Breaking of Alkansiya
It was a truly a heart-warming and inspiring afternoon of 29 November 2014 when the Philippine Embassy Team, officers and members of the Bulwagan Foundation Trust, the Wellington Filipino Choir, members of the Filipino community, friends from Exceptional Communications and the wider community and guests came together and demonstrated a strong, positive and united spirit of caring and giving to fulfil a shared dream of having a Filipino Community Centre in the Wellington region in the near future. During the High Tea hosted by Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence), Ms. Flora Nogoy, Chairperson of the Bulwagan Trust Foundation together with Ms. Judith Mendoza, Deputy Chairperson, Ms. Odette Dulce-Madrisa, Secretary and Mr. Rey Non, Trustee led the first opening of the “Alkansya” (coconut money box) as part of its continuous fund raising activities for the setting up of a Filipino Community Centre which is envisioned to be “a place of belonging and learning for all people and more importantly, a heritage of the next generation of Kiwi-Filipinos.”
Ambassador Benavidez warmly welcomed all the guests and thanked them for their generosity, commitment, support and kind heartedness in partnering with Bulwagan Foundation Trust in pursuit of its GOD-given dream of having a centre that will serve as a home, haven and headquarters for events, functions, activities and programs of Filipinos and other ethnic communities and a lasting legacy for the Filipino youth. She commended the Bulwagan Foundation Trust, friends and supporters for their clear vision, single focus and undivided heart and stated that “we at the Philippine Embassy is solidly behind you in making your dream come true.”
Chairperson Nogoy thanked Ambassador Benavidez, the Philippine Embassy Team and everyone who came and joined the “Alkansya” opening for the FCC project. She provided an update on the fund raising programmes such as “Adopt-a-Brick”, the next “Alkansya” collection, sponsorships, pledges and donations as well as the search for a possible site for the FCC. She reiterated the Bulwagan Foundation Trust’s gratitude to GOD, her team, family, friends, the Philippine Embassy, Exceptional Communications, business networks, organizations, partners and all those who continue to support and stand by them in the midst of challenges and trying times along this journey of faith and community building.
A lively interaction, joyful fellowship, camaraderie and goodwill made it an afternoon to remember as the Filipino Community Choir filled the air with their wonderful songs and uplifting music, as excitement overflowed with the breaking of the “alkansyas” and the counting of money, as the determination and dedication to make the FCC happen grew even more fervently in everybody’s hearts and minds and as “Ang Bahay” prepared cuisine of Pho soup with chicken, vegetables and noodles, fresh vegetable spring rolls, baked macaroni, “puto”, tuna shanghai rolls with pineapple sauce, beef with mushrooms, brazo de fruta, chunky fruits with nata de coco and special iced tea and fruit juices were enjoyed by all of the guests.
An article, "STRONG AND UNITED SPIRIT OF CARING AND GIVING SHINES AT “ALKANSYA” OPENING FOR THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY CENTRE PROJECT OF THE BULWAGAN FOUNDATION TRUST", published by the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, on 24 December 2014 with permission.
* Photos courtesy of Rowel Madrisa
More photos available on the Bulwagan Foundation Trust facebook page.