Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Fiesta Filipina 2021

Category : Fiesta , Uncategorized

The City of Albuquerque and the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) presented the Celebration of the International Day focusing on the Philippines on Sept. 22, 2021 at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park for two hours. The event was emceed by Vicky Adaoag, a board member of FAFNM with invocation by Rev. Fr. Joel Bugas. The presentation showcased Filipino talents in singing, dancing, kulintang music and fashion show with around 50 participants. Choreographers were: Maricar Castro, Chearie Alipat and Darwin Virtusio. Booths included Food from Basil Home Cooking and other food donors, DHI-FEMA, NM Immigrant Law Center, NM Asian Family Center, Filipino Student Organization of UNM, Fil-Am Nursing Assoc. of NM and Art Pieces of Jocelle Bautista. Covid Vaccination Team was also present. Thanks to Larry Miller Toyota for their support. The Event Committee included: FAFNM President Myrna Samson (Chair), Vicky Adaoag (Program), Cora Romillo (Dance Coordinator), Ariel Bondoc (Set/Program Design), & Gloria Kauz (Consultant). Thank you to the City of Albuquerque Cultural Services, performers, volunteers, donors, supporters, booth participants, FAFNM BOD and members. We hope to see everybody at the Christmas Party on Dec. 2. Please check EVENTS page in November for details.


Thanks to Ana Bhandari of UNM who created a short video for this event. Click to watch: Fiesta Filipino


The following photos were from the FAFNM volunteer photographers and Jasmine Quiambao. Thank you all. (Click on individual photo to enlarge image.)

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Santacruzan 2021

Category : Uncategorized

After missing the 2020 Santacruzan due to the Covid19 pandemic, the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico (FAFNM) revived the annual celebration of Santacruzan on May 30, 2021, Sunday at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, attended by around 200 people. Anna Shibuya was Reyna Elena and Ethan Esparza was King Constantine (photo below). The event was celebrated by Archbishop John Wester, Fr. Joel Bugas, Pastor Vincent Paul Chavez and Deacon Leandro Centenerra. The event was chaired by FAFNM President Myrna Samson with Cora Romillo as consultant.

Reynas with Constantine (from left): Justine Castro, Tessa Cheshire, Anna Shibuya, Ethan Esparza, Jasmine Castro and Malaya Everette.
From left: Deacon Leandro Centenerra, Fr. Joel Bugas, Tessa Cheshire, Justine Castro, Anna Shibuya, Archbishop John Wester, Ethan Esparza, Jasmine Castro, Malaya Everette, and Pastor Vincent Paul Chavez.

Chito Zafra, now 99 years old, (right photo) and her late husband, Eugene Zafra introduced Santacruzan in Albuquerque in 1977 which was traditionally celebrated at the Old Town Plaza. The left photo above shows his grandchild, Angela Armijo and great grandchild, Violet Ann Armijo receiving the Recognition and Appreciation Certificate in behalf of Chito from FAFNM President Myrna Samson.

After 44 years, this was the first year we missed Heddy Long who passed away in April. Heddy was one of the organizers of Santacruzan for decades. She was thinking of Santacruzan even during the last days of her life. Myrna Samson and Cora Romillo, other organizers, who were with her days before she passed away assured her that they would continue the tradition.

The Santacruzan Committee: Chair – Myrna Samson, Consultant – Cora Romillo, Music – Ariel Bondoc, Food – Annie Bondoc, together with the BOD of FAFNM. Photos courtesy of Maricar Castro and one from Gloria Kauz.

The event would not be possible without our donors: Carla Lanting Shibuya, Jane Anderson, Annie Bondoc, Philip Esparza, Pearl King, Jose and Nita Pascual, Cora Romillo, Myrna Samson, and Chito Zafra. Special thanks to all the Reynas and Sagalas and all the volunteers who continue to support this event for more than four decades.

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2021 in Review

Category : Uncategorized

Festivals and Celebrations this year (FAFNM)

Sept. 22, International Day at the Veterans Memorial Park: Fiesta Filipino (International Day)

June, Independence Day, San Ignacio’s Church.

May 30, Annual Santacruzan, St. Theresa’s Church. Santacruzan

Farewell to the People we lost this year

Nov. 7 and Nov. 16. Farewell to Mary Jane Licayan Anderson who passed away on Nov. 7 and her husband, Keith, who passed away on Nov. 16. Mary Jane was one of the active members of our Filipino community who always volunteered to feed us with her delicious Filipino dishes. Our condolences to their families. May they both rest in peace.

April 11, Sunday: Heddy Long, 80, passed away from heart failure. She was predeceased by her husband, Dick Long. Heddy is the first lay person and first Filipina Family Life Director of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. She was the one of the long time Santacruzan organizers. In fact, she was thinking of Santacruzan on her last day, according to Myrna Samson, FAFNM President. Santacruzan is a Filipino cultural and religious event introduced by Chito Zafra in 1977 in Albuquerque (see photo) and still being celebrated until now. Our condolences to Heddy’s family. Heddy has left a legacy in the Filipino community. More about Heddy from the book, “The Filipino American Experience in New Mexico.” (Published by the Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande, 2014). Click below:

April 4, Sunday. Bill McKibbin, a dear friend of the Filipino community who always volunteered in many of our activities for several decades, passed away peacefully. Bill is the partner of Cora Romillo, one of our Filipino community leaders, for 25 years. Our condolences to Cora, her family and Bill’s family and friends. He will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Milestones among Filipinas in 2021

Oct. 8, 2021, Oslo. First Filipino to receive Nobel Prize. Maria Ressa, Investigative Journalist. View a video clip of her journey to become one of the most influential and fearless journalists in the Philippines. Click on video: Maria Ressa..

July 2021, Tokyo. Hidilyn Diaz, Women’s Weightlifter, Gold Olympics Champion. Click link for video of our: The FIRST OLYMPIC CHAMPION OF THE PHILIPPINES!
March, 2021. Philippines celebrated 500 years of Christianity.

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2020 in Review

Category : History , Uncategorized

Events that have happened in 2020. For review of previous years, search for “YEAR (type the year) in Review”. Due to the Covid19 pandemic which enforced social distancing since mid-March, no public event has been scheduled in the Filipino American community in the Albuquerque and surrounding areas. Take care. OBSERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND PLEASE WEAR MASK WHEN YOU ARE AROUND PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF HOME. LET US ALL COOPERATE AND END THIS SOON.

Dec. 13, Simbang Gabi (Evening Mass) at Sangre de Cristo Catholic Church, 8901 Candelaria Road NW, Albuquerque, NM 87112. Space is limited so please register and call Myrna Samson 505-319-8821. DUE TO COVID19, there had been requests to have it available ONLINE due to Covid. Stay tune.


Our very own, Jasmine Ann Quiambao whom you’ve seen performing with the Performing Group received a grant on Water Research. Congratulations, Jasmine! Click here to read description of Jasmine’s Grant.

Farewell to Celia Tomlinson

August 28. Susan Saludo Parks, shown with her sons, passed away. She was a member of the FAFNM Cultural Dance Group in 2013. She is the daugher of Ron and Edith Saludo who are active in our Filipino community. We appreciate any donation towards her medical and funeral funds thru GoFundMe by clicking: DONATION TO SUSAN. Here are video clips of the performances where Susan danced with us. She was truly talented and professional.

Kini Kini at the 2013 Pista sa Nayon (She’s wearing the light blue malong with light blue umbrella.)

Janggay at the 2013 Santacruzan (She’s wearing the brown malong with orange border and headdress.)

DEATH: Wilfrido (Fred) passed away. (His brother, Atilano David, predeceased him.) Sept. 8, Funeral Service was held on Sept. 8 at the Sangre de Cristo Church, Albuquerque.

CELEBRATION: June: Fr . Joel Bugas, Spiritual Director of the Filipino American Ministry, is shown celebrating his 11th year of priesthood on Pentecost day. He is the only Filipino priest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Thanks for all the Spiritual work and guidance you do for the community. We are so proud of you.

August 13. Fr. Bugas’s older brother at age 55 passed away in Davao, Philippines.

Nenette Boucher

DEATH: February: Potenciana (Nenette) Boucher passed away in February. She received the Pamana Award for Community Service (2002) and was featured in the book, The Filipino American Experience in NM (2014). She was an educator in Gallup and moved to Albuquerque when she and her husband, Ray, retired.


Catie Cheshire, Summa Cum Laude, Regis University, Denver. Daughter of Stan and Lisa Cheshire, granddaughter of Heddy Long, May 2020.

Krystal Limalima, UNM, BS in Biology, May 2020.

Carlo James Aragon, Fletcher School, Tufts University, MA, Master of Art in Law and Diplomacy, May 2020.

Jasmine Quiambao, UNM, BS in Chemical Engineering, May 2020, Cum Laude. Jasmine received a grant from the NM WRRI. Click: Jasmine’s Grant.



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2019 Pamana Awards

9th Pamana Heritage Award and Filipino American History Month Celebration

Every other year, the Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande (FANHS RG) in cooperation with the Filipino American Community Council (FACC) recognizes Filipino Americans in NM who have contributed to our Filipino and/or New Mexico communities beyond the call of duties. We are holding this event during the Filipino American History Month (October) to remember the first Filipinos who landed in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, California on October 18, 1587.  Click on text below for a glimpse of Fil-Am History and the List of Pamana Awardees since 2000.

Standing: Dr. Ted Jojola (Manoa Foundation), Pearl King, FANHS RG President and David Bency, Rio Rancho Councilor District 6. Seated: Manoa Youth Awardee Lester Racca, Pamana 2019 Awardees – Dr. Christopher Gonzaga, Mairi Mahal Nunag, MA NCBT, Atty. Rod Ventura. Watch video clips from YouTube.
Pamana 2019 Awarees with Graduates and their relatives. Watch video clip on Graduates and photos taken by our volunteer photographers..

9th Pamana Heritage Awards

The Pamana Heritage Awards in conjunction with the Filipino American History Month was held on October 5, 2019 at the South Broadway Cultural Center. Dr. Barbara Gaerlan, FANHS Trustee, gave the welcome address about he Filipino American History Month. See video clip of Dr. Gaerlan.

The Pamana Awardees (adults) received a plaque from FANHS RG. The Manoa Youth Awardee (18 years or younger) receives a plaque from FANHS RG and a scholarship fund ($500) from the MAJICAL Foundation.  MAJICAL stands for Manoa Alcantara Jojola International Center for Arts and Learning.

To emphasize the value of education, we recognized Filipino American graduates from high school, college and masters.  We gave a t-shirt:  “Proud Filipino American graduate” as a souvenir of this event. This is an opportunity for the students to meet others. We have updated guidelines of the graduates we will recognize for 2021 Pamana. Please read after the list of graduates below.

Pamana Awardees (2019)

Community Service and Advocacy

Dr. Christopher Estabillo Gonzaga is currently the primary care physician and specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Healthcare Services (RMCHCS)-College Clinic in Gallup. For over two decades, Dr. Gonzaga has volunteered his services in the areas of healthcare, the socio-economic and cultural milieu.  He has served as board member to the Cibola Medical Foundation, assisted in fundraising for local schools, and provided flu shots at local homeless shelters for many years.  For eight years now, he has organized the program “Feeding the Homeless” where his wife, Dr. Flor Caballar-Gonzaga, a neurologist, children (Gabe and Astrid) and other volunteers raise funds for the homeless.  They had fundraising events that benefit the Wellness Center, a clinic responsible for the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, and the promotion of general well-being among the population through health education.  For his lifetime of volunteerism and service to the community of Gallup, Dr. Gonzaga received an award from American College of Physicians NM Chapter in 2015.  Other notable accolades included being an honoree in 2016 at the 20thRMCHCS Charity Invitational Fundraising event for the many years of dedicated service to RMCHCS and the people of Gallup and McKinley County.  In the same year, he was also a recipient of the Hope and Healing Honors for his selfless contribution to those whose lives have been touched by cancer.  Dr. Gonzaga’s speech Introduction by Pearl. Dr. Gonzaga singing his two compositions of Filipino songs.

Mairi Mahal Nunag, MA, NBCT (National Board Certified Teacher), teaches Special Education at the Hodgin Elementary School (Albuquerque) where she also serves as Head Teacher. Her accolades included the 2010 Humanitarian Award by the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers (EBRFT) and in 2012, Teacher of the Year. In 2016, she was the Gawad Amerika Awardee for being “The Most Outstanding Filipino Teacher of the Year”. An activist since her college years, Mairi continued to be a human rights, labor and immigration advocate. She initiated the Filipino Educators Federation of Lousiana (where she taught at Baton Rouge). She is the lead plaintiff in the first ever class-certified case against professionals in the US (Mairi Nunag-Tanedo vs. EBRPSS School Board, et al) which won in favor of more than 340 Filipino teachers. Now in New Mexico, she is helping the new Filipino teachers by connecting them to possible individuals and offices in the US and Philippine governments as well as non government organizations that can help them. See video clip of Mairi and introduction by Evelio.

Roderick Ventura, is an attorney who has practiced environmental law, education law, Indian law and various other disciplines. He is currently the Deputy Director of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, the pension fund that provides retirement benefits for 50,000 retired educators in New Mexico. He worked for DNA People’s Legal Services on the Navajo Nation where he handled a case representing two residents of the Crownpoint area of New Mexico who were opposing uranium mining in the checkerboard area of the reservation. He worked for the New Mexico Environmental Law Center where he fought for underrepresented New Mexico communities who were fighting large corporations that were damaging the environment and disregarding local community concerns.  He has served as President of the Filipino American Foundation of New Mexico, the Asian American Association of New Mexico and as an officer in the Filipino American Community Council.  He was a founding board member of the New Mexico Asian Family Center.  See video of Rod with introduction by Richard.

Manoa Youth Awardee

Lester Racca (Albuquerque)

Lester (Buknoy) Racca received the Manoa Youth Award, an award given in the spirit of the late Manoa Alcantara Jojola, son of the late Dr. Dely Alcantara and Dr. Ted Jojola, both UNM professors, of the MAJICAL Foundation.  Lester graduated with a cumulative GPA of 4.317 from Eldorado High in May 2019. He has been a performer with the Filipino Performing Arts Group since 2016 which helped raise funds for the scholarship funds of the Filipino American Foundation of NM.  In high school, he briefly joined the Best Buddies program which promotes one to one friendship with Special Ed students. See Lester’s speech and introduction by Miracle.

Filipino American Graduates (Masters, College, HS) Dec. 2017 to August 2019. Watch video clip on Graduates


  1. Sheila Aguinaldo – Master of Science in Nursing, Grand Canyon University, Arizona, May 2019.
  2. Izekiel (Zeke) Racca – Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Cum Laude), University of New Mexico (UNM), May 2019.


  1. Renz Bustria – Bachelor of Business Management in Accounting, UNM, December 2018.
  2. Ashley Cabiltes – Bachelor of Science in Music Production (Advance Achievement Awardee), Full Sail University, Florida, May 2018.
  3. Tricia Desquitado-Marx – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, UNM, May 2018.
  4. Jared Fernandez – Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Magna Cum Laude), Northwestern University, Illinois, May 2019.
  5. Megan Fernandez – Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley, May 2019. 
  6. Michael Isidro – Bachelor of Science in Nursing, UNM, August 2019.
  7. Lyle Leonen – Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Cum Laude), UNM, December 2017. 
  8. Lorenzo Pascual – Bachelor of Science in Biology, UNM, May 2018.
  9. Larriane Jiezel Tan – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, UNM, December 2018.
  10. Rryod Saromines – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Magna Cum Laude), UNM, May 2019.

High School:

  1. Justin Cabiltes – Rio Rancho HS, (3rd Honor), May 2018.
  2. Nicholas Centenerra – Central Bucks HS, Pennsylvania, May 2019.
  3. Anna Cheshire – Eldorado HS, May 2018.
  4.  Angelo Egrubay – Volcano Vista HS, May 2018.
  5. Ashley Hildebrand – Rio Rancho HS, May 2019.
  6. Mary Josephine Hollins – La Cueva HS, May 2018.
  7. Ashley Yssabelle A. Leonen – Eldorado HS, May 2018.
  8. Arianna Lumanog – Sandia HS, May 2019.
  9. Matthew Lloyd Macias – Rio Rancho HS, May 2019.
  10. Miracle Angele McCastle – V. Sue Cleveland HS, May 2019.
  11. Jacob Olaguir – Albuquerque HS, May 2019.
  12. Dominic Joshua Pimentel – La Cueva HS, May 2019.
  13. Lester (Buknoy) Racca – Eldorado HS, May 2019.
  14. Remson Ramos – V. Sue Cleveland HS, May 2019.
  15. Rhudovic Ramos – V. Sue Cleveland HS, May 2018.
  16. Adin Rollins – Cibola HS, May 2018.
  17. India Stokes – Cibola HS, May 2018.


Guidelines in determining graduates to be recognized for the next Pamana (2021):

FANHS RG values the importance of education; however, for a small chapter like ours, we cannot recognize Fil-Am students ALL over New Mexico. We will recognize

  • Students (not parents or grandparents) who are residents of NM in areas mentioned below.  If they graduated HS in NM and graduated out of state in college or higher learning, then they will be recognized.  (If a parent or grandparent lives in NM but child or grandchild lives in another state (in HS), that student will not be considered NM resident.)
  • Graduates from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo and Santa Fe only.
  • ONLY Graduates who attend the Pamana will receive complimentary t-shirts (worth $18), ticket ($15) and program ($5).  Those who are absent will still be included in the program and website.  Relatives representing absent graduates will have to pay for tickets and buy the souvenir program. Thank you for your support.

If you know Filipino American graduates described above, please email the name, school, degree, parents and size of t-shirt (if attending) to Pearl [email protected] so that they can be included for the next Pamana in 2021! We will publish name on the website with graduate’s permission. Thank you.