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Amid chatter and applause, the Babaylan Austria – celebrated its 20th anniversary. The event was held on November 5, 2016 at the prestigious Marriott Hotel Vienna.
The celebration is also an opportunity to pay tribute to its past leaders since 1996. They reminisced that treasured era when highly motivated and independent women gathered together to conceive, create and produce events that promoted moral, social welfare and civic advancement among the Filipino women in Austria.
Malou Reininger, the first president of Babaylan Austria and the succeeding officers during the past 20 years led the emergence and its growth leading with the members in advancing the role of women in their ability to adopt and face the challenges of the times.
In the span of 20 years, these phenomenal women frequently interacted and developed their paths. They had connections, courage, vision, intelligence and abundance of social radiance.
Babaylans events, presentations and emergence have vastly contributed to the advancement of women as a coherent whole, not just a voice from an echo.
Projects of Babaylan
Past president Ms. Lorna Titgemeyer presented the achievements of Babaylan during the past 20 years. She affirmed that the Babaylanes in Austria exercise leadership and enforce their objectives in the Filipino community. It should be noted that this women’s organization was one of the strongest forces during the formation of the Council of Filipino Associations in Austria. It has supported many charitable projects both in Austria and in the Philippines. Here in Austria, a lot of women in distress situations were given assistance through referrals to appropriate institutions specialized in women’s issues. Symposia on women matters were conducted. Women were encouraged to empower themselves by helping them bring out and display their hidden talents in exhibitions especially organized for them. This organization also helped promote Filipino traditions by actively participating in different cultural activities of the Filipino community.
The present president of Babaylan, Imelda Perez Papai expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the services rendered by her fellow Babaylanes and at the same time challenged them to keep the organization alive for the next years.
“You are the bridge that links the government with our kababayans here in Austria, especially those in need. Babaylan Austria has been a key partner of the Philippine Embassy in reaching out and lending a hand to many of our fellow Filipinas in need,” Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson said.
The ambassador also acknowledged the involvement of the Babaylan in the promotion of culture preservation of art heritage.
Among the major highlights during the celebration were the awarding of certificates in recognition and appreciation of some Babaylanes, who contributed a lot to the upliftment of the organization throughout its 20th years of existence.
Anniversary and Masquerade Ball
A Masquerade Ball had been also staged in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of Babaylan Austria.
The Hall in Marriott Hotel Vienna was so beautifully decorated that it got the oohs and ahs from the guests and participants who turned out en masse in their marvelous costumes and elegant gowns and out-of-this-world masks.
„There never was a Masquerade Ball as grand, impressive and lavish as this event. The Babaylan Austria Masquerade Ball was a sell-out and a roaring success,“ a guest commented.
Entertainment par excellence was provided by top Singer and saxophonist Jengis Gümüsay.
The highlights of the event were the Ballroom Dance and The Best Masquerade Mask of the night. Lito Decena and Rose Stumpe were given the said award.
The event was also graced by Babaylan leaders from differents parts of Europe.
- Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN News, Austria