|Zenaida ‘Wads’ Tiongson-Wijnberg|
12 October 1938 – 01 October 2019
Wads was a pillar of UPAA-NL. She helped found the association in 1992 with some friends and became one of the first officers. Since then, Wads had been instrumental in making it grow and known to the Filipino Community. She was present in almost every UPAA-NL meeting and activity and meticulously shared her views on every matter regarding the affairs of the association.
For more than 40 years, Wads was active in various Filipino-Dutch organizations. Helping fellow Filipinos and others who are in need was second nature to her.
She founded the Samahan ng Manggagawang Pilipino, the first Filipino organization in The Netherlands that sought to protect migrants and their rights. She was also a founder of BISIG-Netherlands, a political organization that bridged awareness of Philippine issues to the Dutch public after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. She also co-founded the Kapatiran Foundation that helps send schoolchildren of poor families, including indigenous peoples in the Philippines.
In 2009, Wads was bestowed the Ridder Van de Orde van Oranje Nassau (Knight of the Order of Oranje Nassau), the highest recognition in the yearly Koninklijke onderscheidingen (Royal Honors) for private citizens in the Netherlands who have served the society in their voluntary capacity.
While Wads’ passing leaves us all with a heavy heart, it is celebrating her life that will remain with us forever. She would always be remembered as the woman who laughed hard, lived long, and was loved by many.
Thank you Wads for your kindness and for the happiness you brought to many of us. We are painfully missing you.