Year: 2017

Amazing Enterprise presents Ms. Joey Albert

Join our newest corporate member, Amazing Enterprise – An Authorized Saladmaster Dealership on January 14, 2018 as they present to you:

An Amazing Night with Joey Albert

When: January 14, 2018 @ 6 P.M.
Where: Hyatt Regency – Galleria
How: Call for Tickets (281) 494-2240 or email

#AnAmazingNightwithJoeyAlbert #Saladmaster #AmazingEnterpriseLLC

featured image

Let us not jinx the re-opening of the Philippine Consulate in Houston

There is a word in the Filipino language that describes a disaster that happens when an upcoming event is prematurely announced or a game or an election is prematurely called. The word is “bulilyaso.” The closest translation of this into English is “jinxing it” when some stupid outsider tries to influence and poison the environment and as a result, the important event that everybody is waiting for is cancelled or executed disastrously.


The planned re-opening of the Houston Consulate after decades of Philippine government neglect of the Filipinos in Texas and in neighboring states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and parts of New Mexico is now a very sensitive issue that all of us should hope will happen, but leave alone until it really happens. If a good thing is meant to happen, it will happen. There is no need for anybody to push or pre-empt the decision-makers for one-upmanship or any other selfish reasons they may have for interfering.


The closing down of the Houston Consulate during the Cory Aquino administration for political and economic reasons has caused tremendous suffering on the part of the Filipinos in our region for almost 30 years who had to travel 1,600 miles both ways to the nearest consulate in L.A. for their basic consular needs. The very old Filipinos on wheelchairs who come to our Consular Outreach project cry tears of gratitude saying: “Hulog po kayo ng langit sa amin, we can no longer survive a trip to Los Angeles!”


Thanks to the creation of the Honorary Consulate in Dallas and the deputizing of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce who, working together, have helped tens of thousands of Filipinos especially in Houston in the last 9 years, this suffering of the Filipinos in our region has somewhat been mitigated. Since her appointment as a non-paid Honorary Consul with a full-time staff whose salaries she herself pays, Ethel Mercado has handled more than 2,000 cases and helped Filipinos in South, West and North Texas with their problems 6 days a week, year-round. She has also attended to the needs of numerous Filipinos in distress in different parts of the state, in prison, in hospitals or in homeless shelters, or mail-order brides who are being abused by their American husbands to name a few examples.


In the 9 years that the PACC Chambers of Houston, Dallas and McAllen have hosted and managed the Consular Outreach program, they have served more than 25,000 Filipinos in Texas and in neighboring states 8 times a year and saved them $12.5 million in travel costs. Former Consul General Mary Jo Aragon described this project of PACC as “community service at its finest!” Unfortunately, these sacrifices on the part of the consular officials who visit Texas 8 times a year, the untiring Chamber volunteers in the three cities and the quiet but very effective Honorary Consul Ethel Mercado are not enough. The demand for consular services is so great, for every 1,000 Filipinos that we served, another 1,500 had to be turned away. It was in fact the recorded sacrifices and hard work of the PACC volunteers for 9 years and the year-round pro-bono services of the Honorary Consul in Dallas in the last 4 to try to solve a much bigger problem that helped add much needed strength to the proposal to re-open the Houston Consulate.


Hence the need to re-open the Houston consulate, a project that had been extensively discussed and debated through five different administrations (Ramos, Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte).


Wrong and Shameless


With all due respect, it is very wrong and downright shameless for one person or group of persons to claim credit for the planned re-opening of the Houston Consulate based solely on one letter that received a non-committal courtesy response from an aide to the new Secretary and on one innocuous recent visit to the Department of Foreign Affairs.


Claiming credit for a huge million-dollar project that one did not work for or helped approve would be a huge insult to many important people who had lobbied for many years to re-open the Houston Consulate, including former Ambassadors, former Consul-Generals and friends of the Texas Fil-Am community in Malacanang and in the DFA. It would be an insult to the careful and judicious planning and detailed due diligence by sympathetic individuals and groups who supported the cause through the years.


Here are the facts:


We tried to keep these facts under wraps for a long time for fear of being jinxed, but in view of the growing misinformation through social media perpetrated by the shameless posturers and credit grabbers, we feel an obligation to share these facts which we have known for a long time, but never talked about. Should you be interested in confirming these facts, feel free to contact any or all of our former Consul-Generals in L.A. who are now in Manila who have worked on this, or any of our former Ambassadors from Hon. Raul Rabe to Hon. Ernie Maceda to Hon. Joey Cuisia.


  1. The proposal to re-open the Houston Consulate started during the term in Washington DC of Ambassador Rabe 20 years ago and almost happened during the tenure of Ambassador Ernesto Maceda who was close to members of our community. The talks intensified during the term of Ambassador Joey Cuisia who was very supportive of us, and our friends the 3 former Consul-Generals in L.A. who also supported the re-opening project.


  1. The proposal to re-open the Consulate which was passed on from one administration to the next was actually approved during the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III, DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. We were expecting the re-opening to happen two years before the election, but unfortunately, due to other priorities, the project did not get the funding that it was asking for. Secretary Del Rosario had exerted great efforts to re-include it in the 2016 budget but their term had already come to an end. As early as 2015, we itched to talk to the Fil-Am community about it to create some excitement but are glad that we bit our tongues. Otherwise, it would come out as jinxed, fake news. Mabubulilyaso. Magagalit lang ang mga tao.


  1. The master plan to re-open the Houston Consulate which was approved by the Aquino administration led by DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario finally got its budget approved during the term of President Duterte. Being a very limited budget that would pay for the office expenses but would depend on the six existing U.S. consulates to contribute manpower from their existing rosters, of course the incumbent Consul Generals strongly objected to it. As of this writing, this dilemma is still in the process of being resolved, and therefore, there is still the slight possibility that this project may not happen as scheduled in 2018. In the Philippine government, as in any other government, anything can happen, especially when it is a matter of securing big funds. It must also be noted that in addition to Houston, there are many other competing countries and cities that are also lobbying for a new consulate or the re-opening of a closed consulate. Seattle’s needs, for example, are just as critical as Houston’s if not more so.


  1. Although the details of the proposal are known only by a small handful of individuals in our region, we never talked about this, not even with our friends. Have you ever seen any formal announcement or press release about this by the DFA, by the Philippine Embassy or the L.A. Consulate, even during the time that we feel the project was getting closer to fruition? This is why when the itchy tongues and fingers of publicity-hungry posturers and credit-grabbers started to announce this in social media, it created quite a consternation in the Consulate and in the DFA. So, if this project ever gets jinxed again, the more than 200,000 Filipino constituents in Texas and 4 neighboring states who stand to benefit greatly from a re-opened consulate in our region will have these unscrupulous posturers and interferers to blame. We will make this known to one and all.


  1. One of the reasons why the first Honorary Consulate was established in Dallas and not in Houston which has a much bigger Filipino population is because of the possibility that the Houston consulate might be re-opened. But knowing from day one that her job as Honorary Consul for the entire state was an impossible one as Texas is geographically bigger than California which has two consulates and two honorary consuls, Honorary Consul Ethel has always advocated

for the appointment of a second Honorary Consul for Houston. Unfortunately, our secret vetting of potential candidates in Houston did not result in a single one who was willing to work an essentially full-time job without a salary, and on top of that, to personally be responsible for about $75,000 annual budget for staff and office expenses without help from the Philippine government. Many were excited to vie for the position, until they found out that they will be working full time pro-bono, and will be spending a lot of out-of-pocket money to do the job.


  1. Unbeknownst to many, after every change in administration since the consulate was closed down 27 years ago, we have always been in the forefront of mass petitions for its re-opening. We averaged 500 signatures from Texas and 4 surrounding states. We gathered about 1,000 signatures for the first petition to President Fidel V. Ramos 20 years ago. And, we can show you that my name and Ethel’s name were always on the front page of the multi-page petitions. In our petitions and personal negotiations, we have always taken the position that re-opening the Philippine Consulate was critical, and if that is not to happen for any reason (budget, politics, etc.) DFA should appoint working Honorary Consuls in Dallas, Houston and maybe a third one in deep South Texas. So, again, no one individual or group of individuals can lay claim that they were responsible for the eventual re-opening of the consulate, if and when it finally happens. To put a stop to the rumors and the shameless posturing, we have urged the government to go ahead and issue a press release, but the planning and execution will continue to be done under the radar for obvious reasons.

Respect the chain of command and you will be served promptly.


We will have more details on the quiet work being done by the Consulate Scoping Mission as they become available. If you have any inquiry or suggestions, we suggest you follow the chain of command. Just like any government or corporation, the Philippines follows a chain of command. And we have been told:  If you don’t respect the chain of command, the chain of command will not respect you.


On our request, the Philippine government may soon issue a press release on the Consulate re-opening project. Meanwhile, the Honorary Consul for Texas, Mrs. Ethel Reyes-Mercado will be happy to answer any questions or provide consular services that you may need. For those who are not aware, Hon. Consul Ethel Mercado has an office in Dallas that provides some consular services year-round, 5-6 days a week, 9am to 6pm. (See attached articles). In-between the 8 consular outreach weekends in Houston, Dallas and McAllen, the Honorary Consulate in Dallas provides emergency passports for those who have to urgently leave for the Philippines but whose Philippine passport has expired, special powers of attorney, reports of birth, reports of marriage, document authentication, application for Philippine visas for U.S. nationals, etc. She also attends to Filipinos in distress anywhere in Texas. Her office is busy all day long fielding phone calls and attending to the needs of Filipinos, many of them from Houston and South Texas. For these services, so you don’t have to go to L.A. or wait for the next outreach. You may call Hon. Consul Ethel’s office at (940) 728-2222 any day of the week and request an appointment. Emergency consular documents are usually given to you on the same day. (Please share this information with your members, constituents and circles of friends who may need the services).


Please be guided accordingly,


Gus Mercado

Chief of Staff to the Honorary Consul in Texas


featured image

Houston Consular Outreach Announcement

Dear Friends of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce Texas:

The next Philippine Consular Outreach Program & Business Expo will be held in Houston, Texas on November 11-12, 2017.

For those of you who are not familiar with this event, the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles comes to Houston to help Filipino Citizens renew their Philippine passports and process other consular services. PACC Texas conducts a Business Expo simultaneously with each Consular Outreach program.

We highly recommend that you complete the Appointment Scheduling Steps as soon as possible depending on the Consular Services you need. The limited appointment slots go quickly each time, so act now!

Registration opens 30 days prior to November 11th.

Please go to or…/consular-outreach-sc… to get the latest information.

#philippineamericanchamberofcommercetexas #pacctexas#communityservice #houstonoutreach #pcgla Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles

featured image

Houston Consular Outreach July 22-23

Houston Consular Outreach July 22-23

We will be hosting another Houston Consular Outreach next week on July 22-23 thanks in part to the generous donations from our Business Expo Partners and from community donors like you.

Our venue again will be at the First Filipino American United Methodist Church led by Pastor Jerico D. Pagdilao. They are located at 8603 S. Kirkwood Road, Houston, Texas 77099.

Returning as our major sponsor is Filipino Cuisine. They’ll be serving breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Their restaurant is located at 10950 Bissonnet Street, Houston, Texas 77099.

Also, returning as our community Business Expo Partners are:

One Philippines News Magazine/Bhong Zausa

News & Media

Star Kargo/Bhong Zausa

Shipping & Logistics

Sterling McCall Toyota/Bhong Zausa

Automotive Retail

Joy’s Boutique/Joy Hernandez

Clothing & Jewelry

Godo’s Bakery & Restaurant


Freedom Cargo/Joel Bamba

Shipping & Logistics

Global Cargo/Rafael Jong

Shipping & Logistics

Allstate Insurance/Jun Juguilon

Insurance, Investment & Retirement

World Financial Group/Melany Mariano

Insurance, Investment & Retirement


Our volunteers and board of directors will be on-site to assist you during your appointment and will be more than happy to provide more information on volunteering with the chamber or becoming a member.


If you are not a member of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce Texas, please join us today. Your membership will benefit your business and the community. We look forward to working with you.




Rick Guinhawa

Greater Houston Region Chair

featured image

Houston Consular Outreach 2017 April Results

A Successful Houston Consular Outreach

I would like to start by saying THANK YOU to the Philippine Consulate General – Los Angeles, to our volunteers, individuals and families that contributed their time and resources during the April Consular Outreach.

We are proud to announce that the contributions and donations received will help with the expenses for the next Consular Outreach currently scheduled for July 22-23.

Here are the final numbers tallied from the Consular Outreach in April. We served a total of 647 applicants from Houston and it’s surrounding cities.

Dual Citizenship: 103
Derivatives: 10
Passport Renewal: 383
Replacement of Lost Passport: 0
Amendment/Extension: 3
Travel Document: 0
Civil Registry: 26
Legalization of Documents: 30
Registration of Voters: 185

Approximate savings of $600.00 per person by not having to fly to Los Angeles.

-R/T Airfare $300/person
-Hotel $300 for 2 nights

Approximate time saved per person by not having to fly to Los Angeles = PRICELESS

We would not have been able to provide another successful consular outreach without the partnership of the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles led by Vice Consul Rainier J. Casis and his very efficient, hardworking and cheerful team.

Ms. Joy Limpin, Ms. Mari Santera, Mr. Fernan Balicoco, Mr. Nelson Maestrado, Mr. Heartchie Tamayo, Mr. Jerry Vicedor and Mr. Midaradat Mamad.

We also want to recognize the following corporate sponsors for their continued contribution in supporting the consular outreach in Houston.


1. First Filipino American United Methodist Church (

2. Pugon de Manila (
3. Godo’s Bakery & Restaurant (

Shipping & Logistics
4. Freedom Cargo (
5. Global Cargo

News & Media
6. TFC (
7. One Philippines (One Philippines News Texas)

Insurance, Investment & Retirement
8. Allstate Insurance – Jun Juguilon (

Copier Services & Supplies
9. George Lising

Health & Wellness Products
10. It Works! Beauty Products

Trade, Import and Export
11. FilCamerica Trade Services

Community Outreach
12. BPSOS-Houston, Inc. (

Photography Services
13. Guinhawa Photography (


If you are not a member of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce Texas, please join us today. Your membership will benefit your business and the community. We look forward to working with you.




Rick Guinhawa

Greater Houston Region Chair

About the PACC-TX Consular Outreach

The Philippine Consular Outreach program is a public service mission of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce-Texas. This public service saves each applicant the high cost of traveling to Los Angeles, CA. to renew passports, apply for dual citizenship and other consular services being offered during the outreach. All workers are non-paid volunteers who sacrifice their time and resources to help facilitate this process. The chamber, with the assistance from the business expo vendors, and donors who received service pays for the costs of the venue and other operating expenses. The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce-Texas has been voted “Most Outstanding Fil-Am Organization in the U.S. for Community Service, Trade Promotion and Aid to the Philippines.”