European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD)


ENFiD is an active international networking association that hopes to (a) propagate the sense of Filipino “nationhood” away from the home country; (b) inculcate a strong sense of shared destiny and aspirations; (c) act as a catalyst in promoting resolutions to issues and arising problems among Filipinos in Europe.


The name of this European non-profit association shall be European Network of Filipino Diaspora, hereafter referred to as ENFiD.

The names of country associations that will form part of ENFiD shall be European Network of Filipino Diaspora-[country] and be referred to as eg ENFiD-Belgium, ENFiD-Netherlands, ENFiD-Italy, ENFiD-UK and so on.


Our vision is –

a. A Filipino Diaspora community in Europe with a continued and sustained commitment and link to the Philippines, and at the same time fully integrated with the host country. (COMMITMENT AND FULL INTEGRATION)

b. A vibrant and empowered Filipino Diaspora operating ‘glocally’ (globally and locally), whose talent, contribution and potential are recognized and rewarded both in Europe and in the Philippines, cognizant of the future generation of Filipino descent. (PEOPLE)

c. A Filipino Diaspora in touch with its cultural origins and its best traditional values, and how it enriches the diversity of life of the host country. (IDENTITY)

[ENFiD Academy] Gender Development / Leadership Skills


Gender Development / Leadership Skills Training

  • Topics to be covered for Gender Training:
    Sex & Gender,
    Gender Roles,
    Stereotypes and Gender Ideology,
    Mechanisms and Institutions of Socialization,
    Gender-Fair Language,
    International Legal Frameworks (CEDAW, Beijing Declaration,etc.),
    GALS( Gender Action Learning System)


  • Topics to be covered for Leadership Module:
    Getting Things Done


2014 to 2015 ENFiD Board of Directors Profile

2014 to 2015 ENFiD Board of Directors Profile


Gene Alcantara is Chair of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD), a voluntary organisation registered in Malta (no. VO/0885) from September 2012-July 2015. [ENFiD is an active international networking association that hopes to propagate the sense of Filipino ‘nationhood’ away from the home country, and works towards empowerment and integration of the community in Europe, aware of its cultural identity and contribution to the home and host countries. ENFiD has to date 21 member countries which in turn have organisational and individual members.]
With a degree in Russian Studies and a MBA, Gene worked for British Council for over 20 years promoting British culture overseas, 4 years of which was as Assistant Director Poland. He is an experienced community leader and organiser and has been involved as a journalist with community publications, and with charity work since 1985. He now runs his own immigration consultancy in London where he lives with his family. His 3 children are all British born and raised. He co-hosts the Migration and Media Advocacy Award 2014 winning Television Show, ‘Juan EU Konek’, with his segment tackling immigration in Europe. He is also now working towards the mounting of Roger Chua’s new musical “Marco Polo, An Untold Love Story” in the UK in 2016.


ROSELLA “ROHLEE” DE GUZMAN – Vice-Chairman, Promotions and Development

I was born in Manila, Philippines on June 3, 1961, attended the University of the Philippines and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1983. My first job was as a Researcher for Parents’ Alternative Inc. (PAI) in the Philippines which was an NGO promoting the rights and welfare of Filipino children. I came to the Netherlands in 1987 upon the invitation of a group of Dutch women attendees of the WISAP (Women’s International Solidarity Affair in the Philippines) in 1985 to give guest lectures and talks with various local women organisations in the Netherlands and Belgium about the plight of Filipino women and children under the Marcos dictatorship. Then I got a scholarship from the European Union for the course Analist/Programmer under their Women and Informatica program. Afterwards I worked consecutively as project worker, consultant and policy advisor at the Center for International Cooperation- Limburg, the Netherlands where I got the chance to lead water missions in Kenya and the Philippines, set up divers development projects in the Philippines, Kenia an Tanzania. I was part of the Working Group Against Trafficking in Women which was the forerunner of the Foundation Against Trafficking in Women in Utrecht, the Netherlands where I served for years as a Board Member.

From the start of my migration to the Netherlands, I have been actively involved with Filipino migrant communities with structural contacts with other ethnic groups. I worked as Coordinator of the Women’s Programme of the Commission on Filipino Migrant Workers based in Amsterdam. In this capacity, I travelled to different European countries to meet and train migrant workers (regarding their rights as workers and capacity-building in setting-up development projects in their hometowns). Now in my capacity as a consultant I give, among others, advice, training and coaching to CSO’s, migrant groups and women groups regarding project design, fund-raising, implementation and sustainability of support and development projects in developing countries and on intercultural communication. I am also regularly commissioned to facilitate meetings or other activities.


MARISON RODRIGUEZ – Secretary, Membership Director

Marison Rodriguez is a Product Operations Manager / Technical Team Leader in one of the Mainframe services in IBM Global Services Delivery in Brno, Czech Republic. Prior to her stay in Europe, she lived and worked in Taiwan, China, Singapore and Malaysia. In ENFiD, she currently handles the position of ENFiD Board Secretary and Membership Director. She fully manages and supervises the ENFiD Website and IT administration of the organization since 2013. As a resident of Czech Republic, she founded the Filipino-Czech Association (FCA) in 2011 and turned out to be the 1st FCA President in 2012. After the Diaspora to Dialogue in Rome, she has been the ENFiD-Czech Republic Interim Country Representative. Born and raised in Cavite, Philippines, holding Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila, and Masters in Engineering Management, she balances work, family and treasured friends, sports, community / organizational commitments with faith and grace.


RENEE IKDAL –  Treasurer, Finance and Budget Director

Completed BSBA, passed CPA in University of the Philippines – Diliman and has an MBA in University of Asia & the Pacific. She was employed in Statoil, Norway for 24 years.  Currently serving as Philippine Honorary Consul in Stavanger, Norway. She has 3 children and divorced.


RACHEL HANSEN – PR Officer, Communications and Media Director

Date of Birth: April 10, 1953 Iloilo City
Citizenship: Swedish (1980)
Civil Status: Widow
Address: Stockholm, Sweden
2009 – 2014 Executive Board member, Fundraising Committee Chair – Philippine Education Society (Stockholm)
2009 – Founder/Editor – Roots&Wings – the Filipino magazine in Europe (now online)
2011 – Founding Council Member – Global Filipinos in Diaspora Council
2012 – Country Rep (Sweden) – ENFiD European Network Filipino Diaspora
2012 – Founder/President- Philippine Center Sweden, Stockholm
Chairman of Philippine Culture Week in Stockholm
Executive Board Member – International Womens Club of Stockholm
Delegate – 1st Global Summit of Filipino Diaspora – PICC, Manila 2009
Delegate – D2D – Diaspora to Development Conference – Rome, 2011
Delegate – 2nd Global Summit of Filipino Diaspora – Dusit Thani, Manila 2013
Delegate – 7th Global Forum on Migration & Development, Stockholm, 2014





My name is Dennis Mana-ay married, born in Iloilo, grow up in Manila attended the School of Arellano University taking up BSC Major in Baking and Finance , I move to Paris France 24 years and live here ever since . I have two sons, the oldest is in second year college of law.
My first involvement in the Filcom Community here France is during the visit of our former President Fidel Ramos in 1994. Later that year, I created Panay and Negros then the Officers and members decided to rename to Hiligaynon Association in France.
As Founder of Hiligaynon our primary focus for primary focus is in education Last March 2014 I was the guest speaker at University of ILOILO which 5 of our scholars is among the graduate and helping abused Children in collaboration with the French NGO who have a center in Iloilo which I also visited last March.
This year project also include rebuild the class rooms ravaged by the typhoon Yolanda beneficiary is tne Elementary school of Poscolon its a remote Barangay of San Rafael Iloilo and was inaugurated during my visit last March after completion.
May of this year we distributed school Material to Elementary School in a remote Barangay in Bacolod.
A successful Medical Mission in Camsur lake Buhi for the Aetas Community and Mangyans in Mindoro.
We offer French Class for seven years to the newly arrival Filipino France in helping them to learn the basic language as part of integration process in French society.
In 2007 the Filcom France composed of 30 Associations decided to regroup under the name of Comite General des Association en France (CGAPF Federation). As a founding member I been elected as Finance Officer, All elected officer limited to one year term that included the President.
In 2012 I run and I was been elected as President of CGAPF. The D2D in Rome was held same year and I am one of France country delegates . That’s an opportunity to meet most of you specially Mrs. Marie Reyes who is the Chairman of the D2D


VIRGILIO BAYANI GODOY CUIZON, Board Member, Revisions to CBL Director

Art impresario, Curator, Art Critic & Lecturer. Managing Director of Kunst Gallery. President of KUNST (Kapatiran at Ugnayan ng Natatanging Sining at Talento) Pilipino. News Correspondent for Germany-TFC, Balitang Europe, ABS CBN Global. Multi-awarded Filcom Leader. Elected Member of the Board – Global Filipino Diaspora Council, 2013. Execom and Planner-60 years bilateral relation between Germany and the Philippines, Celebration 2014.


MARIE LUARCA-REYES, Executive Director

Marie Luarca-Reyes is Co-Founder and presently Executive Director of the The Global Share Resource Foundation, an NGO based in New York City assisting skills training initiatives in the poor communities of Africa, Asia and South America.

After 24 years, Ms. Luarca-Reyes retired in 2008 as Corporate Compliance Manager of Citigroup Inc., New York. Since then she has been involved in several social causes in as spouse of the former Philippine Ambassador to South Africa and subsequently to Italy.
Ms. Luarca-Reyes is affiliated with the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission, Inc., in its Philippine program for the Urban Slum and Indigenous Minorities. Her other past involvement in the Philippines includes managing a government-run program for Out-of-School Youths; co-founding the Maria Montessori Cooperative School, a nonprofit educational institution, co-founding the Youth and Student Travel Association, an educational travel program; and founded and managed the Artists’ Village, Inc. that assisted Filipino artists launch their careers.

Ms. Luarca-Reyes is a graduate of St. Theresa’s College with post-graduate studies in Sociology at the New School for Social Research University in New York City with internship in Educational Planning at the Central Plan Bureau, The Hague, Netherlands.

She is presently the Executive Director of ENFiD as non-country representative.


ATTY. AMELIA ALADO, Legal Officer, Grievance

Qualified as an attorney-at-law in the Philippines in 1999. Was head-hunted thereafter by then Secretary for DTI, Mar Roxas. Worked as a Court Attorney with the Court of Appeals and taught Intellectual Property law and Constitutional law at College of St Benilde-De La Salle University. She then went into private practice with a medium sized law firm before going to London.

In 2003, she was granted a Fellowship on Intellectual Property Law in Tokyo under the auspices of Japan Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organisation. She was the first Filipino (and second in the world) to be a beneficiary of this Fellowship.

This stint in Japan was pivotal for Aimee ending up in London. The initial plan of qualifying in New York was abandoned and instead she opted to go to Europe to be different. UK was the obvious and practical choice and she embarked to complete her English legal qualification.

She currently works for the British Government’s Legal Department concurrent with her private practice and being a trustee for WELL Trust (an incorporated charity in England which was the legacy of typhoon Haiyan). She is the legal counsel for ENFID (Europe) and ENFID-UK. She was originally elected as a Vice-Chair for Wales for ENFID-UK and was later on promoted and elected by its Board as Chairman for ENFID-UK.

Aimee is also the executive producer of Appellation of Origin: The Philippines (AoOP) which will be taking place in London on 10th September 2015.

Appellation of Origin: The Philippines is organised to celebrate the Philippine artistry and imagination in the form of crafts unique to Philippine culture and aimed to support the four Philippine charities namely WELL Trust, Ajos Trust, ENFiD and ENFiD-UK.

[ENFiD] Job Opening: Volunteer Graphic Designer

We’re looking for a graphic design student to volunteer for ENFiD as per need basis.


This would be a good opportunity for a University student to begin building their resume and portfolio.
ENFiD Secretariat is in Maastricht and the office of the Chair in Switzerland. One must be willing to work with the virtual team located across Europe.

The job is to work with the IT/PR/Communications team for design work. The design work would include posters, teasers, image editing, design for website, newsletter and events material.

Please advise preferred office day with application. Only apply through

Only applications with a cover letter and sample portfolio will be considered. Please at least write a sentence or two about yourself.

[ENFiD-UK] Country Report from the UK: February 2017

ENFiD-UK Conducts Basic Life Support Training
by Novo-Mar Ramos

In order to equip people with knowledge on saving people’s lives especially in case of emergency, the ENFiD-UK conducted trainings on Basic Life Support and First Aid on the 29th day of January 2017 in the halls of Westminster City Hall, Westminster, London.

ENFiD-UK Conducts Basic Life Support Training 01

An overwhelming number of trainees attended the one-day event. They underwent hours of lecture on basic and essential concepts followed by a practical application simulating a real life scenario.

ENFiD-UK Conducts Basic Life Support Training 02

The trainers came from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Ms. Annie Redwood, Senior Resuscitation Officer, gave the training on Basic Life Support. Applying First Aid skills was demonstrated by Mr. Oliver Lynch, an IV Line Practitioner Specialist Nurse.

ENFiD-UK Conducts Basic Life Support Training 03

Each participant received a certificate of attendance upon completion of the training, which has a validity of one year.

The activity was led by ENFiD-UK Chairperson, Edwin Dela Cruz, who is also the Head of Faculty of Nursing at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

ENFiD-UK Conducts Basic Life Support Training 04

[ENFiD-Netherlands] Country Report from the Netherlands: February 2017

ENFiD Netherlands Christmas

Diane Mondragon Halmans

The Enfid Christmas caroling was organized to replace the planned Christmas market trip to Germany. Which we have to cancel due to time constraints.

December 3 was the first and the only practice we had. We agreed to visit Roermond, Stein, Maastricht & Riemst in Belgium. We notified other Filipinos living in those areas to come to the designated addresses so we don’t have to transfer from one house to another.


The first caroling was scheduled on December 9 in Roermond at an Enfid member’s house. It was chaotic but we had a good laugh. It was considered as another practice but with audience this time. Then we agreed that the next & final caroling will be a whole day event. So on December 27 we started at about 1 in the afternoon in Stein. Then it was followed at 5 pm in Maastricht. The last house we visited was in Riemst.

We might not had enough time to prepare & our performance was not as good as we wanted it to be but we enjoyed it.

Well there’s always next year to look forward to. Hopefully we will do better then.

ENFiD NL( European Network of Filipino Diaspora), Stichting HELP FILIPINO CHILDREN and Margarita Relos , organize a fundraising CONCERT for the victims of Typhoon Nina (Nock-Ten) that made landfall in Bicol Region, Philippines on Christmas evening, Sunday, December 25, 2016. The Benefit Concert will be on Saturday, 4 February starts 18:00, at Gemeenteschaphuis Sjoolpad in Roermond, The Netherlands. 6 Bands will rock the show during the benefit concert they are NUR DEUTCHE WELLE, Roger Selder Band, Boozze, Colorful Swing Band, Go Nutz, and The Gonutz. 2 alumni members of University of the Philippines Singing Ambassadors Madeleine Pimentel Denopra & Quintin Dwight de Luna will share their beautiful voice and Jesamine Villanueva Totañes will show her art works.


[ENFiD-Israel] Country Report from Israel: February 2017

A Multi-Talented Filipina Lass Ezralis Joy Ng is Making Name in Israel
as One of The Voice Israel Season 4 Semi Finalist

By Cheryl Sevegan

Together with many Filipino talents around the globe bringing pride to our country and race. Ezralis Joy Ng is the latest addition to them as she is making name in the country through Israeli National TV Channel 2 program The Voice Israel. Humbled with the support that Filipinos and Israelis swiftly giving her after hearing her voice. The 17 year old lass born in Israel with Filipino descent is now one of The Voice Israel semi finalist after being chosen by her mentor/coach Miri Mesika. Semi final round will start on saturday Feb. 4, 2017.This season’s judges are Shlomi Shabat , Aviv Gefen, AvrahamTal and Miri Mesika.

The Voice Israel is the Israeli version of the Voice Holland. It is part of the international syndication The Voice based on the relality singing competition launched in the Netherlands, created by Dutch television producer John de Mol. On its first two season , Canadian born Kathleen Reiter is the winner of the first season and Arab-Israeli Lina Makhoul is the winner os the second season. Finger crossed that this year season a Filipina born in Israel will bring home the title.


Her story in The Voice Israel all started with the song “Strong” that catches the judges attention during the blind audition. After getting in she have chosen Miri Mesika to be her coach/mentor. Her Journey continued when she sang the song “Stay” on the first duel battle. While the song “Team” made her to be in the semi final after being chosen by her coach Miri on second duel Knock out round.

A young lad with many talents Joy is also excelling in the field of sports. She is a member of Israel National Team in Hand Ball. Her talent in sports made her to be the youngest Filipino who received her Israeli passport at the age of 16 instead of the usual procedure, receiving it after finishing the army. Together with the national team she is competing local and international.


Ezra as very well known in the Filipino community is the youngest daughter of Mrs. Marites Caoile Ng and Gilmelito Suni. Her story is very common to many Filipino children born in Israel. Joy lives alone with her mother in Israel separated from her Father and siblings who are all in the Philippines. Despite life difficulties and challenges she strived hard to reach for the star with her God given talents. And now is her moment to shine brightly. Joy said

“People will buy my voice and not the story of my life”.

ENFiD Israel congratulates Ezralis Joy for making it to the semi final round and for all her achievements! We support and wish you good luck on your singing career. Way To Go Ezra and Mabuhay!

ENFiD Israel Youth Leader/ Representative Kertlouie Gabriel Edquilla awarded 10 MOST ( Most Outstanding Students) 2017 in Muntinlupa City
By Cheryl Sevegan


Feeding program is one of ENFiD Israel project and so inspiring our youth to make a difference. That is why we always partner with our young leaders and youth reformers.

Upon seeing and moved by my post on Facebook of the feeding program we had in some schools in the highlands of Oriental Mindoro, Kertlouie voluntarily pledged to be our youth leader/representative in the Philippines. His job includes leading and encouraging his fellow youth to be productive by participating on worthy activities.

Last Dec. 15, 2016 he sponsored our feeding program and shared the word of God to the 120 students of Soldiers Hills Elementary School in Muntinlupa City. Elated and inspired Kerlouie wanted to do more .Together with his friends they are excited for our next feeding schedule.


Born leader and achiever Kertlouie just turned 16 last Jan. 28 ( belated happy birthday Kert) and is a Grade 10 student at the Christ Baptist Academy. He is a consistent honor student since elementary.

In Muntinlupa, excellence in academics is a tradition being upheld. Last January 26, the city government recognizes the 10MOST (Most Outstanding Students) at Ayala Malls South Park, Alabang. Mayor Jaime Fresnedi hopes that the winners in this year’s search become an inspiration and role models to other students in the city. Congratulations to the winners!

Rosshlein Marian Yangson (Rank 1, Muntinlupa Science HS)
Leovigildo Ramon de Castro (Rank 2, PAREF Southridge School)
Mark Ian Papa (Rank 3, Muntinlupa Business HS – Main)
Nicole Therese Morada (Rank 4, PAREF Woodrose School)
Kyla Czarina Cello (Rank 5, Muntinlupa National HS Main)

Kertlouie Gabriel Edquila (Rank 6, Christ Baptist Academy)


Dexter Calago (Rank 7, Pedro E. Diaz HS)
Ariel Palabrica (Rank 8, MNHS-NHA Annex)
Edgar Desher Empeño (Rank 9, De La Salle Sanitago Zobel)
Steven Lloyd Lecitivo (Rank 10, MNHS-Tunasan Annex).

ENFiD Israel is very proud and congratulates Kertlouie for the award and his many achievements. We are happy to be work and be part of your meaningful journey. Way To Go Kert! God bless!

[ENFiD-Ireland] Country Report from Ireland: February 2017

ENFiD-Ireland Hosts Four (4) Philippine Embassy Outreach Missions in Ireland in 2017

In partnership with the Philippine Embassy in London and the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Dublin, the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFID) – Ireland is pleased to announce that it will host four (4) Philippine Embassy Consular Outreach Missions that will be undertaken in Ireland for CY 2017.

25-26 March Dublin
08-09 July Dublin
23-24 September Cork
25-26 November Dublin

ENFiD-Ireland received a letter of appreciation from outgoing UK Philippine Embassy Ambassador Evan Garcia. He expressed appreciation to its team of volunteers for organising and hosting the three Consular Outreach Missions in Dublin last year.

Ireland Photo

To quote: “Each of you has worked tirelessly to organise the event and ensure the orderly proceedings on the day. The group’s efforts have certainly been instrumental in the successful conduct of these missions.” He expressed his thanks to 17 volunteers who will continue helping in the outreach missions this year.



We are happy to announce that ENFiD-Ireland’s Charity video won the People’s Award for the Small Organisation Short Video Category at the Better Together Video Story Competition of Irish non-profit networking organisation The Wheel. The Wheel is a support and representative body connecting community and voluntary organisations and charities across Ireland.

The Better Together Video Story Competition provides a platform for Irish charities, community groups, clubs and associations to showcase their work; demonstrate their commitment to transparency; connect with members of the public; and gain new supporters.

Attended by ENFiD volunteers Tina Manipis and Alma Imus and Phil Consulate Director of Operations Raymond Garrett, ENFiD-Ireland was among the organisations honoured across Ireland for its outstanding contribution and for seeking to make a positive change to the community. They were delighted to be with the company of peers from the Irish community and voluntary sector.

The Awards, which was filmed and had extensive media coverage, took place in the impressive surroundings of The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham on Wednesday 14 2016. The master of ceremonies was RTÉ sports anchor Evanne Ní Chuilinn and special input was given by guest speaker Irish musician and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer and Leinster rugby player Niall Breslin.


We are very pleased to announce that Sophia University scholar Angeline Elopre has joined ENFiD-Ireland as Intern/Volunteer on 15 Jan 2017. Angeline is a third year Political Science (minor in Anthropology) student of the top private research university in Tokyo, Japan. Born in the Philippines, Angeline completed her Intermediate, Middle and High School education at Singapore American School.


Angeline was granted a scholarship by the Volvo Group for her strong interest in global issues and her high motivation and capability to develop and implement activity programs. She has begun her journey with ENFiD-Ireland as Editorial Team member of ENFiD’s newsletter “News and Views” and as member of ENFiD’s PR/Communications Strategy Team. She will also develop ENFiD-Ireland’s research studies on “The Lost Generation: Getting to Know the Children of Filipino Migrants in Ireland” and “The Challenges of Mixed Couples: Looking at Filipina-Irish Relationships,” as well as help manage consular services at the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Dublin.

Angeline will be coming to Ireland with her expertise in writing, communication and research, plus her work experience at Japan’s travel website, Odigo, and volunteer experience with the global charity Habitat for Humanity.

Join us to celebrate Angeline’s arrival in Dublin on March 2017. Welcome, Angeline to the ENFiD-Ireland team!

Angeline’s Personal Message:

“Having spent a large part of my life outside of the Philippines, I am constantly looking for ways to reconnect with my mother country, an opportunity that I envisioned through an internship with ENFiD-Ireland. I am beyond excited to be working with and contributing to a committed organization as an intern and member of its editorial team!”

[ENFiD-Czech Republic] Country Report from the Czech Republic: February 2017

ENFID CZ 1Q 2017
by Michelle Marquez

It seems like yesterday when we hosted together with the Philippine Embassy the Paskong Pilipino sa Praha attended by around 200 Filipinos and guests. Now we are getting ready for another event to drive the gloomy winter away. We are hosting a Post- Valentine’s Party which will be held on the 18th of February at the House of National Minorities. We are expecting 120 guests to have fun, showcase their talents in dancing and singing.

During the month of March we have a series of activities to celebrate Women’s Month. We start with a lecture about Women’s Rights and Family Law in Czech Republic, Personality Development and Psychological First Aid. Invitations and details of the events will follow. We will also participate in a Field trip to Cesky Budejovice to see the works of Rizal. The trip will be hosted by the Knights of Rizal and the Philippine Embassy.

Love Ynia

[ENFiD-Austria] Country Report from Austria: February 2017

Into the new year

Gosh, January 2017 came and went, and here we are in February!

It’s the month of hearts, expression of love, thanks to St. Valentine, and picked up by the flower, cards, and chocolate industries to boost the economy. So, allow me to send you my personal greetings for this occasion of love – may you have your share of flowers, cards, and/or chocolates. You can be sure I will have mine, even if I have to send it to myself.

Before I can go on to this new year, I would like to turn back the clock a couple of months to the end of 2016. I believe that this bit of story has paid honor to the good of what we received for the past year, and has put us on the right path for the new year.

December 2016 was the usual month of holiday celebrations with charity fund-raising through sales of goodies crafted all year, and baked goods that came out of ovens the night before.

One major annual event that happens in Vienna is the “UNWG International Bazaar”. This is an entry-free day-long event that is organized by the United Nations Women’s Guild (UNWG), as a fund-raiser for the children’s charities that they have supported for many years. All of the embassies and international organizations put in their various contributions of crafts and cultural goods representing their countries, as well as well-visited booths that hold their respective delicious cuisines. And, through the visual and olfactory trip around the world, there is entertainment to be had, each country performing their song and dance best representing their cultures and traditions.


The Filipino booth for the cuisine is well-visited annually, organized by the Vienna International Center Club Filipino (VICCF). All the goodies are donated by cash or in kind, which means that of the menu provided, the members and their friends contribute a dish each, so that the supply is continuously replenished throughout the day. And, it does go very fast. I managed to catch the last serving of chicken adobo just before the closing time of 5 pm. I must say, if that was not the dish I contributed, whoever did, certainly did a great job of this Filipino classic.

At the final count, it was confirmed that this booth reached a generous amount from fans of our Filipino cooking! Indeed, an undertaking like this in one day could not have taken place without the voluntary support of those who took the task of decorating the stall with love, care and creativity, those who sacrificed their time and concentration of administering the sales and accounting, those who provided their own cars, time, petrol, driving, those who pulled out from their own kitchens the cooking paraphernalia needed (buckets, rice cooker, water cookers, dish warmers) stall keepers and servers dressed in colorful national costumes.


In her own words, the current VICCF President,
“It was a joy to watch you and your enthusiasm and good team spirit. We have had good remarks starting from the decoration of our stall, the food on sale, the beautifully dressed volunteers and their untiring assistance with a smile. cultural dance performers, photographers, and last, but by no means least, spouses, children and extended family members.
Thank you all in making this event a big success and reached our objective to help the children in poverty around the world.
Let me also take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!”

In Vienna, January usually is the time when groups meet to plan for their activities of the coming year. I had a peep on some of them, and I can promise you that there will definitely be lots of wonderful activities that will be shared in this newsletter as each month unfolds.

Mae Cayir
Vienna, Austria

Acceptance Speech of the new ENFiD Chair

Acceptance Message

Outgoing ENFiD-Europe Chair Gene Alcantara, Executive Director Rohlee de Guzman, fellow ENFiD Board of Directors (BOD), Honorary Members of the Board, Country Representatives, leaders, members and friends,

“The word chair was first known in the 13th century, coming from Middle English chaiere (Anglo-French or Latin cathedra). It is described as a piece of furniture designed to accommodate a sitting or reclining person, providing support for the back and often the arms and typically standing on four legs.”

When the Board voted for me as Chair of ENFiD-Europe on Saturday 21 January 2017 at Westminster City Hall in London, I visualized myself as this piece of furniture embracing a sitting or reclining Enfider, providing support for the back and the arms while standing on four legs. Being a chair is tough and sturdy, having four legs or maybe more.

Betsy's pic

From left: BOD-EU Sec Diane Halmans, Dir Gene Alcantara, Exec Dir Rohlee de Guzman, ENFiD-EU Chair Betsy von Atzigen, Ambassador to the UN H.E. Evan Garcia and Dir Rosalud de la Rosa

I accept your vote with joy, with enthusiasm and commitment to you all, to our kababayans in Europe in the name of duty, honour, country and an unshakeable faith in God. Let me savour my ENFiD engagement and gratitude for a moment, reflect on the honour for our Inang Bayan and my host country Switzerland while bracing myself for the challenges ahead.

I carry no fear nor anxiety for the future, knowing that this Chair is held together by an assiduous, competent, compassionate Team and blessed by the Hand that created all things beautiful and guided by the Blessed Mother.

Two remarkable ENFiD colleagues I heartily thank for bringing me to ENFiD in Malta are Luz Bergersen and Rachel Hansen. Both sisters persistently got me on board and that first Yes led to this biggest YES. See what persistence brings!


  1. Embracing this honour and mandate is for me embracing every Filipino who relocates to Europe struggling with integration, some with documentation, adjusting to a mixed marriage, learning a foreign language, finding a house or seeking employment, struggling with parenting, child and teen rearing, shifting faiths and while managing all of these, warming up to the wondrous cold season.
  2. I am embracing this mandate for our CHILDREN, both Pinoy/Euro-Pinoy. As I think of them, I lovingly think of my own 3 beautiful children, struggling to discover and accept their Filipino identity as integral part of the other – the European half – telling them they’re not only European but more.
  3. I am embracing this mandate for our CULTURE that yells and dances Pit Senyor (Sto. Nino Festivals which I missed while in London), a vivacious culture that wants to be drawn, recognized and exhibited alongside our adopted culture.
  4. I am embracing this mandate for our INANG BAYAN. Twenty hour or so by plane, distant yet close to home when we make an effort to intelligently care for our own loved ones by way of financial and social literacy, and managing wisely our resources and environment.
  5. I am embracing this mandate for meaningful and mutually beneficial relations among our communities, the Philippine diplomatic corps and government agencies, NGOs, sponsors, partners, friends and best of all, our local host governments.

ENFiD makes possible to genuinely CONNECT, NETWORK, EDUCATE and therefore ENRICH a million Filipinos across our Euro-Pinoy communities. In Switzerland alone where 17,000+ Euro-Pinoys live, the divide is considerable but optimistic as I am, ENFiD has started to find a genuine connection and in the process of becoming an agent of positive change, a softening agent of trust and friendship.

I commit to our binding ENFiD Constitution, its mission, vision, values and the outcomes of our BOD agreements in London. Ranks high among our dreams and projects to fulfill this year are:

  1. Initiating ENFiD‘s long-term Biogas Digester Project for the Philippines
  2. Bringing the Euro-Pinoy Youth Face to Face alongside our ENFiD-Europe Annual Conference to Essen, Germany
  3. Conducting Gender and Leadership Courses for ENFiD primemovers
  4. Showcasing Filipino arts, culture and sports.

In closing, let me reveal a little secret.  As a child, I dreamed of becoming president of our country. Lo and behold, this mandate is about the closest I could get to that dream. I thank you from day one for your hardwork and committed support. I encourage you to stay inspired and in love, regardless of the season. A team-driven, inspiring, hardworking ENFiD Board, Country Representatives and leaders that we are put collective goals ahead of individual glory.

Let’s be agents of positive change.
Let’s build community.
Let’s stay blessed.

Elizabeth (Betsy) von Atzigen
Chair, ENFiD-Europe / Switzerland