Filipino culture

Filipino-American community weaves brighter tomorrow for cultural preservation

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Filipino-American community weaves brighter tomorrow for cultural preservation
PRESS RELEASE: The Hiraya Foundation commemorates the artistry of Habi in the inaugural Sininglahi Heritage Ball

This is a press release from Hiraya Foundation.

Many art forms of cultural significance are dying around the world, but not for Hiraya Foundation and its Filipino-American community. That’s why the craft of Habi is given a spotlight in the legendary Plaza Hotel in New York. The international landmark, known for hosting various world dignitaries and iconic gatherings, is the chosen event space to pay tribute to such historical artistry. 

The event aptly named Baile Filipiniana: The 2022 Sininglahi Filipino-American Heritage Ball is held at the hotel’s world-famous Grand Ballroom, attended by 250 guests. It serves as an avenue to present our country’s culture on a world stage, while also helping sustain the Filipino Habi and its weaving communities through a donation and auction line – which features our sponsors Okada Manila and Philippine Airlines. 


The event and organization’s vision is further emboldened with a five-point agenda. (1) The aforementioned proceeds will be used to support the local weaving sector through business management and technical skills training to pave the way for self-sufficiency. (2) The empowerment of weavers by extending safe spaces that bring culture and crafts into the limelight, resulting in an impactful social change. (3) Fostering meaningful dialogues between key players to spur the potential for professional innovation. In doing so, (4) Hiraya can champion for policies that will grow numerous industries, its sustainability as an intangible cultural heritage, and the protection of the main stakeholders– the artists and creatives themselves. (5) The event also promotes the Philippine cultural masters and designers to different creative industries through cultural exchanges, facilitating the sharing of best practices that can be employed by stakeholders. Ultimately, these action points will help lead the path to Fil-Am heritage sustainability. 

The affair is supported by distinguished individuals who share the same vision for cultural preservation. They are Philippine Consulate General in New York Deputy Arman Talbo and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN Antonio Manuel Lagdameo. 

“Hiraya, with its provenance from an ancient Tagalog word conveying the realization of one’s dreams and hopes, carries with it intent and resolve. We Filipinos, both from the motherland and of the diaspora, have made distinct and unique contributions to world advancement. It is now time to present us in ways that we deserve and in platforms and venues worthy of who we are,” says Hiraya Foundation President and Chairman Dr. Romulo Aromin, Jr. 

The Hiraya Board of Trustees greeted the esteemed guests such as Former Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. Among them are the Rigodon ensemble, whose female members are dressed in colorful ternos courtesy of Cora Manimbo, who used different fabrics from the weaving communities of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The gentlemen, on the other hand, are clad in Filipino-festival-inspired barong tagalog by Ulysses King. The spectacle begins with an invitation to partake in refreshing cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and a special mix consisting of Tanduay Rum, fresh calamansi juice, and basil—much to the tasters’ surprise and delight. While being served, A special presentation IS performed by select master artists and tradition bearers from Mindanao. The program officially starts when the host, nine-time Emmy Award Winner and KTLA 5 News Anchor Cher Calvin, graces the floor of the grand ballroom. After brief messages from the speakers, the waiters’ parade and dinner are led by The Plaza Hotel New York’s Culinary Director, Executive Chef Richard Brown. He introduces a sumptuous three-course meal that elevates the intricate culinary flavors of the Philippines to new heights, while the audiences are being entertained by a rousing performance from AffinitiNYC. The Philippine Ballet Theatre displayed divinity in motion and received a standing ovation from the audience. Palates are cleansed and taste buds are enchanted with Auro Chocolate dessert. Pili Ani supplies the giveaways by the end of the event. 

HIRAYA FOUNDATION. Board of Trustees (L-R): Founding Member and Secretary Lawrence Ira Safran, Founding Member and Treasurer Leonora Galleros-Tinio, CPA, MBA, Philippine Consulate General in New York City Deputy Consul General Arman Talbo, Founding Member and President Elect; Sininglahi Co-chair and Sinag ng Tala Dely Po Go, DNP, RN, LNHA, President and Chairman Dr. Romulo Aromin, Jr; Founding Member and Press Relations Officer Jovito de Luna Rabelas.

“Many of you here tonight came with only a bare knowledge of who we are. As an emerging organization composed of the Board of Trustees I am fortunate to work and plan with, we serve with selflessness, volunteerism, integrity and professionalism. I humbly ask for your continued support so that TIME shall allow us to deliver on what we promise and that Hiraya is worth your trust, your time and your collaboration. And with our comprising sense of community, as one, everything is possible,” exclaims Dr. Aromin. 

The event is a true testament of Filipino-Americans’ commitment to a brighter future for our cultural preservation, and with its success, it is ensured that more gatherings of this magnitude and purpose will be mounted by the organization and be supported by the community. –

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