The Balangay captured from the Gala screen by Li ERON

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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