Homecoming sa Konsulado 2015 expands PH alumni network, plans projects with civic relevance

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NEW YORK CITY -- Homecoming sa Konsulado continues to gain a bigger following as this year’s activity drew more than 180 participants representing 17 alumni associations of Philippine schools and universities at the gathering held last November 7 at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall.

HSK 2015 also continued the initiative started last year to give more meaning and relevance to the annual activity by offering the participating alumni associations projects that they could consider adopting to benefit their respective alma maters and their students and graduates, and the Filipino-American community in the US Northeast in general.

In his remarks, Consul General Mario L. de Leon Jr. urged the HSK participants to continue to go beyond just being a gathering of alumni to having a civic purpose.  He cited the launching at HSK 2014 of the Community Bulletin Board, a virtual marketplace of activities, opportunities, services and products that Filipino-Americans may find useful.  For HSK 2015, the participating alumni associations will adopt projects that take on a range of objective - to pay tribute to their alma mater, to help students or graduates from their respective schools get ahead in chosen fields of profession, or simply to strengthen the fellowship among HSK members. 

“Whichever project we choose to pursue, I hope it will reinforce the relevance of the HSK endeavor in our continuing goal to serve the higher interest of the Filipino-American community in this part of the US,” the Consul General said.

Much of HSK 2015’s morning session was devoted to this objective, during which Prof. Eugene Reyes of Baruch University gave a short talk on existing opportunities in the US that students and graduates of Philippine universities can avail themselves of in order to get ahead in their chosen professions.  Other resource speakers were also given the floor to share information on important issues and activities, including Dr. Mars Custodio of the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA) who gave a brief presentation of the state of the AIDS situation in the Philippines, Atty. JT Mallonga who spoke on the importance of voters registration in order for the Filipino-American community to gain influence among US legislators, and Mr. Jorge Z. Ortoll who invited the participants to support Ma-Yi Theater Company, the pioneering theater company in New York whose aim is to advance the works of Asian-Americans writers.

Consul General de Leon also thanked the HSK 2015 working committee, composed largely of representatives of the participating alumni associations, for their hard work in putting together this year’s activity.

“The work of the group attests to the fact that HSK is truly a product of the efforts of the community, where the Consulate General is happy to play a supporting and coordinating role,” he said.

The rest of the whole-day affair was devoted to strengthening the ties between the participating alumni associations through fun games, talent presentations and the traditional parol-making contest.  The University of the Philippines Nurses of the East Coast (UPNEC) took home the prize for Best Talent Presentation, while Assumption College was adjudged the winner for Best Parol.  Assumption also bagged the Best Attendance prize, with 28 of their alumni representing their school.

A special presentation by Ms. Cutuy Herrerro, accompanied by Mr. Ner Martinez on the piano, representing Ateneo’s IBK Band rounded off the afternoon’s performances.  IBK was the winner of the “Bandastiks”, a competition of live bands representing the various alumni associations held last October 24 in Manhattan.

To cap the day’s activities, raffle prizes were awarded to lucky participants.  Ms. Rissa Hidalgo of Assumption College drew the lucky ticket for the Apple Watch, donated by her fellow Assumption alumnus Niñez Arreglado, while Ms. Ma. Guia San Jose of St. Paul College, Manila won the day’s grand prize of a round-trip ticket to the Philippines given by Philippine Airlines.

HSK 2015 was sponsored by GMA-7, Pag-IBIG Fund, Western Union and the Philippine National Bank.

Homecoming sa Konsulado, now on its fourth year this year, was first launched in 2012 as a way to gather alumni of Philippine schools, colleges and universities and help expand their respective alumni associations’ membership.

The participating alumni associations of HSK 2015 were University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA-National); University of the Philippines – NY; University of the Philippines Nurses of the East Coast (UPNEC); University of the Philippines – NJ; University of Santo Tomas (UST); St. Paul College, Manila; Silliman University; San Beda College; Philippine Women's University (PWU); Maryknoll College; Mindanao State University (MSU); Holy Spirit; De La Salle University; Ateneo de Manila University; Assumption College, Adamson University and Paaralan sa Konsulado (PSK).