2017 Holiday revelries and community celebrations

2017 Holiday revelries and community celebrations

The advent of the holiday season has incessantly ushered in isochronous celebrated organizational events that more than added sparkle and dazzle to the already highly spirited universal occasion. For what good is the much-awaited season of the year without portentously observing it with utmost grandiosity and ostentatious fête?

My December calendar ran out of space to squeeze in to fit the copious integer of holiday events and mounting invitations that left me in an almost feeble predicament which affair to prioritize. Surely many supporters of the Filipino-American community organizations suffered the same.

So far, here’s a partial list of the multitude of events that enjoyed maximum social media exposure especially in Facebook.

“Give Hope, Give Love This Christmas,”  December 2 @ Perlas

First to unbolt and spread good cheers was Take The Stage’s 2nd annual fundraising event “Give Hope, Give Love This Christmas” on December 2 at Perlas Restaurant along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, New York. Initiated by siblings Hans and Shane Garcia with cousin Kiel Calonzo collectively of the teen band Take The Stage, the project was given rightful support by their equally compassionate parents Hannah Murphy, Sam Garcia, and Elmer Calonzo.

The all-volunteer gig attracted a huge number of guests with munificent hearts that filled the venue to the rafters. Ably performed by One 9 Six Band, Meet The Revels, Take The Stage, Gail Banawis, Rianne Avendula, Artemio John Tecson, Jerome Orillaza Robielos, Josh & Ally Acoustic, Ivan Polanco, Zaida Rio, and Excelsa De Jesus, the full-house fundraiser was hosted (and also performed) by Geo Ed Rebucas.

Additional funds were raised through an auction courtesy of  Blizzie Mangente Elevado and Jeanette Marco and effectually auctioneered by DJ Chinita.

Transparency and integrity best described the submitted financial report by the organizers that provided credence, built trust,  and further encouraged supporters to adhere to the organizer’s advocacy.

Proceeds of the successful benefit concert funded the youngters’ advocated mission Feed Hungry Minds in Barangay Malabnig and Barangay Mapako in Guinobatan, Albay in Bicol by way of distributing packed meals, school supplies, slippers, new and used clothing, and other basic commodities.

10th Red Poinsettia Grand Ball, December 3 @ Astoria World Manor In celebration of its 10th Year Anniversary, Red Poinsettia Charitable Foundation, Inc., Friends Indeed USA, Philippine Hearts and Hopes Society, Inc. (PHHOSO), and other Servecare Missioners Group, masterfully schemed, circumspectly executed, and lucratively commemorated this year’s Red Poinsettia Grand Ball at the Grand Ballroom of Astoria World Manor in Astoria, Queens, NY on Sunday, December 3.

Authoritatively spearheaded by Nena Kaufman Smith and Raymond Smith with able support and assistance from their associates and colleagues, net proceeds of the gala will fund the 2018 medical, surgical, dental, and humanitarian missions in the Philippines.

JCI-NY Icons Of Impact, December 3, 2017 @ Yale Club of NYC

The prestigious organization of young professionals that compose Junior Chamber International-NY Chapter has consistently attracted an impressive assemblage of fresh-minded and well-driven millennials who build its strong foundation with keen focus.

Held at the posh Yale Club (50 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, NY) the formal occasion was warmly welcomed by its 2017 Chapter President Alex Droganeau while President Carlos Cabrera presented the 2018 Chapter Board. The sumptuous dinner was made even splendidly opulent by a tandem  rendition of Dennis Sy and Jenn Cuneta.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were National Chaplain Kim Lanbert and Governor General Dennis Kramer while Ambassador Bel Molina did the presentation of Governorship.

Remarkable messages were delivered by JCI-NY Project Chair Ashley Lavilla, Guest Speaker Don Boyajian of the 21 Congressional District Candidate, and Vice-Consul Khrys Corpuz of the Philippine Consulate General, NY.

JCI-NY’s awards paid tribute to the exceptional achievements of revered figures and distinctive personalities who shared the evening’s highlight via a very notable ceremonious staging.

The “Young Icons of Impact” honorees were Christopher Okada for Achievement in Commercial Real Estate, and Yuh Line-Niou for Public Office, Representative in Legislation.

Potri Ranka Manis & Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage for “Advocacy in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Tradition,” and Jorge Ortoll for Excellence in Asian-American Theater, Arts Advancement & Children’s Welfare were proud recipients of Special Awards.

“Icons Of Impact” awardees were Dr. Alicia Almendral for Multi-Disciplinary Medical Practice & Innovative Entrepreneurship, and Dr. Ime Cruz-Banting for Medical Profession and Progeria Advocacy.

The “Distinguished Icon of Impact” titles were bestowed upon Paraluman “Lumen” Castaneda for Teachers Educational Mentorship & Public Service Leadership, and Dr. Laura Garcia for Clinical Mentorship and Leadership in Professional Nurse Advancement. Simbang Gabi Sa Konsulado, December 5 to 13, 2017 Filipino heritage and tradition were invigorated and refreshed during the annual celebration of the Simbang Gabi Sa Konsulado (originally a dawn mass or misa de gallo) at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Consulate capably spearheaded by Olive Magpile, Cultural Officer of the  Philippine Consular Office in New York.

The nine consecutive evening masses were jointly sponsored by different Fil-Am organizations throughout the tri-state area and capped with scrumptiously prepared Filipino native delicacies served at the Philippine Center lobby after the service.

St. Anne’s Parish Simbang Gabi (December 15 to 23, 2017)

An annual community Simbang Gabi (dawn mass) at St. Anne’s Parish Church (along 3545 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City) is ongoing and will last until December 23 with devotees and parishioners around the area actively participating.

Overall coordinator Jenny Castaneda assigned each day to a group who will be in-charge of the set-up, mass, and the salu-salo (a simple reception after the service) that closes with a Christmas Party.

PACCAL Christmas Party & Recognition Night, December 13, 2017 @ Eastern King Restaurant

After having served and thrown Christmas parties for seniors (Bayonne Senior Center, PACCAL Neighborhood Center, and Harborview Senior Housing), the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL) took time to enjoy the holidays for its own. Held at the newly opened Eastern King Restaurant (Route 440 corner Danforth Avenue, Jersey City, NJ  07305) the social gathering was attended by its officers, members, guest seniors, and prominent community leaders.

The evening’s merriment was highlighted with the awarding of “Certificate of Recognition” from the office of Assemblywoman Angela McKnight of the State of New Jersey and “Certificate of Appreciation” from PACCAL to deserving officers, members, and volunteers.48th GSFAA Anniversary, December 16, 2017 @ Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel

The Garden State Fil-Am Association’s “Making Spirits Bright” holiday celebration at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel last Saturday, December 16, was another rousingly successful event. Its President Francis Sison left no stone unturned to ensure a sensational affair.

And just when you thought the annual celebration was all about dining and dancing think again! As if one doesn’t know that when Francis Sison is the guy in the event’s totem pole, a fashion show showcasing Leonard Co’s collection won’t be far from happening.

Worn and displayed by community models and professional mannequins the fashion show was adroitly annotated by skillful show impresario Erno John Fernandez Hormillosa and ably emceed by Sonny Austria. The models were coiffed by Victor Palmos, Danica Yvanoff Julian, Irene Zapanta, and Verush Benitez while music was provided by Joji and Nonoy Rafael.

Last year’s titlists Leah Frain (Mrs, Garden State), Ramona S. Gapasin (Mrs. Hudson County), and Rebecca Samanyaphon (Mrs. Jersey City) effortlessly sashayed and glamorously treaded the ramp as they executed their farewell walk. Meanwhile, Medy Solero Hidalgo was crowned Ambassadress of Goodwill and  Sabrina Ramos was presented with Miss Teen GSFAA 2017.

A number of revered community leaders were exceptionally honored with distinctive awards and recognitions marking the association’s remarkable accomplishments.

Fiesta in America Christmas Treat, December 16, 2017 @ BB King

Swaying against the tempo of the traditional Christmas party, Fiesta in America’s big bosses Nanding Mendez and Dr. Laura Garcia booked their staff and friends to one of New York City’s most popular entertainment venues, BB King (237 West 42nd Street in Manhattan), and treated them to a hearty all-you-can-eat-brunch.

Featured performers that day were the best Beatles copycats…Strawberry Fields, the ultimate Beatles tribute band headlined by members of the original hit Broadway musical “Beatlemania” composed of Tony Garofalo (as John Lennon), Billy J. Ray (as Paul McCartney), John Kurba (as George Harrison), and Michael Belluci (as Ringo Starr).

The band’s two-set gig of fully loaded Beatles hits drove the audience wild and groovy from the up-beat music and sentimental reminiscence of the top billboard music of the 60s. Nostalgic that it was, “Love Me Do,” (the Mop Heads’ first ever single that topped the UK Chart in 1962) and a cut from the Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me,” surprisingly injected a baffling dose of dopamine to the whole audience that rose their adrenalin to uncontrollable height.

But the thrill didn’t just end there. Exciting prizes were raffled that generated ear-to-ear grins and beams among Fiesta in America members for nobody went home empty-handed. Strawberry Fields Beatles Brunch was a Holiday experience worth treasuring!

“Fight The Fight, Love is Cure,”  December 22, 2017 @ Manila To New York

Another fundraising concert is slated on Friday, December 22, at Manila To New York Steakhouse (89-08 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst, NY) with proceeds to benefit Childhaus, a temporary shelter for indigent patients from different provinces with cancer.

Performers who willingly obliged and donated their talents for a noble cause are: Jerome Robielos, Excelsa De Jesus, Ryan “The Latte Boy,” Pipay Pascual, Shaira Catabay, Kim Frias, Christine Morales, Eva Cantalejo, and Rocsan Mendoza. Guest bands include Brusko’s Sydney Guevarra, Wak’s Kosang Rick, Take The Stage, Meet The Revels, and NU 7.

December 28, 2017 @ 5:00 PM – UNIFFIED Christmas Party at Connoly’s in Maspeth, New York

For comment and suggestions please email to: gemini0646@yahoo.com.

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