On Sunday, August 17, 1997, a handful of Filipino-Americans was gathering at a small community hall of a mobile park, Bonanza Village, just off one of the busiest highways of southern Nevada (Las Vegas) Interstate 93/95. The group consisted of Bicolanos coming from any one of the provinces comprising the southern region of mainland Luzon; Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. These provinces as a whole is called Bicolandia. The small group at this historic gathering are now residing in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The group is so unique in a sense that in Las Vegas, known as the “high roller” capital of the world, all walks of life are represented. The pervading thought of the group was to bond together and to form an organization dedicated to serve the community it belongs.
The group was chaired by one of the nicest person among the crowd, an energetic woman, a mother who is actively involved in community services, Vivienne Kerns. And, also in this group were her sister, Tess Smith, Elmer S. Belmonte, Myrna Nelson, Marlon “Multo” Iglesia, Frank & Minda Banaria just to name a few, who lit up the atmosphere by sharing unselfishly their innovative ideas and experiences.
During this gathering, Elmer S. Belmonte from Iriga City, suggested that the group be officially known as “THE BICOLANOS OF NEVADA” The name was overwhelmingly approved and adopted by the group. The word “Inc.” was added later. Elmer also coined the motto “Manga Bicolano, Nagka-sararo” aptly translated “Bicolanos, Unified”.
Although the identity of the group was the only official business conducted at this meeting, there were other plans for future growth such as including all Bicolano residents of Nevada in the membership; its membership’s commitment and responsibility; its function and involvement in the community and the preservation of the Bicol’s lore and heritage.
The seed is sown.......
In a letter to Mag-Iribahan Kita dated March 1, 2000, Vivienne
Parlade-Kerns, Chairman of the organization, opens an invitation to Bicolanos.
To all the Bikol National Association of America officers and members.
What a better way to welcome the new millenium than to celebrate the Bikol National Association of America’s 20th National Convention on July, 29, 2000 here in the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, the entertainment capital of the world! The Bicolanos of Nevada, Inc.- Las Vegas Chapter, is proud to be this year’s convention host.
Our convention this year promises to be exciting, fun-filled and definitely state-of-the-art gathering of all Bicolanos nationwide. We suggest that you bring your family with you, especially the children, since Las Vegas now offers a family-oriented recreation both for children and adults.
We look forward to providing you not only excellent convention time but entertainment as well, here in Las Vegas, and hope to be the best host for BNAA members and families.
God bless and see you soon! Thank you very much.
In an earlier press release to Mag-Iribahan Kita, the Bicolanos of Nevada, Inc. Las Vegas Chapter, announced the 20th BNAA Convention will be held at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino (800-311-8999). It will be only a one-day affair, a departure from the usual 3-day gathering. With prior approval from BNAA president Prescilla Toribio, the outdoor activities have been omitted from the program and will focus instead on the convention and the Gala Night Dinner & Dance Program. The Bicolanos of Nevada, the host organization of the convention could be reach at 702-438-3985.