Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador hosts fellowship high tea for Filipino community leaders at "Ang Bahay"

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As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out and be one with the Filipino community in projecting a positive influence of and high regard for the Philippines and the Filipino people and promoting the richness and variety of Filipino culture and heritage in New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted a fellowship high tea for the officers of the Federation of Filipino Associations, Clubs and Societies, Inc. (FFASC) at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence) on 1 February 2014. They are Dr. Antonio Noblejas, QSM, and Presidential Banaag Awardee of the Commission of Filipinos Overseas (CFO), President, based in Auckland, Ms. Cherry Andrews, Vice-President, based in Rotorua, Ms. Rolyn Demafelis, Secretary, based in Wellington and Mr. Abel Foronda, Treasurer, based in Kapiti Coast. Earlier in the day, they held the FFASC officers meeting. FFASC is the umbrella organization of various Filipino groups and organizations in different parts of New Zealand.

Ambassador Benavidez warmly welcomed the FFASC leaders who enjoyed the Filipiniana ambience and furnishings of “Ang Bahay” and the high tea function especially prepared for them. They shared the priorities and activities of FFASC to be undertaken for the year and the annual grand Filipino community reunion every Labour Day weekend to be organized by the Filipino hosts in Taranaki in October 2014. Ambassador Benavidez reiterated gratitude for the overflowing support, generosity and demonstration of the proven and time-tested “bayanihan” spirit of Dr. Noblejas and the FFASC officers and members and the Filipino communities throughout the North and South islands in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan which devastated Central Philippines in November 2013. “You continue to endear yourselves with the people of New Zealand and this has contributed immensely to the groundswell of empathy, generosity and kindness springing forth among New Zealanders. The Filipino’s unshakeable faith in GOD, remarkable resiliency and steadfast hope amidst the rubble and the ruins proved far stronger than the biggest storm ever recorded and one of the worst tragedies that the world has ever seen. We see a country and a people deeply grateful to New Zealand, our other partner countries and governments, Filipino communities here and in other countries, multilateral institutions and donors, non-government organizations, individuals and friends all over the world who saw and felt the need and helped swiftly standing by our side all the way”, Ambassador Benavidez stated.

Dr. Noblejas, Ms. Andrews, Ms. Demafelis and Mr. Foronda thanked Ambassador Benavidez for the hospitality and graciousness, making them feel at home and for her unstinting support for and the Philippine Embassy’s invaluable assistance to and consistent cooperation with FFASC, the different Filipino organizations and wider Filipino groups and communities all over Aotearoa. She assured them of the Philippine Embassy’s continued service and accessibility and thanked them for its vital partnership with FFASC for the benefit and well-being of more than 40,000 Filipinos in New Zealand.

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