by Lady FELE MANN
Lupe with Fele after interview.
LUPE whose real name is GUADALUPE ELIORDA from Carcar City, CEBU, Philippines, is well known in Darwin for her amazing escape from an impending disaster but ended in triumph. Many friends, including enemies, were baffled how she was able to survive a most difficult trial in her life - a deportation order which only a miracle can overturn. Lupe was given 28 days to prepare to go home or do something out of the ordinary to avert the order. After receiving a letter advising her to go home or be deported, Lupe was stunned beyond belief. She felt as if the whole world had crumbled on her and that lighting had struck her right on the spot. But instead of losing her mind and sanity and thought of surrender and defeat, she fell on her knees and prostrated before a nice altar in her room with Jesus and Mary and with the big crucifix with Jesus crucified above the pictures.
Lupe cried loudly in tears, “Father God, you know the whole story, I beg you to deliver me from this mess that I am forced to face and endure and please provide an escape for me which you alone can give. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.” For some lofty reason, she was greatly relieved after her fervent prayers, stood up wiping her tears and sang praises to God for the joy that she felt from within. Lupe confessed these things to me years ago when she came to me at home for help, accompanied by Josie Rakauskas, her close friend and confidant. I was at that time the President of the Filipino Club Darwin Inc., (and still at present) and had succeeded in helping needy and distressed people and who was allowed to assist victims of any form of violence. My sympathy and compassion for her was intense; her situation nearly broke my heart. I prayed in earnest that God will lead me to something that can appease her great mental and emotional suffering.
After failing to get the support of big politicians in the Northern Territory and interstate through letters of Appeal, I suddenly thought of writing a very touching letter to Mrs. Tammy Fraser, First Lady of Australia. the wife of then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, boldly pleading for her mediation or intervention, detailed all the circumstances that happened in the relationship which caused all the troubles and submitted some evidences of Lupe’s oppression against the offender.. I knew that something bold, powerful, forceful and credible must be done in order to win justice. My letter of appeal to Mrs Fraser could be the only answer and I prayed fervently in my heart and mind. We - Lupe, Josie Rakauskas and myself prayed fervently for a miracle.
Indeed some kind of a miracle happened soon after - an exciting and sensational news - worthy to be known and featured so that even people throughout the world will know. This incident happened many years ago but it’s only known now because Lupe consistently refused to give out the secret thinking that because its a matter of deportation people may think that it is associated with criminal offenses - like violating the law, grave misconduct or grave offenses, etc. It was not the case at all, in fact she was the victim not an offender. The result was unprecedented in the history of Filipinos in Australia. Some wondered in amazement how it happened and how she got out of the deportation order but those who firmly believe in God, nothing is impossible anymore. Before we start unfolding the true story surrounding the deportation order and the amazing miracle that followed, let us know Lupe Eliorda briefly and her family life and background in the Philippines.
Lupe when her sons Lufre and Clinton were young.
Lupe was born of a big poor family in Carcar city, Cebu, Philippines. Her parents were Ramon Eliorda and Maxima Quindala Eliorda (now both deceased) had 5 sons and 3 daughters including Lupe. Although the family was suffering in acute penury, their family was solid in loving and serving God. She studied at Guadalupe Elementary School in Carcar, finished High School, and studied at Cebu College of Commerce in 1968. She also took dressmaking and Beauty Therapy Treatments which enabled her to manage her own business for 10 years in the Philippines called, “Lupe’s Magic Touch Beauty Salon”. She had a little son called Luffrey from a failed relationship when she was young and attractive but did not end in marriage. She was a single Mom and a very devoted one. Her son Luffrey was a very loving and caring son who helped her in all chores he could do for her.
Now comes the unfolding of circumstances. She had a pen pal, an Australian citizen from Darwin, Northern Territory, and after some time Carl sponsored Lupe through the Fiancee Sponsorship Scheme (Fiancee Visa), came to Australia in 1977, lived happily together, got married and lived for a year in a happy relationship. But things got sour later because of his change of attitude - excessive gambling, oppressive remarks and jealousy, fights, arguments and physical abuse dominated the atmosphere. When Lupe couldn’t hack the situation anymore she and her little son left him. He revenged by going to Immigration accusing her of leaving him without good cause, then followed by a Letter of Deportation. The Department is very strict when it comes to violation of government policies which was why she was sent immediately a deportation letter with 28 days warning to do something or be deported. The man must have presented convincing arguments against her.
In Australia, victims of abuse have their rights of appeal. They can appeal and their case is tried needing some credible witnesses in order to win. The Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) usually tries cases of this kind. The MRT is known to be fair, just and reasonable and some of those who appealed have won their cases in their court - those who have tangible evidences to prove their case. It is however, very intricate and laborious. We won one big case in the MRT some years ago when we assisted someone with a case of domestic violence.
Lupe with close friends Fele and Cora.
There was a big celebration with plenty of foods, singing, dancing and lots of jubilation at the Philippine Community Center attended by hundreds of people. A number of people also were allowed to stay after sticking to assist them in their problems for as long as it takes because they were in the right. Fighting for what is right is a most commendable thing - well worth fighting for and self satisfying.
Before the end of 28 days written in the deportation order in the year 1979, I received an official letter from Canberra addressed to me as President of the Filipino Club Darwin Inc. I looked up to heaven and said a short prayer before I opened the envelop. It was from Mrs. Tammy Fraser, saying in words ‘Congratulations! Tell Lupe that she is allowed to stay in Australia. The Minister for Immigration - Mr. MC Kellar has approved her stay in Australia and will arrange everything for her so that she will not go home!’ I was screaming with joy shouting ‘God, you’re wonderful!” and I rang up Lupe right away who was at that time reading also a copy of Mrs Tammy Fraser to me and by the sound of her voice she was crying - surely with tears of happiness. What a joy - an outstanding joy! Her enormous mental and emotional sufferings were wiped out with that single letter of “Absolution” and good news. We had great celebration after that. Our friendship became rock solid.
The last news Lupe heard was that the man who wanted her deported died the next year and the cause of his death was brain haemorrhage. It was later learned that he had this illness once before Lupe came into his life.
Years rolled by after that happy ending. Whenever I saw Lupe at Casuarina Shopping Square, I kept suggesting to her that I must feature her life story in the Philippine Community Herald Magazine and Timpuyog Magazine where I both write as a columnist writer and as the Australian Correspondent respectively. She then politely refused a number of times probably with good reasons: shy to have her life story read nationally and internationally, it wasn’t an opportune time yet or that she hasn’t mustered the courage to recapitulate the entire episode again in words. I gave her few copies of the publications to read and decide when she is ready for the interview.
I got the biggest surprise when I met her again at the shopping center few weeks ago and with big sweet smiles said “ Now, I’m ready for the interview! When will you interview me?” I couldn’t believe my ears!. “What, another miracle?” I joked and we both burst out laughing loudly. “But I am truly glad that you realized the wisdom attached to these important things that I do: mainly to bring God closer to the hearts of those who are far away from Him”. I said immensely. She nodded in agreement and her face shown brightly. “Seriously, after reading the life stories of those you featured in the TJ and PCHN, I have to agree with what you said that even in difficult crises we have nothing to be ashamed of if we have done the right thing and did not do anything wrong. And if these triumph were means of testifying to GOD’s wonderful mercy in order to glorify His name, who are we to deny? I’m not an ingrate, I am very grateful for all the help and support of GOD and the people He provided o assist me.” Her voice was full of joy and gratitude. We hugged each other tightly as if to thank the Lord for the happy ending of her case. And of course, the power of persuasion that I used to heighten the compassion of Australia’s First Lady - Mrs Tammy Fraser.
At the arranged place and time for the interview - the Nightcliff coffee shop at 9 AM, Lupe appeared relaxed and happy. Her face radiated peace and joy, something that was lacking in her during her intense times of trial. Briefly we recalled the incident with thanks for it was worth recalling. “So, what’s been happening all these time in your life, Lupe? We haven’t seen each other for quite a long time so I’m interested to know. I heard you have been managing your Lupe’s Beauty Salon for many years now and that you have succeeded in your business from what I heard from close friends.”
“Yes indeed, and because of my success in business, I’m now into service for humanity. GOD had saved me from all my difficult trials for without HIM I would have suffered defeat and misfortune if I was deported. I always do my best for charity works now - Heart Foundation, donation to the PHPhilippines in times of alamity and disaster. etc.” I like the smile on her and the twinkling of her eyes as she said these words.
“And your love life, did it improve? I kidded her.
“Actually it did. I married Michael, a painter, whom I thought would love me the way I did - from the heart. But sadly, he was again another compulsive gambler and if only he could gamble night and day he would. Our marriage didn’t work as expected. Gamblers never make a happy marriage. We divorced. After some years, I finally met Mick, an employee of VB Perkins in Frances Bay who became the father of my younger son, Clifton, a very good boy whom I dearly love. I had experienced happiness in marriage with him for quite sometime and I thought it would last forever, but it did not again. He smoked and drank a lot and we separated. I don’t know, but life can be cruel sometimes,” her face saddened. He wanted us to live in Lithgow, New South Wales where it’s so cold. I love to live Darwin as this city is an ideal place to live in. Sadly, we parted ways” she sighed.
“Don’t worry, Lupe, as we already know- life has no guarantees, for if it was so, it will be heaven on earth. Everything goes when the time comes, even this Earth we guarantees, for if it was so, it will be heaven on earth. Everything goes when the time comes, even this Earth we live in, because all in this world is temporary. Our permanent home is in Heaven; so there!” We laughed again but the significance of what we both said in our talk sank in. She also mentioned about someone who courted her again after sometime whose name is Walter. They became good friends. As she was more careful and more weary then after she noticed his hardheadedness, they remained just good friends. She ceased to be daring and couldn’t afford to take the risk of having more failed relationships. “My Gosh, I’m lucky with my husband Roman, thank GOD!” I murmured to myself, as I did not want her to hear. She is lucky in material things, lucky in providing well for the future of her family but unlucky in love. But then again who can be lucky in everything? This is not heaven yet, this is the world where all things come to nothing at the end. Adversity is a part of life and it always will. That’s probably why many long for heaven while still living on earth.
Lupe has firmly decided to remain a successful single Mom , a successful beautician whose efforts and sacrifices paid off, she sold her beauty salon upon retirement and gained some substantial wealth and prorperties that can take care of her now that she has retired. And that surely includes all parts of her family here and in the Philippines. Her happiest moments were when her children Luffrey and Clinton have succeeded in their respective careers, having lovely grandchildren, and not worried anymore about them for they can look after themselves very well
Her message to our readers: “Always trust in the Lord in difficult and trying times because if you trust him. he will send someone or some people to help you in your troubles like what He did to me.”
“I wholeheartedly thank the people whom He sent to rescue me when my hope was almost gone: Mrs. Tammy Fraser, former First Lady of Australia; Mr. McKellar, Former Immigration Minister, Lady Fele Mnnn who wrote a powerful letter of appeal to Mrs. Fraser. Josie Rakauskas, my friend and confidant who never left me in all my distress. They are my angels in human form!” THESE ARE MY ANGELS IN HUMAN FORM.!” Lupe declared with thanks and gratitude written on her face.
“An angel in form? It surely is the best title award to any human being!!! I can take that anytime and I will live with it for the rest of my life!!! I patted her shoulder and stood up to embrace her before we said goodbye.