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‘Ako Ay Pilipino! Maraming Salamat!’


By: Veronica Leighton


November 10, 2018 was quite a hectic weekend spent for the 24th annual gala awards event of the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare that was hailed a huge success. I can’t find the right words to express my appreciation to all of the wonderful 2018 Hall of Famers who were inducted and made everyone proud of the Filipino talents and accomplishments.

Words of accolades are coming from all over congratulating us for a most successful gala event! Some even came to me with tears in their eyes for making them so proud to be a Filipino. I’d say that I am prouder to know them personally and really value the chance to work with each one of them, all highly successful, high-achieving individuals of our community who are putting the Filipino name on the pedestal, likewise the Friends of Filipino awardees.

Been receiving in return some wonderful words of thanks, appreciations, thoughts, feelings and comments from these awardees that make me feel good and lighten up the tired bones in my body. Let me share with so much pride their thanks and praises sent to me in return.

“It is with equal measure of humility and pride that I am sending my heartfelt gratitude to you and VIATIMES of Chicago for orchestrating such a grand event. My heart was overwhelmed by the greetings and kind words extended to me and my husband. The venue was grand and the food was fantabulous! Thank you for continuing to champion the ideals and beauty of the Philippine culture and its significance in the world. I will always remember this night (Nov.10, 2018) with fondest memories. Thank you.” (Elena de Jesus, Excellence in Nursing Leadership-National Award)

“Thank you to Via Times/CPRTV for my induction into the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame 2018 for Excellence in Medicine, and to Ms Girlie Pascual for nominating me. Since I couldn’t show off my operating skills live,I had to resort to singing to entertain the crowd.” (Dr. Harold Sy, Excellence in Medicine)

“I am honored to be among a group of such distinguished awardees and am grateful for the nomination by Joy Rodriguez. The gala was a celebration of the beautiful Filipino culture and I was fortunate to be a part of it. Thank you to Veronica and Joe Mauricio for the esteemed award and for organizing such a spectacular event. Your dedication to Via Times and promoting the Filipino culture has anchored the vibrant and valuable Filipino community in Chicago.” (Jerry Joyce, Friend of Filipino in Oyblic Service)

“Many thanks to my family for their support! I also wanted to thank Philippine Ambassador Gene Calonge for nominating me for this award and to Veronica Leighton, for your great help!” (Mayor Ronald Falconi, Excellence in Public Service-National Award)

“With a humble and grateful heart I would like to thank God for all the blessings all these years, Via Times/CPRTV, Ms. Veronica Leighton and Mr. Joe Mauricio, for recognizing Fil Am talents and achievements, to Father Carlos Llagas and Carlota Domantay for the nomination, and in believing in me, friends and family – hubby (Oscar) and son (Dylan) who inspire me to work harder, and to AllWellness family– -I am very proud to be part of this organization the reason why I was recognized in home health entrepreneurship, in our company, we believe in what we do and we’re good at it and that is called Excellence at its best !!! I am very honored to be lined up with high-achieving individuals in our community! Mabuhay! Proud to be Filipino!” (Ginalene Lopez, Excellence in Nursing/Home Health Entrepreneurship)

“It was a night full of excitement and joy to be a part of 2018 Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame! Thank you so much Ate Remy Dela Cruz for your encouragement and support to accept the award. To the Producers, Mrs. Veronica Leighton, Mr. Joe Mauricio and Via Times staff, thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to make the event a successful one. To all my sponsors, family, and friends who were relentlessly there for me, I am very grateful and I love you all!” (Geraldine Gaden, Community & Nursing Services)

“Thank you, again, for a wonderful event focusing on the many talents the Filipino Asian American individuals provide. It was a delightful evening spent with family and friends. As my sister stated, these events always inspire her as you hear about what many people are doing. I also look forward to developing new friendships and contacts within the community. The event reinforces the pride I have on being a Filipino and hope that my children will continue to absorb our culture to pass down the knowledge to their children in the future. ” (Rowena Salas, VIA Woman of the Year)

“Allow me to be grateful to you for a very well done evening of Hall of Fame.


Love everything. At 45 tho, I admitted I am really getting always emotional, I also would like you to know that I appreciate you even more.

Told NVP1WORLD that’s my mommy… she always nails the best dress category, as in year after year. Elegance is always at its finish.” And thank you for allowing me to blow the cake. It was very memorable. I am honored to give you honor as your Via Man of the Year!” (Nick Vera Perez, VIA Man of the Year)

“”‘Getting to know you'” event” sums it up perfectly. And that’s what i love about Filipinos. I felt at home from the first day of my first trip to the Philippines in 1993, and that never diminished in my subsequent four visits. It’s been a few years since my last visit in 2010, but Saturday night at the HOF Gala Event, I felt like I was indeed back home. Everyone was warm, welcoming, embracing. That’s something the rest of the world can learn from Filipinos. Special mention for the Ifugao, wonderful dancers. We had a chance to chat with several of them during the reception before dinner and found them fascinating and, of course, warm and welcoming.

On top of being like a homecoming celebration, we were honored guests, a double celebration. I am most grateful, Veronica, to you and the committee for the Friend to the Filipino Award. And to share that honor with the other awardees was both exciting and humbling. And what a celebration. I think 90 percent of all Filipinos must be naturals as singers. My only regret is that we could not remain for the dancing, which we love to do, but we had reached our limit by the dancing hour. But I went to bed smiling, and I woke up next morning still smiling. Maraming Salamat! ” (Prof. Robert Boyer, Friend of Filipino in Education)

“Thank you again for the amazing event. My family enjoyed it. Please keep in touch as we are always looking to expose the community to our free legal clinic”. (Attorney Winnalynn Kantaris, Excellence in Law)

“We are proud to sponsor the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall Of Fame Awards 2018 presented by Via Times-CPRTV.Check out their fun invitation promo below “Ako ay Pilipino!” Get the best exchange rates and send more to the Philippines! Sign up now at Bit.ly/ LumoXchangeSignUp” (Joshua Ang Price, Sponsor from LumoXchange).


Masters of Ceremonies Bobby Leighton and Maria Girlie Pascual.


CPRTV Roving Reporter Melody Dizon during the cocktail hour.




Keynote speaker, Attorney Wilma Eisma, Chairperson & Administrator of Subic Bay Management Authority, Philippines.


Friend of Filipino awardee Jerry Joyce, one of Chicago’s mayoral candidates.


Consul General Gina Jamoralin, of the Philippine Consulate General of Chicago.


Former Hall of Famers Nora & Fred Tsai, talking about the fatal crash in Cebu last January 2018.


Performers at Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame 2018


Chaz Patron singing the National Anthems with daughters Cece and Crisza Patron.


Igorot dance number from BIBBAK (Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apuyao and Kalinga sub-provinces of the Philippine Mountain Province) Illinois organization.


World-renowned concert pianist Joel Sebag, recipient of Excellence in Music/Philanthropy award, at the piano.


Popular young singer Kayla Tejero singing “Ikaw”.


Singing doctor Harold Sy, MD, singing Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”. He is the recipient of Excellence in Medicine award.


Marilou Dichosa, recipient of HOF Entertainer of the Year 2018, sang “Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig” and “Impossible Dream”.


Popular young singer an d Engineering student Alyssa Solomon singing “I’m Alive” by Celine Dion, edicated by crash survivors Fred and Nora Tsai.


Ross Augusta Betts, singing “Push It To The Limit”, American singer/ songwriter and record producer.


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