FilCom Center’s Easter Presentation-called “Salubong” will consist of a prayer service and a celebration of the “dawn of a glorious day with lots of fun, entertainment, great food and games” as described in the flyer that was released recently to promote March’s FilCom Sunday. The event is free and open to all who want to watch the musical performance of the Banda Kawayan and Himig at Indak, the two musical groups that are based at the FilCom Center. The prayer service will start at 4:00 p.m. at the Casamina-Flores Ballroom followed by entertainment at 5:00 p.m. An Easter egg hunt will be held at the Consuelo Courtyard at 6:00 p.m. after the musical performances inside the ballroom. Filipino food and delicacies will be available for purchase only after 6:00 p.m. when the main events are done.
The event is called “Salubong” in Filipino or “Sabet” in Ilocano, after the religious traditions popular in the Philippines where the statue of the mourning Blessed Mary, the mother of Jesus, meets the risen Christ in a street tableau. Two separate processions converge on a street intersection, usually one with a sturdy tree that can carry a little girl in an angel costume who is lowered down to remove the mourning veil from Mary’s statue as the two groups meet.
The event is made possible thru the generous sponsorship of Pacific Endoscopy Center in Pearl City through the assistance of Maryson C. Cabudoy and FMS Hawaii, Inc. under the leadership of Dory Villafuerte.
SEMPT Program Launched
We would like to remind FilCom’s clients who have booked an event at the Casamina-Flores Ballroom that we are in the process of implementing the SEMPT program. Early this year, the FilCom Center initiated the Special Events Management & Production Training (SEMPT) program to educate, train and provide hands-on mentoring activities to those interested in pursuing a career in Special Events Management and thus create more jobs and job training opportunities for the surrounding community.
Creations in Catering was selected by the FilCom’s Selection Committee as the group best qualified to assist with this program. Last February 26, the FilCom Board endorsed the Selection Committee’s recommendations and approved the implementation of the SEMPT program.
Accordingly, Creations in Catering will be handling all catering services at the FilCom Center. If you have not yet entered into a contract with any of the caterers on our list, please contact us immediately. We request that all future catering services be booked with our SEMPT partner, Creations in Catering. If you already have a contract with one of the caterers, we advise you to confirm arrangements with them but to also inform us so we can facilitate the transition process.
Zumba Fitness at FilCom
Zumba Fitness will be offered at the FilCom Center starting April 3, every Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. It will be led by Pinoy Crew 808 headed by Troy and Rose Mendoza, with Rose Ulep and Linda Joe. They are committed to share their talents to create a healthy lifestyle environment and also nourish their personal growth. The fitness sessions are open to all ages, gender, and ethnic background. A fee of $5.00 is requested per session.
Wanted: Young Poets Who Want to Share Experiences Growing Up in Hawaii
FilCom Sunday’s July event will be a celebration of youth, culture and community building through poetry and other forms of oral tradition, which has been part of Filipino culture since the creation of language and words.
Poets from Waipahu High School and James Campbell High School have signed-up to perform by sharing pieces about their experiences in growing up in Hawai’i. Aspiring poets from other schools are also invited and encouraged to participate by calling 808 680 0451 or email@example.com.
The event will be hosted by Seph1, a local emcee, poet, community organizer, and one of KTUH’s radio personalities. Other performers include the TEKNIQLINGZ Crew, a traditional and modern Philippine folk dance group that seeks to inspire and influence new innovations in the world of hip-hop and dance. RON QUESADA, a musical performer will showcase his current project, “Kulintronica,” which features the traditional gong instrument of Mindanao combined with contemporary electronic dance music.
Also participating is 808 URBAN’s Junior Board Waipahu Division, a collective of young volunteers and artists in the Waipahu community. The 808 Urban Junior Board empowers students and residents of Waipahu to become leaders by organizing community events and fundraising efforts. Its goal is to use public large-scale art as a way to promote community building and cultural development and to share Waipahu’s culture and history to encourage dialogue and awareness and create an environment that improves the community’s quality of life.
For more information about the event, please contact FilCom’s Program Specialist, Marie Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alfonso “Al” Avecilla
Preserving the Past to Envision a Better Future
Last March, through the efforts of Alfonso Avecilla, the FIlCom received $3,500 donation from the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation’s Quality of Life Program. MDRT is the premier association of financial services professionals of which Al is a member. The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities and improve the quality of life for people in-need throughout the world.
Since 2009 when Al “discovered” the FilCom Center while on vacation in Hawaii, he was very intrigued with the mission and programs of the center. One of the projects that he agreed to chair was the Family Legacy Project, which seeks to upload archival materials collected from pioneer Filipino families who have made significant contributions to Hawaii’s modern history. This project was conceived as part of eFil (http://efilarchives.org), an on-going project of the Filipino American Historical Society of Hawaii (FAHSOH).
Al Avecilla was born at Queens Hospital in Honolulu to Alfonso G. Avecilla and Angeles Mangaser Avecilla both from La Union province in the Philippines. The senior Avecilla came to America in the late 20’s to study law at the University of Missouri- doing odd jobs to put himself through school. He also received a Masters in Law from Lincoln University in San Francisco. During those days, he could not practice law as a Filipino citizen so he moved to Hawaii where he immersed himself in entrepreneurial pursuits as well as fighting for the rights of Filipino plantation workers. He was banned from the plantations on occasion and at one point, he carried a weapon for his protection from the plantation bosses. As an entrepreneur he opened a grocery store on Mokauea Street which is now Alicia’s Market in Kalihi.
Al’s mother, Angeles, was given a scholarship by a faith-based organization to study at the University of Minnesota. While at college, she worked as a domestic servant to the Pillsbury Family to support her living expenses. Eventually she relocated to Honolulu to work as a counselor to Filipino plantation workers. She later graduated from the University of Hawaii and had a career as a social worker. Her efforts at helping the Filipino sakada is documented in the bookNotable Women of Hawaii published several years ago.
At the age of eight, Al and his family went back to the Philippines where his parents founded San Jose College in Nueva Ecija. However, in 1955, young Al and his family returned to live in Hawaii. Al eventually graduated from San Jose State University in California with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. After graduation, at the height of the war in Vietnam, he made the decision to return to the Philippines to avoid the draft. While in the Philippines, he kept busy by managing the family farm and the college founded by his parents in Nueva Ecija province. He briefly attended the University of the Philippines in Diliman, where he met his wife of 40 years, Maria Editha Ramos.
In 1980 Al and his wife relocated to California with their three children–Saniata, Alfonso III and Andrea. Caleb, the youngest was born a month after their return to San Jose. Al and his wife are now blessed with three grandchildren–Kaliya and Noah Bond, and Tatum Dunning. They have resided in Almaden Valley in San Jose, California since 1983.
Al has been with Transamerica Life for 33 years as a Registered Representative and is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Roundtable for 25 years. He is also a member of the Almaden Valley Athletic Club and worships at the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos. He and his wife have travelled extensively around the world for the last 10 years, with a trip to Croatia scheduled this August. He visits Hawaii three times annually, but is in touch with the islands digitally almost every day as he moves the Family Legacy Project forward, as we recruit more pioneer families to embrace the project.
Banda Kawayan is a musical group based at the FilCom Center. The Banda, which consists of an intergenerational group of volunteers devoted to the perpetuation of Filipino performing arts, rehearses at the FilCom on weekends and after school hours. To date, the group has served as the opening act for all of FilCom Sundays, FilCom’s annual events such as the Bayanihan Dinner last October 5, 2012, the annual Filipino Fiesta at Kapiolani Park and other events.
It’s most recent performance was at the Mapua World 2013 Convention at Ala Moana Hotel last March 16. The Banda serenaded 500 delegates worldwide, mostly alumni and their spouses of Mapua Institute of Technology, a prestigious university in the Philippines known for its rigorous courses in engineering and architecture. The convention attracted delegates from all corners of the world including Canada, Australia and the Middle East.
Banda Kawayan was created with the help of the late U.S. Senator Dan Inouye who advocated the approval of a grant from the Department of Education. The Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations (ECHO) and U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (ILMS) were also key supporters, including Hawaiian Airlines who helped in transporting the instruments from Manila to Honolulu.
The grant was used to purchase the instruments which were carefully handcrafted by Professor Siegfredo B. Calabig, Instrument Maker and Music Director of Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Rossini Icabales Calabig and Jaime Fadul Calabig were flown from Manila to Honolulu to share their knowledge in tuning, maintaining, and playing the instruments – a month’s long process from October 2009 to November 2009. They trained locally based musical instructors Pike Velasco, Gladys Ganitano and Arceli Rebollido. Since then, Maestro Pike Velasco has served as the group’s musical director and conductor.
The first set of instruments was shipped in two 450-pound crates. The crates contained 96 pieces of bamboo Instruments, enough to accommodate a group of 16-32 performers.
The current Banda Kawayan members are:
Marc Non is 11 years old and is a sixth grader at August Ahrens Elementary School. He joined the Banda in June 2011 to fulfill his desires of being a part of a musical group. He used to be one of our Tongatong players and is now a Marimba player.
Mellissa Marie Pasion first joined the Banda in October 2009 when she was 11 years and studying at August Ahrens Elementary School. She is now 14 and a 9th grade student at Waipahu High School. Her mother encouraged her to join the Banda because Melissa wanted to represent her culture by learning how to play rare bamboo instruments. Mellissa was the first one to purchase her own Marimba instrument.
Johnsen Martinez is now 10 years old, a fifth grader at August Ahrens Elementary School. He joined the Banda with his cousin Mellissa in October 2009. He was the youngest member then at age 7. He can now play the Tongatong and Marimba.
Cielito Oda is a music lover; she can sing, dance and play musical instruments. She is also a member of the Himig at Indak Choir and a volunteer instructor of the Ballroom Dance class being held at the FilCom Center every Tuesday night. She joined the Banda when it first started in October 2009; she is now an Angklung player expert and critic.
Edel Matias is a retired registered nurse, a social worker and a successful entrepreneur. She joined the Banda in October 2009 and plays Angklung instrument. She is also a member of the Himig at Indak Choir and sings soprano.
Daniel Christopher T. Ferrer is now 12 years old and attends Maryknoll School as a seventh grader. He is a member of the Honolulu Boy Choir. His mother Erlinda introduced him to the band and found it interesting, inspiring him to join the Banda himself. He was 9 years old when he joined the Banda in October 2009. He plays the piano and is an awesome Marimba player.
Erlinda Ferrer, is a registered nurse and a home care operator. She became a member to support her son Daniel. She plays the Angklung.
Beatrice “Bea” Ramos-Razon, a registered nurse and president of Nursing Advocates and Mentors, Inc. (NAMI) which coordinates NCLEX review classes at the FilCom Center. She joined the Banda in October 2009 and prefers to play the Angklung instrument. She joined the Banda to fulfill her dream to play a very unique musical instrument. She is now an expert with the Angklung and plays the instrument very gracefully.
Faye Aglibot graduated as high school valedictorian from Lanakila Baptist School. She is now 20 years old and a college student at Hawaii Pacific University taking up Nursing. She has been a member since October 2009 together with her father Joey. Faye joined to learn more about Filipino culture through traditional music. She is now skilled in playing the Marimba instrument. She mentors the young members of the Banda.
Joey Aglibot is an architect and loves music. He joined the Banda in October 2009 with his daughter Faye. He is our senior Kalagong player and trainer. He can also play the guitar.
Therenz Andres is 15 years old and a student at Waipahu High School. He has been a member since October 2009. He joined the Banda to meet new friends and communicate with other people, learn how to play all of the instruments with interest and dedication, and to learn more about Filipino culture. He plays the Tongatong and Marimba.
Keith Cachola is 12 years old and joined the Banda in September 2010. Keith plays Marimba very well and even has her own Marimba instrument purchased by her mom in the Philippines. She comes to practice with her cousin Mikah. Together with her cousin, they play in family gatherings and private parties.
Mikah Agcaoili is 9 years old and attends Lanakila Baptist School, and is also a team player. Mikah’s interest in the instruments has kept him a member of the Banda since October 2010. He is very good in Kalagong and always generates excitement from the audiences. He is now the star player for Kalagong.
Dannah Faye Dahilig is 11 years old and attends Friendship Christian School. She is the youngest member of the Banda. Her mom bought one of the Marimba instruments so she can practice more frequently at home. She is a fast learner and is able to play the instrument smoothly. She really has an ear for music. She always comes to rehearsals with her very young four-year old sister and her grandmother.
Abella Kristofel, is a 6th grader at August Ahrens Elementary School and became a member of the Banda in January 2011. He is our best Kalatok player. He started learning the Tongatong and he can also play Marimba well.
Geofrey John Julian is 14 years old and has been a member since October 2009. He can play Tongatong and now he is also good in Marimba. He joined because he saw it as an opportunity to improve himself and has gained more friends.
Jethra Agbayani is now 14 years old and studying at Waipahu Intermediate School. She joined the Banda in February 2010 with her Grandmother, Lorna Udasco. She joined because she wanted to learn how to play unique instruments that represents her culture. She plays the Marimba.
Leovigildo Ramirez was one of the students of our Smart Seniors Program and attended the Music Class. He has been a member since November 2009. He joined the Banda to avoid Alzheimer disease by exercising his mental ability.
Arceli Rebollido is the Filcom’s Program Director. She has been very patient in organizing and taking care of the Banda members when it comes to rehearsals and performances. Because of her passion for music, she is one of the pioneer members of the Banda as a Marimba player. She can also sing and play the piano. She trains the members for some dance moves which adds color to the musical performance of the Banda. She also serves as the Banda’s make-up artist and ensures that all members are beautiful and photogenic.
Banda Kawayan’s Director and Conductor, Maestro Pike Velasco, is a retired school principal and music coordinator in the Philippines. Currently a teacher at August Ahrens Elementary School, Maestro Pike explained, “We are constantly recruiting young and young-at-heart people alike who want to learn to play a bamboo instrument and experience performing at different venues.” Those interested to try, please call 808 680 0451 or email email@example.com.
Our mission is to develop, own and operate a community center that provides social, economic and education services and to promote and perpetuate Filipino culture and customs in the state of Hawaii.
During the last week of February, I was privileged to participate in the
2nd Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora held in Manila February 25 to 27, 2013. I served as a Resource Person at the “Arts and Culture Exchange Initiatives for Heritage Appreciation” Workshop and shared our successes and challenges in building and sustaining the FilCom Center. Also part of the workshop was former UH Ethnic Studies professor, Dean Alegado, who served as a facilitator. FilCom supporters Ethel Ward, Dr. Ruth Mabanglo and Kit Zulueta also participated as panel reactors. Part of the FilCom presentation was a photographic essay of the last decade as well as our current programs, including video clips of the major spaces within the center.
After the presentation, I received requests from different Filipino associations, such as the group from London, on how to build their own centers. Maybe we should come out with a FilCom 101-Building the Dream!
It was also interesting to meet conference participants-members of the Filipino Diaspora– from all over the world, most of whom are determined to promote and perpetuate Filipino culture and tradition in their respective adoptive countries. There were a few who had been to Hawaii and visited the FilCom. In fact I was pleasantly surprised when a delegate from Guam expressed how much fun she had participating in our Walang Sayang Parol Making contest during last December’s Pasko sa FilCom!
But the one thing that I came to realize after that workshop was the need to engage the young people in envisioning how Filipinos in the Diaspora can create a different global community that retains the best of what it is to be Filipino. They are more adept at utilizing digital technology and the new social media platforms to promote their causes or to implement their vision.
One of the young participants shared how her perspective of the home country changed when she finally “came home” to the Philippines and how it has shaped her career objectives. Another participant from Australia who sat at our table has formed a company that does “crowdfunding” to raise funds for non-profit groups in the Philippines. Another used popular digital bloggers with loyal following to promote unique tours to the Philippines for the twenty-something crowd.
I cannot wait to share with the rest of the Filipino Diaspora the emerging young leaders we have in Hawaii. Right now, the primary movers of the up-coming Flores de Mayo are members of the Filipino Jaycees, the group that has taken a major role in establishing this annual tradition for several years now. Perhaps in 2015 for the next Global Diaspora conference, Hawaii will be able to showcase the best and brightest of our emerging young leaders. After all, our collective future will be shaped by their vision of what it is to be Filipino in this global community where technology is constantly changing how we do business, educate our children or live our daily lives.
2013 Schedule of FilCom Programs
The following programs and events have been scheduled at the FilCom Center for 2013. Grouped according to different thrusts, the programs were designed along the non-profit’s mission statement and the expressed needs of the community.
Cultural Promotion & Community Empowerment
Banda Kawayan, rehearsals from 3 to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, Music Room. Led by Maestro Pike Velasco, the musical group is continually seeking children and youth to participate.
Himig at Indak, rehearsals for ballroom dancing at 7 to 8 pm, choir practice at 8 to 9 pm, Tuesdays, 2nd Floor Breezeway. $10 monthly registration fee.
FilCom Children’s Choir, rehearsals from 3-5 pm Mondays at 3rd floor conference room; auditions for kids ages 6 to 12 are on-going.
Filipino Folk Dancing, Evenings on weekdays and Saturday afternoons (dates for the auditions are still to be determined)
Walang Sayang Program-promoting sustainability and responsible stewardship of our planet. Related activities are held at FilCom Center events; sponsored by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Hawaii.
Family Legacy Project
Memorabilia and archival documents of Filipino families that made an impact on Hawaii are digitized and uploaded at the eFil website on as-needed basis
NCLEX Nursing Licensure Review Classes; Every Wednesdays from 5 to 9 p.m. – Amianan Room; Conducted by NAMI, Inc.; $50 registration fee.
(Spring) Jan. 16 to June 5, 2013
(Fall) July 10 to Nov. 20, 2013
Computer Enrichment & Workforce Training Workshops; 3rd Floor Conference Rm. or Amianan room; Year-round; $25 registration fee
Computer Basics, Wednesdays, 10 to 12 noon & 2 to 4 p.m.; 4 session cycles
WORD, Saturdays, 10 to 12 noon; 4 session cycles
EXCEL, Saturdays, 2 to 4 pm, 4 session cycles
Mag Negosyo Entrepreneurship Classes-Alternate Tuesdays each month; 6 to 8 p.m. Amianan Room; Conducted by SBA and SCORE staff & volunteers
(Spring) February 12 & 26, March 12 & 26, April 9 (5 sessions)
US Citizenship Classes 2013– 5-session series, Saturdays, Amianan Room; conducted by HIJC of Legal Aid of Hawaii; $25 registration fee;
(Summer) June 01 to June 29, 2013; 1 to 3 pm Saturdays
US Immigration Community Outreach Program, 5-session series, Saturdays, Amianan Room; conducted by USCIS
(Summer) June 01 to June 29, 2013; 3 to 4 p.m., Saturdays
Kinabukasan Series 2013-5-session financial literacy series, 2ndor 3rd Tuesdays; Amianan Room; Free and open to the public
(Spring) Jan. 15, Feb. 19, March 19, April 16, May 14, monthly 6 to 8 pm.
Health & Wellness Mondays – starts May 6 Monday Co-sponsored by Philippine Nurses Association of Hawaii, 6:00 PM Amianan Room; Free and open to the public.
Kabataan 2013: Filipino for Kids Summer Program, for children 6 to 10 years old; June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20 & 27, Saturdays, 8 to 12 noon at FilCom, 2nd floor; $25 registration fee plus $10 for t-shirt and supplies.
Filipino for Kids: RAMP (Read, Art, Music & Play) a reading program for kids 2 to 12. Funded by the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Fund for Family Literacy of the Hawaii Community Foundation; held every FIlCom Sunday and Pasko sa FilCom, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., Habagatan Room, 2nd floor; Free and open to the public as part of FilCom events.
Flores de Mayo Festival, May 5 to May 11. One week of festivities that starts with a Santacruzan in Waipahu on May 5 and ends with a Fiesta and Parade in Waikiki on May 11. Fiesta and Parade celebrates its 21st year in 2013. Other events include a business forum on doing business in the Philippines on May 7, Tuesday.
Filipino Flavors, October 5, 2013. FilCom’s annual fundraising dinner will be held at the FilCom Center.
Pukan Cane. November 16. An Ilocano play to be staged at FilCom in conjunction with the NAKEM Conference held in Hawaii November 2013.
Pasko! sa Filcom, December 15, Sunday. An annual event that recreates a Filipino Christmas.
FilCom Sundays, Cultural performances or educational activities held every last Sunday of the month from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.;
January 27-Pit Senyor! A Celebration of Visayan Culture
February 24-Best of the Tagalog Region
March 31-Himig at Indak and Banda Kawayan’s Easter Presentation “Salubong”
April 28-Sakada Sarsuela by GUMIL Oahu
May 26-Kuwento ni Reyna Elena (children’s program)
June 30-Kasalan: the Filipino Wedding
July 28-Spoken Word-Slam Poetry
August 25-Cagayan Valley Presents…
September 29-Ramrambak 2, Celebrating the Amianan Culture
October 27-Filipinos of Hawaii, a Historical Perspective