Time really flies! We, Filipinos and Filipino Americans in Chicagoland just celebrated the 44thyear of the “founding” of the PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE WEEK COMMITTEE or PIWC,then under the Flagship of the Philippine Consulate General of Chicago. Headed by the late Mr. Bert Roque, it was a smaller group with a huge sentiment of Filipino Patriotism. Particularly, because then, the Philippines was under the Martial Rule of the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos. The most heartwarming scene of all was the City of Chicago allowed immigrant communities like our Fil-Am community to have a parade downtown to showcase our beautiful ethnic culture and poignant tradition.
TODAY we live in a different World, so to speak.The City no longer allows downtown parade. Our Filipino American community in Chicago has grown bigger and livelier as shown by the attendance at our PIWC Gala celebration last June 15, at the Holiday Inn Hotel Northshore: 700 plus! Wow! EDWIN PINEDA, the current youthful PIWC overall Executive Chair, indeed deserves a THUMBS UP and resounding round of applause! And kudos to all Committee Chairs and hardworking members and volunteers. Altogether, Edwin’s “administration” was able to“net $34,000+, as shown in his written report he shared with this writer.
“This money,” according to Edwin, is earmarked for donation to the Philippines particularly to “Gawad Kalinga” housing project. Some will be shared with other smaller projects,” Edwin added. “Maraming salamat, po,mga Kababayan! (Thank you, my fellow Filipino Countrymen”).
Nothing is perfect, nonetheless, community-oriented Filipinos and Filipino Americans Community in Chicago have duly given their support to the past celebration of the 121stPHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY from Spain and 50+ years from Uncle Sam. These months of June to July, as a Filipino, seeing our Philippine Flag enjoying the breeze, and flying side-by-side waving high withthe AMERICAN FLAG at Chicago’s Daley Plaza , brings teardrops to my heart. It is awesome and heart-wrenching.Stop by at the Daley Plaza this July. Look up to the sky and see the beautiful sight of our Red, White and Blue Philippine flag waving alongside the Star Spangled Banner of our second country: the United States of America.
The PIWC 2019 BEAUTY QUEENS and MUSES as follows:
DR. VICKY FERTIG,,“MRS. PHILIPPINES PIWC 2019”gives beauty, poise, grace, talent and professionalism to the crown. A dentist by profession, she graduated from the University of the East College of Dentistry. Her dental practice in the Philippines included the Makati Medical Center; the Peninsula Manila Hotel; and as a faculty member at the University of the East College of Dentistry. She migrated to Chicago in 1998 and worked at the dental office of Dr. Sherwin Strauss on Michigan Avenue , where she retired, lately.
Mrs. Nelia Laurel Ladlad: “Mrs.PIWC 2019”is blessed with a great husband Dr. Eduardo Ladlad and wonderful children Arica and Allister Laurel from her first marriage. As a consistent honor student in her youth, today Nelia is a Business Leader and a Coach, Creative Grant Writer, a Serial Entrepreneur who “always put God First in everything I do,” she said.
Julia Vargas, “Miss Teen Philippines PIWC 2019”, Juliana is currently a freshman at Niles West High School. Her parents are Anthony Vargas and Jocelyn Delbarrio Vargas. She is the second oldest of four children, namely: Reijhay Anthony, 16; Analise, 10; and the newest member Natalia, 5 months. Her grandparents are Jessie and Elizabeth Vargas, and Janette Delbarrio and William Dulin Delbarrio. Her great-grandparents are Myrna and Remo Cordero.
Abigael Marie Vergara, “Mrs. Illinois PIWC 2019” introduces herself saying: “I’m happily married with Ron Vergara, we’reblessed with two children Victor Angelo and Nicole Andrea. I work as a realtor at Vista Group Real Estate Inc.,and as aLead Esthetician and Laser.”
Abigael Turija,Nickname: “MISS PIWC 2019”. This lovely15-year-oldis asophomore at Plainfield Central. Her proud parents are Rene Jun and Jo Anne Turija, has one older brother,RJ Turija. Abigael is a member of PCHS Choir;Tribu Ilonggo’s DinagyangFestival; Nightingales Young Ambassador; a Reyna Elena 2019 and a memberof Youth Apostolate of Fatima.Her ambition: to be a company CEO.
Camille Ortega, “Miss Illinois PIWC 2019”Her self-introduction: “I’m currently working as a senior Banker.I’m from Riverside Illinois. I love traveling, hanging out with friends. Loves “Hello Kitty” and also loves to eat sweet!” Thanks, Sweetie!
Charlize Ann Miranda, Little Miss PIWC 2019 Philippine,knownas Cha-Cha, is a 6- year- oldcutie,daughter of Richard and Annie Miranda, andgranddaughter of Ricardo and Antonia Cosio and Neneth Miranda. Cha Cha is the “Big Sister” tobaby brother Christopher; will be in 2ndgrade this coming Fall. Cha Chahas a very vibrant and energetic personality who loves to dance, sing, and act. She is very sociable and is never shy to meet new people. Feels very blessed and excited to bethe“PIWC Little Ms. Philippines 2019.”
Cheenee Miranda, “Miss Philippines” PIWC 2019,herloving parents areNanet and Ronaldo Miranda. She has a close bond with her siblings Neriza and Liam along with the rest of her large family. She is a very active, high- honor student at the Hampshire High School. In her free time, Cheenee loves to spend time with her friends. She finds joy in photography, music, and film. Cheenee dreams of traveling all over the world someday…to fulfill her amusement in finding new experiences.
Chloe Belle LaCHICA, “Little MISS PIWC 2019”, oldest child of Peter and Marjorie Lachica. Chloe is nine years old and has twoyounger siblings, Aldrich and Mason. She is a 3rd-grader student in Country Meadows Elementary School. Chloe loves traveling and going out with friends and family. Her hobbies are shopping, acting and playing video games. She dreams of becoming a professional you tuber someday.
Eva Marie Ruiz Combe, Mrs. Chicago PIWC 2019,is a devotedwife to a Philippine- based Urologist/General Surgeon, Dr. Reynaldo D. Combe, and a proud US Navy Mom of Joan Beatrice,and an equally proud mother oftwoachievers,Ralph Mikhail and Faustin Ingrid. Eva is a retired anesthesiologist and former chairman of the Department of Anesthesia at a Philippine hospital. She continues to serve in the medical field, andcurrently working as MDS RN Coordinator.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Via Times readers andKababayans,please give all these Lovelies a round of applause!
To all of you, Beauties and Brain, and the loving parents of our Young Muses, our Filipino American community in Chicago, specially PIWC 2019 executive chairman, Edwin Pineda, I salute and “Thank You” allfor helping raise funds to be sent back home. And for joining our Philippine Independence Day to celebrate and showcase some vignettes of our heritage.
Lastly, heartfelt words of Thanks from PIWC 2019 Executive Chairman, Edwin Pineda, he delivered at the PIWC 2019 Gala, held last June 15, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, in Skokie, Illinois.
“Good evening and welcome everyone to this prestigious and memorable celebration of our heritage and our 121st Philippine Independence Day. I would like to acknowledge the presence of our guest speaker, the. Hon. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, dignitaries and honorable guests. Thank you all for honoring us with your presence.”
“There is no other way to put in words my overwhelming joy and passion for everyone. I am fortunate to be part of a Team which supports those who serve our Philippine Independence Week Committee.
It is an organization with a gifted workforce that fulfills our mission. I am proud to be part of such an engaged and inclusive culture.”
“My leadership team for 2019 PIWC Celebration is more focused in providing charity to the poor or underprivileged folks in our community. In a world where every action becomes a victim of materialism, almost everybody is craving love. It is an emotion that some parts of the world severely lacks nowadays. Charity is a good way to prove that love still exists. It gives people hope that humanity is still present. I am supporting the Gawad Kalinga Foundationas my charity to help their housing project for the homes in Nueva Ecija, Philippines.”
“Thank you to my wife Neriza Pineda and my family for their loving support and understanding of my hectic schedule all throughout my term as an Overall Chairman.
Thank you to all our generous sponsors and donors and to the Chicago Magnificent Lions for sharing with me this moment. And of course – to all of our wonderful Guests tonight. Thank you for your presence!”
“Above all, I thank Him for giving me the gift of love, humility, understanding and
patience in leading my administration in achieving its objectives in an organized and
Enjoy and relax for the rest of the evening.
Group shot of the newly-crowned and reigning PIWC 2019 Beauty Queens.
Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State, guest speaker
The PIWC Beauty Queens 2019 with their respective escorts on the stage after the coronation.
Group picture of the PIWC Rigodon de Honor formal dance participants with their respective dance partners.
Singing of the National Anthems backgrounded by the Filipino Cathedral Singers. Forefront shows PIWC 2019 Chair Edwin Pineda and wife Neriza and JR Roque and Jet Jet Gruezo, 2020 PIWC Chair; BOT officers Dely Villalon and Faye Mendiola and Delfin Masangkay, 2019 PIWC officer.
FilAm Mayor Ron Falconi of Brunswick, OH.
Kayla Tejero singing.
PH Consul General of Chicago Gina Jamoralin and Faye Mendiola, BOT President.