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Do not underestimate what “driven” can do. Yes, that was Filamcco’s posture with its triumph of Kalayaan on July 15, 2023, having earned a huge place in the esteem of over 2000 revelers. To top it, we broke the attendance ever recorded in the Southfield Pavilion facility’s history. Certainly, this was not without the gigantic labor of love from the lead organizers, committees, and volunteers of Filamcco. The Pavilion’s management commended us for our great organizational skills in putting together such a huge event. And most of all, they were impressed by our warm sense of hospitality.
From start to finish, there was fun, excitement, and reverie to exhibit. Festivities commenced with the traditional parade led by the organization’s current and past presidents, invited government officials, special guests, pageant beauties, and participated by member organizations. The opening ceremonies started with greetings by President Ryan Rosario, followed by the welcome address of Southfield Mayor Dr. Kenson Siver who graciously welcomed us to the city of Southfield and pledged community engagement relationship with us Filipinos with a promise of support for our PACCM Cultural Center. Also featured were several other government officials and special guests.
The action-packed programs divided into 3 segments provided entertainment in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The performances were a variety of songs, dances, musical instrument renditions, martial arts demonstrations, a fashion walk a new band for public dancing, karaoke singing, costume play, and a gaming center. Collaborative participation from ethnic communities in the cultural show added pleasure to the audience’s delight. An additional thrill that amazed the viewing public was the special dance feature from 2 pairs of acclaimed Filipino dancers, the newest couple of which had a gentleman dancing from his wheelchair. The couple are 2-time World Champion of the IPC International Paralympic Championship,
Sponsorship was great and a wide gamut of vendors was phenomenal. Businesses are promising comeback and so are all those new faces and groups teaming up with us for the first time.
Kalayaan will surely come back with an even greater intensity next year and beyond. What a remarkable feat deserving of a standing ovation for all pleasure seekers. It’s history now but for years to come, the premiere of Kalayaan at the Southfield Pavilion will be the summer of 2023 to remember!
Highlights of the Kalayaan 2023 celebration:
The US Senate passed S. Res. 298 on October 1, 2009 and signed by the President recognizing October as Filipino American History Month. The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Michigan made it a tradition to commemorate this special month to show our heritage, culture, tradition, and contributions to the US.
On October 28, 2023, NaFFAA-MI will have an event with the theme “A Century of Enduring Friendship: The Flourishing Filipino American Bond.” Highlighting the event is the selection the Ms. Senior Philippines of Michigan. This serves as fundraising earmarked for the new PACCM Building Fund vis-a-vis our Paaralang Pilipino school. This shows the embodiment of the “Bayanihan” spirit for our Filipino community.
We have five remarkable senior candidates. These Filipina women have reached the age of elegance, ready to have fun, and show their talents, and accomplishments to embark on an amazing adventure to have influence by helping the community.
Ms. Adelina Navarre was born in Rosario Northern Sama. She graduated from the College of de la Purisima Concepcion, Roxas City, Capiz. Currently, she works at Henry Ford Health System and engages in the National Kidney Foundation. Her numerous community involvement is a symbol of hope, resilience, compassion.
Ms. Josie Sanders hails from Bicol Region, Donsol, Sorsogon. She is a mother of two and blessed with four amazing grandchildren. A lady of many talents includes being a designer decorator, event planner, community organizer. She is active in various Filipino and Asian Organizations.
Ms. Ofelia Lopez Solarte, RN BSN, is a graduate of Arellano University.
A native of Iloilo City, Philippines She has two sons and four beautiful grandchildren. She is active in the community and belongs to numerous Filipino organizations, a Eucharistic Minister and Offertory Usher at St. Fabian Church, Farmington Hills. She loves hula dancing and karaoke singing.
Ms. Nenita Tio has two professional daughters and two grandsons. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Mindanao State University in Iligan City. Currently, she is the President of a family group in Sandusky, Michigan. Her children encouraged her to join as they felt it is the time for their mom to do something for herself.
Ms. Lee Liwayway Vargas is from Virac, Catanduanes. She finished her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education at the University of the Philippines. She is continually active in the Filipino community. Her most important ministry is to help Filipinos and their families adjust, succeed, and live the American dream.
Good luck Ms. Senior candidates. We honor your commitment. Go forth to shine and soar!
To our Filipino American friends, let’s celebrate these women on October 28, 2023, 6 pm – 12 MN at LARSA Palace Banquet Facility, Warren, MI. See you there!
At the heart of Michigan’s vibrant Filipino-American community, a distinctive transformation is underway. Filipino-American Community Council of Michigan (FILAMCCO) and the Philippine American Community Center of Michigan (PACCM), both are giving life to an event that is all about that beautiful bayanihan spirit– a tradition deeply woven into the fabric of Filipino culture.
Central to this venture is a mission that resonates profoundly: the convergence of diverse community groups under a banner of harmony and cooperation. Forging enduring connections through collective action means combining resources, time, and endeavors to nurture the new PACCM location.
The Essence of Bayanihan:
Based on Filipino heritage, bayanihan describes a spirit of collaboration and unity within a community. The custom traces back to a long-standing custom of neighbors joining forces to move home together. The significance of FILAMCCO’s Bayanihan Day demonstrates the potency of this concept of unity.
As a platform for community members to unite, share stories, and make lasting memories, Bayanihan Day transcends mere event status. Interaction and companionship foster a sense of belonging among participants in this inclusive environment. A chance to forge new bonds, strengthen existing ones, and celebrate the shared heritage of the community.
It is hoped that the initial 100 volunteers will rally to shape the community’s trajectory for generations to come. Volunteers can offer their time, expertise, and support, and each proudly wears the iconic Bayanihan t-shirt.
An Inclusive Invitation:
The invitation extends to all who aspire to make a meaningful contribution. A broad call to the community members, friends, families, and neighboring communities to unite in support of a profound cause.
The journey leading to Bayanihan Day is marked by determined dedication. Week after week, volunteers from different organizations roll up their sleeves, dedicating their time and energy to ensure the seamless execution of the event. Their collaborative spirit is a testament to the transformative power of collective endeavor.
Celebrating the Trailblazing Volunteers:
The foundation of every significant achievement is built upon the dedication and combined efforts of those who stepped forward at the outset. A sincere round of applause reflects in credit of the steadfast faithfulness shown by the founding volunteers, whose determined will has charted the course for the journey toward the success of Bayanihan Day.
Leadership in Motion:
The key figures’ leadership rings out with resonance. FILAMCCO’s President and PACCM Vice President, Ryan Rosario, infuses the teamwork with purpose, driving the project to greater heights.
Standing alongside, PACCM President Rebecca Tungol’s dedication to community-building lights a path of shared growth, encouraging the embrace of togetherness.
Meanwhile, PACCM Executive Director Tony Kho produces the effort, ensuring alignment with PACCM’s vision. His tireless commitment demonstrates the transformative fuel of collective endeavor.
Together, these leaders compose a unified ensemble, setting the rhythm for a journey resonating with harmony, community, and endless potential.
Join the Journey
Extending a warm invitation to volunteers, we invite you to join this transformative journey. Whether committing time, skills, or support, each contribution weaves an essential thread into our collective tapestry.
Furthermore, the spirit of generosity encompasses donations. Whether in the form of tangible items or financial aid, your donations are wholeheartedly received. From food donations to financial support, each gesture plays a vital role in ensuring the success of our shared effort.
Together, as volunteers and donors, we pave the way for unity and community growth, leaving an enduring impact that stretches far beyond the event itself.
Location: 23800 Lahser Rd. Southfield, MI 48033
To register, visit https://filamccomichigan.org/bayanihan-day/
Beyond the Event:
However, this journey extends beyond a single day. The faithfulness of our communities has poured into regular cleaning and upkeep efforts mirroring their commitment to PACCM’s new location. It is an investment in a space where the Filipino-American community can flourish and thrive together.
Strengthening the Collective:
At its core, the spirit of Bayanihan displays tireless faith in collaborative well-being. It’s a feeling that transcends individuals, accentuating the importance of sharing strengths, abilities, and knowledge for the collective’s betterment. Especially in challenging times, this approach is not just tradition; it changes into a paramount and binding necessity.
As the suspense builds for Bayanihan Day on September 9, 2023, at the new PACCM location, the theme “Bayanihan Together: Building Unity, Building Community” articulately encapsulates a timeless value. Just as societies historically united to lift and relocate structures, this event represents the metaphorical construction of unity and community bonds that will withstand the tests of time.
Not too long ago, I made this appeal but may have only reached a limited population segment of our Filipino community so I’m attempting a second opportunity to republish it in the hope it could reach additional readers, backers, and supporters.
We did it once, we can do it again. In 2001, PACCM realized its dream to have its own dwelling. Twenty-two years later, its needs had grown to necessitate another move to a new home. Once again, we found a new and bigger abode, But with it comes the challenge of financing structural repairs. In a move to foster financial resources, PACCM is making an appeal to FILAMCCO member organizations, families, groups, and anyone who can help raise money for these needed repairs.
In past months, donations have started to pour in but we’re still a long way to reach our financial goal. It’s only with everybody’s help we can do it. Some individuals have sent or pledged their donations. A few organizations have given theirs at the PACCM Spring Ball in April and a few more at the FILAMCCO Kalayaan celebration in July. Thank you so much for these generous initiatives. Yet, we still have a long stretch to get where we need to.
This is the primary reason why I’m writing this appeal on behalf of PACCM to request more organizations and individuals jump on the bandwagon to make it an all-hands-on-deck enterprise. A few thoughts come to mind regarding ways this can be done and we certainly welcome other ideas you may have. Please feel free to share them by reaching out to us. Meanwhile here are sample ways it can be done to the bare minimum:
With everyone’s help, we can mobilize the community toward the reality of occupying a newly renovated building. With our Filipino’s strong sense of community, we have solid trust this appeal will not land on deaf ears.
Let’s pledge to help PACCM serve our growing needs, Thank you all for your selfless stance and public spirit.
Greetings! I am John Ko – the past president of the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET-Michigan), a previous FILAMCCO Board Member, and currently the Vice-President of Michigan Circulo Pampangueno. Last month, I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer with the John Paul 2 Project at a summer camp for Ukrainian refugee children in Krakow, Poland. The camp was an immersive opportunity for the children to learn English and grow in the Catholic Faith.
Prior to traveling to Krakow, I appealed to family and friends, including the Filipino community, for prayers and support for this project. I truly felt the prayers and encouragement of the community and I was able to fundraise $5,818.32 for the Project! Our team of 18 young adults across America raised a total of $58,978.97, exceeding our goal of $50,000!
Our team hit the ground running and began planning for the camp as soon as we all arrived at the beautiful John Paul 2 Center. We spent the first few days planning activities, games, English lessons, music lessons, and Faith formation discussions for all 94 campers. The campers ranged in age from 3-13 years old and we wanted to make sure each age group did activities that were appropriate, engaging, and fun. The camp also included a hike on Saturday and a family day on Sunday, where the families could gather for a picnic after celebrating Mass together. Some of the other activities included paper mâché volcanos, bracelet making, jar painting, soccer, tug of war, and a relay race. The campers also learned worship songs and memorized Bible verses in English, and our team of volunteers led Formation discussions on the topics of virtues such as justice, faith, respect and kindness, hope, and mercy. For me, one of the highlights of the camp was interacting with a few of the parents and listening to their strong testimonies of courage. Another memorable moment was the Marian procession around the center praying the rosary together and sharing with some of the campers how to pray the rosary. Through our charitable efforts, we were able to provide the children a place to enjoy each other’s company and encounter God’s love.
Our team attended daily mass together, shared meals together, prayed together, and encouraged one another. We also prayed for the intentions of all the donors and our families in our morning offerings. We were rooted in and filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit during the camp. I recall an inspiring homily and reflection from one of the wonderful priests on a verse from the Gospel of Matthew 5:47 “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles”. As much as the camp was successful for the children, the experience was effective on my own faith journey.
The end of camp allowed time for the volunteers to explore Poland. I made several visits to the Divine Mercy Shrine and prayed the Chaplet during the 3 o’clock hour in front of St. Faustina’s relics. I was also able to visit many other beautiful shrines and churches – many of which St. Pope John Paul 2 prayed at! The center also had a museum that featured stories of JP2’s childhood and priestly journey.
My trip to Poland was filled with many graces, which I am still encountering even after its conclusion. I am grateful to the community for your prayers and generosity. Let’s continue to pray for each other! Please continue to pray particularly for the families affected by the war and all the other volunteers who continue to offer themselves in service.
Recently, our fellow Filipino athletes have been recognized locally and internationally.
When you talk about outstanding Filipinos in the sports arena, you immediately think of Manny Pacquaio. Rightly so because Manny is probably the most decorated boxer in the world, having won 12 major world titles in 8 different weight divisions. He is the first boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions – flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.
Lately, many Filipino athletes have gained international recognition. At the 2020 Olympics, Hidilyn Diaz won gold in weightlifting, holding two Olympic records and ending the country’s 97-year Olympic gold medal drought. Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, Filipino pole vaulter won gold at the 2023 Berger Challenge in Norway and the 2023Asian Athletics Championship in Thailand, is currently ranked number two in the world, holds the Asian pole-vaulting record, and has secured his spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics). Carlos Yulo, an artistic gymnast is the first male Southeast Asian gymnast to win gold at the World Artistic Gymnastic Championship. Filipinos are also gaining recognition in areas like tennis and golf.
The Philippines is recognized internationally in music and performing arts and for winning beauty pageants. Can this be the start of similar success in sports? What does it take to get there? What does it take to be a world champion?
Filipinos have been avid sports fans, especially in basketball and boxing (where height is not a big factor in winning). I have noticed that instead of just being observers, more Filipinos are becoming participants. Could it be that people are starting to realize the importance of being physically fit? When I visit the Philippines, I see people doing Zumba everywhere, working out in gyms, biking, hiking, or even mountain climbing. Sports is not just in schools anymore, but it is becoming a part of daily living. I have also noticed the increasing popularity of team sports in new areas like softball and soccer. The Philippine softball and baseball junior league teams have won World Series championships.
I have always felt that Filipinos have not achieved as much success in sports because it takes financial resources for proper training. This is where support is needed from the government and sports associations. However, this is changing, and the government, sports associations, and even private corporations have given due recognition and rewards to outstanding athletes. After Hidilyn Diaz won Olympic gold, it is reported that she received P50.5 million pesos in cash pledges and other gifts that included 4 houses, 2 vehicles, free flights, and food for life. If this does not motivate young people to achieve success in sports, I don’t know what will. If I were starting again, I know I would give it very serious consideration.
So what does it take to be a world champion? Of course, one must have the natural ability, talent, and passion. As in other areas, it also requires personal dedication, hard work, and discipline, proper training, and support. Training must start at a very early age, and this is where family support becomes very important.
Case in point right here in Michigan – Jace Mendoza of Ann Arbor, the eleven-year-old grandson of good friends, is on track to be a world inline speed skating champion. Jace has dominated his age group in state, regional, and national inline skating competitions, winning more than 60 gold medals. This would not be possible without the support of his parents Jeff Mendoza, a registered nurse, and Zen Johnson-Mendoza, a physician. As a member of the Wolverine Sports Club – Speed Skating, Jace has weekly training and practice and participates in more than a dozen competitions every year at the state, regional, and national levels. All these activities require sacrifices from his family. Because of his outstanding achievements and high potential, Jace has been offered a sponsorship from Fierce USA Inline Racing Frames, which provides his uniforms and equipment and pays his registration expenses at competitions.
Outstanding achievements in sports require tremendous effort and support. Not just the individual but the community. When one of our own attains international recognition, it gives pride to the whole nation.
Check out the links below:
Hawaii is an archipelago of eight major islands, atolls, and smaller islets. Out of eight, the island of Maui is the second biggest. Strong winds and draught conditions can render any place highly vulnerable to destruction in different forms. It can topple electrical poles and can lead to inferno. As of August 27, 2023, approximately 115 people were killed and more than a thousand are missing according to news reports. A disaster of this incomparable proportions leads to a desperate race to escape and survive.
Victims of misery, devastation, the incomparable destitute feeling of helplessness, and insecurity without shelter, food, and water are an incomprehensible predicament and unpredictable. The forces of nature indeed are uncontrollable, but the Strength of the Human Spirit Lives on if we are willing to support each other in times like this! The Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO) in Michigan is asking for your kindness extended to the victims of the Maui fire.
Fires can lead to unsafe water advisories. For health reasons, residents of Lahaina and Upper Kula are asked to use only bottled water which they can pick up at several designated centers assigned by their respective disaster management team.
Dealing with the uncontrollable conflagration in the first few days, it started on August 8, 2023, rampaged the island of Maui destroying the historical town of Lahaina and Upper Kula. Lahaina was the former capital of the Hawaiian island monarchy for 25 years in the 19th century before it was moved to Honolulu. The town of Lahaina is also known for its cultural and historical significance, the banyan tree planted in 1873 is the largest tree, and also of whaling and presence of religious missionaries. It was also a company town for sugar cane plantations. In the early years, many Filipinos were recruited to work in sugar cane plantations.
Lahaina means “merciless sun.” Sometimes around 1794, King Kamehameha the Great conquered Maui and later named Lahaina the capital. The presence of chiefs, kings, queens, whaling ship captains, and whaling port, made Lahaina a rich commercial center. It remained until King Kamehameha III moved the capital to Honolulu in 1840. Honolulu is in the island of Oahu, the third largest island.
Hawaii became a state of the United States of America (USA) in 1959 where Christian missionaries settled in Lahaina for faith conversion and education. To date, approximately 1,800 Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) customers in Lahaina and about 50 in Upper Kula are without power. There are several fundraisings going on in the Filipino Community right now, but this one is special coming from us the FILAMCCO organization.
Although government agency like FEMA and private organizations extend their helping hand, the assistance coming from us the Filipino American community is a show of compassion and caring culturally imbedded in our upbringing, unique with an element of kindness and humanitarian concern for our fellows in need. There is only one life to live, fragile in nature.
Any amount you can share will be much appreciated. This is a reflection of our sensitivity to human unfortunate predicaments unforeseen, and an excellent show of compassion and caring for the Filipinos and the Filipino-American Community in Michigan. Thank you very much for your kindness and caring.
“The will to live seldom returned”, according to Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning. So, fellow citizens, let us give an opportunity for the helpless and destitute to start a beginning of a new life after a scary misfortune.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer once said: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
The Filipino American National Historical Society-Michigan (FANHS-MI), a FILAMCCO member, recently received guidance from its national leadership on the annual nationwide celebration of Filipino American History Month this October 2023. FANHS National is recommending as a theme the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Spanish-American War, a very brief but extremely consequential war that ended in December 1898 with the purchase of the Philippines by the US from Spain under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, a major leader in the Philippine revolution against Spain, attempted to scuttle the signing of the treaty by declaring Philippine independence on June 12, 1898. Rebuffed, Aguinaldo led the Filipinos into war against the US. The capture of Gen. Aguinaldo and the eventual end of the Philippine-American War about a decade later did not prevent the persistent clamor for sovereignty by the Filipinos. On July 4, 1946, the U.S. formally recognized Philippine independence.
Since 1898, the effects of a half-century of U.S. hegemony have punctuated Filipino life and culture whether in the Philippines or in the U.S. Arguably, there have been benefits to the colonial relationship including English, a widely spoken language, political tutelage in the democratic system, and facilitated immigration to the US. The latter enabled access to Western education, employment, and often, an upgraded quality of life.
Early Filipino-American history carries stories of struggle, hardship, and discrimination. But heroism has also become a hallmark of Filipino immigrant history, particularly in the face of social and economic injustice. For early Filipino Americans, US citizenship implied not only a fuller immersion in American culture but also a discerning embrace of American history and values. Today, issues of economic and social justice compete with ideas that underscore serious cultural and ideological rifts among Americans. On this anniversary, FANHS suggests conversations among Filipino Americans about what it means to be a Filipino American as well as a U.S. citizen. Where would Filipino Americans stand on issues such as critical race theory, immigration vs. invasion, gerrymandering, abortion, vaccination, and LGBT rights? Would FILAMCCO and other Filipino-American organizations make space and time to help narrow these rifts?
I have had the blessing of watching and following two generations of Filipino Americans, some of them former students from my days as a teacher at Paaralang Pilipino. I’ve seen them grow, raise families, and make career choices. I’ve wondered if their choices were ever made out of their sense of being Filipino American and if they considered their personal goals as benefitting their community as well as the country. I’ve also seen a few of them choosing non-traditional careers, imbibing the entrepreneurial and adventurous American spirit. Someday, I hope to see Filipino-American trailblazers in digital technology, space, and marine sciences, climate change management, and global food security, to name a few. But mostly, I am heartened by listening to young Filipino Americans at the forefront of the fight for human and civil rights, determined to create a more just society everywhere. I hope we grow more of them and sooner.
A set of fresh blood to comprise the new roster of officers had recently come to view at the summer elections of Circulo Pampangueno. While many organizations have been struggling to get young recruits over the past 5-10 years, Circulo is fortunate to roll out the carpet to budding prospects among whom are Theresa Carbonell, the new president, John Kho (past President of PAMET) as President-Elect and Julie Rosario, Vice-President. If these are the signs of good times, we hope it will continue to keep this trend for other organizations to follow suit. Encouraging signs like this are the revitalizing force in looking for more young blood in future community leadership.
Outgoing President Alex Sitchon announced the organization’s 38th Anniversary and Inaugural Ball event on October 21, 2023, at the Larsa Banquet Hall (Formerly Royalty House) in Warren. He adds this gala is our major fundraising endeavor to continue the group’s charitable projects here in Michigan as well as in the Philippines. We are also proud of our annual support to PACCM over the years and pledge to continue support as long as we are able to.
Circulo reached its highest level of humanitarian involvement in the early 90s when it spearheaded the relief efforts for the victims of Mount Pinatubo which claimed the lives of hundreds of victims leaving many homeless and destitute. Thereafter, like most organizations, it continues to undertake many other charitable projects to help ease the hardships of fellow kababayan in the Pampanga region.
Every December 30 of each year, Filipinos worldwide celebrate the life and works of Dr. Jose Rizal. The day is a celebration of a variety of commemorative events, including parades and flag-raising ceremonies. In Michigan, the FILAMCCO will celebrate Rizal’s Day on December 16, 2023, Saturday at 6:00 pm at the Royalty House located in Warren. The theme for this year is Pag-ibig sa Bayang Sinilangan or Love for the Country of Birth. FILAMCCO President Ryan Rosario encouraged everyone to reserve the ticket early for the Rizal’s Day sold-out event. Early reservations for VIP tables, corporate sponsorship, or business ads for the souvenir program are now accepted including the entertainment presentation. This year FILAMCCO Rizal’s Day will be chaired by Tess Porcalla and Co-Chair by Ruthy Rush.