Grand Reunion- Dallas 2019
Introduction of Guest Speaker by Alison Doyungan Clark, PhD
Introduction of the Guest Speaker at the 10th MI Grand Reunion in Dallas, Texas 7/27/19
Delivered by Dr. Alison Doyungan Clark.
Introducing our guest speaker tonight is a task I find quite daunting. For she is no ordinary woman, especially to me. So while I am so humbly honored to carry out this task, I harbor a few fears and apprehensions that I may not be able to give due diligence, if not, I do a disservice to this amazingly wonderful woman.
She was born third among 5 siblings of the late Cesar Mozar and Alicia Labrador Mozar of Mainit. She always reminisces, with fondness, the memorable days of her youth spent in Mainit, with her family, relatives and friends. She fondly cherishes her association with the elite Vanguards in high school.
After finishing high school, college brought her to the far-flung Bongao, Tawitawi, joining her aunt Leby Mozar who was then working as a professor in the Mindanao State University Tawitawi Campus. She finally completed her BSZoology degree in the MSU- Marawi Campus. After a year’s teaching stint in Mainit National High School, she started graduate studies in the University of the Philipppines, and was hired as Instructor in MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, in Iligan City.
She is woman with simple sophistication, her determination to professional advancement is admirable, and dedication to her family immeasurable.
She completed her Master’s degree and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of the Philipppines at Los Banos, Laguna. She rose through the ranks from Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor then as Full Professor before she took early retirement from MSU-IIT in 2002.
She is a loving and caring mother of two children, one of whom used to be handful.... who happens to be me. She always had a mouthful for us - for me, my brother, while we were young, and to my dad in forever!
She lives and leads a very simple life, and just like her dad, my Lolo Cesar - she always wants to live within her comfort zone. However, as fate has charted the direction of her family’s journey, she was left with the one compelling option, to indulge. All for the sake of the family. And this is the story she is going to share with us tonight.
So ladies and gentlemen, and all the pijanga gathered here tonight, please help me welcome, my mother – Dr. Stella Marie Mozar Doyungan.
Inspirational Talk by Stella Marie Mozar Doyungan, PhD
Inspirational Talk by the Guest Speaker at the 10th MI Grand Reunion in Dallas, Texas. 7/27/19.
Delivered by Dr. Stella Marie Mozar Doyungan
Good evening fellow Mainitnons and friends:
When Zaldy and I showed up before a federal court judge to take our oath of becoming US citizens almost a decade ago, the judge who was a second-generation immigrant, told everyone of us, the new citizens, that each one of us has a unique immigration story to tell. Just as everyone of you, Mainitnons and friends, who are gathered here tonight - you have an immigration story to tell as well. So tonight, I am humbled yet so honored to share with you all, mine and my family's story! Don't you worry, I am not reading a novel, I am reading a book! ☺
Kay sin-o man an magdahom na inin isa ra ka luyab sa Mainit, makakari diri sa America, tapos nahimo na luyab na Americana! Hehe. Ya gajud lamang damha!
In 1997, Zaldy, got a 2-month US travel grant from DOST as a visiting scientist in Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Never did we know that this would mark the beginning of our family's unexpected move halfway around the globe.
Back then, my Zaldy and I, thought we seemed to have rooted deeply already in Iligan City, with comparatively decent-paying jobs as both professors in MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, and with a tiny hut we called home. Also, both of us were still fulfilling our return service commitment after completing our PhD degrees from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, under the Institute's faculty development program.
Then, in July 1999, Zaldy was offered a three-year postdoctoral research position in the project he worked for two months in 1997. So, after going through the complicated government bureaucracy, Zaldy got a J1 VISA (exchange visitor) and J2 VISA for us, mine and our two children. Zaldy flew on September 3, 1999 while we followed in March 2000, after our kids were done with school.
Before I set foot in the US soil, I had preconceived thoughts and ideas about this great country. Among them, that the US is all made up of urban jungle, with high-rise buildings reminiscent of those in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City as seen in the movies or in tv shows. I thought that snow covers the US throughout winter long. I can't help but make fun of myself when I found out later, that these notions were not true after all. Manhattan, Kansas, our home away from home, was located in the middle of nowhere, where the only tall buildings belong to the university, and where pig poops can be smelled from afar ☺. I imagine how difficult it would be if snow blankets the earth all winter long!
My first few months in the US was just ok but sometimes boring. Transitioning from a full-time professor to a full-time housemaker was not easy. So, I kept myself busy by doing a huge cross-stitch project depicting the image of Jesus Christ I brought from the Philippines and during weekends, I went to garage sales with my few newly formed friends.
After getting my work INS authorization, I landed my first US job, working as a food server in the University's dining facilities. While it was not a best job, it was still a job. A month after, I got a job in the Department of Grain Science Mycology Laboratory in Kansas State University, a job that is pretty much aligned with my professional training.
In 2002, Zaldy's three-year contract was ending. Fully aware of the J VISA restrictions, our minds were already set for homeward bound. One-way tickets were purchased and some balikbayan boxes were sent for shipping.
Then, our homecoming was stalled, and our plan took a sudden 360 degrees turn. When I officially tendered my resignation from my job, my boss, an Indian immigrant, turned down my resignation. Being familiar with many immigration-related things, he helped provide the paper work to change my J2 VISA to a J1. This time, Zaldy and our kids were my dependents. And to do this, we had to exit from the USA to have our VISAs changed. We took the uncalculated risk of going to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (by the El Paso, Texas border) by Greyhound bus. At the time, we did not realize the worst case scenario was that if our VISA application was denied, we could no longer go back to the US. That would leave us with nothing but the clothes in our backs. But luck, or fate, was on our side. And so, we stayed in the US for another three years - another normal J1 VISA lifespan.
So, in the next three years, I became the family bread winner. After getting an INS authorization, Zaldy took a menial job in a Chinese restaurant for minimum wage, to help augment our finances, and later, he was offered another postdoctoral position in the University. On our lawyer’s advise, we explored avenues for a waiver from the strict J1 VISA restrictions and made us qualify for non-immigrant working VISA. We settled our legal obligations with the Philippine government. But this came with a hefty price, as we paid a lot and lot of pesos back to MSU-IIT for uncompleted return service contractual obligation. This is on top of US dollars legal fees for our immigration lawyer, who was instrumental in maneuvering the pathways for all of us into becoming permanent US residents in the years that followed.
And so, for over 20 years now, for having patience and doing the best that we could do, we have come this far. I started working as Instructor in Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2008. With hard work, patience and dedication, I was promoted to Professional Assistant Professor and just last year to Professional Associate Professor. Zaldy is now a tenured Associate Professor in Del Mar College, a community college in Corpus Christi, Texas. Our children have lives of their own. Our daughter Alison obtained a PhD with training in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio, in 2016. She married her college sweetheart Nathan Clark, and is now finishing her postdoctoral fellowship in the same University. Our son, Zaldy Jr., finished a degree in Journalism in 2015, got a two-year stint as sports news reporter and weekend sports news anchor in a local NBC television affiliate in Topeka, Kansas. He then moved to Los Angeles, working as photo/videographer in a huge security company based in LA.
Yes, we have come this far through a seemingly, long and winding road, lined with uncertainties and risks, in a journey peppered with sudden twists and turns. I call it Divine providence. Things did not come easy, though. We left our stable life in the Philippines for something only the future could tell. However, we started to give meaning to the cliche - chasing the American Dream. We grabbed every opportunity that crossed our uncharted journey, tooled ourselves with the ever-willingness to explore options of what may work and taking on alternatives, if they did not. We endured the unpleasantness and anxiety that separation buffeted us after settling in a completely strange land. We take pride in the humbling experiences we gained and as we conquered pride in taking on jobs we never thought of doing. And we gained amazing experiences as we made sure that our stay in the US is compliant of existing immigration rules and regulations.
Just like every immigration story each one of us has, mine reflects our resilience. It is a story of our grit to endure and conquer the hardships and trials that come our way, to tear down any brick wall that may block us, and to steer the pijanga spirit forward and truly believe that if we can make it in Mainit, we can make it anywhere!
Thank you so much!
Generous Mainitnons from all over the United States and Canada gave their time, effort, skills, and resources to the organization. It is the member’s enthusiasm and leader’s vision that make the MI a successful organization. In our own small way, we contribute and facilitate change in Mainit through the minds of the children and the environment they live in. Borrowing a phrase from Pres. Obama “ What’s better for us? Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” This is our personal commitment to work together towards a better and progressive Mainit!
I thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve and be part of MI. I pray that MI will continue to flourish and become even stronger with the participation of the younger generation. God bless!
CORAZON BALILI PAMINTUAN
Magnita Mosende- Labrador
Congratulations for another year of camaraderie with a purpose and of celebrating and sharing the many gifts each one is bestowed upon and enjoying.
The partnership of TMI and MI has been forged by representative Mainitnons and is going strong and filled with commitment and love for others. Providing reading materials for our young children in schools in the municipality of Mainit is expression of hope and belief in their education. Providing potable water for people in some section in the Poblacion is life-giving. The eLibrary is boosting the efforts of schools and surely will benefit the student learners in elementary and secondary schools.
Likewise, other individual persons, separately support other initiatives in our hometown and people.
Thank you for your kind generosity and warm thoughts for us Mainitnon, young, old and to institutions.
A Feather in your Cap MI!
Magnita Mosende Labrador, PhD
Tambayayong Mainit Inc, (TMI) Founding President
Maria Gina Dimaampao
I am deeply honored to greet Mainitnon Inc. (MI), its officers and members, on the occasion of the 10th MI Grand Reunion. I extend my heartfelt felicitations to each and every one of you. In the spirit of community, re-connection, fellowship, and camaraderie, Tambayayong Mainit, Inc., (TMI) joins MI in this milestone and celebration.
So apt is this year's theme, “MI Dallas Concatenation 2019, Celebrating our Linkages,” to TMI's commitment and dedication to development work which is for the benefit of our beloved town, Mainit. As partners, MI and TMI exemplify a collaboration that bridges our vision to our mission. We are grateful to Almighty God for this collaborative partnership which enables us to be at ground level to effectively deliver the help needed by our communities in Mainit. We believe that as a people who share a common hometown, we are bound together by the values of charity, empathy and civic engagement, among others. Incidentally, we keep in mind that transforming the conditions that affect our communities requires individuals who play vital, interdependent roles; thus, we acknowledge the generous members of MI and of TMI who selflessly contribute to the fruition of our programs and projects. Among others, our e-library project is well-underway; the Unang Pagbasa book donation project has reached majority of the elementary schools throughout the school districts and the College Scholarship Program continue to support deserving college students – these are manifestations of the premium we put on education and the youth of our hometown. Our Tree Planting Projects are in the monitoring phase; we are hoping to replicate our earlier efforts to greener communities; while the Patubig (artesian well) is now being enjoyed by the recipient community. We look forward to our annual tribute to senior citizens, the Pahinungod Program. Aside from the Medical Mission, we hope to regularly include free medicines for adults through Tambay TMI.
While MI gathers to celebrate its 10th Grand Reunion, we hope that in so doing, we also develop new generations of like-minded individuals, by creating opportunities for the development of leadership and support roles; and to help strengthen our partnership and relationships, connecting across time and distance.
May your grand reunion be a success and may God's blessings be upon MI, TMI and us all! Malipayon na 10th Grand Reunion sa tanan!
MARIA GINA VILLAPANE DIMAAMPAO
TMI - President
Congratulations, MI! May you flourish even more!
PETER SY, PhD
eLibrary Project Lead
The MI Board of Directors (2017-2019) proudly gave these Awards of Recognition during the 10th MI Grand Reunion in Dallas, Texas on July 27, 2019:
PIONEERING SPIRIT AWARDEES
1. Rodolfo and Teresita Banzon (San Jose, CA)
2. Martin and Salud Opalia (Ypsilanti, MI)
3. Rev. Isaias and Mila Paniamogan (San Diego, CA)
4. Capt. Denis and Deborah Perez (Elk Grove, CA)
5. Crispo and Estelita Salino (Bowmanville, Canada)
6. Eddie and Tessie Tuazon, RN (Bronx, NY)
7. Melchor and Lydia Villanueva, RN (Mississauga, Canada)
LEADERSHIP & SERVICE AWARDEES
1. Karen Mosende Douglas (La Mirada, CA)
2. Ruby Sue Mordeno Mangalindan, DVM (Bothell, WA)
3. Glenda Salino Mosende (Toronto, Canada)
4. Dinno and Josephil Perez, RN (Elk Grove, CA)
5. Alfred Perez Villapañe, Jr., RN (Reseda, CA)
MID CAREER EXCELLENCE AWARDEES
1. Stella Marie Mozar Doyungan, PhD
2. Rachel Arpilleda Mordeno, RN, NP
EARLY CAREER EXCELLENCE AWARDEES
1. Alison Doyungan Clark, PhD
2. Melissa Llamera Carlos, RN
3. Karen Mosende Douglas
4. Zoya Mondano Elsisura, RN
5. Maricor Mozar Garaniel, MPP
6. Christine Villapañe Llamera, RN
7. Dwight Bagalay Moline
8. Elaynne Ava Reyes, CRNA
9. Kent Mongado Toledo, DPT
MI Grand Reunion Program (PDF) - Click Here