Politics, culture, history and overflowing nationalism characterized last Saturday's (June 13, 2009) celebration of Philippine Independence by Kalayaan-Chicago at Wyndham Hotel O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois.

Keynoting the celebration, Consul General Blesila Cabrera thanked the Kalayaan-Chicago and the Filipino community for the effort to rekindle fondness with the homeland. She also singled out "Kapwa" a Loyola University cultural group composed of young Filipino-American students for promoting Filipino arts and culture through dances.

Officially called "Kapwa-Loyola University Cultural Group,"  the enrgitic band of Fil-Am students has participated, competed and won awards in various campuses highlighting authentic Philippine dance like "Tinikling" and "Maglalatik"

Consul General Cabrera thanked the group of Filipino youngsters for taking pride and upholding Filipino culture and heritage.

Delivering his message before a jam-packed Kalayaan-Chicago 2009 Gala and Dinner Ball, this year's Executive Chair, Mr. Hernan Bundalian thanked the guests for "investing in the future of our Filipino schoolchildren, to help them reach their and their parents dream"

Elated that the Gala and Dinner Ball was a full-house "despite faltering economy," Mr. Bundalian echoed the gratitude of Consul General Cabrera for Kalayaan's charitable affiliation with ABS-CBN Foundation's Educational TV (ETV) program, Bantay-Bata 163 and Bantay Kalikasan.

Kalayaan-Chicago Chair Hernan Bundalian

"We in Kalayaan have been in this crusade for years in partnership with our Filipino community. Hundreds of schools have been helped, thousands of Filipino schoolchildren continue to learn," Bu7ndalian noted in his message.

Keen on cornering Filipino-American community support when she runs for President of Cook County Board next year, Cook County Clerk of Court Dorothy Brown has been crisscrossing Filipino community events from picnic to birthdays and last Saturday night, Kalayaan-Chicago's Gala Night and Dinner Ball.

Dropping by and armed with highly politicized speech, Ms. Brown bragged before a receptive and eagerly  responsive Kalayaan crowd about reforms that had taken plaace at the office of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

"Am here today to talk to you just a little bit about what we have done at the Office of the Clerk of Court of Cook County. You know we turned the office around, we brought it into the 21st century," adding that during her term as Clerk, "we found creative ways to raise revenues without raising taxes."

Consul General Blesila Cabrera

Clerk Brown, yet to announce her candidacy for Cook County president, is now preoccupied with fundraising activities among diverse communities in Cook county.

"We have the credentials necessary to make sure Cook County government runs efficiently and effectively. We want to reform Cook county government," Ms. Brown promised.

Focusing on the Filipino community, Ms. Brown appealed," I need your support to make sure we put back Cook County government in the  hands of the people...to include Filipino-Americans in Cook County government."

Eight young Filipino-Americans were crowned as this year's muses representing various regions of the country: Ginang Kalayaan Nora Saulog escorted by husband, Carlo Saulog; Binibining Kalayaan Julie AnnCuenca escorted by Christopher Cruz; Munting Mutya ng Kalayaan Ashley Grace Cabacungan Jose escorted by Jethro delos Reyes; Miss Philippine-Chicago 2009 Irvine Rose Ramos escorted by Rodrigo Lasam; Mutya ng Maynila Avigail Chloe Longsworth escorted by Michael Regacho; Mutya ng Luzon 2009 Madeline Nayan escorted by Christopher Intud; Mutya ng Visayas 2009 Triza Codillo escorted by Boni Ramos; and Mutya ng Mindanao 2009 Tochel Mae Calimutan and escorted by Ronnie Marc S. Calimutan.

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