They are daughters of dramatic journeys and fantastic tales.

Proudly carrying their heritage and stories like treasures, they came to America amid colonial romance, hope, despair and misfortune. But they were led by hope.

As they laid down shadows of stunning proportions — shaped both by the drama of the past and sparkle of the future — they expressed themselves with bold and fresh aplomb.

A poignant history unfolds in their stories, beneath the successes and achievement of individual careers. A long invisible thread holds them fast to our ancient land of origin and tribal lore.

I believe in rites and ceremonies for memorable milestones, such as turning 55 years old.

Amid chatter and applause, the Los Angeles Philippines Women’s Club (LAPWC) — a part of the GFWC California Federation of Women’s Clubs –  celebrated its 55th anniversary, with the induction of its new set of officers and paid tribute to its past leaders since 1961. They reminisced that treasured era when highly motivated and independent women gathered over coffee or a meal to conceive, create and produce events that promoted education, moral, social welfare and civic advancement among the various clubs of women throughout the country.

Among its current projects is assisting in the maintenance of the 23-bedroom Ronald McDonald House in Long Beach, which provides the comfort of a home for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at the Miller Children’s Hospital and nearby medical facilities. They also support the Long Beach Rescue Mission, serving indigent men, women and children with food, clothing and shelter.

But perhaps nothing they have done professionally in the arts has been of such critical importance as their staunch support for the arts. During a time when public support for the arts was increasingly under an idealogical attack and facing damaging budgetary cuts, they were relentless in their support of arts funding and excelled.

Among the club’s treasures are Luz Espinosa and Amelia Arichera. They’re the best among the brightest, never to be pushed back on a shelf that last act has only begun and it will be the best of the brightest.

The club’s vice president, Ms. Rosalie Caratao, whose mere presence in the last five years with the club, forged changed and lent shape to the human drama that revolves around the community events. She has led the emergence and its growth leading with the members in advancing the role of women in their ability to adopt and face the challenges of the New World.

In the span of 55 years, these phenomenal women frequently interacted and developed their paths. They had connections, courage, vision, intelligence and abundance of social radiance.

Unquestionable worth comes to our minds when thinking about Madame Connie Gonong, the parliamentarian. She is so fair and just, that everyone looks up to her for guidance and approval.

Some of them have emerged from the shadows into the light — their events, presentations and emergence have vastly contributed to the advancement of women as a coherent whole, not just a voice from an echo.

I am grateful to be able to glimpse at these little slices of cultivated life, of selflessness — an increasingly rare commodity in this contemporary Fil-Am genre.

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