The yuletide season only comes once a year and it’s truly underway.
 
The FAME Annual General Assembly and Year-end Get Together & Christmas Partywas a fitting end to a hectic year, a perfect time to kick back and enjoy the company of fellow members and colleagues in the industry.
 
On 03 December 2014, the Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel & Casino Manila was dressed in Red & Silver which graciously welcomed friends and colleagues from member-companies and guests from affiliated associations, government and press who also arrived with the same motif. The occasion was attended by 133 guests, including the Guest of Honor, Cong. Raymond Mendoza who also delivered an inspiring message.
 
In his message, Cong. Mendoza expressed his appreciation of the Association and its important role in ensuring the employability of the thousands of Filipino Seafarers. He recognized the Philippine Seafaring Industry as one of the major contributors that fuels the Philippine economy and therefore it needs an organization like FAME that is vibrant and stern in putting forward the best interest of the seafarers and manning agencies. He also expressed his commitment to support the industry in his best capacity towards this end.  
 
Fun games, raffle of prizes, exchange gift and a whole lot of serenading and dancing coming from no less than the world-class and international award-winning U.P. Singing Ambassadorsjam packed the evening with amusement and jaw-dropping performances.
 
The year-end assembly and Christmas party isalso one way of celebrating the organization’s accomplishments for the past year and to look forward for another fruitful year.
 
In a humorous but meaningful speech, which reminded everyone of of the traditional joke of a vendor's naughty song about “bibingka”, a conventional Filipino Christmas cuisine, with literal wordsof "my cake cooks like no other, with fire under, with fire over”, Capt. Emmanuel Regio, president of FAME, defined the vision of the association and the industry as distinct in nature but universal in appeal, just like the well-loved “bibingka”. His message underscored on the Association being one with the ASEAN Vision of ensuring that ASEAN remains as the driving force in drawing the continuously evolving regional architecture to create a single market and production base by ensuring a free flow of goods, services, investment, capital and skilled labor. And as for the industry’s readiness to this, he said that at present, the industry is undergoing positive transformation brought about by the call of globalization, the results of the last EMSA Audit, the implementation of the provisions of the MLC 2006, as amended, and the emergence of the single Philippine maritime industry authority in the office of MARINA. He also mentioned of the whole industry’s   celebration of the first year anniversary of the effectivity of the provisions of the MLC of 2006, where ship owners can now experience amore level playing field to help ensure fair competition and to marginalized substandard operations. For this cause, the industry, along with its learned leaders, are currently conducting a review of the Magna Carta of  Seafarers in an attempt to successfully harmonize the numerous laws on seafaring with the provisions of the MLC 2006, he noted.
 
More than the humor, the message was bold and hopeful.
 
“Actions for the industry for the coming year must be akin to the cooking of the bibingka.  There must be heat emanating from above as well as fire down below to ensure that the final result will produce the desired effect. At present, Filipino seafarers enjoy preference over other nationalities in the region for their skill and proficiency at seamanship.  However, if we as an industry, choose to merely rest on our laurels and sit on our thumbs, we might see this distinct advantage whittle down to insignificant levels as the region opens up economically next year.
 
With 2015 almost at our doorstep, we view as a nation with a rich seafaring pedigree, an excellent opportunity to pounce upon and exploit to our advantage.  With heat coming from both sides of the oven, we may soon enjoy our steaming piece of sweet and salty bibingka.  And with cooperative and concerted efforts, FAME and the industry will overcome the challenges of succeeding years to come”, Capt.Regio said.