In a nation of islands oft-hit by devastating storms, preserving the bio-diversity in the Philippines, which enjoys some of world’s most diverse ecosystems, is key to human survival, Dr. Terrence Gosliner, veteran researcher from the California Academy of Sciences, said during his presentation at the Chevron Richmond Refinery.
“Where there are healthy coral reefs, and healthy mangrove forests along the shoreline in the Philippines, we have seen much less impact from these devastating storms,” said Gosliner. “That interconnection between people and the environment is fundamental.”
It was a fitting message during the 13th Annual Filipino Fiesta held at the Refinery on Tuesday, June 25. The event, “Spark, Connect, Empower! Preserving Our Culture and Our Earth,” featured a lively display of Filipino dance, music, food and more enjoyed by hundreds of refinery and technology center employees.
The celebration is sponsored by The Filipino Employee Network (FEN), a group of volunteer employees that is encouraged by Chevron to promote awareness and appreciation of the Philippine culture and to encourage personal and professional growth for Filipinos who work at the Refinery. It is one of several employee-run networks encouraged by Chevron to promote diversity and inclusivity in its workforce.
One of the event’s key speakers was San Francisco Philippine Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr., who lauded FEN for continuing the annual celebration at the Refinery, calling it “very important” for the mission of ensuring Filipino culture continues to thrive and survive throughout the world and in future generations.
“What you do here at Chevron, that diversity reflects what San Francisco is all about,” Bensurto said. “The richness of that diversity.”
The event included dance performances by Kaisahan, a dance company promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of Filipino culture, and Filipino cuisine by Cabalen.
FEN member Nicole Mendoza, who works as Safety Analyst and Chemical Inventory Coordinator at the Refinery, said the celebration is a fun way to share the Filipino culture with her colleagues.
“It’s sharing a culture I don’t think many people know about, giving them the opportunity to embrace the food, the dance, the music – especially here [at the Refinery],” Mendoza said.