By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – Cheers to love and accomplishments of Filipinos in the Fil-Am community in the East Coast. Over the past two weekends, I witnessed a beautiful community of friends, family, and colleagues celebrate each other’s successes in the profession, community service, and love relationships in a rather glitzy manner.
The Team United Maharlika Foundation Inc. named 16 individuals as the “Most Outstanding Foreign Workers” in celebration of Philippine diaspora contributing to the well-being of the American and Philippine society on September 17 at the Astoria World Manor. Honored were: Francis Sison (International Community Leadership), Isagani Puertollano (Marine Engineering), Blizie Elevado (Caregiving), Helen and Manuel dela Vega (Residence Management), Salvador Deauna (Government Service), Jose David (Medicine), Cris Ayroso (Dentistry), Marilou Bugarin (Nursing), Danilo Rivera (Real Estate Brokering), Cherry Marmes-Smyth (Entrepreneurship), Rosalinda Bajolo (Education), Joy Theriot (Women’s Advocacy), Felix Vinluan (Law), Alice Soriano (Child Care), Eduardo Paderon (Educational Advancement, posthumous), Gabriel Lemly and Ed and Sonia Carasig (Maharlika Awards).
Vice Consul Khrys Corpuz delivered the inspirational message on behalf of Consul General Tess Dizon de Vega.
On September 10, Sunday, Rev. Ben Hickey solemnized the union of Filipino community leader Alex Estaban and Rodrigo Pangesban in a posh, impeccably dressy gathering of family and friends at the Fiesta in Wood Ridge, New Jersey.
It was a sweet and moving ceremony that brought everyone to tears, especially during the reading of love letters. When love is brave and assertive despite the odds, it strikes a cord in one’s heart. (Featured photo is awardee Marilou Bugarin, associate director of Nursing at Suny Downstate Medical Center of Brooklyn. Award presentors Nonoy and Joji Rafael)