FYLPRO resumes its Immersion Program with a 15-member delegation to the Philippines


The Makati Business Club and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines host a networking luncheon where delegates share their Filipino American stories.  | Photo credit: FYLPRO

NEW YORK – A fifteen-member Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) delegation made their trip to the Philippines for FYLPRO’s 2022 immersion program, which resumed after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegates were selected based on their resume and a rigorous interview process and traveled to the Philippines from November 20-25 for a week-long immersion trip.

The trip comes as FYLPRO, a joint initiative of the Philippine Embassy, Consulates General in the United States, and the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI), celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

The 15-person 2022 cohort includes a five-time Hugo Award winner, an administrative judge, an emergency room physician, and an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker. They now join 84 FYLPRO alumni who have gone through the immersion program.

The 2022 FYLPRO delegation included the following:

  • Michelle Amor – New York, New York
  • Grace Arupo Rodriguez – Roseville, California
  • Joshua De Leon – Long Beach, California
  • Daniel Galeon – Montvale, New Jersey
  • Genevieve Jopanda – San Francisco, California
  • Michele Josue – Glendale, California
  • Agnes Lopez – Jacksonville, Florida
  • Angelo Mathay – Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos – Sicklerville, New Jersey
  • Constancio Paranal III – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Melissa (Michi) Trota – Chicago, Illinois
  • Danicole Ramos – Waialua, Hawaii
  • Angelico Razon – Pasadena, California
  • John Victoria – Arlington, Virginia
  • Neil Wingkun – Houston, Texas

This year’s cohort includes new regions represented with delegates from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida. It is the first year the FYLPRO immersion cohort included delegates over 40 after the age eligibility was raised to 45.

Their immersion trip started with a walking food tour of Binondo and a visit to the Ayala Museum.

The delegates also met with the U.S. Ambassador of the Philippines, MaryKay Loss Carlson, and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff in a special reception with Fulbright Philippines and Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) alumni.

They also heard from speakers from various industries such as health, tech, legal, and business, including Roland Ros (co-founder of Kumu), Dexter Ligot-Gordon (co-founder of Swarm), Ellene Sana (Center for Migrant Advocacy), Coco Alcuaz (Executive Director, Makati Business Club), Paul Pajo and Bea Sanchez (Plentina) and Len Cabili (Founder and Creative Director, Filip+Inna).

During the business day, the Makati Business Club and American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines hosted a special networking luncheon where delegates shared their Filipino American stories.

FYLPRO delegates visit farmers at Calauan, Laguna | Photo credit: FYLPRO
FYLPRO delegates try their hands on the farm’s livelihood projects | Photo credit: FYLPRO

On government day, the delegates had a courtesy call with Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo, had lunch and meet and greet with former Counsel Generals, traveled to Pasig City to meet with Mayor Vico Sotto, and visited the Philippine House of Representatives.

On community day, the delegates spent time with the farmers at Calauan, Laguna – a partner site of the Ayala Foundation initiative to implement sustainable livelihood projects. After spending time with them, they met with FYLPRO’s media partners GMA Pinoy TV and toured their studios and sets.

Following the tour of GMA studios, they met GMA officials, including GMA International First Vice President Joseph Jerome T. Francia, director Mark Reyes and journalist Howie Severino at dinner. Severino gave a quick Baybayin lesson to them.

An FYLRPO delegate meets Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez | Photo credit: FYLPRO

The delegates met with their mentor on the last day of the program. They had a courtesy call with the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Manuel Romualdez, before they wrapped up their trip with closing ceremonies.

To look at this year’s immersion program, view this video edited by 2022 Emmy Award Winning Director Michele Josue: https://youtu.be/HjJyi-pQmzo.

This year’s trip marks the next evolution of the immersion program as FYLPRO works to add more elements to the program’s offering to bridge, represent and discover.

“While the delegates only had one week, it was filled with transformation moments that will last a lifetime,” said 2022 FYLPRO President Leezel Tanglao. “I look forward to seeing all the collaborations and great things emerge from the delegation as this is only the beginning of their journeys to connect deeper to the community throughout the diaspora.”

FYLPRO was established in 2012 by Former Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America, Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., and Mrs. Victoria J. Cuisia in cooperation with the Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI) to annually identify outstanding young professionals in the Filipino communities across the United States and provide the delegates with invaluable community, business, and government insights and access to distinguished network captains of industry and government.

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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