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Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez (2nd from left), Mr. Ramon Paterno (left-most) and Atty. Ed Logan (2nd from right) with the awardees of the 26th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards held at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex in Washington on Feb. 9, 2019.


WASHINGTON — Eight outstanding Filipino-American students from the DMV area were recognized at the annual Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards held at the Philippine Chancery Annex on Feb. 9, 2019.

The annual youth awards, organized by the Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC) and in partnership for the first time with Sentro Rizal Washington DC, aims to recognize Fil-Am students for their academic excellence, leadership and volunteerism within their communities.

For the selection process, all candidates were asked to submit a video reflection and a personally written poem on Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” or My Last Farewell.

They were also asked to put themselves in the shoes of the national hero and give one last advice to their fellow countrymen.

The top 8 awardees are: (Elementary) Ashley Lea Cabanayan Shrestha; (Middle School) Katherine Gillen, Arabella Palor and Benedict Hilario; (High School) Patrick Aguda and Sarah Menchaves; and (College) Natalia Fernandez and Franz Jeremy Sandil.


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From left, PAFC Vice President John Victoria; Mr. Ramon Paterno; Middle School awardee Benedict Hilario; Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez; and PAFC President Krystle Canare at the 26th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards.


Atty. Ed Logan, a renowned member of the community through his expertise as a lobbyist and humanitarian work, also gave an inspirational speech for the awardees and guests.

“We must strive to educate ourselves with the truth of what is right and what is good,” Logan reminded the awardees of the importance of education and of serving a life with a purpose just like Dr. Jose Rizal.

Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, PAFC President Krystle Canare and Mr. Ramon Antonio Paterno, co-founder of the Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards Day, handed out the certificates to the awardees.

“Jose Rizal placed great importance on the youth. On the one hand, he inspires an unwavering belief in the ability of young people to learn from the experiences of their elders and in their courage to initiate changes. On the other hand, Dr. Rizal continues to exhort the present generation to instill the right values in their children and make sure that they grow up to be productive and upstanding members of society,” Romualdez said in his closing remarks.

PAFC Vice President John Victoria led the selection committee for the 26th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards, and likewise served as the emcee during the program, that was also supported by GMA Pinoy TV.

Awardees and their families enjoyed light refreshments at the conclusion of the formal ceremony.


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Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivers his remarks at the 26th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards.


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Awardees and their families, along with the guests and organizers of the 26th Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards, sing the Philippine national anthem at the start of the program.