First President & Founding Member
Mrs. Asuncion Mendoza, fondly known as Tita Asuncion to the members of the Philippine Association of Beaumont Texas (PABT), was a force to be reckoned with. She was not only a pillar of the Filipino community in Beaumont but also the first president of PABT, a role that would become a legacy in itself.
It all began with an invitation from the City of Beaumont to participate in the Ethnic Heritage Festival. This event aimed to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the Golden Triangle, and each culture was assigned a booth to showcase their heritage, food, and traditional attire. Mrs. Mendoza and her team decided to represent the Philippines with a delectable menu of shish kabobs, eggrolls, and fried rice. They obtained the necessary permits from the Department of Health and set up their booth.
The response from festival-goers was overwhelming. The aroma of Filipino cuisine drew in crowds faster than they could prepare the dishes. By the end of the first day, they had earned an astonishing $3,000.00. It was a triumphant start for PABT's participation.
But Mrs. Mendoza's ambition didn't stop at food. The festival called for each country to build a float, and she saw an opportunity to showcase the Philippines in a spectacular way. With the help of dedicated members, they constructed a Bahay Kubo (traditional Filipino house) on her brother Rolly's truck. The float was adorned with beautiful decorations, and some members dressed in native attire rode on it, serenading the enthusiastic crowd. Their float, capturing the essence of Filipino culture, won first place in the contest.
The following year, they raised the bar even higher. Using a trampoline and a net, they created a float that depicted the diverse islands of the Philippines. Once again, they clinched the first-place prize. The parades were always followed by breathtaking fireworks displays that lit up the night sky.
In the years that followed, PABT continued to engage in fundraising activities, including organizing a Rice Festival and sponsoring Philippine cultural events at Lamar University. They used these funds to provide scholarships, donate to charitable organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and assist countries facing devastating calamities. Their dedication extended to local causes as well, including the EJ Stocking Fund, the Soup Kitchen, and support for victims of the Attack on America.
Mrs. Mendoza served as president for three terms, leaving an indelible mark on PABT. When she eventually stepped down, Dr. Mendoza took up the mantle of leadership. Despite the challenges that arose due to changes in Beaumont's administration and budget cuts, PABT continued to thrive as a tight-knit community, united by their shared love for the Philippines and their commitment to giving back to the world around them. The legacy of Mrs. Asuncion Mendoza and her dedicated team continued to shine brightly in Beaumont, Texas.
Mrs. Asuncion A. Mendoza
Former President & Founding Member
Dr. Rogelio D. Mendoza
Dr. Rogelio Mendoza, a man of unwavering dedication and compassion, left an indelible mark on the Philippine Association of Beaumont, Texas (PABT) during his term as president and beyond.
In the face of dwindling funds for the association, Dr. Mendoza saw an opportunity to make a difference. He embarked on a challenging journey to secure a charitable bingo license for PABT. The process was arduous, involving extensive paperwork and navigating complex regulations. But Dr. Mendoza's determination paid off when he was granted the license, allowing PABT to join other charitable organizations in conducting bingo games. This endeavor was no small feat, as it required managing employees, handling payroll, and addressing tax responsibilities, all of which demanded a significant portion of his time.
Even after his presidential term ended, Dr. Mendoza's commitment to PABT remained steadfast. He assumed the role of chairperson for PABT's charitable bingo operations. Juggling this responsibility alongside his medical practice was no easy task, but Dr. Mendoza's devotion to the cause fueled his determination.
Dr. Mendoza harbored ambitious dreams for PABT. He envisioned a permanent home for the association, a place where the Filipino community could gather and thrive. With the assistance of Architect Lawrence Laserna, he conceptualized a magnificent venue. However, his visionary plans faced resistance from the board, who were concerned about the financial burden of the project. Despite the setbacks, Dr. Mendoza's unwavering spirit persisted. The property that PABT had acquired was eventually sold to Triangle Therapeutics in Milam Street in Beaumont. While his grand vision for PABT's home did not come to fruition, his legacy of determination and dedication lived on.
Tragically, Dr. Rogelio Mendoza passed away on March 20, 2019, leaving behind a legacy of tireless service and unwavering commitment. His dedication to PABT and the community it served was nothing short of remarkable. As we reflect on Dr. Mendoza's contributions, we are reminded of the countless individuals who worked alongside him, the officers, and board members who shared his vision and dedication. Their combined efforts allowed PABT to thrive over the years, and their collective passion for the association's mission was evident.
Dr. Mendoza's impact was not limited to his official roles; it extended to the kindness and generosity he extended to others, exemplified by his support through Fannett Medical Center. His legacy continues to inspire, and he will forever be remembered as a true gem of a gentleman. Dr. Rogelio D. Mendoza, October 5, 1939 - March 20, 2019—may he rest in peace, leaving behind a legacy of service and dedication that will endure for generations to come.
Dr. Nestor Punay
Dr. Nestor Punay
Dr. Jomel Bajar, PT, DPT, MS
Dr. Jomel Bajar, PT, DPT, MS, is not just a distinguished professional in the field of Physical Therapy; he is a true embodiment of the "bayanihan" spirit and an inspiration to all who have had the privilege of knowing him. With a solid foundation in Physical Therapy, having graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in 1995, Dr. Jomel embarked on a journey of lifelong learning. He continued his education, earning both a master's degree and a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy, all while nurturing a growing family of four and forging a successful career.
His commitment to the Filipino community in Beaumont, Texas, has been nothing short of remarkable. During his tenure as president of the Philippine Association of Beaumont Texas (PABT), Dr. Jomel became a shining example of the "bayanihan" spirit, consistently promoting Filipino culture in Southeast Texas at every turn. Under his leadership, PABT undertook a plethora of initiatives to showcase and celebrate Filipino culture, fostering renewed enthusiasm and engagement among the organization's officers and members.
Dr. Jomel's dedication extended beyond Beaumont; he reached out to various organizations to provide assistance to Filipino victims affected by disasters like the Taal eruption and flooding. His unwavering commitment to helping those in need left a lasting impact on the community.
Beyond his role in the Filipino community, Dr. Jomel played a significant role in elevating the image of Filipinos in Beaumont. His participation as the First Filipino featured in Southeast Texas Dancing with the Stars not only showcased his talent but also highlighted the richness of Filipino culture. On a personal level, he instilled in his children a deep connection to their Filipino roots, ensuring that they embrace their heritage and language.
Dr. Jomel's sense of duty extended to his children's school, St. Anne's Catholic School, and Monsignor Kelly Catholic High School, where he actively served as a member and officer on the boards. His dedication to these institutions demonstrated his strong civic sense of duty.
When asked how he wishes to be remembered, Dr. Jomel's response is a testament to his character and values: "I want to be remembered as a person who inspires others to achieve their highest potential in life." Indeed, his legacy is one of inspiration, community service, and a commitment to preserving and promoting Filipino culture, leaving an indelible mark on Beaumont, Texas, and beyond.
Dr. Mary Jane Castro
Dr. Mary Jane Castro's journey through life has been a remarkable blend of medical dedication and unwavering community support. Her story is one of inspiration, dedication, and the enduring ties that connect us.
Dr. Castro's medical journey commenced in the Philippines, where she graduated in the field of medicine. She embarked on her residency at St. Mary's Hospital in Port Arthur, Texas, spanning the years from 1994 to 1997. It was during this time that she forged lasting bonds with a multitude of Filipino doctors and nurses, relationships that remained close to her heart throughout her adventures in the medical world.
Leaving Texas behind, Dr. Castro pursued a Geriatric Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, expanding her knowledge and expertise in the field. Her career then took her to a rural practice in Kentucky before she eventually settled in the picturesque state of Hawaii.
During her seven-year residence in Hawaii, Dr. Castro not only continued her medical journey but also ventured into running her own Family/Geriatric Practice. Her commitment to healthcare was unwavering, and her impact on the community undeniable.
The ties that bound Dr. Castro to Port Arthur were strong, for it was there that her daughter was born. With her family in tow, she then lived in Hawaii for a significant period, fostering her medical practice and enriching her life.
However, as the winds of change blew, the decision to move back to the mainland took root. Dr. Castro's heart yearned for the community she had left behind. Her first choice was to return to the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, where she had left a part of her heart.
This decision was made easier by the fact that her former colleagues still resided in the area. These remarkable individuals were not only colleagues but friends who were deeply involved in the Filipino community, reflecting Dr. Castro's own commitment to promoting the rich tapestry of Filipino culture.
Though her tenure as the President of PABT was only for a year, her bustling medical practice kept her occupied. Nevertheless, her determination to support and actively participate in the community remained steadfast. Dr. Castro's pride in the young, hardworking, and talented officers of PABT was evident. Their joint efforts resulted in successful events, such as Independence Day celebrations, Halloween parties, and a memorable Christmas gathering featuring the renowned singer, Nonoy Zuniga.
Furthermore, Dr. Castro's support extended to the concert of the world-famous Filipino REO Brothers band, who graced Beaumont with their music. Her unwavering dedication to the Filipino community was a testament to her love for her roots and the importance of cultural preservation.
Dr. Mary Jane Castro's journey reflects a life lived with purpose, combining a distinguished medical career with a heartfelt commitment to community, culture, and the enduring bonds of friendship. Her story is an inspiration to all who seek to make a positive impact on the world around them.