Eat. Connect. Collaborate.
It wasn’t another typical quiet morning at Adobo Connection, in fact, it was a pretty special Saturday in this hip new Filipino restaurant in Union City.
The sun’s rays had started trickling through the restaurant’s large windows as the interior filled with the hustle and bustle of upbeat individuals introducing themselves to one another and enthusiastically exchanging business cards.
Global Filipino Network’s first networking Meetup in the Bay Area on March 3rd was a real success with about 50 people in attendance.
“Our mission is to create a platform where Filipinos can connect and collaborate with each other,” said Arnold Pedrigal, Founder of Global Filipino Network as he opened the event and introduced the team. “We would like to see a more unified and connected Filipino community not only in the Bay Area but globally, too.”
Carey Giudici, award-winning journalist and currently Editor of GFN’s online magazine, declared his frustration about Filipinos being labeled the “invisible minority.”
“Filipinos have made many valuable contributions to mainstream society; and GFN is here to bridge the gap between cultures–from the Filipino side.” He thanked the attendees for being involved, supportive and active as there is incredible potential for us to effect a change, so people can finally stop saying “I never knew Filipinos can do that.”
The intimate and casual gathering brimmed with energy from the mélange of interesting people representing many different backgrounds.
Pat Gacoscos, UC City Council Member, warmly welcomed attendees and thanked GFN for holding its first networking event in Union City. She stressed the importance of having political connections, especially for entrepreneurs embarking on a new venture.
“A Filipino official can help a new business owner understand the process and more efficiently navigate the system,” she explained.
Pat Urbi, Assistant Principal at Guy Emanuele School and Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ) leader, spoke about the coalition’s campaign to raise $50k to help execute the approved community petition to change the name of Alvarado Middle School to Philip Vera Cruz-Larry Itliong Middle School in time for Fall of 2015. Also there to support this cause were Filipino Advocates for Justice members Chris Karr and Rachel Aceberos, and Victor Uno of The Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Josie Camacho, Secretary and Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council (representing 100k union members in Alameda County) is active in a program that supports President Barack Obama’s Executive
Order. Filipinos can now help undocumented friends and relatives apply for a work permit (so hopefully no more Filipino TNT “Tago nang Tago,” or “always in hiding”).
Glen Nate, a Fil-Am Technopreneur, recently launched his music-streaming company. He shared that he has observed Filipinos in Union City, home to one of the nation’s largest Filipino communities, become increasingly active. “It’s important for Filipinos to have good representation,” he stated. “We must continuously reach out to each other and make a change.”
The mission of Mark Sison, Owner of House of Wisdom specialty coffee roasting company, is a savory one: to educate Filipino consumers about specialty coffee, its origins, flavor varieties and brewing methods. “Coffee has come a long way from plain ‘ol Maxwell House and Folgers.” He treated each attendee to freshly brewed coffee from just-ground Indonesia and Sumatra coffee beans.
Imelda Leoncio described opening a travel agency with her namesake upon realizing the travel industry’s lack of travel packages or itineraries that included the Philippines. Her goal is to open people’s eyes to the beauty of the Philippines through organized group tours and customized itineraries.
The Meetup also welcomed non-Filipinos, as GFN strives to bridge cultures globally.
For example Sebastian of Denmark, who’s involved in a startup that won the Launch Competition: “the world’s largest startup conference in the world.” His company built an application to consolidate every remittance service in the world, so consumers evaluate remittance fees for themselves. This app is designed to help Filipino community members send money home to their families. He hoped to connect with many Filipinos, hear their stories and with them perhaps build something “cool” some day.
Other notable attendees included New Haven School District Board Member Linda Canlas; Johnny Veloso, entrepreneur and dance choreographer; Susan Taguinod, owner of My Little Footsteps day care center; Josie Schooler, Fil-Am Chamber member and Superior Court Tagalog Interpreter and Norman Leoncio, seasoned architect and business development expert. The crowd was completed with talented and equally important activitists, artists, students and Silicon Valley techies, there to explain their stories and networking motivation. Each individual had something unique and special to share.
This networking event is truly a valuable way to gain knowledge, learn from others’ success, meet new people and promote business. It is also an uplifting experience to be surrounded by positive, like-minded people who can influence one’s individual growth personally and in business. Many valuable connections were made, and strong friendships formed.
“The Bay Area is such an amazing place,” noted Carla Sia, co-owner of Adobo Connection. “All you need to do is put yourself out there, and opportunity will knock on your door.” Her company is a chain of restaurants in the Philippines and extending to the Bay Area, to promote Filipino food to non-Filipinos.
Carla Sia added that Adobo Connection hosted the GFN meetup to bring people together around tables of Filipino food, “just like home.” Attendees enjoyed two traditional Filipino breakfasts “Tapsilog” and “Longsilog” – marinated beef (tapa) and pork (tocino) with fried rice (sinangag) and egg (itlog). These
were prepared by Renz Gonzales, Adobo Connection’s main chef and retired “Googler,” whose passion for cooking Filipino food won out over a budding career as caterer to high-tech companies.
GFN organizers present at the event were Arnold Pedrigal, Founder; Carey Giudici, Editor; Dulce Dizon, PR Director; Kathy Santos, Meetups Program Director; Patrick Lorenzo, Youth Development Program Director; Katrina Soledad, SF Correspondent ; Christopher Alberto, Photographer and Videographer and Ferdie Perez, Account Manager; Carla Sia, Meetup Project Manager.
Media Contact: Dulce Dizon, PR Director and San Francisco Bay Area Correspondent
Global Flipino Network / email@example.com