Governor Quinn gets a noisy reception
By Mariano “Anong” Santos
Left Photo: Democratic Il Gov Patt Quinn with PIWC's Dely Villalon. Right Photo: GOP Gubernatorial bet Bruce Rauner with DOT Director Vernie Morales. (Photos by Edna Pavel).
PRINCESS Emraida Kiram told me an unsavory incident during one of the past Philippine Independence Day celebrations when then ConGen Emelinda Lee-Pineda demanded that she should be seated on the presidential table because she represents the highest Philippine government position in Chicago-not only Sen. Loren Legarda, though, she was the keynote speaker for that event.
The breach of protocol was not corrected. The master of ceremonies who could have given up her seat and defused the tense situation insisted that she's important too, thus, she held on to her place at the presidential table. The point of Princess Emraida who was the main speaker in the June 1st "Kwentuhan" at the Field Museum, the topic being the cultural heritage in Mindanao, was that emcees or program facilitators have the responsibility of making sure that matters of protocol and audience control are properly studied and implemented.
If I may add, the number of speakers and other participants should be weighed in carefully for an effective event. Making it an occasion for filibusters and speakers-marathon is a formula for disaster. "Less is more" is a good rule.
Being a volunteer at the 2014 Philippine Independence Week Committee, I was mindful of Emraida's observation—so I made it a point during a meeting three days prior to the June 7 dinner gala night at the Hyatt O'hare to remind the PIWC members of making sure that these things are taken cared of during the big night considering we were given the rare opportunity to have Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his challenger in the coming November election, Republican Bruce Rauner as guest speakers. The body was assured that those in charged knew what they were doing—so it was left at that.
Despite this assurance, the worst of our fears came to pass. Mr. Rauner took the podium first and it went smoothly. It was when he went down and worked out the audience when the breach took place. Many in the PIWC might be ardent Republicans—that's Ok—but to encourage their candidate to have his fans take pictures with him while the seating governor struggled to put across his message created a negative impression of our character as representatives of the Filipino community.
Left Photo: Carmen Estacio (middle) poses with her model Katelyn V. Jankowiak (L) with her Muslim dress creation. Christine Madridejos-Mancini (R) is the emcee for the June 12 cultural event. (PINOY Photo by Anong Santos)
Dr. Nida Blankas-Hernaez, who is apolitical as one can be, and I stood up when Governor Quinn took the stand. But she quickly noticed that there were only a few of us who did what was proper to show respect for the highest position in Illinois. Most of those in the ballroom were loudly chattering. It was not about whether you are a fan or not of Governor Quinn. Sadly, the governor got the cue and he cut his speech to a short remark.
Of course, the polite way is to keep quiet and listen to invited guests. This pambabastos did not escape notice of concerned individuals including a member of the local diplomatic corps. Nakakahiya talaga.
By and large the PIWC activities went on with flying colors. Innovation like the Ati-atihan and Sinulog during the June 22 parade was a welcome treat. This year's prize-winning essays are perhaps some of the best that came out of Jo Wee-Sit's pet project. (Don't miss the first prize winning essay by Francine Almeda on page 23.) The June 12 cultural show at the Daley Plaza was expertly handled—thanks to Christine Madridejos-Mancini who emceed the noon gig.
I am no "fashionista" but I can confidently declare that the Muslim dress creation of Carmen Estacio modeled by 16 -year old Katelyn Valdez Jankowiak, a junior at the Walter Payton Prep School, is the best of the many stunning Philippine costumes modeled by different beauty queens last Independence Day at the Civic Center in the Loop. Kate's proud "lola" is Jean Rivera (former Mrs. Oscar Valdez—our late fraternal brother in the Order of Knights of Rizal (OKOR).)
Meanwhile, Carmen looks forward to showcase her other masterpieces for the benefit of the Rizal Center. Our hardworking Secretary of State Asian American liaison was just elected a member of the FACC Board of Directors on June 21.
Speaking of OKOR fraternal brothers who had joined Dr. Jose Rizal in the great beyond, one passionate Rizalist in Chicago, Urbano "Ban" Gallardo, Sr., passed on June 20, less than 12 hours after he recited the original version of Rizal's "Last Farewell" at the 153rd birthday celebration of the National hero at the Rizal Center.
After 25 years of working for the Federal Reserve Bank, he became active in civic and church activities. Ban was the OKOR Malaya Chapter commander for many years and lived up to the ideals of Rizal. He was the founding president of the Davao USA and was active with the Ateneans and in many religious groups including the Couples for Christ and the St. Vincent de Paul social programs which included distributing bake goods donated by local bakeries to food pantries and nursing homes.
Not many are aware that Ban was a holder of a law degree and was a licensed realtor affiliated with Homeland Realty, Inc. He helped distribute 10,000 copies of PINOY in about 120 outlets in the Chicagoland area. He and I had a lot of fun attending national and international conferences. Add to that his "apostolate"—taking care of his grandchildren, that is. Ban was only 74 when his wife Brenda discovered he died peacefully in his sleep. I will miss this amazing fraternal brother.
The Bolingbrook June 21 version of "Piyesta Pinoy" (Held twice at Navy Pier during the late winter of the past two years.) was a great success in terms of attendance and participation from various sectors of the community.
The officials of the host city headed by Mayor Roger Claar extended valuable contributions including the use of the facilities of the city's civic center for the 12-hour fiesta. Ruben Salazar and his team of enthusiastic volunteers should take a bow for a job well done.
One suggestion I can share is that, next time, please consider holding the event early July—in or around the fourth of the month-- to celebrate Filipino American Friendship Day. June is a busy month for Philippine Independence Day events while May is packed with Asian American Heritage Month activities including the annual Festival of Culture in Skokie—held usually on the third weekend of May. Please make a note of it.
One book that I highly recommend is Hillary Rodham-Clinton's "Hard Choices." It will add valuable insights in our understanding of the Philippines' China problem. It will also give a wider perspective on how we view the United States' complex foreign relations. Fan or not, thoughtful Americans will gain an appreciation of women, like Hillary, in the national leadership.
Another recommendation—"Doris Kearns Goodwin's "The Bully Pulpit". Learn about Teddy Roosevelt's and William Howard Taft's working with the crusading press in eliminating corruption in government.•