Arts & Entertainment

West Orange Educator Releases Philippines Historical Novels

May 25, 2014 at 8:06 PM

WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange resident Dr. Zal Velez is a native of the Philippines and a long-time educator and author who has just released his latest series of historical novels chronicling the birth and development of Las Islas Filipinas, the Philippine Islands.

Velez, his wife, Dr. Josie Velez, family and friends gathered at Walter Baumann Jewelers on May 22 for an Book Signing of his back-to-back works, Las Islas Filipinas Book I, “Manifest Destiny: The Story of Visayan Enrique and the Voyage of Admiral Ferdinand Magellan, Volume I and II". Visayan was a slave of Ferdinand Magellan who is credited with helping to found the Philippine Islands in the 1600s. Velez writes under the name Cristo Rey Alunan, part of his given birth name.

The event was well-attended by community leaders, including Assemblymen Tom Giblin and John McKeon, Mayor Rob Parisi, Council President Susan McCartney, Councilman Joe Krakoviak, Philippine Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron, Miss Philippines - Marvee San Agustin, and other leaders of the Philippine-American community.

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Another historical book written by Velez is entitled “Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” and documents famous sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout history. A devout Catholic, Velez also pays homage in his book to his home church, Our Lady of Lourdes in West Orange, as they celebrate their 100th Anniversary this year.

Velez’ career has been legendary as a leader in the field of Education and Administration, particularly in bridging overseas and American education disciplines. With a Doctorate in Education, Velez at one time served as an Education Commissioner during the Reagan Administration. He currently spearheads the efforts of the International Cultural and Educational Association.

Velez and his wife are forty-year residents of West Orange. Their children, Anthony and Mary Jo went to school in town and both Zal and Josie are active in the community. Zal boasts the title of “Deputy Mayor of West Orange,” an honor bestowed upon him by then-Mayors Sam Spina and John McKeon, and current Mayor Rob Parisi. Josie is a nutritionist and a long-time member of the West Orange Public Relations Commission.

The couple has been instrumental in raising money and supplies for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013. A portion of the proceeds of sales from Velez's historical works will be donated to the ongoing effort.

For more information on Dr. Zal Velez and his published works, or to find out how you can help with ongoing Typhoon relief, contact Dr. Josie Velez at (973)736-5794 or




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