FilCom Holds Strategic Planning Session
Last January 25, 2014, the FilCom Board of Directors and other supporters participated in a strategic planning session. More than 30 participants convened at the FilCom’s Tech Room 1 & 2 to review the previous year and plan for the coming years. The Board Chair, Edmund Aczon, welcomed the participants and introduced the chairs of various committees.
The Programs Committee, led by Clem Bautista, provided a spreadsheet of all programs and events offered by FilCom and showed a detailed description of each-facility used, schedule of activities, number of participants, including income and expenses-the first time the non-profit compiled statistics to track the programs. According to Bautista, despite the decline in grants available for programs, the FilCom was able to offer a slate of programs that were generally self-sustaining and earned a modest net income by the end of 2013. He noted the need to systematically re-evaluate programs in terms of financial sustainability, participation and community need.
The Facilities Committee headed by Manny Lanuevo shared with the group the process by which the physical plant is managed. He also noted how the procurement and installation of the photovoltaic system was implemented-a streamlined process that enabled the FilCom to reduce its dependence on fossil-fuels since December 2013. Lanuevo also noted that among the projects being planned for 2014 is the installation of the retractable fabric roof cover over the courtyard (from a Grants-in-Aid grant from the Hawaii Legislature). He also described the need to replace the air conditioning with a more efficient system in the near future.
The fundraising initiatives of the FilCom was reported by Bryan Andaya who noted that the fundraising results for 2013 increased significantly compared to the previous years, due in part to the successful November fundraising event honoring Emme Tomimbang. As the newly appointed board director to focus on the FilCom’s refinancing, Andaya noted the importance of maintaining-or exceeding-the success gained from 2013’s fundraising performance to positively impact the ability of the non-profit to refinance its outstanding loan.
The Finance Committee was represented by Luis Salaveria who described FilCom’s financial position by the end of 2013. He noted that the non-profit finally realized a modest net-profit by the end of 2013, the first time since 2008 and 2006, despite paying off its steep non-operating expenses, which includes mortgage and interest payments and 50% repayment of endowment funds used for operating expenses in previous years. The non-profit came in under its operating budget by $23K, and income from the assessed user fees and commissions from its ballroom and meeting facilities increased significantly. It also achieved 100 percent occupancy for its long term rentals-all of which contributed to a positive financial position. He indicated that the 2014 financial goals are to enhance the FilCom’s financial solvency by creating a sustainable capital and operating budgets and to focus on fundraising goals. He reiterated that FilCom’s priority for 2014 is to refinance its mortgage and to continue to pay down its outstanding debt, accumulate reserves for future capital expenses, manage and sustain the program budgets and maintain or exceed fundraising performance.
Selected community partners were also asked to share their views with the group. After a working lunch, the remaining participants were formed into groups to brainstorm on “what can we do differently in 2014 to improve FilCom’s financial sustainability?” The group endorsed several initiatives such as the promotion of naming opportunities of spaces within FilCom, or its programs; and creating a membership initiative that would encourage grassroots participation and support of FilCom.
The strategic planning session concluded with an inspirational talk by Robin Campaniano, chairman of the FilCom’s Board of Governors.
FilCom Sunday Highlights the Heroic Acts of Visayan Historical Figures
Last January 26, the Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO) took the lead at showcasing the rich and colorful heritage of the Visayas region to celebrate the Visayan Heritage Month of January
The Visayas region served as the heart and launching pad for Spanish colonization and Christian evangelization that eventually spread throughout the archipelago. It was in this region that history witnessed the first Indios accepting the Christian faith and the first local chieftain repelling Western colonizers’ aggressions. It was also in this region that the first blood compact was made and the longest rebellion ever recorded against the colonizers was waged. And finally, the Visayan region is where one of the provinces rose up against the Spanish colonizers which helped put an end to its 300-year rule in the Philippines.
Organized by the Congress of Visayan Organizations (COVO), singers and dancers from several Visayan organizations explored the historical timeline during the Spanish era and showcased the contrasting heroic acts of key Visayan figures–Rajah Humabon, Chief of Cebu and wife Hara Amihan for embracing Christianity, which paved the way for Christianity to reign throughout most of the archipelago; Lapu Lapu, Chief of Mactan Island, for being the first native and the first in East Asia to defeat Western influence and aggression; Datu Sikatuna of Bohol for forging an alliance with the Conquistadors which helped to further cement Spanish rule in the Philippines; Francisco Dagohoy of Bohol for waging the longest ever recorded rebellion against the Spanish rule; And Leon Kilat, a Katipunero General, from Negros for helping to put an end to the Spanish rule in the Philippines.
The display of rare unity among the different organizations to put up this very special event has been very significant to Hernando Tan, current President of UNITE-HERE Local 5 and Executive Director of COVO, who immigrated to Hawaii at a young age from Minglanilla, Cebu. “You know, as an organizer, I’m very touched at the positive responses that the leaders from various organizations gave when they were asked to participate,” noted Mr. Tan, who helped to organize the first planning session, but who also admits that he and his family learned so much about his rich Visayan heritage.
PNAH Resumes Healthy Mondays in February
The Philippine Nurses Association of Hawaii (PNAH) and community partners resumes Healthy Monday sessions beginning Monday, February 17, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Some Mondays will be dedicated as “Caregiver Monday” and will alternate with “Kids Cook Monday” and “Healthy Cooking Monday.” The main topics for other Healthy Mondays will include the following chronic preventable diseases:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases
- Manage Poly Pharmacy
Healthy Monday is a national initiative to help end chronic preventable diseases by offering weekly prompts and programs to support people and participating organizations in starting and sustaining healthy behaviors. Healthy Monday is a public health initiative founded in 2005 in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The PNAH has brought Healthy Monday concept from the East Coast all the way to Hawaii at the Filipino Community Center.
Why Monday? Research conducted by Johns Hopkins shows people view Mondays-more than any other day of the week–as the day to kick start healthier choices and behaviors. Respondents chose Monday as the day they would start diets, exercising, quit smoking, and make doctor appointments. Monday represents a special unit of time in our culture, and is viewed as the start of a brand new week. And the best part–there are 52 chances to try to kick off your week right! (Source: http://healthymonday.syr.edu/)
Zumba Mondays, led by Pinoy Crew 808, will continue as part of Healthy Mondays. Topics and activities are coordinated by PNAH Executive Board Members 2012-2014: President: Tina Salvador; President-Elect: Marife Aczon-Armstrong; Vice-President: Ramon Sumibcay; Recording Secretary: Erlinda Ferrer; Corresponding Secretary: Aurora Sera; Treasurer: Violet Sadural; Asst Treasurer: Nenita Andrada-Jose; Auditor: Medy DeLara; Board Members: Estela Ruiz, Brenda Monegas, Liza Josue-Cabaccang; Kit Magbanua, Edel Matias; Executive Director: Perie Danao; Advisers: Anne Leake and Venus Bermudo; Advisory Council and Circle of Presidents: Emilyn Ramones, Tessie Oculto, Jose Jacob, Marianela Jacob; Legal Adviser: Bryan Andaya.
Pasko! sa FilCom – Nurturing a 20-year Tradition
The Volunteer of the Month is no stranger to FilCom Center. He started volunteering with FilCom in June 2013 and since then has been one of FilCom’s dependable, talented and energetic volunteer.
Paul Crisostomo is the oldest of three siblings, born to Ernesto and Gloria Crisostomo. Paul has born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He is single and is from Filipino and Mexican ethnicity. He is currently working to finish his Associate in General Studies from Central Texas College. He enlisted in the United States Army in September 1994 as a Food Services Specialty. Currently Paul is assigned to the Medical Company Alpha, Tripler Army Medical Center. He works with Patient Administration Division as the NCOIC of Admissions Office.
In September 1979, his grandmother owned and managed Olivia Filipino Restaurant, the first Filipino restaurant in San Antonio. This started his love for Filipino food, folklore and culture, and everything else that is Filipino. Since the age of 10 to 14 years, Paul was a member of the San Antonio FAISA Dance Troupe, Texas. When he was 15 years old he joined a dance group called Philippine Art and Dance Ensemble under the direction of Ben Mirada, a 5th generation Bayanihan Dance group of the Philippines. This dance group taught him the basics of ballet, jazz and ballroom dancing which gave him perspective on the rudiments of the different dance forms while he learned the formal terms of Filipino folk dancing. Eventually, when Karen Haceldo took over the dance group and changed the group’s name to Philippine Performing Arts of San Antonio, Texas, Paul stayed on with the dance company until 1994, where he traveled to different states and taught Filipino folk dancing to all who wanted to learn this art form.
Paul is currently recruiting young people to join a “Filipino Youth Arts Group”. He envisions this artistic collective to focus on promoting the “Bayanihan” spirit among the young people, and to encourage interest in the performing arts such as Filipino folk dancing, as well as in the literary and visual arts.
San Nicolas Goodwill Foundation of Hawaii, the Damilian Story
By Ernie Pascua
The San Nicolas Goodwill Foundation, Inc. was formed as an eleemosynary organization in 1981 by a cohesive group of leaders from San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, who were seeking to foster better understanding and to provide racial harmony among themselves and with their fellow San Nicolaneos who now reside in the State of Hawaii.
The core group was composed of the late Reverend Matias Miguel, Lorraine Miguel, Reverend and Mrs. Alex Fagaragan, Romy Asencion, Alfredo Bayudan, Gerry Butay, Lulu Bonilla Palileo, Carmelo Domingo, Vicky Domingo, Conrado Paguirigan, Aida Paguirigan, Ernesto Pascua, Lydia Pascua, Adelino Simon, Lolita Simon, Arnulfo Tabiolo, the late Prudencia Tabiolo, Amalia Pascua Ungos, Flor Ungos and the late Magdalena Valdez.
After a few organizational meetings at the Miguel residence in Kalihi, the group decided to name the organization the San Nicolas Goodwill Foundation, Inc. This organization was aimed to be the foundation to seek goodwill among its leaders and members and to perpetuate our Filipino culture and heritage. These leaders were proud to nickname the organization “The Damilians” for it is the pottery industry that made the town of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte famous.
The Damilian logo, which shows two hands holding a pot in the upward position, signifies the members as a group working together towards a common goal and into a bright future. It shows pride to be identified with the pot (banga), which is the symbol of the hardworking people of San Nicolas. The phrase around the logo “HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY” and “UNITED WE STAND” were adopted to remind the leaders and members to be always HONEST and UNITED in all of the organization’s undertakings. Without these reminders, leaders and members, sometimes, tend to forget that they are a part of a group and at times work only towards self-fulfillment.
The San Nicolas Goodwill Foundation, Inc. assists deserving students, who are related to Damilian members here in the State of Hawaii and in the Philippines as well, through its scholarship program. There are already scholarship recipients who have graduated and are now in the fields of their chosen careers.
The Damilians have donated computer sets and chairs to the municipality of San Nicolas. Audio visual sets for students’ use have been donated to the Filipinas Elementary School. Computer sets have also been donated to the San Nicolas National High School and Payas Elementary School. All these schools are in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. Lately, the Damilians have sent financial assistance by donating $5,000 to their fellow Damilians in San Nicolas so that they can install more roofed area to protect their kiln in their pottery production area, where they produce pots, bricks, and other ceramic products.
The Damilians are also proud to have donated not only monetary, but their time and effort in soliciting funds by going door to door in various communities in the Island of Oahu, to help fulfill the construction of the long-awaited Filipino dream in the State of Hawaii, the Filipino Community Center. The Damilians are still very much active in every fundraising efforts of the Filipino Community Center. The organization is still very active in other various statewide group assistance activities.
And now, you know the story of the Damilians. The rest is history.
The President’s Message
Rose Cruz Churma
President & COO
All good things must end. This is my last President’s Message.
I want to thank all of the volunteers, FIlCom supporters, Board members and staff who made my tenure at the helm of FilCom a memorable one. Despite protests from my immediate family, I quit a stable, good paying position to take on a role which I knew was going to be a challenge from the start. It involved a severe cut in pay and longer hours at work. But I had a theory that the concept envisioned more than 20 years ago by its founders, for this collective dream we call the FilCom Center, can work. We envisioned a facility that can serve as a true community center that fully implements its stated mission but still be sustainable.
As reported by the various chairs during the strategic planning session held last January 25, the FilCom finally realized a modest net-profit by the end of 2013–the first time since 2008 and 2006, despite paying off its steep non-operating expenses, which includes mortgage and interest payments and 50 percent repayment of endowment funds used for operating expenses during previous years. This came about due to increased income from user fees and commissions from its ballroom and meeting facilities, 100 percent occupancy for its long term rentals, a successful fundraising event, modest income from its programs, and reduced operating expenses-all of which contributed to a positive financial position.
The Programs Committee also reports that despite the decline in grants available for programs, the FilCom was able to offer a slate of programs that were generally self-sustaining and earned a modest net income by the end of 2013. Community groups have started gathering at the center-rehearsing for a dance routine or conducting their monthly meetings. I particularly like the way FilCom Sundays have evolved, where we are able to engage different community groups to share and recapture their culture and arts during the last Sunday of each month, or encourage organizations to promote their advocacies and share skills and talent with the community. I am also pleased with the creation of several courses that promote immigration integration and civic engagement to enable our constituents to navigate the complexities of living in Hawaii. These include citizenship and basic computer courses, the Kinabukasan series to promote financial literacy, the Magnegosyo series to encourage entrepreneurship, and Healthy Mondays that promote healthy habits. All these created a sense of ownership from individuals and groups that were drawn to use FilCom facilities.
Sustainability is still going to be a challenge, so I am happy to note that some committee members who participated in last year’s successful fundraising event have committed to replicate the initiative by continuing to hold it at the center. The formal process of refinancing the loan has also been initiated and the application documents are now reinforced by a positive 2013 financial position which makes the financial projections for the next three years more realistic and doable. My one regret is that I will not be able to expand the economic development and workforce training programs associated with the use of the ballroom and other meeting places at FilCom.
Through the use of social media and the internet, FilCom expanded its visibility, not only to the local community but in places where the Filipino Diaspora has thrived. But the one thing that I am happiest with is to see the return of volunteers from those days when we were still struggling to get the center built, and the arrival of new ones who bring with them the enthusiasm and energy to keep the center true to its mission. I also have been very fortunate to have a competent and multi-skilled staff with incomparable work ethic that enabled us to function smoothly seven days a week.
Although I will no longer be part of FilCom, I will still be involved in promoting what it stands for, and direct my energies in other pursuits that will complement its mission. To the FilCom ohana, thank you for the opportunity to serve you.