by DR. R. DANTE G. JUANTA, OAM, JP
Philippine Honorary Consul General
Adelaide, South Australia
PASKO PILIPINO 1989 (Philippine Christmas), Glandore Community Centre, Glandore, SA 03 December 1989.
House Speaker the Hon. John Trainer, MP- Walsh and Mrs. Elizabeth Harvey, MHR-Hawker, GCC Patrons, flanked
by Officers of RADYO PILIPINO and FilASA during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. L-R Violie Leslie- VP Radyo Pilipino,
Nemy Christensen, Dr. Juanta- Pres., Radyo Pilipino, Noli Calabio- Pres., FilASA, Pacita Krassay and Cora Jenko.
Radyo Pilipino expanded its services in and to the community. It launched in 1980 an occasional “Philippine Forum” as means to clarify migration policies and other big issues affecting Filipinos. The initiatives were supported heartily by incumbent Immigration State Directors and other relevant Heads of SA government departments. Radyo Pilipino and the Filipino Association SA jointly convened the Filipino Elderly Support Group to provide opportunities for seniors to conduct their own activities for meaningful living. In 1989, Radyo Pilipino launched “Piling Talino” (Talent Search), “Palengke Pilipino” (a.k.a. Flea Market Philippine style), “Araw ng Lola at Lolo” (Grandparents Day), and “Pasko Pilipino” (Philippine Christmas). Altogether, the programs enlivened once more in Filipinos living overseas their “bayanihan” spirit (cooperative endeavor/community development).
From late 1970s to 1980s, religious interests groups were established. The Filipino Community Block Rosary Adelaide, for instance, was organized early in 1975 by Catholic families. The faithful recited the rosary every first Saturday of the month in the home of the sponsoring family. By the following year 1976, a monthly Novena to Sto. Nino de Cebu (Holy Infant Jesus) was started. Prayer meetings were conducted also in homes of Filipino family devotees. Soon, yearly observance of the Fiesta of Sto. Nino de Cebu was held to coincide with the national celebration in the Philippines on the third Sunday of January.
There were social clubs too that were established. Among others were the Filipino International Club Inc., Filipino Australian Leadership Forum Inc., Northern Filipino Australian Social Club/Bayanihan Group, Filipino Families and Friends Inc., and the Ceduna District Filipino Families and Friends Association. Cultural groups were in the regions included the Filipino Cultural Association in Whyalla and Pearl of the Orient Club in Port Pirie.
Some of the groups disbanded and were dissolved officially. Others became moribund, the rest had never been heard of again.
Birth of Filipino School
On 26 February 1987, Filipino Ethnic School of South Australia Inc. (FESSA-Adelaide) was opened in Adelaide using the main hall of the Migrant Resource Centre in the city. Classes provided instruction for language and culture maintenance, develop literacy and communication skills in the national language Filipino to primary and high school aged Filipino students and to other interested students.
Soon, other branches were established outside the city, thus overcoming the tyranny of distance that parents and children had to make to reach the weekend language school. There were six sites altogether: FESSA in Adelaide; Salisbury in the north; Port Adelaide in the west, Holden Hill northeast of Adelaide; Noarlunga in the south; and, Kilburn northeastern outskirt of the city. Some branches operated independently in later years. In 1992 the 6 ethnic schools had a combined enrolment of 200 students and 32 Ethnic Schools Board accredited volunteer teachers.
Except for FESSA Adelaide, most of the schools went in recess for lack of teachers that left for regular paid jobs. Enrolments suffered too because of time competition at weekends on other interests, football or gymnastics and the like, notwithstanding the extra little effort and time students needed on school lessons and homework. © rdgjuanta April 2014
To be continued