BY ALEX SENO AND MARY ROSE PUYAOAN
AIMING to preserve the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation between its members, the Filipino Community of Oxfordshire held its annual gathering in celebration of its 20th year on 6th August 2022, at the Jury’s Inn Hotel, Oxford.
The community is led by its Chairman, Mr. Ariel Lanada, a Divisional Lead for Practice Development and Education at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a newly appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. The event also celebrated the 124th year of Philippine Independence and welcomed newly arrived Filipino nurses to the area. The event was attended by more than 120 guests from across the county dressed in formal attire or in traditional Barong Tagalog or Filipiniana.
Honoured guests included Ms. Moira Darlington, Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire; Councilor James Fry Lord Mayor of Oxford, together with his wife Councilor Susanna Pressel, Chair of Oxfordshire County Council; who all expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the contribution Filipino workers make to the economy and healthcare system of the country, as well as the importance of having such a vibrant and reliable local community. They also welcomed and gave encouragement to the new arrivals.
From the Philippine Embassy based in London, Ms. Rhenita Rodriguez, Chargé d’Affaires and Consul General and Ms. Amuerfina Reyes highlighted the consular services of the embassy and gave their appreciation and encouragement to the attendees. Ms. Shiela Mae Aguilar from the Philippine Overseas Labour Office – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) explained the services offered by the agency. Mr. Emilio Lopue Jr., Vice Consul was also present.
International Recruitment and Ethnic Minorities Nurse Advisor for NHS England, Ms. Jennifer Caguioa, also delivered a message to further inspire and reassure the newly arrived Filipino nurses.
A three-course meal was served and enjoyed by the guests. The event was sponsored by some of the top brands with Filipino roots in the UK: Megaworld International, Pooten Forwarding Ltd, Mega Gloryoung International (MGI), MM Catering Services, Elements of Zen and Alrodia Jewellery Ltd.
The evening’s programme consisted of the presentation of the newly arrived Filipino nurses and the distribution of welcome gifts. Live performances from a well-known family band called “The Soulm8s” serenaded the attendees. A fantastic singer, Ms. Susan Lovejoy, also showcased her singing talent at the event. Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy a disco in between parts of the programme. Everybody was encouraged to join in and were seen dancing the night away. The celebrations ended with the raffle draw, where various gift and monetary prices from generous sponsors were given to the lucky winners.
Photo Credits: Victor Manuel