1998: A Listserv Was Born

It was the decade of dial-up internet, Napster, Y2K, and a growing community of Filipino and Filipino-American professionals in the DMV. In 1998, an announcement board was created as a forum for these young professionals. After much debate of turning the Listserv into a formal group, it was decided that a convenient platform to deliver community announcements would meet the needs of our community.

2000-2001: The Yahoo Group

The DMV had a great community of professional associations, regional organizations, student groups, and even youth arts groups, but where would 20 to 30-something Filipino-American professionals go to connect?

On a snow-covered day of January 2000, 32 people met on 18th and M at the Daily Grill. People who came that night moved to DC for work or school. There were also a good number of locals too. It was the first of many happy hours for a group of young professionals. On the spot, a sign-in sheet was created.

From that sign-in sheet, the FYP-WDC Yahoo group emerged. The mission of the Listserv was to promote activities in the DC area, organize future socials, and share info (housing, restaurants, jobs, etc.). As word spread, the Listserv grew to over 300 individuals! Folks in NYC, Philadelphia, and Virginia Beach were encouraged to start their own groups.

Early on, there was a desire to formalize the Yahoo group and our meetings were hosted by the Philippine Embassy. At that time, there were folks who supported the idea or incorporation, but weren’t able to commit to the necessary time in which to accomplish the work. It wasn’t until a few years later, that a group of younger newly-graduated folks decided that they would be able to commit to working on formalization. 

2002: Transition Year

In 2002, Rafael (RJ) Diokno picked up the torch and continued to organize social and networking events. He became the “de facto” President of the group. His commitment to the group brought many new people into the “informal group” who would later become the drivers into making FYP DC into a nonprofit.

2003-2005: Becoming a 501(c)7

While the FYP-DC Listserv has become an increasingly popular forum for Filipino young professionals in the DC area, many believed that the organization should be restructured to reassess its direction. RJ Diokno, Anthony David and Therese “Wit” Lizardo had the initial discussion to form an organized group. In late 2003, those three with several volunteers voiced interest in expanding existing events and developing new programs to benefit the community on both a networking and professional level. In 2004, the first FYP DC Cabinet was created. After the e-board’s hard work, FYP-DC became incorporated on November 2, 2005, and changed the FYP-WDC Listserv to FYP-DC General Listserv (with over 500 subscribers) and created a member-only FYP-DC Member Listserv.

2017-2019: FYP DC Established as 501(c)3 and Annual Conferences

FYP DC was reborn in 2017 and led by Ms. Christal Simanski. Christal led the 1st Annual Leadership Conference in September of 2017. Young Filipino professionals from all over DMV attended the conference with the theme of "Unite, Magkaisa." This first conference paved the way for 2 more conferences in the years that followed.

After Christal stepped down from her position, Ms. Stephanie Wong took on the role of the Presidency and helped established FYP DC’s 501(c)3 non-profit organization status. With the help of FYP DC alumni and the current executive board, FYP DC was officially a non-profit and a non-partisan organization. During Stephanie’s presidency, the 2nd Annual Leadership Conference was held in September of 2018 with the theme of Para Sa Kinabukasan, For The Future. The conference featured Mr. Randy Lizardo as one of the keynote speakers and also one of the past presidents of FYP DC.

From 2018 to the summer of 2019, Stephanie continued to rebuild FYP DC and establishing partnerships with other AAPI organizations in the DMV. Both Christal and Stephanie presidencies left legacies that are still remembered to this day. In 2019, Ms. Aggie Serrame was elected to the position of President and led the 3rd Annual Leadership Conference with the theme of Tagumpay Natin, Our Success. With over 100 attendees, sponsors, partners, and grant funding, this was the product of many FYP DC legacies in its history. In that same year, the FYP DC Mentorship Program was launched, led by Mr. J.P. Abon, and held the pilot program with five pairs of mentees and mentors.

2020: A New Decade

The programs launched in the previous years continued and FYP DC successfully re-branded the organization to not only focus on social, networking, and professional events. At the beginning of 2020, FYP DC established the FYP DC Cultural Programs, led by Ms. Carolina Ramirez. The Cultural Programs aim to offer events relating to Filipino culture so that young professionals may learn Filipino culture in various ways such as cooking classes, dance classes, history lessons, etc. Within the same year, FYP-DC launched the Tagalog Language Program that aims to offer free Tagalog language classes to interested individuals.

2021-2022: Post-COVID Era

Emerging out of quarantine, FYP DC was met with the challenge of reengaging the Filipino American community with in-person events. At the helm of this new era, Juan Miguel Sese and Chris Dei engaged with other partners in the DMV-area, including Purple Patch, Kaliwa, the Filipino Veterans Recognition in Education Project, NAAAP-DC, the DC AAPI coalition, NaFFAA Capital Region, and many more. 

The highlights of their time leading FYP included events such as the ABarkada Series, the Bataan Memorial Death March, the 2022 Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival, the Wharf's Mardi Gras Parade, Himig Ng Kalayaan, 3x3 AAPI Community Charity Basketball Tournament, Filipino Heritage Night at the Washington Nationals, and Networking with FYP and Microsoft. Their expansions of the FYP network reenergized the Filipino and Filipino American community following the COVID-19 pandemic.

2023-2024: Momentum Building

Following the leadership transition of Juan and Chris, Jarely Ventura and Ariana Satina took charge as FYP's president and vice president respectively. They continued the momentum of their previous leadership by expanding on FYP's social and volunteer opportunities. 

The duo spearheaded events such as Filipino Christmas Parol-Making, the FYP DC holiday party, Vision Board Making at Kaliwa, an informational tax discussion with Eliot Cashell, Hiking on the Billy Goat Trail, Trivia Night at Binge Bar, Filipino Heritage Day at the Washington Nationals, Kamayan Potluck, volunteering for the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue Fundraiser, and of course, frequent karaoke nights at Purple Patch.

2024: To Be Continued...