By Manny Asuncion
The Filipino community in Victoria, Australia celebrated the 115th Philippine Independence Day on two big occasions. One was the Independence Ball initiated by the Filipino Community Council of Victoria (FCCVI) and two, was a Flag-raising ceremony which was held at the Federation Square organised by the Philippine Victorian Consulate in Melbourne on 12 June 2013.
The Independence Ball, which was held at the Millennium Reception Centre, Sunshine on 8 June, was attended by more than 500 people. The celebration was marked by a deep appreciation for our heritage and gratitude to our heroes and numerous unsung heroes who bravely fought for our independence.
These were clearly articulated by its celebration theme Ikarangal mo ang Filipino, Magiting ang Lahi Mo, and the lively presentations of native songs and dances performed by Gintong Kultura, Luzviminda and FEGTA (an elderly group association).
The highlights of the affair were a parade of all FCCVI member organisations in their colourful Filipino attire, and a 20-minute musical presentation depicting the struggle of the Katipunan (Kataaas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, “The Highest and the Most Honourable Society of the Children of the Nation”), a patriotic rebel group, against the Spanish colonial rule. The rousing musical was under the direction of Rolly Limun who was also its lyricist and composer.
Among the guests speakers were Hon Gigi Kalong, the Philippine Honorary Consul General of Victoria, who read the independence message of Hon Belen Anota, the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, and Mr Rudolfo Gomez, one of the recipients of the 2012 Filipino Community Councils of Australia (FILCCA) Filipino Australian Achiever Award. Mr Jing Sosa, the current chairperson of the FCCVI , enunciated the significance of the celebration and thanked everyone who attended the affair.
Despite the drizzle and the cold weather, about 100 Filipinos attended the annual Philippine Flag-raising Ceremony at the Federation Square in Melbourne on 12 June at 8 in the morning. The Philippine National Anthem was sang as the Philippine flag was unfurled followed by the recitation of the Panatang Makabayan, a solemn oath of allegiance to the Philippine motherland.
Hon Gigi Kalong acknowledged the presence of people who braved the cold weather and read the independence day message of Hon Belen Anota.
A very short film depicting the bravery of the Filipinos to obtain independence was shown. A light refreshment of hot coffee and delicious warm empanadas were served to conclude the ceremony.
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