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In line with the celebration of three (3) auspicious events, namely, the 109th Anniversary of Philippine Independence, Migrant Workers Day and the 25th Anniversary of OWWA, more than a thousand (1,000) Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their dependents trooped to the Golden Beaches Resort in Abu Nawas, Tripoli last June 8, 2007 to join POLO’s “Pagdiriwang ng Mga Pinoy sa Libya.”
In a solid show of unity and patriotism, the huge crowd cheered and applauded and gave its full support in the conduct of a three-part program of POLO composed of the Bulilit Sing-Galing Contest, the 2nd Kalayaan Musikahan 2007 and the Search for Ms. OFW Libya 2007 that started at about 2:00 pm and ended at close to 11:00 in the evening.
The program started off with the entrance of the colors and singing of the Philippine National Anthem followed by the ecumenical prayer led by Ustadz Tahir Mohammad Jamail, Pastor Zack Gayoso and Sis. Eva M. Estolloso, D.C. Welfare Officer Robert P. Bassig delivered the welcome remarks which dwelt mainly on the significance of the three historic events while Ms. Alelie L. Uson, President of the Filipino Community Organization in Libya (FILCOL) and Mr. Romeo I. Barbatchano of VAOS gave short messages pertaining to the three joint celebrations.
In his Migrant Workers Day message, Labor Attaché II Nasser S. Mustafa said the Filipino Community Get Together in Libya, which started in 2005, has already been a landmark in the history of Filipinos in the host country. Mustafa said the community get-together was more than just pure entertainment as it was designed to foster the spirit of nationalism, patriotism and goodwill among Filipinos in Libya.
He said this auspicious day was being set aside as a reminder to all OFWs that indeed they are recognized for their significant contributions to the country’s economic growth and development and for their efforts of enhancing the image of the Filipino as a world-class worker.
For his Independence Day message, His Excellency, Ambassador Bayani V. Mangibin veered away from the usual flashback in history, but rather focused instead on the so-called “Power of Three”. Mangibin said what he saw emerging in all the successful endeavors that had been done by the Filipino community in Libya was the result of the so-called “Power of Three”.
First examples the Ambassador cited were the three auspicious events being successfully celebrated by the Filipino community during that day. Again, he saw the so-called “power of three” working when the Filipino communities in Benghazi, Tripoli, and Tunis got together for the celebrations.
The good Ambassador again cited the “power of three” when he saw the strong partnership of the POLO, OWWA and the Filipino community in the conduct of various activities for the benefit of all Filipino nationals in the host country. Mangibin also saw the strength of the “power of three” in the relationships fostered among the Philippine Embassy, the Philippine Community Schools and the parents of school children in the formation and development of Philippine culture and values in Libya.
Mangibin said that what these phenomenon indicate was that many things could be successfully accomplished and achieved when the partnership of three sectors or parts were equally balanced and would push for one single determined action of well being and development.
After the formal opening program, the Bulilit Sing-Galing Contest followed hosted by Mr. Nats Atienza and Ms. Honey Sola with eight (8) kid contestants participating. The kid contestants were composed of Dana May Mosquera, Rhemeelyn Camiling, Angela Quiling, Maliwan Deetaisong, Selina Louise Cawilan, King Dominic Palma, Mikko Tablac and Mary Rochelle Evangelista.
Mary Rochelle Evangelista bagged the first prize, while Rhemeelyn Camiling got second prize and Mikko Tablac, third. The winners were awarded trophies and cash prizes of 500 Libyan Dinars (LD) for the Champion, 250 LD for first runner-up and 200 LD for second runner-up.
Those who did not make it got 30 LD each, including bags of school supplies to all the participating child singers.
[ left: Mary Rochelle Evangelista bagged the first prize for the Bulilit Singing Contest]
In the 2nd Kalayaan Musikahan 2007 contest, seven (7) OFWs representing the various communities in Libya vied for the top honors and prizes. These were Abigail Lazaro, Jovelyn Villamor, Rex Ochavo, Maria Maurine Trinidad, Piaflor Judith Abilgos, Aileen Villegas and Roxanne Carpio. Besting them all was Ms. Roxanne Carpio from the Tripoli Medical Center (TMC) who was adjudged first prize winner and took home the top prize of a free round-trip ticket to Manila and back, courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines, trophy and free accommodation at the Farah Resort in Zawara City.
Ms. Abigail Lazaro of Esbea and Ms. Aileen Villegas of Sarage community won the first and second runners-up trophies and cash prizes of 300 Libyan Dinars and 250 LD, respectively. Those who did not make it in the winning circle received 50 LD each including bags of groceries to all seven of them.
In the much-awaited Search for Ms. OFW Libya 2007 portion, seven (7) beautiful and talented OFWs representing the various sponsoring communities and organizations in Tripoli vied for the prestigious honors and prizes through presentations in casual wear, evening gowns and talent portion.
After their answers to the question posed for the three remaining finalists, crucial deliberations and discussions made by the Board of Judges of the search, composed of Ms. Racquel Fajardo-Sayed of IMI Co. of Tunisia, Mr. Pascuali Dell’ Olio of Megalitra, Italy and Dr. Nicola Jansen Van Rensburg of Medilink, South Africa, chose Ms. Kristine Dioria Generoso of Tajoura Hospital Community, Ms. OFW of Libya 2007 garnering an aggregate average of 95.3 percent. She also won the Best in Casual Wear and Best in Long Gown Awards.
First runner-up honors went to Ms. Bernadine A. Apayart of the Esbea Hospital Community with an aggregate average of 93 percent. She also got the Best in Traditional Costume Award. The second runner-up winner Ms. Bernadette Ty Cruz of TMC Diplomat with an 85.6 percent average, also received the Ms. Talent Award.
Adjudged Ms. Photogenic was Ms. Jessebel Salupen of Esbea while Ms. Ann Margaret S. Uy of Zawiya got the Ms. Friendship and Ms. Punctuality honors.
Aside from the trophies, cash prize of 500 LD for the first runner-up and 400 LD for the second runner-up with the non-winning contestants receiving 75 LD each, sash, and bouquets, the top prize winner also won a free round-trip ticket to Manila courtesy of Qatar Airways and a three- day, all expenses paid vacation at the Farah Resort in Zawara City, Libya courtesy of Mr. Sufian El Muarfi, General Manager.
The best among the best. Bernadette Cruz, Kristine D. Generoso-Ms. OFW Libya 2007,and Bernadine APayart
The event also had a food bazaar by the Filipino community and free medical consultations for all the attendees. The grand affair at the Golden Beaches Resort capped the two-day celebration of Independence Day, Migrant Workers Day and 25th OWWA Anniversary with the first series of activities held a week earlier at the Rajab Aqasa Gymnasium composed of an all Filipino Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Food Bazaar and Free Medical Mission.
- Jose Maria de Leon
[ all photos courtesy of A. Ajanti & A. Ating]