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Charleston, SC's only
Zenaida Doria Mendoza (Zennie) - "an accomplished pianist, well-sought accompanist, composer, lyricist, producer, director, and writer"

My Love For You
* Won a Director's Award and a songwriting contract in the Nashville International Song & Lyric Contest for Summer 2008

(Background pictures are from her group, 1Hiyas-Min, the Philippine Cultural Society of Charleston, South Carolina)

My Love for You

Composed by Zennie Doria Mendoza
Copyright April, 2006
All Rights Reserved

When you went away, my love….
Days and nights begin like years of waiting
‘Til once more you’re back,
You’re back to me to stay with me….
I want to hold you in my arms…
And feel the warmth of your embrace, your kiss
And your sweet smile.

Say, there is no end to our
Love, our love we feel in our hearts…
Our hearts united with one vow….
That we will love each other till…
The moon and stars no longer shine…
Until the oceans run dry….
I’m yours and you are mine.

One day I got a letter from you…
That you don’t love me anymore…
And that you have someone else.

I begin to cry when I found out…
That you forgot our solemn vow…
Our love will be now and forever.

Say, please say this isn’t true…
Say that you still love me….
Say that you don’t mean our love is gone…
That it is gone forever…
Please, come back to me and stay with me…
I’ll always love you through and through…
You are the only one I love.

The composition has been recorded by Paramount Group, Inc. and will be featured in another CD "Catch a Rising Star" to be recorded by Paramount Group, Inc. again.

To be notified when this CD "Catch a Rising Star" is produced, contact Binding Ink.Org.

Zennie's Daughter wanted to feature her Mom in a Filipino article so she contacted a close Friend of Zennie’s; Lina Calub who is a Medical Technologist, to help write the below beautifully written biosketch:

1. Description of the nominee’s personality/character:

Ms. Zenaida Doria Mendoza is extremely versatile and multi-talented. She is creative and imaginative, focused and determined, passionate and persistent in pursuing her goals. These attributes enabled her to produce several major cultural shows in Charleston, Atlanta and other neighboring communities. Her caring ways, her belief in other people’s potential and capabilities and her pursuit of excellence make her a tremendous leader.

2. Indications of Moral Integrity:

Zennie is well respected and loved. She is a pillar of hope and a stronghold of the Filipino community especially when it comes to promoting and sharing our Filipino heritage. She is a devout Catholic, a lector, commentator, and Eucharistic minister in her church.

3. Significant Service/Contribution to Others (maybe Local or International):

Ms. Zenaida Doria Mendoza was the first to raise public awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Filipinos in Charleston. It was important to her that not only her two children, but also other American-born children knew their heritage, so she produced and directed the first Philippine cultural show in the State of South Carolina held in June 1981 at the Charleston Museum. The unprecedented show described by “News and Courier staff reporter Bill Thompson as a significant new cultural and intellectual event was such a smashing hit that it was necessary to hold it over a third time. This undertaking was unique in scope because Zennie not only tapped in on the many hidden talents of 100 local amateurs (young and old), but also succeeded in establishing a respectable Filipino identity.

More cultural productions ensued:

*Philippines: A Portrait in Motion and Songs (1981) Charleston, SC

*East Meets West (1982) Charleston, SC

*Images and Sounds (1983) Charleston, SC

*Island in the Sun (1984) Charleston, SC

*Sayaw-Himig, Festival of Philippine Folk Dances and Music (1987) Atlanta, Georgia

*Sayaw-Himig, Festival of Philippine Folk Dances and Music (1991) Charleston, SC

*Karilagan (Beauty) (1993) Columbia, SC

*Kalayaan, A Cry for Freedom (1999) Columbia, SC; Charleston, SC

*The Pearl (Target date, 2007)

As a result of these waves of exposure, we get invitations to perform at Charleston’s major art festivals – The Piccolo- Spoleto, North Charleston Performing Arts and the Summerville Flowertown Festival. We also participated in the Asian-American Heritage Celebration at the Veterans Memorial Hospital and the Polaris Naval Weapons Station. We are popular guests at fund-raising events in the tri-county area and featured guests at different social functions. Incumbent and aspiring politicians come to our meetings and gatherings for fellowship.

Now our fascinating culture is seen, heard, and felt throughout Charleston and its neighboring areas. Thanks to the vision, leadership, and persistence of one lady, named Zenaida Mendoza. The word Filipino is no longer a ripple, but a current. We are now a vibrant force: palpable and viable. We are now a part of the Charleston culture – from an almost non-existent entity to an established respected identity. It makes us proud, very proud indeed.

4. Other Achievements (of some Heroic quality):

Mrs. Mendoza is an outstanding citizen of the community. In 1986, she was recognized by the State of South Carolina Representative Henry Brown for her many outstanding contributions to her community and the State of South Carolina.

She was the founder, past president, cultural director of Hiyas-min, Philippine Cultural Society of Charleston, SC. This organization under her leadership, has donated part of the proceeds of the proceeds of three major cultural productions to the Pilot Club of America, Trident Regional Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House of the Medical University of South Carolina, and the building fund of the Immaculate Conception Church of Goose Creek, South Carolina. She received awards for her outstanding services in 1986. In 1983, the Philippine Cultural society of Charleston she founded was recognized by the State through the motion of Representative Francis Archibald for outstanding contributions to the cultural life of SC and for the promotion of tourism throughout South Carolina.

She also produced and directed the first Philippine cultural show in the state of Georgia. She was given an award as Outstanding Member Award by the Filipino-American Association of Greater Atlanta in 1987 and Outstanding Service Award in 1988.

She was one of the coordinators of Neighbor Day Finale at Piccolo-Spoleto, a major international art festival in Charleston from 1991 – 2000. From 1989-2000, she was a member of the Charleston Symphony League.

She was a medical technologist by profession and was chosen as “Employee of the Month” at Charleston Memorial Hospital in March 2000.

She is an accomplished pianist, well-sought accompanist, composer, lyricist, producer, director, and writer.

When we think of heroism, oftentimes we think of a life or lives saved sometimes against insurmountable odds. But heroism is also in our everyday life. Being courageous and brave, taking a stand and being steadfast in what you believe in even against apathy and unpopular support. The belief that we, Filipinos, as a race deserve respect and dignity, the belief that we Filipinos are a viable entity in American soil, that we Filipinos come from a culture rich in history and diversity, heritage and tradition are quests worth pursuing and even fighting for. For somebody to instill pride in who we are and what we are, now that is a hero. To us Filipinos in Charleston, Zenaida Doria Mendoza is a role model and a hero.

5. Manifestations (in words or deeds) or patriotism to the country, the Philippines:

She was the founder of Hiyas-min, Philippine Cultural Society of Charleston, a non-stock, non-profit society dedicated in the promotion and preservation of the rich and unique Philippine arts and culture, and in establishing a respectable Filipino identity and be recognized as an ethnic group in Charleston and neighboring communities.

In Goose Creek, SC, she was the impetus that revived the religious old tradition of “Misa de Gallo”, Filipino caroling and “parol” (Christmas lanterns)- making around Christmas holidays.

She brought to Charleston out-of-town Filipino talents like Lani Mesinas, Philippine born coloratura-soprano; Cynthia Guerrero de Leon from New York City, a collaborative pianist; and Filipino Capitol Harmonic Rondalla from the state of Maryland.

She composes Filipino love songs, folk songs, piano pieces, marches, and religious and Christmas songs. Many of her original compositions were used in shows, programs, weddings, caroling in Charleston, SC, Atlanta, Georgia, Los Angeles, California, Rhode Island, Hawaii and many more.

Zennie produced and directed 8 major Philippine cultural shows, most of which are about 2 hours of song and dance, narrative and drama depicting our history and our people. One of her productions, “Images and Sounds”, was televised on Educational TV in South Carolina.

Ever since I have known Zennie (that’s more than 20 years), she is always on the forefront in relating and sharing the richness of our cultural heritage wherever she is. She lived in Detroit, Michigan; Alameda/Oakland, California; Waukegan, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina. She writes, speaks, performs, and e-mails to promote and enrich our culture.

6. Short Personal Background/Family History:

Zennie hailed from Nagcarlan, Laguna. She was the youngest daughter of Santos Doria, a musician and pre-war governor of the province of Laguna, Philippines and Socorro Cuento, a pioneer piano teacher. Zennie got her first musical lessons from her parents. One of Zennie’s sisters was Alice Doria Gamilla, internationally known pianist, composer, and music educator.

She graduated Valedictorian in Elementary school, First Honors in High School and Cum Laude in college with a B.S. in Pharmacy from National University, Manila, Philippines. Two years later she immigrated to the United States of America to take up Medical Technology. She graduated from E. Deaconess Hospital/Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

She married Francisco Mendoza, a Navy man. Frank and his family are Zennie’s biggest supporters. They have two children, Michael and Theresa. Michael is a graduate of The Citadel, a business owner and electrician. Theresa is a graduate of the Savannah College of Arts and Design and is an Administrative graphic designer at the Charleston Post and Courier Newspaper.

Zennie practiced Medical Technology for 40 years. Although her husband has been retired now, Zennie has gone back to the work force and is currently employed by the Department of State. She keeps herself busy by composing music, teaching, choreographing native folk dances, directing the Hiyas-min choir. She and Frank love to travel and entertain at their home.

On another note, she currently has and chairs the “Wish You Well” Foundation that provides financial aid to deserving and outstanding Filipino-American student of the arts and to provide charitable aid by “bayanihan” (collective effort) to a Filipino or Filipino-American who is in dire need of medical assistance. This was proven when not too long ago she appealed to the Filipino communities for help for a Filipino teacher who met a traumatic car accident that resulted in her being comatose for over two months. The response to her appeal was spontaneous. The patient received extensive physical and occupational therapies at Shepherd Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia after her long hospitalization at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.

In the year 2007 she was given an award as one of the Honorees in the "Who's Who in Asian-Americans in the Communities" in the entire Southeast region by the Sachi Koto Communications, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.

In October, 2007 and November, 2008, she coordinated 2 concerts to help her church reduce its debt due to construction of a new ministry building. She was one of performers with her piano renditions.

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1. Hiyas-Min means our gem, our culture. Hiyas-min is a contracted word which means "Hiyas" - gem, culture, entertainment, decoration and words to that effect and "Min" is short for namin, which means "Our”

16 Comments With Humanity:

Patricia M. said...

I know this women personally. She is truly an amazing person. Way to go Zennie.

Patricia M.

ndpthepoetress Jean Michelle Culp said...

Hello Patricia M., yes Zennie is definitely a one of kind amazing individual! I had the pleasure of working with her and never knew the extent of her many talents, accomplishments. She is truly also a modest person. I am honored to promote and pay tribute to Zennie here at

Anonymous said...

Zennie, Congratulations!!. I am not surprise with this award. You are very talented and I am honored that you are my friend. I am very proud of you, my friend. Keep the good works because you raise up also not only your family but also us, your friends with your accomplishments. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for the well deserved honor of being a pillar-of-filipino community.

Eastcoastdweller said...

"The belief that we, Filipinos, as a race deserve respect and dignity, the belief that we Filipinos are a viable entity in American soil, that we Filipinos come from a culture rich in history and diversity, heritage and tradition are quests worth pursuing and even fighting for.

"For somebody to instill pride in who we are and what we are, now that is a hero. To us Filipinos in Charleston, Zenaida Doria Mendoza is a role model and a hero."

Beautifully written and true. And thank You, Jeane, for uplifting this great Woman for us to applaud.

ndpthepoetress Jean Michelle Culp said...

Eastcoastdweller, you are a truly gifted Writer whose considerate words are that of an intellectually wise Gentleman who genuinely understands the struggles, triumphs, and talents of the Filipino community throughout the continuation of history. I applaud and Thank YOU!

Anonymous said...

hi Zennie,

Congratulations! You did it again. Fred hasn't heard it yet, but I did. You're really such a talented person. I liked the music and of course the lyrics. And then when I saw the group pictures, I wished I was there with you guys. You all looked like you were having a wonderful time.

I give you a 10 my friend. And I do miss y'all, and the good times I had with you.

Anonymous said...

It is great to be great but it's greater to be humble. Your comments humble me more and I would like to thank you so much. If there's something I can do for the Filipino community, I will do wholeheartedly, without hesitation.

Again, a million thanks to all of you.

joy1000 said...

I am a great admirer of this multi-talented lady. She is one of a kind. Beautiful, soft-spoken and humble. It is indeed an honor to rub elbows with this awesome personality.

I love you Zen!

ndpthepoetress Jean Michelle Culp said...

joy1000 your kind words about Zennie are appreciated and another welcomed testament to her many talents, her numerous accomplishments, her abundant radiant personality!

Anonymous said...

Zennie, I am very proud of you and your accomplishments and for your unending love for music. Thank you for coming to our lives. You will never be forgotten. Congratulations and God be with you always.

Leobie H.

Anonymous said...

From Gin Ganzon-Sturwold, of San Francisco

WOW1 Great write-up, Zennie! Congratulations on your winning a Director's Award and a Songwriting Contract in Nashville last summer! You are truly multi-talented and am privileged to have you as a friend. You are indeed a "pillar of the Filipino community" with your many compositions and cultural events that you have organized to promote the rich heritage of the Philippines!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sending us your winning piece. Congratulations, you really are an achiever. We hope to hear you play that in person and we hope it will be soon. We're looking forward to seeing you. It's been a long time since we saw you last.

Anonymous said...

Your song and work with the community are truly inspiring! I hope and pray that your work and dedication continues.

Karen Charles; Genetics Counselor, MUSC

grace said...

Auntie Zennie--I have always admired your many talents and accomplishments. Beyond that, what has really impressed me are your kindness and humility. Congratulations on your newest award-winning composition! Much love, Grace from Washington DC.

Unknown said...

Auntie Zenny,
I will always remember you for playing "Fly Me to the Moon" on the piano while I sat beside you back in Sampaloc, Manila where Joel and me where growing up. I still have vivid memories of the day you left to go the US to pursue your studies and it was a rainy day, in fact, there was a typhoon that day your flight was scheduled and the streets in front of the apartment were flooded. Mommy was with you then on the trip to the airport. I am proud to be your nephew. Always, Joey.

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