1. Obituary: Simeon M. Lopez 03.09.1923-20.05.2015. Beloved Husband of Consolacion (Dec). Love Father of: Erlinda, Rogelio (Dec), Aurea, Eduardo (Dec), Nenita, Ceferino, Placido, Brigida, Medardo, Veronica & Elvira. Loved son of Benito & Melitona (Dec). Loved Grand & Great Grand, Great, Great Grand. Loved Brother of Lomer, Tansing (Dec), Paran, Olim (Dec), & Boy. Oved Brother n Law, Cousins & Uncle. 2. Some of my long lost cousins: Carmelita, Saturnino, Tony and Yours truly. 3. We were there PCCNSW National Ball Rosehill Garden: Max Lopez, Cr Jess Diaz, Yours truly and Lourdes Kaiser. 4. Attending PCCNSW Ball at Rosehill Grand Pavilion: Linda, Amy, Vic Avila, Mila, & Ross. Seated: Ellis David, Nenita & Roslyn Wilesmith-Perrott 5. We were there PCCNSW Ball at Rosehill Garden: Neria, Nenita, Dr Soliman, a friend & Carmelita. 1. Obituary: Simeon M. Lopez 03.09.1923-20.05.2015. Beloved Husband of Consolacion (Dec). Love Father of: Erlinda, Rogelio (Dec), Aurea, Eduardo (Dec), Nenita, Ceferino, Placido, Brigida, Medardo, Veronica & Elvira. Loved son of Benito & Melitona (Dec). Loved Grand & Great Grand, Great, Great Grand. Loved Brother of Lomer, Tansing (Dec), Paran, Olim (Dec), & Boy. Oved Brother n Law, Cousins & Uncle. 2. Some of my long lost cousins: Carmelita, Saturnino, Tony and Yours truly. 3. We were there PCCNSW National Ball Rosehill Garden: Max Lopez, Cr Jess Diaz, Yours truly and Lourdes Kaiser. 4. Attending PCCNSW Ball at Rosehill Grand Pavilion: Linda, Amy, Vic Avila, Mila, & Ross. Seated: Ellis David, Nenita & Roslyn Wilesmith-Perrott 5. We were there PCCNSW Ball at Rosehill Garden: Neria, Nenita, Dr Soliman, a friend & Carmelita.

A VIEW FROM THE MOUNT by Nenita Lopez

My Father’s Death and Celebration of his amazing life.
For a very strange reason, I find very hard to write my own father’s death. But here is a brief eulogy that I could share with our writers and readers. My Dad Simeon Mansano Lopez was born on September 3 1923 in Barrio Mag-amihan in the outskirt of San Carlos City Negros Occidental. Born and bred in the bush by his Spanish Father Benito Lopez a native from Spain who married a Filipino native Melitona Mansano. The family were considered elite in the region as they owned land in the area. He was the eldest of six children and including one sister in the family. During World War 11, when the Japanese bombed and occupied San Carlos City, he met and married my mother Consolacion Baran Fernandez, who was a city girl and a daughter of the Sugar Milling Company manager who at the time of war evacuated to Barrio Mag-amihan after the bombing, when the Milling was completely hit and destroyed. He was not sick and died of old age at 91 years May 20th 2015. He was brilliant even though with little education, he was good father, friend and my inspiration. I lost my link and my inspiration, in his death part of me also died. At his funeral hundreds attended as he was known for his Spiritual Healing and have hundreds of clients who they claimed to have been healed by his prayers and Oracions. During the requiem mass the officiating priest commented how blessed he was at such a good age and reminded us not to be sad but to celebrate his life. I am sure my dad Rest in Peace. I would like to express my sincerest thank you to all who sent their messages of sympathy, personal, phone calls, text, emails, cards and on face Book, private and public. I was overwhelmed by the messages, kindness, love and support I have received. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. “When the bell toll it tolls for Thee.”
Philippine Community Council NSW Philippine
National Ball
The PCC Ball in conjunction with the 117th Philippine Independence Day celebration was held on June 12th at Rosehill Gardens in Parramatta and was the biggest gathering in the last 25 years of the PCC and a thoroughly enjoyable occasion. The Affiliate from the Central West, Filipiniana Friends, was represented and took part in the Rigodon. My husband and I Also made the long trip to Sydney for the event. Thank you Madame PCC NSW President Evelyn Beed and all your helpers for all your organisational efforts. The entertainment was excellent and the dinner very interesting, as many Filipinos would not have tasted a perfectly cooked medium rare, pink and bloody, piece of beef before.
Sydney Philippine Consulate celebrate the 117th
Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence
On 14th June, representatives of Filipino organisations including Filipiniana Friends of Bathurst and the Central West took part in a Declaration of Independence Ceremony at the Philippines Consulate in Sydney, hosted by The Consul General Ann Jalondo-on Louis, who as always spoke most eloquently reminding us of our heroes and heritage, and relayed a message from the President of the Philippines. She is a Diplomat in every sense of the word and explained the Filipino position in the South China Sea dispute, and implored Filipino Australians to take up dual Nationality to enable them to vote in the next Philippine Election. Entertainment was provided by some exceptional local talent, including Ms Roanne Monte, who sang ‘Bayan Ko’. The event was concluded with a delicious complimentary Filipino Luncheon. It was a charming experience for Bathurst visitors and it was really good to catch up with friends, comadres and compadres and enjoy an excellent lunch in convivial company. Previously we went to the NSW v Queensland Rugby Union match. It was very exciting with a big crowd at the Allianz Football Stadium, and plenty to cheer about as Queensland could not repeat their State of Origin victory.
Thanks giving and get together Filipiniana Friends
On June 20 the President of Filipiniana Friends of Bathurst and the Central West provided a delicious lamb barbecue at her residence for all her loyal supporters who had made the Independence Day Flag raising such a notable success. To undertake such large events in such a small community requires an enormous amount of help, so all supporters have my eternal gratitude for a job well done.
Philippine Language and Cultural Association of Australia celebrated 117th Philippine Independence Day
The Australian and Philippine Flag Raising event was held on 17th June 2015 at St Marys
Senior Citizen’s Hall and was a great success.
There was an excellent outside flag raising ceremony and some good entertainment in the hall include a Glee Club choral performance and dances by the PLCAA Cultural and the Filipiniana Friends from Bathurst, who performed a Magkaugnay/Moslem Dance. The awards ceremony for community contributions were a lovely recognition for our cultural and community leaders. The event was supported by the Consulate and Penrith Council, with the Consul General and Mayor in attendance.
The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst turns 150 years and still going strong
The Bathurst Catholic Diocese celebrated 150 years of the Cathedral of St Michael & St John. Celebrations began on Friday19th June with a procession of Church dignitaries including the Catholic Bishop of Bathurst, The Anglican Bishop of Bathurst, and dignitaries of other denominations who carried out an ecumenical service, commencing with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony. On Saturday an historical tour of the Cathedral and exhibition in the Chancery took place, followed by a Bush Dance. On Sunday 21st June, a special Mass was held, with The Most Reverend Adolfo Tito Yllana, the Apostolic Anuncio, a Filipino and a Bicolano, being the principal Celebrant. The mass incorporated excellent addresses including one from our Bathurst Bishop Most Reverend Michael McKenna and Father O’Regan, formerly a much beloved Bathurst Priest, now Bishop of Sale in Victoria, who reminded us that the time of its foundation, Bathurst was really the Wild West and the City and Church brought law and religion to the interior. The Mass was complemented by some fine singing from the combined St Stanislaus and Mary McKillop choirs.
The event concluded with a lunch in the Cathedral School Hall provided by the Couples for Christ Central West team headed by Sis Letty and Bro Ron Hitchen. Popular Bathurst State MP and Minister for Local Government Paul Toole MP and Bathurst Mayor Gary Rush also attended all three events and met their constituents.
The Cathedral is currently undergoing extensive renovations and a car was raffled to raise funds for the restoration. The lucky winner was a local newspaper journalist Eve Capper. The restoration is proving to be quite a job, as extensive work needs to be done on the foundations, and the transport to England of the cracked bell for repair was a long and costly affair. As soon as the structural work on the tower is completed, the bell will be re-hung, to call the faithful to prayer.
Bathurst turned into Winter Wonderland
On the night of Thursday 16th July 2015 we ventured out at 11pm and were amazed to find heavy snow falling and settling on the ground. Within minutes the social media were running hot, as people tried to get decent selfies in the dark, Our neighbours and many others spent most of the night building snowmen, or ‘snowpersons’ as I believe they are now more correctly termed. We awoke early the following morning to an eerie silence as the thick snow muffled familiar sounds. The world had suddenly gone white in a way most Filipinos had never seen before, so everyone got their camera out and had Kodak frenzy. Our little village and the hills all round had been transposed into Switzerland. Some hardy folk went looking for deeper falls, but all roads out of Bathurst were deemed to be too dangerous and were closed. For a while the City was really cut off from the outside world and Mt Panorama looked like a ski resort. It had been about forty years since Bathurst had a significant snowfall, ironically on the day I first arrived from the Philippines. Unfortunately, the temperature quickly rose above freezing and the snow vanished from the roads, the trees and lastly the paddocks. We were left with poor but proud snowmen that had become mere snow-dwarves.
The recent snow brought a great deal of excitement to Filipinos and their children of all ages, before it melted and left us with a cold wet midwinter. My husband grew up in a snowy part of the world, sometimes walking to school in deep drifts, with the temp staying below zero for weeks on end. I wonder how he survived. The answer is largely insulation. First insulate yourself. Wear a beanie or a hoodie as your head loses large amounts of heat, get some long thermal underwear, a thick flannel shirt and one or two woollen sweaters, the top it off with a thick, padded, waterproof coat, warm gloves and snow boots. Now you are ready to go to town and even tidy up the garden.
Secondly insulate your house. Powerful heating systems are a waste of time and money if the heat is escaping. Make your house airtight and draft free and heat only the rooms you live in. Double glaze windows or cover them with thick drapes. Put on extra bedclothes and wear a tracksuit in bed. Not very sexy, but remember a good cuddle is a great heat generator, and cheaper than an electric blanket.
Eat lots of hot starchy food: porridge, stews, pasta and curry. Get out of the habit of leaving food go cold before you eat it, and take lots of hot drinks.
Finally, make sure your car is free of mist and ice before you drive off and learn to drive in conditions of snow and black ice. Snow driving requires delicate use of the accelerator and brakes and slow cornering and knowledge of how to get out of a skid. Be very aware of hard to spot black ice, which looks like a wet road, especially in shades areas. If you hit it at speed, you will almost certainly spin off the road and maybe hit a tree, so be careful.

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  • A VIEW FROM THE MOUNT by Nenita Lopez AMBASSADORS, CONSULS GENERAL AND TOURISM DIRECTORS (ACGDT) TOUR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

    I was fortunately invited to join a group of diplomats and community leaders on the Visit Philippines 2015 Tour in August. The trip was to give a taste, to some Filipino opinion leaders from Australia and New Zealand, of some of the best of Philippines tourism, accessible from Manila.

      We flew by courtesy of Philippine Airlines and stayed at the magnificent Five Star Japanese Nobu Hotel in the City of Dreams precinct, which also contains the Hyatt and Crown Hotels and a very large Casino, which is a short shuttle bus ride away from the Mall of Asia. For Australians, Manila offered a cheap, edgy and exotic experience, but now like Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, it is aiming decidedly upmarket, but if you still want it the old way, chaos and excitement will be still there.

      We lived safely in absolute luxury, sampling fantastic international food and experiencing some top tourist spots in air conditioned comfort. We were met by the Hon. Jose Rene Almendras: Secretary to the Cabinet and then had an exclusive guided tour of the Malacanan Palace, the Museum, Hall of Heroes, wonderful Library of the Malacanan Palace, which now constitute the main cultural centre of the Philippines, followed by a Filipino lunch and cultural show at the Ilustrado Restaurant. In the afternoon, we visited the Department of Foreign Affairs for an audience with the Secretary: The Hon. Albert F. del Rosario and then went on a Manila City tour, visiting ‘The Charms of Old Manila’,  including: Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, San Augustine Church, Casa Manila, Intramuros and Baluarte de San Diego.  Tired, but fascinated by a side of Manila I knew little about, we had a formal dinner and ball room dancing complete with dancing instructors (DI) held at the Marriot Hotel Diplomatic Hall.

      Next day we went on a coach trip of about an hour to the towns Lemery and Taal, where, escorted by police and an ambulance, we saw: the Basilica of San Martin de Tours, which is the largest church in the country and has a magnificent silver tabernacle. We also visited the Casaysay area with its famous granite steps, Galleries and Craft Centres, where there were beautiful embroidery,  Panutsa and Batangas Fan  Knives on display. We had a traditional lunch at the Paradores del Castillo Hotel. A tiring, but very interesting day was concluded with dinner at the Ayala Museum.

    I was immensely enriched by my experiences, both in terms of s side of the Philippines I knew little about, but found fascinating, and in travelling with such a delightful group of Filipino leaders including: The Hon. Belen, Anota, Philippine Ambassador to Australia, The Ambassador for New Zealand, the Hon. Ann Jalando-on Louis, the Consul Generals for NSW and as well as Consul General of Wellington New Zealand. We should all promote Philippines tourism by going home and introducing others to the wonders of our land. Next year, I should like to make a similar trip to Cebu or in other areas of the Philippines which I have not been visited. There is huge potential for tourism in the Philippines, which we can all promote.

    Tagalog Association of Australia Balagtasan 2015

    Invited by Danny Peralta, President of the Tagalog Association of Australia, The Filipiniana Friends Dancers from Bathurst performed two dances at the celebration held at the PABICO 55 CLUB in Mt Druitt.

    In a program with the Sonata Singers and Lilian dos Reyes, they performed two dances: the popular traditional Subli Dance and the more exotic Moros Fan or Magkaugnay Dance. Congratulations and thanks to Roslyn Wilesmith-Perott, Marie Mabaquiao and our dance choreographer Sofia Sakay for all their hard work in practice and costume making and long journey across the mountains. Thanks also for our long suffering partners for their patience and support. It is so good to help keeping our culture alive, and having a good time in the process.

    Aguman Capampangan of Australia Celebrates 25th Anniversary.

    After the event some members of the Bathurst contingent, Marie, Sofia, Amy, Julie, Agnes and Mila rocked the night away at the Rooty Hill RSL, whereas Nenita Weekes, David Meacham, and Roslyn Wilesmith-Perott navigated the Western Suburbs maze, to eventually arrive at the magnificent Fairfield RSL Club, after heated discussion between ourselves and the Satnav system, which seems a lot better, if you know where you are going in the first place.

    At the Club we went to the lovely Sapphire Lounge, set up cabaret style by the talented Benjie Ubago to enjoy the Sinukwan Festival with the Aguman Capampangan of Australia celebrating their 25th Anniversary, headed by the President Marivic Manalo. We were addressed by special guest speaker Mr Joey Marquez and entertained by some class acts, notably the PLCAA cultural and Glee singers headed by Dra Alexis Leones. And also the brilliant Marcus Rivera with his amazing tenor/ soprano voice.

    After a large and tasty dinner, the place really rocked, with nearly everyone up on the floor, moving and grooving to a hot Filipino Band, who seemed to play forever. We drove to Penrith tired but happy and returned safely to Bathurst on Sunday. We stopped at the magnificently restored Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath, in the Blue Mountains, which has gone decidedly upmarket. Anyone for afternoon high tea? Lovely cakes and sandwiches for three at just under two hundred dollars, a bit much for our intended pit stop and cup of tea. No wonder the Sydney Socialites used to bring their mistresses there to impress them in the 1920’s!

    Balikbayan Box Threat

    It has been a long tradition for Filipinos living overseas to periodically send gifts, usually in the form of clothing and household items to their relatives and loved ones. However, this custom may be under threat from the Bureau of Customs who are proposing to open the packages and check them for contraband and taxable items.

    There has been a vigorous reaction to this, with huge petitions and demonstrations and the support of some Senators. Why the reaction? Well many of the goods are personal and used, and are of little value for trade purposes, and who is to know what will become of treasured items being mauled by poorly supervised customs officials? Many overseas workers are on low incomes and would probably stop sending things home if duty was charged by customs. Such actions make little sense both politically and economically, as the Government are only too happy to have Balikbayans prop up the domestic economy with gifts and remissions. Fortunately, the President has ordered a high-level investigation into this proposal, for which we must anxiously await the outcome.

    This controversy arose as the Customs Officers believe some of the boxes are being used to avoid paying duty on imports and much worse to bring weapons, ammunition and drugs into the country. The incidence of this is probably quite small, but arms and drug dealers will use any opportunity to increase their trade and profits.  Balikbayan boxes for years have contained gifts of love, but given a large cash incentive, it is only too easy to envisage some containing cocaine and automatic rifles. So the proposed searches, which are offensive to many, are certainly not stupid. Maybe a compromise could be where boxes are x-rayed and only opened if suspicious. Once again many may have to pay the price for the activities of an evil minority

    Some wise words  

    Below are some extracts from a letter to young Filipinos by Dr Gideon Lasco, a physician and medical anthropologist, which I would like to share with you

    “There always be people, Filipinos and foreigners alike, who will say negative things about our country, and I want you to be prepared for those moments when you will hear about them, when they say “I hate the Philippines,” you may feel hurt or confused. Critics rant about the corruption, the traffic, the laziness, the lack of discipline. They say Filipinos are hopeless, and call naive those who think otherwise. They compare us to other nations and lament how far we have been left behind.

    It is easy to hate your country when you focus on the negative. But when I think of the Philippines, I do not think of the corrupt officials, the incessant road repairs, the disasters, the tragedies and what-could-have-beens, the mentalities that have often been ascribed to us. Yes, I have seen these things, and more. I have seen the sad plight of indigenous peoples; I have heard the sound of chainsaws and falling logs. I have heard moving stories of justice delayed, and justice denied. These things are real, and they are painful at times. But I do not allow them to eclipse my view of what the Philippines is—and what the Philippines can be.

    Instead, I think of my family, my friends, and the people I have met in my travels that better represent what our country is all about. I think of my parents in Los Baños, and their passion for the church and the environment. I think of the park surrounded by stately acacia, the long drive surrounded by pili trees, and the comforting presence of Mount Makiling’s beautiful slopes. I think of my grandparents in San Pablo, our rambutan and lanzones trees, and the tranquillity of the Seven Lakes. I recall the honest woman in Maguindanao who picked up the cell phone I left in a jeepney, and, upon returning it to me, said: “I’m just being a good Muslim.” I think of the Batak family in Palawan who showed me hospitality on a stormy night, letting me stay in their house even at the expense of their comfort. I think of my mentors who have generously shared their time and wisdom, and my classmates and friends with whom I share happy memories. When I think of everyone in the country who has touched my life, I am overwhelmed by the goodwill they have shown, and it is the same goodwill that I vow to share with others.

    And, of course, I think of the beauty of our land, from the captivating islands of Batanes and Tawi-Tawi to the volcanic majesties of Mayon and Kanlaon. I think of the beaches of the Visayan Islands with the hope that they would stay forever white, just as I hope that our mountains would stay forever green, and our seas forever blue.

    Every country, like every person, has a dark side, and we must thirst for the inconvenient truths about our nation, and be willing to make the sacrifices they require of us. But they should never lead us to frustration, not just because of the brighter side that we sometimes refuse to see, but also because we can always do something to make our country a better place. We have suffered much, but like the sun that rises every morning, our smiles and hopes have not wavered”.

     
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