Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Bicolanos in Kuwait, revived

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The Bicolanos in Kuwait (TBIK) elected their interim officials on Friday to manage the transition of the newly reorganized Filipino group. The new TBIK was revived after a hiatus. The organization of the Bicolanos in Kuwait was born in the early 1990s, headed by Carlito Ragos. Since inception, their contribution to the community include instituting an annual scholarship grant for well-deserving Bicolano students that excel in their academic performances. TBIK usually conducts various cultural performances and sporting activities to support their programs. The Bicol Region (Bicolandia) is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. It occupies the Bicol peninsula at the southeastern end of Luzon Island, and some other islands. Wikipedia describes Bicolandia having six provinces namely; Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. It has one independent component city, Naga city, and six component cities, Iriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Tabaco. The regional centers are Legazpi City, the region's political and administrative center, Naga city, the region's cultural and religious center. Legazpi, Naga, and Sorsogon are the leading cities in the region in terms of urbanization and also the hub of the region's economic activity and tourism. The region is famous in many ways - from its physical and natural realms to home-grown talents and skills.
Bicol is famous for Butanding watching and Wakeboarding, not to mention the majestic beauty of volcanoes namely Mayon (in Albay) and Bulusan (in Sorsogon). Of the region's total land area, around 71 percent is disposable, while the remaining 29 percent is public forest area. The Bicolanos in Kuwait was formerly headed by Lito Ragos, a well-known recipient of Gawad Henny Lopez Awards (2000) Bayaning Filipino sa Gitnang Silangan. In 2005, after reaching the age of compulsory retirement, as procurement officer at the Kuwait's Ministry of Defense, Lito Ragos left the country, but promised to return. The group has since been inactive. After almost a year of absence, he was hired again by a private company, but fell ill after almost two years of service. He went through series of regular medical check-ups. Ragos finally underwent a successful open heart surgery in early October 2010, but finally bid goodbye to Kuwait, just recently. Before leaving, one of his staunch supporters had informed him that he was willing to constitute the same group in order to continue his legacy in Kuwait. The first meeting of the newly formed group was held a day before he left the country for good. He bid goodbye to everyone, but urged them to continue their programs and activities especially dedicated to education of Bicolanos.
After holding two consecutive meetings, the new TBIK group was finally revived, electing the temporary leadership now headed by Clive Brookes, a British citizen who has confessed to being more Bicolano (in fact Filipino), after being married to a Filipina named Julie for over 25 years. Julie was also elected secretary during this interim leadership, "We will form new bylaws to guide us in the new path in which we are heading; as you can see, we are just the interim officials. We'll see the old programs we could reconstitute to fit in the new programs we are planning in the future. Surely, education or sponsoring valedictorians back in Bicol will be added but we have to re-establish our contacts first. We have been thinking of many projects to help us achieve our goals as one group. We shall see through as we meet every Friday to revive the glory of old TBIK," Brookes said. Brookes will be leading TBIK with Santi Dolz, as his Vice Chairman. Other officials include Marriotte Vito (Treasurer), Millet Cox (Assist Treasurer), Julie Brookes (Secretary), Tony Trono (PRO), Noel Manimtim (Assist PRO), Ruben Llizana Sr, Juanito Villanueva, Demetrius Reyes and Jojo Benito (Protocol Officers). The election for 2011-12 office bearers will be held after three months. The next meeting will be held (Friday November 26, 2010 at Al-Dawliah Complex (same venue at a Coffee Shop Ground Floor) in Kuwait City. The group continues to encourage Bicolanos to register and become members of a once dynamic group of Filipinos to help their kababayans back home. (You may read this article by searching 'buhay at pag-asa' on Google search engine or simply browsing

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