‘Ireland is influential to most of the changes in my life’ :The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin
2017-07-18 14:53:30 -
Cute and petite Elza Nagtalon de la Cruz qualified as a nurse in her homeland of the Philippines and found her way to the shores of Ireland in October 2009 to explore the employment sector. 

“It was raining every day and I seldom saw sunshine and I just felt lonely because I didn’t know anybody,” recalls Elza, who today is known by almost every Filipino in Ireland as an active member within the expat community. 

A native of the Ilocos Norte province in the far north of the Philippines, Elza has been vice president of the Ilocano Irish Association since 2013. She attributes this role to her “experience working and co-ordinating with different Philippine embassies” which has gained her popularity over the years.

The excitement was contagious at a recent party hosted by the Ilocano Irish Association to mark the 119th anniversary of the Philippines’ independence from Spain.

Filipinos are known to love singing and dancing, and this lavish event was no different, as Filipino nurses, carers, nannies, doctors and others took the opportunity to let their hair down and bust a move on the dance floor.

As a member of the executive committee and main organiser of the event, Elza oversaw bringing the crème de la crème of the Filipino community in Ireland and the UK to an event that displayed the essence of Filipino culture in music and dance, the latter provided by the British-based Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company. 

“I felt on top of the world, being [a host of] the first-of-its-kind  reception and gala night in the [history of the] entire Filipino community in Ireland,” said Elza.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were Mark Christopher and Joseph Reid from the Philippine Consulate in Ireland; Ringo Olavario, president of Lumadnga Bisaya; Expedito Tauro, president of the Ilocano Irish Association; and Cllr Gus O’Connell, Mayor of South Dublin.

Working hand in hand with other Filipino associations “who have good reliable intentions”, Elza says her own group would always support other Filipinos, especially those with important community projects. 

When it comes to her own life, she believes she has already fulfilled the most important of her dreams as her children are all settled now after obtaining their bachelor’s degrees, despite her being away from them most of the time while working abroad.

As for her experience of Ireland, Elza says the worst of it was getting used to the weather. 

“I don’t have any bad experiences,” she says. “Ireland is influential to most of the changes in my life; I have more chances to travel to different countries and more chances to share my blessings with other people and my family.” 

For many other nationals who are associated with or attend Filipino gatherings in Ireland, most testify to the friendliness and warmth of the Filipinos. And after spending some time with Elza, she fits that description to a tee. 

- Princess Pamela Toyin has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0)87 417 9640 or email echoesmediainternational@gmail.com

TAGS : Princess Pamela Toyin Elza Nagtalon de la Cruz Fillipinos
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