CIRCA 1989. Aware of the
growing population of Filipinos in Illinois, a group from the
province of Zamboanga del Norte which lies at the for of
forested mountains on the northwestern tip of Mindanao Island,
mulled out a plan to form an organization to unite all Zamboanga
del Norteans in Illinois as nobody has the time to relate to
them as individuals in the hurry and flurry of this newfound
land. In a family get-together and summer picnic at
Schiller Park, Illinois in August of 1989 with Bishop Felix
Zafra, Fr. King Fuerzas and Fr. TQ Solis concelebrating the
outdoor mass, the Association was created, And given the
go signal to chairman and fill up the remaining slates was Ber
The first meeting was held at Ramie Calimotan's place. The
following were chosen: 1st vice-chairman, Gregg Trabanca, 2nd
vice-chairman, Lydia Filipinas Rusiana, Secretary, Soling Kwan
Anderson, Asst. Secretary, Belinda Lunjas, Treasurer, Girlie
Arrieta, Asst. Treasurer, Esper Patangan, Auditor, Ruding Bonjoc, PRO, Gilfred Cruz, Business Manager, Eddie
Business Manager, Ramie Caliumotan, Social Manager, Nonoy
Bajamunde, Asst. Social Manager, Fil Fertig, Marshals, Art
Fertig and Vincent Frias, Muse Jiji Ames, Entertainer, Evelyn
Bonjoc. The Board of Advisers were: Pastor Bajamunde, Dr.
Juan Lasa, Dr. Leo Pepa, and Fr. Eutiquio Solis, Jr.
On December 6, 1989, all roads leads to Rizal Center, 1332 W.
Irving Park Rd., Chicago, Illinois 60613. The non-elected
officers were inducted into office by Atty. Alfonso Bascos (pass
Other venues on meeting were - Esper Patangan's place, Rizal
Center, The usual agenda was the annual summer picnic and
Christmas party. Also, the perennial problem, the
membership dues and how to collect them. However,
everything was in its proper course and route.
On December 23, 1990, Hon. Dr. Jaime S. Bautista, Philippine
Consul General of Chicago gave the inspirational talk at the
Second Christmas Party at the Rizal Center. Dr. Leonardo
Malalis introduced Consul General Bautistaa while Fr. Manuel
Recera offered the invocation. The theme - Progress
Through Unity was effectively emphasized in the state of the
association address of Nonoy Refugio. Alfonso Culanculan
made the closing remarks this time, but on the first Christmas
Party and induction of officers, Dipolog City Ex-Mayor Pastor
Bajamunde dished out a memorable closing remarks that epitomizes
his outstanding political days. Gregg Trabanca emceed
these two beyond forgetting occasions.
On the second year of the Association's existence, a
newsletter was born. It was printed through the energetic
and enthusiastic Secretary turn editor Soling Kwan Anderson with
the guidance and advice of Gregg Trabanca. The newsletter
was Christened ZEPHYR which means any soft, gentle wind or mild
breeze. It was a name taken out of Zamboanga's azure skies
and Illinois's soft gentle snow flurries. And this is to
be the vehicle of expression and conveyor of information for the
Zamboanga del Norte Filipino Americans.
Our second annual Family summer picnic was celebrated on Schiller
Park with lechon and home made cooked menus. The outdoor
mass was officiated by Fr. Leoncio Santiago in the morning and
by Fr. TQ Solis in the afternoon. The third summer picnic was
held on the same place was by Fr. Manuel Recera and Ricardo
Recera. There were two succulent lechon and a lots of restaurant
and homemade foods.
On June 28, 1992, the Zamboanga del Norte Association of
Illinois held its first election of officers at Schiller Forrest
Preserve Park, Schiller Park, Illinois. Elected and
subsequently proclaimed by Philippine Consul Diosdado Orocio,
Jr. were: Gregg Trabanca, president: Eddie
Artajo, 1st vice-president: Lydia Rusiana, 2nd
vice-president; Soling Kwan Anderson, Secretary; Girlie Arrieta,
treasurer; Esper Patangan, asst. treasurer; Rolliette Equia
Aves, auditor; Ruding Bonjoc, asst. auditor; Evelyn Reyes, PRO;
Angie Baytion, asst. PRO; Gilfred Cruz; Suerte Sienes, social
manager; Ramie Calimotan, asst. business manager and Remchile
Sienes & Vincent Frias, marshals. These officers
will serve for two years after their induction.
The induction of the first newly elected officers and
Christmas-Family dinner was held at the Regency Inn, 5319 W.
Diversey, December 19, 1992. The affairs also coincide with the launching
of the association first fund raising venture dubbed Project
"TABANG" OR "HELP" to benefit the Zamboanga
del Norte Emergency Hospital, Dipolog City, Philippines.
Worthy of mentioning was the $170.oo donation to the tornado victims
of Upper Disakan, Manukan, Zamboanga del Norte and Siparok, Jose Dalman, Zamboanga del Norte.
The Association is now on the fifth term. The horizon is
rosy. The officers are fraught with enthusiasm, new ideas and
noble projects. And the members are ever willing to help, to
cooperate, to work.