ABOUT

Balitang America is a 30-minute nightly news program of ABS-CBN International. Aired at 6:55 PM PT / 9:55 PM ET on The Filipino Channel Mondays thru Fridays, Balitang America is the reliable resource of Filipinos in the United States and Canada for news stories, events, special reports and in-depth interviews.

Anchored by seasoned broadcaster Gel Santos-Relos, Balitang America focuses on issues affecting Filipino communities all over North America. Balitang America also features community events and remarkable Filipinos making an impact on American life.

Balitang America is produced in Redwood Shores, California by the management and staff of ABS-CBN International’s North America News Bureau.

It has correspondents all over the US and Canada and is backed by the resources of ABS-CBN Global and ABS-CBN News Philippines.

Replays: Tuesdays – Saturdays 1:05 AM PT / 4:05 AM ET

BALITANG AMERICA NEWS TEAM

North America News Bureau Chief
Nadia Trinidad [Read Bio]

Anchor
Gel Santos-Relos [Read Bio]

MEET THE REPORTERS:

Steve Angeles/Los Angeles [Read Bio]

Yong Chavez/Los Angeles [Read Bio]

Cecile Docto/Vancouver, B.C.

Henni Espinosa/San Francisco Bay Area [Read Bio]

Bev Llorente/Las Vegas, Nevada

Fleur Magbanua-Mansur/Arizona

Marieton Pacheco/Vancouver, B.C.

Joseph Pimentel/Los Angeles

Yvee Tadeo-Guevara/Los Angeles

Don Tagala/New York & New Jersey [Read Bio]

Marlou Tiro/Toronto, ON

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Steve Angeles

Steve Angeles has been with ABS-CBN since 2005. Steve started out as intern and joined the staff as a member of the production team. Steve has become a full-time general assignment reporter who first covered the San Francisco Bay Area. He now covers Los Angeles and Southern California. He attended San Francisco State University. Steve’s past work with ABS-CBN includes Speak Out, Myx Music Channel, and Strut.

Some of Steve’s favorite coverages include interviews with high profile Filipino celebrities and athletes, the same sex marriage debates, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. In 2007, the National Donor Program Nominated Steve for a Media Excellence Award, for his coverages on bone marrow related illnesses.

Steve was born in Quezon City, and moved to San Francisco at age 3. The son of comedian Louella Albornoz and Andrew Angeles, a former media practitioner in the Philippines, Steve is no stranger to television. He is the godson of Filipino entertainment institutions such as Nora Aunor, Lino Brocka, Maryo De Los Reyes, and Jake Tordesillas.

n his spare time, Steve enjoys exercising, playing video games, and reading comic books. He’s also involved in a few theater groups as well.
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Nadia Trinidad – News Bureau Chief

Nadia brings with her thirteen years of solid experience as a journalist. She started her news gathering career in ABC 5 where she stayed for a year. In Sept 2000 Nadia joined ABS CBN as a Reporter. She was assigned various beats from politics to business as well as feature stories. After one year she was promoted to Senior Reporter and in 2006 she took on the role of a Correspondent.

A consistent Dean’s Lister, Nadia earned her degree in Bachelor of Arts and Sciences major in Communication Arts from Ateneo de Manila University. Last year, Nadia was chosen to be one of the twenty outstanding individuals around the world to be awarded a one-year John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University where she was able to expand her credits in journalism, at the same time foster journalistic innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Before being assigned to take on the News Bureau Chief function, Nadia had a short stint as Producer for TV Patrol and was also assigned as Executive Producer under Current Affairs overseeing production of the documentary program “Patrol ng Pilipino.”[Back to Top]

Yong Chavez

Yong Chavez is one of ABS-CBN’s correspondents. She started her reporting career as a features writer for Pacific Daily News (a sister newspaper of USA Today). Her hard-news and feature reports have also appeared in Philippine News and Star Studio Magazine, as well as in TV Patrol and various ABS-CBN shows.

Her noteworthy coverages include exclusive reports on Nora Aunor’s legal case in Los Angeles in 2005. Yong was also a part of the news team that covered the Fil-Am vote during the historic 2008 U.S. presidential elections. One of her reports in 2009 brought attention to a case that helped a group of fraud victims get justice. Likewise, she covered and broke the news of Efren Penalorida’s historic triumph as CNN’s 2009 Hero of the Year. She is also known for her exclusive interviews with Fil-Am and Hollywood celebrities.

Yong Chavez covers the Filipino communities in Southern California where she lives. She is currently writing a guidebook for U.S. immigrants, an offshoot of her news and informational website, FilipinOnline.com.[Back to Top]

Henni Espinosa

Henni Espinosa is a full-time reporter for ABS-CBN International and has covered the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003.

Henni finished her Bachelors Degree in Broadcasting at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City in 1999 and her Masters in Communication at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2002.

Before becoming a Kapamilya, Henni was a segment producer and host for GMA Channel 7’s morning show, “Unang Hirit.” While she was a graduate student, she took her internship at CNN International in Atlanta. One of the stories she reported on and produced was the plight of the Filipino World War II Veterans, which aired on several CNN programs. Henni’s coverage of Filipino World War II veterans continues during with ABS-CBN International’s North America News Bureau.

Some of her other memorable stories include the Southern California Wildfires, Diablo Valley College Grade Scam, Protests vs. Human Rights Violations in the Philippines, California Nurses Strike, Missing IRS Agent and the Mortgage Meltdown.

Henni was also the editor-in-chief of Manila Bulletin’s Kababayan Edition from 2003-2006.

Currently, she is also Vice-President for External Affairs of the Philippine American Press Club.[Back to Top]

Rodney Jaleco

Rodney Jaleco comes from a family of journalists. He is an economist by training, a newsman by vocation. Rodney cut his teeth in the trade, helping put to bed a monthly feature magazine started by his father, Reynaldo Sr., former editor of the pre-Martial Law Manila Chronicle and president of the National Press Club of the Philippines, in the early 1980s.
His late brother, Reynaldo Jr., taught English and Journalism at the University of Sto. Tomas; and another sibling, Raleigh, worked for the Malaya and the Manila Chronicle after the 1986 People Power revolt. Rodney eventually joined the Star Group of publications, where the venerated Luis “Ka Louis” Beltran gave him his first big break covering the military just weeks before the bloodiest coup attempt against the Cory Aquino government broke out in December 1989. He was elected president and later chairman of the Defense Press Corps, the oldest national press guild in the Philippines.

Rodney moved to the House of Representatives and later covered President Fidel Ramos in Malacanang, still with the Philippine Star.

Rodney was recruited by then TV Patrol executive producer Chari Villa to man the assignments desk of ABS-CBN News and slowly moved up to head day-time news gathering operations. Both on the frontlines and in the back room, Rodney’s experience allowed him the rare opportunity to work with the three media – print, radio (as defense correspondent for radio station dzRH), and television.

He opted for early retirement from ABS-CBN in 2006 to join his family in Arlington, Virginia. Despite assimilating to American life, landing a job for a federal agency contractor in Alexandria, VA, the call of journalism remained strong. Today, Rodney contributes reports for The Filipino Channel’s Balitang America; serves as news editor for Pinoy Herald, a Fairfax, VA-based biweekly Fil-Am paper; and writes about Fil-Am news in Washington, D.C. for the website abs-cbnnews.com.[Back to Top]

Racquel Rendon-Associate Producer

Racquel Rendon is an Associate Producer for ABS-CBN’s Balitang America program. She previously worked for Balitang America as a freelance reporter from 2002-2004 covering political stories such as legislation against violence of video games, Homeland Security, and the recall election to replace then Governor Gray Davis.

Racquel initially began her college education in Computer Engineering at California Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo but turned to Psychology instead. She subsequently earned a Master’s Degree and worked as a School Psychologist for many years.

But Racquel’s passion for writing lured her down a different path. While working full time as a Psychologist – she updated her skills through Broadcast Journalism courses and interned at KTVU and KNTV. She then got a job as a Producer for KCOY, a CBS affiliate in the Central Coast. She moved back to the SF Bay area to get married and worked as a morning news writer for KPIX – CBS5. Racquel began working for ABS-CBN in December 2008. Racquel and her husband have been doubly blessed recently with a new home and a new baby.[Back to Top]

Gel Santos-Relos-Anchor

Gel Santos Relos, one of the most respected and multi-awarded broadcast journalists in the Philippines, anchored top-rating radio and television programs for ABS-CBN. She made her mark in shows such as “Tatak Pilipino”,“Hoy!Gising”,“Companero y Companera”,“Pulso, Aksyon Balita”, “Headlines”, “Relos Reports”(DZMM), and “Dear Ate Gel”(DZMM) during her 20-plus years of partnership with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. Prior to her successful work in media, Gel was an Instructor in Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, where she graduated cum laude and pursued post-graduate courses.

She was granted Permanent Resident status in the United States as an “Alien with Extra-Ordinary Ability”, and this is where she has been based with her family since 2001. As her husband was doing surgical residency, Gel has experienced how it was like to live from coast-to-coast in America—from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Minnesota, and finally to California, where Gel and her family are now happily settled in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Their move to California gave Gel the opportunity to renew her ties with ABS-CBN. Since 2007, Gel has anchored The Filipino Channel’s “Balitang America”, the first daily television newscast for Filipinos in North America. Gel also co-hosted the most popular immigration show “Citizen Pinoy” with Atty. Michael Gurfinkel from 2005-2009.

In 2009, Gel Santos Relos was honored as one of the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in America” by the Filipina Women’s Network.Gel continues with her mission to help the Filipinos navigate their new life in America, while keeping and strengthening their ties to the Philippines.[Back to Top]

Don Tagala

Don Tagala is a full time video journalist for Balitang America. Based out of Chicago, he started as a freelance reporter covering many cities in the Midwest since 2003. As a video journalist, he’s covered the news both as a cameraman and a reporter. He also pioneered the electronic transmission of video materials among freelancers, making it possible for Balitang America to receive the freshest news from around the U.S.

Don has covered Barack Obama’s historic rise to presidency, from his announcement in Springfield, Illinois to his inauguration in Washington, D.C. He was in ground zero when Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf Coast and reported its extensive damage and how it affected the Filipino communities in the Mississippi and Louisiana area.

Prior to reporting for ABS-CBN News, he has worked with ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sines’kwela and Bantay Bata 163 since 1994 before moving to Chicago in 1997.

Beginning 2010, Don will be based in the East Coast, covering the New York and New Jersey area.[Back to Top]

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