By Gladys Mae Orodio Garcia
For me, it was a rarity to attend social events. Being caught up in the cares and challenges of running a school, there was simply no time for socials. But I was definitely making an exception for this very special event – the Soriano Orodio 10th founding anniversary. So packing a suitcase and responding to the gracious invitation of its founding president, Nelda Orodio Estores, we took a PAL flight that would take us to Melbourne, Australia – home to the overseas chapter of the Soriano-Orodio Foundation, Inc.
On 10 February 2018 the Grand Star Receptions and Convention Center at Altona North Victoria witnessed another milestone for the foundation as more than 400 guests arrived in style: the ladies were dressed in flowing, dazzling red gowns; the gentlemen not to be overdone were in tuxedoes, red bows and suits – their colors exquisitely blending with the trappings of the hall.
With anchors the likes of Alex Sy, Dina Mananquil-Delfino and Gina Parker, one could not have asked for more! They were the toast of the town, the best in their league. They generated the energy and whet the appetite of the guests for each segment of the program to up until finish.
The Soriano-Orodio young talents opened the program with a violin rendition of the Australian and Philippine national anthems followed by the traditional speech of the foundation’s president welcoming and thanking guests for their continued support to the cause that defined the foundation – education for the youth. Rachel B. Orodio, representing the original founders, expressed gratitude for the generous support of the Filipino community. Lorino Soriano, representing the Soriano flank, arrived from Rhode Islands, USA, also expressed his profuse appreciation for the support that has given wings for the foundation to grow from its humble beginnings to undertake bigger and greater tasks.
Honorary Consul to Victoria Felix Pintado, guest speaker, highlighted in his message the admirable “mapagbigay” trait of the Filipino. This trait, he said, gave birth to the balikbayan box phenomenon which is now known globally and popular among Filipinos.
“The balikbayan box, represents so many beautiful things among Filipinos – the spirit of sharing, the spirit of reaching out, the spirit of selfless devotion to family, and the spirit of commitment to uplifting conditions of people back home.”
Of course, it was also party time for everybody in attendance. There was not only good food but the dance floor overflowed with moves and twirls on the edges. Professional DJ and soundman Pros made sure the dance floor was never empty. The parade of beauties in their Filipiniana regalia made us proud of our culture. The winners of the night for best dressed male and female guest, facilitated by Charlie and Tina Yao gave the celebration a sparkling and exhilarating hue.
The Soriano-Orodio young talents displayed not only their prowess on the strings, but grace with their dance moves and vocals as well. A segment of the program witnessed the guests greet February birthday celebrants and wish happiness for the lovely couple Steven Porter and Maribel Axford, who met and fell in love in a previous pre-valentine event of the foundation. The raffle portion put a smile on many lucky faces who won thousands of dollars worth of prizes. The auctions, thanks to the sponsors, not only raised additional funds for the foundation but generated goodwill and entertainment as well.
Sponsors, patrons and long-time supporters of the foundation were handed certificates of appreciation and interviews were conducted live by videographer Hector Calara and emcee Dina Delfino, and hundreds of photos were captured by official photographer, Gary Haywood.
Allow me to ask your indulgence to be one caring community and pledge ourselves to the mission of the Soriano-Orodio Foundation, Inc: One scholar is one less family snatched from the curse and clutches of poverty. This after all is the reason for this event – a night of love, genuine caring, gratitude and friendship.