TOFA-NY welcomes new board members, now open for nominations

Jonathan Badon (in barong) with fellow musical artists (from left) Ann Jolly Nangcas, Seven Odon, Suzanne Sabangan and Kay Habana. Photos by Ronald Labaguis

The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFA-NY) recently launched to a show of support from the Philippine Consulate and a musical extravaganza topbilled by PopOpera artist Jonathan Badon.

On its second year, TOFA-NY made two important announcements. One, that it is now accepting nominations for different award categories. Deadline for submission of nominations is June 30, 2012. Two, that the board welcomes new members Rolan and Myrna Gutierrez of Thera Management, and Ronald and Grace Labaguis of ECS Consulting. They will be joining organizers Elton Lugay, Marisse Panlilio and Cristina DC Pastor.

New board members (from left) Rolan and Myrna Gutierrez and Grace Hufano Labaguis

Finalists will be voted on Facebook, and the 12 winners will be awarded in a gala ceremony to be held at Carnegie Hall on October 27, 2012. Previous nominees have the opportunity to be renominated after two years.

TOFA recognizes exemplary Filipino Americans in the New York Tri-State representing a dozen categories. Mayor Mike Bloomberg praised last year’s winners for “contributing to the city’s amazing energy and spirit.” They are:

Arts & Culture
Bessie Badilla

Business & Entrepreneurship
Grace Hufano-Labaguis

Community Service & Advocacy
Philippine Forum

Courage of Conviction
Jose Antonio Vargas

Sounds of Manila

Fashion & Style
Jerry Sibal

Food & Restaurants
Rena Avendula

Health Care
Dr. Lorna Bayes

LGBT & Advocacy
Michelle Manangan

Media & Publishing
Don Tagala

Public Service & Politics
Roland Ubaldo

Youth & Sports
Filipino School of New York and New Jersey

Also given recognition were Heritage Awardees Lea Salonga, The Filipino Reporter, the Filipino American Human Services Inc., Filipino American National Historical Society Metro NY, Filipino American National Historical Society New Jersey, and dancing siblings Craig & Samantha.

DCG Tess Dizon de Vega

Deputy Consul General Tess Dizon de Vega commended TOFA for the boost it gives to FilAms who are doing well in their chosen craft and career and raising the profile of Filipinos. She said the use of social media for voting gives the process “transparency.”

“TOFA is one of the highlights of the FilAm History Month celebration in the East Coast,” she said.

Board member Grace Labaguis, one of last year’s awardees, called it an “honor and a privilege” to be part of this year’s TOFA.

“Ronald and I would like to help recognize the truly deserving Filipino Americans in their respective fields. We are proud of our kababayans who have done a great job in our community,” she said.

Rolan Gutierrez, another board member, said TOFA is such a “major event” in the community and that he and his wife Myrna would like to be part of its growth.

“It is well organized and has reputable and hardworking people behind it, led by Elton Lugay,” he said.

The concert held at the Philippine Center was made possible through the graciousness of the community’s musical artists, such as Kirby Asunto, Gail Banawis, Criselda Bernardo, Kay Habana, Ann Jolly Nangcas, Seven Odon, Suzanne Sabangan, Dennis Sy, Desiree Wisotsky and Tiffany Viray. Grace Baldisseri read one of her poems.

Please email nominations and include a short bio and photo for each nominee to Deadline for all nominations is June 30, 2012.

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