FACCGLA celebrates trailblazing success at sold-out M.E.T. Gala

Front row (L-R) Kathy Current, Connie Mapue, Celeste Rose Monderin, Ruth Canlobo, Carlotta Sarenas, Jocip Sarmiento, Lois Klavir, Lioness Ebbay, Roselyn Arciaga and Luisa Ramos. Back Row (L-R) Henry Chen, Fidji Victoriano and Ron Ramores. Missing in photo Redy Babasa Thompson.

The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Greater Los Angeles (FACCGLA) successfully hosted its Modern Entrepreneurs and Trailblazers (M.E.T.) Gala at Cicada Restaurant and Lounge, marking a significant event for the community with a full house. This gathering spotlighted the achievements and future potentials within the Filipino American business sector, emphasizing support through the Entrepreneurs Empowerment Program.

The attendees of the FACCGLA M.E.T Gala at the Cicada Restaurant and Lounge

The event began with a red-carpet reception, welcoming VIPs such as the event’s keynote speaker Jessica Caloza – California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s Special Advisor, Eric Elnar (Department of Trade and Industry), Commissioner Susana Reyes, Consul Maynard Maleon (Department of Foreign Affairs), representatives from the offices of Senator Caroline Menjivar and Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, Gerry Palon (COFACC), Cora Oriel (Asian Journal), Trini Foliente (FACLA), and Faith Bautista (National Diversity Coalition). Representatives from different Filipino American Chamber of Commerce were also in attendance to show support and solidarity; Maria Cecilia Aluning (FACC-SLAA), Merwynn Montenegro (FACC- Tri County), Joseph Joseph (FACCOC) and Neil Estrada (FILAM).

Keynote speaker Jessica Caloza – California Attorney Rob Bonta’s Special Advisor being welcomed by FACCGLA President Jocip Sarmiento, Vice President Ruth Canlobo and Board Member, Ron Ramores

Guests were treated with curated swag bags and engaged in activities like silent auctions and power networking. The program, led by Annie Nepomuceno of Music Arts International, featured performances by Magnificent Moment Samba dancers.

FACCGLA Executive Officers 2024-2025 from left to right: Connie Mapue – Secretary, Celeste Rose Monderin – Vice President, Lois Klavir – Immediate Past President, Jocip Sarmiento – President, Ruth Canlobo – Vice President, Carlotta Sarenas – Vice President and Henry Chen – Treasurer

Commissioner Susana Reyes conducted the induction of FACCGLA’s new officers and board for 2024: President Jocip Sarmiento, Immediate Past President Lois Klavir, Vice Presidents Celeste Rose Monderin, Ruth Canlobo, Carlotta Sarenas, Secretary Connie Mapue, Treasurer Henry Chen, and board members Roselyn Arciaga, Kathy Current, Lioness Ebbay, Ron Ramores, Fidji Victoriano, Luisa Ramos, and Redy Babasa Thompson. Ambassadors Jennifer Martinez, Aldhea Intia, Jennifer Baluyot, Mercy Alpert, Gemma Bergstrom, Diana Lua, Carmela De Castro, and Yecenia Cardenas were also recognized.

FACCGLA Ambassadors from left to right: Diana Lua, Jennifer Baluyot, Aldhea Intia, Gemma Bergstrom, Mercy Alpert, Yecenia Cardenas and Jennifer Martinez. Not in photo: Carmela de Castro

Henry Chen was honored with the Outstanding Service Award. Awards were also given to industry leaders: Diana Lua (Food and Hospitality), Celeste Rose Monderin (Marketing and Technology), Van Dichoso (Finance), JR Canlobo (Legal Services), and Commissioner Susana Reyes (Community Service).

Major Sponsors Chase for Business Bank, Island Pacific Supermarket, River Rocks Film., House R’ Us, JRC Law, California State University Northridge, and Bookkeepers R Us were acknowledged for their support, together with other event supporters, donors, and sponsors.

Immediate Past President Lois Klavir handing the FACCGLA gavel of leadership to the new president Jocip Sarmiento

Reflecting on the night, FACCGLA President Jocip Sarmiento expressed “Driven by our shared vision, we’re set to elevate Filipino-American businesses to new successes. Forward, together.”

The event closed on a high note with attendees dancing to live music by Sweet Harmony Band, celebrating a night of unity and progress. The M.E.T. Gala not only honored the accomplishments within the Filipino American business community but also strengthened the commitment to supporting emerging entrepreneurs through FACCGLA’s initiatives.

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