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Written by: Freddy Burke

The Philippine American Friendship Community Inc. is proud to present the 2023 Induction and Turn Over Ceremony. Celebrating 33 years since its inception, PAFCOM continues to strive to be a force for good in the community. Held at Hank Gallo Community Center in Jersey City, over 100 attendees came to support PAFCOM’s Induction and Turn Over Ceremony. To kick off the program, Master of Ceremonies Edynne Baclay-Loquellano of CEBU. Inc. welcomed the exuberant crowd before all partook in the sumptuous lunch. Krizia Daya of International Women Artists led the National Anthems of the U.S and Philippines. followed by an Invocation by new PRO Freddy Burke. The Chairman’s report by Dr. Connie Uy, M.D and Treasurer’s report by Mrs. Maria Pilar Monje showed that PAFCOM is a strong organization with its values at its center and financial reporting is transparent to the public.

PAFCOM’s 2022 President, Lea Frain now passes the gavel to 2023 President Roxanne Cajigas, Ph.D along with a new executive board and committee. In her thank you speech, outgoing President Lea Frain congratulated PAFCOM in their recognition of the 2021 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas (Banaag Award). In her valedictory message, Dr. Roxanne said “that this year 2023 we will better serve the community in need and improve their quality of life as we soar higher.” The incoming PAFCOM board and officers were individually called up for the induction led by Consul Ricarte Abejuela III from the Philippine Consulate General in NY.

President-Elect 2024 Maricar Taino presented the honorary grand marshals for the Philippine American Friendship Community Inc. They are Mrs. Maria Pilar Monje, Professor Ismael Jampayas, Atty. Ferdinand Suba, and Dr. Cris Fernandez. The incoming 2023 Honorary grand marshals are very accomplished in their fields of work. The 2023 Grand Marshal for the Philippine American Friendship Community Inc. is Dr. Dely Go, presented by Dr. Connie Uy, M.D. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Dely Go said that it is an honor to have been considered as grand marshal and after observing PAFCOM as a group, she wants to support them. Dr. Dely will also be the 2023 PIDCI Grand Marshal and she is willing to accept the responsibilities. Dr. Dely was serenaded by a performance by CEBU. Inc Tribu Cebuano dancers.

New Auditor Shiran Ybanez presents the incoming 2023 PAFCOM muses. In Shiran’s own words the ‘Miss Universes’ of PAFCOM. The Master of Ceremonies Edynne Baclay-Loquellano revealed to the audience that she is the 2023 Mrs. PAFCOM. Krizia Daya will be the 2023 Miss PAFCOM, Adreinne Lacorte-Mercado is 2023 Miss Teen PAFCOM, Little Miss PAFCOM 2023 Kendall Hermosura and Miss PAFCOM LGBTQIA 2023 is Natalie Strider. Shiran added that this year’s muses are multi-talented in their own right.

Following the presentation was the pinning and oath taking of several new members of the Philippine American Friendship Community Inc. followed by the community singing together the song “If We Hold on Together”. Closing Remarks were made by President-Elect 2024 Maricar Taino. If you wish to be a part of the activities, join the PAFCOM family today!


Let me start with a great quote from one of the indigenous community Wisdom. “Rivers do not drink their own water. Trees do not eat their own fruit. The sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is … Life is good, when you are happy. But much better when others are happy because of you.” So Enjoy making a difference in your community; join the PAFCOM Family!

I am encouraging you to fill out the membership form or renew your membership. It's only 25 per year. As members you are a priority to participate in our events or projects. It's one of the goals of this administration to increase PAFCOM membership. It will be an honor for you to be part of the PAFCOM family for it is one of the 6 BANAAG presidential organization awardees in North East USA. PAFCOM was bestowed the BANAAG PRESIDENTIAL AWARD in 2021 for its continuous dedication through its various activities in public education, health care, immigration, and other relevant issues affecting Filipino Americans to promote their development and well being in the United States.

PAFCOM has gone a long way. The programs in the past 3 decades of PAFCOM reflected its strength. Just like in any organization, PAFCOM has obstacles to entangle, hardships to surpass and frustrations to overcome. Plus the covid-19 pandemic. Through these struggles, PAFCOM becomes stronger. This year we will better serve the community in need and improve their quality of life as we soar higher! Thus this year’s theme for our 33 year anniversary is “33 Years of GROWING Stronger, SERVING Better, SOARING Higher!”

KKK for KULTURA. KAWANGGAWA. KOMUNIDAD, or CULTURE. CHARITY. COMMUNITY. These 3 C’s are the core message of my term as President. CULTURE - we will continue preserving our Filipino heritage and further assimilate into mainstream society to foster closer relations between Fil-Ams and other ethnic communities through the Annual Parade and Festivals on June 25, 2023, Grand Marshal Gala and Coronation Night on May 20, 2023. We present a show about the rich cultural tradition of the Filipino people through folkloric songs and dances performed in neo-ethnic form via Leyte Dance Theater on May 13, 2023. CHARITY - PAFCOM continues to hold its charitable projects servicing our youth, elderly, handicapped, family, and LGBTQ. COMMUNITY - we bond together as a community to make people’s lives better. Therefore the following projects will be highlighted to benefit PAFCOM’s beneficiaries: the youth (Paaralan sa Konsulado - tie up with AFTA and PCGNY, College Readiness and College Application, PAFCOM Scholarship Program). The elderly (Senior appreciation/Halloween Party, Annual Health Fair and Trait to Broadway Show). The handicapped (Konsulado on the Go, Annual Health Fair and Pusong Pinoy Health Fair). The families (LAKBAY: PAFCOM - TAGTUYOT at TAGLAGAS, Fiesta sa Nayon/Annual Picnic, and Pasko sa Hudson) and the LGBTQ (LGBTQ Got Talent, Forum on Violence Against LGBTQIA and Hair and Makeup Contest). Please visit our website, for details.

I can’t do this on my own. But with the help of the board and you the members I’m positive we will achieve all of these. We are in this together. Kung sama sama kayang kaya. Let me end with a quote by Helen Keller. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Roxanne Racquel A. Cajigas, Ph.D.

President, PAFCOM, Inc.

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