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Visayan Association commemorates the 72nd Leyte Gulf Landings in Liverpool NSW with a Victory Ball

By Richard J. Ford – PRO –VAA Inc
October 24, 2016


The commemoration of the 72nd Leyte Gulf Landing was held on the 15th October 2016 at the All Saints Catholic Church hall in Liverpool. The event started with the Parade of Colours, followed by the National anthems of Australia, sung by Sophia Bridget Dalisay, then the United States of America sung by Chantelle Santos and finally the Philippines, sung with such exuberance by Mae Vhivien Puno, that most if not all felt the deepest sense of patriotism during this solemn occasion of remembrance.  Then a prayer of Invocation was delivered by Chit Serra.  

The President of the Visayan Association of Australia Inc., Jhun Salazar, read out the commemorative address, reminding everyone what happened during that memorable moment in history which brought about the beginning of the end of the Japanese oppression and tyranny and the redemption of the Filipino people which began on the 20th October 1944 by General Douglas MacArthur when he fulfilled his promise of, “I shall return” to the Filipino people. Then the Re-enactment of General Douglas MacArthur’s Radio Message to the Filipino people, “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil -- soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people….” One could hear a pin drop as those words resonated in the church hall. Those old enough became emotional upon hearing those momentous words spoken again.

The significant phase of the event was the laying of the wreaths by several guests:
-        Philippines - Consul Marford Angeles
-        Australia – Paul Lynch MP
-        America – Jessica Bell
-        APCO Inc. – Pet Storey, President
-        VAA Inc. – Josephine Maynard, Vice President Internal
-        PASC Inc. – Lolita Farmer, OAM
-        Fil-Oz Liverpool – Cora Bojarski. President
-        Youth – Adriana Gravador, Miss Visayas Australia 2016, Runner-up Miss Philippines Australia 2016 together with Miss Philippine Australia 2015 Miss Rica Alido Sey.

Following the official laying of the wreaths was a moment given to  anyone interested to offer a flower as a sign of remembrance. A bugle call, Taps echoed in the background while the wreath laying ceremony was underway, then the Last Post was played where everyone stood still in silence then the Ode was read and at the conclusion everyone re-joined in a chorus saying ‘we will remember them, lest we forget.’ Such was a moving experience to all in attendance. An interlude melody of the Rouse was played prior to the delivery of messages.

Messages were then given by various guests, especially the Philippine Consul to Australia, Marford Angeles, standing in for the Consul General Ann Jalando-on Luis’ absence. Consul Marford has reminded everyone about the importance of the occasion and the need to err on the side of peace with former enemies. Then finally a special guest was Noel Purcell, whose father was in the Australian Navy in the Leyte Gulf battle with the Japanese Navy, who spoke of how his father experienced the event in history that freed the Filipino people from the Japanese occupation and the part which the Australian Navy played in that liberation.

Government official and community leaders who also delivered messages were: Mr Paul Lynch MP; Mrs Lolita Farmer of PASC Inc.; Dr Cen Amores of APCO Inc.;  Major Tom Baena, President Blacktown RSL Sub-branch. The celebration of remembrance finished with the echoing sounds of the bugle call, Reville.

The second event for the night was the Victory Ball for Adriana Gravador, who won the 1st Runner-Up in the Miss Philippines Australia Beauty Pageant held at the Fiesta Kultura on October 3rd. It was nearly a trifecta win for the Visayan Association of Australia Inc. but to us she is a winner and for that reason we honour her with a Victory Ball. The night was filled with excellent performances provided bythe Visayan Dance Group, the VSD Dancers along with Sharlene Gamo, Sophia Briget Dalisay, Mae Vhivien Puno and the ‘voice’ Chantelle Santos. Finally, the raffle of prizes was drawn and after some disco music the event was brought to a close with many guests now helping in clearing the hall of tables and chairs.

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