Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Letters from Port Moresby

A giant Christmas Tree lords it over at the parking compound of Vision City Mega Mall in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. - MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ

'Letters from Port Moresby' is back

Batch '65
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

NOW that I have set up a site for our bulletin board 'MAMBULAOANS WorldWIDE Buzz', I can assume that I've finally found a permanent home for my long-hibernating cyber column called "Letters from Port Moresby".

"Letters" ran for five years once a week until 2009 on the website of hosted by Atty Batas Mauricio of Manila. It had had a good following among overseas Pinoys, one encouragement that pushed to me to write continuously for that length of time.

However, my weekly writing shifted from BatasNews to my own website, minus the column title Letters from Port Moresby, to push my own agenda - and that is to market the future of a group of children under the care of a day care facility known as Tembari Children's Care (TCC).

TCC is located at a settlement area outside the city of Port Moresby where I live.

From then on, my energy was suddenly diverted to another endeavor that was new to me: charity.

I have been consumed, to say the least, by the passion that I poured into helping these children.

Not to mention another exercise that has proven to be energy-consuming as well, and that is writing weekly blogs which I posted on my website aimed at promoting the welfare of these children.

Through this blog, I found people - donors and supporters - who are now the reasons Tembari children have a better life these days than when I first met them in December of 2009.

It's Christmas again

I KNEW it is already Christmas in Port Moresby.

Early this month, I saw a giant plastic Christmas Tree about 30 feet tall at the parking lot of Vision City Megamall the only shopping mall here, and at its lobby.

Another tall Christmas tree is also lording it over at a parking lot of another hypermart - the RH Hypermart where I do my weekly shopping for provisions.

That Christmas is in the city was confirmed by a call later from an officer of the Filipino Association of Papua New Guinea (FAPNG), Chris Manaog, the group's PRO, to give me the good news:

That the Filipino community in Port Moresby has decided to adopt my 200 children, the Tembari children, of course, this Christmas and maybe every Christmas, henceforth.

All of them are the so-called unfortunate, abandoned and orphans.
Christmas wreaths are seen at the Vision City Mega Mall, indicating that the holiday mood is all over the place. – MWBuzzpics by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

Of the 200, 79 are attending elementary schools in Port Moresby schools (their school fees this year were paid for by benefactors) while 100 are preschool children at our own preschool. The rest are non-school-age kids.

For a start, the Pinoys have started a drive to collect old or used clothing over the next four weeks, and to raise funds for things the association intends to give as presents to Tembari children during a Christmas party to be held on Sunday, December 4.

The initiative will move under the motto "Christmas is for Children".

FAFPNG has set up donation boxes in selected stores at Port Moresby's biggest mall, the Vision City Megamall , - and three other supermarkets. They carried the logo of Tembari and that of FAPNG.

I understand that the association has to hold its Xmas party earlier as many of the members would be taking off for the holiday break - a journey back home that would begin the following week.

There are two regular Air Niugini flights to Manila - on Wednesdays and Sundays - and these flights have already been fully booked with Balikbayans as well as Chinese expatriates going home.

As planned, ten Tembari children will be invited to come for the party to meet the children of FAPNG members. It will be a new experience for the Tembari kids.

But before the party, FAPNG will visit our day care center to turn over the goods it has raised over the three weeks that started last November 13.

In its latest meeting, the FAPNG council decided that the Pinoy's coming Christmas celebration should involve the community instead of enjoying the day among themselves.

This way, the event would have relevance that FAPNG is trying to achieve - to cheer up a group of unfortunate children, who luckily, belong to Tembari.

FAPNG is headed by the new president, Rey Angeles

The US$1.3 million FAPNG Clubhouse now being built in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It will be completed by June 2012.
Clubhouse for Pinoys in Port Moresby

THE Pinoy community here is on a roll.

Already, it has begun constructing a K3-million (Php57 million) building that will soon become the home of FAPNG Clubhouse.

The property, which the association owns, covers a total area of 3,015sqm, while the clubhouse will have a floor space of 1,300sqm for a high-roofed sports auditorium/gymnasium, mezzanine and offices, outdoor diner, children's mini-park and parking slots.

The project will be completed in June 2012.

The truth is that the clubhouse is a dream come true for FAPNG involving a long wait that spanned nearly 30 years, from the time the earliest members of the association began acquiring a piece of property in the city in 1983.

It took 13 years for the property to get a title (1996) and another 15 years to finally execute this dream after raising the needed funds.

Since FAPNG owned two properties, it decided to sell one of them to raise bulk of the funds for the project, at the same time raising money from pledges of well-off members of the association and holding yearly fundraising concerts called "Hatid Saya" as well, in which known Filipino performers were imported for the event.

Although the property is owned by FAPNG, the affairs - business and otherwise -- of the FAPNG Clubhouse will be managed by an independent entity called Land Management Board, whose members are appointed by the FAPNG council during a general meeting

LMB has corporate powers to run the affairs on behalf of the association.

Joey Sena, a former FAPNG president, is LMB's executive director. A PNG citizen, Joey is an executive of two corporations owned by their family.

The current FAPNG president is Rey Angeles who took over from Tony Valdez about two weeks ago after an election.

Summing it up, FAPNG is going great and is a great supporter of Tembari children.

FAPNG has begun funding Tembari children starting from the time Joey Sena was the president (two terms) and through the administration of Tony Valdez.

The community members' decision to get actively involved in raising the Tembari children is truly heartwarming.

Indeed, the Pinoy community in Port Moresby has taken a big stake in the future of their future.

And the Filipinos would like to see them develop into fine Papua New Guinean citizens.

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