NEW YORK — Ambassador Claro Cristobal is no stranger to the Filipino community in New York. Long before assuming his new post as Consul General of the Philippines in New York, Cristobal first came to Big Apple to work for the Philippine mission to the UN in 1990. He became a Consul in 1993, and a minister to the UN in 2000.
He says as he worked his way into his fourth post at the 5th Avenue Philippine Center, he has never received a warmer welcome.
The young Cristobal wanted to be a lawyer — he graduated at the University of the Philippines with a cum laude in philosophy in the early 70’s.
He wanted to be a teacher, so he took a master of arts degree in economics, and became a lecturer in economics at the De La Salle University and instructor in social science at UP.
Being a diplomat was never part of his dreams, but he found his true calling after friend randomly asked him to take the test for the Philippine foreign service exam – which he passed, and discovered his calling to a new career.
His diplomatic career included working as spokesperson and special assistant at the office of the secretary of foreign affairs.
“As special assistant to the secretary of foreign affairs doing some, maybe it’s not so bad to say it, doing some ghostwriting for some very important people in the Philippine government. Almost every two, three years, I’d do something different.”
Cristobal says he will carry out his tasks a consul general by being inclusive, participatory and in touch with the Filipino community, with “diplomacy, representing the country is best performed with all involved with the stakeholders.”
His promise is to not only to represent the Filipinos in the 10 northeast states covered by the consulate – but to contribute to the advancement of Filipinos both in New York and in the Philippines, by promoting investments back home.
With the U.S. government crackdown on undocumented immigrants – Cristobal says the doors of the Philippine consulate will always be open to assist Filipino nationals in distress, especially those in need of immigration assistance.