On June 6, as Saturday evening falls across the city, Filipinos and Filipino Americans, their guests and their friends, will walk into a ballroom of the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington DC for the 2015 Philippine Independence Day Gala Ball.
They will dine and dance, watch cultural performances, meet new friends and old acquaintances, and bid for items in a silent auction.
They will also honor Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret), the invited keynote speaker. Taguba is a professional soldier who has taken on a new mission in his post army life as community ambassador of AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons). He travels around the country speaking to Asian American communities about healthy living, fitness, and retirement planning. The second American citizen of Philippine birth to be promoted to general officer rank in the U.S. Army, Taguba is currently leading a nationwide effort to secure the Congressional Gold Medal award for Filipino World War II veterans.
Hosting the evening program as co-emcees are Maryland Delegate Kris Valderrama, now on her third term in the state legislature and Filipino American lawyer and businessman, Brandon Flores Beyer. Both in their early 40’s and 30’s respectively, Valderrama and Beyer are inspiring models for a community that values new ideas, high energy, and experience. Valderrama’s rise to political prominence has been an excellent example to young Asian American women aspiring for public office. Beyer’s professional success as a small business attorney has been a source of pride as well.
The theme of the Philippine Festival this year is “Across Generations: Rising Together– Alone we can go faster, but together we can go farther.” As explained by Sony Busa, Board chairman of the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), sponsor of the gala and other festival events, “The multi-generational FilAm community has much to offer in the way of ideas and energy that promote the objectives of PAFC.”
He adds: “PAFC’s charitable goals can go farther together and they will. The focus on togetherness is not new. Nor is the idea of bringing the younger set as an equal and valued partner. However, this year has seen an active and enthusiastic focus on youth initiatives, and we expect to see more in the months ahead.”
Noting that the Festival each year raises thousands of dollars for charities both here and in the Philippines, PAFC President Mya Grossman said: “The charities that are the beneficiaries of PAFC’s fundraising efforts are those that raise the standard of living for impoverished families, provide tuition assistance for needy students, and raise awareness of Filipino culture. They are also designed to educate and promote programs that extol the virtues of what it means to be a Filipino and Filipino American.”
Kicking off this year’s festival events are an art exhibit, “Brown Strokes on a White Canvas,” on May 28 and the Family Picnic and Sportsfest on June 28. The opening reception for the art show will be held in the evening at the Philippine Embassy. The picnic and sports events will take place at the Tucker Road Recreational Park in Ft. Washington, Maryland.
Tickets for the gala ball are $85 per person ($95 after May 31), with premier seating set at $125.
For more information please contact Beth Wong, chairman of the Gala Ball at email@example.com or 301-395-1039.