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Friday, 18 March 2016 00:57 Written by

The commercial successes of Australia’s brightest early career innovators will be recognised in a new award added to the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science in 2016.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said the National Innovation and Science Agenda recognised celebrating successes of Australia’s world class researchers and innovators would help to inspire young peoples’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based careers.

“Our National Innovation and Science Agenda focuses on collaboration between researchers and businesses, and building Australia’s talents and skills to power innovative capacity.”

“Innovation and science are critical to delivering new sources of growth, maintaining high-wage jobs and creating a new wave of economic prosperity. To encourage more of this behaviour it is important that we recognise and reward Australia’s great innovations.

“This new prize will recognise an exceptional early achievement in the successful commercialisation of scientific research.” Mr Pyne said.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are in their 16th year as Australia’s most prestigious and highly-regarded awards for excellence in scientific research, innovation and science teaching.

The Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation was awarded for the first time last year to recognise the successful translation of science knowledge into a commercial outcome.

The Prime Minister’s Prize for Science pays tribute to the contributions Australian scientists have made in Australia and globally, and acknowledged benefits and value of their work to the public good.

Nominations are open for this year’s awards. For details visit


Friday, 18 March 2016 00:49 Written by

 "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - Jesus Christ (John 10:10)

The community has various ways of reflecting on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In any way you deem, may this holiday add meaning and value to you and your loved ones. 


Thursday, 17 March 2016 04:51 Written by

Team Lakay, is a martial arts group based in Baguio, Philippines.Officially named Lakay MMA Tap Team, it is also known as Lakay Wushu or Lakay MMA.The group was founded in 2003 by MMA fighter Marquez Sangiao. Sangiao was also head coach of the Cordillera chapter in Baguio for Wushu, and a seasoned martial artist with past experience in kickboxing, taekwondo, and Jiu-Jitsu as well as a martial arts instructor at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and a coach for Wushu at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City.

Team Lakay fighters use a distinctive style which has its roots in Wushu Sanshou. The success of fighters such as Eduard Folayang, Honorio Banario, Kevin Belingon, Crisanto Pitpitunge, Dave Galera and Rey Docyogen has helped the Team establish a reputation as being the top MMA team in the Philippines.

On October 26, 2011 it was announced that Team Lakay Wushu was a part of the One FC Network.

Team Lakay is the most decorated MMA Team in the Philippines!
La Trinidad,Benguet with branches in Baguio City and La Union

Team Lakay's vision is to help create a vibrant environment in the Cordilleras where martial arts can flourish. In the future, the team envisions to help establish their region THE center for martial arts up North of the Philippines.

Their code: Courage, Discipline, Respect.

Their motto : Champions are not born, they are made.


Sources : WikiPedia, Facebook /Team Lakay

Ylona Garcia: launches her performing career in the Philippines

Saturday, 20 February 2016 11:13 Written by

by Evelyn Zaragoza
Ylona Garcia, a young girl I have watched singing in
some local events in the Filipino-Australian community- launches her career in music and acting in television show in the Philippines.
In my interview with Ylona, this is what she says:
Who is Ylona Garcia?
Ylona Garcia is a young, simple, humble and talented artist who loves her family.
She is the daughter of Peter and Cary Garcia who have been born and raised in the provinces of Marikina and Cainta, Manila.
Ylona is currently in the beginning of year 9 in past school, Freeman Catholic College.
Ylona has been singing since she was 3 years old and only started performing at the age of 9. She has a very positive, spunky and friendly personality, in which she shows quite comfortably with her best friend Candeda. She is the middle child of 5 and is very close with each of her siblings.
In colourful Filipino costumes SHCL members participated in the festive annual Fisher’s Ghost parade in Kosigaya, Campletown on November 7 to cap its rather hectic community activity for the year.
Ylona is very happy to showcase her talent of singing to anyone who asks and also portrays other artistic skills such as, dancing and acting.

Who is Ylona Garcia (background - parents/province/what year in school/name of school).
Ylona Garcia is a young, simple, humble and talented artist who loves her family. She is the daughter of Peter and Cary Garcia who have been born and raised in the provinces of Marikina and Cainta, Manila. Ylona is currently in the beginning of year 9 in past school, Freeman Catholic College. Ylona has been singing since she was 3 years old and only started performing at the age of 9. She has a very positive, spunky and friendly personality, in which she shows quite comfortably with her best friend Candeda. She is the middle child of 5 and is very close with each of her siblings. Ylona is very happy to showcase her talent of singing to anyone who asks and also portrays other artistic skills such as, dancing and acting.

Being apart of Pinoy Big Brother 737 (PBB), was a roller coaster ride. It was very scary at first. but as the time went by, my courage slowly increased, as well as my ability to speak Tagalog. The challenges were quite hard and difficult, but what made my experience worthwhile, was meeting all the housemates who became my new friends and who I can call my family and especially the amazing food we got to share together. For those who plan to be a part of PBB; my advice is to always be positive and keep smiling because your family will always be there supporting you and don't be afraid of speaking your mind because you too can win the fight!

What are the good things that happened to you when you joined this show?
IN CASE there are negative things, what lesson/s did you learn to correct and/or better improved yourself.
The good things that happened to me were that I gained so many more new friends, and also the fact that I became better at speaking and understanding Tagalog. The only negative things i can think of are the challenges within the PBB house and anytime I got affected by the bashers and haters. From this experience I have become stronger and can faceany challenge that comes my way.

What are your current performances?
Currently, I am acting in a popular television series named 'On the Wings of Love', as Audrey.

How do you describe Ylona and what are your plans
What are your goals that you want to achieve in the near future?
I would describe Ylona as a positive girl with a weird personality, who is very close with her family and never stops fighting for what she believes in. My plans for the future is to never stop singing, to never stop writing songs and to always perform for my supporters. My number 1 goal is that one day, all of the songs I write, will become popular worldwide and that I will also make it big as a singer/actress, worldwide.

All the best in all your en- deavours, Ylona. God bless.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:31 Written by


Filipina musical theatre star Joanna Ampil seemed to be enjoying the Australian summer heat having a snapshot somewhere along the Sydney CBD’s George Street with co-stars Helen Dallimore and David Harris as she shared on her Instagram
“I feel like a proper #Aussie in between the beautiful and fit @dillidalli and @davidharrisoz”

Yes, the awarded musical theatre actress from the Philippines is back here down under as the lone Asian performer joining a stellar cast of internationally acclaimed musical theatre actors for the world premiere of Edna Markey’s Defying Gravity, a concert celebrating the work of acclaimed composer Stephen Schwartz. Previously, Joanna Ampil played the role of Kim in the Australian premiere in Sydney of Miss Saigon upon the invitation of Sir Cameron Mackintosh and in 2011 she performed the main role as Thanh in the showcase performance of the musical The Real Love. She has played various roles in major West End musicals including Les Miserables in London (where she played the role of Fantine until 21 June 2008), Avenue Q, Jesus Christ Superstar and Miss Saigon.

Joanna chats with PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza on her musical theatre journey and performing with broadway’s celebrated artists in Defying Gravity:

When did you start your career in musical theatre?

It all started when I got the part of Kim in Miss Saigon when i was 17 years old. I flew to London with my mum as my guardian since I was considered a minor then. It was one of those cliches things of being in the right place at the right time.

What is the most challenging experience you have in your career, performing with Filipino and overseas artists?

Performing with fellow Filipinos has its pressures too. Every Filipino can sing really well. I always have to make sure my singing is on top form. Plus, Filipinos are very critical in the most positive sense of the word. They know a good voice and good sound when they hear it. You need to grab the attention when you have the opportunity.

There's also immense pressure working abroad because I feel that I have to prove myself why I am worthy of being on a international stage. The more I do things, the more nervous I get and that's probably because I know that the expectations will also be greater.

What are you most looking forward to about “Defying Gravity”.

I am very much looking forward to performing with the amazing artists who are also part of the show. To experience how they work, since they are the celebrated artists of Broadway.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists who want to be part of the international stage?
To keep persevering and never giving up. And to NEVER take anything personally. Try to see each experience, may it be good or bad, as part of the training and always be kind and gracious in the process.

Catch Joanna Ampil onstage with an international musical theatre stellar cast in Defying Gravity, 12-13 February, Theater Royal, Sydney.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016 11:39 Written by

"I'm always looking for an excuse to get back to Australia,
I can't think of a better one than this amazing concert with a cast that seems too-good-to-be-true." Stephen Schwartz
Such was the excitement surrounding the announcement last week that Broadway stars Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit would make their Australian debut in DEFYING GRAVITY – a concert celebrating the work of composer Stephen Schwartz – that a third and final show has already been announced.
Enda Markey, producer of the sold-out, Helpmann nominated production of Blood Brothers and the international tour of Boublil & Schonberg’s Do You Hear The People Sing? is thrilled to announce the world premiere of DEFYING GRAVITY a concert celebrating the work of acclaimed composer Stephen Schwartz.
This exclusive event is set to be one of the most exciting musical theatre events of 2016 and includes a stellar cast of the brightest musical theatre stars in the world. It will play at Sydney’s Theatre Royal for three performances only on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February 2016.
DEFYING GRAVITY The Songs of Stephen Schwartz will be headlined by two- time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and Aaron Tveit (Les Misérables movie, Next To Normal, Catch Me If You Can). Also appearing will be internationally renowned West End star Joanna Ampil (Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Cats), Helpmann Award winner Helen Dallimore (Blood Brothers, Legally Blonde) and David Harris (Miss Saigon, Legally Blonde). Making a very special guest appearance is Tony Award winning Broadway, TV and film icon Betty Buckley (Cats, Pippin, Sunset Boulevard, Carrie). Ms Foster, Mr Tveit and Ms Buckley are all appearing in Sydney for the very first time.
Stephen Schwartz, who will be in attendance at the concerts, has won three Academy Awards, four Grammys and four Drama Desk Awards for his work on Broadway hits including Godspell, Pippin and Wicked as well as the Disney movies Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted.
Also taking place on Saturday 13 February at 12 noon will be an exclusive event: “Stephen Schwartz in Conversation with Leigh Sales” on stage at Theatre Royal. Leigh Sales will interview Stephen Schwartz about his career in what promises to be an intriguing insight into one of the most compelling personalities on Broadway.
Twitter/Instagram: @DGconcert Facebook @DGtheconcert
VENUE: Theatre Royal, 108 King Street, MLC Centre
DATE: Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February
TIMES: 8pm (3pm matinee on Saturday - 12noon in Conversation) TICKETS: Premium: $149.50, A-Reserve: $109.50 B-Reserve: $99.50. Groups 10+ $99.50 (A-reserve)
Stephen Schwartz in conversation with Leigh Sales – all seats $69 (Groups 10+ $55)
BOOKING: or phone 136 100


Sunday, 07 February 2016 04:46 Written by

The full event program for Fairfield City Council’s Lunar New Year event in Cabramatta has been released with acts and entertainment to thrill the thousands of visitors keen to experience this authentic celebration. This must see event will be held on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February at Freedom Plaza, Cabramatta.

Welcome in the Year of the Monkey with Curious George, the world’s favourite monkey, the Feathered Friends free flight bird show and interactive rainforest display, opportunities to meet the God of Fortune, Lion Dances and traditional music and dance.

The full program is available on the Fairfield City Council website

Event Highlights:
- Performances by Dauntless Movement Crew, stunt enthusiasts
- Feathered Friends free flight bird show
- Curious George Adventure Show and meet and greet
- Performances by hip hop dance crew The Pioneers
- Food competitions including one handed prawn peeling and children’s chopstick challenge hosted by Cabramatta Bowls
- Shaolin Kung Fu Meditation temple contortionists
- Fashion Parades
- Traditional music and Dance
- Meet the God of Fortune
- Gold wishing tree
- Authentic food and dining options

Fairfield City Council is also proud to be involved in the Lunar New Year celebrations in Canley Heights this Saturday 6 February from 4pm – 10pm. The event will feature international musicians, an eating competition, traditional music and lion dance. Later in the evening, families can watch the dragon dance, a performance held especially for New Year, followed by a spectacular fireworks display at 8.45pm

Cabramatta, Canley Vale and Canley Heights are the South East Asian heart of Sydney and visitors can indulge in an authentic dining experience year round. There are hundreds of restaurants as well as grocers and specialty stores waiting to be discovered.

Hannah Kilgore
Communications Officer | Communications and Marketing
Corporate Services

Manny Asuncion receives award for meritorious service to the Community by Adrian M Prophet

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 04:44 Written by

Well known, Filipino quiet achiever Manny Asuncion has finished his year on a high. Manny has worked quietly but productively behind the scenes for 28 years to the benefit of the Victorian Filipino–Australian community. On Thursday 3 December, at Government House, Melbourne, in the presence of Her Excellency the Governor of Victoria, the Victorian Government, through the Multicultural Commission recognised his contribution to Victoria’s multi-culturalism by presenting him with an award for meritorious service to the Community. Manny’s award was “for his support of Filipino-Australian migrant communities and wider multicultural Australia through sharing his talents in arts, drama and language”.

Altogether 36 individuals and 4 organisations were recognised for meritorious awards.

Manny migrated to Australia on 27 June, 1984 with qualifications in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and Bachelor of Arts, Speech and Drama. He pursued higher education in Australia obtaining Master of Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 1999; Graduate Certificate in Literacy, Victoria University, Footscray, Victoria, 2001; and PhD Education (Academics completed), Victoria University, Footscray, 2004. In addition, Manny obtained special qualification in Translator Level 3, National Accreditation for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), English-Filipino (Both ways), 1996 and Certificate, Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Melbourne.

In 1987 Manny became one of the founders of Dulaang Bayan Melbourne Inc (DBMI) a Filipino Development Theatre, based in Melbourne. The initial performance of DBMI was Kayumangging Ibon (written and directed by Manny) which was presented at the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria in Footscray Park.

For almost 25 years, Manny has been writing and directing skits, monologues and plays for DBMI as well as initiating and conducting workshops for its members. Among his works are Kuwento ni Auring (1987), Kayumangging Ibon (1989), Autumn Sonata (2000), Kesehoda (2001), Mga Eksena sa Airport (2004), Summer Butterflies (2006), Ikalawang Tag-Sibol ni Mang Florante (2009) and Miting Sa Makiling (2011). Manny also wrote the lyrics for these plays.

Manny was one of the founders of the Philippine Times, a Filipino-Australian community newspaper. He was one of its former editor-in-chief. He wrote lots of articles (news, essays, film critiques feature stories, Filipino legends and short stories using different pseudonyms) and had a regular column, Pilantik ng Diwa that touched on the Filipino humour and psyche.

Contributions to other newspapers include Columnist/writer: Bayanihan (Sydney), Philippine Community Herald (Sydney), Munting Nayon Newspaper Magazine (Netherlands), Daily Mirror (New York, USA).

Manny was one of the early broadcasters of Radyo Filipino 3ZZZ 92.3 FM in its early days.

He is a Filipino language teacher. He taught Filipino at the Victorian School of Languages, Princess Hill Language School, Philippine Language School of Victoria and was the chief lecturer of the Filipino language Department at the Australian Defence Force Language School (Laverton) and the ADF Special Task Force Language School, Perth, Western Australia.

A licensed Filipino translator and interpreter, Manny was a one-time chief examiner for the Filipino language group of the National Accreditation Authority for Translator and Interpreters (NAATI), a position he held for almost 10 years.

A deeply committed member of the Filipino-Australian Community in Melbourne, Manny was the vice president of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria for 4 years and is currently the PRO of the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria. He was also the vice-president of Filipino Artists of Melbourne (FAME) and one time president of Filipino Toastmaster Club of Melbourne.

In 2014, Manny Asuncion published a book, entitled Seasons, An Anthology of Filipino Plays Down Under, 2014 (A collection of plays written in English and Filipino).

Manny Asuncion’s devotion, passion, commitment and effectiveness in promoting culture and heritage, and supporting multiculturalism and promoting community relations through language, arts and drama has been recognised by the peak Filipino associations in recent years.

He has received many awards for his community work, and in 2015 his work was recognised at the national and international levels.

He received the: Filipino Australian Achiever Award from The Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA), 2014.

Eminent Alumni Award, Philippine Normal University, 2015 and the International Jubilarian Leadership Award, Philippine Normal University, 2015.

Manny Asuncion is quiet about his achievements personally, but people who know him, respect him and support him, believe he was a most worthy candidate for the latest award.

In her message to recipients of these awards, the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AM, wrote that “The Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence recognise and celebrate the extraordinary contribution of a diverse array of Victorians to our vibrant and inclusive society.” The Governor stated that in Victoria we “Collectively speak over 260 different languages and practise around 135 different faiths. We embrace different cultures from across the globe, and value the distinct contribution each culture makes to our broader community.”

In his message, the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP wrote that, “Since 2002, these annual Awards have recognised many remarkable achievements to support diversity, inclusion and cohesion in our community. We are very fortunate to have so many committed people and organisations working hard to maintain Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in multicultural affairs.”

“The 2015 Award recipients have made significant contributions to support Victoria’s diverse communities to fully participate in society, and to maintain and celebrate their different cultures, languages and faiths”, he wrote.

In a message The Hon. Robin Scott MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs stated that “Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence are an important way for the Victorian Government and the Victorian Multicultural Commission to publically acknowledge Victorians who embrace our diversity…these awards pay tribute to those individuals, communities and organisations who contribute to our successful multicultural and inclusive society.”

Helen Kapalos, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission, wrote that “with recipients representing 22 different cultures, these awards highlight the depth and breadth of initiatives and programs that support and reinforce our strength as a multicultural community.”

She thanked the nominators for taking the time to put forward so many deserving nominees.

Following the presentations, the recipients and their guests were invited to partake of cocktails, and to view several rooms in Government House, including the State Dining Room and the State entrance and the billiard room.