HISTORY OF THE
CIRCA 1989. Aware of the growing population of Filipinos in Illinois, a group from the province of Zamboanga del Norte which lies at the for of forested mountains on the northwestern tip of Mindanao Island, mulled out a plan to form an organization to unite all Zamboanga del Norteans in Illinois as nobody has the time to relate to them as individuals in the hurry and flurry of this newfound land. In a family get-together and summer picnic at Schiller Park, Illinois in August of 1989 with Bishop Felix Zafra, Fr. King Fuerzas and Fr. TQ Solis concelebrating the outdoor mass, the Association was created, And given the go signal to chairman and fill up the remaining slates was Ber "Nonoy" Refugio.
The first meeting was held at Ramie Calimotan's place. The following were chosen: 1st vice-chairman, Gregg Trabanca, 2nd vice-chairman, Lydia Filipinas Rusiana, Secretary, Soling Kwan Anderson, Asst. Secretary, Belinda Lunjas, Treasurer, Girlie Arrieta, Asst. Treasurer, Esper Patangan, Auditor, Ruding Bonjoc, PRO, Gilfred Cruz, Business Manager, Eddie Artajo, Asst. Business Manager, Ramie Caliumotan, Social Manager, Nonoy Bajamunde, Asst. Social Manager, Fil Fertig, Marshals, Art Fertig and Vincent Frias, Muse Jiji Ames, Entertainer, Evelyn Bonjoc. The Board of Advisers were: Pastor Bajamunde, Dr. Juan Lasa, Dr. Leo Pepa, and Fr. Eutiquio Solis, Jr.
On December 6, 1989, all roads leads to Rizal Center, 1332 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, Illinois 60613. The non-elected officers were inducted into office by Atty. Alfonso Bascos (pass FACC President).
Other venues on meeting were - Esper Patangan's place, Rizal Center, The usual agenda was the annual summer picnic and Christmas party. Also, the perennial problem, the membership dues and how to collect them. However, everything was in its proper course and route.
On December 23, 1990, Hon. Dr. Jaime S. Bautista, Philippine Consul General of Chicago gave the inspirational talk at the Second Christmas Party at the Rizal Center. Dr. Leonardo Malalis introduced Consul General Bautistaa while Fr. Manuel Recera offered the invocation. The theme - Progress Through Unity was effectively emphasized in the state of the association address of Nonoy Refugio. Alfonso Culanculan made the closing remarks this time, but on the first Christmas Party and induction of officers, Dipolog City Ex-Mayor Pastor Bajamunde dished out a memorable closing remarks that epitomizes his outstanding political days. Gregg Trabanca emceed these two beyond forgetting occasions.
On the second year of the Association's existence, a newsletter was born. It was printed through the energetic and enthusiastic Secretary turn editor Soling Kwan Anderson with the guidance and advice of Gregg Trabanca. The newsletter was Christened ZEPHYR which means any soft, gentle wind or mild breeze. It was a name taken out of Zamboanga's azure skies and Illinois's soft gentle snow flurries. And this is to be the vehicle of expression and conveyor of information for the Zamboanga del Norte Filipino Americans.
Our second annual Family summer picnic was celebrated on Schiller Park with lechon and home made cooked menus. The outdoor mass was officiated by Fr. Leoncio Santiago in the morning and by Fr. TQ Solis in the afternoon. The third summer picnic was held on the same place was by Fr. Manuel Recera and Ricardo Recera. There were two succulent lechon and a lots of restaurant and homemade foods.
On June 28, 1992, the Zamboanga del Norte Association of Illinois held its first election of officers at Schiller Forrest Preserve Park, Schiller Park, Illinois. Elected and subsequently proclaimed by Philippine Consul Diosdado Orocio, Jr. were: Gregg Trabanca, president: Eddie Artajo, 1st vice-president: Lydia Rusiana, 2nd vice-president; Soling Kwan Anderson, Secretary; Girlie Arrieta, treasurer; Esper Patangan, asst. treasurer; Rolliette Equia Aves, auditor; Ruding Bonjoc, asst. auditor; Evelyn Reyes, PRO; Angie Baytion, asst. PRO; Gilfred Cruz; Suerte Sienes, social manager; Ramie Calimotan, asst. business manager and Remchile Sienes & Vincent Frias, marshals. These officers will serve for two years after their induction.
The induction of the first newly elected officers and Christmas-Family dinner was held at the Regency Inn, 5319 W. Diversey, December 19, 1992. The affairs also coincide with the launching of the association first fund raising venture dubbed Project "TABANG" OR "HELP" to benefit the Zamboanga del Norte Emergency Hospital, Dipolog City, Philippines. Worthy of mentioning was the $170.oo donation to the tornado victims of Upper Disakan, Manukan, Zamboanga del Norte and Siparok, Jose Dalman, Zamboanga del Norte.
The Association is now on the fifth term. The horizon is rosy. The officers are fraught with enthusiasm, new ideas and noble projects. And the members are ever willing to help, to cooperate, to work.