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AG00065_.gif (6828 bytes) History of the Association

The Association of Ilonggos of Metropolitan Washington, DC, Inc., (AIM), was formed because of the desire of llonggo-speaking members to have a closer relationship based on kindred spirit.The founding members, Mario Acap,Aurelio Centina, Emma J. Dacquel and Lunarose Torrecampo Tiglao, spearheaded the move. Membership was open to Ilonggo-speaking persons from Panay and Negros. With the enactment of the Constitution and By-laws,anyone who could trace his or her roots to llonggo parentage was eligible for membership.

On October 14, 1984, the Association was officially born. At the Lake Community House in Prince George's County, Maryland, the first officers were inducted with Emma T. Dacquel as President. Immediately thereafter, AIM sponsored its first cultural event, "Maranaw: A Celebration" at the Cocktail Theater of the Washington Hilton Hotel; a daring and scary move. The show went well, leaving AIM with practical lessons that could be applied to future projects. Although the Association participated in some Philippine-American community activities, it decided to adopt a low profile.

A later wave of llonggo immigrants gave impetus to the creation of the Association of Young Ilonggos, which closely adhered to AIM's Constitution and by-laws. Majella Munieza was elected President.

In 1991, there was a general clamor to reactivate the Association. Consequently, a steering committee was formed consisting of Emma T. Dacquel, Lina A. Divinagracia, Pearl G. Gauzon, Majella Munieza, Rawlein Soberano and Tess G. Taylor. To attract other llonggos, the Committee sponsored a get-together, "Masinadya Kita," on September28, 1991, at the community hall of the Little Flower Church in Bethesda, MD. A good number of llonggos turned up! The event served as a catalyst for exercising the democratic process of electing the officers.

On November 12, 1992, a general meeting, for the election of officers, was called. Joe G. Burgos was voted President. The first order of business was to secure a tax-exempt status under 5.01 (c)(3). Pearl Garganera-Gauzon, a lawyer, was given the assignment. In less than a year, the Internal Revenue Service granted AIM's request.

In 1996, Joe B., was re-elected President for another 2 years.

Between 1992-1996, AIM has been actively involved in reaching out to other organizations of the metropolitan Washington, DC area. It is a dues- paying member of the Philippine American Heritage Federation, working with the Political Action Committee on overseas voting rights, a board member of the Foundation for Charities, Inc. AIM has consistently participated, as one of the executive committee officers, in the annual celebration of Philippine Independence.

The Assumption Socio-economic Center, Philippine National Red Cross, Iloilo Chapter, Bishop Fortich's greening project in Negros Occidental, reconstruction of Kalibo, Aklan's cathedral, Iloilo's reforestation initiative are, to name a few, beneficiaries of AIM's fundraising event.

In January of 1998, the Membership held the election of officers. Pearl Garganera-Gauzon was voted President.

For AIM's initial project, In conjunction with the Philippine Centennial celebration, it sponsored Iloilo's Dagyaw Theatre and Dance Company composed of 20 high school dancers who had earned raves in Europe and Southeast Asia. Their two performances in May showcased not only the llonggo culture but also the heritage and tradition of the Philippines.

Future projects are in the process of being mobilized for 1998-1999  such as the medical mission to Iloilo  and possibly Negros Occidental, Adopt a barrio library, launching of AIM's website in the very near future and a National Convention of llonggo Associations based in the United States and Canada in mid October 1999.



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