A very successful Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA) National Conference was held in Novotel Parramatta Sydney, where 150 delegates registered for the actual conference, and 290 delegates attended the gala dinner, followed by the cruise at the Darling harbour.
Congratulations to the FILCCA event organisers and attendees for such a wonderful event from Friday, 24th October to 26th October Sunday. This conference by the peak national Filipino organisations in Australia was very informative and entertaining.
The conference included many great speakers, an entertaining and fun gala dinner, and a relaxing luxury cruise on the world’s best harbour in Sydney.
Nenita yours truly at the FILCCA Conference held in Novotel Parramatta with the recipient
of the Filipino of the Year award Mr Ignacious Jones. Congratulations.
FILCCA conference with Bryan Doyle MP for Campbelltown and with the recipients of Association Award
Lourdes Kaiser and Joy Martin for the Leadership award (Kanangra Resident)
Many Filipinos from around all parts of the great nation of Australia won awards for their service to Filipino-Australian communities. The best gala dinner performance award went to the Filipino Community Council of the Australian Capital Territory (FCCACT) [pictured above]. Many state and federal political VIPs delivered speeches, as well as the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency Belen F. Anota.
Meeting the Messiah
This weekend, after much practice, I sang in Handel’s Messiah, a sacred oratorio, written nearly three hundred years ago (think of an Opera without acting and costumes) lasting over two hours. The Messiah is a musical celebration of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ and includes the famous Alleluia Chorus. Its message is timeless, emotional and powerful and it was a privilege to perform with the Allegri Singers, Willoughby Singers Cudgegong Choir and the Bathurst Chamber Orchestra. The hundred strong ensembles performed to packed houses in the heritage Prince of Wales Theatre in Gulgong, where dame Nellie Melba once sang, and in the magnificent modern Anglican Cathedral in Bathurst, under the expert conducting of the talented William Moxey. The big choir, orchestra and talented soloists performed with heart and soul, filling the venues with power and passion.
This was a big learning experience for me, like most Filipinos I love singing and can deliver a mean karaoke tune, but classical singing was initially way out of my comfort zone, and I lacked confidence, but suddenly it clicked and I really felt part of the big, talented team and awaited the performances like a ten year old prior to a first football game. To be part of it all was an uplifting experience I shall never forget, and hope to repeat in the near future.
I have organised many events with and for Filipinos and value their spontaneity, enthusiasm and joyful participation, but I learnt some interesting lessons from our choral group: always turn up on time and start and finish rehearsals promptly, keep quiet and listen and learn from the conductor, never speak during a performance and keep striving for perfection, admitting to and learning from every imperfection, and never put down or back bite your colleagues as trust in each other is everything. If only we could harness Filipino warmth to Australian values, I feel we would all be better off.
The Peoples’ Pope
I am a big fan of Pope Francis and his progressive views. The Church has evolved, we no longer have mass in Latin to keep understanding from the masses and thankfully no longer burn Protestants at the stake. Soon after his election, Pope Francis was criticized for refusing to “judge” gays.
He said. “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized, they are our brothers”. He expressed the same mercy and compassion for the poor as he did for gays. He has stated that caring for the poor does not make you a communist, expressing concern that “land, housing and work are increasingly unavailable to the majority of the world’s population. Also he considers divorced couples should be more welcomed by the church, if they live Christian lives.
Pope Francis has voiced concern for the environment and climate change, as he did for the rights of farmers to have land, and for young people to be employed.
Responding to his critics who accuse him of espousing Marxist views, he said “They don’t understand that love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel. Demanding this isn’t unusual, it’s the social doctrine of the church.”
As a very modern thinker, he considers that evolution is not incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. He created life which then developed according to the laws of nature. This is not the case Pope Francis expressed his belief that the theory of evolution is not at odds with Catholic doctrine. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve,” he said. He does not deny science, but seeks to make it compatible with faith.
Conservatives may disagree, but I think it is great to have such forward thinking Pope, who is both a Man of God and a man of the People.
Lest we forget
Last month on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month we celebrated the ending of the First World War on Armistice Day 1918 and remember those that gave their lives so that we may live. Greater Love hath no man than to lay down his life for others. This is just what over sixty thousand Australians did in the so called ‘War to end All Wars’. This was a tremendous sacrifice for a young and small nation like Australia, who lost many of its best and brightest: machine-gunned to pieces at Gallipoli, gassed in Europe and lost a sea and in the air.
We learnt nothing and started an even greater war 20 years later, where about 40000 Aussies died. But this time few believed the war against Nazi Germany and Japan was foolish or and unjustified. We must have learned something as we have avoided a third world war, despite going very near a few times.
We are however confronted with a world- wide outbreak of terror which could strike anyone, the casualties are fewer, but the heroism and tragedies from those involved are just as great.
Just as in World War One we seemed to have little idea of how to combat machine guns and modern artillery. We are now seemingly at a loss to combat terrorism and cyber-warfare involving computer attacks on our communications systems.
We need our armed forces as much as ever and must never forget the price they paid and are still paying for our peace and freedom. I still see our gallant troops returning in body bags or without limbs, or severely psychologically damaged, and wonder why the Government are so mean in paying wages to those willing to pay with their lives. They are fighting a foe that beheads prisoners of war and civilians so what are they worth, compared to a public servant, banker or politician for that matter.
Bathurst 1000 V8, A Rolling Thunder
Trucks with horns blaring, fighter jets with afterburners screaming and the prolonged growl of V8 engines. The circus comes to town full of fanfare and excitement. This year’s Bathurst 1000 great race had something for everyone, especially the 200,000 fans who came to cheer on their cars and drivers as they stormed the Mount for a thousand kilometres.
The truck parade was noisy and spectacular as the huge trailers covered in logos, carrying cars and spares blast their way up the main street between packed ranks of spectators, whilst the race drivers patiently signed autographs. There were markets and a ball and many races between utes and sports cars supporting the main event.
The City began to resemble a refugee camp with thousands of tents and trailers on the mount and at various sports fields throughout the city, which has damaged the previously lucrative home rental scheme. However the visitors bring millions of dollars into the City and the pubs do a roaring trade. The weather was perfect and the huge crowd very well behaved, and rewarded with a Ford and Holden first and second, with newcomers Nissan and Volvo giving them a run for their money. Many Filipinos help with the hospitality side of things and are well appreciated
The race itself was most exciting with many crashes and a delay whilst the new track was repaired. In a final dramatic act, the lead car ran out of fuel at the last corner and the car that started last was first over the finishing line, after passing all other competitors. An exciting end to a great weekend, now back to sleepy town.
The Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst and the Central West wishes the Managing Director of PCHN, Evelyn Zaragoza and all Writers and Colleagues a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2015.