Mrs Philippines Canada 2014 Welcomed by Mangyan Tribe Students
During her visit to her hometown of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro, Velona had a reunion with a fellow youth leader in her student days, Fr. Patrick A. Bautista, who is now a Catholic priest in the province. Fr. Bautista, together with Gerline Gawad and other leaders in Pola, Oriental Mindoro, initially planned to take Velona & her husband, Jimmy Quan, to visit Mangyan students in the mountains. Mangyans are the indigenous tribes with their own language and customs in the remote mountains of Oriental Mindoro, which is southwest of the island of Luzon. Finding out that that Beth is in the family way, they changed their plans. They instead arranged to have the children come down from the mountains. About 129 young students from Grade 1-6 walked down from their mountain tribes to the Calatagan Elementary School to give Velona and Jimmy a very warm welcome. The Calatagan school has only 4 teachers, who teach multiple grades in one classroom. Velona talked to the students about her experiences and challenges in Canada and how she got crowned as Mrs. Philippines Canada 2014. Velona told them about the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation, of which she is a member. She related to them what PCCF members have been doing and what the members have been contributing, as a group and as individuals, to help the welfare of poor and needy in the Philippines. She relayed to the student the warm wishes of her family and PCCF, who made her visit with them possible. During the visit, Velona served a meal and distributed school supplies and slippers to delighted students, for to them, such visits do not often happen and treats were rare. According to Velona, the experience was the highlight of her trip back to the Philippines. She said it was made more meaningful because it was her husband’s first experience at doing a community outreach mission. They will not forget the student’s efforts and excitement at meeting them and their appreciation of the small offering they gave them. One of the students approached the couple to say “Thanks to strangers like you, who have never met us before, but took time to let us know that we are worth being made part of your homecoming”. PCCF president, Romy Rafael is elated to hear of the Mrs Philippines Canada 2014’s Philippine experience and proud having her as PCCF's ambassador of goodwill. He declared, "We can only help if our events like Pinoy Fiesta and the pageants are successful. We have to work harder, ask for everyone's support and be united to be able to help the poorest of the poor and to have fun at the same time."