Asia Trend Magazine — August 2007
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Bayanihan – A Filipino word meaning “Community Spirit”
Victor Alzona

If you were to ask Filipinos what the word Bayanihan means to them, the majority would answer “Community Spirit” or define the word as the actions of people helping others.

Our Goals

Ten years ago a group of Filipino Americans in the Wedgefield community decided that a formal organization was needed. The people were looking for an organization that would serve as a forum of communication and exchange of ideas. This organization would also encourage community participation and instill Filipino values with its members. Those statements later became the goals of the Not for Profit organization; Bayanihan at Wedgefield.

Community Service

Since it’s founding, the organization
started a program of teaching the children the cultural dances of the Philippines. The children learned dances that would be
performed during the annual Christmas
Celebration in December. The primary dance instructors, Ms. Rapunzel Gandola and Ms. Teresita Obleada, dedicated to helping the organization grow and teach the Filipino heritage, volunteered to instruct the children. The instructors volunteer their time and
often open up their homes to the children for the many long practices. The organization is very grateful that we have been blessed by these talented ladies. The instructors teach the children the history of the dances, the
music, and how it is performed. The dances in turn would help the children develop their self confidence while teaching them about their culture and history.

Eventually, the children started to perform at prominent annual events in Central Florida such as UCF’s Filipino Student Association cultural show “Sayaw” (Dance), the Tampa Phil Fest held in April, the Philippines Independence Day Celebration “Fiesta Filipina” in June, and Orange County Library’s “Art After Hours” events. What started out as a small performance for the organization’s annual Christmas Celebration grew to become community performances in Central Florida.

The organization realizing that we have a number of talented instructors and
children, decided that sharing the rich culture and tradition of the Philippines dances would
become the organization’s community
service. The organization does not charge for the performances and usually performs if available.

Helping the Philippines

On November 2006, Typhoon Durian devastated the Philippines’ Bicol Region killing more than 1,300 people and leaving over 30,000 people homeless. On May of this year, Bayanihan at Wedgefield and the Filipino – American Club of Saint Joseph’s Church held a benefit Dinner Dance as a fundraiser to help the people in the Bicol region. The event “Pista Sa Nayon”
(Community Festival) was highlighted by a 25 minute performance of both organizations cultural dance under the careful instruction of Ms. Teresita Gabriel, Ms. Rapunzel Gandola, and Ms. Teresita Obleada. The successful event was able to collect more than $7,000 from sponsors, donations, and event ticket sales. The money will be used to help the people affected by the Typhoon to rebuild their lives and homes.

Current Leadership and Contact

The current officers for the organization are; President: Mr. Alfonso Cura, Vice President: Dr. Oscar Bentinganan, Treasurer: Ms. Teresita Obleada, Auditor: Mr. Vic Alas, PRO: Ms. Emlyn Tobillo, Board of Director: Ms. Rapunzel Gandola, Board of Director: Mr. Victor Alzona, and Board of Director: Ms. Meriden Mendoza.

Sponsorship

The organization is currently accepting Sponsors, Donors, and Advertisers for the Annual Christmas Celebration and Benefit Fundraiser to be held on Sunday, December 16 at the Holiday Inn by the Airport. The proceeds raised at this event will help pay for the expenses related to the performances at events for the following year.

Contact

Please contact Mr. Victor Alzona at 321-287-7611 or send an e-mail to bayanihan_at_wedgefield@yahoo.com with any questions regarding the organization, Sponsorship, or Membership.
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