Medical technologist Joji Rafael is crowned Mrs. Kalayaan

2014 Mrs. Kalayaan Josephine Rafael.  Photo by YetboLoveRita

2014 Mrs. Kalayaan Josephine Rafael. Photo by YetboLoveRita

A medical technologist from Long Island, Josephine “Joji” Vilar Rafael, was recently crowned 2014 Mrs. Kalayaan in a Pageant and Gala held at Double Tree by Hilton in Newark, New Jersey.

Joji is married to Nonoy Rafael; they have three children: Justin, Jermyn, and Jacqueline.

Mrs. Kalayaan is a popularity contest for married or formerly married Filipinas who vie for the honor of becoming the Philippine Independence Day Council’s (PIDCI) Goodwill Ambassador for one year. The highlight of their term is riding a festive float during the Independence Day parade Madison Avenue on Sunday, June 1.

Joji is the youngest daughter of Dr. Rustico Vilar, a dentist, and Natividad Reyes, a school teacher, who both hail from the province of Nueva Ecija in the Philippines. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology and has held several positions, such as laboratory supervisor, laboratory inspector, and senior technologist at the New York Presbyterian Hospital and quality management specialist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

She is also a seasoned pianist who can play a wide range of music from classical to pop, as well as an active volunteer at the Holy Spirit Church in New Hyde Park, Long Island.

At the pageant and gala, Joji was given her sash, crown, and scepter by 2014 PIDCI Grand Marshals Drs. Emilio and Felicisima Quines, 2013 Mrs. Kalayaan Rose Pacia Labelle, Consul General Mario De Leon Jr., and PIDCI President Fe Martinez.

mrs k Also crowned with Joji were Mrs. Kalayaan Filipino-American Ruth Sityar Medina of Elmhurst, NY; Mrs. Kalayaan Philippines Tenette Juarez Lirio of Farmingdale, NY, who was also voted Mrs. Congeniality, Most Photogenic; and Best in Evening Gown; Mrs. Kalayaan Luzon Marites Calvar of Stamford, CT; Mrs. Kalayaan Visayas Michelle Llado-Wroz of Union, NJ; Mrs. Kalayaan Mindanao Rufina Peralta Ghan of New York, NY; Mrs. Kalayaan Manila Marifil Taneo Kreisberg of Queens, NY; Mrs. Kalayaan Sampaguita Mia Jose of Mountainside, NJ; and Mrs. Kalayaan Ylang-Ylang Sheila Binas of Astoria, NY.

PIDCI, which is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, is a nonprofit organization that mounts the annual Philippine Independence Day parade on Madison Avenue.

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