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Mar 28th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings The Filipino Face of San Diego's Broadcast News Makes a Career Move
The Filipino Face of San Diego's Broadcast News Makes a Career Move PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Saturday, 20 October 2007 02:36

The News UpFront (TOP STORY) as of Saturday, 20 October 2007
The journalist behind the familiar face and voice of weekend television news is leaving San Diego for Seattle in a career move that would vacate a Filipino presence in mainstream broadcast media. Yes, Maria Arcega-Dunn, the Canada-born daughter of Filipino parents from Manila, makes an exit from Fox 6 News next month.


The Filipino Face of San Diego's Broadcast News Makes a Career Move


For the past several years, Maria Arcega-Dunn, weekend news anchor and reporter at Fox 6 News, is the face and voice that infused life to a community in doldrums, providing visibility for an ethnic minority so huge in numbers but hardly possessing clout.

That length of time may have been insufficient to create a solid impression about the existence of Filipino talents in that community, which is the largest in the bigger Asian body politic, and third only after the Mexicans in San Diego's diverse county.

But the Canada-born Maria, daughter of Filipino parents who hailed from Manila and are now residents of Calgary, did break through some barriers and succeeded in projecting a wholesome image of Filipinos in general, mainly through her work as a broadcast journalist.FOX6NEWS004

"After six years of being on San Diego television, I leave with excitement for the new adventure ahead, sad at the thought of the friends I leave behind," she told the Philippine Village Voice in an interview..

The adventure that awaits her is in Seattle as main female anchor at Q13 Fox News. "They made an appealing offer, one I really couldn't refuse," she reveals. Besides, being in Seattle puts her just hours away from her parents.

The idea of women news anchors is already stale but a Filipino news anchor -- in San Diego at that! -- that's the closest to being identified as a media icon. It's a fact that in many ways brought the Filipino community to new heights of public awareness.

"Maria gave us the identity and the recognition. Filipinos do excel in their jobs as what Maria has demonstrated," says Robert F. Posadas, the pioneering Filipino cable/TV 61 producer of Asian American Hour in San Diego who turned webcaster (

Indeed, Maria was, and still remains, the best unofficial spokesperson for a community wanting to have its presence felt and seen. "I took that responsibility very seriously," she says. "I hope I was a role model you could all be proud of."

Maria has managed to be up there without prying deeply into the factional bickerings that entrap the community these many years. "I think as a community we really need to band together to bring attention to our culture, its beauty and tradition," she avers.

Maria is well aware of the challenges of working and living in such a diverse place as San Diego. That she is the only Filipina on San Diego television places her in a sensitive position of influence.

"I have mostly emceed and lent my support to Filipino organizations in San Diego," she says, "and since then I've been able to shed some light on some of our holidays and events through the news".

Asked about her views, she explains: "I really believe we have to start by supporting each other. The crab mentality is not going to help any of us as individuals, or as a community to get ahead. I think at times we can be our own worst enemy. Encouragement, positiveness and pride . . . I hope we can still instill that in each other and help us all prosper."

When time allows her, Maria complements her media exposure by actively supporting projects and activities in Asian American organizations, Pacific Islander youth groups, the Pan Pacific Police Officers Association and the GLBT community. One project she feels strongly about is the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Maria also takes time out for her professional advancement through membership in the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the California Association of Public Information Officers which in 2006 awarded her with a State CAPIO Award for Innovative Production of a Video.

Last year, she also garnered a Golden Dove Award (Asia's equivalent of an Emmy) and the State Asian Heritage Award 2006. She was also a recipient of San Diego Metropolitan Magazine's "Top 40 Under 40" award.

Her youthful looks belie the vast experience in broadcast journalism. Before she moved to the United States, Maria was a network correspondent for a Canadian network, Global Canada. Then she landed a job at CNN as newsfeed correspondent.

From there, she became news anchor for CNN Asia International based in Hong Kong while continuing to work for ABS-CBN Studio 23 News. Cupid got in the way during all these career moves and soon, she married her husband Bernardo, a San Diego native. They have a son named Nicholas.

Broadcasting may be in the Arcega brood. Her older brother Milandro Arcega is also a news anchor for NBC 4 in Washington, DC. Another brother, the youngest, Alexander Nicholas Arcega, is a pilot for Air Canada.

Maria is multi-literate, speaking and writing in French, English and Tagalog. She thanks her nannies who taught her Ilocano and Visayan while growing up in Calgary, Alberta where her parents had settled. Her grandparents are from Arayat, Pampanga and Bulacan.

Maria's very latest feather on her cap was the media recognition bestowed on her on Sept. 2 by the Maria Clara de Pilipinas Sorority of San Diego County.

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
Issue No. 78 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . .

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2007 07:49

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