Aug 11, 2009

COVO Holds Visayan Century Awards Gala

By Fil-Am Observer Staff
Front Page, Fil-Am Observer August 2009 Issue

HONOLULU, Oahu- As part of its year-long celebration of the Congress of Visayan Organizations [COVO] held the Visayan Century Awards Gala last July 19 at the DeRussy Hall of the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Gracing the occasion were Honolulu City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell, representing the Mayor, and Consul Paul Raymund Cortes, acting head of post of the Philippine Consulate, both of whom gave brief messages.

There were three award categories: posthumous, organizational, and individual. The statewide awards were given to individual [deceased and living] and oraganizations who have worked towards unification of the Visayan community, promoted Visayan culture and traditions, and assisted in the growth and development of the Visayan and the larger Filipino community in Hawaii.

The 12 posthumous awadees were: Juan Dionisio Sr. [Oahu], Antonio Ypil [Oahu], Inocenta Arrogante [Oahu], Ricardo Labez [Kauai], Guadalupe Bulatao [Kauai], Zachary Labez [Kauai], Florentino Hera [Lanai], Paterno Pencerga [Maui] Pedro Razo [Maui], Agapito and Catalina Diama [Big Island] and Jose del Mar [Big Island]. The awardees were honored in a PowerPoint presentation, and family members and representatives received the awards.

The three organizational awardees were: the Balaan Catalina Society [founded in 1930], represented by its president Leilani Cabanig; the United Visayan Community of Hawaii [founded in 1948], represented by its president Angie Vendiola; and the Santo Nino Club of Maui [founded in 1962], represented by its president Vergel Lonzaga.

There were 10 nominees for the individual [living] awards, as follows: Ben Acohido [Oahu], Bernaldo Bicoy [Oahu], Serafin Colmenares, Jr. [Oahu], Emme Tomimbang [Oahu], Raymund and Bessie Obra [Oahu], Allen Villaflor [Kauai], Consorcia Estenzo [Kauai], Laurence Sotto [Maui], Edith Mirrafuentes and Concepcion del mar Higa [Big Island]. After introducing all ten nominees and presenting them with certificates of nomination on stage, the judges announces the following three winners: Emme Tomimbang of Oahu, Serafin Colmenares Jr. of Oahu, and Allan Villaflor of Kauai.

In between the award presentations, the crowd was treated to an impressive lists of entertainers. Well known performers and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners Brother Noland and his Brother Tony Conjugacion reminisced about their visayan roots and boyhood days, while providing samples of their musical talents. Priscilla Kuulei Jeffry, a volunteer at the Filipino Community Center, gave a wonderful hula number. The "singing consul," Philippine Consul Paul Raymund Cortes, was a hit, singing two popular numbers. Kristian Lei, also a Cebuana, was very impressive with her vocasl renditions. And the duet of Consul Cortes and Kristian Lei- singing My Prayer- gave a rousing finale to the evening entertainment.

Dancing, which was initiated by an Ati-atihan reprise performed by the Aklan Cultural Society dancers in their colorful costumes, as well as a generous number of door prizes, added more vibrance and color to an already successful and memorable celebration of the Visayan centennial in Hawaii.***

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