LOS ANGELES – It’s a triple celebration on October 28, for the Philippine Heritage Institute International, a private foundation established in 1989, by the late Naomi Palma-Armada: Filipino American History Month, PHII’s 28 anniversary, and Tribute 2017, annual recognition and dinner to be held this year at the Pasadena Hilton with Consul General Adelio Angelito S. Cruz as keynote speaker.
It’s the 19th White House Millennium Council Award to Outstanding Filipino American Nurses and the 11th President’s Award: ‘Profiles in Service, Pillars of Community.’ PHII had also established the Founder’s Award and before Naomi’s passing, only two organizations have been honored: Philippine News and Dr. Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement.
PHII’s annual recognition event is in answer to the White House Millennium Council Initiative from then Pres. Bill Clinton, who came with his wife Hillary to Los Angeles in January 1998. They created the Council in August 1997, with the theme “Honor the Past, Imagine the Future’ and traveled across the United States to promote its objectives – an agenda with 21 ‘Ways to Commemorate the Millennium.’
“Mrs. Clinton gave a speech, stirring and inspirational,” said the late Mrs. Armada. In 1999, PHII became a partner to the WHMC and selected agenda item ‘Millennium Recognition Awards’ to pay homage to outstanding individuals whose contributions have enhanced the quality of life in the community. Both awards to nurses and community leaders are the result of the partnership.
Awardees can only be nominated by PHII trustees or past awardees. Besides academic excellence and professional leadership, the selection committee also looks into the nominees’ volunteerism.
Outstanding nurse awardees are: Lilibeth Pipo Cruz, BSN, RN, Department Administrator, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Medical Center; Mary Reyes-Gonzales, MSN, RN-BC, NMF, Associate Director, Cedars- Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; Maria Rosario D. Ocampo, BSN, RN, CNOR, Clinical Nurse III, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; Sasha Alexis Rarang, PhD, MSN, CCM, RN, Director of Nursing, CNI College in Orange; and Joan Romero, BSN, MSN, RN, Associate Director, Cedars- Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.
Pillars of Community awardees are: Dolores ‘Loleng’ Baradas, Doctor of Dental Medicine, Author of Towering Faith of a Mother; Jesus ‘Jess’ Española, internationally-acclaimed animator and director, first Filipino to receive an Emmy for the TV series The Simpsons; Teodorica ‘Cheody’ Maglanoc Fortunato, president of the Filipino American Tarlac Association, election inspector for six terms for the Orange County Election Board; Susana de Guzman, current president, Shotokan Karate Academy Intl.- Los Angeles HQ, past president, Malasiquinians of America; Grand Master Conrad Manaois, U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Technical Director of MOTHER (Movement to Help End Rape & Other Child Abuses); Millie Recio Moncada, Governor, United Batanguenos of Southern California and LAUSD English as a Second Language instructor; and Lillibeth Espinosa Navarro, super heroine for the disabled, founder and executive director, Communities Actively Living Independently & Free.
PHII seeks to improve the quality of life affecting Filipino American communities through research, education and recognition with the youth as its main focus; broaden the general public’s knowledge and understanding about the culture of the Philippines; educate the general public and policy makers on the key issues of Filipino American communities geared towards their advancement and well-being; herald the accomplishments of FilAms and organizations that make significant contributions to the Filipino American experience; and recognize individuals as role models and coordinate outreach programs and special events to the effect.
The early focus of PHII, from 1989 to 1999, was to promote Philippine culture and bridge cultural gaps for more understanding through sponsorships of various FilAm events: Saturday summer classes on the National Language for grade school students and arts exhibits for Filipino artists at the Philippine Consulate; Rizal Day commemorations; fundraisers for Philippine float at the Rose Parade, chaired by Dr. Ludy A. Ongkeko, and Pearl S. Buck Foundation for Amerasians (for which Naomi received a nomination, but she couldn’t make the trip to Washington D.C., so she forfeited the award); media symposium with Father Reuter, SJ and past members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines with PHL Post Martial Law as the theme; and many other advocacies.
Executive Director is Dr. Anna Lourdes Armada-Chickey; Josie E. De Jesus, president; and Arthur ‘Jojo’ Armada, vice president. Trustees serving as officers: Vangie So, secretary; Lily Lara, treasurer and Tessie Lightholder, assistant treasurer; and Eddie Ronquillo, auditor. Board of Trustees: Teresita A. Caisip, Victoria de Leon, Sarla & Jake Duller, Rene Galano, Willy Leano, Willie Manacsa, Pedro Ramirez, and Virginia B. Vivas. Advisers are: Dr. Ludy A. Ongkeko, Mon‘chito’ Mandap and Violeta O. Unabia. Photographers: Marcelo V. De Jesus, Jr. and Romy Lara.
PHII welcomes new trustees to be inducted on October 28: Amelia Armada-Carpio, Administrator/Director of Patient Care Services, Alpha Care Hospice, Inc.; Freya Cruz Nishimura, Events Senior Director, Asian American Professional Association, and Francisco C. Enverga, DDS, general and cosmetic dentist at his own clinic in Ontario, California.