NEW YORK –Staying true to his reputation as a humble leader, Philippine Independence Day Council Inc’s (PIDCI) 2014 Grand Marshal Dr. Emilio Quines, alongside his physician wife and co-parade marshal, Fely, tended to shy away from the spotlight at the “Grand Marshal Gala” hosted by PIDCI to honor the couple, held recently at World Astoria Manor in Queens.
In his speech, Dr. E. Quines emphatically diverted around 500 guests’ attention from him and his wife to the original purpose in annually celebrating the Philippine Independence Day outside the Philippines: To honor Filipino heroes then and now, which encompass Filipinos who fought for the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 to modern day overseas Filipinos who continue to give back to their home country, especially in times of natural disasters.
“We, the Filipino people, are proud people. We want to stand on our own two feet. We want to become independent, and we want to have a control of our destiny. Our heroes fought hard and sacrificed their lives to have our independence. And think about it, we won’t be here tonight without our heroes; we won’t be celebrating the 116th Philippine Independence Day Parade [set Sunday, June 1, along Madison Avenue] without them.” said Dr. E. Quines.
Dr. E. Quines, a long-term medical mission volunteer in the Philippines, also said in his speech, “Success in life is not success if not shared. Happiness is being contented with what we have; and what we have we share with our families, our friends, but not forgetting those who are truly in need.
“We’re a group of people [Filipinos, in general] who are resilient, who overcome adversities because of our spirit of togetherness or bayanihan in helping one another in times of need, such as during recent calamity typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and in times of sorrow.”
His message shared that evening parallels that of PIDCI’s silver anniversary theme this year, “Triumphs of the Filipino: Pride of the Philippines,” which honors the shining triumphs of Filipinos across different fields and industries–from business and technology to sports, from world ambassadorship to entertainment, and from volunteerism to social activism.
The gala dinner, emceed by Grace Rustia and PIDCI Board Member Ner Martinez, was a traditional pre-Philippine Independence Day parade event, whose “attendance topped 500 guests for the first time,” according to PIDCI President Fe Martinez.
The grand marshals were feted with a Rigodon de Honor, a formal dance, where the dancers donned elegant barong Tagalog and Filipiniana dresses; a lively line dance number by the award-winning dance group Xquisite Dancers; a harana performed by the grand marshals’ family members and closest friends; and an investiture of grand marshals, whose ceremonial sashes were presented by PIDCI President Fe Martinez and PIDCI Honorary Adviser Consul General Mario Lopez De Leon, Jr.
Among the distinguished attendees were former Philippine Independence Day Committee (PIDC) and PIDCI Grand Marshals Dr. Alice Francisco, Libertito and Linda Pelayo, Dr. Vivian Malantic, Dr. Emmanuel Pangan, Msgr. Oscar Aquino, JCD, Dr. Zenaida Santos and Benjamin Santos, Dr. Edita Libramonte and Nick Libramonte, and Dr. Prospero Lim; former PIDCI Presidents Joji Jalandoni, Dr. Bernardo De La Merced, Raul Estrellado, Roger Alama, and Reuben Seguritan; former PIDC/PIDCI Over-All Chairs Lett Dayao, Cora Reyes, Nelia Ferrette, and Sofia Abad; current PIDCI board members and volunteers; and the Mrs. Kalayaan (Mrs. Independence) and Diwa ng Kalayaan (Spirit of Independence) beauty pageant titleholders and contestants.
“This is the fourth time I’m addressing the grand marshal’s ball, and this is the biggest so far that I attended,” said Consul General De Leon in his speech. “This is the 25th year we are commemorating Philippine Independence Day in New York City. Celebrating 25 years is indeed a milestone in the life of any organization. It speaks well for PIDCI that it has reached this far from its humble beginnings.
“Tonight is also about giving honor to the two people who will play important roles to ensure the success of the Independence Day parade and other related events. For PIDCI’s 25th year, it has chosen two of the most distinguished, well-loved, and highly-respected leaders of the Filipino American community. Drs. Quines are true models of accomplished, charitable, yet modest couple.
Their readiness to provide the needs of our poor kababayans back home, especially during typhoon Haiyan, demonstrates their openheartedness, civic-mindedness, and commitment to their advocacies.”
The Independence Day Parade Grand Marshal is one of the highest honors bestowed by PIDCI annually to an individual (or a couple). The title recognizes an exceptionally outstanding person (or a couple) whose contributions have positively impacted the local community and the greater community as well. Besides organizing and promoting the parade, street fair, and cultural festival on June 1, Drs. Quines are also expected to take part in upcoming pre-Independence Day celebrations Mrs. Kalayaan Pageant (April 12) and Diwa ng Kalayaan Pageant (May 3), and the post-Independence Day event Independence Ball (June 7).
PIDCI will hold community meetings on Thursday, March 27; Thursday, May 8; and Thursday, May 22 at Kalayaan Halll of the Philippine Center (556 Fifth Avenue, between 45th and 46th Sts.) at 7 p.m.
PHOTO CAPTIONS AND CREDITS
PHOTO 1 – 2014 PIDCI Grand Marshals Drs. Emilio and Felicisima Quines enter the ballroom (photo by Butch Gata).
PHOTO 2 – (L-R) 2014 PIDCI President Fe Martinez, Dr. Felicisima David-Quines, Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. and Dr. Emilio Quines. (photo by Butch Gata)
PHOTO 3 – 2014 PIDCI Grand Marshals Drs. Emilio and Felicisima Quines with PIDCI Board of Directors, PIDCI President Fe Martinez, former PIDCI President Joji Jalandoni, and Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. (photo by Butch Gata)
PHOTO 4 – (L) PIDCI Board Members Dr. Prospero Lim and Olivia David lead the Rigodon de Honor (photo by Butch Gata)