By ALICE GREGORIO-NICOLAS
After years of toying with the idea of having a Philippine Festival, a group of Filipino-Australians will hold a Philippine Festival on 4-5 May 2013 at the Croatian Catholic Centre Sunshine, Fitzgerald Rd and Whiteside Avenue in Ardeer. “The Philippine Festival represents the religious and cultural activities of Filipinos. The highlight is a parade or what we call Santa Cruzan or Flores de Mayo,” Ed Guevarra told The Philippine Times.
Guevarra’s group, now busy preparing for the event, include Roy Carbungco, Pat de Luna, Josie Sotelo, Remy Raquel, Fred Osorio and their partners. The Philippine Festival hopes to attract five thousand revelers in two days. “Our main target is the Filipino community but of course everyone is welcome regardless of their nationalities,” he added.
There are comments that this Philippine Festival is a breakaway group from the November Philippine Fiesta being held for years now at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. Guverra denies the allegation, “Definitely not! This is in May which is a long way apart from November. If we wanted to compete with the Philippine Fiesta we would do it on the same day but that is not our intention.”
As to the speculation that the Philippine Festival this May was conceptualised when Guevarra failed to get a slot in the Philippine Fiesta election of officers, he has this to say: “If that’s what they think, that’s fine because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but first of all, I had no interest in getting a slot in the Fiesta. I just got involved because of pakikisama and to show some sort of support to the Fiesta. Not to mention that I am always attending their functions. Everyone knows how hard it is to get people to volunteer their own time and effort and yet they disqualified me for unfair and invalid reasons.”
This early, Guevarra is calling companies/businessmen and individuals to support the Festival. Individuals, he said, may volunteer to take part in the event preparation or share ideas on how to make it more successful.
Guevarra said he feels motivated and proud being part of the core group in the conceptualisation of such a historical event. “We should provide as many events as we can so the people will have a taste of the lifestyle they had back home and the children will learn more about Philippine culture,” he said, adding that people are actually excited and looking forward to the Philippine Festival.
Guevarra, Director of EMG Enterprises, said that for so many years now Filipino-Australians living in the Southeast area have been pushing him to put up a separate Philippine Fiesta but he admits it was hard for him to find time. Aside from the growing number of grandchildren, he and wife Obet Guevarra have their hands full managing their remittance and door-to-door company plus he has been active in LR Health and Beauty Systems Australia. He told Philippine Times that a Philippine Fiesta in the southeast area to address this request from his kababayans is in the drawing plan. This might happen next year or in the near future.
Meanwhile, Guevarra and his group are busy preparing to make this Festival a success.