Zhakeila Nario Cabico has been selected as Miss Philippine Weekend with her Princesses Elaynie Lyatte Delarmente and Lyanne Rafanan.

The new Miss was also selected Miss Photogenic. Rafanan was named Miss Congeniality, Best in Native Costume and Best in Formalwear and Delarmente earned Miss Talent.

The court will ride in Saturday’s Philippine Weekend parade and make several appearances at the July 27-28 Cecil Park activities.

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The San Juan family has been selected as Grand Marshal of the 2019 Delano Philippine Weekend which concludes a month of activities with weekend activities including the 10 a.m. July 27 parade, opening ceremonies, entertainment and singing and dance contests at Cecil Avenue Park, and weekend basketball and tennis tournaments and bingo in the Delano High cafeteria. A month of events closes July 28.

Roberto San Juan, Sr., born and raised in Manila with family roots in Palawan, and wife Grace were married at age 20 and in 1991 immigrated to the United States and Delano. Robert worked in the Alaskan canneries, local grape fields and Floyd’s Hardware Store before working at North Kern and Kern Valley State Prisons until his retirement at age 74. He has participated in Philippine Weekend but is best known locally as a DJ for the Bayan Filipino radio programs.

Grace also raised in the Philippines, ran several businesses there and in Delano worked as a seamstress and Filipino food caterer. She was also involved with Philippine Weekend pageants.

Christian San Juan gained a bachelor of science degree in engineering at the University of the Philippines and became a professor there before marrying Malou and immigrating to the United States in 1984. He worked in the grape fields and as a car salesman before being employed by Texaco in Bakersfield in 1987, starting a 32-year career in the oil/petroleum industry. He is a staff electrical, instrumentation and control engineer at Aera Energy. Chris was PW chairman in 1993 and was a partner in Mabuhay Productions, a group aiming to enrich the Filipino community of Delano.

Chris met wife Malou in San Jose when they were neighbors and then college sweethearts. She studied nursing in the 1970s, immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 and eventually settled in Delano where she worked for Cambridge Filters and as a medical biller at DRMC and then office manager for Dr. Abalos until her 2013 retirement. She once headed the Philippine Weekend Tiny Tots and has been involved in the festival for many years.

Eldest child of Chris and Malou is Christine San Juan Yahya, born and raised in Delano and recipient of a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Fresno State and a master’s degree in accounting from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She began her career as a tax accountant in downtown San Jose. She and husband Zain married in 2012 and live in Morgan Hill with their two daughters. Christine and Zain manage a metal finishing company in Gilroy. Christine has chaired several events and is currently treasurer and program coordinator during 15 years of involvement in PW.

Chad San Juan, Christine’s brother, is a graduate of Delano High and Fresno State with a bachelor of science degree. He recently earned his master’s in quality assurance from CSU Dominguez Hills. He is a registered environmental health specialist with Kern County. He has taught Latin dance classes and headed committees and been active in Philippine Weekend for more than 14 years.

An annual special Mabuhay award recognizes one or two people who have been active in Philippine Weekend in specific areas. Honored this year are Butter Torres Gonzales and husband Lucio “Chio” Gonzales.

Chio came to Delano for steady employment in 1947 and met 1952 Delano High graduate Butter and married in 1956. Chio managed People’s Market in 1960 for his father-in-law and after the death of Salvador Torres, he and wife Butter bought the business in 1969 and worked side by side for 40 years.

For more than 40 years the couple has been active in community service and taking part in all areas of the community. Chio noticed that Filipinos did not have representation in local politics and worked with several Filipino leaders to help elect Leonard Velasco as the first Filipino-American on Delano’s City Council.

Chio and Butter have for the last 45 years attended Philippine Weekend events as have their children and grandchildren. They say they admire what Philippine Weekend represents — a time for families and friends to join in unity, affection, culture, and celebration.

The Grand Marshal and Mabuhay honorees will be featured in the July 27 parade starting at 10 a.m. 8th and Main streets.

They will also take part in opening ceremonies at Cecil Avenue Park starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

After the ceremonies, full days Saturday and Sunday at Cecil Park will include Barrio Fiesta food and drink booths as well as informational booths and sale of dry goods, jewelry and all types of souvenirs.

Entertainment will be offered throughout the day until dark when the Santacruzan procession will pass around the park edges. Entertainment resumes Sunday and will continue until dark.

Philippine Weekend royalty and volunteers will staff a beverage booth both days to raise part of the more than $20,000 required to sponsor the Weekend program.

Away from the park will be a two-day tennis tournament at Delano High’s courts and a two-day statewide basketball tournament to be played at Delano High and Cesar Chavez High gyms. Bingo sponsored by Delano High cheer parents will take place in the school cafeteria from noon to 7 p.m. both days.

Helen Calip, last year’s Mabuhay award winner, is busy helping with every cause that she can. She spends Philippine Weekend approaching persons to donate to the PW scholarship fund.

Recently I was approached by Helen — who was business manager of the Delano High newspaper when I was adviser — and she was selling raffle tickets for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church which is raising funds to benefit the reconstruction of the church. The drawing will take place Aug. 25.

The Weekend actually starts July 26 with youth cultural dancers going through rehearsals and some booths open prior to the evening adobo cookoff, all at Cecil Avenue Park.

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The Delano Police Department is again sponsoring National Night Out on Aug. 6 at Cesar Chavez Park. The free event, open to the public, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m.

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Delano High footballers will hold a car wash from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 27 at the school parking lot along Cecil Avenue.

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Delano Bengal youth football seniors broke even at a passing tournament in Dinuba. The Bengals tumbled Lindsay 9-1, lost to the Visalia Miners and tied the Visalia Rangers.

Standouts among the 38 players taking part were Manuel Ayon and Skyy Mark, Matt Guerra, Damian Flores and Emar Daniels, who intercepted three passes in each game. Bengal senior linemen won their division in timed sled and obstacle course competition and beat other teams in the tug-of-war.

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Coach Mario Nunez said the Pee Wee program still has room for eight third or fourth graders. Weight is unlimited.

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Delano’s 15-year-old Babe Ruth League all star baseball team won the first two games and with one win needed in the next or second game of a double elimination tournament would have reigned as champion of the Santa Maria eight-team tournament.

Team members were Casey Jasso, Luis Fuentes, Jeremiah Guerra, Ruben Mendoza, Jimmy Tafoya, Aaron Cavazos, Julian Franco, Tim Ruiz, Johnny Lee, Mason Marroquin, Jordan Mora, Ever Murguia, Luke Rodriguez and Josh Elizondo.

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About a month away is the season opening football game matching Cesar E. Chavez High at Delano High.

At the time this column was written, Delano High athletic director Albino Duran reported that DHS will follow the East Yosemite League policy of starting JV games at 4:45 p.m. (15 minutes earlier than in the past) so that Friday night varsity games would not end so late.

This year’s Delano/Chavez meeting is scheduled for August 23 at Delano High. Last year Delano broke a tie with a 60-yard trick pass and run play as time expired in the game.

A few years back a scrimmage between Delano and Chavez was cancelled due to poor air quality. Duran said that if air quality or excessive heat threaten this year’s game, a later varsity start or an early Saturday start would be considered.

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