Saturday, September 16, 2017

Golden Balangay Awards

Golden Balangay LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Falls On The Right Hand by Li Eron

I was intently listening to the Presenter for the Lifetime Achievement Awards but it was long. At my age, I don't think I can remember every bit of his life story. He was simply called "Tatay Tom" if my ears didn't falter,  from Vancouver. Out of that long narrative, there was one thing that catches me; he closed his restaurant after 2 years of operation for offering free meals all the time.

And he didn't quit. I think he gathered his peers and the best from his community to work on something bigger; build a shelter. He was the brain of what is now a well- accomplished undertaking and a centre that caters to every race that comes to their door.

"Tatay Tom" and his life is a mirror of so many people destined to serve its community. Someone who does not stop at nothing to accomplish his vision. Those bits and pieces of his life as it echoed in the four corners of the room where many dreamers listened to in silence in order to grasp the lessons we wanted to learn from his endearing spirit.

For an 88 years old travelling from Vancouver to claim his rewards from a fruitful, agonizing years of building something monumental, "Tatay Tom" is a remarkable hero that we came to know that Golden Balangay Awards night who walked up the stage with firmness and ecstasy of a man who had gone through all obstacles in life so that the generations after him can benefit from his dream.

His life, although it looked simply like a stardust from someone I hardly knew is a symbol of perseverance, patience, faith and compassion. He walked up the stage, talked in length because he argued he flew from Vancouver and a 5 minute speech is unfair. He lectured us of what life is all about. He imposed his authority as the rightful winner of a golden trophy accorded to him and his many sacrifices in the community.

Not everyone had the gift of service. Not all of us had the energy to serve with dedication and sincerity. Not all of us are seeds of kindness and compassion. This man is just but one of a few who maybe looking at the twilight of his life, left us with his burning spirit and reminded all of us that we can always dream and then make it happen.

Looking at him from my table brandishing his trophy like a true winner from his own life's battlefield was blinding. The Golden Balangay Awards nailed on their first ever project in selecting the most worthy of all....

"Tatay Tom" is from Vancouver which means the Golden Balangay Awards reaches far and wide and scooped and land perfectly on the hands of the rightful and deserving winners. "Tatay Tom" got his Lifetime Achievement Award and he isn't shy about his triumph. But he cautioned to remain humble and do things without asking for returns. "We are not to do things thinking of rewards," says this man of wisdom.

He maybe at the twilight of his life but his radiance will continue to glow even at its last gleaming.


I've known Ronnie Dela Gana in the community of Durham Region, Ontario, Canada as a magazine publisher many years ago. Although we have the same passion, we've never work on the same community projects ever. It doesn't mean we don't support each other, we just have different undertakings in the community. I respect this man's integrity and him being humble and quiet.

The Golden Balangay Awards has been on and off my social media threads. I wasn't actually realizing and expecting the magnitude of it all. There are many award giving bodies and I thought this is just one of those local awards accorded locally to an exemplary individual. I wasn't also aware of who else were involved until yesterday morning at the Golden Balangay Awards Gala event when something came up on my Facebook messenger.

An old friend I haven't heard for a longer time, Bloomy Favila was sending me a message inviting me to attend the Gala yesterday evening as a media rep. Sometimes, I'm lazy driving to Toronto with all its traffic headaches and yet I felt the need to accept the invitation.

Ronnie Dela Gana photo by Li ERON

At the gate, Bloomy was receiving the guests and she look so radiant and pretty and sure of herself behind the counter. When it was my turn, that discreet smile I've seen of her was flashed before me with, "Thank you for coming." I was also welcomed by hubby Jovy and in fact was ushered by him at the best vantage point to capture the unfolding event. I thought the Favila couple were simply supporting the event.

But I was wrong...Jovy Favila was actually one with Ronnie Dela Gana as Founders of the Golden Balangay Awards. I've known the Favila's to be highly private people. They've been active in the community in those years that I've met them but I never really expect them to take such bold leap to build this tremendous undertaking.

Jovy Favila accepting the award on behalf  of an Awardee. Photo by Li ERON

In moments and occasions like this where integrity is the focal point of trust that the awards are given to the right people, knowing the founders and who they are sealed the fate of any awarding ceremonies ever conducted and created. 150 + Nominees dropping down to 90 + and down to three each category, it manifests sincerity, hard work, transparency and integrity as cornerstone to this undertaking before we can call it 'Prestigious." Both Ronnie Dela Gana and Jovy Favila successfully laid that foundation to build the first serious award giving body and to be prestigious  at that ever created in Canada.

Looking at the screen as Nominees are featured and flashed with their corresponding merits and achievements made me look back to me being a Filipino trying to bleach my skin and deny I am one but last night made me reverse that mindset and become proud. I am also a victim of the old adage, "Once a barrio boy, always a barrio boy." A reality that my being a Filipino, no matter how disgruntled I was with my country in the past, God will not let me escape the fact that I am one as circumstances putting me in community service is something I cannot run from.

The Golden Balangay Awards is something to reckon with and protect so that as it journeys on, it will become the habitat and playground where stars and Achievers can play and shine in the dark.

Congratulations!!! Looking forward to next year's Golden Balangay Awards.

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