Last January 12, 2020, the Philippines was hit with another natural disaster, this time in Taal, Batangas, as Taal Volcano awoke with rage. Families and homes in Batangas and the neighboring towns of Tagaytay City and other towns in Cavite were destroyed and devastated, covered in ashfall and other debris, and crumbled under the weight of the heat and lahar.
The Fil-Can Cultural Heritage Society, Surrey (FCCHS), through the efforts of one of its officers, Mario Hernandez, who hails from Batangas, initially began providing aid to his kababayans by providing water and basic needs, but they wanted to do more. The board members and officers got together and launched Sagip Taal, Bangon Batangas!, a fund-raising event that FCCHS staged at the Don Bosco Youth Gymnasium at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Surrey, last February 29, 2020.
Amazing local performers and bands in Vancouver entertained the crowd with live music as they raised funds to help our kababayans in Batangas through this time of difficulty. Emcees Jojo Alpuerto and Tisha Newland did such a great job keeping the crowd entertained and laughing in tears with their comedic exchanges. The powerhouse lady behind the scenes who made the program run smoothly and help get donors was Babes Newland, assisted by Liza Lopez and Marcy Torres.
The public was greeted by warm faces at the door led by FCCHS board members and officers Araceli Fortaleza, Joy Sapiera and Marilyn Espinosa Fletcher. The two FCCHS Vice Presidents Rey Fortaleza and Roldan Robles kicked off the evening, welcomed the guests and led the crowd in singing the National Anthems, while FCCHS President Prima Roine addressed the public and thanked everyone for all the support they received.
Surrey City Mayor Doug McCallum and MP Ken Hardie came out to show their full support and even gave monetary donations to the cause as they went up on stage and expressed their sympathies for the Philippines and the calamity that took place. They were pleased to see many people who attended and supported the event and expressed the hope that one day, the community can be united to work for a Filipino Community Centre.
Filipino-Canadians generously donated goods for a silent auction, while a 50/50 draw also came into play. Food was sold by donation, while tickets were $10 each to attend the event. Four hundred tickets were printed and sold out in days and due to the overwhelming support from the community, another one hundred extras were printed out. A total of $772 was collected for the 50/50 raffle tickets and the couple who won the 50/50 draw of $386.00 cash, Alex Dituri and Goldie Bugayong Castro-Dituri, gave it back to FCCHS to donate back to the Taal victims. Special thanks are extended to Edgardo Abot Tapia and Carmelita Salonga Tapia, Bert Parungao, Gemma Serame and Raffy Carino, MP Ken Hardie, Elsa Canuto and Daisy who donated cash and cheques. Food was for sale by donation in the kitchen headed by Nelie Soque and Josie DeLaTorre, while first aid was on standby headed by Angelito Cabral.
The public also brought non-perishable food items, blankets, clothes, shoes and medical supplies and a total of 17 boxes were filled to the brim to be shipped to Talaibon, Inaan, Batangas for the needs of the people in evacuation centres. Sponsor Starbox Express Cargo, Daisy and Art Mallares offered to give the group 5 boxes to be sent for free and the rest at $50 per box.
Door Prizes were donated also by different groups like Fil-Coop, Gladstone One Stop Shop, Ensaymada moments and others.
The Silent Auction was headed by Maria Medilyn Hernandez, Marie Holgado and Jun Custodio.
Through their wonderful and generous donors, FCCHS was able to collect nine items worth over $200 and were auctioned off to the public. These were from
1)Mylene Maranoc (Painting)
2)Beach Grove Laser Clinic Mary O Sei (Services)
3)Alan Yong Jhynet Juanillas-Yong (Meinhart Gift Basket)
4)Bert Monterona (Painting)
5)Soulmate Productions William Orsua (Family Portrait Session)
6)Birthmark Tattoos Mayo Landicho (Gift Certificates for Tattoo)
7)Socorro-Babes Castro Newland (Kate Spade Purse)
8)Birthmark Tattoos Mayo Landicho (Gift Certificates for Tattoo)
9)Barcelona Therapy Oils In Home Massage Kayla Perci (Service)
FCCHS Treasurers Joy Sapiera, Maria Medilyn Hernandez and Auditor Nelie Soque tallied up the funds, income and expenses in such a short period of time and presented them to the public in pursuit of transparency and accountability to its supporters and members which are part of the mission and vision of the organization. Net proceeds will go directly to the affected victims in Ibaan, Batangas and the neighbouring towns. Full details on how the funds will be disbursed and specifically where funding will be spent in order to benefit the many and not just the few, will be announced shortly. All proceeds of the project will go directly to those who are in need through local agencies in Batangas.
FCCHS thanks all those who attended, donated, supported, volunteered, participated in the auction, and lent their talent to make the fundraising event a huge success.
It was indeed a successful night, one that would benefit those in need in Batangas.