By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – More than a hundred community organizations in the East Coast warmly welcomed Consul General Maria Theresa Dizon De Vega on Sunday at the Sheraton East International Hotel in Flushing, which the petite-but-formidable lady had later remarked as overwhelming.
Event organizer Juliet Payabyab earlier told OSM! that the turn-out in attendance was unexpected. “I booked only for about 150 guests. Wow, we reached about 300. Very exciting and loving welcome to our new ConGen.” Payabyab and Luis Pedron, creator of the International Film Fest Manhattan, hosted the program which was a mix of short speeches and performances of local artists.
In her acceptance speech, de Vega said that she may be providentially back in New York “for some unfinished business.” She was happy at how the communities in the East Coast have grown since the time she left the Consulate as Deputy Consul General in 2011 and worked at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila then under Sec. del Rosario.
“I would like to call ourselves a family. Some would call us a team. But I would like to call us a family. I would like to reach out to the unorganized members of the community and tell them we are here and how we can be of support,” she told enthusiastic well-wishers.
Broadway actor Miguel Braganza and Suzanne Lansangan-Sabangan of the Sounds of Manila rendered songs that further energized the Filipinos who greeted each one with more than a thousand laughs and selfies.
Jeanette Marco of the upcoming online TV Get Reel appropriately took a “mob scene” of the groupfie (plural of selfie) with the Consul General. It looks like this will be a sustained happy tradition of the community during gatherings.