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Filipino-Australian Manuel Castillo Awarded 2024 NSW Community Medal for Sports

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Manuel Bermejo Castillo OAM was awarded the 2024 Dr G.K. Harinath OAM Sports Medal at the NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner earlier this month.

This big honour is given to someone who has done a great job using sports to help people from different cultures and backgrounds get along better.

Castillo is among the 12 recipients recognised for outstanding leadership, innovation, and community connection in promoting social cohesion and harmony in NSW.

The event also honoured four change makers who were inducted into the Multicultural Honour Roll for the significant contributions they made throughout their lives to enhance our multicultural community.

Castillo has spent the last 40 years organising sports festivals in the Filipino community. He has been involved in competitive multicultural sports in Australia and the Philippines as a sportsman, coach and events manager since 1973.

He is a role model for the Filipino community in charitable, educational, and scholarship projects.

Castillo worked within the NSW Department of Education for 27 years. After retiring from public service, he continued as a part-time educator in the Catholic education sector. In 2001, Castillo received the NSW Department of Education’s 25 Years of Service Award for meritorious service.

From 1977-2015, Castillo served as the former President of the Philippine Australian Sports and Culture (PASC), where he pioneered the integration of multicultural sports into cultural festivals while raising a young family. Under Castillo’s leadership, the PASC positively impacted the lives of many people.

The Philippine Community Council of NSW (est. 1990) and the Fiesta Kultura (PASC) have led various groups in organising multicultural sports and Filipino-Australian cultural festivals under Castillo’s stewardship.

For his dedicated service to the community for over 40 years, Castillo has received numerous prestigious Awards and Citations in Australia and the Philippines. 

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Manuel Bermejo Castillo. PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Bermejo Castillo. PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Bermejo Castillo   PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Bermejo Castillo PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Castillo with family   PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Castillo with family PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Castillo with golf buddies.  PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Castillo with golf buddies. PHOTO: Salty Dingo
Manuel Castillo is 2nd from left at the 75th PAL Interclub Golf Tournament
Manuel Castillo is 2nd from left at the 75th PAL Interclub Golf Tournament

His achievements in Australia have included the 1992 NSW Multicultural Marketing Award, the 2000 Australia Sports Medal, the 2011 Premier’s Filipino Community Award for Arts and Culture and the most prestigious, the Order of Australia Medal in 2009 for his work in education, civic, multicultural sports and welfare, both in Australia and the Philippines.

His international honours include the 1991 President’s Linkapil Award (Philippines), conferred on overseas Filipino individuals or organisations for their significant contributions to developing a particular sector or local community.

Castillo also received a Presidential Citation (Banaag Award) for his significant contributions to a host country that have benefited and advanced the cause and interest of the Filipino diaspora/overseas Filipino community. In 2006, he also received the Manila Special Citation, 2006 Ten Most Outstanding Manilans.

Castillo is a strong proponent of the unifying power of sports.

He has served as a Community Ambassador during international football tournaments, including the Asian Football Federation Cup and the Women’s World Football Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

“When I was a young athlete, and even more so now as someone who is young at heart, I have seen that sport is the great equaliser,” Castillo said.

“We may not speak the same language, but we understand and learn from each other through sport. In my experience, a simple chessboard or football field can be a place where new friendships can grow,” he added.

Castillo hopes the Filipino youth will be inspired to continue his legacy into the future.

This award is part of a bigger program that celebrates people who work hard to make their state a better place where everyone gets along. For more details, check out the Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals website.

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