AECC Halo-Halo Festival 2014

by Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto

For a multicultural and vibrant city like Melbourne, it is not difficult to be treated with events that reflect diversity. Held at St. Bernadette’s Community Reception in Sunshine North last 30 August 2014, the first ever AECC Global Halo-halo Festival, a musical theatre event, was staged with a host of talented performers from different backgrounds.

Incoming Philippine Honorary Consul for Victoria Felix Pintado officially opened the musical event by acknowledging the complementary role of the musical in celebrating diversity in Melbourne.

The musical event was divided into four acts with performances from solo artists and choral groups. The first act highlighted patriotic Filipino songs performed by Harmonico Filipino, Kit Tamani and Connect City Church Choir. A Broadway-themed act followed, showcasing performances of Czarina Lapus and Caine White (Sun and Moon from Miss Saigon) and Zabrina Araya (Circle of Life from Lion King). Their renditions were spiced up by interpretative dances of Susan and Joe Caruana (Sun and Moon) and Dominic Steele (Circle of Life).

Filling the third act with entertaining numbers were a Cha Cha groove from several pairs of dancers and an enchanting performance with a violin from Mr Shen. Impressive rhythms and melodies thrilled the audience as the fourth act began. BJ Trillado, who reached the boot camp in the 2013 X-Factor Australia, played the guitar and sang “Give Love a Try”. Kid wonder CJ belted out with a song “Let it Go”. Justin Vazquez, who also reached the boot camp in the 2014 X-Factor Australia, serenaded everyone with his guitar and voice with the song “Somebody to Love”. Lastly, Mary Ann Van Der Horst, also a boot camp finalist of 2014 X-Factor Australia, sang her powerful rendition of “Titanium” and Gabriella Louise Martinez entertained the audience with her juggling act.

Before capping off the festival, George Gregorio of Sandok Production thanked everyone who made the festival a success. In his closing remarks, he emphasised, “Halo-halo festival is not a festival of Halo-halo (a popular Filipino dessert with mixtures of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits.). It is a festival in which we focus on talents and we try to enrich multicultural talents.” Mr Gregorio’s remarks were followed by an all-star cast performance.

One of the fastest rising Pinoy bands in Melbourne, Our Tribe Band, also played in the festival with hit songs such as Hard to handle, Elisi, Hinahanap-hanap kita, Yugyugan Na, and a lot more.

The Halo-Halo festival is made possible through Sandok Production, AECC Global, Philippine Tours, The Philippine Times, Western Union, Clazzy Events, and Liz Honey.

Other members of Sandok team are Chito Javier, Susan Rodriguez and Tess Gregorio.

(Photos by Edwin Tuazon, Irma Modesto and Jen Azzopardi).

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