the man behind the title

Amba with KABAYAN staff[ with thanks to everybody concerned, including the good ambassador, our KABAYAN publisher Didith Tayawa-Figuracion, KABAYAN executive editor Meia Lopez, and associate editor Judith Balares Salamat.  And of course, KABAYAN staff and everyone who took part in presswork and post-production!  Reposted with permission from the Winter issue of Wellington KABAYANews magazine, an online copy of which may be accessed through  Thanks and acknowledgment to the Facebook photo library of KABAYANews Magazine. ]

JESUS GARY Domingo, the man, defies definition, escapes categorization, and eschews the expected narrative of his life.

As our country’s highest public official in Wellington, New Zealand, he meets and breaks bread with prime ministers, princes and ambassadors, but later in the day takes selfies with kabayan nurses, dairy workers and caregivers.  As a diplomat in the Middle East, he employs every ounce of his energy and skill set to negotiate for and repatriate our wrongfully accused OFW, and yet he later serves as impromptu DJ in a kabayan dance party.

As a senior ambassador and respected policy maker in the Philippine Foreign Service, he firmly believes in the traditional government-to-government and institution-to-institution levels of interaction.  At the same time, he tells you that there is no limit to the potential of every Pinoy to be his/her’s country’s ambassador, a challenging task for the nearly 50,000 ambassadors (and counting) currently living in New Zealand.

Having said that, it would be an understatement to say that Jesus Gary Domingo is a man who wears many hats.  But right now his main preoccupation is the hat that says “Jesus Gary Domingo, Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.”  It is the gig of his life, and he has hit the ground running.

It would be too long to put it all here now, but he has a dozen initiatives baking in the oven, not to mention keeping firmly in place the projects started by his predecessor Her Excellency Ambassador Virginia Benavidez.  He has already touched base with the numerous Pinoy ethnic, civic and community organizations dotting the North and South Islands.  He will not miss a club meeting, church event, salu-salo, kasalan or binyagan, as long as you invite him early and give him decent notice to iron his barong.

He claims not to possess a balladeer’s voice ala Martin Nievera or Erik Santos, but a clever Eighties playlist will keep him on the dance floor until midnight (and beyond).

Don’t worry kabayan if the usual list of accomplishments, credentials or curriculum vitae doesn’t accompany Amba Gary’s name in this story.  You’ll find it on any search engine worth the mouse-click (he’s not one to talk about what he’s done, anyway), he usually lets his actions do the talking, and after all, the Pinoy community has the next six years to get to know this multi-faceted  kabayan.

Welcome to New Zealand, Ambassador Gary!