Celebrating PNDA’s 25th anniversary

Again, I’m trying to catch up on the October events. I’m almost there! Here are some photos of the Philippine National Day Association’s (PNDA) 25th anniversary gala event, held on Thursday, October 29th. My cousin, Leila Eleccion Pereira, who is so active in the Filipino-American community and greater community, and is on the PNDA board of directors, invited me to attend. PNDA is a nonprofit established in 1994 to promote three main projects: its Outstanding Filipino Youth Awards (OFYA), a recognition and scholarship program (OFYA has dispersed $100,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors since 2000); Filipino American Youth Leadership Conference (FAYLC), which empowers FilAm youths to gain skills and education needed for leadership positions; and LahiARTS, an arts empowerment program.

Celebrating 25 years in the community.
Celebrating 25 years in the community.

At Leila’s suggestion, I donated a copy of my novel as part of a silent auction item (coupled with an “Honor our Story” Philip Vera Cruz t-shirt). The San Esteban Schools Alumni Association secured a table at the gala event, and Leila was kind to include a congrats not only to PNDA on its 25 years but for the publication of my debut novel. A big heartfelt thank you to Leila! The silent auction item seemed to be appropo for the event because many of the songs and speeches honored the manongs who came before us.

Silent auction donation went to a woman who owns a museum in the Philippines. She told me that she is looking forward to adding my book to the museum's collection. I was honored.
Silent auction donation went to a woman who owns a museum in the Philippines. She told me that she is looking forward to adding my book to the museum’s collection. I was honored.

I was especially honored to meet Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) and the very down-to-earth Mona Pasquil, who was keynote speaker and honoree. Mona is Appointments Secretary for Governor Brown and is responsible for helping him build his administration by recruiting top candidates to serve the state. She is the first Filipino-American in California history to serve as the Appointments Secretary. She gave an inspirational speech to continue the legacy of our manongs who took care of us all.

For a more detailed rendering of the evening, check out my blog post at The Dress at 50.

My amazing cousins, Jane and Leila, who inspire me with their community activism.
My amazing cousins, Jane Vergara and Leila, who inspire me with their community activism.

 

Meeting Mona - with my sister Joyce and cousin Jane Vergara.
Meeting Mona – with my sister Joyce and cousin Jane.

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