IT'S still a month and a half away but preparations are underway for the 29th Fiesta Night of the Philippine American Association of the Carolinas (PAAC).
Incumbent PAAC president Junie Ramos said it would be a night to showcase the best Philippine Folk Dances. “It's also about bringing awareness to our natural resources and the environment,” said Ramos, who hails from Pasig City, Sta.Cruz, Laguna.
Ramos used the Filipino term “kalikasan” which translates to nature/environment in English as the theme of this year’s fiesta night. He said it's timely in light of what's happening in the Philippines and around the world.
“This event is about creating awareness of the need to protect environment. As for the theme we wanted to dedicate it to the Yolanda victims. We thought about 'bayanihan' (community spirit) or something to that effect - then it evolved to 'kalikasan' since calamities are usually caused by the way we've been mistreating nature,” Ramos said.
Ramos said the PAAC wants to instill that awareness and love for the environment.
“In our gala night, we'll back up the theme with most, if not all, of our dances that has something to with 'nature', like magtanim ay di biro (planting is never fun), bulaklakan (flowers), diwata (fairy), among others and we would explain our presentation to others,” he said.
PAAC raised money for the victims of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which devastated the Philippine provinces of Leyte, Cebu and Samar last year.
The fiesta night would be held on Oct. 11, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Resort Hotel 670 Verdae Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29607, Ramos added.
PAAC is composed of Filipino and American families from the upstate area of South Carolina, specifically from Greenville/Spartanburg and as far as Atlanta and North Carolina and nearby areas.
In an email message, Ramos said it was in 1980 when the first 17 families started the PACC. These families are the Casidas, Franciscos, de Guzmans, Espiritus, Handogs, Loys, Saldanas, Baquirans, Muanas, Loftis, Neals, Duckers, Burgers, Milfords, Diamanos, Manous and Chings.
As of this date there are 300 registered families. Ramos said there are still 100 more unregistered. “But even non-members are invited to attend in all the activities and these are the people we would like to reach out to,” Ramos said.
Based on their website www.paac-sc.org the organization would like to provide a place to foster Filipino culture and heritage even if they're staying in the US.
Here are portions of my interview with Ramos:
Q: What year was that when the first "five families" started the PAAC?
Q: Can you provide me the names of the original
There were actually 17; Casida, Francisco, deGuzman, Espiritu, Handog, Loy, Saldana, Baquiran, Muana, Loftis, Neal, Ducker, Burger, Milford, Diamanos, Manous, and Ching
Q: Aside from the Gala Night what other activities were done/sponsored by PAAC during your watch?
Simbang Gabi(Midnight Mass), New Year’s Eve Party, Easter Sunday Picnic, Summer Picnic, Donations to Orphanages, Typhoon Victims.
Q-How many member families right now?
We have about 300 registered families, probably 100 more unregistered. Not everybody pays their annual membership though. But still everybody’s welcome to join our events !
Q-Is membership voluntary?
Q-Aside from the beneficiary of fundraising which are all institutions back home- you have local projects also?
Donations to Harvest Hope Food Bank, Participation at International Festivals in Greenville and Spartanburg.
Q- What are your other projects?
We used to visit and perform at some Nursing Homes and also Church functions for the Elderly, Independence Day celebration in NJ for 2 years, local parades in Greenville. We also used to celebrate Valentine’s party where we induct new officers. At one time we even have a welcoming committee for newly arrived Filipinos in the community.
(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas.
Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com and at http://www.blogher.com/myprofile/spdennis54. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis.
You can also connect with her through her Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046580074350/) and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Straight-from-the-Carolinas-/49415695067…)
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