About us: How it all began
How it all began By Heather Ratcliff
The idea of uniting Filipinos in the local community to combat homesickness began during a christening party of Ruth and Chito Esteban’s son, Justin in 1995. Vil Rasing, the first president of the association and the current editor of the newsletter, along with his wife Brenda, developed and pursued the idea with several other Filipino families – Chie and Bong Jardeleza, Nestor and Ching Buan, Demy and Ellen Parpana and Arleen and Tony Ducusin.
When Mr. Rasing moved to Connecticut with his family in 1987, he wanted to find a way for Filipino people in the community to enhance unity and friendship and keep the Filipino traditions alive. Flyers and word of mouth organized a big meeting. Thirty five families attended to vote in formal officers of the association. Since this first meeting in 1995, the association has grown to include 150 Filipino American family members. As in any organization, the initial year is the most difficult for the board of officers because of the tedious work of laying down the foundation, the legal framework, the constitution and the bylaws.
Mr. Rasing planned and scheduled four seasonal activities that are popular enough to unite and attract family members. The programs were designed to include everyone of all ages: a spring dance, followed by a family picnic, Fiesta ng Nayon in the summer, an adult atmosphere and very formal Gala Night in fall, and a family Christmas party to end the year. "The main goal is to have a year long get- together of Filipino families in the greater Danbury area," he said. Mr. Rasing grew up in Alaminos, Pangasinan, and move to Los Angeles, California in 1977, where he met his wife, Brenda. After living in Washington state, New Hampshire and New Jersey, Mr. Rasing, who is a civil engineer, settled in Danbury. He is currently working as a senior project engineer for the New York Power Authority in White Plains, N.Y. Joining Filipino families together in the association keeps them abreast of what's going on in the Philippines as well as in the community, he said. "We want to reach out to all the members, make them active, and have them enjoy all the activities that FAAWC has to offer, " Mr. Rasing said.
A Very Special Thanks to the Writers by Vil Rasing
Virgilio Gonzales: A quiet man who like to read and write, and sings when no one is listening. He regards himself first, a Catholic Filipino, and second, as a family man. His greatest frustration is his inability to dance like Fred Astaire. Virgilio retired as a chemist from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Heather Ratcliff: (www.heatherratcliff.writernetwork.com) is a special friend of the Filipinos here in Danbury. She is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Currently, she is the assistant editor of The Wilton Villager, a weekly newspaper in Wilton.