Nov 2, 2009

2009 Progress Awards: Ramil, Bueno and Chapman Leads Awardees

By Fil-Am Observer Staff
Fil-Am Observer, November 2009 Issue

Antonio V. Ramil of Maui was recognized with the "Golden Sakada" Award for Lifetime Achievement; Dwayne Bueno of Oahu was presented the Juan Dionisio Award for Distinguished Service, and Don Chapman, also of Oahu, was honored with the Ating Kaibigan (Our Friend) Award, at the Progress Awards program sponsored by the United Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH). The 2009 edition of the awards program was held last October 17, at the Coral Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.

Ramil has been actively involved in community service for more than thirty years. His contributions include playing key roles in the organization of Binhi At Ani and the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Maui (originally known as Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Maui), two of the leading Filipino-oriented organizations on Maui. As UFCH president (1988-1990), he led in initiating the Progress Awards, and in expanding the organization's scholarship program. During his two-year term, UFCH awarded $40,000 scholarships. As president of the Maui Filipino Community Council (1982-1984), he steered MFCC to support the establishment of a State Park At Makena. As president of the Kahului School Parent Teachers Association (1984-85) and the Maui District PTSA (1987-1989), he helped in crystallizing support for a new intermediate school in central Maui which turned out to be Maui Waena Intermediate School. As officer and member of the Hawaii Committee for the Humanities (1985-1991), he participated in developing and launching History Day in the schools throughout Hawaii.

He has received numerous recognitions that include the Thomas Jefferson Award presented by The Honolulu Advertiser and the American Institute for Public Service in 1989; one of the 100 Outstanding Citizens of Maui County presented in connection with the celebration of the centennial of the establishment of the County in 2005; the Masaru "Pundy" Yokouchi Lae'ula Award given by the Maui Historical Society in connection with the celebration of the Filipino centennial in Hawaii in 2006; and the 2008 Parents of the Year Award presented to him and wife, Luz, by the Philippine Cultural Foundation of Hawaii.

He authored and published "Kalai'aina County of Maui" in 1984, the first comprehensive political and social history of the County of Maui. The book has been used as reference by government officials and serious students of Hawaii history. Copies of the book may be borrowed from all Hawaii's public libraries.

An attorney, he became the first foreign law school graduate to be admitted to the Hawaii State bar, taking and passing the Hawaii State bar examinations in 1976, and has been in active private law practice since . A graduate of the College of Law, Univ. of the Philippines, he was one of the ten topnotchers of the Philippine bar examinations in 1965.

One event that Ramil considers among his most memorable experiences is walking 30 miles from the old Paia Sugar Mill to the old Pioneer Sugar Mill (Lahaina), New Year's day 2006, in celebration of the centennial of the Filipinos in Hawaii. He completed the walk in nine hours and 30 minutes.

Dwayne Bueno is an accountant, Hawaii Western Management Group TPA administrator. He became the youngest UFCH president (2001-2003) and collaborated in carrying out various programs with such organizations Sariling Gawa Youth Council, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Bayanihan MOTTEP, Department of Health, Tobacco Coalition and the University of Hawaii. As president and chapter founder of Namnama ti Abagatan Carayan (Laoag) USA and president of United Laoaguenos of Hawaii, he has led in the making of substantial contributions to promote the health and general welfare of the people of his native Laoag City.

As recipient of the Ating Kaibigan Award, Don Chapman stands out as the awardee who is not of Filipino ancestry. He is recognized for many years of support for Filipino programs and projects. As MidWeek newspaper editor, he has played a substantial role in spreading the good work of the Filipino community, both in print and on-line. Notably, reports on the building of the FilCom Center and on the Filipino Centennial were featured in MidWeek contributing in rousing public support for such projects.

Cecilia Villafuerte received the award in Community Service. She has served as president of Filipino Chamber of Commerce and established the Filipino Entrepreneur of
the Year, now in its 20th year; president of the Filipino Business Women's Association for six years; and founded the FBWA Foundation. She is a mortgage loan officer with Western Union.

Julius Soria, awardee in Education, is an Ilokano instructor of the UH Manoa Ilokano Language and Literature Program for 12 years. He has been a student advisor of a university-based student organization, the Timpuyog. Soria is also credited for helping out in the sustaining of the Ilokano Program of Farrington High in Oahu and in the course delivery for Ilokano Language and Culture, a non-credit pilot program offered at the Maui Community College.

Maria A.F. Etrata, Entrepeneurship awardee, is president of Preferred Home and Community Based Services, twin home and community-based facilities providing both mental and developmental participants the opportunity to get involved in community-based programs. The facilities provide day-health and outreach programs.

Edna Alikpala, awardee in Government Service, leads the secretarial team at the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, City and County of Honolulu, and her biggest strength is her "can do" attitude as she coordinates the activities of the office and ensures that the division runs smoothly and effectivetly.

Nancy Atmospera Walch, awardee in Healthcare & Medicine, holds a bachelor of science in nursing and a masters in public health from the Univ. of Hawaii-Manoa. She is chairwoman and CEO of AIM, Inc., and Advantage Health Care Provider, Inc.

Hernando Tan, awardee in Hospitality, is president of the UNITE HERE! Local 5, one of the largest and strongest labor unions in Hawaii representing nearly 12,000 hotel and health care workers in the islands.

Helena Manzano, recipient of Humanitarian award, is program manager of the Pilipina Rural Project Services Program, Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC).

Fred Galdones, awardee in Labor & Construction, is president of ILWU Local 142.

Byrne Munoz, awardee in Media & Communication, started his career in broadcasting as co-host of Filipino Fiesta on KHON TV-2 in 1977. In the same year he debuted as radio announcer in KISA, and then moved to KNDI. He hosted his own show on KIKU Channel 13, "Seeing Stars with Byrne", with Flor Martinez. Many consider him the most popular Filipino radio personality in Hawaii.

Meredith Hermosura, awardee in Science & Technology, is a research scientist, and holds a Ph. D. in biomedical science (UH-Manoa), M.S in pharmaceutical science (University of the Philippines (U.P.) Diliman), and B.S. Zoology (magna cum laude, U.P. Diliman).

Tyrone John Takahashi, awardee in Sports, is grandmaster and head of the Pedoy School of Escrima. He started training at the early age of five, under the tutelage of his grandfather Great Grandmaster Braulio Pedoy and his uncle Batikan Eduardo Pedoy. He is also trained in other martial arts disciplines such as Shotokan Karate, Kempo Karate, Boxing, and Kali and Arnis.

Edith Gudoy, awardee in Travel, is president of Everlasting Travel Services, Inc. A consolidator, the company has been one of the top producers of airline ticket sales. A member of the Better Business Bureau, it has been accredited with an A+ rating.

Marnelli Joy Basilio, Outstanding Youth awardee, currently serves as the State Youth Representative for the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Hawaii State Board and the lead chairperson for Filipinos Linked in Pride at UH-Manoa. She coordinated the Regional Conference in 2007, coordinated the Pamantasan Conference also in 2007, and has served as group (barangay) leader for Sariling Gawa Youth Council, helping mentor and instill pride in high school youths of their rich Filipino heritage and to develop their leadership potential.

In his remarks, UFCH president Eddie Agas noted that the Progress Awards program exemplifies not only the "commitment to the noble ideals and aspirations of UFCH as an organization" but also "a manifestation of concrete support for and active participation" in calls for unity and nation building.

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