The completion of the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center in the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex in Tampa is the work of a seamless, integrated fabric of talents that blended perfectly. It consisted of generous and focused people who have diligently and selflessly given their time and energies since the founding of the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) in 1995.
At the time when Roberto Ruelo came to Florida from Chicago in the early 1990s, there were already efforts and talks about building a small cultural center primarily by members of the Pilipino-American Association of Tampa Bay (PAAT). In late 1992, Cesar Domagas, then president of PAAT, appointed Bob Ruelo to chair its clubhouse committee.
Finding that the lot donated by Dr. Bobby and Josie Villanueva to PAAT for its clubhouse was small and that PAAT alone cannot build a center for all the community to use, Bob decided to involve the various organizations in the community.
This led to the formation in June 9, 1993 of the not-for-profit Philippine Cultural Center and Library Title Holding Corporation (THC). The incorporators were: Bill Ick of the Philippine Performing Arts Company (PPAC), Rudy Curioso of the Pilipino-American Political Aggregation (PAPAG), Maria Feir of PAAT, Dr. Ben Abinales of the Philippine Medical Society of Florida West Coast Chapter (PMS), Dr. Carlos Soriano of the Filipino American Club of Pinellas County (FACPC), Ed Pabilonia of the Philippine Nurses Association of Tampa Bay (PNA), Ed Bilbao of Ang Bisaya of Florida (ABF), Bert Almeda of the Phil-American Kiwanis Club of Florida (Kiwanis), and Linda Capua of the Philippine Medical Auxiliary Florida West Coast Chapter (Auxiliary).
The idea was for each organization to be the owner of the cultural center and library in proportion to its contribution in the construction of the building. Joey Omila was elected the first president of THC. Claire Ick, who went along with her husband to attend meetings, volunteered to help Dr. Ben Mosquera, who was in charge of fundraising.
As chairman, Claire introduced the concepts and named the first charity event the Sampaguita Ball. Committee members Dolly Mosquera, Maria Raffinan, Clem Lazaro, Luz Pinder, and Lari Cummings worked on what became the most successful and well attended first reserved seating event in Tampa Bay.
Joey Omila and Claire developed the Sampaguita Ball logo; Joey coming up with the dancing partners in terno and barong tagalog, and Claire adding the Sampaguita lei around it. Henceforth, Sampaguita Ball concepts have been adopted at all formal events in Tampa Bay, including the cena de media noche (midnight snack) that has now become a staple of all formal parties in Tampa Bay.
Sampaguita Ball ’94 and ’95 were both chaired by Claire. In another fundraiser, Claire and Bill Ick initiated the handling of a concession stand for the Lightning Hockey Games at the Tropicana Field (then the Thunderdome) that earned the corporation its first $10,000. With those successes, Claire was asked by Bob to run as the next president of the Title Holding Corporation. Claire told Bob that she would accept the presidency only if the corporation becomes a non-profit tax-exempt corporation that would be owned by the Filipino-American community, rather than the contributing organizations.
She was convinced that if the community worked together to build their center, the probability of success would be much higher. She believed that in order to achieve the goal of building a center and not continually assess the community, the corporation must establish annual events that would later partially support the Center after it’s built. All donations and fundraising income should immediately be spent on the purchase of a piece of land. By slowly building on the property, the community will be inspired to donate more as they see their money fund an endeavor they can immediately benefit from.
Intrigued and finding that the incorporating organizations were not contributing as hoped for, Bob convinced the THC to incorporate PCFI (executed in March 28, 1995), dissolve the THC, and transfer all of its assets to the PCFI. Claire was elected first president of PCFI.
In July 3, 1995, the Foundation bought its first 5-acre property at Nine Eagles Drive using funds from the Thunderdome concession project, large donations from PPAC and PAAT, proceeds from the Sampaguita Ball ’94 and other fundraising events, and grass roots contributions. The location of the property was dictated by requests from the Filipino American community that it be centrally located between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
A week later, Bob secured the PCFI’s Section 501©(3) organization tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. After closing on the property, Claire stunned the board of directors of PCFI by proposing to hold the first Philippine Festival the next year, April 1996. Bill enjoined to convince the Board that the project was feasible and manageable.
Reluctantly, the Board voted to go ahead with PhilFest (the name was coined by Joey from “Philippine Festival,” which Bob subsequently registered as a service mark). After Roger Caculitan conducted the necessary site planning and permitting work, the Board and many volunteers headed by the Philippine Basketball Association then president Gerry Canezo, Butch Nivera, and Butch Lotuaco (donor of the first sign on the property that said, “Future Philippine Cultural Center”) started cutting trees and leveling the swampy 5-acres, together with members of the PAAT, PASL and others.
Efforts to raise funds to pay for landfill, contractor’s fees, etc. poured in. There was a tennis tournament chaired by Dr. Cesar Ruiz, and a bowling tournament sponsored by the Philippine American Sports League headed by Frank Estrada and Fred Llenarez, and the Phil-Am Bowling League members. There was also the Fun Kruz chaired by Joey, and bingo/mahjong/poker parties, dances, etc.
On September 24, 1995, Meden “Jimmy” Jamo chaired the groundbreaking picnic at a small cleared area of the 5-acre property. Everyone was jubilant and very excited. However, three weeks prior to the festival in April of 1996, when some members of the board visited the site, they were shocked to find the grounds still muddy and waterlogged. There were suggestions to cancel the event, despite the fact that tickets had been sold and billboard signs that were underwritten by Dr. Cesar Cruz to publicize the event were already up. Claire persisted.
Initiated by Dr. Mike Dionaldo, who first handed her his check, the Board gave Claire about $9,000 in donations to pay for landfill and the contractors. The excitement and generosity of the community escalated. Aurora Fortson donated her design/ architectural skills and designed the first architectural concept of the Cultural Center, which became PCFI’s logo for the next five years. Roger Caculitan initiated all site engineering work with some help from Arnel Santos; Dee Perez volunteered his time and equipment to clear the property with the help of Roland Lazaro, Val Blanco, Rocky Barrido, and many others.
Confidently, Bill Ick chaired the first PhilFest on April 13-14, 1996, with committee members Bob Ruelo, Joey Omila, James Jamo, Roger Caculitan, Bing Curioso, Rudy Curioso, Jojo Lontok, Claire Ick, Frank Estrada and Roland Lazaro. The group then became fondly known as the “dream team.” The group recommended to the Board that all board members, officers and volunteers, except for the youth, would pay for the entrance fees and food during PhilFest. The Board adopted the rule not only for PhilFest, but also for all PCFI-sponsored events.
Consequently, this unprecedented and unselfish board action anchored PCFI’s many successes. Jojo suggested the Miss PhilFest contest, seconded by Joey who was in charge of entertainment. On the first day of that two-day festival, the first group of food vendors, Regina’s Food Products, Jolens, Maxims, Aling Fely, Bob and Chris Shum, and Jimmy Jimenez Lechons were flustered because by 2:00 p.m. they had already served all the food that they were supposed to serve until the next day.
The PhilFest site was packed; side street parking was bumper to bumper for more than a mile on both sides of Nine Eagles Drive. The first arco constructed and donated by Dr. Ernie Colina, as well as the small Bahay Kubo donated by Dr. Jun Cordon, stirred nostalgia in all the guests. The small, shaky, rented stage bustled with performances by the Philippine Performing Arts Company dancers and the Philippine Choral Group singers. The entertainers grabbed the attention of more than 6,000 visitors in the very first outdoor Philippine festival in Tampa Bay.
Joey Omila, Jojo Lontok, Bing Curioso, Aba Villagomeza, Connie Chanrasmi, and Olive Santiano were all sweats and smiles as they led the entertainment extravaganza. Then there was the Arnis exhibition by the students of Dr. Willie Matias. The Bad Habitz Band led by Dr. Ric Galura with Dr. William Cua, and the Total Sound Band entertained from atop a wooden platform while hundreds danced to their music till midnight.
The Karaoke booth of Dee Perez was packed with hopeful talents. Bob, Jean Ruelo, and Rudy Curioso worked tirelessly in ticket/food coupon sales and accounting for the donations. Jean, Vadjie Corpuz, Nilda de la Cruz, Shirley Seepersad, and Lita Iyog over the years alternately handled the task of accounting for the Miss/Mrs. PhilFest donations.
The highlight of the Philippine Fiesta was the Miss PhilFest pageant. The first Miss PhilFest was Angie Raffinan, daughter of Drs. Jun and Maria Raffinan, who chaired the Hospitality Booth. The dust had not yet settled when Claire requested the Board to approve the purchase of another 5-acre adjacent property as parking area for the next year’s festival. However, PCFI did not have any money since the $51,000 net profit generated by PhilFest ’95 was used to pay for the contractors and the almost 3- 5 ft. soil and white stone fill for the site.
Resolved to push forward, the PCFI Board approved the application for a short-term loan from NationsBank to pay for the adjacent 5-acre property, with the guarantee from the PhilFest ’97 chairman, Bill Ick, that the event will generate more than $50,000 to cover the loan. In September 1996, Maria Raffinan chaired the Sampaguita Ball at the Hilton Inn in St. Petersburg, and in October 31, 1996, PCFI bought the second 5-acre parcel of land.
Once more, the volunteers went to work. A construction and property development committee was formed with Roger Caculitan, Aurora Fortson, Ed Pulido, Roland Lazaro, Bill Ick, James Jamo, Arnel Santos, Bob Ruelo, Rudy Curioso, Joey Omila and Claire Ick. Ho Ho’s at Dale Mabry became the committee’s official meeting place, with Bill Ick, Bob Ruelo, Roland Lazaro and others alternating to pay for the meals (the group started the PCFI trend of not charging their meeting meals and expenses to the Foundation).
PhilFest ’97, led by the same dream team of PhilFest ’96, signed up new vendors such as Delio and Ellen Mata, and Merly and Virgie Panganiban. Ambassador Raul Rabe graced the event.
With the donation of Roland and Clem Lazaro of a silk screen machine, the PPAC dancers headed by Dan Rojas and Jay del Rosario produced the flags of the various participating organizations, namely: Philippine Performing Arts Company, Maharlika Society of Florida, Ang Bisaya of Florida, Filipino-American Club of Pinellas, Phil-Am Sports League, Bicol Florida Association, Philippine Association of Ladies of MacDill, Philippine Medical Society, Philippine Medical Auxiliary, Pilipino-American Association of Tampa Bay, Philippine Nurses Association, Philippine Basketball Association and Philippine American Political Aggregation.
Another new PhilFest feature was the Bingo booth, headed by Clem Lazaro and Estela Gennantonio, assisted by Dave and Nenita Sweet. With the support of the Miss PhilFest ’97 candidates, especially the winner, Michelle Dy, daughter of Dr. Rodolfo and Rose Dy, the PhilFest netted $59,500 in profit versus its goal of $52,000. Bill and his committee had fulfilled their promise.
Three days after the event, PCFI paid off its entire loan from NationsBank. That year, Roland and Clem Lazaro became the highest individual donor until Year 2000, PAAT the highest association donor until 2001, and Regina’s Food Store the top PhilFest vendor. Lari Cummings chaired the Sampaguita Ball ’97 held at the Clearwater Convention Center.
Year 1998 brought a lot of exciting things for PCFI. When guests came for PhilFest ’98, they found themselves entering the newly fenced property through the beautiful concrete/steel gate with a sign “Philippine Cultural Center” and the beautiful bamboo arco crafted and donated by Ver Bautista and the Morong group. The excitement and generosity of the community exploded.
These were the people who made it happen: the fence volunteers were Ver Bautista, Roger Caculitan, and all the PASL members, Val Blanco (painting), Ross Hermano, Roy Covarrubias, James Jamo, Ed Taghap and many others (site preparation); Jun Balderama, Ed Pulido, Rocky Barrido, and Mike Lebrias, worked on the electrical systems for the grounds and booths; the steel gate was partially donated by Dee Perez; landscaping was partially donated by Robert Enriquez, and the expenses were donated by generous community members and member associations.
The food for the volunteers were donated and prepared by Roland Lazaro with the alternating help of Cleo Tagle and the PASL wives.
PhilFest ’98, with Bill continuing to be the chairman, and under the leadership of Claire, generated a gross income of $140,000 and a net profit of $70,000 — thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and the generosity of the supporters of the Miss PhilFest candidates. Michele Pilapil, daughter of Drs. George and Martha Pilapil, became Miss PhilFest ’98; her escort was Jun Cabigas, son of Dr. Virgilio and Lucy Cabigas, both families from Lakeland.
The Sampaguita Ball ‘98 held on September 19 at the Tampa Convention Center broke past records in attendance and its net profit of $30,000. Dr. Patsy Abinales chaired the ball. Year 1998 also marked the beginning of the fundraising efforts for the Sinagtala Theater.
In 1999, the year of success and upheaval for PCFI and the community as a whole, the goal was to construct the Sinagtala Theater prior to the PhilFest. Roger Caculitan, as project manager, together with Claire, sought for the best deal for the Theater’s steel roof. They initially thought that $29,000 for one roof was good, but Claire found a better deal — two steel roofs (for the Sinagtala Theater and the Barangay Pavilion) at the price of $25,000, plus a third one (for the Bicol Pavilion) for only $5,000.
Immediately, Roger and Claire closed the deal and the heavy steel roofs were delivered unassembled the Friday before the Festival week. The committee and vendors panicked, because none of the booths could be set up while the steel roofs lay on the PhilFest grounds.
Claire called the Caladesi Construction Company and literally begged them to assemble and install the roofs in time for the Festival that weekend. Caladesi obliged, sent their crew, and worked overtime to finish the installation by Thursday.
That Friday, PhilFest ’99 opened its doors. Indak Pambata, with Bing Curioso as director, debuted at PhilFest ’99. Again, the community awed at the new Sinagtala Theater, the Barangay Pavilion, the Bicol Pavilion, and the Palaruan (playround). Maharlika Society of Florida, under the leadership of Rhose McGowan, initiated and funded the playground.
PhilFest ’99 generated gross revenue of approximately $155,000 and a net profit of approximately $70,000. Miss PhilFest ’99 was Anna Tioseco, daughter of Bonnie and Tina Tioseco, with escort Rodney Bautista, son of Rudy and Lucy Bautista, who became active directors of PCFI. The enthusiasm at the festival inspired Ed Pulido and Nenita Sweet to solicit donations for the construction of the Ilocano Pavilion. Roger and Dr. Philip Lewis joined the effort that evening. This campaign led to the formation of the Ilocano USA.
With the support of Bob Ruelo, Bill Ick, the Lazaros, the Caculitans, the Curiosos, PPAC headed by Joey Omila, half of the PASL (James Jamo, Frank Estrada, Emeng Germino, Ross Hermano, etc.) and majority of the board members, Claire decided to run for re-election, despite her original intention to retire. Claire was re-elected to her fifth term as president with a slate of the majority of the members of the immediate past Board of Directors and new members During the same period, the Sports Club of Tampa Bay, with Roland Lazaro as president and Dr. Ben Abinales as chairman, was formed. The Club, better known as TABASCO, became a very active participating organization of PCFI. That year’s Sampaguita Ball was successfully cochaired by Clem Lazaro and Amy Estrada.
Also in 1999, Claire, working closely with Bob, Roger, Rudy and Emeng Germino, drafted a grant application for $500,000 from the State of Florida for the community arts center. To meet the requirements of the State, Bill and Claire solicited the help of their son, Mark, now a financial consultant for DeLoitte and Touche, to conduct, pro bono, a feasibility study on the capability of the Filipino community to support a cultural arts center, and then formulate a business plan.
Claire recommended to the Board that the entire 10 acres be called the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex, and the different structures on the facility be officially named the Sinagtala Theater, Barangay Pavilion, and Bayanihan Arts Center.
In July 9, 1999, 19 copies of the application and feasibility study were sent to the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs. Bob Ruelo, Claire Ick and Rudy Enrille spent thousands of hours communicating with the legislature and arts council members, lobbying for the grant.
By November 3rd, a delegation consisting of Bill and Claire Ick, Bob and Jean Ruelo, Joey Omila, Roger and Angie Caculitan, Rudy Curioso, Emeng Germino, Val Blanco, James Jamo, Rudy Enrille and Rev. Christian Villagomeza had gone to Jacksonville for the Florida Arts Council meeting to make PCFI’s formal presentation of the grant. At this meeting, the Florida Arts Council approved the grant and a few weeks later, the Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, recommended PCFI’s grant to the State Legislature for funding. American Express Company, through the efforts of Glenda Roepcke and Bob Wood, also gave PCFI a $10,000 grant.
In December, Ambassador Ernesto Maceda visited the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex and inaugurated the Ilocano Pavilion, which was proudly built by its members. PASKO was born on December 18, 1999, conceived and chaired by Clem Lazaro and Amy Estrada.
Year 2000 was a dizzying year for PCFI, in terms of cultural, social, and fundraising activities. PhilFest 2000, still chaired by Bill Ick, broke all-time records in gross revenue ($214,000), net profit ($122,0000), and vendor participation and attendance.
Fundraising parties for the Mrs. PhilFest candidates were non-stop prior to the Festival. There were Las Vegas nights, bingo and mahjong sessions, dances, spaghetti/ whatever dinners, Rizal movie premier, and other activities. The PhilFest Committee, again headed by Bill, worked feverishly.
The Arco Project, chaired by Drs. Ben and Patsy Abinales, Drs. Romy and Vickie Tagala, and Drs. Len and Terry Bissonnette was another big surprise to the PhilFest attendees. Ilocano USA proved their unity and fundraising skills by winning the Mrs. PhilFest (Bing Curioso, with escort Roger Caculitan).
Old and new faces became familiar faces as they joined the PhilFest and various committees and advisory boards. Full support came from: Lito Dano, Raxtie Auza, Dr. Evelyn Gador, Dr. Philip and Merle Lewis, Drs. Romy and Vickie Tagala, Drs. Len and Terry Bissonnette, Dr. Judith Cimafranca, Dave and Nenita Sweet, Jun Balderama, Jimmy Abellada, Rudy and Lucy Bautista, Dr. Greto and Edna Ramos, Robert Enriquez, Mike Lebrias, Elena Garcesa, and Dr. William Cua.
The Cultural Affairs Advisory Board was formed with Flossie Abrigo, Rey Aquino, Emma Cala, Connie Chanrasmi, Dr. Carlina Jimenea Launger, Beatriz Nunag, Dr. Rafael Pascual, Dr. George Pilapil, Edna Ramos, Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Dr. Caridad Santos, Dr. Vickie Tagala, and Rev. Christian Villagomeza as its first group of members. Dr. Vickie Tagala, Edna Ramos, Nenita Sweet, Loida Espiritu and Dr. Carol Lacson later joined the group. Other highlights of the year included the introduction of the Consular-on-Wheels at PhilFest 2000 by the Philippine Embassy, led by Ambassador Ernesto Maceda. Bill Ick was elected president of PCFI in May for a two-year term. American Express sponsored a very successful Hawaiian Luau Dance for the benefit of the PCFI. The Philippine Independence Day event, chaired by TABASCO, featured the Hi-Pertensions, Rex Navarette and Paul Enriquez. And most importantly, the Florida Legislature appropriated the PCFI Grant of $500,000 in the 2000 Legislative budget.
On June 15, 2000, Florida’s Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, advised PCFI that the Foundation had been awarded the $500,000 grant under the Department of State’s 2000-2001 Cultural Facilities Program.
Less than two months later, on August 6, the groundbreaking for the Bayanihan Arts Center, chaired by Joey Omila, was celebrated with fanfare, food and camaraderie. Plans for the construction of the Bayanihan Arts Center kept Claire Ick, Bob Ruelo, Roger Caculitan, Bill Ick, Rudy Curioso, Emeng Germino, Roland and Clem Lazaro, Ed Pulido, Jun Balderama and Jimmy Abellada busy. Among themselves, they designed the building without hiring an architect, thus saving this fee for PCFI.
The Foundation awarded the contracts to build the Arts Center to the Caladesi Construction Company as constructors, and the R.C. Land Engineering Company as site engineers, and hired Roger Caculitan as project manager. Bill Ick acted as the volunteer owner representative to oversee the construction project that was scheduled to start in January 2001.
Year 2000’s Sampaguita Ball, chaired by Lucy Bautista, once again broke all previous records in attendance (570 guests), gross income ($52,290) and profit ($31,637). To add to the Foundation coffers, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County gave a grant of $20,000 for PCFI’s cultural programs, and American Express gave another $10,000.
In December 16, 2000, PASKO, chaired by Clem Lazaro with the Sampaguita Committee, became another successful event of the Foundation. At the same time, Claire, the first and 5-year term PCFI president, was awarded the prestigious Philippine Presidential Award “Banaag” 2000 for her outstanding achievement in leading the Filipino-American community’s effort to build the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex. Dr. Philip Lewis received the award for Claire from President Joseph Estrada in a ceremony at the Malacanang Palace in Manila.
In February 2001, the construction of the Bayanihan Arts Center commenced. At that period in time, school principal, Rey Aquino, aka Tatang Miguel, and Ning Bonoan initiated the formation of the Heritage Enrichment Learning Program (HELP). The cultural classes of Iskwelahang Munti generated a successful turnout. Ning also established a Health Assistance Program with nurses and doctors in the Board and community.
PhilFest 2001, the 6th annual Philippine Festival, chaired by Roger Caculitan, once again broke past records for gross income and visitor turnout. Guests from all over the United States, Canada and the Philippines mingled with the huge crowd. They watched the performances of special guest artist Janet Clark, a Filipino-American country singer, and the awarding of the Mr. and Mrs. PhilFest 2001 to Dr. Greto and Edna Ramos of Ilocano USA.
In July, Frank and Amy Estrada chaired the Independence Celebration for the 5th year. Joey Omila accepted the offer to act as Executive Director tasked with overseeing the entire operation of the Philippine Cultural Enrichment Complex, including the Bayanihan Arts Center, as a selfsustaining center, and establishing cultural programs for the community.
As chairperson of the marketing, publicity, budgets, and interior design of the Arts Center, Claire launched the underwriters program to help furnish the Arts Center. Immediately, Dr. Judith Cimafranca signed up to underwrite the Library, Drs. Len and Terry Bissonette to take care of a hall, followed by the Drapiza-Infante families, Dr. Maria Teresa Guerrero and Roland and Clem Lazaro. Rudy and Lucy Bautista volunteered to underwrite the 7-ft. in diameter Austrian crystal chandelier for the lobby, while the other underwriters donated the four capiz chandeliers for the Sampaguita Grand Hall. Lilibeth Lontoc expedited the purchase and donated the shipping cost for the chandeliers, which were custom handcrafted in the Philippines especially for the Arts Center.
Lucy Bautista chaired the Grand Opening and Open House with 750 guests in attendance, on September 23, and the Sampaguita Ball 2001 held at the ballroom named after Olive Santiano chaired the annual event on October 13th.
The upcoming PhilFest 2002 to be held on April 5, 6 & 7 will be chaired by Rudy Bautista and vice-chaired by Lucy Bautista and Lari Cummings. The Sampaguita Ball 2002 in September will be chaired by Dr. Evelyn Gador and vice chaired by Dr. Judy Cimafranca.
Today, the community and the general public are enjoying the beautifully appointed and upscale Bayanihan Arts Center with cultural and community events happening almost every weekend.
The Center also gave other minority groups the opportunity to use the Arts Center for their cultural and community events.
The evolution of where PCFI stands now is a testament to the hard work and commitment of a lot people. The success of PCFI is primarily attributed to those whose support never faltered since they became active in PCFI. Majority of them joined in 1995 and are now permanent members of the Board of Directors. They are the vital elements that have fueled the PCFI engine for the last six years.
Claire Ick, under constant challenge to “make it happen” never hesitated in her dedication to forge ahead with the project. Bill Ick and Bob Ruelo kept her going and worked with her 365 days a year, through 5 years of successes, heartaches, and challenges. Together, their work for PCFI was constant, unwavering, and non-stop. To top it all, they received no compensation of any kind from the Foundation for the use of their combined professional skills in organization, management, legal, and operations.
Five- to six-year PCFI veterans ran the Foundation’s engines throughout the year. They are Joey Omila, Roger Caculitan, Angie Caculitan, Jojo Lontok, James Jamo, Lari Cummings, Bing Curioso, Rudy Curioso, Val Blanco, Jun Balderama, Ed Pulido, Frank Estrada, Amy Estrada, Roland Lazaro, Clem Lazaro, Roy Covarrubias, Sylvia de la Cruz, Olive Santiano, Bing Santiano, Ross Hermano, Emeng Germino, and Ben Abinales.
Other board members who helped keep the engines humming were Mike Lebrias, Patsy Abinales, Dave Sweet, Nenita Sweet, Greto Ramos, Edna Ramos, Lucy Bautista, Rudy Bautista, Vickie Tagala, Romy Tagala, Len Bissonnette, Terry Bissonette, Philip Lewis, Merle Lewis, Judy Cimafranca, Jimmy Abellada, Aba Villagomeza, William Cua, Connie Chanrasmi, Esther Gianan, Robert Enriquez, Liberty Galloway, Evelyn Gador, Joe Baruta, Raxtie Auza, and Lito Dano.
The participating organizations whose continuous support for the Foundation kept the spirits of the leaders of PCFI from crumbling are the , Ang Kaliwat Bol-anon sa Florida, Association of Filipino Students, Bicol Association of South Florida, Filipino International Christian Church, Ilocano USA, Philippine American Political Aggregation, Inc., Philippine Association of Ladies of MacDill, Philippine Choral Group, Philippine Nurses Association, Philippine Performing Arts Company, Pilipino-American Association of Tampa Bay, and TABASCO.
PCFI owes its success to countless volunteers, and individuals mentioned here who worked with 100% loyalty and dedication to PCFI. Their support never wavered since Day One. They are the heroes that made a dream come true — they are the threads that weave PCFI’s seamless fabric of success.
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