THE 2015 HIYAS Awards, Officers Induction & Holiday Ball


The FACO kicked off the Holiday season with its 2nd Annual HIYAS Awards and 33rd Holiday Ball.

The celebration was held at the Del Mar Grand Ballroom of the Pacific Views Center at Camp Pendleton on Saturday, December 13, 2014.

The event also marked the Induction of the FACO’s 2015-2016 Executive Board.
Among the attendees were the Hon. Jim Wood, Mayor of the City of Oceanside, some of last year’s esteemed HIYAS honorees and local dignitaries from North County.

Entertainment was provided by the very talented Alessja Morales and the amazing Debbie Nicastro.

The FACO’s biggest event of the year honored four (4) HIYAS Awardees in various fields of expertise.

The honorees were selected, not only for their excellence in their fields, but also for their invaluable contributions to the FACO and the community of North County.

This year’s honorees include Dr. Ida Alfonso for Science and Medicine, Mr. Robert Bartolo for Business and Industry, Katherine Harris-Rodriguez for Arts & Humanities and Ms. Susan de los Santos for Public Service. This year’s Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Mr. Peter F. Cruz. The fund-raising event was considered the most successful Holiday Ball to date, raising over $9000 net profit to help the FACO continue its mission as a non-profit organization. Our special thanks go out to YOU and to all those who helped make this event a success!


The 2015 HIYAS Honorees(seated) with the Hon. Jim Wood ( Top Center) and the outgoing FACO President Mely Sivage (Top Right) and the Chair of the 2015 HIYAS Awards and Holiday Ball Belle Limoge (Top left).

The Honorees (seated from left to right): Robert Bartolo (Business & Industry), Katherine Harris-Rodriguez (Arts & Humanities), Dr. Ida Alfonso, DDS (Science & Medicine), Susan delos Santos (Public Service), Peter Cruz (FACO 2015 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award recipient).

Dr. Ida Alfonso, DDS
2015 HIYAS Award Honoree for Science & Medicine

Ida Alfonso was born in Manila , Phil . Her parents are Esteban and Leocadia Alfonso.
She is the youngest and the only girl and she has three brothers, whom she calls " my three musketeers".

She graduated in 1989 Doctor of Dental Medicine at Centro Escolar University, and has a post graduate degree in Cosmetic Dentistry from UCLA. She is practicing in Carlsbad CA and is married to the love of her life Edward Dayrit.

She credits her success to her whole family with their endless support and unconditional love.

Dr Alfonso was working full time as a dental assistant while challenging the national and the state boards.

She learned that perseverance and lot of discipline are the key factors to any goal .
Dr Alfonso wants to share her words to live by... Surround yourself with the Dreamers and the Doers; the Believers and the Thinkers ;but most of all , surround yourself with Those Who See The Greatness Within You, even when you don't see it yourself. - Edmund Lee- Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you tonight's 2015 HIYAS Honoree for Science and Medicine, Dr. Ida Alfonso.

Katherine Harris-Rodriguez

2015 HIYAS Award Honoree for Arts & Humanities

Katherine Harris-Rodriguez is a 32- year old wife, mother and educator. She has been married for six and a half years to Joshua Rodriguez. They have two sons, Josiah John and Kaleb Allen.

She is a ten-year veteran elementary school teacher. Her life is busy being a mommy and a wife, while also teaching young minds the fundamentals of learning. She started teaching when she was twenty- three years old for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. She is presently teaching Kindergarteners to read, write sentences and know their numbers. She gets gratification after every school year knowing that she taught another twenty or so children to read and write.

Last year Katherine created world awareness at her school in her district by having a "Penny Drive" to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. She involved two other schools just by reaching out and saying this was a great way to give and share during the Thanksgiving season of 2013. Katherine and the students raised over $1,800.00 and donated it to the Fil-Am Organization.

She loves and treasures her roots and heritage from her Filipina mother and American father. She is eager for her boys to learn Tagalog and embraces the fact that her children love Filipino food and the culture as well.

She considers life as being extraordinary with her husband, family and career and she looks forward to what God has in store for them next.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2015 HIYAS Honoree for Arts and Humanities,
Katherine Harris-Rodriguez.

Robert Bartolo
2015 HIYAS Honoree for Business & Industry

Our First honoree this evening is for Business and Industry.

Robert Bartolo immigrated to the US lured by the land of opportunity.

With a strong entrepreneurial spirit and great background with automotive repairs he started the Tricity Tire and Automotive in Vista, CA. He is the successful owner of the shop with a strong Filipino and American clientele.

Robert is married to his lovely wife Vilma and has been blessed with 3 kids.
He's a strong supporter of FACO and other community organizations and schools.
He is a former president of the San Carlos City of Pangasinan Association of San Diego.

He is also a recipient of Certificates of Appreciation from various organizations who recognized his contribution to the community.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure to present to you, the 2015 HIYAS Honoree for Business and Industry…Mr. Robert Bartolo.

Susan de los Santos

2015 HIYAS Honoree for Public Service

Ms. Susan De Los Santos is a dynamic supporter of the fil-am community. For several years she's been responsible for the marketing, promotion and community outreach of the Filipino Press newspaper within and outside of the Filipino community.

Aside from the day to day operation of the paper, she also the executive producer of some of the longest running community events in San Diego like the Filipino Family Day at Aquatica, and the Seafood City Fiesta Filipiniana-Mexicana Karaoke Competition. Her affiliation and awards include but are not limited to: BNI Partners in Excellence, National City Chamber of Commerce Event Chair for Taste of National City, Former president of UP Alumni and Fil-Am Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee, 2014 Diversity Awardee for Connected Women of Influence event, 2014 Community Hero awardee by Operation Samahan and NC Chamber of Commerce, and recipient of 2014 Women of the Year Award from Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales.

With the untimely demise of her business partner,Susan also had to oversee the editorial department of the paper. It is through business partner's training that Susan was able to uphold the paper's journalistic standards so it will continue to be the widest read and sought after Filipino community paper in San Diego.

She is a firm believer in continuous learning , diversity, providing opportunities and keeping a good sense of humor at all times.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our 2015 HIYAS Honoree for Public Service, Ms. Susan delos Reyes.

Peter F. Cruz

Recipient of the 2015 FACO Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award


The 2015 Honorees with last year's Honorees.
TOP from left to right: Belle Limoge, Blessie Sanchez-Trott, Mayor Jim Wood, Mely Sivage, Menchu Bolanos and Shirley de Leon. SEATED from left to right: Robert Bartolo, Katherine Harris-Rodriguez, Dr. Ida Alfonso, Susan delos Santos and Peter Cruz.

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(All photos courtesy of Marc Matsumoto)

The venue: Grand Del Mar Ballroom of the Pacific Views Center at Camp Pendleton

Holiday Ball guests start arriving and pose for photos

The Holiday Ball Committee hard at work at the Registration Desk

2015 Miss Fil-Am candidates with mentor Sheila Butler greet guests at the door

2015 Miss Fil-Am candidates and 2015 Miss Fil-Am Committee members arrive and rehearse their routine.

More photo op with guests…

Guest performer Alessja Morales with Belle Limoge


The evening's Program was hosted by Alexis Plaisted & Debbie Nicastro

The Star Spangled Banner was sung by the talented Debbie Nicastro

The Philippine National Anthem was performed by the amazing Alessja Morales

The Hon. Jim Wood, Mayor of the City of Oceanside opens the program with his speech

The Chair of the 2015 HIYAS Awards and Holiday Ball, Ms. Belle Limoge welcomes
our distinguished guests and honorees

2014 Honoree Menchu Bolanos presents the 2015 HIYAS Award for Business & Industry

2015 HIYAS Award Honoree for Business and Industry, Robert Bartolo

2014 Honoree Shirley de Leon presents the 2015 HIYAS Award for Arts & Humanities

2015 HIYAS Honoree for Arts & Humanities, Katherine Harris-Rodriguez

2014 HIYAS Honoree Dr. Belen Martinez, MD, presents the 2015 HIYAS Award for
Science & Medicine

2015 HIYAS Award Honoree for Science & Medicine, Dr. Ida Alfonso, DDS

2014 HIYAS Honoree, Blessie Sanchez-Trott presents the 2015 HIYAS Award for Public Service

2015 HIYAS Award Honoree for Public Service, Susan delos Santos

Outgoing FACO President Ms. Amelia Sivage presents the 2015 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award

2015 FACO Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Mr. Peter F. Cruz

Our distinguished 2015 HIYAS Honorees

Our 2015 HIYAS Honorees serenaded by the amazingly talented Alessja Morales, singing Etta James's "At Last"

Saying farewell and THANK YOU to the outgoing FACO 2013-2014 Board of Directors and Officers

A few of the candidates for the 2015 Miss Fil-Am Pageant! The FACO's first big event for 2015

Mrs. Fila-Am 2014 Criscelle Santiago was also the Hospitality Ambassador for the
evening's festivities.

Ushering in a new Era: The FACO welcomes its new set of Executive Officers for 2015-2016

The FACO 2015-2016 Executive Board being sworn in by the Hon. Jim Wood, Mayor of Oceanside


(Left to Right): Belle Limoge, President. Zucette Lumabas, Vie-President. Vangie McNeal, Treasurer. Mely Sivage, Ex-Officio. Marilou dela Rosa, Virgie Flemming, Wendy Thrower, Malou Hamto, & Dori Harris, Board of Directors.

Pres. Amelia Sivage makes her final speech as President

Outgoing President Amilia Sivage turns over the FACO gavel to the new
President Belle Limoge

The 2015-2016 President Belle Limoge makes her Inaugural Speech

The talented Alessja Morales returns to serenade out new Executive Board

The beautiful Debbie Nicastro sings a Christmas carol to officially open the
Holiday Ball!


The Holiday Ball kicks off with a Raffle Drawing!
With raffle Emcees Rose Marie Paralta (left) and Esther Adversalo (Right)

Our Eternal Gratitude

To all our sponsors, benefactors and honorees, for all your tireless support and belief in this organization and its vision.

To the 2015 Hiyas Awards & Holiday Ball Committee:
Belle Limoge (Chairperson), Alexis Plaisted, Zucette Lumabas, Jackie Lazaga, Esther Adversalo, Alice Velasco, Shirley de Leon, Dulia Candelaria, Rosemarie Peralta & Enri Fulmore for going above and beyond all expectations and despite all challenges, have risen to the occasion to make this event a success.

To the talented Debbie Nicastro, for sharing her gift of song.

To the beautiful Alessja Morales , for honoring us with her amazing talent. To DJ Rizaldy and his fantastic mixes and rockin' the house! To Marc Matsumoto for sharing all these wonderful pictures with us.

To all our gracious organization and family members who have volunteered their valuable time, your support is truly beyond remarkable.

To all our raffle donors, without your generosity, this event would not have been fun & memorable.

To all the sponsors of the Souvenir Program, our heartfelt gratitude for believing in our humble cause.

To YOU and all members of our organization and the Fil-Am Community. Your active participation and continued support is a true demonstration of your commitment and true inspiration to us all.

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