s Chicago Fire
Rodney To – CBS’ NCIS
Mig Macario – CBS’ S.W.A.T.
Alden Ray – ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat
Samantha Cutaran – ABC’s Scandal
Michael Galante – NBC’s Will & Grace
Ariel Felix -NBC’s Chicago Fire
Reggie Lee – Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Rain Valdez – TV Land’s Lopez
Earl Baylon in Seeso’s Bajillion Dollar Propertie$
J. Elaine Marcos – Nickelodeon’s School of Rock, Netflix’s Grace and Frankie
Cesar Cipriano – BET’s Being Mary Jane
Jane McLean – CBC’s Workin’ Moms
Marc Anthony Nicholas – Emmy winning producer of The Talk
Ellen D. Williams – FX’s Baskets
Lou Diamond Phillips – Final Season of Netflix’s Longmire
Derek Basco in Netflix’s Lady Dynamite
Nicole Scherzinger in Fox’s The X Factor, TBS’ Drop The Mic
Jason Rogel – NBC’s This Is Us, Netflix’s Lady Dynamite, Lifetime’s Love By The 10th Date 
Zaldy Goco (costume designer) and John Lim (editor) – 2017 Emmy winners of RuPaul’s Drag Race



Rachelle Ann GoHamilton
Ali EwoldtPhantom of the Opera
Christine AlladoHamilton
Don Darryl RiveraAladdin
Natalie ChuaBat The Musical
Karla Puno GarciaHamilton
Joan AlmedillaThe King & I
Jaygee MacapugaySchool of Rock
Eva NoblezadaMiss Saigon
Jon Jon BrionesMiss Saigon
Jose LlanaThe King & I
Adam JacobsAladdin
Jon Viktor CorpuzThe King & I
Lea SalongaOnce On This Island (this is her first time playing a Filipina on stage)


HOSTS IN 2017:

Katherine Iniba – KSCI-TV’s Generation NOW, Halo Halo with Kat Iniba
Yong Chavez – TFC’s BA Showbiz Tonight
Jessica Lesaca – MYX TV’s Week Sauce
Kylie Erica Mar – Yahoo Entertainment
Denny Directo – Entertainment Tonight Now
Maria Quiban – KTTV Meteorologist
Thomas Orlina – Afterbuzz TV
Cher Calvin – KTLA News
Nino Llanera – Conflux Conversation
Pablo S. Torre – ESPN’s Around The Horn
Sinead de Vries – Clevver News
Denise Dador – ABC-7 Eyewitness


Here is a list of Filipino American talent appearing in film and television in 2018:

 ~ LJ Batinas in Fox’s Lucifer on January 2, 2018.
 ~ Glenn Fernandez in Fox’s 9-1-1 on January, 2018.
 ~ Lou Diamond Phillips guest stars on CBS’ Criminal Minds on January 3, 2018.
 ~ Zedrick Restauro in ABC’s Speechless on January 3, 2018.
 ~ Ashley Argota in Go90’s Liberty Crossing on January 8, 2018.
 ~ Darren Criss, Jon Jon Briones, Carlin James, Zedrick Restauro and Isa Briones in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on January 17, 2018.
 ~ Carlin James in Criminal Minds on January 17, 2018.
 ~ Marc Fajardo in The Leisure Seeker on January 19, 2018.
 ~ Sonya Balmores in STX Entertainment’s Den of Thieves on January 19 and Fox’s Lucifer on January 22, 2018.
 ~ Michael Golamco wrote Magnolia Pictures’ Please Stand By on January 26, 2018.
Sari Arambulo in NBC’s A.P. Bio on February 1, 2018.
 ~ Jacob Batalon in Orion Pictures’s Every Day on February 23, 2018.
 ~ Deric McCabe in Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time from Ava DuVernay on March 9, 2018.
 ~ Sharon Leal in CBS’ Instinct on March 11, 2018.
 ~ Dave Bautista, Jacob Batalon and Ethan Dizon in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018.
 ~ Hailee Steinfeld in Paramont Pictures’ Bumblebee on June 8, 2018.
 ~ Patricio Ginelsa Jr.‘s sequel, Lumpia 2 starring UFC’s Mark Muñoz.
 ~ Amanda Joy for Season 2 of City TV’s Second Jen.
 ~ Kelli Breslin for Lifetime’s You starring Shay Mitchell.
 ~ Nadine Nicole in SYFY’s The Expanse
 ~ Paris Berelc in Netflix’s Alexa & Katie
 ~ Eric S. Garcia co-wrote the English-language script to Batman Ninja.

If you’re Filipino and have an upcoming project in 2018, whether it is in front of the camera or behind-the-scenes, let us know!


Compiled and written by:
~ Edwin Santos
Social Media / Online Press
FilAm Creative
December 31, 2017


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