I MET my first flatmates (Jerome and Lady Jalbuena) through them, a pair who turned out to be one of the most outstanding Pinoy couples in New Zealand. On my way to Wellington from Auckland, I picked up some of the best personal and professional contacts for a thousand-and-one situations that were important, useful and incredibly helpful to me, then and now. And in my new city, I continue to make new friends and touch base with friends in the first NZ town I settled, because of them.
But I’m just one person. Multiply the good vibes generated above by around ten thousand, and you get a rough idea of how beautifully the concept of Yahoo!group communities has been applied by the creators of Pinoys sa Auckland, or better known online as AKLnzPINOYs.
One of the most brilliant unintended consequences (or perhaps it was a twinkle in the inventors’ eye) of the Internet has been the founding and proliferation of online communities. You can dwell on all the evils of the information highway, its access to forbidden fruit made available, fraud and criminal enterprise now made as easy as playing video games and sending email, but you can’t discount the networking, people-helping-people and good works paid forward by the groups of people connected by the keyboard, screen and modem, people who sometimes have never met in their lives and will never meet if not for altruism social concsiousness and kindness flying through cables and internet lines.
These goals inspired the creation of the AKLnzPINOY team led by Ka Uro or Mauro Oreta and his wife Jean formed on Valentine’s Day 2006, and its mission statement was quite straightforward :
As with other egroups, we intend to help our kababayan here and coming to Auckland to: – meet old and new friends; – expand one’s networking (very useful ito for job hunting, house hunting etc); – compare notes; – share experiences on job seeking, settlement, PR visa processing; – disseminate useful tips and information to kababayan wanting to go auckland, so new comers don’t commit the same mistakes and bloopers.
In truth, they have done much more than that. In a very real sense, they have united a huge chunk of the Filipino community in Auckland, reaching out to much more than its 1,818 member community (as of last count) and helping connect, reconnect and link further individuals, groups and spin-off e-groups throughout the Pinoy barangay in New Zealand, which today numbers around 70,000 strong.
Need a new flat? Leave a message on the AKLnzPINOYs e-group. Looking for a team to play basketball, badminton or volleyball for? There are many options, but asking the group at the e-group is a great start. Lonesome for Pinoy food, bakeoffs or just curious as to where Pinoy foodies congregate? Again, just check out messages and replies to food-related queries there.
To use the showbiz quote, AKLnzPINOYs has become bigger than life now. Because the Pinoy community is so vibrant, fluid and multi-dimensional, there will be so many ways of penetrating it, and this e-group is just the tip of the iceberg. You might just make one friend from the AKLnzPINOYs experience, or just use it a few times, but the impact on your life as a migrant will be tremendous. I know, because the e-group has helped me so much.
The people behind this group will never ask to be recognized and would rather work behind the scenes, so I will just mention them here without their knowing it : Mauro and Jean Oreta, Anthony Patricio, Carlo Jaminola, Ervin Llacuna, Carina Ferrer, Jim Tenedero, Beah Ulama, Jinkee Say, Peachy Deles, Jun Dolon, Chichi Abadingo, Cherry Thelmo-Fernandez, Weng Docot, Roger Tenedero and Atty Manuel Jose (Manjo) Oyson.
If I have omitted any name and/or misspelled or put in a wrong name, please accept my profuse apologies and advise the necessary corrections.
And as if they hadn’t done enough, their labor of love, From Carabao to Sheep, a primer for new Pinoy migrants to NZ, was awarded the “Print Journalism Award” by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas Migration Advocacy and Media Awards “for its significant role in raising public awareness on issues on Filipino migration, and the promotion and advocacy of migration and development.” Icing on the cake, is what I’d say.
Overall, the team behind AKLnzPINOYs deserves the highest recognition and commendation for all their unsolicited efforts for helping the Pinoy community change their lives for the better in New Zealand, in the process uplifting all of us.
And this is why, unqualifiedly, the AKLnzPINOYs admins and moderators are my favorite Kiwis today!
Mabuhay ang Pinoy !
- a day in the life of a Pinoy migrant (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Juan Pinoy and Maria Pinay shouldn’t feel TOO bad when… (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- pinoy pabaon better left at home (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- ate Shawie Stone, her yaya/nanny, & the basic instinct about Pinoy stereotypes (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Dear Inday : haere mai, mabuhay & welcome 2 New Zealand! (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- a Pinoy appreciates Dad on father’s day (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Frugal Juan + Thrifty Pedro = 2 Pinoy flatmates (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- pinoy riddle jokes (harveykang.typepad.com)
- why Mimi & Jarvis Laurilla and the KASAGIP Charitable Trust are my favorite kinoys* (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)