PIDCI celebrates 25th year; Grand Marshals pay homage to heroes

Drs. Emilio and Fely Quines are welcomed at Grand Marshals Gala. Photos by Luis Gata

Rousing welcome for Drs. Emilio and Fely Quines at Grand Marshals Gala. Photos by Luis Gata

Dr. Emilio Quines and his wife Fely, also a doctor, are a private couple not used to the limelight. They are quite uncomfortable being called a ‘power couple’ being this year’s Grand Marshals who will lead a large Philippine Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue on June 1.

So at the recent Grand Marshal Gala meant to honor them, the couple chose to deflect attention away from themselves and spoke about the original purpose in celebrating the annual Philippine Independence Day: to pay tribute to Filipino heroes then and now, from those who fought for Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 to modern-day heroes in overseas Filipino workers.

“We, the Filipino people, are proud people. We want to stand on our own two feet. We want to become independent, and we want to have control of our destiny. Our heroes fought hard and sacrificed their lives to have our independence. And think about it, we won’t be here tonight and celebrating the 116th Philippine Independence Day Parade (on June 1) without our heroes,” said Emilio, also known as ‘Boy,’ a retired physician and a long-time organizer of medical missions to the Philippines.

As Grand Marshalls, the couple have the responsibility of organizing and promoting the June 1 parade, street fair, and cultural festival. They are also expected to take part in the upcoming pre-Independence Day celebrations Mrs. Kalayaan Pageant on April 12, the Diwa ng Kalayaan Pageant on May 3, and the post-parade event Independence Ball on June 7.

The couple’s message was not entirely lost on the audience led by Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. and PIDCI officials. PIDCI is celebrating its 25th or silver anniversary with the theme, Triumphs of the Filipino: Pride of the Philippines, shining a light on the accomplishments of Filipinos around the world.

While the Quineses did not talk much about themselves, it was ConGen de Leon Jr. who paid them the highest honors.

He said, “For PIDCI’s 25th year, it has chosen two of the most distinguished, well-loved, and highly-respected leaders of the Filipino American community. Drs. Quines are true models of accomplished, charitable, yet modest couple. Their readiness to provide the needs of our poor kababayans back home, especially during typhoon Haiyan, demonstrates their openheartedness, civic-mindedness, and commitment to their advocacies.”

De Leon also commended PIDCI for having endured for 25 years. “Celebrating 25 years is indeed a milestone in the life of any organization. It speaks well for PIDCI that it has reached this far from its humble beginnings,” he said.

The Grand Marshals were feted with a Rigodon de Honor formal dance

The Grand Marshals were feted with a Rigodon de Honor formal dance

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