It is 7pm on Thursday 13 August at 7 degrees Celsius. It’s been a very long and cold winter here in Canberra. It even snowed yesterday. I think I just feel the cold now and feel longer as I am now home most of the time and also 30 years older than when I first arrived in Australia. The gas bill is another story. I hear more people talking about moving somewhere warmer but where???? Maybe Darwin will only be the only alternative…having snowed also in other places a few weeks ago. Let us see what winter brings next year.
It’s been quiet here in Canberra after the busy months of June and July with visiting musicians and singers. The visiting Loboc singers wowed everyone especially with the rendition of ‘Rosas Pandan’ with the Woden Valley Youth Choir. Thank you to everyone who contributed a fair amount to this cause.
PROFESSOR RIC CALUBAYAN IN CANBERRA
We were also privileged to have Professor Ric Calubayan of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila mentor the Rondanihan rondalla and both kid and adult choirs who performed on 29 June 2015 at the Wesleyan Music Centre. Prof Ric was a strict headmaster holding practices every night at Ian Bull’s residence. I was really impressed by the dedication of all the Rondanihan and choir members, which culminated in the successful concert. The choir songs were the National Anthems, Our Father, You Raise Me Up, Gaano Kita Kamahal and Alaala. Prof Ric is an accomplished pianist and voice trainer. We had a farewell lunch for him at home when we just all relaxed and expressed our gratitude to Prof Ric. I wish he could comeback again soon. He was also here more than ten years ago.
LOBOC CHOIR CAPTURED CANBERRA
AUDIENCE – they sing with their eyes and heart
Before Coming to Canberra, the Loboc Children’s Choir performed in New Zealand and Melbourne; raising funds to rebuild the devastated area of Bohol affected by two major natural disasters: a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan, in October 2013 and November 2013, respectively.
The Philippine Embassy together with several Canberra-based Filipino organisations coordinated a joint musical night on 1 July 2015 at the Hughes Baptist Church with the Woden Valley Youth Choir (WVYC) and Loboc Children’s Choir. The WVYC Musical Director, Alpha Gregory, arranged for twenty-three of the Loboc Children’s Choir to be billeted by WVYC families whilst in Canberra.
The night was a great success! Over 350 people came and it was a night to remember. We raised over $5,000 for a one hour performance. (Sally Barber)
Australian Embassy Staff Reunion
I got busy with visitors from Canada. My former assistant accountant at the Australian Embassy in the late 1970s was attending a Serra convention in Melbourne so Luz Manalo and her sisters Sophie and Evie had stopovers in Sydney and Canberra. We took the opportunity to organise a reunion of former Australia based and locally engaged staff of the Embassy in Manila. We sent the invitations through Facebook ad emails. Our former Ambassador Richard Woolcott intended to attend but family commitments prevented him from doing but he was so gracious to call us on the day of the reunion. My BFFs from Sydney, Aimee Villaver (she served as assistant to the Consular officer), Aurora Espiritu (assistant to the Political Officer), Melinda Orbon Gutierrez (assistant to the Information Officer), Melinda’s husband Edgar and Mae Cruz (Immigration officer) and several A-based officers and their spouses came including Jack and Judith Vaughn from Newcastle, Keith and Aree Hardy, John and Mimi Newton, John and Iris Patrick, Adam and Michelle Jones. What is a Filipino party without karaoke…of course we did until late into the evening and some exchange reminiscing the good old days in Manila.
As planned, we had photo opportunities at the Big Merino, Parliament House, War Memorial and a number of kangaroos at the Gold Creek golf course. After 2 nights in Canberra, we took the bus to Sydney. We went on the Sydney Harbour seafood lunch cruise…I’ve never been on one and it was really exciting. This is the best way to show Sydney to the tourists and take photos of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The next day we went on the hop-on and hop-off bus around the city. This is another convenient way to see several sights around the city without worrying about parking and walking long distances or getting lost. Bondi Beach was of course a popular stop for photo. The last places we visited were the Queen Victoria Building and the Star Casino. All in all it was a successful few days in Canberra and Sydney. They were very excited to buy a few pairs of Ugg Boots, which will come in very handy in the cold Toronto winter days and nights.
FCCACT Preparations for ‘Windows to the World’
Windows to the World is an initiative of Canberra Tourism, which is going to take place on Saturday, 26 September 2015. Several buses will be going around the different participating Embassies ferrying tourists who will be dropped off every hour. Each Embassy will be preparing different exhibits and shows which will depict each countries products, dances, music, festivals and food. The Philippine Embassy asked the cooperation of the different FCCACT associations to perform and assist on this day. This is going to be a hectic day, as all the groups will have to perform once every hour for 3 hours. We will publish pictures and tell you how each group survived the day. The Philippine Embassy ground will be transformed and even the jeepney is getting a makeover.
PASKO SA CANBERRA ON SUNDAY 6TH DECEMBER 2015