Gratitude and fellowship were the buzz words of the day. On Saturday, November 13, 2010, the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC) welcomed volunteers and supporters to a Tapsilog breakfast at the Community Center of SunTrust Bank in Vienna, VA, to say thank you for the volunteers' untiring contributions in time, energy, and financial help. Highlights of the day were inspirational remarks from Maj.Gen. Antonio Taguba and a tribute to Ernie Cordero, volunteer extraordinaire, who is returning to the Philippines this November.
PAFC President Becky Pagsibigan welcomed everyone, and thanked all for their help throughout the year, most especially during the Philippine Festival in June and the Asian Festival in July. Help from everybody made the job easier, faster, and more fun!
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba gave inspiring remarks noting that love and charity begin at home and that we all have a moral responsibility to better our community. He congratulated PAFC and attending organizations, for giving generously of themselves, expecting nothing in return except the personal satisfaction at having helped others and doing so as their "labor of love." He also appealed to everyone to help the remaining Filipino American World War II veterans and their heirs in their continued quest for assistance.
PAFC Board of Directors and officers gathered to pay tribute to Ernie Cordero, volunteer extraordinaire, who leaves the area for the Philippines this November. PAFC gave him a picture book of Washington, DC with photos of him in his volunteer activities during the past years and written messages to this veritable icon. Ernie arrived in Washington, DC in the late 1950s and began his volunteer activities with the Embassy. Through the years, he has helped many, many associations and groups through carpentry, dances, songs, fund-raising, administration, etc. Everyone will be sad to see him go.
Special guests included from left, Corina Apostol of the Philippine Embassy, who thanked volunteers for their contributions to the community; Riel Andaluz of Save the Children, who spoke of the great needs of children in the Philippines; and Al Santoli of the Asia America Initiative, who sought assistance for containers of medical supplies going to the Philippiner in the very remote areas of the country.
APO captures the moment with Taguba and Cordero
1st row (l-r): Lulu Sipin, Vic De Leon (newly elected Pres), MajGen Tony Taguba, Scarlett De Leon, Ding Gomez
2nd row (l-r): Yoki Silverio, Rhadee Cayman, Santi Sipin, Benny Domingo, Soan Velasquez, Rudy Magsalin, Ernie Cordero, Rene Amon
PAFCer Bobby Tamayo trims the ham he baked with Nancy Ceniza of Bicol Assn. standing by to help serve eggs, tapa and daing. Rene Amon of APO smiles big as he takes his plate to the dining table.
The arrival of Reme Grefalda of Qbd, Inc. surprised and deligted everyone. Mitzi Pickard, chair of the Pasasalamat Event made sure everyone was fed well, including member of the PAFC Board, Bing Branigin.
From left, PAFC Chairman Ador Carreon, NAFFAA Rep Jon Melegrito, PAFC director /Gawad Kalinga PR Mya Talavera and Philippine Embassy Cultural guru Corina Apostle break bread together.
Friends from APO, left to right: Santi Sipin, Vic de Leon, Scarlett de Leon and Lulu Sipin were part of a group of ten APOlites that came. APO members have come to be a vital part of PAFC's programs.
Percy and Pepito Solis of Feed the Hungry sat with Bobby and Gloria Federigan and caught up while enjoying the food.
Lulu Alexander and Mencie Hairston of Mabuhay praised Ernie Cordero for being a model of volunteerism and an inspiration to all.
PAFC extended its thanks to the other volunteers who were unable to attend. The hope is to see them again next year in the spirit of camaraderie and bayanihan!
Meanwhile, a Happy Thanksgiving was extended to all!
Photos and text by Maurese Owens, PRO.