Manuel A. Alarcon email@example.com 1095 Market Street Suite #312 San Francisco, CA 94103 Tel.(415) 431-6150 Fax (415) 431-9208
In Puro Batia, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, the joys of a cool summer is no more than taking a turn at the pumpwell, courtesy of BNAA.
Even in Taban, Minalabac, Camarines Sur, the presence of BNAA's pumpwell continues to bring refreshing respite from the heat tof the tropics.
Part of BNAA's project is the installation of pumpwells in needed location in the Bicol region. We see here the smiling faces of young and not so young in Calangcauan Norte, Vinzons, C. Norte.
by: Zayda Ordonez Baron
On November 16, 1983, the Bikol National Association of America was born
at the Quality in Washington D.C., the nation's capital. Thirteen charter
member organizations have cradled it from its infancy through its fifteenth
year of progressive growth, supported by the endearing Bicolano constituencies
and led by the conscientious leaders whose prime concern is to create unity
and harmony among Bicolanos.
Ten months after the inception of the BNAA, on September 9, 1984,Mayon
blew its top. This eruption ravaged the sitios, barrios, and towns of Albay.
Billions of pesos worth of destruction was caused by the eruption. On October
14, 1984, a BNAA team took 28 Balikbayan boxes containing medicines, clothing
and dry goods via Northwest Airlines to the 11 Evacuation Centers in Albay.
The team was led by then President Zayda 0. Baron, Regional Vice President
Bonnie Mape, a member Lily Pecson and Scott Curry, an American
In the process of distributing the goods brought to them, the members of the team discovered that the people devastated by the eruption were drinking muddy water. After a hectic week of work, the team returned to the U.SA. With them they brought a special appeal to the chapter members, patrons and supporters an appeal for funds to build a pumpwell.
During the 1985 National Convention held in Jacksonville, Florida, the pumpwell project was presented and approved. By July 4, 1985, the next team left for Albay to install the first pumpwell. The team led by Zayda 0. Baron and consisted of Romy Badiola, Mila Bartolome and Thelma Mejia (now deceased) all from Albay. The concerted efforts of Bicolanos here in the U.S. produced 17 water units in the most affected areas of Albay. The local Philippines counterparts in Ligao, Albay where the BNAA based its network were: Aniceto Broma, School Principal, Wilfredo Paguio, District Supervisor; Prospero Anonuevo, Solomon Payno and Ruben Astor.
The water project brought so much delight that the people in Albay coined a new phrase -"The BNAA water is the best water." In 1996, a great typhoon threatened the coastal barrios of Legaspi, Albay. At Puro. a barrio in Legaspi stood the lone BNAA water pump with the sand up the neck of the pitcher. People lined up to fetch drinking water from early dawn to sunset. (This is the barrio"s main supply of potable water, so the password goes: "Anyone who drinks the BNAA water didn't go to the doctor.")
In July of 1987, as the next president assuming the role of leading the BNAA, Nick Relacion brought the convention to the Philippines. At the Manila Hotel, the Bicolano leaders met, dined and discussed pertinent issues affecting the Bicol Region. "Meet the Press" took place with Philippine dignitaries at the International Hotel with then Senator Ziga and Congressman Ciriaco Alfelor and Boni Guillego. A courtesy call (highlight of the occasion) was made to the Malacanang Palace to then Philippine President Corazon Aquino.
The following day, the entire delegation left for Kagayonan Beach Legaspi, Albay, where the convention proper was held. Legaspi College President Aquilino Bonto, received a $1,000 from the Bicol Association of Michigan, headed by Romy Llarena and Joeson Gabarda. Nick Relacion appointed Zayda Baron to head the Pumpwells Project in 1987. This insured continuity of the project and inspired the next president to campaign for more funds. The presidency of Cal Ereno of San Jose, California was greeted by the worst typhoon that rampaged the province of Sorsogon. The convention at San Jose, CA gave him much time to ask for help. The late Msgr: Florencio Yllana received $3,000 on the spot from those who attended the convention and dinner-dance. This is always the time when we show our genuine concern for the Kababayans who need us and the results of the united efforts of Bikolanos who love to help one another and not go separate ways. Cal Ereno traveled and campaigned to promote the image and camaraderie of the BNAA. He is the smiling gentleman who always makes his peers comfortable no matter how severe a problem is. He served the BNAA adventurously.
In 1989, during the national convention in Charleston, South Carolina, Fred Ramin assumed the duties as fourth president of the BNAA. His colorful administration was remarkably felt. Like his predecessors, he spoke during the Induction of officers and solicited continuing affiliation to the BNAA. During Mr. Ramin's administration the greatest number of water facilities were installed. Fred, the soft-spoken gentleman from Oas, Albay gave much of his time and efforts to the BNAA. He is always there when you need him. It was during his incumbency when the first BNAA Newsletter appeared with the late Neri Ramin (now deceased) as editor.
Dr. Vic Fermo was Inducted during the Virginia Beach convention in July, 1991. His involvement with the BNAA started when he was president of Bikol USA Houston, Texas. His chapter donated substantial amount to the Mayon eruption campaign and the pumpwell project. He brought the BNAA convention to a Carnival Cruise Lines into the Bahamas. It was a five-day experience of festival at sea, the delegates would not soon forget.
His term of office witnessed another eruption of the Mayon volcano. He appointed Zayda Baron to chair the campaign for funds. A large donation which purchased 450 bags of rice for distribution in Albay was brought to Bishop Lucilo Quiambao. The team, headed by Zayda Baron including Cal Ereno, Delia Evangelista and Agnes Baron, left for the Philippines to supervise the proper distribution of the rice to the victims of the eruption.
Every president gets a spice to taste, a challenge to meet. The February 2nd eruption of the Mayon volcano shook everyone in disbelief. The mountain angel displayed its wrath again. A repeat of the 1984 trip followed. BNAA not only distributed rice but it also purchased a 17 cubic freezer.
In 1993 BNAA funds donated for pumpwell produced 20 more. However, some wells installed maljunctioned. We could not always expect a 100 percent performance. We are not plumbers. We are simply donors and manage to implement BNAA's project. The organization will continue to keep its goals to perpetuate its commitment to our fellow countrymen who thirst for water.
Dr. Cyrill M. LIaneta took office on August 15,1993 during the convention in Chicago. She is also the president of the Society of Bikolano Volunteers in Gary, Indiana. Senen Baron, chairman of the project went to Masbate and Camarines Norte to oversee the Installation of the pumpwell, repairs of existing wells.
Seventeen water units were installed in 1994. Another 24 were added in 1995 or a total of 39 wells. Six repairs were made in 1994, seven (7) in 1995. All of these were In the Bicol region. The chapter member organizations' generosity made these water projects possible including individual donations.
Another lady president assumed the BNAA office. Delia Evangelista, the petite dame from South Carolina braved her way to experience an exhilarating and wonderful convention in July 1996 in the Philippines. Seventy (70) fellow Bicolanos attended the convention under her leadership. The convention held at the Capitol Resort in Naga City generated funds to cover at least 16 pumpwells and seven (7) repairs. In 1997, nine (9) more pumpwells were added. A good twenty five (25) water units are providing quite a relief. The same year INA, Our Lady of Penafrancia made her second visit into the US, our adopted home to allow her devotees a rare opportunity to honor her. Through the courtesy of the BNAA her state journey from state to state was made possible. It stretched out from Californla to Vancover, Canada.
(Address to the 19th BNAA Convention)
It is my distinct honor and privilege to welcome each one of you to the BNAA's 19th Convention! While this is an opportunity for renewing old ties and friendships it is also the time for renewing our commitments to the BNAA. It is incumbent upon us to take stock of what we have done so far to accomplish the goals and objectives as an organization. How far have we gone, how have we been responsive to the needs and expectations of the general membership - the people we are committed to serve.
I hope this year's convention will provide all of us with a better
understanding of our roles as officers and members of this organization so
BNAA could be an effective agent of change that will bring about the full
realization of our common aspirations for Bicolandia and our native country
in general. Through hard work and perseverance, let us unite once more to
meet the new challenges ahead of us. It is our duty to identify these new
challenges and come up with a more relevant agenda of action for our common
welfare. A productive and fruitful convention to everyone!
BNAA 19th NATIONAL CONVENTION
Marhay na bangui po sa indo gabos?
Almost 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to speak before a large gathering of fellow Bicolanos my first as President-Elect of the local Bicolandia Association, Inc. of the eastern Seaboard, USA. In that speech, I pledged to promote and implement the objectives of the association by initiating and focusing on projects that are relevant and responsive to the changing needs of the Bicolanos here and in. the Philippines.
Inspired by our beloved founder, Mrs. Remedios Cabacungan and her immediate successors, I must say, that in the true spirit of collective.efforts, cooperation and caring, we were able to move and carry on with modest success. While there were initial failures, disappointments and heartaches along the way,, 1 can say with pride that our tasks were made easy by the wholehearted support and cooperation of our fellow Bicolanos. A great number of them went out of their way to extend their help even beyond the regionalistic concerns of the association.
As I speak to you tonight, in my capacity as the newly installed President of the BNAA, I urge again everyone to continue to support our common goals and objectives. Let us all resolve to replicate our previous efforts, only this time a little better but enthusiastically, that we may accomplish more for our bigger association-the BNAA.
During my term, I look forward to the inclusion of more member chapter organizations so we can spread and articulate better the Bicolano spirit and the promotion of our regionalistic and national cultures and traditions. Also, I intend to work with you in establishing the BNAA achievement awards for five categories: community service; science and technology; youth leadership; arts, culture and entertainment and political leadership.
These are only some of the major relevant projects that we shall embark on. With strong resolve, grit and determination, I know we shall succeed!
Dios mabalos po sa indo gabos!
(Since October 18, 1999)