“Pamaskong Handog” in KL Brings Record Crowd to Celebrate Christmas

22 December 2014 – Members of the Filipino community in Malaysia took time out from their usual Sunday routines to come together in a concert that not just brought them together to celebrate Christmas, but also provided assistance to alternative learning centers (ALC) in Sabah last December 14 at the KL Live@Life Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Dubbed "Pamaskong Handog", the event was co-sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, PLDT-Smart Foundation's Gabay Guro program, and the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia, and brought together close to 1,500 Filipinos in an afternoon of performances, raffles and paying tribute to educators and mentors.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya paid tribute to the Filipino community and thanked them for their support and assistance to the Embassy's projects and programs for the year.

"All of us have gifts and have been receiving gifts, and it comes in many forms—a deep faith, a calling to service to your fellow men, a good family, smart children, a promising career, a thriving business, or having understanding friends like the people who are with you today. God gave these gifts to us because we have the ability to understand them, receive them and may I add, to share them. So let us continue to share, to care, and be united as one Filipino community," he said.

The program boasted of performances from Filipino community members, such as an Ifugao dance from Bibak, song and dance number from St. John's Tahanang Pilipino, a hiphop dance from Filipinos Residing in Malaysia and a song number from Yasmin Abdullah Aziz.

Malaysia-based Filipino talents, singer-songwriter Mark Adam, whose love song "Pencuri" (Thief) is a hit in Malaysian airwaves, and singer-actress and voice behind the "Malaysia Truly Asia" jingle Maria Jazsmine, also performed. They were joined by Manila-based artists, such as singer-actress Regine Velasquez, actor-host Derek Ramsay, singer Michael Pangilinan, and singer-comedians Ate Gay and Regina.

During the event, the Embassy also bestowed awards for individuals and groups who were instrumental for the success of its programs and projects for the year. Those given Community Service Awards were FFAM Vice President Maria Carmecita Añonuevo, Princess Dr. Becky Leogardo, Tan Sri Othman and Puan Sri Sylvia Merican, Kimberly Lee, Smart Pinoy, and PLDT Global Corporation, while those given the Ambassdor's Recognition for Excellence in Music were. Mr. Adam and Ms. Maria Jazsmine.

The Gabay Guro (2G) program of the PLDT Foundation was also launched in Malaysia. It is an education arm and a flagship project of the PLDT-SMART Foundation, which aims to further education and educational initiatives in the Philippines, Foundation. Run by volunteers composed of the PLDT Manager's Club Inc., its core programs include scholarship grants for those who wish to pursue an education degree, trainings for educators, trainings and educational facilities, livelihood programs, provision of broadband internet and computers to schools and teacher's tribute.

During the event, a pass the hat initiative was also undertaken for the benefit of ALCs in Malaysia.

The Embassy has actively been supporting ALCs in Sabah, which provide basic literacy to Filipino children who have no access to regular education. Currently, there are seven ALCs in the area, spread in Kota Kinabalu, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Keningau.

The Embassy and Smart Pinoy honored teachers and mentors based in Malaysia during the event, particularly the United Resource Speakers Group, a group of resource speakers at the Embassy's Migrant Workers and Other Filipinos Resource Center (MWORFC).

They include Edelina Rocutan, Aileen Yap, Ginalyn Medrano, Violy Hans, Carmen Calawigan, Editha Rocutan, Perlita Corpuz, Nila Perono, Irene Ynumerable, Armelinda Ducay, Christy Almeda, Estrelita Jacinto, Siti Rosalia Oleta, Roland Ompoc, Jacob Samson, Nenita Bueno, Evangeline Tubianosa, Babie de Vera Wong, Lorlyn Belmis, Haidee Panganiban, Aivee Ballesteros and Norberto Butacan. END