BY RAQUEL SCRIVENS, FWA-UK PUBLICITY CHAIR
DURING the last two pandemic years, we have experienced almost no social contact, which made it impractical for the Association to interact and organise its major fundraising event of the year.
This year, FWA-UK celebrated the 124th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day, the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the FWA-UK’s 34th year of its founding by holding its highly anticipated dinner-dance in their usual tasteful style at the prestigious Royal Garden Hotel on Saturday, the 18th of June 2022.
It was with sadness that we remembered our beloved founder, Mrs Angeles ‘Nene’ Tuason Quimson, who frequently joined us at this annual celebration, but we are extremely grateful for the legacy she left behind. Mrs Quimson’s belief in education was beyond question, so the evening was focused on raising money for our scholars in the Philippines.
Reception was ably handled by receptionists Pat Shah, Bing Cabatic, Wilma Lone and Linda Challis. Dennis Damasco from LKDC provided the reception music as guests started to arrive.
The programme began with the national anthems of the Philippines and the United Kingdom led by Anne Leyva from the Breeze Band. Jeannette Thomson and Raquel Scrivens, the joint Masters of Ceremonies, warmly welcomed all the guests and led a short prayer. Before serving the dinner, we were entertained by a very talented artist from Lahing Kayumanggi, Kaye Fresco, who sang ‘Bayan Ko’ (My Country). Kaye was a Great Voice of Britain 2021 champion, ‘Palabastayo’ top performer and a Kumu artist. The second entertainer, Moira Shirra, sang ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ (a favourite song of HM Queen Elizabeth II) and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.
Dinner was accompanied by a presentation of Philippine dances by Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company (LKDC) led by its artistic director, Ronnie Del Barrio. Their dances showcased the repertoire of dances from different regions in the Philippines such as ‘Pagbati’, ‘Alcamfor’, ‘Banga’, ‘Pandanggo sa Ilaw’, ‘Binasuan. from Pangasinan with glasses half-full of water, ‘Sayaw sa Salakot’, ‘Tinikling’, ‘Kanta Pilipinas’ and ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’. While everyone was still enjoying the dinner, Linda and Mel showcased their love of Argentine Tango, a dance full of passion and drama, to the tune of ‘I’ll Never Love This Way Again’!
Chairman, Dulia Prado, gave her brief message to thank all the major sponsors, donors, volunteers, advertisers and all the guests on the night and acknowledged the presence of our special guests such as, Deputy Mayor Myla Arceno of Stevenage, Cllr. Lotis Bautista of Kings Cross, Bianca Feather of TFC/ABS-CBN and Nick Cattermole, former Mayor of Lambeth.
The auction followed which raised a respectable amount of £700 for our scholars. Jeannette Thomson, assisted by Raquel Scrivens acted as auctioneer. The duo enticed the guests to bid for the exciting holiday accommodation packages in popular tourist destinations in the Philippines donated by Ali Hajj. The winning bid was awarded to Andrei Shah.
Towards the end of the evening, prizes generously donated by FWA-UK members and friends were drawn by Deputy Mayor Myla Arceno for door prizes, Cllr. Lotis Bautista for special raffle prizes and Bianca Feather for cash raffle prizes.
A little surprise intermission was the selection of the best Filipiniana costume won by Maita Martin, and best Barong Tagalog won by Jun Viray. Imee and Michael Pinto donated the cash and in-kind prizes presented to both winners.
Flower centrepieces, donated by our Honorary VP, Edna Kim of Petals in Bloom, were offered to the guests to take home for a minimum donation of £10; all monies collected were added to the FWA-UK Scholarship Fund.
Dancing continued until early hours of the morning. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the evening.
Months of preparation, several meetings, late nights, phone calls, and countless emails finally paid off as the evening ended with the smiling faces of happy guests.
Until next year. . . to celebrate FWA-UK on its 35th Year!