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News and Views of the
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Filipino-American Association of Beaufort County


By Julia Carreon Lagoc
Photos courtesy of Pasana Edmalin Photography
Beaufort County-South Carolina
December 17, 2016


          Give it to the Pinoy to be the first—whatever, wherever, and whenever—it may be. In just being Filipino—in things holy and folly, ordinary and extraordinary, tame or sturdy. For instance, who can beat the Pinoy in FAABC (Filipino-American Association of Beaufort County) for celebrating the first Christmas Party of the Year?

          Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, Association members went full blast with its FAABC Annual Christmas Gala 2016 at the Hilton Head Country Club in Hilton Head Plantation. The brilliantly lighted hall bannered the catchphrase “UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY” that speaks how FAABC cuts across the barriers of race, creed, color, and nationality.

          Hilton Head Country Club, the venue of the affair, is a posh, swanky spot in the island resort in South Carolina. About a fourth the size of our own Guimaras island, Hilton Head is reputed as golfers’s paradise, boasting wide golf courses and well-kept mounds. The setting of many golf tournaments, it invites golf aficionados the like of golf icon Tiger Woods. Hilton Head is ideal for relaxed living, and it’s nice to know that two Fil-Am friends in the FAABC are residents: Linda Patron and Eileen Buckalew. Heartening proof that Filipinos in diaspora are doing well, especially in Uncle Sam country. Like my hometown Oton in Iloilo, at beachside, Hilton Head provides both amazing views: the sunrise when you’re having early morning exercise or lazy promenade in the evening. Did I sound like a trip advisor?

          This is going to be a hodge-podge of a column, a medley—from one far removed from Bayan Ko, yet writing on. So, here goes:    

          Copying the Program in its entirety, “as if you were there”: Registration…Sai Bothe & Halan Beauregard; Usher/Usherettes…Officers & selected members; Opening Prayer…Mr. Dana Schroeder; Star-Spangled Banner…Meagan Alvarez; Pambansang Awit…Elleana Gervero; Welcome Address…Alvin Arcayan (current FAABC prexy); Opening Number…FAABC Dancers; D I N N E R; Intermission Number…Daniel Walid Shayeb; Inspirational Talk…Capt. Don Albia (Introduced  by Ellier Gervero); OATH-TAKING CEREMONY – NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRRECTORS; Recognition of Outstanding Members…Dana Schroeder; Intermission Number…Elleana Gervero; Dance Number…FAABC Dancers; Dance Dance Dance; Intermission Number…Danielle Ryan; Dance Dance Dance; Dance Number…FAABC Dancers & the Santa Clauses; Dance Dance Dance; Closing Remarks…Ellier Gervero.

          As it had been in past Christmases, this year’s Program began with an Opening Prayer. Call it Invocation, by another name, it was delivered by Dana Schroeder, FAABC Board Chairman, who is doing all the paperwork for the Association’s 501c3 (tax deductible nonprofit) status. Thank you. Dana’s wife is Filipina Debbie Tiburan Schroeder. Theirs is a lovely intermarriage of nationalities as it is with many other couples in the United States.

It is essential in Fil-Am events to sing the two National Anthems: Star-Spangled Banner and Pambansang Awit with the flags of the two countries held up high. The anthems have enduring last lines: “the land of the free and the home of the brave” for the United States, and “ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo” for the Philippines. Interesting to note that in TED-Diliman, singer Joey Ayala sang the last line, changing it to “ang magmahal ng dahil sa iyo.” Sing it your way, but let the heart throb for country. This medley of a column continues…

          Guest Speaker Captain Don Cenon B. Albia gave an Inspirational Talk, his own life history being an inspiration by itself. Capt. Albia served over 40 years in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted directly from the Philippines in 1974 as a deck seaman and attained the rank of Chief Hospital Corpsman in 1984 before earning his commission in the Medical Service Corps in March 1986. Over the years is a long line of experience, serving aboard two naval vessels, the USS Richard L. Page (FFG-5) and the USS WASP (LHD-1) where he coordinated patient movement in support of Operations Restore Hope, Continue Hope and Southern Watch during deployment in the Persian Gulf.

He earned a Master of Arts Degree in Health Science Management from Webster University, becoming a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). CAPT. Albia’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards). He is married to CAPTAIN Mary Jane Johnson, Medical Service Corps, United States Navy (Retired).  They have six children, two sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren who reside in Mount Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina, and in Germantown, Maryland. A most inspiring story for Filipinos in the homeland and in many other countries abroad.

          Two former FAABC Presidents, Eileen Buckalew and Ellier Gervero, were recipients of a Certificate of Appreciation worded thus: “With our greatest appreciation, we hereby present ( Eileen Buckalew and Ellier Gervero) for your unwavering support and unrelentless guidance that helped in leading our path to success. You are being honored with much appreciation and gratitude.” Two very deserving stalwarts of the Association. Now, Ellier is Internal Vice Chairman of the Board and Eileen is Board Secretary. Admirable vim and vigor! Congratulations!


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