Efren Peñaflorida (c.), CNN Hero of the Year 2009, visits the Filipino Reporter office at the Empire State Building in New York City on Nov. 10. With him are (from left) Erlinda Granada Sabah, Dr. Linda Pelayo, Mr. Peñaflorida, Bert Pelayo (FR publisher and editor-in-chief) and Cora Reyes.


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.


FILIPINO-Americans will turn Connecticut fabulously red in gowns and tuxedos on Dec. 11, 2010 with the 3rd Annual Poinsettia Grand Ball taking place at the Holiday Inn in Stamford.

The red tie event is an annual Christmas gathering of Filipino-American community leaders and officers and members of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations headed by Engr. Roger N. Alama.

It is also an awards night for Filipino American Achievers who excel in their professions and community works in the U.S.

This year’s hosts is NaFFAA Connecticut chapter through the leadership of Marlene Stern.

The annual ball has been celebrated for the past three years.

During its inception in 2008, the Poinsettia Grand Ball was attended by more than 700 guests which was also the first awards night for community organizations as the recipients.

The first Christmas tree was lighted in December 2009.

The first Poinsettia ladies and young Fil-Am lawyers were likewise introduced and honored.
NaFFAA Region One is an umbrella organization in the eastern region that comprises eight active states, namely:  Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

It was awarded as the number one region in the entire United States during the 8th biennial national conference held in Seattle, Washington.

Among the programs of common relevance to Fil-Am organizations which the regional office of

NaFFAA champions and maintains are:

• Fil-Am Vote, a continuing program to encourage Fil-Ams within the community to vote and participate in the electoral process.

• FALDEF, or Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is a legal defense group, a virtual law office which needs the support of the community for which it was primarily created to defend. Created by NaFFAA Region One in 2008 under the leadership of JT Mallonga, Esq., it is now independent as a newly incorporated (501) (c) (3) entity. In some ways however, NaFFAA and FALDEF are integrally dependent on each other. Currently, these two organizations hold a free legal consultation every third Friday of the month which started last August.

• Census 2010, important for every member of the community to be involved because being  counted affects their visibility, their self-worth in the greater community and the empowerment of Fil-Ams. In partnership with the Philippine Consulate General of New York in their outreach programs, the latest, SAVE OUR INDUSTRIES ACT (HR3039), NaFFAA Region One lobbied to different senators and congressmen for their support.

Not only Region One maintains its own program, its different chapters created their own relevant projects that added to NaFFAA’s R1 ongoing projects and programs.

NaFFAA-NY recently organized a new group of young professionals and non-professionals dubbed as NaFFAA Young Overseers United Through Hope (Y.O.U.T.H) which is currently in the process of regionalizing.

NaFFAA CT, one of the most active states, has also ongoing projects line up this year.

NaFFAA Region One is also hosting a welcome cocktail party to honor Efren Peñaflorida, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, on Nov. 12, 2010, at 7 p.m., at Lovin Life Learning Center, 4 West, 43rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Anyone who is interested to attend, please call for reservation: 212.272.7917, 201.658.0476 or 516.807.2882.

Donation is $25 per person.

The Poinsettia Grand Ball’s donation is $85 per person.

Reservation must be received by Nov. 30, 2010. First paid reservation will be given prominent seating priority.

Attire is tuxedo (red bow tie) for men and long gown (red or accented red) for women.

For reservation and more info, please call: Debbie Magno 201.933.1661, or your state chairs: Marlene Stern (CT) 203.912.8293, Frank Celoza (MA) 617.755.3948, Nimfa Tinana (NJ) 908.494.4014, Nena Kaufman (NY) 917.528.1212, Aida Rivera (PA) 610.416.0746, Cora Reyes 212.272.7917, Lito Pernia 212.965.2217 or Roger Alama 516.807.2882.

So, get set ladies with your red gowns and tuxedos with red ties for men, and have a helluva good time in Connecticut.

Swing it, shake it, rock and roll it. There will be less talk, but more dancing. NaFFAA’s higher-ups will see to it that you will have a fabulous time.

Right, Marlene? Right, Roger?


In behalf of Friends Indeed USA, Inc., heartfelt thanks and appreciation are being conveyed to Dr. Pablo and Baby Merced of New Jersey and Kentucky for the very generous donation sent in through yours truly by the kind solicitation of Dr. Emy Magpantay. Ty-Ty.


Our heartfelt condolences to Carmen Pateña on the recent passing of her son Ryan in New Jersey.

Ditto to the Martinez family, especially Ner, on his brother’s death in the Philippines.

May the good Lord embrace them in Heaven above.