Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Ambassador joins the Christmas celebration of the Philippine Central Association in Palmerston North, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy endeavours to reach out and be one with the Filipino community especially in celebrating the Christmas season, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Cultural Officer Ma. Victoria Reyes attended the Christmas Party and Induction of the 2014 Officers of the Philippine Central Association (PCA) on 15 December at Palmerston North, New Zealand. Mr. Angel Carambas, PCA Chairman, officers and members, their families and volunteers organized a splendid showcase of Filipino talents, creativity and artistry to celebrate Christmas in Palmerston North and to acknowledge the continuing support of PCA through the induction of its officers for 2014-2015.

A hearty welcome and introduction were made by emcees Ms. Carmela Laylo and Ms. Jeanna Mangoma followed by a wonderful medley of Christmas music rendered by the Rondalla group who set the festive mood and ambience, the much applauded performance of the Ukelele group of young children, Invocation by Mr. Rex Alfaras, PCA Social Executive and the welcome remarks of Mr. Angel Carambas.

In her message, Ambassador Benavidez thanked the PCA for the opportunity to join the Filipino community in Palmerston North in celebrating with them one of the most meaningful occasions resonating with the universal and uplifting message of hope, peace, love, joy and salvation at the birth of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. She conveyed the gratitude of the Philippine government and the Filipino people for the generous contributions of the New Zealand government for relief operations in the disaster stricken areas, the deployment of a C-130 plane for logistical support, expressions of sympathy and solidarity from Prime Minister John Key, members of Parliament and national and local leaders, assistance in providing disaster management expertise, the New Zealand public throughout the North and South Islands who are undertaking incredible fund raising drives in local councils, private companies, schools, media, civic clubs, multicultural groups, individuals, families, churches, associations and organizations, celebrities, Red Cross, UNICEF, Caritas, Save the Children New Zealand, among others, and in every sector of New Zealand society. “Our never ending gratitude to PCA, the Filipinos in New Zealand who like our fellow Kababayans throughout the world keep the true spirit of “Bayanihan” alive in words and in deeds, especially in times of great need. Home is where your heart is and even if majority of you have made New Zealand your second home, you still hold a special place in your hearts for your Motherland. You continue to endear yourselves with the people of New Zealand and this has contributed immensely to the outpouring of empathy, generosity and kindness springing forth among New Zealanders,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.

Subsequently, Ambassador Benavidez inducted into office the PCA Officers 2014, namely, Chairman Angel Carambas, Vic-Chairman Sandro Mercado, Secretary Dominic Lomiwes, Secretary Sub-Committee Jergen Bañez and Catherine Estrada, Treasurer Tony Villanueva, Teasurer Sub-Committee Chris Ouano, Social Executive Rex Alfaras, Social Executive Sub-Committee Dale Enriquez and Ian Mañago, Cultural Executive Ma. Lizette Gallaza, Cultural Executive Sub-Committee Carmela Laylo, Jeanna Mangoma, Grace Stent and Rosalie Watson, Youth and Sports Chairman benjie Bañez, Youth and Sports Sub-Committee Lawrence Boyd and Ian Estrada and Senior Advisors Vorn Andrews, Graham Stent and John Williams.

All the guests enjoyed the sumptuous buffet lunch, the celebratory entertainment of Santa’s Reindeers, Palmy Babes, Palmy Hunks and Palmy Junior Hunks, games and gift-giving.

The Filipino community Christmas gathering in Palmerston North captured and cherished the heart-warming traditions and shared the Filipinos’ rich cultural heritage in the joyous season of hope, thanksgiving and togetherness.

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