As I am writing this column, I am in Dallas, Texas, as a guest and the keynote speaker for the fifth anniversary and induction of officers of the Hiligaynon Community America Texas, Inc. This group’s membership encompasses those who come from the provinces in Western Visayas which include Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, Antique, and Negros Occidental. There will also be delegates coming in from other parts of the United States which makes this event a highlyparticipated and highly-anticipated gathering held every year. Do not ask me why, of all people, they chose me to speak, because I also do not know the reasons. What I do know is that this is a very vibrant Filipino community here in Texas that has a very significant presence in Western Visayas owing to the various programs and projects they are sponsoring in that part of the country.
We need more Filipino communities like this. It is to our best interest as a people and as an immigrant community in foreign soil to preserve and maintain our own cultural identity, language, and values while we try to assimilate into the norms of this adoptive country. It is incumbent upon us to pass on to our children our own wonderful traditions so that it will not be lost to the next generation what it means to be truly Filipino.
The event’s theme is focused on “palanggaanay” or caring. This is a timely reminder as we are in the midst of the Christmas season that invites us to bring unto others the intangible gifts of joy, love, and hope. It is also fitting because in this modern world of individualism, materialism, and indifference, sincerely loving the least of our brethren seem to be a rarity nowadays.
I hope that through the example of the Hiligaynon Community America Texas, Inc., there will sprout more organizations that have the same drive, energy and determination to pursue a vision-mission of serving Filipinos both in the US and in the Philippines.
This column is not a substitute for professional legal advice obtained from a US-licensed immigration attorney. The information contained herein does not constitute a warranty or guarantee or legal advice regarding a reader’s specific immigration case. No attorney-client relationship is and shall be established with any reader.