Filipino American National Historical Society - FANHS PA receives Philadelphia’s First Filipino American History Month Resolutions and

presents FANHS PA Community Service Awards
Nearly 170 people joined in FANHS PA’s 5th Annual Filipino American History Month Celebration at Ocean City Restaurant in Philadelphia on October 26th, 2012. Highlights of the lively dinner-dance included FANHS PA Community Service Awards, cultural performances and a multimedia history presentation, as well as the first ever Filipino American History Month Resolutions from the City of Philadelphia. Councilman David Oh read the Filipino American History Month Resolution he had co-sponsored with Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez. Commissioner Rommel Rivera also read a Filipino American History Month Proclamation from the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs. While October as Filipino American History Month is a national observance (initiated by FANHS 20 years ago) with legislation passed by Senate and Congress, the City of Philadelphia’s Filipino American History Month Resolutions presented during FANHS PA’s celebration are believed to be the first in Pennsylvania.

FANHS PA founders Roger Hilario, Mary Faustino, Joan May Cordova, Marife Domingo, Eliseo Silva receive Proclamation from Dr. Rommel Rivera of the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs. Past FANHS National President Dr. Joan May Cordova and Councilman David Oh hold the Filipino American History Month Resolution from the City of Philadelphia.

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In light of the year-long celebration of “100 years of Filipino American Achievement in Greater Philadelphia,” FANHS PA presented Community Service Awards to eight local leaders. Speaking as both a FANHS PA founding member and past FANHS National President, Dr. Joan May Cordova announced: “As FANHS honors these eight leaders for their strong community service, we honor their families, their histories, and the communities and causes they represent.” She also described how each awardee would receive two books – Voices: A Filipino American Oral History (Stockton, CA: Filipino Oral History Project Inc.,1984 & 2000) documenting histories of West Coast Filipino immigrant farmworkers of the 1930s as well as Filipinos in Alaska: 1788-1958 (Anchorage, AK: 1996 & 2006) by the late Thelma Buchholdt, former FANHS National President and the first Filipina woman in U.S. history to be elected to a state legislature (http://thelmabuchholdt.com ).

Congrats to all FANHS PA Community Service Awardees! Pictured: FANHS PA Past Presidents Eliseo Silva and Kim Barroso, FAAPI President Dr. Rommel Rivera and FANHS PA Community Service Awardees Mary Faustino, Skip Voluntad, Virgie Olivar Luz, Amelia Belardo-Cox, Cyndi Gutierrez, Janet Ismael Escarcha, Noel Abejo, Lovella Calica with Dr. Joan May Cordova and Marife Domingo.

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FANHS PA Community Service Awardees for 2012 are writer/artist Lovella Calica, founder of Warrior Writers and the artist collective Tatlo Mestiz@s; Noel Abejo, former Commissioner, FECGP Vice President and founder past President and advisor for the Filipino American Community Athletic Association (FACAA); Janet Ismael Escarcha, a key volunteer for the Gleam of Hope Orphanage (http://gleamofhopeorphange.org ) in Haiti who “chooses to make a difference in my global community”; Cyndi Gutierrez serves such groups as Interpersonal Violence Against Asian Communities (IVAAC), Asian Pacific American Health Consortium, and recently worked for AIDS Services in Asian Communities (ASIAC); Amelia Belardo-Cox, a Consultant in Organization, Program and Resource Development established the Alma Belardo Arts Scholarship in memory of her sister, Alma, to fund Asian High School graduates pursuing an education in the arts; Virgie Olivar Luz, Founding President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association PA Chapter and founder of the Mutya Philippine Dance Company; Mary Faustino, a former assistant for Senator Rick Santorum, served as Co-Chair and Treasurer of the National Pan Asian Business Conference and is past President and treasurer of the Asian American Women’s Coalition (AAWC); and Skip Voluntad, partner in New Populations, Inc., is former chair of the Mayor’s Commission of Asian American Affairs and the first Asian serving both the Council on Aging and AARP’s Volunteer Executive Council for Pennsylvania.

Skip Voluntad with Eliseo Silva

Eliseo Art Silva, artist/author and FANHS PA Founding President gave a multimedia presentation on Filipino American History and signed his book, Filipinos of Greater Philadelphia, recently published by Arcadia Press.

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FISDU emcees announce PCSNJ President Senen Fontanilla’s winning raffle ticket (left) after14 year-old Kirby Asunto entertains the crowd (right).

Perfecto Galido and Kent Jimenez, leaders of the Filipino Intercultural Society of Drexel University (FISDU), emceed the event and highlighted entertainment by award winning vocalist Kirby Assunto, performances by Philippine Folk Arts Society, Inc’s (PFASI) Rondalla, cultural and modern dances by FISDU and the Zumba Dancers and Pure Ener-J Dancers - both of the Philippine Community of Southern New Jersey (PCSNJ). Music was by DJ Pure-J – Jerry Ancheta.

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Display of historic photos created by the Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. (FAAPI) for its 2012 Centennial Celebration. FANHS PA is an active FAAPI Centennial Partner.

FANHS PA thanks all who’ve supported its work through the years and for the 2012 event: Don Pak Law Firm; Senen Fontanilla, Mary Faustino and Amelia Belardo-Cox for hosting tables and/or sponsoring students; and all donors and volunteers. Organizations represented at FANHS PA's celebration included: Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia, Asian Americans United, Philippine Community of Southern New Jersey, Inc., Filipino Intercultural Society of Drexel U, Asian American Women's Coalition, Philippine Folk Arts Society, Inc., Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Inc., Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp., Asian Chamber of Commerce, Filipino American Athletic Association, Mutya Philippine Dance Troupe, and others. FANHS leaders from throughout the United States reviewed awardees’ bios, sent greetings and joined us in spirit. Tweets, email, and Facebook messages came from FANHS Metro New York, FANHS Alaska, FANHS Hampton Roads (VA), FANHS Michigan, FANHS Chapters in California and others. For more information on FANHS, please see http://fanhsis25.blogspot.com You’ll find links to the FANHS PA program and additional photos by Philip Reyes, event photographer.