Among the attendees at the event are (from left) Filipino Reporter’s Manny Caballero, Bergenfield Council President Christopher Tully, Bergenfield Councilman-elect Arvin Amatorio, Federation and Knights of Rizal-NJ president Paul Verzosa, businessman Mike Florendo and J. Ariel Aggarao.  (Velzon H. Velez Photography)

JERSEY CITY — Some 250 guests who attended the “Pasko ay Sumapit” combined Christmas party of five New Jersey organizations led by the Federation of Philippine Societies of NJ and Knights of Rizal, had one word to describe the evening: awesome!

Songs, dances, awards, beauty queens and two photo booths dominated the event at St. Peter’s University here last weekend.

The venue of the formal gathering at the new Student Center Building of this Jesuit-owned school added class to the four-hour program.

The spacious hall, accessible by three elevators, is on the 6th floor and is equipped with modern facilities, like sophisticated sound and lighting systems.

In the eastern end of the hall, the party attendees could see the New York skyline of the downtown area.

In the western side, the Elizabeth seaport area and Newark, including Newark Liberty International Airport.

Among the community notables present were: Atty. Victor Sison, Fe Martinez, Dr. Aida De Leon, Bergenfield Council President Charles Tully, Bergenfield Councilman-elect Arvin Amatorio, Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano, Bayonne Councilman Juan Perez and Mahwah Councilman Jonathan Wong.

Jersey City City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. sent word that he as in Florida with his family where they would spend Christmas.

Emcees were Ria Serrano and Brian Mangodo.

In welcoming the guests, Paul M. Verzosa, the no-nonsense president of two sponsoring organizations, Federation of Philippine Societies of NJ and Order of Knights of Rizal NJ, he cited the meaning of Christmas as a demonstration of obedience (Mary), family and community unity (Joseph) and humility (Jesus in a manger).

He concluded, “Thank you for attending and Merry Christmas! Let’s continue to be brothers and sisters in the Filipino-American community.”

Tata Kay Habana, the popular soprano, graced the event with a piece from Martin Nievera, “Ikaw,” to the delight of the audience.

She announced her forthcoming concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Feb. 4, 2015.

Eight-year-old Audrey Sussmann rendered two songs, which the audience adored.

Plaques of recognition were handed by the Federation and the Knights of Rizal NJ to outstanding and deserving Fil-Ams.

The evening’s beauty queens received their crowns and sashes and were serenaded by Student Canteen champion singer Anthony Bautista.

Other groups that sponsored were Jersey City Phil-Am Chamber of Commerce and Order of Ladies for Rizal.

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