TWENTYNINE PALMS — When Celso Matias was elected president of the Hi-Desert Filipino American Organization in October 2018, he earned that title after campaigning on a simple platform, let’s have fun.
Fun has always been an underlying goal of the group, whose stated goal is to unite Filipino-Americans in the Hi-Desert area.
Regular potlucks are a big part of the fun but the club also takes part in community events, including the annual Pioneer Days parade.
All that fun has helped the organization grow to more than 100 members, including many from outside the Morongo Basin
“Some of our members are from Oceanside,” Matias said. “When they come over here and they hear about this organization, it is just like a family, we are happy go lucky. Our main purpose is just to get together and have fun. They just want to be a member.”
Most of the organization’s members come from the Morongo Basin, including the communities of Twentynine Palms, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Landers and Pioneertown.
Among other things, he is planning to take organization members on a cruise.
Before that happens, however, members will test out their road worthiness by taking a two-day trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
The plan is to leave Aug. 31 and be back by Sept. 2.
Having recently taken part in the Twentynine Palms Winter Light Parade, the club is making plans to enter a float into this year’s Pioneer Days parade.
“We still do the potlucks,” he said, noting that the get-togethers, held every other month, celebrate birthdays while giving members a chance to sampler each other’s cooking.
They will celebrate June and July birthdays at the July potluck.
“This is a good time to bond with each one of them,” he said. “We just want to have fun. We try to get out of the desert and see what’s there.”
“We are a welcoming group so we always have a come one-come all gatherings, with lots of delicious food cooked the Filipino traditional way,” member Cora Naraval said.
“The group supports whoever is in need, friends facing challenges such as illness, or someone who lost a loved one, or a newcomer trying to wiggle through life in Twentynine Palms.
“I love the fact that I can reach out to the Filipino group any time, just like I would to my family.”
For more information about the group call Matias at (760) 401-1120.