L’ASSOCIATION des Amities Franco-Philippine recently hosted a dinner for the ULIS (Unite Legere d’Intervention et de Secours), the sapeurs-pompiers (firemen) who returned to Negros to continue their good works on our island.
The six firemen, namely, Adjutant Chief Patrick Villardry, Adjutant Michel Merengone, Sergeant Chief Sebastian Bouche, Sergeant Chief Nicolas Meleissis, Sergeant Pascal Vella, and Dr. Sebastian Dapoigny, in coordination with Together Ensemble Foundation, Inc. represented by M. Hubert d’Aboville (trustee president and executive director) Commo. Ramon Jose Moreno (Board of Director), Jorge Lim (Visayas Chapter head) who is also the JCI national president, and Alfredo Barcelona (chairman emeritus of the Bacolod Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.) turned over firefighting equipment such as boots, overalls, and bunker suits to the Amity and Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigades, and the ICAG in Iloilo.
Together Ensemble returned to donate used clothings, bicycles, and solar lights to the Yolanda survivors of Sagay City.
The dinner venue was at Elsie Gonzaga’s antique-filled residence which the club has converted into its headquarters for many months now. There, we warmly welcomed like old friends our French and Filipino guests including Mrs. Alfredo Barcelona and Mrs. Mon Moreno. Indeed M. d’Aboville, Mon, five of the six firemen, and (bien sur!) Jorge are old friends of the club having previously hosted these gentlemen late last year. Jorge, especially, is the club’s link to Together/Ensemble. Merci beaucoup, Jorge!
Elsie’s ELG Foods prepared lentil soup, chicken inasal, the famous avocado mousse and that French classic country fare ratatouille which the Frenchmen approved with a hearty “tres delicieux!”
Jorge brought his to-die for, melt-in-the-mouth humba. Our French friends were quite tired after a day trip to Iloilo to donate some items. Tired but not famished. In true Filipino fashion, the Ilonggos had fed the visiting firemen several times during the day.
The welcome dinner was a renewal of ties, a toast to friendship, a show of thanksgiving, and a warm video-recorded invitation to His Excellency Gilles Garachon which I botched up and had to do a retake. This despite a dictation from Hubert. (Desolee, Monsieur Ambassador.)
My French might be flawed but the invitation was sincere and our gratitude to the generous French people overwhelming. Que Dieu vous benisse!