[Note : Please excuse our scattered thoughts today. Happy birthdays to Wilson Lu and Jannette Yu Lit – Tan (5th Feb) ! ]
ASSEMBLING SEVEN THOUSAND-plus attendees anywhere in New Zealand for a non-rugby, non- top draw concert is a challenge. Even A-League Wellington Phoenix soccer, NZ‘s only professional team, hardly manage that as an average, so generating a robust 7000 for any excuse better be a good one.
And it IS a good one, at least for the religious of the Filipino community here in NZ, as devotees of Senyor Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus filled the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland last January 15th. For our favorite Kinoy today, she would like to believe that each one of these 7000+ souls has a personal relationship with the Almighty, represented by Senyor Sto Nino.
It is that conviction that fuels her commitment to Sinulog NZ, which is arguably the most energetic, organized and emotional Filipino-themed annual event in New Zealand today. On paper she is the stalwart Communications Officer of NZ Sinulog, responsible for fielding communications, messages and statements extrinsic and intrinsic to the Sinulog effort, but in reality she is one of the totally committed personalities steering and helming the giant effort.
She will also be the first to disabuse you of this notion, pointing to the collective energies of the laity, the laymen (and women), ops volunteers, performers and everyone else who makes Sinulog a religious, socio-civic and community success.
Like many of her co-devotees in the Sinulog committee, Chichi is involved in every aspect of the event, from Day One to the Feast Day, which is the third Sunday of every January. Planning, organizing, fund raising, recruitment of volunteers and making sure that the 45 Pinoy community groups across New Zealand are aware of their jobs and do it when and where it’s needed. Chichi and Co. draft, fine-tune and recheck a massive checklist just to make sure every detail is executed without a hitch and the sum total of all efforts is converted into an event that the entire Pinoy community, Catholic or not, can be proud of.
Fittingly, this story starts and ends with an emphasis on a personal relationship with God. Chichi wouldn’t have it any other way, because it is the same relationship she enjoys that is the basis for all the work she has done for Sinulog NZ. It has been there even before the 18 years the Sto Nino fiesta has been celebrated in New Zealand, back to the time she was a little girl in Bohol and part of a family blessed with a lifelong devotion to the Sto Nino.
As long as there is a Pinoy community in NZ to serve, her spirit of service will never die. That kabayan is why Chichi Abadingo is my favorite Kinoy !
Thanks for reading !
PS. For an up-close-and-personal view on Chichi’s apostolate, pls visit http://santonino-nz.org/2012/01/01/pagsaulog-sa-pagtu-o-a-celebration-of-faith/, thanks!
*Kinoy, a contraction for Kiwi Pinoy, is a non-racial term for Filipinos who’ve either been born or have migrated to New Zealand.
- Why George Bautista is my favorite Kinoy* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Why Gladys Grace Stephens is my favorite Kinoy* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Why Sonny and Nieva Lim are my favorite Kinoys (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- 2012 Sinulog – Special Acknowledgements (santonino-nz.org)
- PAGSAULOG SA PAGTU-O (A Celebration of Faith) (santonino-nz.org)
- A Pinoy demystifies All Blacks Magic & the 2011 Rugby World Cup (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- New Zealand celebrates Sinulog (santonino-nz.org)
- Nexus between alternate realities : Pistang Hamilton & beach cleanup (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)