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Lakas Adhika saluted Women and Girls’ IWM spirits

By Marilie Bomediano
Photos by: Gerry Musa
April 20, 2017


Adhika Inc. and the Filipino Community (FILCOM) recently held a celebration that portrayed the women and girls’ perils in life challenges, the Filipino-Australians’ contribution that marked this year’s International Women’s Month (IWM) last March in Sydney’s innerwest Lidcombe.

Canberra’s Dr. Merlinda Bobis, a multi awarded novelist-writer directed the script and program’s  choreography presenting real-life stories about how women, how they coped their life predicaments and real life weather storms with the will power of their “Lakas Adhika” aspirations.

ADHIKA INC.’s founding president Josie Musa has conceptualised this production, in collaboration with award-winning writer and dramatist Dr.Bobis who orchestrated the inspiring event themed “Lakas Adhika” that translates strength of aspirations in our Filipino language.

International multicultural South Korean communities from the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) headed by Tammy Lee and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) and  HWPL-NSW Director Lydia Im joined the ADHIKA Inc. and FILCOM’s pinoy fun-fare, lyrical and comical celebration.

IWPG is the gathering of women who embraces the world with maternal hearts to make peace. All the women in the world are becoming one to implement the cessation of war movement so that young people are no longer sacrificed by wars. On the other hand, IPYG youth around the world are united in one purpose: to share in the love and life granted from heaven through peace projects and campaigns.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international non-profit peace organization in association with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPL), HWPL is working towards the goal of bringing all wars to an end and achieving world peace with the IWPG and the IPYG.

Adhika Inc., a non-profit association of broadcasters and FILCOM members with their motto:  Aspirate, Advocate, Achieve, has cultivated the tribute for Women and Girls through life stories,” testimonies of our women and girls, using the mediums of shortfilm portrayal of sacrifice and resilience through music, literature, dance performances and social dancing.

“It paid tribute to the strength of women and girls through real-life stories, poetry and songs, said president  Josie ‘Pines’ Musa, an association for Filipino-Australian radio broadcasters and journalists, another proud Bicolana.

“We are very honoured to have Merlinda on board ‘Lakas Adhika’. Her work will go a long way in giving voice to the stories of women and girls, their victories and their challenges.”

The monologue’s first segment consisted of real life struggle stories, poetry and songs. Among the storytellers and singers performing on the night are Christine Torres, Cleo Baltazar, Jasmine Henry and Robyn Russell, with poetry readings by award-winning journalists Violi Calvert (Tagalog: Kumpisal ng Isang Amo) and Michelle Baltazar (English: Confession of an Employer).

On the second segment, Bobis symbolically shared her storm video footage, a short film worknarration on women and girls surviving and holding back actual and life storms.

The program threads together real life stories from women and girls, traditional and contemporary music, poetry, and an exhibition of drawings by children survivors of Typhoon Haiyan. Ms. Bobis has assisted Adhika Inc. in developing the program, which she hopes can extend the usual International Women's Month celebration.

Presentation of Plagues to 2017 Inspiring Women 2017 on “Community Service and Leadership” were awarded to Dr. Marietta Languido, Ms. Penny Perfecto, Ms. Tess Casin and Dr., Elsa Collado presented by author-artist Deborah Wall OAM, Atty Jess Icao and  IWPG member Maryrose Salubre, the  Mrs Classic Galaxy 2017 winner in Bulgaria.

On the other hand, Ms. Christina Marie Torres  was awarded :  Inspiring Woman 2017- Strength, Courage & Wisdom as the Youth Empowerment Award was given to Robyn Russel being the “Young Composer” and Jasmine Henry as “The Young Performer & Singer.”

All awardees were congratulated during the speeches of the evening’s honoraries: Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Kevin Connoly MP, Federal for Riverstone , Atty Lolita Farmer OAM,  Atty Kate Roc Andres, Josie Musa and show producer Dr. Merlinda Bobis

A comedy skit “Dahil sa Akin” a radio style reading was also read by Marcus Rivera, Michelle Baltazar of the M & M Show with HWPL Ambassador-Australia Marilie Bomediano of Radio Rizal 100.9 FM 2BACR and Sandigan 88.1 FM 2RDJ that has brought laughter to the room after the women and girl’s real life stories’ bitter-sweet narrations and predicaments narrated in trembling emotional voices.

Filo-Aussie’s Maranao and varied ethnic dancing fun has entertained the and multicultural crowd with the highly acclaimed performers,  the Sonata Singers, VSD and Filipinas Dancers.

A lullaby songs “Dandansoy” was sung by, Cleo Baltazar after poetry readings by award-winning journalists Violi Calvert (in Tagalog) and Michelle Baltazar (English).

The event also gave tribute to the Adhika 2017 Inspiring Women, with esteemed guests, the Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Consul Melanie Deano and the Sonata Singers.

Dr. Bobis, the dramatist show director, was born and raised in the Philippines’ city of Legaspi, Albay, south of Manila in Luzon. She lectured at three universities in Manila after leaving her hometown at 20 years of age before immigrating to Australia in 1991, earning a doctorate and teaching at the University of Wollongong for 21 years.

Retiring in 2015 after publishing two award winning books- more than 40 years after writing her poem, Ang Langgam (The Ants) joined the Australian National University in Canberra as honorary senior lecturer and visiting fellow.

For a woman whose first language is Bicolano, although fluent in both Tagalog and English, it’s a remarkable achievement to have her weave words in the English language enough to earn the respect.

“Being an accomplished and multi-awarded writer, she is an inspiration to the next generation of writers in our community,” she added.

The event also gave Tribute to the Adhika 2017 Inspiring Women, with esteemed guests, the Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Consul Melanie Deano, the Sonata Singers and the Filipino Press Group Sydney’s convenor Jaime Kelly Pimentel also awarded by ADHIKA Inc for his valiant media mentorship.  

Proceeds from the event will go towards a school library in Bicol, Philippines, which was devastated by Typhoon Nina late last year.

Bobis with her latest novel ‘Locust Girl, a lovesongthat won the prestigious Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, New South Wales Premier's Literary Award, hopes that the program can inspire future events that give more space and time to the stories and voices of young people.

The masters of the ceremonies were Marcus Rivera and Michelle Baltazar that took place at Dooley’s Lidcombe Catholic Club ballroom with raffle draw and pica-pica snacks.

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