This year’s Philippine Festival of Music, Arts and Culture showcased Filipino family and friendship, food, culture and heritage. Held last 4-5 March 2017 at the Polish Syrena Community Centre in Rowville, the event was an opportunity to showcase what it is to being a Filipino. The wonderful colours, sounds and the mouth-watering Filipino food on offer are what made the celebration unique and special.

On 4 March, Philippine Ambassador to Australia Minda Cruz had separate meetings with the Filipino community leaders, the seniors and women’s group and the Filipino media in Victoria. She reported that the number of Australian companies operating in the Philippines are increasing. There is also an increasing number of Filipinos doing business in Australia. The Ambassador and her team also answered queries on issues such as setting up and operating a business in the Philippines, 457 visa holders who are having work problems, the need to increase the number of Australians visiting the Philippines among others. The Ambassador encouraged the groups to become “Ambassadors of the Philippines” to maintain the positive and growing economic, investment and trade relations for both the Philippines and Australia.

The Ambassador also officially opened and delivered the opening remarks of the Festival, together with Cr Darren Pearce, Mayor of the Knox City Council.

The two-day event featured local singers such as Daphnie, Jehscy Sotelo, Charlene Sotelo, Shannelle Diongson, Yanna and Nayah Nuez, Vanessa Cox and MaryAnne Vanderhorst.

The Escalera Band led by Gary Cajili, the Quinals Band, Metrosound with Ernie Manaog and EAM3J Band with Angie Geronimo also performed. The Hiyas Dance Troupe also performed several dance numbers. Ludy Dellamas, Hiyas Dance Troupe’s founder and choreographer was honoured by the Philippine Festival represented by Ed Guevarra for her contribution and dedication in promoting Filipino dances in Australia.

Special presentations were: fashion show by Lilian Bermudez, Arnis demo by Master Andrea Wheatley, Marita Falloon also led Zumba for fitness fanatics.

The main highlight of the Festival was the Ati-atihan presentation and the Santacruzan where the Blessed Virgin Mary statue was honoured through a procession. The Festival ended with a mass led by Fr Alfred Yap with the Filipino Choir of St Anthony – Noble Park led by Choir Master Alexander Genota providing songs.

Emcees were Dina Mananquil-Delfino, Lily Gillespie, Jovi Adeva and Charlene Sotelo.

To view more photos, please visit the Facebook page of The Philippine Times (Australia).

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