US Citizenship Course to Start August 18 at FilCom
Getting ready to become a US citizen? FilCom can help you prepare with United States naturalization preparation classes to be held on Saturday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon August 18 to September 15. A total of five sessions will be conducted by an immigration attorney from the Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Registration is $25 to defray the cost of hand-outs and other expenses. A Certificate of Completion will be awarded to all attendees who complete all five sessions.
The course will include how to fill out the most current forms required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; a review of questions that will be asked; and writing exercises and practice interviews. These will help applicants gain confidence in taking the naturalization tests and interviews.
Ilocano and Tagalog volunteer-interpreters will be available. Other language interpreters may be requested when registering.
Registration forms may be picked up at the FilCom Center at 94-428 Mokuola Street, Suite 302 in Waipahu. Since space is limited, potential attendees are advised to register early. A “first come first served” policy will be followed. For more information, please call 808 680-0451.
First FilCom Sunday on September 30
We want to see you at the FilCom on the very first FilCom Sunday, is scheduled for September 30, starting at 4:00 p.m. Among the activities planned are free Filipino movies to be shown at the Consuelo Courtyard, more Filipino style entertainment and refreshments. Various community organizations are encouraged to participate as co-sponsors or participants in the entertainment line-up. Interested in participating? Contact the FilCom Center office!
Children’s Choir Auditions Continue
Auditions for children ages 8 to 12 are being held on Fridays and Mondays, from, 3 to 5 p.m. at the FilCom Center. Registration for the auditions continues to be accepted at the FilCom Center office. Call (808)680-0451 for more information.
Bea Ramos-Razon, Super Nurse
Beatrice “Bea” Ramos-Razon is the driving force behind the free RN NCLEX Review Class Program held at the FilCom since 2001. For more than a dozen years, Bea and her colleagues at Nursing Advocates and Mentors, Inc. have been helping nurses, many of whom trained in the Philippines, prepare to pass registered nurse exams needed to practice their profession in Hawaii.
Bea’s heart, smarts, and solid experience back her passion to help her fellow nurses. She holds RN licenses in Hawaii and Washington and is the first nurse from both states to be inducted in the Academy of Fellows of the National Association of Directors of Nursing administration for Long term Care. Bea also was selected as 2004 Nurse Administrator of the Year by this national association.
Bea grew up in Angeles City, Pampanga. She received a full scholarship for the University of the Philippines’ School of Nursing. After graduating in 1973, she came to Hawaii and worked at St. Francis Medical Center and Pali Momi before relocating to Washington State. While heading nursing teams at Sequim, Tacoma, Seattle, and Bremerton health and long-term care centers, she also founded and headed the Filipino Nurses Association of Puget Sound.
Bea returned to Hawaii in 1998. She served as director of Nursing at local long-term facilities, including Avalon, Hale O Aloha, and the Convalescent Center of Hawaii and resumed her advocacy work for Filipino nurses and nurses’ aides. She is the executive director of the Filipino Certified Nurses’ Aide Association of Hawaii. She led the Hawaii Association of Directors of Nursing Administration Long Term Care and is the organizing president of Nursing Advocates and Mentors, sponsor of Filcom’s RN NCLEX Review Class Program. She is certified director of Nursing Administration, and a quality assurance reviewer, approved RN evaluator, and Nurse Aide Training Program instructor for the State Department of Human Services.
Bea currently teaches at the Kapiolani Community College Nursing Department.For her service to the community, especially to immigrant nurses, Bea has been recognized by State and City officials, Filipino groups in Hawaii, and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association.
The Congress of Visayan Organizations
By Jun Colmenares
The Congress of Visayan Organizations or COVO, is the umbrella of Visayan organizations in the State of Hawaii. It was founded in 1985 and has about 15 member organizations from Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lanai and the Big Island representing the Visayas and Mindanao. Its goals are to unite all Visayan organizations in Hawaii, preserve and promote Visayan language and culture, and assist in the socio-economic uplift of Filipinos, particularly those of Visayan ancestry.
COVO has been one of the most active Filipino organizations in the state and has partnered with other organizations, including the Filipino Community Center, the Philippine Consulate General, the UH Center for Philippine Studies, among others, in various projects, including humanitarian assistance to the Philippines. Its annual events include the Santo Niño fiesta in January, its anniversary celebration in February, the Filipino Fiesta and Parade in May, the annual statewide convention in August, and Pasko in December. In addition, special projects include the annual scholarship program, sister-city and sister-state/province projects, the Lapu-Lapu Awards, the Visayan Hour radio program, the Visayan centennial celebration, the Florentino Das book project, disaster fundraising drives and others. Because of its active involvement in the community and its important projects and activities, COVO received the Philippine Presidential (Banaag) Award for outstanding Filipino organizations overseas in 2010.
COVO is holding its 25th Annual Statewide Convention and 6th Lapu-Lapu Awards Gala on August 12, 2012 at the Philippine Consulate General and Ala Moana Hotel Ballroom The theme for this year’s convention is “COVO: Working With the Community.” Convention speakers are Dr. Danelo Cañete, cardiologist, and Rose Churma, FilCom president. Guest speaker at the Lapu-Lapu Awards is Dr. Patricio Abinales, professor at UH-Manoa. This year’s Lapu-Lapu Awards will be given to outstanding Visayans from the Big Island.
Balaan Catalina Society
By Jun Colmenares
This picture shows original founders of the Balaan Catalina Society (1930) and is found at its club house in Waipahu.
The Balaan (Holy) Catalina Society is the oldest Visayan organization in the State of Hawaii. It was founded in 1930 by Visayan sakadas, most of whom were from Carcar, a town in Cebu whose patroness is St. Catherine (Santa Catalina) of Alexandria. It is also the first Filipino organization in Hawaii to have its own fully-paid club house and chapel. Its initial membership was primarily Carcaranons, but today, the members are a mix of individuals from the Visayas and Mindanao, either born in the Philippines or descended from Filipino settlers in Hawaii. It celebrates its foundation anniversary every July and the feast of Santa Catalina in November.
While it started as a semi-religious and mutual aid organization, the Balaan Catalina Society has expanded its role and has become more involved in civic, cultural, community and humanitarian activities. On its own, or as a COVO member, it has been involved in projects such as Weed & Seed, participated in the annual Filipino Fiesta and Parade as Sinulog dancers, supported the FilCom Center in various capacities, distributed computers and hospital beds and equipment to Cebu and other areas, and participated in medical missions and other disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. It is one, if not the most active and staunchest supporters of COVO.
This year it is celebrating its 82nd anniversary on August 4, 2012 with a dinner-program at the Empress Restaurant. Its longevity is a testament to the loyalty of its membership and the dedication and hard work of its leadership. Its current president is Vicky Sato.
In This Issue
US Citizenship Course
FilCom Children’s Choir
Balaan Catalina Society
Congratulations to the newly elected officers of the Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC) and the United Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH) who recently had its convention in Hilo during the last week of July. The newly installed presidents of the two organizations-Jenny Quezon of UFCH and Jean Jeremiah of OFCC– will be joining the FilCom Board as ex-officio members.
On August 12, the Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO) will hold its statewide convention and annual Lapu-Lapu Awards in Oahu, and its oldest member unit-organization, Balaan Catalina, will celebrate its 87th anniversary on August 4, 2012. Another Visayan organization, the United Visayan Council (UVC) will hold its own anniversary celebration at its clubhouse in Waipahu on August 25.
On the evening of August 11, The Filipino Nurses of Hawaii (FNOH) will install its new president, Elsa Talavera. On August 25, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Hawaii (UPAAH) will hold its installation banquet at the FilCom Center to celebrate the transition to a new set of officers headed by Carolyn Weygan Hildebrand.
I am sure there are more community events in August that I may not know of. If there are others I missed, please let me know. I want to know about your organizations’ programs and the plans you have to create a more dynamic Filipino Community of Hawaii. Your collective gains will contribute immensely to the Center’s future and its sustainability.