‘Finding Dory’ and the power of a #PinoyPride story

Thrilled to meet Fil-Am set artist Paul Abadilla.

Whenever there is a story about an achiever of Filipino descent, there will always be naysayers. They would ask, shouldn’t his or her success be attributed to the country where he or she grew up? It can be as casual as a Facebook comment or a polarizing opinion delivered on a newscast - remember when a news anchor called foreign-born members of the Azkals “pretending to be Filipinos”?

I believe a #PinoyPride story is not something to be frown upon. This week, as part of the publicity team for Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory, I was privileged to meet Paul Abadilla, a Fil-Am set artist who has also worked on Sanjay’s Super Team, Lava, and Inside Out. Born in the Philippines, he and his family migrated to the US in 1991. He graduated from San Jose State University, Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Illustration.

He is among the so-called Pixnoys, that includes Dory animator Virginia Santos and Inside Out co-director Ronnie del Carmen, who also visited Manila last year. Santos and Del Carmen though grew up in the Philippines.

Because I was on the PR side, I did not get a chance to sit down and interview him. I did manage to get photos with him though after the press junket.

After his appearance on a cable news channel the next day, we posed for a group photo and he suddenly talked in Filipino. “Pahabol,” he said, when a colleague gave the receptionist her phone so she could also have a copy of the pic. 

“Ala, nag-Tatagalog ka pala. All this time, I thought you only speak English,” I told him.

“Nag-tatagalog ako. It’s just a bit rusty,” he said.

He then told me he’d go somewhere up north with a few friends to surf before going back to the US. On Instagram, he thanked us for the hard work and he wished he would be able to return.  Yes, he grew up in the US, but like Dory, he is rediscovering his roots.

Does growing up in a foreign land makes someone less Filipino? I don’t think so. Just imagine the power of his success story that could encourage a kid who might have listened to one of his interviews or read an article about him online. Isn’t that Filipino enough when you inspire greatness in the country where you came from?

Paul with the publicity/marketing team for Finding Dory

Check out some features about Paul Abadilla below and learn how awesome he is:

Finding Dory animator's dream project: Doing a film about patintero, jolens and Pinoy games
Read more at http://www.pep.ph/guide/movies/23825/emfinding-doryem-animators-dream-project-doing-a-film-about-patintero-emjolensem-and-pinoy-games#DGuU7Rx5h2LIp4pE.99
Finding Dory is now showing in the Philippines.


  1. This movie teaches a good lesson to kids to never give up and even though Dory is not the brightest fish in the school, she does things her own way and never gives up. Young Nemo asks Marlin, "What Would Dory Do?" and they do what Dory would. As strange as it sounds, there is a car chase involving the truck transporting the fish with Hank at the helm. I recommend "Finding Dory" as a worthy sequel to "Finding Nemo"!


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