It is always nice to see compatriots in a foreign land! This is the first meeting of Filipino Fellows and Scholars in Syracuse, NY. From R-L: Atty. Rene Pacaldo from the Fortress City of Iligan; Mr. Ryan Villar from the Salt Province of Pangasinan; Ms. Jaclaine Mercado of Pampanga, the Land of the Beauty; Lt. Col. Al Jaji of the River City of Cagayan de Oro and Sultanate Province of Sulu; and Dr. Ronnie Amorado of the Durian City of Davao. Rene is faculty of the MSU-Marawi City while Al works with the Intelligence Division of the Philippine Army. Both Rene and Al are Fulbright Scholars finishing their PhDs on environment with the State University of New York (SUNY). Al specializes on environment and conflict, while Rene studies carbon sequestration of willow shrubs as alternative source of energy; he is also studying US environmental laws. Ryan is a Central Bank Fellow taking up instructional designs, while Jac is a Moynihan Scholar taking up international studies. Both Ryan and Jac are taking up their second MA degrees in Syracuse University; both respectively earned their first MA degrees on government administration and political science from the Ateneo de Manila University. Ryan works with the HR Group of the Philippine Central Bank, and Jac a full time scholar. Ronnie is a Hubert Humphrey-Fulbright Fellow doing his anticorruption research at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University.
The meeting was sponsored by Al in celebration of Eid'l Fitr last September 20, 2009 at the Fuji Asian Buffet Restaurant in Syracuse. As of last account, there are about 13 Filipinos studying in Syracuse.
What is good with meeting compatriots in a foreign land is the joy of a lifeline -- we all easily connect like we have known one another back home. We can also speak our home-grown language, and discuss current events and issues affecting the country. The lifeline actually provides sanity. In the words of Al -- "magaling ka nga, sige'ng aral, basa at sulat, palaging English, pero para ka na rin namang sirang ulo!"
We plan to hold a monthly Filipino Day, just an informal fellowship day among Filipino compatriots, to provide lifeline and sanity!
Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!