A View from the Mount

News from the Filipino Community in Bathurst and Central West
by Nenita Lopez



Celebrating Birthdays Together Central West Style


The month of June was a very busy time for friends and relatives celebrating birthdays for the young and the not so young plus the older ones. We were invited to Corazon Castillano’s 48th and Mary Manyweathers’ 87th birthday celebration in Orange. They had a joint celebration, as both were born on the same day of the year. The gathering was well attended by their friends and relatives around the Central West including the Missionary Sisters of Charities who are based in Orange and who enjoyed themselves immensely both food and Karaoke. Corazon prepared Philippines traditional cuisine, including a delicious lechon. In July in Bathurst, a combined birthday celebration for Neo (4 years) and Cale (9 years) Alborough and Dana Janssen (2years) and Keo 8, was held at the Catholic Parish Hall. There was plenty of rejoicing and fun and games, which were loved by the children and adults. Also last but not least four members of Couples for Christ combined their birthday celebration. Julia Panilagao, Julie Landicho, Lourdes Driscoll and Dayan Pabilan were the main celebrants. The party was held at the home of Marie Mabaqiuao in Raglan and was attended by their friends and relatives around the Central West.




Corazon Castillano celebrating her birthday with the Missionary Sisters of Charities

 p14-2Corazon Castillano and Jo Evans with Mary Manyweathers who turned 87th with surrounded

with her daughter Marian Jones, granddaughter Kim and great grand-daugther 

Hanna Evans celebrating in Orange


In Wallerawang, Victoria Wilkins turned 18th in the month of July. Mother Emily prepared a surprised party held at the Commercial Hotel with guest attending from Central West, Dubbo and Sydney. Again guests were treated with Emily’s gourmet cooking being the kitchen manager of this same Hotel. It was a busy time for all of us indeed and my heartfelt congratulations to all of you may God Bless You Always.



Turning 18th in the center Vicky Wilkins with Nenita from Bathurst, Diocyl and Susan from Dubbo,

Maria Lambell from Sydney, Emily Wilkins from Wallerawang and Elizabeth Noble from Sydney enjoying the party.



Julie Landicho, Dyne Pabilan, Julia Panilagao and Lourdes Driscol at Marie Mabaquiao’s residence


“Winter in Wonderland”

Wonderland was the theme for this year’s Filipiniana Friends thanksgiving celebration. This event was held in recognition of the considerable time, effort and cooperation of all members and supporters of this Group around the Central West and beyond, to bring the Filipino community together and keep our tradition alive. There was a fashion parade and awards were given to those who worked hard for Philippine Independence Day celebrations. The wonderland competition were: Marilyn Walpole, Ediza Francisco and Cale Alborough and judged by Rolly Tandang and Dennis Kocjancic with our MC for the day was Marie Tandang.



We were there Agnes Alborough with the kids birthday celebrant joined with

Norrie Baumgarten and Hennie Buckley at the Bathurst Cathedral Parish Hall



Yours truly, Agnes, Mila, Vilma, Bing and Ediza with Cale birthday party Bathurst



Farewell to a most loved community member

Trinidad Liwanag Weis at the age of 72, was farewelled on the 12th September at Sts. Michael & John’s Cathedral. Trining came to Bathurst 30 years and more ago and settled in really well in this historic town, which would have had few immigrants at that time. The Mass was expertly and sensitively conducted by Fr Joshy and included the singing of Amazing Grace, You Raise Me Up and My Way, together with a fine selection of readings, prayers and psalms. There was a large attendance of mourners from the Central West, other regions of Australia and overseas. Vale Nanay Trining, we will all miss you and may you Rest in Peace.


Filipiniana Friends Group help Ring the Bathurst Bells

Bathurst is a city of bells, it has the Carillon war memorial with automatic chimes and the magnificent new belltower at the Anglican Cathedral, which attracts bell ringers from far and wide. Soon they will be joined by the bells of St Michael and St John catholic Cathedral which is undergoing extensive renovation, including sending its bells to the UK for specialist repair. The renovation costs a great deal and is being funded by various grants and money raised by the Parish and this is where the Filipino Community steps in. A fund raising concert was held in the impressive Performing Arts Centre of St Stanislaus College. Two Filipino groups provided act and a great many were in the audience. There were a great variety of performances, but the most spectacular were the traditional Filipino Dances performed in brilliant authentic costumes. After a most professional introduction and explanation by Carmelita Nordvie, the Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst and the Central West performed the “Bakya Dance” in colourful and elegant Maria Clara dresses, and BFAC performed the ever popular “Tinikling and Pandango sa Ilaw”. Many hours of preparation and practice went into the dances, so I am particularly grateful to Robert Hupattz, Norrie Baumgarten and Marilyn Walpole who gave up their time so willingly. The concert also featured range of local talent who generously gave performances, including bands, dancing and country music. It raised a substantial sum for the Cathedral restoration and the eventual ringing of the bells.


Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst and Central West thanksgiving.


Filipiniana Friends Meeting and Birthday celebration

My friends and I organised a surprise birthday party for my husband. It worked as he thought they had come for a Filipiniana Friends meeting which was actually held afterwards. He was touched by their generosity and very funny card, and gave a heartfelt thank you speech. He is very supportive of myself and the Filipino Community, but likes to keep in the background, shunning the limelight.


Beating around the Bush

A local Filipina Katherine Koshemakin and family living on a large remote farm near Rylstone has just given birth to a lovely baby girl named Jasmine in Bathurst hospital and has returned home. We decided to pay Katherine a visit in her remote and historic town where the family moved to from Lismore. Jasmine weighed 10.4 lbs. and mother and daughter are doing well as are her father Peter and a brother Peter Junior in the adventure...

During our trip my husband chose to take a little known short cut over the aptly named Mt Horrible and the very pretty Turon Gates, then through Glen Alice and Glen Davis, and the Gardens of Stone. After two hours of driving over bush tracks, I was longing to get back to civilisation. When I lived on the farm in Negros, I spent much of my time trying to avoid the forest rather than journeying through it. We returned by a different route and visited the little known Rydal Daffodil Festival. We travelled with a friend from Bathurst, Norrie and her charming daughter Sky Lark, who took a lively interest in everything.



There was a very successful gathering of the followers of The Church of Christ in Kelso at the home of Tita Brown. Participants and Pastor from Sydney joined local believers in worship and fellowship in a most joyous celebration.



Senyor Santo Nino prayer in Perthville with the Devotees in action.


Senyor Santo Nino prayer in Perthville with the Devotees in action.



Many years ago politicians tried to buy votes or bribe voters by giving them salted pork. These days things are much more sophisticated and pork barrelling has become well established as an essential part of modern politics. The practice consists of bringing government funds to regional areas for projects that will please the electors. In Australia, marginal electorates often get benefits such as pipelines, dams, universities and even better trains, with the hope that more votes will come to the providing party. The Bathurst Bullet may in fact be a pork barrel in disguise. These practices are accepted in Australian politics, as each project requires close examination and usually cabinet approval. Also the funds are carefully audited. Sometimes in Australia politicians do exploit the system, as in the recent, Macdonald/Obeid mining scandal. However, they almost always get caught and will suffer the full weight of the law. Why the big concern in the Philippines about pork barrelling in the Philippines? Well, it is out of control. The previous President set up a huge discretionary fund to be used by Senators to help poor communities. There were very low standards of accountability and many fake aid organisations were set up and the money for the poor seemingly ended up in the pockets of the politicians themselves, providing a huge headache for the current President, who is trying to address the issue. There have been demonstrations all over the world to stop this blatant theft of public funds, and one of the main suspects, Janet Lim Napoles, has been arrested in connection with the misappropriation of 10 billion pesos of public funds, and others will soon be joining her. Whilst we are scraping together some donations for disasters in the Philippines, the politicians are taking the money that is available to prevent many catastrophes happening in the first place. Shockingly some Senators are strongly defending pork barrelling as a normal part of Philippines politics. If theft and corruption in Philippines politics are normal, then what hope is there for the future?


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