Mario Jaramillo, ambassador of Panama to the United States, was among the 460 guests who attended the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 6th annual Alegria Ball: Panama Gateway to the World. The gala, held Jan. 18 at Vie, celebrated the culture of Panama and its famous canal as well as Philadelphia’s Hispanic business community.

Guests enjoyed a performance of Panamanian folklore dancing by Conjunto de Proyecciones Ritmos Y Danzas de Panama and a menu that included beef empanadas and papas regenas for hors d’oeuvres, and braised short ribs and prawns for dinner. The evening ended with dancing to the music of Anthony Colon’s band.

The chamber’s Excelencia Hispanic Business Awards were presented by GPHCC president Varsovia Fernandez and event sponsors to Rodriguez Consulting LLC, which received the Hispanic Business of the Year Award; UPS, which was recognized as the Corporate Advocate of the Year; and school principal Charles Baltimore, who accepted a special Innovation in Mentoring award on behalf of Thomas Alva Edison High School.

Nelly Jimenez-Arevalo, director of Kennett Square Family Center and community relations director for the Maternal and Child Health Consortium, was named the Hispanic Professional of the Year.