September 26, 2016

In Woodside Queens, "Gwapa" Filipino Business Newest Western Union Agent

Steven Raga, Democratic Committeeman & Matt Roach, Western Union Regional Director at Grand Opening with Pinoy Owners


Mylz Tolentino, Matt Roach, Rusty Corpuz, Mae Rosales, Steven Raga and Juan Montilla. (Photo: Lambert Parong)

New York - Small business owner Mae Rosales of "Gwapa"- a one stop shop, that offers lifestyle and wellness services; food products and specialty items from the Philippines, added a new business this past Friday September 23rd, after the official opening, they began to offer financial services through Western Union, providing consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world. Mae is the newest Western Union agent and their neighborhood store is on 69-05 Roosevelt Ave,  at the heart of "Pinoytown" in Woodside, Queens, just off the 7 Train at the 69 Street/ Roosevelt Avenue subway station. 

Gwapa-Western Union at 69-05 Roosevelt Ave. (Photo: Lambert Parong)

Matt Roach, Western Union's regional director for Northeast metro, graced the official opening together with Queens county account executives, Juan Montilla and Ricardo Almonte. Motorists and pedestrians alike were visibly curious of the crowd at "Gwapa's" storefront, where the unmistakable combination of bright yellow and deep black colors of Western Union's logo and signs were in plain view together with other beautifully crafted advertising materialsMatt's presence together with members of the WU sales team at the opening celebration of the new business and to personally congratulate Mae Rosales their new agent, signify a commitment in growing their partnership towards a successful venture providing reliable service in the community.

Steven Raga, Mae Rosales and Matt Roach. (Photo: Lambert Parong)

Steven Raga, Filipino American activist and newly appointed Queens Democratic County Committeeman led the ribbon cutting, afterwards he talked to the owners and community members at the event, explaining his new role as Committeeman of Woodside and Jackson Heights, communities that are among the most diverse neighborhoods in New York, with a significant Filipino population.

Mae Rosales and Franz Capistrano. (Photo:Lambert Parong)
After the ribbon cutting and throughout the afternoon, lucky patrons and supporters were treated to Western Union bags filled with premium giveaway items. Ms Franz Capistrano, on her lunch break came to the opening and took the opportunity to make a transaction, giving her the distinction as the "buena mano" or first customer of the business. She enjoyed a 50% discount coupon promo. Franz also revealed that she has been a WU customer for the past 14 years, this also elicited a special message of thanks from the WU sales team that read, "We thank you for your 14 years of loyalty to WU! Your patronage and efforts to schedule your lunch break to support us makes our efforts to give back to the community possible!  The business that you bring to WU helps us Move Money for Better!"


John Loyd Cruz. (Photo: Lambert Parong)
Mylz Tolentino, Western Union's Diaspora Marketing Manager, who organized the community event also made sure that connections were made among those who came. Her hard work has made this new business a reality. The atmosphere during the afternoon celebration had a mini "fiesta" like  feeling to it, as people came and went. 'Selfies' with a lifelike advertising image of John Loyd Cruz, the actor and box office king of the Philippines, displayed in front of "Gwapa" proved to be an attraction. Fun filled conversations between friends, old and new were competing with the hustling and bustling noise at this busy intersection, proof of a vibrant community.

"Pinoytown"- Woodside, Queens. (Photo:Lambert Parong)

New York's economy continues to grow, in Queens county a growing number of business savvy members in the Filipino community have contributed in keeping the local economy healthy,  they are constantly on the look out for possible business ventures.  "Gwapa" and Western Union's presence and involvement as responsible partners in the neighborhood, offers added value to the community. Creating and growing small businesses is a constant source of jobs and the fuel that drives the economic growth in America.

Matt Roach, Mae Rosales, Juan Montilla and Mylz Tolentino. (Photo:Lambert Parong)


Matt Roach together with the WU sales team conveyed their gratitude through Mylz Tolentino, with a brief message that said  "Your presence and support is truly a testament of our partnership to support the community". It was addressed to Western Union's community partners, 1803 Multimedia (Marisse Panlilio & Cossette Malig); PAFCOM organization past president Gani Puertollano and current president Ledy Almadin; TOFA Founder Elton Lugay; Promdi Kitchen and Bar; Nel Diamond Castellvi of Castelvi Productions; Lions Club of NY Flordeliz Lantin; and JCI NJ Board of Director Tata Kay Habana.

Gani Puertollano, Franz Capistrano, Kai & Kay, Mylz Tolentino, Matt Roach, Rusty Corpuz, Mae Rosales, Steven Raga, Juan Montilla, Marisse Panlilio and Cossette Malig. (Photo: Lambert Parong)

September 19, 2016

Updated (3pm): WANTED | Ahmad Khan Rahami

Suspect Now in Custody after Shootout with Linden, NJ Police.



The FBI and NYPD are asking for assistance in locating Ahmad Khan Rahami.  Rahami is wanted for questioning in connection with an explosion that occurred on September 17, 2016, at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the vicinity of 135 West 23rd Street, New York, New York.

Rahami is a 28-year-old United States citizen of Afghan descent born on January 23, 1988, in Afghanistan.  His last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  He is about 5’ 6” tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. Rahami has brown hair, brown eyes, and brown facial hair.

Share information with the NYPD at 800-577-TIPS and the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI

September 16, 2016

Supporters of President Duterte Express Solidarity Outside Philippine Consulate in New York

#PartnerForChangeNY | Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte Express Solidarity outside the Philippine Consulate. September 9, 2016. New York.

Photos by Lambert Parong for Kababayan Media/ CC BY