The image of Dr. Jose Rizal was standing by the foyer of the Grand Ballroom of JW Marriott Hotel. So many cameras clicked that evening taking the pictures of guests with Rizal, in formal evening attire, Filipiniana or Black Tie. I say, he looked debonair in suit.
The Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. had chosen to honor Dr. Jose Rizal at the Gala to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary June 18, 2011. What could be a more fitting theme to honor the hero than this? The highlight for the evening was the recitation of “Mi Ultimo Adios” in Spanish by Dr. Jun Quion complete with his reenactment of Rizal’s death by gun execution. The audience listened quietly to Quion’s delivery of a part of the poem and watched him fell down after the shout of “Fuego!” There was a complete silence as he lay on the floor.
The audience also welcomed the presentation of the different designs and versions of the Maria Clara, the women’s attire during Rizal’s time. The name Maria Clara was a character mentioned in Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios. The models wowed the audience with the showcase of colorful gowns, old and new style. The presentation ended with the Spanish influenced Maria Clara dances performed by the members of the Pilipino American Cultural Arts Society.
“Consecrated to a Great Ideal”
For a change, Mitzi Picard, the chairperson for the 2011 gala, elevated the choice of a theme for the celebration to a higher degree. Honoring the acclaimed Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, stirred in us a renewed interest to reflect on his wisdom and ideals hereby finding significance and relevance of this Filipino hero’s strong advocacy of “consecrate to a great ideal” to present time. He died a martyr sacrificing for the good of his motherland, the Philippines. How can we relate to this? As an organization, in preservation of the Philippine cultural heritage and ideologies, the PAFC should continue to do its ultimate best to serve the community and with full dedication, should strive its very best to extend help to our less fortunate fellowmen both here and in the Philippines. As individuals, with personal sacrifices in terms of time, money and energy, we give something back to the community by helping out with volunteer work manifesting the spirit of Bayanihan.
The Elegant Gala Ball
The JW Marriott Hotel’s grand ballroom had its elegant festive air with the exotic lavender orchids claiming prominence on center of each dressed table. The theme echoes a big bust of Dr. Jose Rizal on the riser, in front. The guests led by the new Ambassador, H.E. Jose Cuisia, Jr. and Mrs. Victoria Cuisia, were welcomed by all PAFC board and officers, all lined up in elegant Filipiniana attire. The lively band played “We Say Mabuhay” as the guests entered to locate their proper seats, ushered in by the lovely Filipiniana attired and ever faithful Philippine Nurses Association officers and members.
I could not help but admire the combined elegance of the ballroom and the guests. In the true meaning of a gala ball, they complimented each other for elegance and good taste. The food was an excellent duo of steak and fish, a fine dining fare. The silent auction attracted bidders.
The Keynote Speaker
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. was the keynote speaker. The new ambassador’s message was: “I hope that the Filipino-American community in the Metropolitan Washington, DC and beyond will take a common position and support each other in advancing their goals for the Philippines and in the United States.” He commended PAFC for adopting the 150th anniversary of national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal as the gala’s theme. Many guests sought after the new Ambassador for endless picture taking,
The PAFC recognized and gave awards to 1) Corporation: Global Village Imports, Inc.; 2) Organization: APODACA; 3) Individuals: Cris Comerford; Rodney D. Garcia; and Gloria T. Caoile. All recipients were deserving of their awards for their remarkable contributions to the community, as true examples of those who are consecrated to the ideal.
The masters of ceremonies, Cristina Sison and Joey Velilla, did a wonderful job of smooth maneuvering the event’s program. They were very good example of lending support to PAFC, belonging to other organizations like Ateneo and La Salle groups. Other organizations who worked side by side with us in various capacities were: the PAMWE, Bicol, Accountants, PALM, Feed the Hungry, Tanghalang Pilipino, UPMASA, NAFFAA, VFW, FARV, APO, PAMWE, College of the Holy Spirit, Library of Congress, PACAS, Ang Bulakenyo, Gawad Kalinga, Mabuhay, PACC, TAU Gamma, Zambalenos and others.
He attendees went home happy that night. In consideration were: the ambiance of the grand ballroom, excellent food, lively band, quality program and enjoyable dancing.
The organizer, the PAFC, with all the volunteers, did their ultimate best to make the gala ball a success and it was a success! The directors and officers were very appreciative of the numerous congratulatory remarks they received from the guests. In return, they warmly thanked them all.