Photo shows (L-R) Pampanga Press Club President Noel Tulabut, Mekeni AVP for Marketing Kathlene Gomez-Schultz, Mekeni AVP for HR and Export Marilou Uy, Consul General Elmer Cato, Mekeni President Prudencio S. Garcia, and Skills Simplified CEO Francis Miranda at the Gawad Alab ng Lahi event held at Whitby Hotel, New York (Photo credit: Troi Santos, CNN Philippines).
Mekeni Food Corporation, one of the country’s biggest food manufacturing companies, is further solidifying its commitment to promoting local heritage not just in the country but in the US.
The home-grown food brand recently partnered with Hiraya Foundation, a New York-based non-profit organization established by Filipino and Filipino-American professionals, for the first-ever Gawad Alab ng Lahi.
Gawad Alab ng Lahi is a program by Hiraya Foundation that aims to recognize individuals, enterprises, and communities that contribute to uplifting the lives of Filipinos and promoting progress in the Philippines.
Mekeni President Prudencio S. Garcia and Consul General Elmer Cato at the Gawad Alab ng Lahi Awarding held at Whitby Hotel, New York. (Photo credit: Troi Santos, CNN Philippines)
Hiraya Foundation Chairman of the Board Romulo Aromin, Jr., MD added that the program honors those who made a meaningful impact on the lives of Filipinos abroad and in the Philippines.
Mekeni President Prudencio S. Garcia said, “We are fortunate to cross paths with Hiraya Foundation and a group of successful Filipinos who also advocate conservation of our heritage, especially during this time where everything seems to be at our fingertips. As a local brand penetrating the global arena, we recognize the importance of preserving one’s identity, being proud of your roots, and effecting positive change in society.”
Garcia, who is also a former overseas worker, continued that like Hiraya Foundation, uplifting lives is at the core of Mekeni.
Mekeni was born out of a simple dream of a father who wants to give his family a better life ahead. This, however, changed and grew deeper after its founder, Felix Garcia, witnessed the hardships in their barrio after the devastating Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Since then, it has become their advocacy to uplift lives within and beyond their community.
“We are grateful to Mekeni for supporting and joining us in our cause. With a program such as this, we hope we could inspire the next generation to uphold our heritage no matter where success takes them,” said Aromin.
This partnership between Mekeni and Hiraya Foundation was made possible by the Philippine Consulate in New York, headed by Consul General Elmer Cato who lauds the foundation for its patriotic advocacy.
In the recently concluded awarding ceremony last July 11, 2022, at Whitby Hotel in New York, the following were the winners of the Gawad Alab ng Lahi award: Dr. Leo Felix Jurado for his unrelenting advocacy for Filipino nurses in the US; Concentrix Philippines for opening doors nationwide for Filipinos to provide for their families and thrive in unprecedented times; Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. for being at the forefront of advancing the interests and welfare of nurses in the US by providing professional and legal assistance; and Carnival Cruise Line for recognizing and rewarding Filipino talents through employment and ensuring their health and safety during the height of the pandemic.
Apart from participating in Gawad Alab ng Lahi, Mekeni representatives also met with Filipino overseas workers in New York in a tribute event organized by ConGen Cato and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
Mekeni was given a chance to impart to the attendees their experiences and learnings in overcoming challenges.
“We hope that our story will inspire them that if they are resolute in their dreams, nothing is impossible. No challenge is too big to bring them down,” concluded Garcia.
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