WAPATO - The first visit of an official Philippine government official to the Yakima Valley in more than 20 years will take place Sunday, June 18.
Vice-Consul Anthony Mandap of the San Francisco Consulate Office and Vice-Consul Raphael Hermoso will spend seven hours at the Filipino Hall in Wapato to offer consulate services to Filipinos and Filipino-
Americans and visit with community members and dignitaries before they leave to catch a flight out of Seattle.
They will arrive at the hall at 211 West Second Street in Wapato at 10 a.m. to conduct consulate business. A reception will follow from 3 to 5 p.m.
"We will be extending consular services to your community and, time permitting, might have an opportunity to speak on trade, tourism and dual citizenship, for both our countrymen and all interested parties, particularly prospective investors or tourists," Mandap informed Rey Pascua of Sunnyside, president of the Filipino Community of the Yakima Valley, when he accepted Pascua's invitation to hold a Consulate on Wheels in Wapato.
"On the strength of your very persuasive invitation, the Consul- General approved this (the visit to the Yakima Valley) during a recent meeting with our Consulate officers," Mandap wrote in response to the invitation issued by Pascua.
Pascua, who met Consul-General Rowena Mendoza Sanchez of the Philippine Republic during a Consulate on Wheels event held in Seattle in April 2005, issued the invitation at that time to visit the Yakima Valley.
While the Consul-General will not be accompanying her vice-consuls, Mandap told Pascua he was looking forward to meeting with Wapato's Mayor Jesse Farias so that he could deliver a message to him from the Consul-General.
Mandap and Hermoso will be accompanied by Rene de los Santos, director of the Philippine tourist department.
"Eastern Washington Filipinos and Filipino-Americans will be able to conduct immigration type business, such as work on passports and visas that would allow Filipinos to go back to the Philippine Republic as tourists, and our community will be able to share the visitors in ceremonial events," said Pascua.
Guests that will be invited to the June 18th event, which is open to the public, are the Yakama Nation Tribal Council members, Yakima County commissioners, city officials throughout the Yakima Valley, Filipino families throughout Eastern Washington and the half-dozen nurses who came from the Philippine Republic to work at Sunnyside Community Hospital.