Fil-Am Society Valentines Dinner Dance a Smash

2012 St. Ignatius of Antioch Fil-Am Society Valentine Princesses and Queen are left to right, Erica Jeanne Soliman, Little Miss Valentine, Ina Cherub Limon, Miss Valentine, and Sophia Marie Bustamante, Little Miss Valentine, crowned at the 19th annual Valentine Dinner and Dance held February 11th.

By Walter Ruehlig

Given the bleak state of public affairs these days, a Miss Valentines coronation may pale in significance. The rub, though, was precisely the lack of gravity. The annual Fil-Am Society Valentines Dinner Dance, held at the Walnut Creek Marriott Hotel February 11th was a smash hit exactly because it was a welcome respite from the hand-wringing and uber-seriousness of our times.

Little surprise, as anybody who has spent even a small stitch of time with Filipinos knows that they have an extraordinary ability to see the lighter side of life and a well-pronounced penchant to party. No exception at this shindig as the appetites were vigorous, the dance floor got worn out and the conversation, gaiety and cocktails flowed.

To be fair, the partying actually had its consequential side. Though the figures are not yet in, last year $27,000 was raised for the St. Ignatius Educational building fund. Good things are again hoped for as the program ads were bountiful and a sold out crowd of 320 attended this year’s bash, including City Councilwoman and former Mayor Mary Rocha, Councilman Gary Agopian, former Councilman Allen Payton, County Board of Education Trustee Cynthia Ruehlig and Emlyn Struthers representing State Senator Mark Desaulnier’s office.

Honored were 2012 Little Miss Valentines Sophia Marie Bustamante and Ericka Jeanne Soliman and Miss Valentine Ina Cherub Limon. All three showcased impressive talent before the formal coronation crowning after parading through an honor guard holding canopied swords.

The U.S. national anthem was sung by Rhica Fernandez and the Philippine anthem by Ed Patacsil and Rudy Fernandez. The invocation was given by Rev. Robert Rien, Parochial Administrator at St Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church.

Entertainment was provided by Luz Ocampo, Miss Valentine 2010, and by Elizabeth Abao, Miss Teen Valentine 201. The emcee was Maria Keepo.

The event was organized by Chairperson Marie Centeno, Event Coordinators Cely and Fred Ablaza, Lino Centeno and Ncri Kellerman.

Ongoing logistical support was given by the club’s Fil-Am officers, Coordinators Clarita Perez and Sofie Zimmerman, Corresponding Secretary Nancy Santos, Recording Secretary Divina Sevilla, Treasurer Norma Villegas, Asst, Treasurer Evelyn Ponce, Auditor, Divina Antonio, Parliamentarian Lilia Suarez. and Public Relations Directors Rudy Fernandez and Norma Delos Santos.

Good people, good times, good cause!

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5 Comments to “Fil-Am Society Valentines Dinner Dance a Smash”

  1. Linda Soliven says:


    may I be put on the mailing list for Fil-Am Organizational notices of meetings and events. I am of filipina heritage and would enjoy very much becoming involved with my Antioch Fil-Am community.


    Linda Soliven

  2. dave says:

    Can I get information about the Phil-Am society in Antioch. I have a daughter coming to the US for the first time. All of her siblings are born and raised in America by my wife and I who are bith caucasian. I would like to be able to let my daughter stay connected to her heritage. Thank you.

    • Publisher says:

      If you’ll contact St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Antioch they should be able to put you in touch with the Fil-Am Society, there.
      Allen Payton

  3. Erica Jeanne Soliman says:

    Dear Dave,
    Hi! I am the little girl in the purple dress Erica Jeanne Soliman. If you have a daughter of at least age 9, your daughter is allowed into the pageant. Although you and your wife can also attend as Mr. and Mrs. Valentine. Since there has been a problem there will be no more of this Little Miss Valentine. Sadly, there has been no more of these Little Miss Valentines. If it ever comes back then contact St.Ignatius Church in Antioch. If you want I can meet your daughter and her siblings but just by this.

    Thank you for taking your time to read this little note!!!!!

    Yours Truly,
    Erica Jeanne Soliman

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