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Friday, June 28, 2019

Philippine Social Security System (SSS) Opens at the Philippine Center in New York

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (2nd from left), Consul Arman R. Talbo (leftmost; Manager of the Philippine Center) and SSS Commissioner, Dr. Gonzalo T. Duque (3rd from left) did the honors of cutting the ribbon, with Ms. Celenia D. Dimaano and Marites C Marin, SSS-NY and SSS-San Francisco representatives, respectively, watching.

New York  – The office of the Philippine Social Security System (SSS) officially opened in New York at the Philippine Center, located at 556 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It opened on 21 June 2019 to serve Filipinos in the US Northeast.

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal announces the opening of the SSS Office at the Philippine Center (Photo by NYPCG)

In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal encouraged kababayans to avail themselves of the services of SSS now that it has been made more accessible to those residing in the US Northeast. 

Consul Arman R. Talbo (in barong), Manager of the Philippine Center, together with some of our kababayans, attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the New York Office of the SSS (Photo by NYPCG)

Gracing this milestone event was also one of the SSS Commissioners, Dr. Gonzalo T. Duque, who thanked the Consul General and the Philippine Consulate General in New York for hosting the SSS office at the Philippine Center. The manager of the Philippine Center, Consul Arman R. Talbo, was also present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, together with Consul General Cristobal and Commissioner Duque.

Ms. Celenia D. Dimaano, SSS-New York Representative, entertains one of her first clients immediately after the ribbon-cutting ceremony (Photo by NYPCG).

In line with the policy of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to strengthen support mechanisms for Overseas Filipinos(OFs), one-stop service centers for OFs in the Philippines have been established. In New York, the Philippine Center has been serving as such “one-stop shop” with the presence not only of the Consulate but other Philippine government agencies as well to serve the Fil-Am community.

SSS Commissioner Gonzalo T. Duque encourages our kababayans to invest with SSS (Photo by NYPCG)

On June 2015, the Pag-IBIG office was launched. And four years later, SSS joins the Philippine Center. The Philippine Trade and Investment Center and the Philippine Department of Tourism also maintain offices in the Center.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Filipino Historian Ambeth Ocampo Presents "Rizal: the Hero as Traveler" in New York

Professor Ambeth Ocampo (center) shares fascinating facts and stories of Rizal's travels during a forum in New York commemorating the 158th birth anniversary of the national hero. (photo by NYPCG)

New York - The Philippine Consulate General in New York organized a presentation by Professor Ambeth R. Ocampo in New York with the theme "Rizal: the Hero as Traveler held on 19 June 2019 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center.

The event was the highlight of the 158th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal which fell on the same day and was held in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Knights of Rizal New York Chapter (KOR-NY).

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal welcomes the audience to the forum and introduces Professor Ambeth Ocampo. (Photo by NYPCG)

In his remarks, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal highlighted the importance of studying the life and ideals of Rizal. He said that the Consulate and the Filipino American community in New York is lucky to have Prof. Ocampo who is a renowned public historian, researcher, and Rizal expert.

During his talk, Professor Ocampo presented fascinating stories and interesting facts about Rizal's travels and how his exposure abroad helped shape his ideas and strengthened his love of country. He said that looking back on the travels of our national hero helps us understand and appreciate Rizal as a human being. Like many overseas Filipinos, he said that Rizal missed the Philippines, including Filipino food, while he was abroad.

Professor Ambeth Ocampo's talk was attended by the Filipino American community and members of the Knights of Rizal in the Tri-state area. (photo by NYPCG.

Professor Ocampo likewise shared to the audience rare photos and writings of Rizal which he discovered during his years of intensive research. During the Q&A that followed his lecture, he shared how his research and interest on Rizal have grown and deepened through the years, and how so many things about the hero continue to be revealed or rediscovered to the present day.

The presentation was followed by a Knighting Ceremony by the Knights of Rizal New York Chapter where five new knights were accepted to the Order, five became lifetime members, and chapter member Sir Dr. Roy Guinto was exalted to the rank of Knight Grand Officer of Rizal (KGOR).

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Consulate General in New York and Filipino American Community Celebrate 121 Years of Proclamation of Philippine Independence

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal (front, 8th from the left), NYC Commissioner Anne del Castillo (9th from the left) Prof. Ambeth Ocampo (10th from the left), with the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, leaders and members of the Fil-Am community and guests during the Independence Day Reception in New York (photo by Boyet Loverita)

New York City – The Philippine Consulate General in New York, together with the Filipino-American Community in the US Northeastern seaboard, celebrated the 121 years of Proclamation of Philippine Independence during the Independence Day Reception held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on 20 June 2019 with the theme "Kalayaan 2019: Courage of the Nation, Compassion for the People"

In his remarks, Consul General Claro S. Cristobal stated that we should commemorate the auspicious date of our Philippine Independence as a reminder that "our freedom was bought with blood, and remind ourselves that we must ever be vigilant and willing to sacrifice, so we and those coming after us shall remain free and be holding in our own hands our destiny.”

Guests listen to the rendition of Bahay Kubo by Ruth and CydTumpalan (Photo by Boyet Loverita)

Deputy Consul General Kerwin Orville C. Tate read the Independence Day message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, followed by Consul Arman R. Talbo, who in turn read the message of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.

Musical entertainment during the celebration was provided by Filipino couple Ruth and Cyd Tumpalan. Ruth, a violinist, is the former assistant concertmaster of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, who recently won 1st place in the American Protege International Competition. On the other hand, Cyd, a percussionist, who was the lead percussionist for the Hong Kong Disneyland Marching Band. Both Cyd and Ruth were selected to represent the Philippines in the Asian Youth Orchestra where they did a concert tour of Asia.

Consul General Cristobal, Mrs. Marilou Cristobal, and the officers of the Consulate and their spouse, welcome the guests to the reception (photo by Boyet Loverita)

Philippine culinary delights from Filipino restaurants were served during the reception attended by Filipino American leaders, community members, and guests. These include chicken sisig from Apollo Restaurant; ukoy from Tropical Hut; lechon from Philippine Bread House; chicken inasal skewers from Ugly Kitchen; crab pinangat from Asin; turon from Victory Chicken restaurant; and mouth-watering Filipino desserts from Mountain Province Cafe.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Filipino Community In Connecticut Celebrate Philippine Independence Day

Members of the Filipino Community in Greenwich, CT, together with Selectman John Toner, in their Barongs and Filipiniana (Photoby NYPCG)

Greenwich, CT – The Connecticut Association of Filipino and American Families together with members of other Filipino American organizations in Connecticut, commemorated the 121st anniversary of Philippine Independence by holding its annual Philippine flag-raising ceremony at the town hall of Greenwich, Connecticut (CT) last June 13th. 

Selectman John Toner speaks about the enduring friendship between the Philippines and the United States of America (Photo by NYPCG)
Selectman John Toner of the Board of Selectmen of Greenwich, CT, recalled the enduring friendship of the Philippines and the United States. As a volunteer of Greenwich Hospital, where he regularly encounters Filipino medical practitioners, he also praised Filipinos for their professionalism and work ethic. 

Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro greets everyone a Happy Philippine Independence Day! (Photo by NYPCG)

On the other hand, Vice Consul Tanya Faye O. Ramiro, who represented the Philippine Consulate General in New York, said, “It has been more than 121 years since we have transcended our colonial past, and Filipinos, wherever they may be in the world, are now making their own history.” Cheers of “Mabuhay!” concluded the ceremony.

The yearly commemoration of Philippine Independence Day, in the very premises of the town hall of Greenwich, CT, is a testament, indeed, to the enduring friendship of the Philippines and the United States.

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Philippine Airlines is 2019's Most Improved Airline in the World -- Skytrax

Mr. Jaime Bautista, President and COO, Philippine Airlines. (Skytrax Photo)

France - Philippine Airlines (PAL), Asia’s First Airline, won the 'World’s Most Improved Airline Award' for 2019, as the carrier that achieved the biggest leap in product and service quality among a survey of over 350 leading airlines worldwide.

The world-beating award was conferred by the global air transport rating organization Skytrax during the 2019 World Airline Awards held at the Paris Air Show Tuesday (June 18, 2019) in the Musée de l'Air et de l' Espace, Paris Le Bourget Airport, France.

Skytrax also revealed that PAL is now ranked as the Top 30 Airline in the world, rising 19 spots from Top 49 in 2018, and a full 60 spots from Top 90 in 2013. PAL is also ranked high in other important categories:

Top 10 World's Best Business Class Comfort Amenities

Top 10 Best Airline Staff in Asia

Top 11 World's Best Cabin Crew

Top 11 World's Best Airport Services

Top 11 World's Best Premium Economy Class

Top 14 World's Best Economy Class

Skytrax has also re-certified PAL as a 4-Star Global Airline based on comprehensive quality audits performed last December 2018 and January 2019.

The annual World Airline Awards, established by Skytrax in 1999, is internationally recognized as the "Oscars" of the aviation industry to recognize the best-performing airlines. The winners are chosen through an extensive "World Airline Survey" of more than 20 million travelers, encompassing over 100 nationalities and 335 airlines to make up the largest passenger satisfaction survey in
the world.

Josh, Pinky and Charesse of PAL at the recent Philippine Day Parade in New York. (Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media)

Josh Vasquez, Philippine Airlines, New York Area Manager in an email sent to Kababayan Media/ Balitang New York stated "We share this recognition with all of you who have been tirelessly supporting PAL throughout the years. This recognition is also a victory for the Philippines and the Filipino people."

In 2018, Philippine Airlines garnered the first-ever "4-Star Global Airline" rating from Skytrax for a Philippine carrier, along with the "2nd Most Improved Airline" and "Top 30 cleanest cabin" awards from Skytrax. These accolades were the result of the flag carrier's comprehensive top to bottom enhancements of aircraft, product and overall services across key performance areas.

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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Consulate General in New York supports successful PHL Basketball Clinic

The Philippine Consulate General in New York distributed certificates to the participant of the 1st PHL Basketball Clinic through Deputy Consul General Kerwin Tate and Consul Arman Talbo, assisted by the PHL Basketball Coaches and Volunteers (Photo by Robby Manubay)

Jersey City, New Jersey – The Philippine Consulate General in New York supported the recently concluded 1st PHL Basketball clinic and awarding certificates to the participants at ceremonies held during the last day of the 5-day event on 16 June 2019 at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Gym in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The clinic was managed by some members of the PHL Basketball team, who volunteered to teach and share their skills and knowledge of basketball. Mr. Ryan A. Compendio, PCGNY’s Records, Communications and Information Officer, served as one of the coaches.

Participants focus on their footwork (Photo by Beverly Pellosis)

A total of 48 young players ranging from 3 to 16 years old, mostly from the New Jersey- New York area, benefited from the clinic. The event is the part of the Philippine Consulate General's commitment to its Sports Diplomacy program and its recognition of the concept of a sound mind in a sound body for Fil-Am children.

Participants doing the triple threat stands (Photo by Robby Manubay)

The children run through basketball drills designed to improve their footwork, passing, dribbling, and shooting abilities. The program also taught the players the value of good sportsmanship, proper attitude to make them team players with important roles to play, and determination to perform their roles to the best of their abilities. It also inspired them to be humble in victory, and gracious in accepting defeat.

The highlights of the clinic were the 5-on-5 basketball games where the children experienced playing the normal full court game, while their parents, relatives, and friends cheered them on as they were able to execute moves that they have learned. The coaches also played with the older kids giving them a taste of playing competitive basketball.

Participants playing against their coaches in 5-on-5 basketball game scrimmage (Photo by Beverly Pellosis)

Different Fil-Am groups and organizations supported the projectPHL Basketball Team, Jersey City Athletic Association, 360 Fitness, RGX Sportswear, Noodlefan, Team United, JCI New Jersey and the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League.

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Statement from Governor Cuomo on Reports of Impending ICE Raids Targeting Families this Weekend

June 21, 2019-Albany, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo holds an end of session press conference in the Red Room of the Capitol (Gov Cuomo flickr page)

"The Trump Administration's impending blitz of ICE raids across the country, including here in New York, is shameful and wholly unacceptable, and we will fight back at every turn to protect our immigrant families. As I've said before, if there is a move to deport immigrants then I say start with me — a son of immigrants.

"This is the latest example of the federal administration's ongoing, un-American assault on our immigrant communities, and I am directing the State Liberty Defense Program's Rapid Response team to be on high alert and immediately assist any family in need of legal services across the state this weekend. I urge anyone in need of assistance to contact the Liberty Defense Team at 1-800-566-7636 or"

"America's only threat is from within, and we will not let division and hate win. While President Trump builds walls and separates families, New York will continue to be the beacon of inclusion and diversity that the nation and the world looks to."

New England Filipino Community Celebrates Philippine Independence Day with Parade, Fair

NEW YORK – The Philippine-American Mainstream Advocacy for Nonpartisan 
Associations, Inc. (PAMANA), the dynamic Filipino organization behind the annual celebration of Philippine Independence in the New England region, once more organized a parade, cultural show and street fair to celebrate Philippine independence on Saturday, 15 June 2019.

Filipinos gathered at the La Salette National Shrine grounds to enjoy the presentations of various Filipino-American groups coming from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine. Many came to buy unique Filipino products, and of course enjoy genuine Filipino food sold by almost 30 vendors who had come to take part in the fair.

In her remarks, PAMANA President Jennifer Coliflores expressed her pride at her Filipino heritage, and the appreciation for her Filipino heritage instilled in her by her mother that became the motivation for her to devote her time to not just keeping PAMANA’s Independence Day celebration, but looking for ways to expand the event.

Deputy Consul General Kerwin Orville C. Tate, representing the Philippine Consulate General in New York, for his part lauded PAMANA for its effort in holding the commemoration of Philippine Independence, and encouraged all present to continue the tradition, as a source of pride for emerging generations.

PAMANA’s commemoration of Philippine Independence will culminate with the Gala Ball to be held on 29 June 2019.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

“Raised Pinay” Benefit Production Raises Funds & Awareness for Filipina Health

New York - The third generation cast of Raised Pinay will grace the stage in solidarity of reproductive health justice in the Philippines on Friday, June 28th and Saturday, June 29th, 2019. There will be three showings of this unique benefit production at University Settlement 184 Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Directed by Co-Founder Jana Lynne Umipig, who created The Journey of a Brown Girl, this community-centered production will raise money for Palawan-based non-profit organization Roots of Health also known as Ugat Ng Kalusugan.

Josephine Amos, the third generation of Raised Pinay’s producer, reached out to original co-founders Jana Lynne Umipig and Roots of Health Board Members Rachelle Peraz Ocampo and Justine Ang Fonte to form this year’s benefit production after watching last year’s performances produced by St. John’s University’s Philippine Americans Reaching Everyone (PARE) in Queens. Josephine and the cast of Vina Orden, Renee Floresca, Grecia Tesalona, Sherina Ong, Missy Bautista, Melissa Bala, Arielle Domantay, Catherine Masangkay, Rose Generoso, and Roxy Lim, have composed their narratives about finding their own self truths and decolonizing their Filipina identity.

With partners from GMA Pinoy TV, GMA LIfe TV, GMA News TV International as media sponsors and San Miguel Beer as drink sponsors, the shows will be immersive experiences uplifting Filipino restaurants and small businesses. Other donors provided raffle items from gift cards to art pieces to apparel to sex toys.

Raised Pinay won a 2019 Neighborhood Grant from Citizens Committee for New York City! These funds support the workshops and rehearsals culminating to the main production shows. They join nearly 300 grassroots groups across the city working to build community and improve our neighborhoods.

With tickets as low as $15 for groups of 5 or more to VIP tickets selling for $100 each, all proceeds from the benefit production will fund much-needed programming and services in Palawan, Philippines. This includes FREE clinical maternal health services for expecting mothers and sex education courses in high schools and colleges. Roots of Health has been meeting a need in reproductive healthcare and education in rural communities surrounding Puerto Princesa since 2009.

  • Friday, June 28th at 6:30pm
  • Saturday, June 29th at 1:30pm
  • Saturday, June 29th at 6:30pm

University Settlement
184 Eldridge Street, New York, NY

For more information, visit:

To watch and share the trailer:

To be a sponsor or donor, contact:

Sponsors: GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV, GMA News TV International

Donors: Metaden, University Settlement, Pineapple Industries, Passion Planner, Cinelle Barnes, Pilipinx Radical Imagination Reader, Journey for Justice, Dame, Mujeristas Collective, Flipeats, Kabisera Kape, Barbecue on a Stick, Kristian Kabuay, MCC Theater, San Miguel Beer, Uber Lube, Pig and Khao, Flip Siggi, Elaine Castillo, Pinay Clothing, Kuma Inn, Cecilia Lim, Mountain Province, Calabash Ladies of New Jersey, Ivie Joy Flowers, Tsismis NYC, Maharlika NYC

Partners: NAPAWF*NYC, AF3IRM NYC, UniPro, metaDEN, Ugly Kitchen, Anakbayan NY and Malaya Movement and Gabriela NY

Hashtags: #RaisedPinay #RootsOfHealth #CCNYC #neighborhoodgrants2019 #pinaysisters #womenshealth #filipinahealth

About Roots of Health:
Roots of Health works to empower women, young people and families in the Philippines to lead healthy reproductive lives by providing rights- and results-based educational and clinical services.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

7th Philippine Graduation Ceremony (PGrad v2.0) in New York Recognize "Pinoy" Graduates from US Northeast

PGrad Class of 2019 with Consul General Claro Cristobal (8th from left, first row) and distinguished guests (front row, 6th to 11th from left) Angela Callisaya from the Office of NY Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, Aries Dela Cruz from Office of NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Keynote Speaker Engr. Gil Quiniones, PGrad 2019 Mentor Atty. Connie Montoya and Consul Arman Talbo. (Photo by PCNGY)

New York – Thirty-one Filipino and Filipino-American graduates of associate, bachelor, master and doctorate degrees from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island marched down the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall during the 7th Philippine Graduation Ceremony (PGrad v2.0) held on Saturday, 8 June 2019. 

Thirteen other graduates from Harvard were earlier given their PGrad diplomas in another ceremony.

PGrad Class of 2019 in their academic regalia together with distinguished guests and family during the PGrad ceremony at the Philippine Center in New York. (Photo by PCGNY)

Consul General Claro S. Cristobal welcomed the PGrad Class of 2019 and honored their scholastic achievements in various fields ranging from business, finance, economics to medical, law, social sciences, education and technology. He expressed how proud he was of the accomplishments of these 44 graduates in raising the image of Filipinos in the US northeast.

Consul General Claro Cristobal welcomed the graduates and their family to the 7thPGrad. (Photo by PCGNY)

This year’s batch is composed of many academic achievers, led by two summa cum laude economics graduates Jonathan Coronel from Fordham University and Gabrielle Magallanes from St. John’s University; magna cum laude graduates Jason Louie Singson (BA in Education, City College of New York) and Iris Dumaual (BA in English, St. John’s University); and cum laude graduate Blizelle Marie Tormis (BSBA in Health Services Management, Berkeley College).

Engr. Gil Quiniones, President and CEO of New York Power Authority, delivered his keynote address. He related his journey as a mechanical engineering graduate from De La Salle University in Manila starting out at a small energy consultant firm in New York, working at Con Edison for 16 years, and later on serving in several capacities in the public sector, telecommunications and energy industry in New York. Speaking to the graduates about the pathway to success, he urged them that in whatever path they take, they need to stick to their principles and integrity, continue to innovate, and remember that “the ultimate measure of success is not the titles that you have, but what you do with those positions to make a difference in your community.”

Engr. Gil Quiniones delivers his keynote address. (Photo by PCGNY)

The graduates were awarded with PGrad diplomas and medals by Consul General Cristobal and Engr. Quinionesand certificates of merit from the Office of New York State Assemblyman Brian Barnwell by Ms. Angela Callisaya.

Mr. Aries dela Cruz, Manhattan Regional Representative for Governor Andrew Cuomo, spoke on behalf of Governor Cuomo and recognized the Filipino community’s significant contributions in shaping the rich and diverse cultures of New York. He bestowed the Northern Star Award to Mr. Jonathan Coronel, who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University Gabelli School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in Global Finance and Business Economics.

Summa Cum Laude Jonathan Coronel receives Northern Star Award from Mr. Aries Dela Cruz of the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. (Photo by PCGNY)

Sharing his struggles as a transfer student from Ateneo de Manila University coming to Fordham University, Mr. Coronel recognized that his fellow graduates have their own versions of survival. He encouraged them by saying that “for all the times when you feel ike you don’t belong here, remind yourself of this day when you emerged victorious. It’s only going to get tougher from here but I look forward to seeing all of you again and share new chapters of our stories of survival.”

This year’s PGrad, the Philippine Consulate General has introduced the voluntary mentoring program to connect the graduates with prospective mentors who are experts in the graduates’ chosen fields. Consul General Cristobal expressed hope that the one- year mentoring partnership would not just help the graduates enhance their skills and boost their careers but also strengthen their community engagement and collaboration among themselves and with the members of the Fil-Am community. Engr. Quiniones lauded the initiative, citing the important part his many great mentors had influenced his personal life and career.

Summa Cum Laude Gabrielle Magallanes (3rd from left) receives her PGrad diploma, medal and certificate of merit from (L-R) Angela Callisaya, Engr. Gil Quiniones, and Consul General Claro Cristobal. (Photo by PCGNY)

The mentor-graduate partnership was presented to the audience, with Atty. Concepcion Montoya, partner, employment defense litigator, and counselor at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, mentoring Mr. Philjay Solar, a law graduate from New England Law Boston; Prof. Emilia Zarco who is the Chair of the Department of Exercise Science and Associate Professor at Ruth and Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University, mentoring Ms. Felicity Duran, a graduate of Master of Public Health from New York University; Prof. Angela Reyes, a faculty in the program of Anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, mentoring Ms. Kristen Gayagoy, a graduate of International Studies with concentration on development, Asian and legal studies from City University of New York;multi-award winning theater producerJhett Tolentino mentoring Ms. Iris Dumaual; and Mr. Raphael Ignacio, who is a business development consultant for government affairs consultancy Albright Stonebridge Group, mentoring Ms. Laura Vega, a political science graduate from Stony Brook University.

(3rd-6th from left) Felicity Duran, Kristen Gayagoy, Laura Vega, and Philjay Solar, who are participating in the PGrad’s first mentoring program, are flanked by Engr. Quiniones (far left), Consul General Cristobal (2nd from left) and PGrad mentor Atty. Connie Montoya (far right). (Photo by NYPCG)

During the intermission, PGrad Susanna Labangan-Sabangan, who is also the female vocalist of the band Sounds of Manila, rendered “Once It’s In Your Heart,” a song from the band’s album which was composed by legendary composer Cecile Azarcon.

A reception and networking event hosted by the Consul General followed after the program.

The PGradv2.0 was organized in cooperation with the Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. (UNIPRO). Consul Arman Talbo and UNIPRO’s Kristina London co- hosted the program.

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