His father and mother are Filipinos, his favourite Filipino dish is adobo and he considers the Philippines his mother country. This is Felix Pintado, the newly-appointed Philippine Honorary Consul of Victoria replacing the outgoing Honorary Consul Gigi Kalong. The Adjunct Associate Professor took his formal oath on 22 September 2014 administered by Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen Anota.
“The Philippines is my mother country,” he said of his roots. He recalled that his ancestors were among the hundreds of Spaniards who decided to call the former Spanish colony a home. His family resided in Malate, where he was born, before they moved to Bel-Air Village in Makati.
Childhood years in the Philippines
“When I was growing up my father always relished telling us stories about the family’s experiences during the 1940s and ‘50s and especially about the Japanese occupation. He was only 15 years old then and lost his father and three siblings in the war. Many of my relatives are buried in the Philippines,” he told The Philippine Times
An alumnus of La Salle Green Hills, he recalls his happy childhood in the Philippines where they would stay for several days during holidays in a big nipa hut at Matabungkay Beach which was under developed back then. “I remember many family excursions to Baguio, Antipolo and to my mother’s hometown of Bais City in Negros Oriental,” he said.
He has imbibed many of his father’s qualities such as having a deep faith in God, being resilient and being family oriented. For his mom who was a great cook, the taste and smell of her sinigang, lumpia, adobo, pancit and other Filipino dishes were the unforgettable gustatory delight in their kitchen which he would never forget.
If there is one Filipino trait that is strongly ingrained in his being, it is the “utang ng loob” (debt of gratitude). “It is this recognition of indebtedness to the country of my birth and of my formative years that is a key motive for taking up the role of honorary consul,” he explained.
Moving to Australia
During the 1970s, his family immigrated to Sydney, Australia, to explore better opportunities, especially for their education. Like any other new immigrant, the move to a different environment was challenging. “Both my parents had to make many adjustments as migrants in a foreign land. Funnily enough, being able to still cook and eat familiar dishes helped their assimilation into a new culture,” he said. Spending more than three decades in Australia, he now needs to brush up his speaking and understanding of Tagalog and Visayan dialects.
At present, he spends his free time catching up with his four adult children and exploring rural Victoria with his wife, Di Jamieson.
An impressive resume
He spent most of his education years in Australia where he graduated master of health administration at RMIT University. He also earned a graduate diploma in health services management there. He completed a graduate diploma in education at Monash University and a bachelor of theology at the Melbourne College of Divinity affiliated with the University of Melbourne.
He has dedicated more than 20 years of his life holding executive and leadership positions, previously at healthcare facilities around Victoria and even New Zealand, and presently at Royal Freemasons Ltd, a renowned aged care provider, where he is the chief executive. He has a membership in the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a fellowship in the Australasian College of Health Service Management and the Australian Institute of Management.
He also lectures in health service management and leadership for the Faculty of Health Sciences of La Trobe University.
Working as a Consul
Even before he officially became a consul, many Filipinos in Victoria already looked up to him as one, and he had only gratitude to the former Consul General Gigi Kalong who made the transition easier for him. “Ms Gigi Kalong has done an amazing job in providing consular services of a high order. One of the areas Ms Kalong instigated and which we will be looking to expand is the information available on the consulate website, such as ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ to facilitate timely access to this information,” he said. He’s also counting on his wife, who works as a management consultant, to assist him in his honorary duties.
Moreover, aside from providing the basic consular services, he also hopes to improve economic diplomacy, community building, and investments in the Philippines.
Being new in his role, he asks patience from the Filipino community as he takes on the steep learning curve. He would also request for those dealing with the Consulate volunteers to continue giving them courtesy and patience. And for the various invitations from organisations and groups who are holding their events, he advised to send an advanced notice so his Office can work out his consular schedule.
He said he will do his best to be the Honorary Consul to serve his fellow kababayans. His message to the Filipino community: “I know that, with your support and God’s guidance, we can bring the members of our community even closer together, assist the disadvantaged and help those in need.”