Bridging Our Second Generation Fil-Am Youth

Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz Popov

To many people throughout the Northeast U.S. Fil-Am community, Vice Consul Corpuz has been a mainstay throughout the nearly past over five years as one of the most highly visible officers of the Philippine Consulate General in New York. As director of the Passport/Visa Section, as well as the Consulate’s director for public and community affairs, “VC Khrys,” as we all know her, has tremendously assisted in hosting several events that promote Philippine culture to the Tri-State region. She has also been a focal officer in overseeing activities geared towards developing stronger ties between the Consulate and second generation Fil-Ams, and thereby helping to strengthen the social, cultural, and educational links between the Fil-Am youth and their cultural homeland.

A graduate of Quezon City Science High School, VC Corpuz went on to attend the University of the Philippines-Diliman where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism, and afterward studied at De La Salle University-Manila where she obtained her Master of Business Administration degree. She soon found her career calling in the diplomatic corps and passed the distinguished Foreign Service Officers’ Examination. After serving in the Home Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs, her very first diplomatic assignment came in the form of none other than the Big Apple, where she officially assumed her diplomatic posting in December 2012. On her very first day at office, she was welcomed by the Consulate staff led by then Deputy Consul General, and now N.Y. Consul General, Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega.

VC Corpuz was immediately tasked to assist then Consul General Mario De Leon Jr. with the arduous challenges of the Consular Section, ensuring the efficient daily functions of the passport, visa, and legal services of the Consulate. The pressures of assisting the various cases of clientele both within the office and at periodic weekend consular outreach throughout the region were surely there, but thanks to her persistence, patience, and diligence, along with the reliable help of the Consulate staff, she has effectively been carrying out the necessary services to the community.

VC Corpuz’s responsibilities would soon expand to taking charge of the Consulate’s public diplomacy programs, particularly in promoting the cultural and Second Generation Fil-Am Youth initiatives to the entire community. Having been trained in promoting Philippine tourism and having a knack for working with young people (being a young officer herself), this job came quite naturally for her! She has used her coordination and networking abilities to such finesse when the Consulate hosted events such as the Young Professionals Reception for Fil-Am History Month every October, and the Leadership and Mentoring Seminar Series in New York, Yale University, Boston College, and Rowan University to empower the Second Generation Fil-Ams. Among the annual events, together with the youth leaders, she founded the Philippine Graduation in New York in 2013 hosted by the Consulate at the Philippine Center every June where Fil-Am graduates of bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees are honored by the community, as well as the colorful and entertaining “Battle of the Barrios” where competing Fil-Am collegiate youth get to display their musical and theatrical talent.

The community has further witnessed the warm stage presence of VC Corpuz at numerous milestone functions, not the least was the memorable 2016 N.Y. Gala commemorating the 118th Philippine Independence Day Anniversary and the 70th Anniversary of Philippine-US diplomatic relations held at Midtown Manhattan’s famed Cipriani. Hosted by outgoing Consul General Mario De Leon Jr., the grand event was also attended by 350 members of the community, with the guest of honor, outgoing Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia Jr. Together with New Jersey Fil-Am Councilman Jonathan Wong, VC Corpuz served  as Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the entire program, and ably pulling off the affair ranks as one of the proudest moments yet in her young diplomatic career.

On a personal note, VC Corpuz had also served as MC during my father’s (the late Ambassador Willy Gaa) memorial evening tribute, which the Consulate hosted in early 2016 when the entire community paid their respects and shared their fondest memories of my father when he served as Philippine N.Y. Consul General during the late 1990s. I shall always be grateful to VC Khrys for having taken up this role during a somber period for my family.

Having been happily married to her Ukrainian husband for more than a year now, VC Corpuz’s diplomatic tour of duty is expected to come to a bittersweet end by December 2018 when her six-year assignment will expire. Whatever destiny has in store for her upon the completion of her N.Y. posting, the positive impact she has left upon the whole community will undoubtedly remain.–Wendell Gaa

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