BIKOLANDIA OFFICERS. Dr. Ernestina delos Santos-Mac (center), president of the Philippine-American Foundation, swears in the 2015-2017 officers of the Bikolandia Association of Michigan (BAM) during the group’s 20th inaugural ball held on April 11, 2015 in the Westin Southfield-Detroit Hotel. The new officers were led by Rhodes Porcalla, president. More photos of the event are on Page 8. (Photo by Percy Antonio)
BIKOLANDIA OFFICERS. Dr. Ernestina delos Santos-Mac (center), president of the Philippine-American Foundation, swears in the 2015-2017 officers of the Bikolandia Association of Michigan (BAM) during the group’s 20th inaugural ball held on April 11, 2015 in the Westin Southfield-Detroit Hotel. The new officers were led by Rhodes Porcalla, president. More photos of the event are on Page 8. (Photo by Percy Antonio)

[box type=”default” size=”large”] To exert efforts to recruit young Bicolanos as BAM members [/box]

Rhodes O. Porcalla, newly installed president of the Bikolandia Association of Michigan (BAM), announced that in the next two years, BAM will exert efforts to recruit young Bicolanos as members of the organization “so that one day, we may pass the torch to them.”

Porcalla announced the recruitment of young members as one of the two priority projects of his administration when he delivered his inaugural speech during the induction of the 2015-2017 BAM officers on April 11, 2015 at the Westin Southfield-Detroit Hotel.

The other project Porcalla announced calls for BAM to help in the efforts to alleviate food shortage at a mountain barrio in Ginobatan, Albay, his hometown.

On the recruitment of more BAM members, Porcalla stressed that the association is “not an organization of the few but for the many,” saying that for the former members who left BAM, “I would like to rebuild those burnt bridges and bring them back to the fold.”

On his second project, he reported that he had made initial talk with the head of the Barrio Mapaco council and made plans to meet him again. He said, “The barrio is blessed with natural lakes, and it makes sense to take advantage of its natural resources and harness its potentials for fish farming.”

Porcalla, a civil engineer and a graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology, expressed hope that with proper planning and implementation, the barrio of some 500 people may “just make a living out of it.”

In his speech, he also recalled that two years ago, BAM was in a very awkward situation as it was plagued by uncertainties and “doing business in that kind of atmosphere was a struggle… and it was decided that for the good of the organization, Bicol has to be renamed as Bikolandia Association of Michigan.”

“Today, I am proud to let it be known that the Bikolandia Association of Michigan stands on a solid ground,” he said, adding, “I owe a lot of thanks to our outgoing President Bert Reginaldo for doing what is needed to be done.”

In his welcome remarks, Reginaldo reported on the accomplishments of his administration, including the filing of a BAM application for the grant of a non-profit status (501c3) of the association.

Reginaldo handed over gifts as token of his appreciation for the support of BAM members for the projects undertaken during his watch. These members include couples Rhodes and Tess Porcalla, Lyn and Jun Garcia and Larry and Evelyn Bulaong.

He also gave special recognition to members for their services during his administration. These members are couple Romy and Mila Llarena, Bonnie and Dr. Lino Mape, Rose Herrera, Hermie Tolentino, Aida Manly, Nieves Vargas, Auring Tolenada, Evelyn Cischke and Dr. Mila Flores.

He gave a posthumous award to the late Tony Navarro in recognition of his services and efforts to promote the association. Navarro was BAM president in 1991-1993 and public relations officer until his death on March 6, 2015. Navarro’s widow, Linda, received the award.

He handed over a presidential award to Dr. Ernestina delos Santos-Mac for “her exemplary support for the association during his administration.

Doctor Mac sworn in the new officers during the event. She was introduced by former BAM president Delia Rayos.

Aside from Porcalla, the other officers who took their oath of office were Nieves ‘Bing’ Reginaldo, president-elect; Robert Osia, executive vice president; Marjorie Osia, recording secretary; Ashley Osia, corresponding secretary; Jun Garcia, treasurer; Hermie Tolentino, auditor-adviser; Nestor Herrera and Lawrence Mangindin, business managers; Evelyn Cischke, parliamentarian; Evelyn Bulaong, historian; and Tess Porcalla and Elaine Hibler, public relations officers.

Also inducted into office were the vice presidents for the six Bicol provinces. They are Cherlynn Taylor, Albay; Aida Manly, Camarines Norte; Rose Herrera, Camarines Sur; Nieves Vargas, Catanduanes; Nieves Reginaldo, Masbate; and Joe Tolentino, Sorsogon.

The invocation was delivered by Msgr. John Vargas. The emcee was Dr. Milagros Flores.

Community dancing capped the event. Music was provided by Allen Carter.