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Filipino-Australian Community Association, Eastern Sydney


By Francis de los Santos
November 28, 2017


After 10 years of being a volunteer community association operating in the Randwick-Maroubra-Kensington area, the Filipino-Australian Community Association, Eastern Sydney (FACAES) has finally achieved a very important milestone by successfully organizing and staging the first Filipino Barrio Fiesta in Randwick’s Alison Park on 5 November 2017. 

The whole-day event featured a non-stop fun-filled entertainment showcasing the Filipino unique talent in music and arts through songs and dances.  Various Filipino-Australian performers based in the Western Sydney voluntarily offered their services in show of help and support for this Filipino community endeavor, the first in the Eastern Suburbs area. 

In her welcome speech, Mrs, Precy Santos (FACAES President) thanked and acknowledged the Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC-NSW) for their role in guiding and assisting FACAES during the meticulous process of planning and preparation of the event.   Mrs. Santos also mentioned and acknowledged the help and support extended by the Randwick Council through the Office of the Lady Mayor Clr Lindsay Shurey and her staff.  Mrs. Santos admitted that this first ever Filipino event would not be possible without Randwick Council’s help and support. 

In addition, the FACAES President gave ‘a pat in the back” for the all-out effort exerted by her hardworking and dedicated FACAES team of officers who worked day and night to accomplish the tasks which took a year laying all the groundwork including allocation of manpower and logistics.  In her speech, Mrs. Santos thanked and praised the invaluable support  of former Randwick Mayor and Councillor-elect Noel D’Souza and MP Matt Thistlethwaite, Labor Member for Kingsford-Smith for their important advice and recommendation for FACAES to push through and proceed with the planned Filipino event.  Mrs. Santos confirmed that Clr. D’Souza and MP Matt were invited guests in many FACAES  parties and events during the past years and were actually involved in putting the event in the calendar and finding a final venue.    Before she concluded her speech, Mrs. Santos expressed thanks and appreciation to Multicultural NSW in extending financial assistance for approving FACAES request for grant to ensure successful staging of this first Filipino Fiesta in the Eastern Suburbs.

In a special message delivered on behalf of the newly elected Mayor of Randwick, Deputy Mayor Clr. Alexandra Luxford thanked FACAES for giving her the opportunity to attend the FACAES event to speak on behalf of the Mayor and to also represent Randwick City Council.  Clr. Luxford acknowledged the role of the Filipino migrants within the Randwick community and thanked them for sharing their rich cultural heritage with the public with such a wonderful event that featured music and dancing.

The newly designated Consul of the Philippine Consulate in Sydney Emmanuel Guzman also spoke and thanked the officers and members of FACAES for holding this first ever event in Randwick.   Consul Manny also related the same experience he had with the Filipino community while posted in the UK prior to his new assignment in Sydney.   Consul Manny was elated to attend and participate in this first Filipino event since arriving in Sydney 2 weeks ago.  He was happy to be a part of the event and looked forward to being part of the entire Filipino community events within NSW for the next 6 years.

MP Matt Thistlethwaite, Member for Kingsford-Smith, said that FACAES has achieved an important milestone in representing Migrant Filipinos in the Eastern Suburbs.  He affirmed his support for the group and acknowledged and praised the role of the Filipino Australians for blending well with the migrant community in the Eastern Suburbs.   MP Matt also spoke about the Filipino migrant community activities and events in the Eastern Suburbs and discussed the role of FACAES in various speeches delivered in the Federal Parliament in Canberra as Labor Member for Kingsford-Smith. 

In his closing remarks,  Francis (Boy) de los Santos, FACAES Consultant/Adviser, emphasized that importance of FACAES working as a family.  Francis acknowledged PCC-NSW and the Randwick Council’s help and support in achieving their ultimate goal of organizing this first ever Filipino Fiesta in Randwick.  He then read a quote "Alone we can do so little, Together we can do so much" to prove his point while admitting the gargantuan tasks of holding such a big event made FACAES team more stronger and resilient in planning and organizing future FACAES events. 

Francis personally thanked Councillor Noel D’Souza and the Honourable MP Matt Thistlethwaite, Member for Kingsford-Smith for their help and support during the planning and preparation stages of the event and hoped the event would become an annual event.   Speaking to a crowd of 500 plus people, Francis also thanked the loyal FACAES supporters, including the volunteer singers, dancers and other invited performers who participated in the event.  Lastly, Francis acknowledged and thanked the Filipino media personalities who joined the Fiesta i.e. Evelyn Zaragoza (PC Herald), Nonoy Perdon of  Bayanihan News, Ang Kalatas including Ms. Analyn Violata of SBS Pinoy Radio & Mr. Ross Aguilar & Ms. Cecile Aguilar of Pinoy Radio 98.5 who were all responsible in the information dissemination to ensure the Filipino Community in Sydney is made aware of this important event in Randwick.  Francis also thanked and acknowledge Ms. Serna Ladia President of PCC-NSW and Mr. Jimmy Lopez President of NARRA for their help and support extended to FACAES to ensure a successful event. 

As to the weather that day, Francis commented that although the forecast was not very good, he believed it was an “answered prayer” when the rain suddenly stopped paving the way for the non-stop fun and entertainment to last until 5:30 pm.  Francis said he was confident that the improved weather condition would lift everyone’s spirit that would result to brisk sale of food stalls offering popular Filipino food.  According to Francis, overall, FACAES is anticipating approximately 800-900 people will show up to support the event and of course, to buy their favorite Filipino food “lechon”, “chicken barbeque”, etc. enough for those majority pinoy crowd to  salivate and whet their insatiable appetite just for one day. 

The program started with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, led by Miss Sharlene Gamo while Mr. Efren Padagas sung the Lupang Hinirang.  The whole day fun-filled entertainment featuring songs & dances immediately followed by  the much awaited Mutya ng Sydney Talent Competition featuring 6 young candidates vying for the title of  Mutya" ng Sydney (Princess of Sydney).  The guest performers include Yapak Band, Dated Band, Lillian De los Reyes, Jay Gaerlan, Annie Regaliza, Emerzon Tuazon, Efren Padagas and daughter Kimberly Padagas,  Annie Marquez, Gally Tanipez, Mimi Masmela and Sharlene Gamo. 

Emcees that day were Efren Padagas, Francene Logrono and Imelda Serra.  Winner of Mutya ng Sydney Talent Competition was Miss Danielle Sanz who thanked FACAES and the judges after the result of the question and answer portion was announced.  Group dance competition participants were Filipinas Dance Group, VIP Sydney Dancers, Lahaina Dance Group and Mauritian Sega Dancers, Philippine Australian Society of Senior Citizens, Inc. (PASSCI), Philippine Language & Cultural Association of Australia (PLCAA).  Competition grand prize winner is Philippine Australian Society of Senior Citizens, Inc. (PASSCI).  One of the highlights of the event was a song number from Brian Lorentz, a special guest performer who mesmerized and brought the crowd to its feet when  he sung  Michael Buble’s “Sway”.  Brian wowed the crowd with his song and dancing prowess captivating the giggling ladies who quickly joined him dancing the Cha Cha in front of the mammoth crowd.

Sponsors who supported the event include True Bite Denture Clinic, Knights of Rizal Sydney Chapter, Tagalog Association of Australia, Mr. and Mrs. Jhun Morales and family, Mr. and Mrs. Bong and Vida Fernandez, Ms Evangeline Nissani and Mr. Darren Miller, The Fraternal Order of Eagles (Philippine Eagles), Mr. Mario Tobias and his mates, Mr. Ogie Santos and Kikay Hair Bar.  Special thanks to Miss Australia Representative Ms. Mary Rose Salubre who will be around during  the Mutya ng Sydney Coronation Night on 18 November 2017 at Merrylands RSL.

Author Francis de los Santos, past President and currently FACAES Adviser/Consultant.

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