By Jay Bolusa

December 16, 2008 – Today the Palawan Association of Eastern United States and the Mindoro Association will sponsor the Simbang Gabi at the Philippine Center at Fifth Avenue, New York between 45th and 46th streets.

This is the first time that Palawan is involved in the sponsorship of Simbang Gabi here at the Philippine Consulate.

Simbang Gabi at the Philippine Consulate in New York has been a tradition here for almost two decades. Tonight’s affair was planned by my friend, Juliet Payabyab, President of the Mindoro Association, and I last November before she left for the Philippines.

I then informed the new President of the Palawan Association, Minerva Timones, about this and invited some kababayans who are available to attend the Simbang Gabi. Palawenos who will attend tonight are, May Rodriguez and son Peter, Minerva, Dea Espanola, the Fabellon sisters, Aileen and Aila, Leah Bungalso, Joy and Veronica Escalona, Carmen Macolor Ledesma, Tina Macolor, Aileen Lagrada, Yolene Palanca, Boy and I.

I am very grateful that we are now included as sponsor to this Simbang Gabi sa Consulado. There are a lot of Filipino Associations vying for a spot to be able to sponsor a night. This time, God gave us His blessings. I just hope that the Palawenos here will be enthusiastic to continue this once I go home to Palawan. We will have as guests of honor tonight the Philippines Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations, The Honorable Hilario Davide and the Philippine Consul General for New York, the Honorable Cecil Rebong and other members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Filipino community leaders representing the different provinces of the Philippines.

Simbang Gabi dates back from the 14th century when the Philippines Archbishop then petitioned the Pope in Rome to grant the nine-day pre-dawn novena as a thanksgiving before Christmas day. From then on it has withstood the test of time and has been a tradition handed down from generation to generation,

Annabel Ledesma, Carmen Ledesma’s daughter will celebrate her birthday this Saturday, December 20, 2008. Some kababayans from Puerto will greet her with a salo-salo at their residence in Queens, the vacationing couple from San Pedro, Leonor and Arturo Sabando, Joy and Veronica Escalona, Al Verga,Yolene Palanca, Tina Macolor and Carmen will all be there and some other new found friends from New York

Aveline Abiog left Puerto already and will be home on Friday here in New York. We can then have a mass offered for the memory of her late father, Judge Avelino Abiog.

Until next week, Ciao and God bless!