It was a cold wintry night of 5 June 2010. But one could definitely feel the warmth and joy at the Millenium Reception Centre in St Albans. It was the evening of the commemoration of the 112 Independence Day of the Philippines.
Filipinos, as well as other nationals alike attended the ball dressed elegantly for this occasion. Most Filipinas were in their colourful ”baro’t saya” and butterfly sleeves while men wore their ubiquitous ‘Barong Tagalog” .
There was a feeling of elation and nationalism in the air. It was evident by the entertainment and speeches given by the guests and chairperson of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria.
The guest speakers were Victorian Multi-cultural representative, Ms Liz Drodz and Hon Gigi Kalong who is the newly appointed honorary consul of Victoria.
Ms Kalong calls for unity among the Filipino community, while Ms Drodz expressed her deep appreciation for the contributions afforded by the Filipino community to the multicultural society in Victoria.
Mr Raul Hernandez, the out going Philippine consul general, made an emotional farewell speech thanking profusely the officers of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria and all the community leaders who enthusiastically supported him during his seven-year term. He also mentioned the struggles our forefathers in achieving our independence.
Mrs Norma Serrano, the energetic chairperson of the Filipino Council of Victoria, made a deep impression on everyone’s heart and mind when she said:
My stint as a Chair for two and a half years, has seen so many challenges, some disappointments but ultimately many triumphs in the last two weeks.
Some people tried so hard to promote the so-called Filipino “Crab Mentality”, but it didn’t destroy our spirit. It is our absolute silence against our detractors that gives them the energy to continue doing what they are doing My Executive Team , The Dream Team as called by FCCVI founder Marina Ruivivar didn’t worry about who don’t like us, who don’t believe in us, or who’s doing what. Instead we cherish the relationship with those who like us, who believe in us, who care about us and those who love us. Like our fallen heroes, we also have dreams for our people. We believe so much in that dream and work hard to achieve it. We seek the help of the best. We did not settle for less. We were not afraid to do what is right and separate the bad.
The guests were treated with entertainments, showcasing Filipino costumes and traditions. There was a fashion parade that depicted the exotic and exquisite Filipino costumes from ancient to modern times – including Gabriela Silang, the wife our national Diego Silang, complete with “ salakot” and “bolo”.
Luzviminda, a Filipino women’s association of Victoria, demonstrated their terpsichorean feat with their elegant Muslim dance from the southern part of the Philippines choreographed by its chairperson Mrs Rose Sosa.
Ms Serrano and deputy vice-chairperson Manny G. Asuncion, acknowledged the hard work done by the officers of the Philippine-Australia Foundation Inc (PAFI) headed by its director Jing Sosa. PAFI, the financial arm of FCCVI, organized this year’s Philippine Independence Day Ball.
There were more than 300 people who attended this momentous event. An evening that commemorated the struggles of our national heroes in achieving our independence.