The Australian Council of Multicultural Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACME) celebrated its 5th anniversary and Annual General Meeting last 20 July at the Bayview on the Park in Queens Road. ACME President Jopen Quintero gave a review of ACME performance.

Gigi Kalong, Director of Philippine Tours, served as the guest speaker. During ACME’s launching five years ago, Kalong was also the guest speaker in her capacity as the then Philippine Honorary Consul General to Victoria. In her talk, Kalong shared her experiences in the travel industry spanning 35 years. She recalled that she was then an employee of Philippine Tours when the owners Wayne Alley and his Filipina partner Florence Alley offered her the business in 2002. Without much capital, she hesitated to accept but the couple offered her a special package to pay by installment. After a few years, she was able to own the company 100 percent. She said the reason why she got interested to buy the company was to serve, noting that money would come second.

Kalong admits she has had a fair share of struggles running her company throughout these years. Of one major crisis was in 2013 when a former staff member defrauded the company of more than $100,000. “I survived. I have faith in the people I trusted. I have faith in the community I served.” She said she has found her heart’s desire which is to serve in the pastoral council.

Her advice to the business owners present on the night: To be flexible as not all things planned will happen; to observe humility to better understand the customers; to connect with other business owners as connectivity is important to keep peace, harmony and understanding, and to practice good ethics as one will not go wrong on this.

While running her business, Kalong is also busy in her pastoral work. And this is where she reminded everyone to always keep their faith in God. “No matter how rich you are, there is no way you can buy inner peace. There is always one powerful God behind us. We should not forget our faith.”

ACME was founded in 2012 by a small group of Filipino business owners to share expertise and resources in business. It now has members from different nationalities. During its quarterly meetings, ACME is inviting seasoned business owners and experts to share experiences. Members also get to meet new business contacts and prospective customers and business partners.

ACME officers are: Jopen Quintero- President; Jasmine (Pin) Rutaquio- Vice President; Yolanda Larion- Secretary; Melba Cabato Waugh- Treasurer/Chief Finance Officer and Michael Venezuela- Auditor. Fred Jover is Council Chairperson.

For enquiries, contact Jopen Quintero on 0407 666 688 or Fred Jover on 0403 944 479, or email

To view more photos of the 5th anniversary, visit:

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