Carson welcomes Nueva Ecija vice mayor

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Two Fil-Am youths honored for craft excellence

CARSON, Calif.— The top city officials in Carson welcomed a key local government official from Nueva Ecija on Monday, Sept. 29, while honoring two other Fil-Am youths for excellence in their respective fields.

Carson City Mayor Jim Dear and Mayor Pro Tem Elito Santarina gave a warm welcome to Hon. Ferdinand P. Bote, vice mayor of Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. According to Vice Mayor Bote, he is in town to learn more about the city’s form of government and to observe how the council conducts its daily business, as well as to adopt the waste management techniques that the city implements. Bote said that his goal is to bring home to Gen. Tinio all the things he will have learned from his US trip.

The vice mayor in the Philippines is similar to the position of mayor pro tempore here in California.

“Number one, ang nagiging problema na sa atin ay yung basurahan (the biggest problem at home is garbage disposal),” Bote said.

The vice mayor said that he had seen how waste disposal crews collect trash in Carson, but he hasn’t been able to see how things go at the garbage dumpsites, which he intends to see for himself soon. However, Bote noted that one stark difference between Carson and the Philippines. In the Southeast Asian country, there is a law that requires people to pre-segregate their trash before the waste crews collect them. In Carson, Bote said that it was not initially clear to him if the residents do sort their trash prior to disposal.

Bote also said that he is looking forward to sitting down with Mayor Dear to talk in greater detail about the Carson City Council and how it works as a unit. In the Philippines, the vice mayor presides over the city council meetings; in Carson, the mayor pro tem is only a member of the council, while the city mayor presides over the meetings. Bote said that he looks forward to exchanging ideas about public service with Santarina.

“Natutuwa ako at napaka-init talaga ng kanilang pag-tanggap sa amin dito. Nakita ko kung gaano sila kabait, at very much welcome ang kanilang pag-tanggap sa amin (I am happy that they gave our group a very warm welcome. I saw how gracious they are, with how warmly they have welcomed us here),” Bote said.

During an intimate gathering at the Carson City Hall, Dear and Santarina presented Bote with a certificate to express the city’s appreciation for the vice mayor. Santarina, however, was not able to stay for long due to prior commitments, but nevertheless expressed his delight in welcoming his kababayan.

“Having the vice mayor, Ferdie, visit us is really terrific,” Dear said, “It’s really good that he was able to come here. Cities can always learn from one another. I can learn about what goes on in his town, he can learn about what goes on in our town, as far as not just waste systems, but our form of government, our electoral system, and so forth.”

Fil-Am youths honored

Aside from Vice Mayor Bote, two other Filipinos were recognized by Dear and Santarina on Monday.

Singer Sean Collado and interior design scholar Diana Gonong were also recognized for their exemplary work in their respective fields.

Collado is a professional singer and actor who had recently returned to California from a trip to the Philippines, where he had released his self-titled album under Viva Records. The album consists of five songs, comprised of a few covers and a couple original pieces by renowned Filipino songwriter Vehnee Saturno; and five bonus minus-one tracks of the songs.

One More Try  has been nominated to the 2014 AWIT Awards for Best Performance by a New Male Recording Artist.

In California, Collado is a professional singer who performs for various events and private functions. Collado describes his music as a middle ground between Michael Bublé and Josh Groban. Collado said that it’s an “honor and a great pleasure” to be honored by the city.

Gonong is an interior design senior at Otis College of Design and Arts in LA. She recently won a $30,000 scholarship under the Angelo Dongha Foundation’s 2014 Student Scholarship Program in Interior Design. The Foundation’s scholarship grants are given to deserving students who are entering their senior year in interior design. This year, the 12 winners were selected from a pool of 68 students nationwide, who were endorsed by their respective schools.

Gonong, and her fellow applicant from Otis were both selected to win the scholarship. Gonong’s winning entry to the program, the Chopping Block, is a proposed renovation of the former Santa Fe Freight Depot building in Downtown LA into culinary community lofts. The Chopping Block includes private living units for aspiring professional chefs, a roof-top organic farm and a shared demonstration kitchen located in the center of the building.

During a previous interview with Asian Journal, Gonong said that she was ecstatic when she got word that she won the scholarship. Her parents were effusively happy about it. On top of previous scholarships that she had received, the grant from the Dongha Foundation would defray most of the costs for her senior year at Otis.

Gonong said that “it feels great” to have her accomplishments recognized by the city council.

“Sean and Diana are good examples for other Filipinos. They’re role models for young men and women that want to achieve and be successful in life,” Mayor Dear said of Collado and Gonong.

Previously, Gonong had also been recognized by the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles for her achievements.

“Diana’s achievement is truly amazing and elevates yet again the respect for young Filipino-Americans who are making their mark in their chosen field of interest or specialization,” Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim said in a statement sent to Asian Journal.

Gonong’s achievement may also serve as inspiration to young Filipinos in LA.

Gonong could impart the value of hard work and dedication to her fellow Fil-Am youths. For six months, she worked non-stop on her project, including nearly round-the-clock shifts in school, where she ended up staying in late most of the time.

“I’m glad I did it. I feel like I’ve done something right,” Gonong said.

(LA Midweek October 1-3, 2014 Sec. A pg.5)

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