President
Susan Dennis

Susan Palmes Dennis; Susan is a veteran journalist from Northern Mindanao, Philippines and has 25 years exposure in the media industry and teaching in schools. She maintains her weekly column Straight from the Carolinas in Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro and maintains a blog under the same name. She has been contributing articles to local media outlets.

Dennis finished her Bachelor of Laws at Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan) and earned her Master’s in Communication Management degree at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology some of her masteral units were earned at the University of Australia. Dennis obtained her paralegal certificate from Duke University and is NC State board certified.

1st Vice President
Cip Onia

Cip grew up in the Chicago area, his family having immigrated from Alaminos Pangasinan when he was six years old. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Finance in 1987 and worked in the banking industry for nearly 30 years.

His wife Liz, sons Jordan, and Jason, and daughter Grace relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina in December 2015 and he took a job with Fifth Third Bank as commercial real estate portfolio management team leader.

“We picked Charlotte since we liked the area, the weather and had family and friends here. I enjoy playing and watching sports in my spare time and a round of golf now and then,” he said.

2nd Vice President
Edelweiss De Guzman

Artist/Designer/Humanitarian/Co-founder of Art Ecologie Group Edelweiss De Guzman is an award-winning artist who loves to try different things. She grew up in the Philippines, and moved to the U.S. when she was 18 years old.

Much of her childhood was spent being creative; be it drawing people, improvising toys, or making garments for her dolls. Creativity has always been her strong suit. She graduated with a B.F.A. degree from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, where she studied Studio Art major in illustration.

She was also selected as top senior illustrator of the Department of Art at UNC Charlotte and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Illustration in her senior year. Her cross-disciplinary background in illustration, digital design, studio art painting and contemporary/conceptual garment design has infused her practice with multiple influences and approaches. In addition to her studio practice, she teaches art classes for children at Artist Guild and CMS.

Edelweiss is also the co-founder of the Art Ecologie Group. Not only has she been designing strange and wonderful fashion for over six years now, but she is well trained in traditional art media. She finds inspiration in many things, from stylistic comic book art to the techniques of the past; like the Expressionist, Avant-Garde and Art Deco.

“Believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ” is Carllyn’s credo. The soft spoken Carllyn is no stranger to the FACC since her husband Joannes Ave (JP) was the 1st VP of FACC in 2013

Carllyn graduated cum laude with a degree in economics from Ateneo de Davao University. She and her husband have two kids–Duchess who is currently taking up Computer Engineering at NC State University and Jason who is now a freshman at Mallard Creek High School.

Carllyn works at TIAA-CREF as Senior Developer (Information Technology). Her favorite hobbies include exploring the world as evidenced by her many travels with her family.
Her life guiding principle is 1 Corinthians 16:14 which exhort Christians to “Do everything in love.”

Yulie hails from Iloilo City. Yulie graduated from the University of San Agustin with a degree in Elementary Education. Yulie, who loves kids, taught at a Filipino-American School in Iloilo and later worked in Hong Kong where she met her husband Rick Armstrong.

The Armstrong have three children; Greg 15, Gracie 12 and Grant, 10 years old. In between being a wife and mother here in Charlotte, Yulie went to the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University where she earned her nursing degree.

She is a volunteer catechist at the St. Thomas of Aquinas Catholic Church and she is presently working at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center.

Dorena accepted the post despite her hectic schedule. A native of Davao City, Dorena loves singing and is still looking for oppor-tunities.

She is a health care technician, a certified medical assistant and Phlebotomist.

Ex-officio Member
Robert Escobal

Robert John Escobal is from Cebu City. An electronics engineer who worked in China specializing in oil exploration before coming to Chicago, Robert came to Charlotte in 1991 where he worked in different companies as an electronics engineer.

He married Larissa Hnatczuk in 1997 and they have three children, Sofia, 16 and twin boys Nicolai and Jon Paul, 13. Larissa was active with the FACC and as a soccer coach, but unfortunately passed away in February 2014.

Robert is an active FACC rep, He loves to do DIY (do-it-yourself) electronics and mechanical systems and is an avid practitioner of Filipino martial arts such as the Balintawak Escrima Cuentada System with Grandmaster Bobby Taboada, a fellow Cebuano.

Robert’s specialty dish, the famed Cebu lechon (roast pig) is well known all over Charlotte and beyond.

Area Represenatives:
Beth Rothermund

Elizabeth Rothermund is a licensed skin care specialist/esthetician professional.
Married with 5 children

She own a beauty business, Princess Serenity Spa at her own private sucluded property located at Salisbury NC.

She studied Liberal Arts Program majoring in Psychology Her motto is “ Strike the iron while it’s hot.”

Tonette Batoon-Asay

Tonette Batoon-Asay likes to be called “Tonette” by acquaintances and friends and Nenette by her family. Tonette grew up in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. She studied in UP-Los Banos and continued her studies in Xavier University (Ateneo De Cagayan) earning a Psychology degree with Rorsarch test as her electives.

Happily married to Dwayne Asay with whom she has three step-children. Her two other children in the Philippines are successful and known in their fields of specialization.

Tonette started as a hospital specialist and worked her way up as recruitment and training assistant and eventually held a post as human resource and administrative manager specializing in organizational development and training.

She had worked in Zuellig Pharma Corp, Triumph International, CORE (Nissan Dealership). She often tells jokes when she relaxes at home or someplace and her passion is cooking. She is dubbed as a self-taught chef by her closest friends and family. Being in an organization is one way for Tonette to diversify her time and establish new friendships.

She is God-fearing and now works at Prospect Airport Services. In her spare time she often shares Mary Kay’s beauty secrets. Tonette always prioritizes her family and she volunteered to serve at the board of directors of the Fil-American Community of the Carolinas (FACC) 2016. For her, it was a challenge to get more involved and driven to service with a purpose for a more meaningful life. She joined the 2017 FACC Board of Directors and was also appointed representative in East Region of the Carolinas by FACC 2017 President Susan Palmes-Dennis.

Jyoti Friedland

  • Born and raised in Manila, Philippines
  • B.S. Social Work, University of the City of Manila
  • Married to Marc Friedland, with two children, 29 and 25 years old.
  • Immigrated to the United States in 1987
  • Co-Owner and Executive Chef at Talley’s Green Grocery, 1991-2008
  • At-Large Candidate for Mecklenburg County Commission, 2012
  • Two Term Vice Chair, Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County
  • Member, NAACP
  • Member, NAACP Political Action Committee
  • Delegate, NAACP 2016 National Convention
  • Second Vice-Chair, Senior Democrats of North Carolina
  • President, Mecklenburg County Chapter of Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party

Ro is a role model to his children, showing them by example what he believes and lives for. He studied Business Administration at Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.

He is a proud father to Lance, Miles and Natnat and is married to Dr. Stella Reyes-Lawsin

Miahleilani (Miah) Respecio Price

Always a devoted daughter and a loving wife, her passion is volunteering for community works that matter. She joined FACC BOD 2017 because she believes that her God given talents should be put to use to serve the greater good.

J Andrew Arlegui

J is a certified international specialist in real estate and is the team leader of J. Arlegui Realty Group at Keller Williams in Ballantyne. J is a graduate of San Beda College, Manila in the Philippines where he received his degree in Business Management and Marketing. He applied his talents to real estate investing and his real estate experience meant that he has an intimate knowledge of the Charlotte communities. His records speak for itself, someone who acts and delivers good results.