By: Ryan Tejero
Top Filipino Organization in the U.S. Celebrates 10th Anniversary with well-attended State Dinner and Awards for 10 Outstanding Filipinos in Texas
Greatness is achieved when motivated people perform extraordinary things. Powered by the desire to succeed, the crave to help and the passion to serve, people who achieve greatness sustain it by a constant pursuit of excellence.
While most Chambers of Commerce only focus on business and how their members can become better business people, the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (PACC) Texas also excelled in their business mission, but they went the extra mile and dared to be different. This is the reason why they unquestionably-gained recognition as the “Top Filipino Organization in the U.S. for Community Service, Trade Development and Aid to the Philippines.
PACC Texas successfully rolled out its “Decade of Excellence” with a State Dinner and Awards Night on October 18, 2019 at the Marriott Quorum in Dallas. This event was a celebration to honor the special achievements of 10 Most Outstanding Filipinos in Texas in their respective fields of Entrepreneurship, Professions, Humanitarian Work and Public Service. The Philippine Consul General in Houston Jerril G. Santos and his senior staff, along with about 400 guests from all over the state graced this one of a kind event in Texas.
PACC Texas is based in Dallas. It is an organization with more than 600 members altogether from other chambers based in Houston, Rio Grande and San Antonio. It takes pride of the many high impact, community building projects that include trade, investment and humanitarian missions to the Philippines, sponsoring Consular outreach projects, sponsoring numerous business seminars, and rescue and repatriation efforts of homeless Filipinos who were victims of human trafficking.
The special event was hosted by two of high profile co-emcees, Rose Ann Aragon from Houston who is an award-winning NBC Channel 2 news anchor, and Camille Buensuceso of Dallas who is the reigning Miss Filipina International. Topnotch features of the event include the performances of local talents musical talents by Vicente “Enteng” Villanueva from Houston, Misha Panares, Liana Angelica Stoval and the Sanlahi Rondalla. Other highlights of the event was a fashion show featuring world-renowned Filipino designers, artwork exhibit by local young artists, a Philippine history mural prepared by the UNIPRO group of young Filipino professionals, and a video showing of PACC Texas Decade of Excellence.
In his message as Keynote Speaker, Philippine Consul General in Houston Jerril Santos lauded PACC members and volunteers of their hard work and sacrifices in the 10 last years. He also thanked PACC Founder and Honorary Consul Ethel R. Mercado for her 6 years of personal sacrifices and commitment as volunteer Honorary Consul but performing official consular duties before the Houston Consulate was re-opened last year.
The Founders’ Awards were given to the following six outstanding young leaders: NBC Channel 2 News Anchor Rose Ann Aragon of Houston, Miss Filipina International Camille Buensuceso of Dallas, Miss Dallas/Miss America Averie Bishop of Dallas, San Antonio Jaycees President Dominique Liu, UNIPRO Your Professionals leaders Josh Garcia and Mark Sampelo.
The Outstanding Entrepreneurs award recipients were Rene Isip Jr. of Dallas, Bhong Zausa of Houston, Engr. Prescilla Calara of the Rio Grande Valley and Dr. Melinda Rodriguez of San Antonio. The Outstanding Professionals awards recipients were Dr. Rolando M. Solis of Dallas, Architect Manolo DePerio of Houston, Dr. Jayson Valerio of the Rio Grande Valley and Angelica Docog of San Antonio.
Receiving the first major state award for Outstanding Humanitarian was philanthropist Florencio Guinhawa from Houston. He was instrumental in graduating 330 engineering students through personal scholarships in prestigious universities in the Philippines mostly from his salary and other personal resources, and without the benefit of a tax-deductible Foundation. The second major state award for Outstanding Public Servant to war hero and veteran of Middle East wars Major Monessa Catuncan Belzhiser from Mesquite, Texas. She was the first and only Filipino to fly the most modern, fastest and deadliest combat plane, the F-16 fighter jet crossing enemy lines at supersonic speed, attacking enemy airfields, missile sites and troop formations over Iraq.
The PACC President’s MVP award recipients were the Region Chairs: Myrna Carreon and Rowena Watters (Dallas), Ricky Guinhawa, Bobby Reyes and Tito Refi (Houston), Merpu Roa and Rhodora Elizondo (RGV), and Robert Sibug (San Antonio). The recipient of the Outstanding Region Chamber of the Year was the Rio Grande Valley Chamber for its outstanding humanitarian efforts in the Hurricane Harvey that affected the cities in South Texas, and in the province of Aklan, their tourism and trade mission to Boracay and Aklan, their last Consular Outreach in McAllen, and their all-out support of the immensely successful State Dinner and Awards Banquet in Dallas.
The October 18th event was flawlessly organized by the host DFW Chamber and drew rave reviews from the guests who expressed words such as “classy and elegant,” “visually stunning,” “spectacular show,” “expertly-planned and -orchestrated,” “hands-down the best gathering of Filipino-Americans and friends in Texas we’ve have ever attended.”
Remarkably, this event best showed the unparalleled and excellent achievements of PACC Texas in the last ten years, and the continuing legacy of building PACC Texas truly as a top organization in the nation.
The Philippine Consul General in Houston Jerril Santos, with PACC Texas Executive Director Gus Mercado and PACC Founder and The Honorary Philippine Consul General in Texas Ethel Mercado
VT Columnist Ryan Tejero with PACC Texas with PACC Texas Executive Director Gus Mercado and PACC Founder and The Honorary Philippine Consul General in Texas Ethel Mercado