December 2015 5K Walk/Run

August, 13, 2015
Contact: Rene Calandria

WASHINGTON, DC - Filipino-American volunteers from the Washington, DC metropolitan area are joining forces to organize the fundraiser 5K Walk/Run Ambassador’s Cup …Rebuilding Nepal. In response to the devastating earthquake last April, the Filipino-American community comes together to raise funds in support of its brothers and sisters in Nepal. This charitable event is a joint effort between the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Metro DC (PACC-DC); Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC); and The Veterans Pantry, in conjunction with the Royal Consulate of Nepal and the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.

The race will take place on Sunday, December 6, 2015 starting at 8:00AM to be held at Fairfax Corner, 11895 Grand Commons Avenue, Fairfax, VA. Online registration costs are $30 before December 4; $35 after December 4. A portion of funds raised from this event will go towards All Hands Volunteers, a non-profit, volunteer, disaster relief organization, in support of the Nepal earthquake victims. Runners can register at this link:


PACC-DC is a Filipino-American cultural group with a vision to strengthen entrepreneurship and business development activities. Its mission is to develop programs and seminars that will have a positive impact on the business community and foster outreach initiatives that benefit the community. To learn more, visit or call us at 703-909-8895.

About PHC

PHC's mission is to assist in rebuilding lives and building the future of Philippine communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. It is comprised of 30+ community organizations working with trusted partners who have people in the Philippines making a difference at the local level.


Press Release: Filipino-American Entrepreneurs and Professionals Convene in Philadelphia for Business Boot Camp


PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 15, 2015:  The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (PACC-PASNJ) is pleased to announce its capacity-building small business boot camp with the support of the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). As one of five projects selected as part of WHIAAPI’s program to help improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), it is the only project focused on the Filipino-American community. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at the Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, PA and is being planned by representatives from Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, and California. Keynote speakers include Billy Dec, CEO & Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Loida Lewis, CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, and JT Mallonga, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

The purpose of this project is “to strengthen and increase the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in America and abroad,” explains Brad Baldia, the President of PACC-PASNJ and project Co-chair. “This is an opportunity to connect with the Filipino-American business community to share resources, discuss best practices, and ultimately provide the resources and tools to help business owners and professionals succeed,” adds RJ Diokno, the Vice President of the Washington, DC PACC.

Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr, ambassador to the US, welcomed the project saying this will help raise the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in the US. “I am pleased that one of the five proposals accepted, out of the hundreds of proposal submitted, is this project,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “I look forward to working with Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce and our Consulates in promoting this project”, he said. “This comes at the right time when the Embassy is also in the process of institutionalizing a Fil-Am business registry. This collaboration would neatly tie our efforts together.” Dr. Christie Canaria, Board Member of the Washington, DC PACC, feels empowered to be a speaker at the boot camp. “To see the support provided by U.S. Agencies, the Philippine Embassy, and Philippine Consulate of New York shows that this is the time for our business community to come together for the advancement of Filipino-Americans in the U.S.,” Canaria explains.

The Philippine Consulate General in New York is firmly supportive of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce’s initiatives and activities that help identify and enhance investment and business opportunities in the Philippines for US companies. “One of our mandates in the Philippine Foreign Service is to promote economic diplomacy,” says Consul General Mario De Leon. “In carrying out our mission, we partner with PACC in its activities that will increase the awareness of the business community in Pennsylvania and South New Jersey about the Philippines,” he further explains.

The first objective of this project was to assess the needs of Filipino-American Chambers and entrepreneurs. “We have used survey responses from our community to develop this business boot camp with the intent that this model may be replicated in other cities or regions,” says Bryan Ramos, President of the PACC in Atlanta, GA. He adds, “One key discussion that we hope to engage with participants,  is a discussion how we conduct business as Filipino-Americans. We have drafted a Code of Conduct simply to start the discussion and we are very excited about it.” There has been a growing consensus within the community to develop the skills of those interested in entrepreneurship. “Our vision is that this is just the beginning and that with the support of  WHIAAPI, SBA, and MBDA, this will open new doors to Filipino-American entrepreneurs and professionals and inspire the next generation of business leaders to be involved in the community,” explains Baldia.


After the Storm: A Benefit Concert for the Philippines

Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of metro DC (PACC-DC), President, Rene Calandria, introduces the organization and encourages the community to come together in unity and support the benefit concert for the Philippines.

Please purchase your tickets today for "After the Storm" on June 15th at the Kennedy Center at: Remember, the money raised will go to typhoon relief programs in the Philippines. For more information, you may also go to

Sustainability of Social Enterprises: Reese Fernandez

Established by Reese Fernandez in 2007 at the young age of 22, Rags2Riches (R2R)–a social enterprise based in Manila–creates eco-ethical fashion and home accessories out of upcycled scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics by working with artisans living in the poor communities across the Philippines. Since its founding, R2R has trained more than 900 artisans across 25 marginalized sectors in the Metro Manila area, partnered with well-known designers and distributes its work through 70 retail outlets in the Philippines and overseas. Today, the award-winning Ms. Fernandez continues to expand R2R’s social impact and eco-ethical footprints on the local, national and international settings.

Reese Fernandez Awards: Global Good Fund Fellow | Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year | World Economic Forum Young Global Leader | WEF Entrepreneur of the Year Award | Rolex Awards for Social Enterprise Young Laureate inaugural awardee

Keynote Address by Supervisor Penny Gross at PACC-DC Induction


Remarks by Supervisor Penny Gross
at PACC Induction of Officers Dinner
Tyson’s Marriott
December 20, 2013

Thank you.  It is a pleasure to be with you this evening, and I deeply appreciate Rene’s invitation to speak at the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce holiday party.  Fairfax County is proud to be the home of so many people from around the world.  Whether you have been here for decades, or arrived last week, our diversity weaves a wonderful tapestry that is the envy of many of our neighboring counties and states.

          The United States contains more than 3000 counties – east to west and north to south.  The smallest county, population-wise, is Loving County, in west Texas.  Only 71 people live in the entire county, which is nearly twice as large, geographically, as Fairfax County.  They don’t have traffic congestion, I am not sure they have a grocery store, and their school district closed down years ago because the student population had fallen to two, that’s two, students! 

On the other hand, Fairfax County is known as a premier county anywhere!  Fairfax always makes the top ten list in almost any category – household income, quality of life, employment, percentage of college graduates, and unfortunately, traffic congestion.  Unlike Loving County, our school system has about 184,000 students, and we have plenty of grocery stores and shopping areas.

Why do I bring up this comparison between Fairfax County, Virginia, and Loving County, Texas?  Well, it’s easy.  Our country is composed of many, many different communities – large and small, urban, suburban, and rural – but we in the metropolitan Washington area, with lots of leaders and Type A personalities, often forget that people in other places might have different opinions, beliefs, and approaches to problems.  We live in the white hot global center of politics.  Washington, D. C. is in the news, on TV, and on social media, almost every second of every day.  We get used to seeing familiar people and locations on national news, and may tend to think that’s how it is everywhere else.

But it isn’t.  A few months ago, my husband and I were in California for his high school class reunion.  The civil war in Syria was on all the news programs, and there was a lot of concern here about the war and the people fleeing to Turkey.  However, in California, on the Stanford campus, not a single mention was made about Syria, or war, or any of the issues that we talk about here all the time.  For our friends in California, many of whom were doctors, lawyers, and other professional careers, the concern was not global, but very local.  Yes, we were about 3000 miles away, but it might as well have been another planet. 

So my advice, and caution, is to remember that, for all of life’s similarities, there also are great differences.  Being open to learning new things, or understanding a new approach to old things, or finding a simple solution to something that seems more complex are all good things.  And for communities that are welcoming family members and friends to an entirely new life in this country, learning new things is sort of a joint effort, isn’t it?  You want to maintain your values, but also are ready to expand your friendships, viewpoints, and understand others.

That’s often what leadership is made of.  It’s not who’s the best speaker, or who aces every test, or wears the coolest clothes.  Leadership is exhibited in your openness to new ideas (question, but not necessarily reject them), explaining new concepts to others, being willing to take on the tough challenges, rolling up your sleeves and pitching in. 

         For the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, the focus is on succeeding in business.  Small business provides the backbone of our economic strength here in Fairfax County.  Yes, we have large employers such as SACI, Northrup Grumman, Hilton Worldwide, and Volkswagen, and we were thrilled that those well-known corporations selected Fairfax County for their headquarters.  But who is going to serve all those employees?  Who will provide their dry cleaning services?  Who will repair their vehicles?  What about shoe repair?  And the pediatrician?  And the day care provider?  CPA services during tax time?  Where will the family go to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary?  Most likely, they will patronize a small business, someone local, or perhaps a franchisee, but a business that needs to meet a payroll every week.  Not a small order, but one that depends on succeeding in business, in a county that is friendly to business.

         And so I am pleased that you have chosen Fairfax County.  We in Northern Virginia are so fortunate to have the measure of success and involvement that we enjoy.  Chairman Sharon Bulova often comments that, in Fairfax County, we have an engaged community.  There are not wide distances between residents and their elected officials.  We are constantly networking, even if we don’t call it networking.  We are all connected somehow.  And it seems that the larger we get, the more we seem to be a small town.  There was a play called “Six Degrees of Separation” that explored the theory that everyone and everything is six steps or less from some sort of connection.  In Fairfax County, it seems that sometimes that separation is only two or three.  So many connections among so many people – it truly does make us a small town.

         Those degrees of separation become even closer when we volunteer in the community.  A wonderful example is your food bank and the monthly dinners you sponsor for needy families.  The Chamber provides a wonderful service, but you also are role models for those kids and their families.  They may need your help now, but success means that they will pattern what you do for the next generation, and the next. Lifelong friendships are built just by virtue of connecting with each other, sharing commonalities, and exploring differences.

And so I salute your volunteer spirit.  Volunteerism builds leadership skills that you always use and never lose.  You can be a volunteer, and a leader, at every age, young or old.  I have one friend who is still a daily volunteer in the parks at the age of 91.  Volunteering keeps her young!

Your niche is out there.  Find it, nurture it, and never regret it.

Thank you.