At first, it was a simple Christmas get-together of friends and family members at the house of Amie Polbrat. Then it became a bigger one when Rex Murdoch offered to pay for the hiring of the hall. Some volunteered to bring dishes and dessert and to help in organising an entertainment. Then someone suggested to charge an entrance fee to keep as funds for future gatherings. While planning for the party, sad news jolted everyone when the super Typhoon Yolanda brought tragic devastation to the Philippines.
Amie’s sister, Thelma Catayas and niece, Vanessa Catayas were among the thousands who passed away during the typhoon. How could Amie enjoy the party while grieving for their loss while at the same time worried about the condition of her parents who were in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on their three-month holiday there. The only option was to cancel the party. Then her kapamilya (friends and family members) who were at her place to keep vigil and console her family suggested to proceed with the event and incorporate a fundraising to help her hometown.
The Christmas party cum charity event last 7 December at St. Magdalen’s Hall in Chadstone was a success. It did not only bring the best of kapamilya when people brought food and contributed, shared stories and laughter and watched the simple program prepared by one kapamilya group. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits enjoying the night while at the same time helping those in need.
Amie’s parents, Maria and Mamerto Catayas are now back to Melbourne and recuperating from the sad experience. Amie, on the other hand, promised to help, in her own little way, her hometown Guiuan while her kapamilya in Melbourne will continue to assist her. When it is safe to travel, she promised to visit the graveyards of her sister and niece and also deliver to her townmates whatever was raised in Melbourne. Truly a kapamilya way of remembering and assisting those who badly need help.
DJs of the night were Michael Catayas, Raoul Ordona and Grace Mongoso.