(l-r) Fr. Nards Mercene, Campbelltown Mayor John Brecevic, MP Kevin Conolly, Jun Relunia (event manager), Kate Andres (PCC-NSW President),  Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka, Ambassador Minda Calaquian-cruz, ConSul Gen Ann Jalando-on Louis, Mr. Gerry Louis. (l-r) Fr. Nards Mercene, Campbelltown Mayor John Brecevic, MP Kevin Conolly, Jun Relunia (event manager), Kate Andres (PCC-NSW President), Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka, Ambassador Minda Calaquian-cruz, ConSul Gen Ann Jalando-on Louis, Mr. Gerry Louis.

JUN’S DIARY Isa Pa Nga for Philippine Pasko Festival Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour Featured

Yes 90% of those surveyed after visiting the Philippine Pasko (Christmas Festival on 12 – 13 Nov 2016 recommended that the Philippine Pasko ( Christmas ) Festival be held again next year at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour. The visitors enjoyed the food, entertained by a very good program on stage; greeted by the smiling faces of welcoming volunteers, joined in Christmas carols, participated in games, availed of services offered by various stalls such as Philippine tourism, travel, money remittance, real estate investment and other services. Everyone did enjoy; met new and old friends and left the Festival with happy memories.

The Philippine Pasko (Christmas) Festival at Tumbalong Park concept was initiated in 2014 during my term as President of the Philippine Community Council of NSW.. Planning started with a team of four – Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, former Tourism Attache Lito Jones and Vivid Sydney Architect Ignatius Jones and Jun Relunia. The Festival was not held in 2014 ( not enough time to implement) and 2015 ( Tumbalong Park was part of the Darling Harbour redevelopment). Hence it was only in Nov 2016, that the Filipino community dream of a having a Christmas festival at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour promoting Philippine culture, tourism, trade, food, arts and Christmas traditions to the Filipino community and mainstream multicultural society was realised. 2016 was a good year to start the Philippine Pasko (Christmas) Festival as this year we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and Commonwealth of Australia.

The Philippine Pasko ( Christmas ) Festival success would not have been possible without the support of the advisers Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Tourism Attache Norjamin delos Reyes, Trade Attache Kenneth Yap and President of PCC – NSW Kate Andres; members of the organising committee and sub-committees, the Philippine Community of NSW, sponsors, stall holders, advertisers, staff of the Philippine Consulate, Tourism and Trade, donors, the media /press (PCHN had full back page Pasko flyer on their 3 monthly issues) , the performers, the various community organisations and the volunteers led by the youth such as the Association of Pinoy Students in Australia and Filomates. The coordination with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the City of Sydney Council was also very important to ensure the success of the festival.

As this year’s Philippine Pasko (Christmas ) Festival was an inaugural one at Tumbalong Park, there will be lots of improvements such as a big marquee, more shades and chairs, strong umbrellas and tables, more Christmas parols, Christmas decors, Philippine products, etc. in next year’s Philippine Pasko Festival. Next year’s Philippine Pasko ( Christmas Festival) at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour will require a bigger budget and therefore more sponsors, advertisers and donors.

In closing I would like to thank the advisers mentioned above and members of the organising committee, Bobby Lastica, Secretariat, Mike Alvarez, Treasurer, Joy Robinson, Finance, Albert Prias, and Flagcom. Production; Rod Dingle and Lilian delos Reyes, Program and Entertainment; Danny Rosales, sponsorship; Demi Robinson, Souvenir Program; Elsa Collado, advertising, Ronaldo Villaver, Promotion, Alric Bulseco, staff and crew management, Evelyn Beed, stall management, Manny Castillo, security and risk management; Vida Fernandez and Jasper Diaz, youth and volunteers; Penny Perfecto, Rachel Calisen, Ernie Teston and members of various committees.

We faced many challenges but never surrendered and instead remained strong, committed and focused during almost 12 months of meetings

Yes we have proven that together as a community, we can deliver.

MALIGAYANG PASKO AT MANIGONG BAGONG TAON

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