The Philippine Embassy rightfully recognizes the Filipino groups in Thailand. It is the chief institution of the Filipino community. Recently, the Embassy opened its OWWA services. It upgraded its website a month ago. Most importantly, it is also expecting the new Philippine Ambassador this month. By the way, I bid farewell to the former Ambassador, Hon. Antonio Rodriguez who was honored with the prestigious "The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant - Knight Grand Cross (First Class)" by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Furthermore, Consul Arquiza is looking for area/provincial representatives of the Filipino Community Unit. If you know anybody who has good contacts of Filipinos in your area, please tell them to visit the website
The Filipino Community in Thailand has probably the most number of both big and small organizations.
Too many that you could imagine and you might wonder why Filipinos love creating groups and networks. Is it a culture thing? Is it caused by too much competition? Is it because something is lacking? Is it a business venture? Is it for security and camaraderie purposes? Whatever the reasons, these groups have their strengths and weaknesses, issues and achievements, and most importantly stories to tell. I've been there...I've been with them...I've kept in touch with them...and I'm interested to talk about them...err...not all of them...just the top ten most influential and active groups!
10: Filipino Community in Korat (FilKor)
The Filipino Community in Korat (FilKor) is one of the smallest groups but they sure are big in the northeast. The asset of the organization is its members. The group is well organized and intact. One of its achievements was the hosting of the Thai Culture training in 2008 in Korat and continued promotion of the teachers' professional development. The group will celebrate the Philippine Independence Day on June 12...and I will be there. Kudos to its president Miss Chit Ramones!
9: AFT Northern Region Chapter (AFT-NRC)
AFT-NRC is based in Chiangmai. Majority of its members are teachers and musicians. This group boasts its networks in the northern region. It is known as the most active child of its mother - the Association of Filipinos in Thailand (AFT). I placed this group in my number 9 slot for reasons that this organization has big potential and wide outreach. Its election of officers will coincide with the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day on June 12....unfortunately, I will not be there!
8: Organization of Filipino Educators in Southern Thailand (OFEST)
This newly-birth group is simply amazing. It has a strong leadership. The president Ms. Phylis May Clomata and the rest of the officers are bringing the name of the organization to limelight. Known for its charitable activities, prolific events and red-carpet like get together parties, it sure is a strong counterpart of the Philippine Embassy in the southern region.
7: Association of Cordillerans in Thailand (ACT)
Without a doubt this group deserves in my top ten. Now on its fourth year, it dominates the stage for its unique cultural dance presentations representing the Philippines in some major events in Thailand. It earns its right as the most active ethnic group in Thailand. Its few members are scattered in major provinces of Thailand but when they come together, it surely is a big group to reckon with. The group has been a strong partner of the bigger organizations in the past and it may continue to keep up the pace so long as it stays neutral and keeps its connection through a focused and strong leadership.
6: Artist Society (AS)
The Artist Society headed by the visionary and charming Ms. Amie Cal gets the 6th place for her strong presence and connection. The group opens its membership to Filipino artists and other nationalities who use their work of arts in their campaign for beauty, values and harmony. While the approach is viewed very conventional, it does attract "silent yet potent" Filipinos and other expats in achieving its goal: I believe it's harmonious living through open mindedness, self-expression, faith, hope and talent.
5: Basketball League Organizers
The organizers of the Filipino basketball leagues should be given credit. They bring the adrenaline rush to the Filipino community. The Adventist group, Tsaiyo, and the Association of Filipinos in Thailand are taking the frontline. Business or not, they're making a hot buzz in town. The AFT (Association of Filipinos in Thailand)-ABL (Adventist Basketball League)-BBL (Bangkok Basketball League) kicked off the All-Filipino Basketball League of this season last month. Reviews and updates of the game by Mr. Steven can be found here.
4: Association of Filipinos in Thailand (AFT)
AFT is ranked number four despite of its faltering role in the Filipino community. It is one of the two registered Filipino organizations with the Thai government. It is also one of the pioneer organizations that hosted many social events for the Filipino community in the past. One of the so-called "mother ships," it is now lived by its existing chapters. The association remains quite influential. It's probably just a matter of time to see it back on its feet and just do its own thing.
3: United Filipinos in Thailand (UFT)
UFT started with a big bang. Majority of the current officers are recycled. They came from the other "mother ship." But what makes this organization useful is that it's the arm of the Philippine Embassy in organizing social events for the Filipino expats. I have to acknowledge the effort of the officers. Just for the information of those who visit the Embassy, the restroom beside the tennis court was funded by the UFT. However, they seemed to forget to fund its maintenance. Anyway, they're doing a good job so far.
2: Philippine Ladies' Group (PLG)
My second best organization goes to the "single" ladies of the Filipino community. It is the only organization registered as a charitable institution with the Thai government. Known as a top fundraiser of the community, it also hosts a few social events for the Filipino community. The newly elected president, Ms. Daisy Mendiola is taking the organization to new heights. The Filipino community will soon expect a different PLG touch with its planned activities of hosting cultural shows, and collaborated educational and social events with other foreign nationalities to name a few.
1: SiamPinoy (SP)
And the best among the rest is the longest online Filipino community in Thailand that reaches beyond the Thai borders. It is by so far the most credible information network of some mass media in the Philippines, and its members are all over the globe. While its presence is felt online, it also reaches out to the community. It is one of the founders of small groups like the Filipino Educators Council, SiamPinoy Aperture Society, SiamPinoy basketball team and more. It is one of the strong supporters of many Filipino community groups in Thailand. Notably, the group was a partner of the major cultural show held in Bangkok, and it significantly helped in the information dissemination of the dreaded Thai Culture Training for foreign teachers in early 2008. What makes this group influential is that it's the breeding nest of great ideas and it makes others followers. SiamPinoy remains constantly active for more than a decade in promoting the Filipino community in Thailand. Some of its online partners are www.siampinoy.com and www.filipinosinthailand.com. Now, It has matured as a business-free online magazine featuring stories, photos, blogs and forums. Visit its website here.