Bathurst 117th Philippine Independence with attendees from PLCAA and Central West Filipinos with our Distinguished Guest The Hon Paul Toole MP, His Worship Gary Rush, The Hon Anne Jalando-on Louis, Consul General in Sydney and local attendees Bathurst 117th Philippine Independence with attendees from PLCAA and Central West Filipinos with our Distinguished Guest The Hon Paul Toole MP, His Worship Gary Rush, The Hon Anne Jalando-on Louis, Consul General in Sydney and local attendees

A View from the Mount - News from the Filipino Community in Bathurst and Central West by Nenita Lopez Bathurst Celebrates 117th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence

After a period of anxious weather watching, the first Declaration of Independence Flag Raising Ceremony of the year was held on June 6 at Bathurst under a beautiful clear blue winter sky. A large crowd attended from the Central West and Sydney. We felt immensely proud and a little emotional, as the anthems were sung and the largest Philippines flag in the Southern Hemisphere was raised majestically up the huge flagpole in Berry Park, under the expert guidance of Bathurst Lions Club. It was preceded by the Australian Flag, which forms part of a large collection acquired by the Lions.
Speeches were made by the Minister for Local Government, friend of the Filipinos and local MP Paul Toole, Consul General Ann-Jalando-on Louis, and Bathurst Mayor Gary Rush, who are regular attendees. The event was also graced by the presence of the President of the Philippines Community Council for NSW, Evelyn Bede accompanied by Alex Del Prado and Noel Bernardo. It is good to see a country area getting some recognition and keeping our traditions alive.
The party adjourned to the Parish Hall of the Catholic Cathedral of St Michael and St John to receive a beautiful Filipino lunch accompanied by a local roast lamb kindly supplied by Rose and Joshua Downey.
Entertainers included “Handog Sa Mga Pilipino” by the Gee Club Choir proudly presented by Dra. Alexis Leones, “Paypay de Maynila”by the PLCAA Cultural dancers and Agnes Alborough & Co., provided a contemporary version of the Tinikling including some hilarious crowd participation. Throughout the event judges chose the participants in the best traditional dress, with the winners being Reytoni, Cressy, Norrie, Beth Alcantara with Dodee Leones and Carmelita being the two Champ. The lively celebration was greatly enhanced by our excellent disc jockey and a grand time was had by all,
The success of the event owes a great deal to the support of: The Hon Paul Toole MP, State Member and Minister for Local Government, Thai & Asian Restaurant Cootamundra and its Proprietor Miss Alicia Williams, Rose & Joshua Downey, Hanah and Chris from Orange Indoor Tennis Court, Ging & Rino Crisologo, Doug & Alice Austen, the Bathurst Lions Club and their members and the special appearance of the Lions Club Governor, The Bathurst Regional Council, our Mayor, Cr Gary Rush, The Hon Anne Jalando-on Louis of the Philippine Consulate Sydney, The Hon Paul Toole MP, State Member and Minister for Local Government, the Philippine Community Council of NSW (Pres Evelyn Beed ), Philippine Language & Cultural Association of Australia (PLCAA) President Dra Alexis Leones, Benjie de Ubago of Filipin-Oz Directory, Bro Ron Hitchen, Rosalie Tanquiamco, Claire Torreno, Filipiniana Dancers: Norrie, Janeth, Cressy, Nenita , Agnes & Company, Alvin Heizt, Bro Mark Tongol, PLCAA Gee Club, Roslyn & Marilyn, Manong Cesar & Indai Connie Baluran, Reytoni & Family, Wilah Renolds & family, Charm & Joel Horan, Vic Avila from the Orana group, Amey Puddle, Maricar and Maria Thomson from Lithgow, Milagros Conomos and all who shared their cooking and anyone else who gave a much appreciated hand and contributed to the success of this event. In an area with a comparatively small Filipino population, such events are not easy to organise and many hands are necessary to lighten the load.
June Madness
June is the big month of celebration for Filipinos. 117 years ago after hundreds of years of Spanish Rule, the Philippines unfurled its new flag, declared its independence and with the help of the USA and saw the removal of its colonial oppressors. Then followed a period of existence as a USA Protectorate. The US does not have colonies, but did want democracy and a large naval base in SE Asia. Although the US developed a democratic system and set up health, education and economic infrastructure, it did not grant independence until after the Second World War. When finally we were free from external oppression, but not from poverty and corruption, which need to be attacked with great vigour, lest the legacy of freedom is wasted. Celebrate by all means, but the war has not really ended. President Aquino is undertaking much needed reforms and economic development, but is concerned greed will derail them, so he is canvassing support from overseas Filipinos who are encouraged to take up dual nationality and vote in national elections, hopefully in support of a better future, which all hard working Filipinos deserve.
Locally in a striking display of cultural awareness, harmony and cooperation, on Saturday, June 6, Filipinos celebrated Independence by raising the Philippine Flag to accompany the Australian flag at Bathurst Lions Berry Park, where the Bathurst Lions used their huge flag, flagpole and expertise to good effect.
Visitors came from all over the Central West, the Sydney region and from more widespread, isolated Filipino communities. Official guests included: the Philippines Consul General of Sydney, the Honourable Anne Jalando-on Louis, The Hon. Paul Toole MP, State Member for Bathurst and Minister for Local Government, the Philippine Community Council of NSW and the Mayor of Bathurst Regional Council, Cr Gary Rush who welcomed the Consul General to Bathurst City. Entertainment was provided by Philippine Language & Cultural Association of Australia and local performers followed by a fashion parade. The entertainment was complemented with a delicious Filipino meal served in the Catholic Parish Hall.
The celebration, which has taken place in Bathurst for the last 10 years featured the largest Filipino Flag in the Southern Hemisphere and was organised by Nenita Weekes, President of the Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst and the Central West, with the help of The Bathurst Lions Club and Bathurst Regional Council.)

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