Suman Queen named Mother of the Year

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Friends feel elated when Frances Espiga would give them suman sa ibos done with love by her mother, Nanay Aurelia “Auring” Cerdana. Sometimes, Frances would whisper in apologetic tone that Nanay did not make enough for everyone hence the secret manner of giving. Friends would “fight” over who will take home the suman after the Espiga family party. Nanay’s suman has certainly reached several homes. Imagine the Espiga family being used to the pitter-patter of Nanay in their the kitchen manually wrapping her suman. “I’m sure almost all Ilonggos here tonight have tried Lola’s Ibos,” Marigold Espiga said in her message after her lola was awarded the Mother of the Year Award by the Ilonggo Association of Victoria Inc (IAVI). The awarding was held during IAVI’s Mother’s Day Dinner Dance at the Grand Star Reception in Altona last 10 May 2014.

Helping others
The 85-year old mother of two is generous of her time, affection and even money. “Lola is always kind and helpful to other people,” Marigold noted. Last March, the clan saw a grandnephew finishing Bachelor of Science in Political Science at Ateneo De Manila as Magna Cum Laude. Thanks to Nanay for helping him finance his education and his mother’s medicine for her cancer treatment. She was also able to help graduate grandnephews who are now a marine engineer and a civil engineer. Nanay’s willingness to help friends and relatives is endless. During the last calamity caused by typhoon Yolanda, Nanay was the first to donate $1,000 for food relief to the residents of Bayas Island in Iloilo. “She is a small lady with a big, golden heart,” said Marigold. Nanay has seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Consul Gigi: My first and last
Special guest of honour was Philippine Consul General Gigi Kalong who recalled addressing the Ilonggo Association’s function as her first official function four years ago. “This is the last time that I will be standing here in front of you,” she said, then asking everyone to show the same support to her successor, Felix Pintado. Pintado, a Spanish-Filipino, is awaiting the Australian approval of his documents to commence his term.

Applauding the Ilonggo Association’s spirit of volunteerism and civic service, ConGen Gigi said that the group has come along since its inception in 1986. “We have seen the organisation grow and prosper with the variety of events and fundraisers, community building and patronage. It has certainly stayed true to its main objective of supporting underprivileged individuals and groups in Western Visayas,” she added

Meanwhile, IAVI President Melvin Espiga, in his welcome address, thanked their sponsors and supporters for making the group’s 28th anniversary a worthwhile one. Melvin reported the several charitable projects that they are doing to help the needy families and children in the Philippines and those affected by natural calamities. At present, IAVI is partnering with the Rotary Club of Brimbank Centre in Jaro, Iloilo City for its fresh water project.

Recognising talent and support
Dance n’ Style’s Justin Rafol and Shaniya Xuereb, 16 and 14, presented several dance numbers to the delight of the audience. Other performers were Alysa Limbo and Lora Anacan.

IAVI also awarded certificate of appreciation to the following for their support to the victims of Haiyan in Western Visayas: Consul General Gigi Kalong, Rotary Club of Brimbank Central, Disaster Aid International, Our Lady’s Craigieburn and Roxburg Park represented by Ranee Abanilla, and Filipino Friendship Group of Melton represented by Ester Arimboyutan.

The emcees of the night were: Wynn Fontanos and Sandy Lobriza.

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