NextDayBetter NYC [Recap and Photo Gallery]

The East Coast installment of NextDayBetter NYC x LA saw a successful turnout, and the promising enterprise sets up for bigger and better things by featuring some of the very best minds from today's Filipino-American community.

Slideshow Gallery: A large draw came out to support last Saturday's panel for NextDayBetter, marking the third installment for New York City. The events are getting bigger and bigger, and it the project has flourished under the guidance of Chief Builder and curator Ryan Letada. Letada, for his part, doesn't enjoy talking about himself, and would rather divert the credit to a deservedly-talented team of developers and creatives. For the event, Letada was joined by colleagues Cesley Musngi, Renjie Butalid, Carissa Feria and Arianne Maliwanag. The event started off with a dialogue between two of the most fearless names in the New York food scene - Pastry Chef Eileen Formanes of Bibingka-esk and Restaurateur Nicole Ponseca of the acclaimed Maharlika NYC and Jeepney NYC restaurants, where both ladies shared similar stories of struggle and perseverance in order to realize their dreams, and to show the world the wonders of Filipino cuisine. Formanes, when asked why she ventured into making the infamous "Bibingka" and dared to introduce it to New York replies, " I wanted to do something for my culture... You can't be led by fear." Ponseca, meanwhile, had perhaps the most vivid quote of the night; "Little drops of water make a lake. My mom used to tell me that, and now I understand... (You have to) keep investing in yourself." The rest of the panel was an outstanding mix of creative designers, artists and servant-leaders for the impoverished.
  • Ray Sison, Art Director for R/GA is also a big name around Nike-heads, as he is responsible for some of the most memorable campaigns for the brand, including the Nike+ Fuelband. Sison has worked for some of the most recognizable brands in the world - Toyota, Apple, Pepsi, Uniqlo and Nokia to name a few.
  • Faith McCollister is the former Philippine Country Director of Innovations for Poverty Action, an NGO which strategizes on how to help local children all over the world regarding education and medical needs, in particular.
  • Jose Llana is a renowned Broadway Actor, Philippine Recording Artist and a former Drama Desk Award Winner in 2005 for 'Best Ensemble Performance.' A proud activist, he recently starred in the production 'Here Lies Love,' a musical recounting of Imelda Marcos' rise to power with her dictator husband, former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.
  • Michael Vea is the Co-Founder of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Infinity Charter School in New York City, and a 7th grade teacher for American History and Journalism. (He also rocked the sweetest barong tagalog last Saturday.)
  • Jose Antonio Vargas, the unofficial headliner of this NDB installment is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist, filmmaker and immigration activist. He is the founder of Define American, a startup campaign that aims to spread knowledge and raise conversation regarding immigration. Vargas' latest project, a documentary entitled "Documented," which he directed and hosted premiered earlier this year as the centerpiece of the AFI Docs film festival in Washington, D.C. (You can check out the introduction for the documentary's screening here.
  • Jayson Atienza is an exceptional visual artist, working with international brands such as Milky Way, Guinness, HBO, Canon, Pepsi and FedEx. Atienza has been recognized by some of the world's most notable award shows, such as the Art Directors Club, D&AD, The Andy Awards and Cannes Lion. (He is also the brother-in-law of the artist Rich Tu, a friend of the program.)
  • Perhaps the most moving presentation of the night was with Tara Abrahams' speech, which followed a snippet of her documentary "Girl Rising," a production by 10x10 and directed by Oscar-nominated, award winning filmmaker Richard E. Robbins. The documentary relays the stories of 9 different girls from 9 different countries. Abrahams is the Deputy Director of Girl Rising, which is a global movement that aims to educate and empower girls around the world.
The impressive list above joins previous speakers from the last NextDayBetter event, which saw Alec Zaballero (TPGA)Rebecca Garcia (Coder Dojo) and Rik Cordero (Three21Media). [nggallery id=76]   For more information on upcoming NextDayBetter events, check them out at You can also follow their social media pages: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: