Borbon Cebu International Association Celebrates 14th Year Fiesta Celebration in Honor of Sr. San Sebastian, Martyr
by Teresa Martinez Sepulveda & Gerry Malixi
April 30, 2008
Bounded by serene azure seas on the east, with cerulean skies atop the lofty mountain peaks west of Northern Cebu, Philippines lies the beautiful town of Borbon. Situated some 83 kilometers northeast of the island, this picturesque township is steeped in local custom and prides itself on a rich cultural heritage dating back to Spanish times. The townsfolk are known to be fiercely loyal to Borbon and involve themselves throughout the year in various worthy activities, culminating in the celebration of the fiesta honoring the town's patron saint, Saint Sebastian. The fiesta is held every mid-January and is filled with festive gaiety and communal celebration. This potent sense of community is deeply rooted in the hamlet's citizenry, a fair share of whom have immigrated to the sunny shores of Southern California which they now call home.
These expatriate Borbonanons, despite hectic schedules, are ever ready to celebrate gatherings of family and friends and remain vested in keeping their hometown's traditions alive, building up a close-knit support network. And so it was, with much fanfare and good fellowship, that the Borbon Cebu International Association (BCIA) held the 14th annual Borbon fiesta on January 19, 2008 at the Saint Lawrence Martyr Parish Hall in Redondo Beach, CA, the high point of months of bi-weekly novenas held in member's homes.
The festivities commenced with a mass officiated by Monsignor Alfeo Manalili. A choir accompanied the proceedings, singing songs in Latin. Msgr. Manalili's message "taga-i og luna ang Ginoo sa inyong kasing-kasing" (provide a cradle for the Lord in your hearts) during good times or bad, was most appropriate for the challenges and triumphs that one experiences in adapting to a foreign land.
Immediately following the mass was a potluck banquet featuring a sumptuous array of food brought by the Borbonanons. Phil Rivera, the association president, gave a speech which updated the members on the success of BCIA's medical missions to provide medicine and health care to the more indigent people back home. More missions are being planned and anticipated, with the fervent hopes of establishing an ongoing philanthropic gesture benefiting Borbon.
Other highlights of the festival included a raffle, which was intended to raise funds for the BCIA's projects, numerous presentations showcasing the singing and dancing talents of those in attendance and a 60's themed fashion show, with the winner, Eric Payumo, selected by garnering the loudest cheers from the exuberant gallery.
Leo Montegrande gave his closing remarks at the end of the program. The evening was whiled away, filled with merriment and dancing. Fun loving Borbonanons have clearly embraced and adopted Southern California as their new home, but continue to be conscious and
reflective of their roots as a means of giving back to the hometown that they had departed from but not forgotten.
Happy Fiesta Borbonanons and congratulations!
Philip M. Rivera
P R O
Sgt at Arms
Nick Montebon Jr.
Board of Directors
Atty. Faye Montegrande, MD
Christino "T-Ting" Padilla
Nicandro Montebon, Sr.
Fr. Bebs Tantoy
Msgr. Alfeo Manalili
Image of Sr. San Sebastian, Martyr, patron of the parish of Borbon, Cebu
Pepe and Diosy Mendoza, Mimi Loyola, Ernie Atuel
Msgr. Alfeo Manalili, Gemma and Leo Montegrande
Mr. and Mrs. Rodney and Virginia "Nenen" Cabahug Raeyes
Contestants for best dressed 70's fashion show, Ann Dehesa, Eric Payumo, Arlene Vicente, Ginggay Capangpangan, Ian Rivera, Kirk Bretney
Winner of 60's fashion show's best dressed, Eric Payumo
Borboranons and friends partying
Nerissa Montebon-Dizon and BCIA President Philip M. Rivera
Clockwise: Leo Montegrande, Bobon Castillo, Genie Castillo, Betty Duterte, Ramon Barriga, Martinette Dayondon, Gemma Montegrande, Rudy Duterte, Vicky Stebbing, Marilyn Duterte-Oppus, Dodong Oppus
Msgr. Alfeo Manalili officiates Holy Mass
Clockwise from center-- Gemma Montegrande, Jim Hale, Julius Espina, Jerry Donato, Jose Villaraza, Melliza Villaraza, Bennie Calatrava-Espina
Guests and their children clap and cheer on the show