(Clockwise from top left) Deputy Chief of Mission Jaime Ramon Ascalon, Maria Cervania, Allan Palacios Chan, Josrique “Josh” Garcia, Rose De Guzman, and Jannelle So; (Bottom most, center) Vice Consul Mark Lim moderated the event

23 July 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the continuing celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States, the Philippine Embassy and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) co-organized “THRIVING: Conversations with Filipino-Americans from various walks of life” on Thursday, 22 July 2021 via Zoom and FB Live.

The webinar showcased a very accomplished set of speakers of Filipino descent composed of Wake County Commissioner Maria Cervania, media pioneer Jannelle So; opera standout tenor Allan Palacios Chan; neuroscientist and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Rose De Guzman; and US Air Force veteran, martial artist, and educator Josrique “Josh” Garcia. 

“In today’s conversation, we want to highlight stories of various Filipino Americans who have excelled in their respective fields, and made important accomplishments within their communities… As we mark 75 years of formal diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and the United States, we hope the stories shared today will inspire members of the Fil-Am community to continue to thrive, engage, and pursue a more empowered community,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez in his opening message.

The casual discussion touched on a wide range of topics including the adjustments and challenges the panel encountered in the United States, how their Filipino background helped them in their professional pursuits and careers, the panelists insights on what more could be done to get more participation and awareness from the Filipino and Fil-Am community in the US, and the projects they are working on at present.

Both Josh Garcia and Dr. Rose De Guzman talked about how their Filipino upbringing, inspirations, and values such as perseverance and discipline helped them not only in adapting to a new environment, but also in motivating them daily to excel in everything they do. Allan Palacios Chan likewise shared his own experience of migrating to the United States at an early age and how he endeavors to share Filipino culture through his music.

Commissioner Maria Cervania highlighted the importance of reaching out to the younger generation and encouraging them to get more involved in the community, while Jannelle So underscored the positive impact of supporting our kababayans and our identity by telling the great narratives of Filipinos in the US. 

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Philippine Embassy Jaime Ramon Ascalon, Jr. gave the closing message of the webinar stressing that “when we learn about each other’s’ struggles and successes, we are able to better connect and build stronger relationships. We believe that this is key to achieving our common aspiration for an empowered Filipino-American community in US.”

“THRIVING: Conversations with Filipino-Americans from various walks of life” is available for streaming on the official Facebook page (@PHinUSA) of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. ###