The top honoree was its founder Tessie Calderon Alarcon. She and husband Pablito conceived of this FTH baby while eating in a Philippine restaurant and being approached by a hungry child wanting left-overs.
Another honoree was Gloria Caoile, the labor union fire-breathing activist who has given FTH a big boost over the years. She was unable to accept her award and longtime community leader Tita Dumagsa who is now based in Florida came to accept the award for Gloria. Life in The Villages in Florida must have done some magic to Tita because she looked fresher.
In twenty-five years, this organization has dispensed over 200 million pesos for charitable and educational causes, in the form of gift-giving to school children, feeding programs, classroom building, water sour projects and assistance for victims of natural calamities. Its officers and members take pride in the fact that they spend their personal money when they travel on-site to implement projects. They also make public their financial report.
Special guests for the evening were former Philippine Ambassador to Washington, DC and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario and his wife, Gretchen. They travelled from Manila just to attend this event. In his short talk, Del Rosario referred to the opinion letter that he distributed to the participants of the recently held ASEAN meeting in Manila decrying the aggressive posture of China in the disputed Spratly Islands and the Duterte administration’s seemingly accommodating stance towards China’s encroachments and lack of interest in asserting the decision of the International Arbitral Tribunal that favored the Philippine claim.
One tsismoso observed that Del Rosario has slowed down a bit but remains intellectually sharp. He has established a foreign policy think-tank in Manila.
Workhorses behind the event were Chairperson of the Board Celia Donahue, Executive Director Jovy Eusebio, Co-Chair of the 25th Gala Celebration Lottie Buhain and the ever present and dependable Co-Chair Bobby Tamayo.
A tsismoso whose pastime is to scout for the most well-dressed guest says that a certain Gilda who wrapped herself in a brown modern looking Maria Clara had the most elegant look that evening. Her attire drew the most attention and admiration from the few non-Filipinos in the ballroom.
Another Pinoy VIP also blew into town in the person of former DC area resident and now Secretary of the Department of Defense in the Philippines, Gen. Delfin Lorenzana.
Fresh from his successful campaign to beat back one of the fiercest attacks launched by Islamic extremists in Mindanao, Lorenzana can now sleep well. With the last rebel hold-outs in Marawi City eliminated, the long road to a painful recovery now begins.
One tsismoso says that Lorenzana is the calming influence in Duterte’s military circle. This tsismoso believes that if not for Lorenzana, the American special forces troops based in Mindanao would have been gone soon after Duterte said that they must go. That was the time when Duterte threw expletives at Pres. Barack Obama for perceived interference in the brutal war against drugs.
At long last, we will have a full-time Philippine Ambassador to Washington, D.C. Businessman and former journalist Babes Romualdez is expected to arrive in DC soon to present his credentials to the U.S. State Department.
The post has been unfilled since Pres. Duterte assumed the presidency more than a year ago.
What can we expect from the new Ambassador? One tsismoso says- baka mas marami at masarap na ang kainan sa Embassy receptions.
What can the new Ambassador expect from the Filipino expatriates? Kodak dito, kodak doon. You might suffer from hot flashes.