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The 2019 Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Recipients


1. Allen Cabiles – Excellence in Entrepreneurship/Philanthropy
As CEO of PayMaple LLC, he brought 32 years of experience in the payment processing industry.He is an entrepreneur, laser-focused on business development and technology innovation. Allen aims to make PayMaple LLC the “Apple” of the Fintech Industry. As a driven entrepreneur, Allen is part of several venture capital groups. Community involvement is extremely important to Allen, so he is very committed to several philanthropic organizations as Executive Board Member of Little Angels Center for Exceptional Care, Turning Point Autism Foundation, and AMITA Health Foundation. Allen’s future goals include providing accessible capital to entrepreneurs involved in ventures that preserve our environment and promote renewable energy solutions.


2. Connie Reyes Chanrasmi – Excellence in Music
A member of the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers (MADZ) while studying in UP, she has been the music director of the Philippine Choral Group for over 20 years now. As one of the Philippine Cultural Foundation Inc.’s (PCFI) cultural arms, this group from Tampa Bay, Florida, helps to preserve and present Philippine heritage and culture. She also served as the music director of the Little Hometown Soldiers, a non-profit children’s organization of kids 5 – 12 years old that reaches out to support families with members who serve within the armed forces.


3. Fritz Colcol – Serial Entrepreneur
Fritz is a lifestyle entrepreneur based in Chicago. He started businesses, such as the beloved restaurants Simply Thalia and Thalia Spice, as well as co-owning the Iridium clothing brand with stores in the Windy City and Atlanta. Another facet of his life is fitness. Fritz competes as a professional Men’s Physique athlete in the IPE league. He earned his pro card & took the title of Mr. Illinois 2016. He is a Fitness professional, fashion enthusiast, world traveler, opportunity seeker, business developer, influencer, investor, motivator, food lover & lifestyle blogger.


4. Dino Doliente III – Excellence in Nursing Leadership National
Dino’s unique combination of clinical, financial, and organizational leadership background made him a highly respected leader both professionally and personally. He became the 19th President (2016-2018) of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) and his accomplishments in this office was simply par excellence. As President of PNAA, his accomplishments included advocating for labor justice and fairness through the Human Rights Committee by assisting and guiding registered nurses towards agreed fair employment practices. He currently works as Divisional Director, Finance and Reimbursement Services Group of Genesis Healthcare Inc. in Orange County, California with a total annual Medicare/Medicaid budget revenue of $700+ Million.


5. Phoebe Zerrudo Doruelo RN, BSN, MPH, CRRN – Excellence in Community Leadership
When Chicago Nightingales NFP was established in February 22, 2013, Phoebe was a co-founder for this volunteer organization, where she served as President and currently the Advisor. Her community fund raising efforts are spread to several local organizations and continue as far as the Philippines, such as the Medical Mission in Nueva Viscaya, Samar, and Don Bosco Boys Town. Her greatest contribution as a nurse is developing protocol for a new Ultrafiltration procedure for Congestive Heart Failure patients and Hypothermia in Acute heart attack when she worked in CCU at Central DuPage Hospital.


6. Arvin Floresca – Excellence in Finance and Accounting
Arvin Floresca is the Director of SOX Compliance and Accounting Policies of Anixter, a Fortune 500 company and a leading global distributor of Network and Security solutions, Electrical and Electronic solutions and Utility Power solutions. Arvin is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Internal Auditor, a Certified Information Systems Auditor, and a Certified Global Management Accountant. He also received his Certification in Risk Management Assurance. He was a founding officer and former President of the International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA) – Chicago Chapter. In 2017, he set-up the ISFFA Chicago Floresca CPA Review Scholarship that provides funding for deserving accounting students to attend a review school paving their way to become CPAs in the Philippines.


7. Dominick Geraci – Friend of the Filipino
As Managing Broker/Owner of Vista Group Realty in Chicago Il., Geraci just opened up his real-estate business office named Vista Group next to the monster mart Seafood City, a Filipino-owned chain of oriental markets that have dominated in California, becoming the “go-to” food center for Filipinos and other Asians alike. A hub for Filipinos and Filipino-American buyers that want to invest in the Philippines was a part of his plans for Vista Group. Way back, when the real estate bubble burst back in the early 2000’s, he focused his sights on finding something outside of the United States, and because of friends and family, came to learn about the booming real-estate market in the Philippines. He came to meet key people from Manila that would, eventually, start a journey of exploration on the exciting opportunities in the Philippines.


8. Liza Gino – Empowered Woman
She won two titles at the 1982 Bb. Pilipinas; Second Runner-Up and Miss Close Up Smile. As the spokesperson for Close Up Toothpaste, she had her segment in the nationally-televised noontime show, “Eat Bulaga” every week. She also co-hosted Disco Rama with the Apo Hiking Society and Bobby Ledesma. She was conferred the title of Mutya ng Lipa in 1985. As a single parent, Liza embarked on raising her three children by herself in San Francisco. Cognizant that her family’s success was dependent on the kindness and support of her community, she started baking cookies and giving them away as presents every Thanksgiving as a form of expressing gratitude. This led her to open her home business, My Favorite Bite, in 2012. Seven years later, her business is now transitioning into a commercial establishment.


9. Janette Jordie – Excellence in Community Service – National
She has been the President for the Philippine-American Association of Madison and Neighboring Areas (PAMANA) for two terms— in 2012 and in 2018. It was during her term that they did the first Philippine cultural fashion show that earned an excellent review. It was also during her first term that the club’s scholarship program had started. It was in her 2018 term that all the club’s projects earned most dollar-wise. Janette was also the President of Summit Seekers Toastmasters that earned the club the first Distinguished Club Award. She earned her Competent Communicator designation with Toastmasters and continues working to earn more designations.


10. Kenneth A. Mayuga, M.D. – Excellence in Medicine
Dr. Mayuga is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialist) at Cleveland Clinic, the #1 ranked Cardiology and Heart Surgery program in the country for the past 25 years. He was named to the Cleveland Clinic medical staff in 2014. Dr. Mayuga also holds an academic appointment in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Mayuga is actively involved in medical research and is the Associate Director of the Syncope Center.


11. Doug M. Nguyen – Outstanding Asian American
Doug M. Nguyen is the Regional Communications Director for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) six-state Chicago Region. Since 2013 Doug has served as the Lead for the Regional Network of the White House Initiative for Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). Doug is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Asian American Coalition of Chicago (AACC) and served as the AACC’s 2013 Chairperson. He was a previous recipient of the Coalition’s community service award in 1999. He also served on the Asian American Advisory Councils for the Illinois Secretary of State and the Social Security Administration.


12. Rey Nonato – Political Empowerment
Nonato learned fast in navigating the rough landscape of Chicago county politics when he met Ms.Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, who appointed him as her Asian Community Outreach person when she was campaigning for the position of Cook County President. His biggest break as a political player happened on June 7, 2017 when Bishop Claude Porter, Chairman of Interfaith Illinois, appointed him Director of Diversity Affairs, the first appointment to a non-African and non-pastor in their organization that comes with involvement in decision-making in politics and business. His first task was organizing meet-and-greet events and meetings for many diverse ethnic groups, for the then-running for governor, JB Pritzker. He is currently the Political Director of Justice Jesse Reyes who is running for Illinois Supreme Court Judge for the upcoming March 2020 election, concurrently serving in Justice Reyes’ steering committee.


13. Hon. Maria Pappas – Friend of the Filipino
Hon. Maria Pappas has been Treasurer of Cook County, Illinois, since 1998. Cook County has one of the world’s largest economies, 5.2 million people and the nation’s third-largest city, Chicago. The Treasurer’s Office handles $18 billion a year, almost $13 billion in property taxes on almost 1.8 million parcels of property (homes, businesses, land). The revenues then go to 2,200 local government agencies, such as municipalities and school districts that tax properties. As Treasurer, she has greeted foreign delegations who want to see how she does what she does, including cutting staff from 250 to 86.5. She has shown China how to develop a property tax system and to network hospitals, and discussed criminal justice, property taxes and automation with Greece.


14. Drs. Ferdinand and Evelyn Ramos and Family – Model Family
In spite of their busy anesthesia and pain practice, Drs. Ferdinand & Evelyn Ramos find time to be active in social and community activities. Dr. Ferdie has been president of various medical associations: 2002-2003 Philippine Professionals Association, 2003-2004 Indiana Philippine Medical Association, 2010-2014 Titans USA, 2015-2016 Asian American Medical Association, 2018-2019 Friends Who Care – Hospital On Wheels – Board Director, 2018-2019 Titans USA Scholarship Committee – Adviser, 2019-2020 University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association in America – President-Elect. Dr. Evelyn was also President of Asian American Medical Association in the past. Their eldest son, Dr. Jonathan, is a Family Medicine physician practicing in St. John, Indiana. He is married to Dr. Joanne Niere Ramos, a Family Medicine and Geriatric Medicine physician practicing in Scherrerville, Indiana. Second son Paul is currently a Telehealth Senior Consultant with Booz- Allen Hamilton.Third son Andrew received his Bachelor of Social Work and pursues his Masters Program at Indiana University. Rachel, the only daughter, has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Major in Marketing, Minor in Biology at St Mary’s College, South Bend, Indiana.


15. Hon. Ambassador Jose Miguel Romualdez – Excellence in Public Service – International
Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America in July 2017 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. On 29 November 2017, he presented his credentials to US President Donald J. Trump and formally assumed office as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Additionally, as the head of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Romualdez is concurrently the Philippines’ emissary to the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti; Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Saint Lucia. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Romualdez was designated as a special envoy of the Philippine President to the United States. Ambassador Romualdez has extensive experience as a media practitioner and business executive. He used to be the Chief Executive Officer of Stargate Media Corporation and Publisher of People Asia Magazine (The Philippine Star affiliate). He was president of the Manila Overseas Press Club and vice-president of Rotary Club of Manila.


16, Alman Ruiz – Excellence in Technology
Al Ruiz has been one of the longtime ViaTimes staff members since its start in 1984 as VT’s computer tech and consultant. Through the years, he has worked as a public servant, technology visionary, organization strategist, corporate capitalist, computer geek, and a motorcycle enthusiast, showing his passion for life’s adventures. He is a product of Ateneo De Manila, University of Santo Tomas, and DeVry University. With twenty five years in Public Sector Technology, he served the Cook County, City of Chicago, US Department of Energy, and State of Illinois, working on several positions. Currently working as Deputy Director of IT with The Chicago Park District, he maintains, supports, improves, and innovates the largest municipal park of the nation with 591 Parks.


17, Attorney Carolina Y. Sales – Excellence in Law
Carolina Y. Sales is a partner at Lakelaw, where she concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, business workouts, and reorganizations. She was recognized by the Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers’ Division as an Emerging Lawyer for 2019. Ms. Sales has been a board member and a general member of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago since 2012, when the group actively revived its membership. She is treasurer of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP, a not-for-profit organization that provides scholarships to diverse and deserving law students and provides free continuing legal education seminars on a wide range of topics. In April 2019, Ms. Sales was elected to serve a four-year term on the Park Ridge-Niles District 64 School Board. In 2005, Ms. Sales obtained her juris doctor (J.D.) cum laude from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.


18. Brenda Stevens – VIA Woman of the Year 2019
A graduate of the famous Everlyn Echols School of Travel in Chicago, she worked as a Travel Consultant for five years, before opening her own travel business named Concorde Travel in Chicago. Having been an active member of the Chicago Philippine Lions Club for many years, she is currently serving as the Club President for the third time. Her Spirit of Lionism extends to volunteering in various service activities, and she is currently an active member of the Region Chair of the District 1-A Lions. Her other community activity and volunteerism is dedicated to the Philippine Independence Week where she served as the Overall Chairperson in 2012, and coordinator of the annual PIWC Cultural downtown luncheon fashion show in Daley Center Plaza.


19. Leandro “Lindy” Paunlagui Tan – Community Service Leadership
As president of the Chicago Fil-USA Lions Club, from 2011-2012, his club donated a magnifier reading machine to Budlong Library in Chicago. He participated in the Medical/Dental Mission in Pampanga, Philippines along with old, used eyeglasses to various charity organizations. When Lindy was President of the Laguna Association of the Midwest from 2015-2016, the organization participated for the first time in the PMAC’s Philippine Medical Mission held in his home province of Laguna; in three towns, namely Calamba, Los Banos and Bay. He has chaired various committees in the Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) since 2000, and he is is also a member of the Calamba Association of Illinois and the JDC Rainbow Foundation.


20. Luisita Dona Thompson – Community Service Leadership and Public Service National
Outstanding leadership, passionate volunteer spirit, and a strong sense of community involvement are a few, but important traits of Luisita Dona Thompson. Popularly called by friends as “Dona,” she brings pride to fellow Fil-Ams in Iowa because of her advocacies for diversity and building a strong community. She founded the Filipino American Society (FAS) in 2013, and currently serves as the organization’s Executive Chairman of the Board. FAS’s primary goal is to reach other Filipinos in the community and help integrate them into the Iowa communities. In 2015, Dona was also a founding member of the widely known Asian & Latino Coalition located in central Iowa which is a political action committee (PAC) and has hosted over 19 democratic presidential candidates during the 2020 election alone. It is also heavily involved in endorsing many of the state and local level legislators.


21. Marilou Ventura – Excellence in Entertainment
The legendary singing star of Manila and Chicago, Marilou Ventura, was born with a natural timbre of a singer by the time she made her first powerful cry as a baby. At a very young age of seven, she started appearing and singing in the popular shows, “Eskwelahang Munti” in DZBB Television. She started making waves as a topnotch singer of the Philippines when she appeared in “Tayo Maghappy-Happy”, a popular noon show co-hosted by renowned actress Jean Lopez. Her magical appearances and performances in several Chicago entertainment establishments and as a soloist for famous Philippine band like “Moses and the Highbrows” and “Manila Express” earned her the title of “Chicago’s Filipina Diva”.


22. Rizaldy “Riz” Villaseñor – VIA Man of the Year 2019
Together with his partners Philip Castillo, Anthony Ocampo and Jaye Michael Chan, they founded MedPro Health Providers, a home health company based in Tinley Park in 2009. Riz reiterates MedPro’s core EPIC values – Ethical, People-Driven, Innovative and Compassionate, as they form the solid core and the fabric that weaves into the company’s culture. Such strong culture was validated by no less than the illustrious Chicago Tribune, which named MedPro as the number 1 Top Workplace vesting over 800 companies and the only Filipino-owned company to win that distinction. A passionate cook, Riz personally cooks for his staff every week and even personally cooks for over 120 homeless folks for their Feed the Hungry program. He took his passion for cooking to another level by opening Sandok N Palayok, an ethnic Filipino restaurant that introduced to Chicagoland the Boodle Fight or Kamayan as a mainstream dining experience. The following year they also opened Sandok Bakery next door.

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