Member’s Profile

Merwynn R. Montenegro

Merwynn R. Montenegro is an Executive Director for American Workers Insurance Services that specializes in Affordable Dental and Supplemental Health Insurance. He worked in the Real Estate Business as a Mortgage Loan Consultant for over 25 years. Merwynn is the Charter Founder and the current President of The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Tri-County ( FACCTC ). He is also the Co-Founding Board of Director of the Coalition of Fil-Am Chambers of Commerce of Southern California (COFACC ).

He went to De La Salle University in Manila and majored in Liberal Arts & Commerce and is now one of the officers of One La Salle of Southern California. He immigrated to the United States in 1980, and later met and married his wife Sylvia Montenegro who currently works as a Psychotherapist for Kaiser Permanente. They now have 4 wonderful children named Steven, Kathleen, Diane, and Kevin.

Merwynn enjoys traveling and spending quality time with his family, as well as practicing martial arts for the last 17 years. He attained a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do together with his 2 eldest children. Merwynn has strong faith with God and practices his Catholic religion together with his family.

Elen Ramos

Elen Ramos was born and raised in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States at age 25. She brought with her the Filipino values of family and hard work. Integrating the American dream, and the pursuit of happiness and freedom, emerged a less shy professional and entrepreneur, driven by core values of integrity, excellence, creativity, and social responsibility. She is a mother of two, Samantha and Paolo, who mean the world to her.

After being in the corporate world for fifteen years, Elen discovered her passion for design. In 1997, she took a leap and became a flower shop owner with zero business and design experience. She took on the challenge and by the end of the 10th year, became an expert florist and sold a successful business.

The floral design and business experience prepared her for the next chapter, to pursue the top on her list — Interior Design. In 2009, after design education and training, Interior Design Solutions (IDS) was born. IDS specializes in dental and medical office design, and for almost 10 years now, has been helping clients realize their vision, contributing to their bottom line and well-being.

She began as a stringer at Philippine News in 1988, and studied at UCLA as a scholar of the Philippine American Women Writers and Artists. She’s currently the Chief Correspondent in Southern California and OVERVIEW columnist. Not bad for someone who hated writing so much she had to ask her father for help in her high school theme papers.

Elen is also passionate about wellness and well-being, which leads to her newest venture of developing a tea brand called GRATEATUDE, under Satori, LLC, engaged in retail and wholesale distribution of specialty tea and tea ware. Her design and business experience came in handy in creating subtle yet flavorful blends of premium loose-leaf tea, aromatic flowers, herbs and fruits. Through its great tasting tea, GRATEATUDE aims to spread the value of gratitude and thanksgiving, and the appreciation of the simple things in life.

Elen hopes to inspire others to discover their gifts, develop and share, as she has.

Lydia V. Solis

She comes from a family of educators: her father (Marciano Kasilag Solis) was a public school district supervisor; her mother (Pacita Patolot Vergara) taught first grade, and the Solis family founded a high school (now college) in Mabini, Batangas. Wanting to follow in their footsteps, she studied for a BA in Child Psychology, graduating cum laude from the Philippine Women’s University, and later, she took up her MA in Counseling Psychology.

But fate has other plans. She became a wife and a mother, raising five children, volunteering in the kids’ church and school activities while working at the LAPD Narcotics Division, and at the Dept. of Public Works/Bureau of Engineering.

It gets interesting. In the middle of motherhood and civil service, she discovered journalism, influenced by her daughter Louinn, former print and broadcast editor with the Associated Press.

She began as a stringer at Philippine News in 1988, and studied at UCLA as a scholar of the Philippine American Women Writers and Artists. She’s currently the Chief Correspondent in Southern California and OVERVIEW columnist. Not bad for someone who hated writing so much she had to ask her father for help in her high school theme papers.

In 2002, Lydia retired after 31 years of service from the City of Los Angeles. That paved the way for other challenges. In 2003, she was appointed as West Covina Senior Citizens Commissioner, a post from which she retired in 2007.

She’s active in various FilAm organizations, having served as president of the Philippine Women’s University Alumni Association of Southern California and the Philippine Press Club International, as well as officer and PRO of various other organizations. She was recently elected vice president of Kalayaan Incorporated and will assume the presidency in 2020, and chair the Philippine Independence Day celebration.

Edgar Cansino

A retired airline industry professional, Ed Cansino was born in Manila in 1953, and spent his childhood in the sweet “City of Smiles,” Bacolod City in Negros Occidental. Ed got his education at La Salle College and after completing his studies went to work with several companies like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Mead Johnson Phil. working in various capacities–but mostly in the sales and marketing departments.

For his marketing efforts at Mead Johnson, he was awarded as the Top Pediatric Executive in the country for 1975. He was also the youngest account executive for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines during his tenure with the company.

Reaching a dead-end in his career in marketing and sales, feeling restless and itching for adventure, Ed secured a scholarship grant in 1980 from the University of Ohio to pursue masteral studies in International Affairs. Unfortunately, due to the brutal Siberian winters of Ohio, he failed to complete his studies and retreated back to the warm and sultry climes of Southern California.

He has never regretted that decision ever since.

Back in Los Angeles, Ed worked with the legacy carriers, Continental and United Airlines and travel outfitters like Thomas Cook and American Express Travel for the next 30 years and retired from the industry in June 2017.

Currently, Ed is the First Secretary of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce Tri-County for Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties and is a founding Board of Director of the Coalition of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce of Southern California.

In his retirement, Ed finds great pleasure in indulging his passion as a cloth and fiber artist, training and assisting Filipino artisans market their weaves for the international market.

Carmela Gilliberto

I am an energetic and positive team player with over 20 years of training and experience in sales and relationship management,” says Carmela.

“I am a Business Advocate and founding member for BEYOND and specialize in providing Business Solutions in the form of Merchant Services, Payroll/HR and Lending. I am the current Chapter President for Executive TEAM referral network in Riverside/ Corona, Board of Director for Asian Industry B2B, and member of Business Retention committee for the Greater Council of Ontario and Asian Business Association of the Inland Empire.”

“I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends especially when food and travel are involved. I am excited to be a founding Board Member for the FACC-TC and look forward to increasing our membership and helping one another achieve success though our relationships!”

Agnes Santos-Claveria, MBA, NMLS License ID # 220953

She’s a trusted and seasoned mortgage professional equipped with 15 years of progressively responsible mortgage origination and home loan consultancy experience. Armed with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with concentration in marketing, Agnes always strives to identify and tailor appropriate home loan programs to suit the unique needs of its target clientele. She develops and manages effective and sustainable relationships with key business partners in the mortgage industry.

Recognized as a strong team builder and role model adept at cultivating relationships with diverse target populations, she’s committed to delivering unparalleled customer service levels to retail mortgage clients, real estate agents and all parties involved in the smooth closing of a loan, with the end in view of helping each client fulfill his dream of homeownership.

Nicolas ‘Nick’ E. Munoz

I was born in Lucena City, Quezon. My mother Anita Edano Muñoz is from Lucena City and my father Eduardo Malazarte Muñoz Sr. is from Iriga City. I am the eldest among my four siblings: Carmelo E. Munoz and Eduardo E. Muñoz Jr. (both deceased), Ma. Rosemarie E. Muñoz, and Ma. Teresa E. Muñoz.

I graduated Elementary at Ateneo de Davao; my high school in Maryknoll and College in Araneta University, now owned by La Salle, where I took Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Major in Pathology. After graduating from college, I worked in Manila for a year, then my father and I started a business selling TBA (Tires, Battery and Accessories) and managed our farm and fish pond in Quezon for a short while because I was forced to migrate here in the USA in July of 1984, due to a death threat from New People’s Army (NPA). Life was good back home and I did not really want to come to the USA. I have no immediate family here, and life is quite difficult after my first visit in 1981.

For various reasons, because of my project study, I will be a millionaire in two years.

I grew up quickly here, and learned to take care of myself without help. I adjusted quickly and after five years, I went back to school and took Computer Science Programming, but a year after graduation the dot com companies exploded and my knowledge of Dos, Cobalt, Fortran etc. became extinct. I then focused in sales, did seminars to better myself. Out of my own pocket, on occasions, I asked my Director to send me to sales training. I studied body language as well.
For three years I learned the business, to a point where I know when it’s the right time to close. It paid off because in four Fortune 500 companies where I worked, I’m one of the top 10 sales producers. I’ve been here for 34 years. I feel tired, maybe because I lost my own family and not motivated to strive. I’m close to retirement and thinking of being an entrepreneur which I am partly doing now.

Being one of the Board Members of FACC-Tri-County helped me look at a different perspective in life – entrepreneurship, which is what I did before I came to the USA.

Gregg Vargas

I am a proud 31-year old Filipino American, born and raised in Southern California. Obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Cal State Fullerton, I have used my knowledge acquired to navigate a career in sales. I’ve spent my early adult years working in numerous types of sales jobs in the retail, finance, and professional sports industries.

Today, I am currently a Realtor with RE/MAX Masters in Covina. I help people buy, sell, and invest in residential and commercial real estate; serving all throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange County.

I believe that networking and strengthening communities to promote economic growth is a key to success for all types of businesses. It is because of that principle that I am proud to align myself with the FACCTC.

Aside from being an accomplished salesman, I also identify myself as a loving husband and soon-to-be father. I currently reside in Chino.

Grace Ordiales-Vaughn

Nanette Vaughn aka Grace Ordiales-Vaughn was born in Manila, Philippines; went to St Theresa’s College Manila and later transferred to De La Salle Zobel School.  Her parents are criminal lawyer Jaime Ordiales and Paz Fernandez, housewife.

She left the Philippines in 1984, to join her mother in the United States. After graduating at  Bakersfield High School, she studied at the Los Angeles Community College, then Santa Monica College for her Associate degree in General Science. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration at Grand Canyon University, while working for the City of Los Angeles, graduating in 2012. She also got her Master’s in Public Administration with emphasis in Healthcare Management in 2014, from the Grand Canyon University.

Grace and colleagues from De La Salle founded the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce Tri-County in the Inland Empire. She was elected interim president for two years. On the side, she’s creating a non-profit organization.


Atty. Abraham L. Lim

Atty. Abraham L. Lim specializes in US Immigration Law as well as cases in criminal defense, personal injury, family law and California franchise law.

He is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US District Court Central District of California.

Atty. Lim got his degree (Juris Doctor) in 2002 from the Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California. From September 2003, his law practice has been devoted mostly to cases regarding US Immigration and Nationality Law.

He is bi-lingual and conversational in Mandarin, Fukien and Spanish. Moreover, Atty. Lim is a member of several law associations including the American Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association and the Orange County Asian American Bar Association.