Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Filipino Week at UNM Gallup

Category : History , Uncategorized

The Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG) participated at the first Filipino Culture Week (April 10-13, 2017) at the University of New Mexico Gallup on April 11, 2017.   FANHS RG members were guest speakers:  Pearl King who discussed about Migration of Filipinos to the US and ultimately to NM, Tessie Greenfield talked about the Philippine – New Mexico Connection and played the kulintang with some student volunteers, Cris Underwood about his journey as an adopted child, and Al David, author of The End of the Trail, a 96-year old Bataan veteran.  Mr. David was honored by some veterans before his speech.

Thanks to Dr. Shirley Heying, Karla and Jonathan for inviting us.  Also to Agaton, a trained Filipino chef from Arizona for serving a variety of Filipino food.

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Santacruzan 2017

Santacruzan (40 years of celebration)

Chito receives certificate of recognition for introducing Santacruzan in 1977.

Join the Filipino American community in New Mexico in celebrating “Santacruzan” on Saturday, May 20, 2017.  The event will start with the 4:00 p.m. Holy Mass at San Felipe de Neri Church in Old Town, Albuquerque. The Mass will be followed by a procession at the Old Town Plaza.  This is an annual event sponsored by the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico and was introduced by Consuelo (Chito) Zafra (now 95 years old) and her late husband, Eugene Zafra in 1977.  The Filipino Cultural Show, which showcases music and dances from different ethnic groups (see bottom photos), will start at 6:00 pm at the Old Town Gazebo.  The event is FREE.  The Cultural Show is sponsored by the Filipino American Community Council, City of Albuquerque City Council and Cultural Services.

Santacruzan 2015

“Santacruzan” is the word that Filipinos use to refer to “Santa Cruz de Mayo,” a celebration in honor of our Blessed Mother.  The celebration commemorates Queen Helen’s finding the Holy Cross during the reign of her young son, King Constantino.  It is believed that “Reyna Elena,” “Rey Constantino,” and their subjects asked for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to help them find the Holy Cross which had been taken away from the Christians by the infidels.  The “Santa Cruz de Mayo” is celebrated by a procession commemorating this historic event.  Throughout the procession, the song “Dios de Salve” is sung.

During the month of May in the Philippines, every evening, there is a town somewhere celebrating the “Santa Cruz de Mayo.”  A town usually does it for nine consecutive evenings, like a novena.  On the ninth evening, the whole town has a fiesta.

It has been a project of the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico to celebrate “Santa Cruz de Mayo” every year.  (The people who have made this event possible for 40 years are:  Consuelo Zafra, Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson and now, Betsy Custodio.)  Nine consecutive evenings are not practical here in Albuquerque. So, on Saturday, May 20th, we will celebrate the 9th evening.

“Santa Cruz de Mayo” is also referred to as “Flores de Mayo.”  May is the month when flowers of all kinds are blooming in the Philippines, so the procession is adorned with colorful gay flowers.  For this reason, one of the queens in the procession is called, “Reyna de las Flores.”

The participants in the procession are called “sagalas.”  They represent the important individuals during the expedition and the angels and saints that were called upon to intercede for them.  The main characters in the procession are:  Reyna Elena, Reyna de las Flores, Reyna Sheba,” and “Reyna Esther.”

ESPF Dancers: Standing from left: Vilma, Miracle, Evelio, Yoko, Maggie; Foreground: Anni, Gloria, Edna, Ligaya, Bianca, Carmela & Michelle.

Stick around for the Filipino Cultural Show featuring participating groups:  Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group (ESPFDG) and Filipino Performing Arts Group (FPAG) (See photos below.)

The Cultural Show was posted on the following on-line calendar events:

For more information about Santacruzan, please email:  Betsy, Cora,  or Heddy.

To view complete images, double click on the photos and double click AGAIN for the enlarged images.

Print Press Release about Santacruzan

People of God Magazine, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, May 2017 issue, page 29.

Albuquerque Journal (Life in NM Magazine), May 14, 2017, see photo below.

Albuquerque Journal (Life in NM Magazine) 05 14 2017

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Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group (ESPFDG)

ESPF Dancers: Standing from left: Vilma, Miracle, Evelio, Yoko, Maggie; Foreground: Anni, Gloria, Edna, Ligaya, Bianca, Carmela & Michelle.











Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group

Artistic Directors:

Ligaya White

Evelio Sabay


WATCH ESPFDG at the Santacruzan on

May 20, 2017, Saturday

6:00 pm

Old Town Plaza


Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group


Part I: Spanish Influenced Dances or Maria Clara Suite

Philippines was under Spanish colonization for over three centuries.  One of their enduring legacies is apparent in dance.

  1. Sayaw sa Baston

 Origin:  Luzon

Sayaw sa Baston (the walking cane dance) is our interpretation and original composition based on the lively steps of the Spanish Jota style of the dance, Aray. It is a theme of flirtation, romance, and love as most Philippine dances are about.

  1. Carinyosa

Origin: Panay Island

Carinyosa, (loving) from the Spanish word cariño (love), is a dance of Hispanic origin representing romance and courtship.


  1. Paypay

Origin: Ermita, Manila of Chabacano Manileños.

Paypay (fans) is a dance showing how young ladies flirtatiously use fragrant fans to gain the attention of young men who have canes and straw hats.


  1. Ligaya White and Evelio Sabay dancing Kuratsa at the Balloon Fiesta 2014

    Jotabal 2014: Gloria, Vilma, Edna & Ligaya


Origin: Quezon

Jotabal, from the words jota (or xota – to jump) and valse (to waltz) is a Spanish influenced dance characterized by the waltz rhythm.


  1. Kuratsa
    Origin: Eastern Visayas

Kuratsa is couple dance where the male and female are walking around one another.  The male progressively tries to get the attention of the female and the female ignores the pursuit.


Part II:  Rural  Dances

  1. Maglalatik

Origin: Binan, Laguna

Maglalatik (also known as Manlalatik or Magbabao) emulating battles between Christians and Moros, is an indigenous dance using coconut shell halves fixed on dancers’ hands and bodies as percussive implements.

  1. Binasuan

Origin: Bayambang, Pangasinan

Binasuan, which means with the use of a drinking glass (baso), showcases the vibrant colors, gracefulness and balance of dancers who whirl and move to the ground with glasses half-filled of rice wine.

  1. Pandanggo sa Ilaw and Oasiwas

Origin: Lubang Island, Mindoro (Visayas)
Pandanggo (fandango in Spanish) sa Ilaw (with lights) uses oil lamps or lit candles that are balanced on the head and the back of each hand accompanied by swinging of lights celebrating local fishermen’s catch.



Origin:  Pangasinan

Oasiwas (swinging) is similar to Pandanggo sa ilaw, celebrating the good catch of fishermen of Lingayen.  They celebrate by drinking wine, dancing, swinging and circling a lit lamp.


ESPF Dancers

  1. Ethan Sabay PFDG Dancers

    Subli (Versions 1 and 2)

Origin: Batangas

Subli, from the words SUBsob (bent or stooped, or fall on the face) and baLI (bent or broken) is characterized by a stooping posture and tipping of a straw hat as a religious salute to the Holy Cross.


  1. Tinikling

Tinikling, named after the bird, tikling, which always managed to grab the farmers’ crops or fishermen’s catch. Two people tap and slide bamboo poles on the ground and against each other, while dancers step and hop in and over the poles. It is supposed to mimic tikling as it weaves through grass and graciously avoids the traps.


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Filipino Performing Arts Group

FPAG with Dr. Dely Alcantara (not in photo: Zeke & Lyle)

Albuquerque Journal (Life in NM Magazine) 05 14 2017


The Filipino Performing Arts Group (FPAG) aims to share Philippine history, language and/or culture through performing arts specifically music and dances.  It also focuses on the importance of appreciating and understanding multicultures in New Mexico. (We welcome members of other nationalities who are interested in our culture.)

In addition, we are Filipino Americans living in the US, a nation of immigrants.  As such, it is important for the next generations to know their identity from both cultures, American and Filipino. If we don’t share our Filipino culture and heritage to our children, especially those who were born here, they will slowly fade away and be forgotten.

FPAG was established in February 2017 as an independent group.  Majority of the members have been performing with the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico Cultural Dance Group for more than five years.  (The Cultural Group was dissolved in February 2017 to give autonomy to different groups.)  You can view recitals and performances (both kulintang and dances) from

Watch FPAG with another dance group, Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group at the

Santacruzan (and Filipino Cultural Show) on May 20, 2017, Sat. at 6:00 pm at the Old Town Plaza, Albuquerque sponsored by the Filipino American Community Council and the City of Albuquerque City Council and Cultural Services.  The FPAG will present 6 dances (4 will be accompanied by our young kulintang musicians) and an instrumental piece (see below).

To view full images, double click on the photos (and double click again for enlarged images).  (Photos courtesy of Maricar.)

Kulintang Music

Kulintang musicians (from left): Miracle, Malaya, Jasmine & Justine with instructor, Tessie.

Kulintang, an indigenous (percussion) instrument from Southern Philippines, is the main instrument in a kulintang ensemble.  It is composed of 8 gongs in graduated sizes.  The other instruments are:  agong, dabakan (drum), and babandil (see second photo below). (We also use the bamboos and will be using the gandingan, 4-gong set, in the future.) How did we happen to have a kulintang ensemble in New Mexico where there are few Filipinos?  The instructor (who has never played an instrument in her life until she was 54 years old), took a 4-day kulintang workshop (2004) from kulintang master based in San Francisco, the late Danongan Kalanduyan (from a grant obtained by Dr. Dely Alcantara for the Filipino community).  She continued to teach herself from Danongan’s video instructions.  She also performed (& choreographed) with the Kulintang Ensemble of Albuquerque (KEA), and learned more from Jenny D. and Cristal, from 2004-2008.  (Many KEA pioneer members took Danongan’s workshop but KEA was dissolved in 2009 due to busy schedules.)  Although she was a neophyte in the instrument, it did not deter her from sharing this indigenous music to the youth.  She felt that by knowing the music and dances (or any art) of a different ethnic group, the participants will eventually understand, appreciate, and respect that ethnicity.  She taught her young cousins (elementary & high school students) kulintang in the Philippines during a visit (2007) and held a 5-session kulintang workshop to three teenage members of the dance group in NM (2013) to get them interested at least in one piece.  Only one (Miracle) out of three persisted.

While she continued to teach herself, she started creating her own curriculum, notations (she does not read musical notes), manual and audio instructions as she went along.  She also choreographed dances for the music she has taught, creating her own DVD dance instructions. Her kulintang workshop usually takes six months to a year (2 to 4 sessions a month) focusing on four to five pieces (see titles from the dances).  She also covers a brief history of the Philippines (focusing on Southern part). Participants have extensive one-on-one sessions, group practices with dancers and other musicians, performances and recitals with the FPAG. Such long training can only be sustained from grants or private funding.


In 2014-2015, she obtained a small grant from the New Mexico Arts’ Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program to train Miracle (see right photo above), then 16 years old, to learn kulintang. Miracle has performed for the Cultural Group for more than 3 years.

In 2016, she received a small portion of a grant obtained by the Filipino American Community Council from the City of Albuquerque City Council, entitled “Philippine History and Language Acquisition through Performing Arts”. She was able to use funds from the grant to teach kulintang (for one year) to three Filipino children.  She also invited another kulintang instructor (and Gamelan music professor at the College of Santa Fe), Jenny D to teach a Percussion Class to her students and other musicians (see third photo above).  The students of her workshop for this grant are: Jasmine, Justine  and Malaya, 11-12 years old, which she began teaching since summer last year (2016) and will have their recital on May 20, 2017 with FPAG and other performing groups.  There are only nine kulintang musicians performing in New Mexico that she is aware of and five of them are with the FPAG.

Mindanao including Sulu Archipelago

Southern Philippine (Mindanao) Dances

  • Janggay
  • Kini Kini
  • Maiden Dance
  • Sagayan

Plus Instrumental piece:

Sinulog A Kamamatuan

(See dances from Visayas at the bottom.)



Kulintang Music:  Pangalay Ha Janggay (Composed by Tessie), Origin of dance: Sulu Archipelago

At Cesar Chavez Day 2017. From left: Justine, Gloria, Miracle, Krystal, Mary, Jasmine Q and Sandy.

Janggay dancers at FAFNM Xmas 2016

Janggay (also called Igal Janggay or Pangalay) is a set of extended metal fingernails worn by female dancers from the Sama-Badjao tribe and Tausug people in the Sulu Archipelago. To showcase the long nails’ beauty, the hand movements include flicking, flipping and cupping of fingers. The janggay also represents the claws of the Sarimanok, a mythical bird and the headdresses represent its expanded wings.  Sarimanok, from the words sari (cloth) and manok (chicken) is a reincarnation of a goddess that loved a mortal man.

About the People:  The Sama-Badjao or just Badjao (man of the seas) is a tribe also known as sea gypsies because they live in small houseboats called vintas and they seldom stay in one place.  They are usually fishermen and sea divers.  They inhabit the shores in Sulu Archipelago in Southern Philippines.  Some dance movements mimic the rolling waves as oceans play an essential part in the lives of sea fearing people.   Tausug (people of the current) which stands for tau (people) and sug (sea current) is the numerically dominant group of Sulu Archipelago.  The Tausug people who are land-based are mostly sailors, pearl divers and traders.  Jolo Island strategically located near the heart of the archipelago constitutes the cultural and political center of Tausug society.

Kini Kini

Kulintang Music:  Kanditagaonan, Origin of dance:  Maranao province (LANAO)

Kini Kini dancers 2017

Kini Kini from the word kini (the royal walk) shows the elite upbringing of the Maranao women in Mindanao.  Using decorative umbrellas and scarves (two items in a hot weather), they walk gracefully to a wedding.  This version of the dance is a combination of Kini Kini (scarf) and Kinakulangan (umbrella), without the male attendants.  The music is called Kanditagaonan which means I cannot go to a wedding because I have no malong (a tube skirt).

Maranao means the “people of the lake” referring to Lake Lanao (principal town is Marawi City) in the province of Lanao del Sur and has its own language. The other Maranao provinces are:  Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi Tawi and cities of Marawi and Lamitan (see map).

Maiden Dance from Singkil

Kulintang Music:  Kasayaw sa Singkil, Origin of dance: Maranao province (Lanao)

Maiden Dancers at Cesar Chavez 2017

The Maiden Dance is performed by the maidens that accompany the princess in the dance called Singkil, name of the anklet worn by a princess.  This version does not include the princess.  Singkil originated from the Maranao people.  It recounts a 14th century epic, Darangen, about a princess caught in the forest during an earthquake caused by the fairies of the forest.  The fans represent the ferocious winds during a scene in the epic.




Music:  a fusion of two kulintang pieces: Tagonggo and Adongkodongkogakit, Origin of dance:  Maranao and Maguindanao

Sagayan dancers from left: John, Angelo, Franz, Marc, Zeke, Latrell & Sean

Sagayan is a warrior/healing dance that is performed by both Maranao and Maguindanao male dancers.  It depicts the steps of their war hero, Prince Bantugan.  The kasity (headdress), kampilan (sword), klong (shield) and the three-layered skirts are inspired from the hero’s attire.  The male dancers are projected as fierce warriors ready to defend their master as they dance and pray before going to war.  Another version of Sagayan is a healing dance, showing trance-like movements believed to banish the evil spirits (or negative energy) while welcoming good fortune or omens.  (Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)


Instrumental Piece (No Dance):

The late Danongan Kalanduyan came to Albuquerque to introduce kulintang music in 2004.

Sinulog A Kamamatuan (Sinulog old style), Version 1. Sinulog is from the Maranao word sulug or people of Sulu. (NOTE: Sinulog as in Sinulog Festival in Cebu means sulug or current in Visayan language.)  A Kamamatuan means older, traditional style derived from the word “matua” meaning old.  The musical notation of Version 1 was from the late Danongan Kalanduyan, kulintang master from Cotabato who lived in San Francisco, CA.  He came to Albuquerque in 2004 to teach kulintang through a grant obtained by Dr. Dely Alcantara for the Filipino community.  This piece is a tribute to him for his contribution in bringing this indigenous music to the Filipinos in New Mexico.


Dances from Visayan Island

Visayan map


Origin: Kalibo, Aklan in the island of Panay

Ati Atihan means pretending to be Ati, one of the first people that inhabited the Philippines.  Long before Spaniards came to the Philippines in the 17th century, light skinned immigrants from Borneo and Indonesia arrived in the island of Panay.  The dark-skinned inhabitants of Panay called the Ati, lived in the upland part of the mountains where they planted rice.  The Atis sold to the immigrants small pieces of land and allowed them to settle down in the lowlands.  One day, heavy rains ruined the Atis’s crops.  They starved.  They came down to the lowlands and were fed by the people.  As a gesture of gratitude, the Atis danced for joy in the streets.


As a gesture of unity, the lowland people covered their faces with soot or wore black masks to look like the Atis and celebrated with them in the streets. When the Spaniards settled in the Philippines, the Ati Atihan festival, which is also a celebration of rice and unity, became part of the celebration honoring Santo Nino (Little Jesus).  After several centuries, the festival is still celebrated in Aklan every January. (Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)

Arnis: Lester, Lyle, Franz, Zeke, Angelo & John

Sayaw Arnis (Arnis Dance)

Music:  Over 7000 Planets (Ron Quesada, Kulintronica based in San Francisco), Origin of Arnis:  Cebu

Arnis, also called Eskrima (fencing) or Kali (KA from the Visayan words KAmot or hand and LI from the word LIhog or motion) is the national sport and Martial Arts of the Philippines. It is a stick (made of rattan), knife or sword fighting art.  It includes hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques.

Arnis at Cesar Chavez

The dance movements focus on rhythmic calisthenics of basic strikes and blocks for beginners using one stick.

Ron Quesada, kulintang musician, from Kulintronica composed “Over 7000 Planets”, the music used in the Arnis dance.

Arnis, (from “arnes,” an old Spanish word for armor) was founded by the Indonesian inhabitants of the Srivijayan Empire that ruled most of Southeast Asia in the 13th century.  They were overthrown by the Majapahit Empire from Eastern Java, Indonesia.  Forced to flee, the Srivi refugees settled in Cebu, central part of Visayas, where they introduced Arnis.  During the Spanish colonization that lasted more than three centuries, the practice of Arnis was forbidden but practitioners trained underground with sticks and bolos.  When the Americans colonized the Philippines, the practice was allowed openly and Arnis flourished. Arnis, which has big tournaments all over the Philippines, is also offered as a PE class in some universities.  (Assistant choreographers: Angelo and Zeke.)

Children’s Group

Children lined up with salakot

Paru Parung Bukid: Joshua, Jordyn, Kai, & Mia.

Many of the small children are on break in 2017.  Children’s Dances such as Paru Parung Bukid (choreographed by Maricar) will be revived.



Contact artistic directors:  Tessie at or Maricar at

We welcome new members by August or January when we teach new dances.   (For children, contact Maricar.) Thank you.

PFAG (after practice)

To view full images, double click on the photos (and double click again for enlarged images). (Photos courtesy of Mary.)

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Surrender of Bataan 75th Anniversary

Category : History , Uncategorized

To view full images, double click on each photo and double click again for larger image.


The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico (BCMFofNM), in cooperation with the City of Albuquerque, the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) and Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG), hosted the 2017 Bataan Memorial Ceremony on April 8, 2017 at the Bataan Memorial Park, Albuquerque.  The keynote speaker was Col. Steve Garcia.  The Gallup and Crown Point Dance Group performed Philippine dances.  The event at the Bataan Park was attended by around 300 people.

Gallup & Crown Point dancers A

Gallup and Crown Point dancers

The dinner banquet that same day which was held at the Sandia Resort & Casino, Albuquerque, was attended by 450 people.  The keynote speaker was Lt. Gen. (Ret) Edward Baca.  Guest speaker was Deputy Consul General Ambrosia Brain F. Enciso III.  Entertainment was provided by Jam Morales, Ethan Sabay Philippine Folkloric Dance Group and several bands.   The events were chaired by Maj. Richard Luena, USAF (Ret.), vice president of BCMFofNM and assisted by Nelo Edillon and Kathy Bartnick of FAFNM.  Dr. Dely Alcantara, president of both BCMFofNM and FAFNM assisted in getting grants for the event.

The events honored veterans from the New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) regiments (see below) and New Mexicans from other units.  It also honored a Bataan survivor, Al David, now an Albuquerque resident, who was with the 33rd Infantry, 31st Regiment, Philippine Division, USAF (Far East).


The New Mexico’s 200th and 515th Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) regiments fought in the defense of Luzon, Bataan and Corregidor in the opening days of World War II, and with their courage and sacrifice, for over five months, gave Our Nation time to arm and prepare a defense which would lead to ultimate victory in the Pacific.

This year, 2017, marked the 75th anniversary of the April 9, 1942 surrender of Bataan and the May 6, 1942 surrender of Corregidor, after which American and Filipino troops would fall behind a shroud of silence, enduring brutality and privation as prisoners of war.

Bataan Survivor Bill Overmier

Only 988 of the original 1,816 men of the 200th & 515th Coast Artillery men

Bataan Survivor and author Al David

would survive 3-1/2 years as prisoners of the Japanese. Today, only 11 of these men are still living.  Two of the Bataan survivors who attended the events were Mr. Bill Overmier and Al David, 96, who just published his book “End of the Trail”, a novel of the Philippines in World War II.

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2016 in Review

Category : Uncategorized

Events and Milestones that occured in the Filipino community in 2016:


Dr. Mila Anguluan

Dr. Mila Anguluan


April 2, Bataan Memorial, Bataan Park.  The annual event is co-sponsored by the Bataan Corregidor Foundation of New Mexico, FAFNM and FANHS RG.

April 23, Halle Manoa Bldg.,  Oral History: Kapwa:  Connection as Resilience.  Speaker:  Dr. Mila Anguluan (photo).  The event was attended by 26 people.  Sponsored by FANHS RG.

May 21, Old Town Plaza.  Santacruzan 2016.  Sponsored by FAFNM and the City of Albuquerque.

June 2016-2017.  The Filipino American Community Council (FACC) obtained a grant from the City of the Albuquerque (City Council) which will focus on “Language Acquisition and Filipino History through Performing Arts”.  The culminating activity will be a showcase of the performances on May 20, 2017, Sat. at the Santacruzan event, Old Town Plaza ( 7:00 pm Cultural Show).  Dr. Dely Alcantara, president of FACC and FAFNM is the prime mover of the grant.


Dely, Lee and Pearl at Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship

Dely, Lee and Pearl at Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship

June 22-25, 2016: Filipino American National Historical Society Conference in New York was attended by the FANHS Rio Grande members (photo):  Pearl King, Dr. Dely Alcantara, Ligaya (Lee) White and Dr. Ted Jojola (obviously, not in photo).  Next conference will be in Chicago in 2018.


Aug. 6:  Pista sa Nayon


Princeton King with mom, Pearl

Princeton King with mom, Pearl

Princeton Earl King graduated summa cum laude from UNM in May 2016, with a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Financial Management.  He started his Masters the week after the graduation at Anderson School of Management (UNM).  Princeton is the son of Pearl King, FANHS RG President, who also graduated summa cum laude in Dec. 2015 with a Nursing Degree, among the many degrees she has.  Like mother, like son!  Visit our Youth Page to see other Filipinos in New Mexico who graduated with honors.

Ace Leonen graduated cum laude from UNM in May 2106 with a degree in Biology.  He is the treasurer of the FAFNM Young Professional and Youth Committee.  He is the son of Dale Leonen and brother to Lyle and Ashley and grandson of Vicky Adaoag.  Photo shows Ace with members of the Committee: Gabi and Angel Velez, Miracle McCastle and Bianca White.

Gabi & Angel Velez, Miracle McCastle, Bianca White, & Ace Leonen

Gabi & Angel Velez, Miracle McCastle, Bianca White, & Ace Leonen



Patricia Anaya Price, in her early 70’s, passed away on January 21.   Pat was an artist, actress, acting instructor, choreographer, dancer, and fashion designer.  She lived in New York before coming to New Mexico.  She is survived by her husband, Alan and her best friend, Cindy Aragon.

Carmenia Alfonso, 74, passed away on April 15.  Carmenia was the FAFNM Treasurer.  She is survived by six children:  Jam, Warlyn, Al, James, Catherine and Steven and eight grandchildren.

Danongan Kalanduyan, father of American Kulintang Music, passed away on Sept. 28 at the Stanford University Medical Center.  Danongan, the kulintang master and a resident of South San Francisco, California, conducted a kulintang workshop in Albuquerque in 2004 through a grant.  Without him, we won’t have our kulintang ensemble now, 2016, or 12 years later.  BACK TO HOME.

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Santacruzan 2016

Category : Uncategorized

Santacruzan 2016

This year’s Santacruzan was held on May 21 at the Old Town Plaza.  The Mass was held at the San Felipe de Neri Church.  It was sponsored by the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM). The Cultural Show was sponsored by the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services.

In the Philippines, the month of May finds towns celebrating Santacruzan which is also known as Santa Cruz de Mayo or Flores de Mayo (May flowers) because May is the month when flowers of all kinds are blooming in the Philippines.  For others, it is a religious celebration that commemorates St. Helen’s finding of the cross during the reign of her young son, King Constantine.  Lore has it that the cross had been taken away from Christians by the infidels.  A town’s celebration usually lasts nine consecutive evenings (as in a novena).  On the ninth evening, the fiesta is held.

Since 1977 (or 39 years ago), this annual event, held at the Old Town Plaza, has been shared and witnessed by Albuquerque’s locals and tourists.  It symbolizes the link between Filipinos and Hispanic New Mexicans who share many of the same traditions.  The founders of this event in New Mexico were the late Eugenio (Gene) Zafra and his wife, Consuelo (Chito) Zafra, now 95 years old.

We want to acknowledge the past & present organizers aside from Chito:  Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson, Nelo Edillon and the many volunteers and members of the FAFNM.

Source:  Greenfield, T., “Consuelo Zafra: The Queen of Santacruzan,” The Filipino American Experience in New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM: FANHS Rio Grande Chapter, 2014.

Photos were provided by the members of FAFNM.

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Pista sa Nayon 2016

Lina Rollins, 2016 Mutya ng New Mexico

Lina Rollins, 2016 Mutya ng New Mexico

The Pista sa Nayon (Town Festival) in the Philippines is a festival in the center of the town to celebrate a good harvest.  It is also the time to focus on their family, neighbors and friends.  It is usually held on the same day when the town celebrates the feast day of their patron saint.

In Albuquerque, the Pista sa Nayon is an annual project of the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) to raise funds for our non-profit organization.   In four of the numerous Pista events, the focus was on the essential Filipina. (Other Pista events were celebrated with food tasting and cultural shows.)  It was open to Filipino American female, single or married, 18 years and older and willing to raise funds and promote the FAFNM.  Criteria were poise, personality & intelligence (30%), talent (10%) and fund raising ability (60%).  In 1994, the Pista sa Nayon queen was Binibini (Bb) Linnet Herrera, 1997- Pearl King, 2011 – Gloria Kauz, and 2013 – Brandi Lopez-Flores.

This year, the Mutya ng New Mexico went to Lina Rollins.  The runners up were:  Christa Harner (first place, Mutya ng Luzon) and Elflor Biddle Lingren (second place, Mutya ng Visaya).  There was no 4th candidate who could have been the Mutya ng Mindanao.  Lina was born in Cebu City and has been living in NM for over 20 years.  She is a wife and mother of three and works as a personal banker.  Christa was born in Albuquerque and attended at UNM where she pursued a degree in health and education.  Christa represented NM at the 2015 Miss Philippines USA in Los Angeles.  Elflor was originally in Mindanao and moved to the US in 1990s. She is the proud mother of Elise and wife to Douglas.  She volunteers to help children during her free time.  We thank the candidates for their support.

The event was also attended by Mayor Greggory Hull of Rio Rancho.  It was held on Aug. 6, 2016 at the Hotel Cascada, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


To get full image of a photo, double click on the photo.  It will show album size.  Double click again to give you a larger image.


  • Rod Ventura & Kristelle Siarza (emcees)
  • Kelsie Smith (singer)
  • Serrina Harner (singer)
  • Kenna, Krisca, Kim & Kyle Salazar (singers)
  • Movement Studio Dancers:  Nancy Latuja, Catherine Simpson, and Rachelle Ray.
  • FAFNM Cultural Dance Group
    • Ednalyn Garcia (solo dancer – Pandanggo sa Ilan)
    • Joshua & Jordyn Caintic, Mia and Kai Alter (dancers: Itik Itik)
    • Angelica & Gabriela Velez (singers – Lupang Hinirang/dancers – Oasioas)
    • Miracle McCastle, Kristal Limalima and Sandy Guamos (dancers – Oasioas)
    • Malaya Everette (kulintang musician), Jasmine and Justine Castro (kulintang musicians/dancers of Oasioas)
    • Sean Alter, Marc Castro, Angelo Egrubay (asst. choreographer), Lyle Leonen, Latrel, Lester, & Zeke Racca, Franz and John Soriano (dancers – Ati Atihan)

Thank you to the numerous volunteers who made this event possible including Senlin & Carminia Garver and Lani Velez for these amazing photos.

Compiled by Tessie Greenfield, co-administrator for the website.

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2015 in Review

Tags :

Category : History , Uncategorized

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015

Goodbye 2015!

Miss Universe

To start off, on the INTERNATIONAL scene, a Filipina-German, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was crowned Miss Universe 2015.  Pia is one of the 12 Miss Philippines who won international beauty contests.  See list: Filipina Women who won WORLD BEAUTY Titles.

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 20: Miss Philippines 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (R), reacts as she is crowned the 2015 Miss Universe by 2014 Miss Universe Paulina Vega (L) during the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on December 20, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Miss Colombia 2015, Ariadna Gutierrez (not pictured), was mistakenly named as Miss Universe 2015 instead of First Runner-up. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP.  See VIDEO.


Pearl King

Pearl King

Pearl King, FANHS RG President, graduated SUMMA CUM LAUDE from New Mexico Highland University in December 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (among the many degrees she has).  She works as a nurse at the VA Hospital.  Congratulations, Pearl!  You deserve it!


December:  This month was the busiest for the Filipino community, particularly for the members and friends of the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico.

  • Christmas Party, Dec. 12, Marriott at the Pyramid.  The new FAFNM Board of Directors were inducted by Consul Mary Jo Ramirez. Kudos to the organizers:  Cindy Aragon, Ligaya White and the BODs.
Christmas 2015 with Al David, 94 and Chito Zafra, 93.

Christmas 2015 with (seated) Al David, 94 and Chito Zafra, 93 and FAFNM members.

  • Consulate Outreach, Dec. 12, Marriott.  The Philippine Consulate staff was in Albuquerque to provide consulate services (passport renewal, dual citizenship, immigration issues among others) for Filipinos in New Mexico and surrounding states.  FAFNM has been hosting for several years.  Thanks to Ligaya White, Emilie & Cris Underwood and the BOD’s for their assistance.
  • Caroling:  This is an annual fund raising project (mainly for Scholarship funds).  Thanks to all the hosts and donors, carolers and coordinators/musicians: Myrna Samson, Jim Custodio, and Robert Divero.
  • Simbang Gabi (Evening Mass Celebration): Filipinos and families celebrated this Filipino tradition for three Thursdays at the Sangre de Cristo Church.  Thanks to Fr. Joel Bugas who drove 10 hours (round trip from Clayton) to be with us during his off-days.  Thanks to the carolers who provided the music and to Emilie Underwood for consistently coordinating this event every year.
  • Lighting of Luminaries: The Bataan veterans lighted the luminaries at the Bataan Park, an annual tradition.

We thank the 2015 FAFNM Board of Directors for a job well done.  We acknowledge the dedication of the outgoing president, Ligaya White who held the position for two years (2014-2015).  She revived the Young Professional and Youth Committee and the Senior’s Group.  (As you also know, we are grateful to our seniors who have also been the prime movers of many activities for many years:  Santacruzan, Simbang Gabi, and Caroling, among others.)

NOTE:  To see full view of photos in the gallery, double click on each photo, then double click again for larger view.  To return to text, click on the (<) arrow at the top right corner of the screen.


The FANHS RG celebrated the biennial event, Pamana Awards Night, honoring New Mexicans, not necessarily of Filipino descent, who had substantially contributed community service to Filipinos here and in the Philippines.  We also recognized the Manoa Youth recipients.  See list and photos of awardees: Pamana Awards.

  • Scott Berry (Educate Bohol), one of the Pamana Awardees this year, went back to the Philippines with his wife, Zela in October.  We are grateful to Scott for changing the lives of many poor children in Bohol. He is very much a part of their lives now. See video: 2015 Educate Bohol.



Crista Harner represented New Mexico at the Miss Philippines USA in Los Angeles.  She is the beautiful daughter of international singer, Jam Morales Harner and granddaughter of Carmenia Alfonso.  The title went to Chrystelle Joyce Volkmann of Missouri.

Miss Philippines USA contestants with Crista Harner (farthest left)

Miss Philippines USA contestants with Crista Harner (farthest left)

May (Asian/Pacific Heritage Month):

Graduation with top honors:  Carlo James (CJ) Aragon graduated Magna Cum Laude, University of New Mexico (UNM), Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Political Science and Foreign Languages.  He was the 2011 Manoa Youth and Outstanding Asian American Youth Awardee.  He is the son of Cindy and Cel Aragon.

Awardee:  Bianca White received the Outstanding Asian American Youth Award at the Asian Festival of Cultures sponsored by the Asian American Association of New Mexico and FAPAC Rio Grande.  She also received the Manoa Youth Award.  See Pamana Awards.  She is the daughter of Ligaya and Jery White.

Santacruzan:  Aside from our annual celebration (Mass, Procession and Cultural Show) which is co-sponsored by FAFNM and the City of Albuquerque Cultural Service, this year’s Santacruzan was specially memorable.

  • Chito Zafra, 93, was recognized for introducing this event in 1977, making Santacruzan the longest (almost four decades) tradition the Filipinos have celebrated in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Thanks to organizers (past and present): Heddy Long, Cora Romillo, and now Myrna Samson.
  • Chuy Martinez, our great supporter of the Filipino community, retired from the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services.  He has been an advocate of many Filipino activities, particularly the Santacruzan.  He received the Community Service Award from FANHS Rio Grande in 2011.  This was his last Santacruzan as a staff of the Cultural Services.  Thank you, Chuy!  You will always be a part of the Filipino community.


  • The annual Bataan Ceremony in April at the Bataan Park was attended by the Philippine Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim and his wife.  This is a joint project of FAFNM, FANHS RG and the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Foundation of NM (bcmfofnm).  Thanks to our FAFNM liaison members: Richard Luena, Chris Zafra and Dr. Dely Alcantara (also the president of bcmfofnm).
  • The first eBook, The Filipino American Experience in New Mexico, by the FANHS RG was released early this year.
  • Miracle McCastle performed her Kulintang Recital in March at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Rio Rancho (her alma mater).  This was the final requirement of a 6-month project for the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program of the New Mexico Arts (a division of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs) obtained by Tessie Greenfield, the kulintang instructor, to pass on the music of an ethnic instrument (from Southern Philippines), kulintang, to only ONE young apprentice.  Thanks to Dr. Dely Alcantara of FACC for introducing the grant.  Miracle is the youngest kulintang musician in New Mexico where there are only five who play it: Cristal Everette, Jenny DeBouzek, London Cabada, Tessie (all members of the Kulintang Ensemble of Albuquerque, 2005 – 2009) and Miracle.  Dustin Haberman who also plays it has moved out of state.  See samples on video: Kini Kini and Maiden Dance.
  • The FAFNM Cultural Dance Group performed twelve shows this year.

Businesses Owned by Filipinos that opened this year

Kristelle - Albuquerque Journal

Kristelle (bottom, center)


  • Marita Tambunting Tengco, passed away after a lingering illness.  She is survived by her husband, Tom Stewart, and daughter, Mirinisa Stewart-Tengco.  We thank Myrna Samson and the senior’s group for hosting the Novena in her honor.

    Marita Tengco

    Marita Tengco

  • Leon Padilla, a close friend of the Filipinos and the Bataan veterans also passed away.  He was the secretary and vice-president (different periods) of the Bataan Corregidor Memorial Foundation of NM, whose father was a Bataan Veteran.
  • Cesar Guevarra, a singer and member of the defunct Maharlika Rondalla, passed away while on vacation in the Philippines.  He will be remembered for his Filipino love songs at the Pista sa Nayon and FANHS RG Book Launching.

If you have any Filipino activity or a milestone (wedding, births) in 2015 that we missed or posting here that needed to be corrected or included, please email or

Compiled by Tessie Greenfield for this website.

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Pamana Awards (FANHS RG)

Awardees 2015

Awardees 2015 (see caption below)

7th Pamana Heritage Awards, Sept 26, 2015, Hotel Cascada, Albuquerque, NM


Pearl King, Dr. Ted Jojola & Dr. Dely Alcantara with Manoa Youth runners up, Gabriela & Angelica Velez and awardee, Bianca White (2015)

Pearl King, Dr. Ted Jojola & Dr. Dely Alcantara with Manoa Youth runners up, Gabriela & Angelica Velez and awardee, Bianca White (2015)


Every two years, the Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG) celebrates the positive contribution of Filipino Americans to our society through these awards.  The word, Pamana, means heritage or inheritance in Pilipino.  It embodies the ideals, culture, traditions and way of life that are woven into our moral fabric and makes us who we are – inheritors of a glorious past who must bequeath such extraordinary legacy to our future generations.  The awardees receive a plaque (see below).

The Pamana Awards Night also honors our Filipino American teenagers through the Manoa Youth Awards sponsored by the Manoa Foundation.  This is our 7th celebration.  Check out List of Pamana Award Nights.

Top photo shows (from left):  FANHS RG president Pearl King, Manoa Youth runners up Gabriela and Angel Velez, Representative Jane Powdrell Culbert, Manoa Youth awardee Bianca White, Scott Berry,* Major Gloria Kauz, Francis Ong, Louie Velasquez, Sharmaine Ong, Wally Winter, Dr. Ted Jojola, Cristal Everette (representing Jenny DeBouzek), and Divina Underwood (representing Veronica Jumalon). Learn About the 2015 Pamana Awardees and Manoa Youth 2015.

*Scott Berry (Educate Bohol) went back to the Philippines (for the 6th time) with his wife, Zela in October.  We are grateful to Scott for changing the lives of many poor children in Bohol. He is very much a part of their lives now. See video about his October trip: 2015 Educate Bohol.

2017 Pamana Event

In conjunction with the Filipino American History Month (October), the 8th Pamana event will be conducted in October instead of September.  It will be a FREE EVENT.  Venue and other details will be announced later.  Please visit this page by August.

NOTE:  To see full view of photos in the gallery, double click on each photo, then double click again for larger view.  To return to text, click on the (<) arrow at the top right corner of the screen.


Pamana Awards

Pamana Awards

Pamana & Manoa Youth Awardees 2007 with Philippine Consul Gen. Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon (in pink) and Rio Rancho mayor Michael Williams (on her left)

2007 Pamana & Manoa Youth Awardees with Philippine Consul and Rio Rancho Mayor.  From left:  Gigi Carlson (Educational Contribution), Stan Agustin (Personal Achievement), Sarah Rogers (Manoa Youth Awardee), Dr. Dely Alcantara (Lifetime Achievement), Rio Rancho Mayor Michael Williams, Philippine Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon, Betsy and Jim Custodio (Community Service), Patrick Custodio (Manoa Youth runner up), and Ligaya White (Cultural Heritage & Historical Contribution).

Award categories:

  • The Personal Achievement Award is given to a Filipino American (Fil-Am) who has attained success in his/her chosen profession, field or specialty and has inspired others to overcome obstacles and make sacrifices to achieve his/her goals.
  • The Community Service Award is given to a person(s), not necessarily of Filipino descent, who has been instrumental in promoting cultural diversity, has participated in cultural activities and has been a tireless advocate for the resolution of the Fil-Am community’s issues and concerns OR a Fil-Am, due to their unyielding advocacy and goodwill, has contributed substantially to the community in general.  (In 2015, only this award was given.)
  • The Educational Contribution Award is given to a Fil-Am who not only has excelled in the field of education but also has contributed greatly to the academic discipline of teaching and learning.  The awardee has advanced the improvement of education among the schools and colleges, various interested organizations and nonprofits, and the community.  The awardee is considered an educational leader, an innovative and inspiring teacher, a person who promotes improved teaching strategies and use of technology, and/or has demonstrated ways to raise student engagement and achievement.
  • The Cultural Heritage and Historical Contributions Award is given to a Fil-Am who has contributed greatly to our study and understanding of diversity, cultural heritage, ethnic origins and/or history.  In particular, the awardee has participated and promoted activities that has taught or advanced the study of the Filipino language and history, culture and customs, and/or the Fil-Am experience and history in the US.

Manoa Youth Awardees 2011 with Manoa Foundation founders

2011 Manoa Youth Founders & Recipients: (standing from left) Manoa Foundation founders, Dr. Ted Jojola and Dr. Dely Alcantara, FANHS RG President Pearl King.  Seated from left:  Manoa Youth runners up Mirinisa Stewart-Tengco, the late Ethan Fraser Sabay, Josh Rowden and Manoa Youth Awardee, Carlo James Aragon.


  • The Manoa Youth Award is an integral part of the Pamana Award event and is given to a Filipino American student in New Mexico, between 14 to 18 years old (at the time of nomination). The award is given in the spirit of the late Manoa Alcantara Jojola, son of Dr. Dely Alcantara and Dr. Ted Jojola of the Manoa Foundation.  He/she has excelled in academics, community service and/or participated in activities to promote Filipino culture and who demonstrates pride in their culture through expressive and creative arts. The awardee receives a scholarship fund of $500 from the Manoa Foundation and a plaque from FANHS RG. Starting in 2009, the runners up receive a scholarship fund of $200 and certificates of achievement from the Manoa Foundation.


Check out the:  List of Pamana Awardees (including Manoa Youth recipients).

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