Fil-Am businessmen, entrepreneurs and philanthropists honored in Texas

DALLAS, TX — A celebration of business and professional excellence.

The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Texas held their first State Dinner to celebrate its 10th year anniversary — recognizing successful Filipino American entrepreneurs and professionals who have made valuable contributions in their communities.

“This is really important for us and for me personally because it recognizes the work and effort of PACC for the last 10 years. And it recognizes Filipinos in the community that have done outstanding achievements,” said Jerrill Santos, Philippine Consul General — Houston.

“We also get to recognize our members and friends in the business community and all of their accomplishments as entrepreneurs as professionals as public servants and the humanitarian things that they do. 

The event featured some of the state’s most respected and recognized industry leaders, representing organizations and major companies.  

Executive Director Gus Mercado said the community should focus on highlighting accomplishments of Filipino American businessmen and women, as well as entrepreneurs.

“The mainstream Americans are probably not aware that the Filipinos are among the most successful entrepreneurs, professionals and humanitarians, as well as public servants.”

Organizers said they are seeking to encourage not only business growth, but to inspire greater mainstream involvement by the community.

“We were thinking of opportunities to honor our members, and the idea of awarding them. Because we need role models. So we figured the best way to encourage Filipinos to look up to role models was to give awards to the deserving ones,” said Rowena Raroque Watters, DFW Region 1 Chairman. 

Candidates were nominated and voted by each chamber of commerce in Texas. Awards for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Humanitarian work, Public Service, and Outstanding Professionals were given to the finalists and winners. 

Air Force Major Monessa Catuncan-Balzhiser was awarded Texas’ Outstanding Public Servant. She is a fighter pilot and the first Asian to fly the F-16 fighter plane.

“I’m very humbled and honored. Honestly, I was just doing my job. But it was a fun job at that.” 

These awards continue the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce’s record of national excellence. Last year, it was recognized as the Most Outstanding Filipino-American Organization in the U.S. by the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations or NaFFAA.


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