WORKAHOLIC DR. GINA A JAMORALIN IS STILL SINGLE
By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2018 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – Dr. Gina Alagon Jamoralin, holder of Ph. D. in economics from the University of Sto. Tomas, the new Consul
General of the Midwest, wants to reach out to young Filipino Americans, the millennials, who are the future leaders of the community.
Ms. Jamoralin was officially introduced by Consul Ericka Anna T. Abad to the Filipino community on Thursday, Feb. 22, during a meet-and-greet session at the Kalayaan Hall of the Consulate General at 122 S. Michigan Ave., 16th Floor, Chicago, Illinois. She replaced Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge, who ended his extended tour of duty last January.
Around 20 organizations from the community, business sector and local media were on hand to listen to Ms. Jamoralin's remarks that focused on her two-and-a-half years of her upcoming tour of duty to a “greater engagement with the younger generation of Filipino Americans and the business community.”
At the open forum that followed her remarks, members of the community also expressed their warm welcome as they introduced their own respective organizations and advocacies.
Although she came from the “eternal summer” of Honolulu, Hawaii, where she served as Consul General for the last three and a half years, Consul General Jamoralin said she is “excited to be here in the snowstorm city of Chicago, which is one of the more vibrant cities in the United States.
“I want to develop friendship with fellow Filipinos, who are friendly, hospitable and warm and are no different from other Filipinos.”
“YOU ARE THE AMBASSADORS”:
SORSOGUENO & BOHOLANA
The career diplomat said, “Our next generation has deep roots (in the United States) and may not be conversant with Filipino language. But at least, they have been to the Philippines once and are no longer stranger to the Philippines. The cultural impact to young Filipino Americans is to learn the language and this can be done thru cultural projects.”
The new Consul General would also like to embark on a project that would encourage veterans to take a sentimental journey to the Philippines. They can visit such World War II landmarks as Corregidor, Bataan, site of the Death March in Capas, Leyte Landing and Subic. The visit will also let them rediscover the important role the Philippines had during World War II.
Ms. Jamoralin told this reporter that her late father, Ruben Jamoralin, is from Sorsogon City, a fellow Sorsogueno of this reporter, while her mother, Elisea Alagon, is from Bohol province but she was born in Manila. Her father passed away in 2010.
She said she wants to adopt the template of honoring the Sacada (pioneering Filipino sugar planters who came to Hawaii after the turn of 20th Century) that she advocated by encouraging Filipino high school students in the Midwest to form their own Filipino clubs, widen their circle of friendship and make their clubs more institutionalized by film showing, traveling to the Philippines, familiarizing them with Filipino language, dance, arts and other Filipino cultural activities.
She also plans to encourage veterans groups to visit the Philippines' World War II landmarks, including Corregidor, Bataan's Death March Capas trail, Leyte Landing, Clark Air & Subic Bases among others, for a sentimental journey.
But she also asked the Filipino community to suggest to her any activity that will promote the Filipino heritage. The Consul General also invited the community to hold their activities in the Consulate.
Ms. Jamoralin is also considering continuing the monthly Pagkikita sa Konsulado (town hall meeting in the Consulate) promoted by her predecessor if there are pressing issues facing the community that need to be discussed and will promote “Filipino unity and common purpose, you can hold it here (in the Consulate).”
PROMOTED “SACADA” DAY
Consul General Jamoralin said that during her tour of duty in Hawaii, she proposed to Hawaii local and state officials that Hawaii honors the surviving sacada workers by declaring every Dec. 20 as Sacada Day around the state. The Sacada Day is now being celebrated in Hawaii during the last three years.
PRESIDENTIAL-LIKE PHOTO OP:
Sakada is a Spanish word, which refers to laborers who are imported from an external geographic area and are paid lower wages than local workers. There were more than “125,000 Filipino sakada plantation labor migrants who came to work on sugar and pineapple plantations between 1906 and 1946 to fill the employment gap in Hawaii in hopes of earning and saving enough money to return to the Philippines, where they could live comfortably off their earnings,” according to Ruben Alcantara's seminal study (1981), “Sakada: Filipino Adaptation in Hawai'i.”
However, many of them overstayed and called Hawaii their home. Others went to the U.S. Mainland.
NEW CONSUL GENERAL Gina A. Jamoralin (third from left, seated) is joined by the Philippine Consular officers and sponsors Jollibee and Red Ribbon staff during the meet-and-greet on Feb. 22 at the Philippine Consulate General in downtown Chicago, Illinois. Photo shows from left Anna “Liezel” Alcantara, Consulate Cultural Officer; Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., Consul Melchor A. Lalunio, Jr. and Consul Ericka Anna T. Abad. Among those in photo standing are Ms. Michelle McLean (second from left), Manager of Red Ribbon at Seafood City; Ms. Mila Soscano (third from left), Manager of Jollibee also at Seafood City; and Mr. Cesar Balarbar, ATN (Assistance To Nationals) Officer of the Consulate. (JGL Photo by JOSEPH G. LARIOSA)
It was on Dec. 20, 1906 when the first batch of 15 sacada workers from the Philippines, the first Overseas Filipino Workers, first landed in Hawaii.
Consul General Jamoralin said the few remaining sacada survivors were given certificate of recognition and some of them became very emotional as tears rolled down their eyes during ceremonies.
WITH FPACC TREASURER:
FILIPINOS NOW SECOND RACIAL GROUP IN HAWAAII
“If they did not persevere, sow the seeds, found something in common, learned thru language and promote Filipino heritage,” Filipinos would not have been the second racial group in the Aloha State, Ms. Jamoralin said.
She added the sacada settlement transformed Hawaii from plantation to modern industry. There are now 209,323 Filipinos in Hawaii or 14.8% after the white population's 353,543 or 25%, according to U.S. Census 2016 estimates. She said Ilocano is the dominant Filipino language in Hawaii.
WHEN SORSOGANONS MEET:
Aside from the updates on Philippine economy, the new Consul General also reminded Filipinos and dual citizen Filipinos that they have to register until September this year so they can vote in the Philippine mid-term senatorial elections in 2019. She said if they are U.S. citizens, they should also vote in the U.S. elections so they can uplift the social and economic standing of the Filipino community.
Consul General Jamoralin also invited the Filipino community and friends of the community to join the 12th Ambassadors' Tour in the Philippines from July 9-15, 2018 that will visit the top tourist destinations in Manila, Cebu and Bohol.
Consul Melchor P. Lalunio, Jr. clarified that the “Ambassadors” in the program do not necessarily refer to Philippine government diplomats conducting the program but to the participants of the tour, who can spread around the goodwill generated by their visit to the Philippine destinations. “You are connecting with your roots, discovering places. You are the ambassadors for the Philippines. You present snapshots, experiences, smell, taste, sense of home that the next generation of young Filipinos who have not just seen and experienced should be invited.”