REMEMBERING THE PAST … by: Asuncion Mendoza
PABT was born at the Luistro residence in 1987. It took a lot of weekend gatherings, fellowship, sometimes gossipings and more importantly the famous mahjong sessions. Pot luck and famous cooking of the late Luz Luistro sustained our weekend sessions.
I think that an angel talked to me to organize because of the great comradeship from the group that came every weekend without fail. The group agreed to the idea.
In the beginning, I was voted to be the interim president. A slate of officers was made and was formally elected. The officers were sworn in by the then Tax assessor Nick Lampson on February 13, 1988 at the YMCA Building in Calder Avenue. It was the beginning of our annual Valentine Party.
A PABT constitution was engineered by Dr. Carl Montano, professor at the Lamar University. A corporation was formed with the help of a friend, Mark Ariza, a lawyer from Houston. He donated his time to PABT and a corporation was formed on December 14, 1989.
A series of fund raising started. Our very first Christmas caroling conducted by me accompanied by Hermie Lanuza on the guitar earned $900.00. A selected group of our Physician friends as well as members were among those who received us in their homes . They not only donated money for our cause , they all fed us too. The proceeds of the donations were deposited in Hibernia Bank.
This was followed by a grand invitation from the City of Beaumont to participate in the Ethnic Heritage festival. All cultures were represented. We were allowed to have booths to showcase our culture, food and costumes. For our food, we elected to cook the first shish ka bob, fried rice and eggrolls. We cooked on site which was inspected and approved by the Department of Health. The aroma of the kabobs got the attention of all the people in the area and we were the most successful booth. That time, coincided with the Circus performing in Civic Center. We had a lot of performers who stayed in line in their costumes. We could not cook fast enough. This hard work went on for the weekend.
To add to the pageantry of this grand occasion, we were asked to have a float for a parade in downtown Beaumont. A handful of members worked on a Bahay Kubo almost every weekend to prepare the float. On the float, we decorated the pick up truck of Roldan Arrieta so some members can ride in their Filipino attire serenading the audience. There was a contest and we won first place.
As far as I know that was the best time of PABT’s exposure in the Golden Triangle. The following year, we did it again. We built a float using a trampoline and tied a net all around it. We showed all the islands of the Philippines. Of course we won first place again.
Due to change in City of Beaumont’s administration and lack of funding, the Festival was discontinued the following years.
The succeeding years were followed by more fund raising. Rice festival, sponsorship of Philippine culture presentation at Lamar University, to name a few.
I was the president for 3 terms until I bowed out. The members then made Dr.Mendoza the next president with a most attended election. Only members were allowed to vote. Proof of membership was required. We had an election committee led by Mel and Wilma Pascua.
During Dr. Mendoza’s term, he elected to apply for a charitable Bingo license for PABT. It was getting harder and harder to raise funds for the Association and after all the paperwork required, he got a license.
After his term, he also bowed out from being an officer and spent most of his time as the chair person of PABT charitable Bingo.