By Julia Carreon-Lagoc
August 20, 2016
Once again, August 13, 2016, the legendary Bayanihan spirit of the Filipino went into highpoint in the 27th Year Foundation of BANC — the Bayanihan Association of Northern California. Unity, camaraderie, helping hands came upfront — sterling qualities that define the Filipino whether abroad or in the homeland. The backdrop of Philippine sceneries, evoking nostalgia of Lupang Hinirang, certainly caught the attention of the party-goers upon entrance.
The mixing and interacting—call it socializing—with fellow Filipinos and the many guests started earlier than the designated 5:00 P.M. at the huge Social Hall of the Our Lady of Mercy parish in Redding, Northern California. Hugs and hellos and tete-a-tete were aplenty in the crowd seated around the attractively decorated tables—all looking forward to the sumptuous Pinoy cuisine topped by the iconic lechon.
Brenda Hansen, BANC president, broke the animated conversations when she went frontstage in stunning Hawaiian costume. Even more impressive was her performance of the hula that aroused the audience to thunderous applause, preparatory to the night’s formal program. As expected, the ceremonies opened with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the U.S. National Anthem, and Bayang Magiliw, the Philippine National anthem, sang respectively by Diseree Kailewa and Marie Zapata, Diseree’s mother. A gifted mother-daughter team that goes to show the fruit does not fall far from the tree.
A better emcee could not have been chosen than outstanding Lorna Dean, a former school teacher, now a retired businesswoman. Lorna faithfully introduced the ethnic songs and dances that regaled the audience. Chosen were cultural reflections of the Philippines’ three regions: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. Performed without a hitch was the iconic Tinikling. Singers and dancers performed the best they could, from which were stand-out Gabby, Jocel, and Norman. I feel remiss for not being able to get the names of the other participants.
BANC is proud of its asset: the incomparable, graceful Encar Francisco in events involving singing and dancing. With patience and dedication, she taught the young generation in their songs and dance numbers. Encar is also endowed with a voice and interpretative gestures that never fail to win hearts and minds.
BANC has faithfully observed the following objectives: (1) To preserve and promote among its members the “bayanihan” spirit, which is unity, camaraderie, and a helping hand to those in need; (2) To promote and conduct cultural activities and contribute to solving economic problems in the community; (3) To establish good relationships among its members and the community, regardless of religion, sex, racial origin or ethnic background; (4) To promote good leadership, discover talents and put them to use, and support personally-owned business by its members.
Mandated to pursue the foregoing objectives are the present BANC officers: President Brenda Hansen; Vice-President Carmen Van Noy Heikkila; Secretary Mercy Fournier; Treasurer Elizabeth Baghdasarian; Auditor Bernadette Underwood; PRO Rollie Cadungon; Membership Coordinator Merlyn Espinosa; and Events Coordinator Jean Yates.
BANC admirably proves that Filipinos in diaspora, scattered in the far-flung countries of the world, in this case Redding in Northern California, can organize themselves in pursuit of noble goals for their countrymen in the native land as well as in foreign shores.
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