By Virginia Balanon
Themed “Home Sweet Home”, Philippine Association of Geelong, Inc.’s (PAG) 15th anniversary celebration on 21 October at Geelong’s Sphinx Hotel and Entertainment Centre showcased it all – warm welcome, hospitality, family and friendship, child-like fun spirit and Filipino cultural traditions.
Hosted by Peter Mason and Bonn Barantez, the event gathered together PAG members with their families and friends to celebrate 15 productive years of camaraderie, family and preservation, as well as promotion of the Filipino cultural heritage in regional Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula.
Special guests who graced the event included representatives from the Filipino Community Council of Victoria, Inc. (FCCVI) headed by Chairperson Perla Luetic; the Filipino-Australian Association of Ballarat, Inc. (FAABI) headed by President Shirley Hart; Yolanda Taverna from Mildura Filipino group; Philippine Fiesta of Victoria, Inc. with Chairman Ross Manuel and Secretary Felina Fyfe; Le Oscars Red Carpet Charity Gala organisers headed by Willie De Joya; and Mrs. Philippine Fiesta Charity Quest Geelong candidate Alma Mopac.
PAG Anniversary highlights included famous Filipino traditions like “The Harana” performed by George and Mira Moreno; a folkdance performance by the Maharlika dancers and the most exciting part, “Mamang Sorbetero” (the ice cream men) with Dion Alfaro and Peter Mason.
Watching the harana performance with the “bahay kubo” (nipa hut) background and the sound of the kundiman song “Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig”, captured how gentle and genuinely romantic Filipinos are. The Marharlika dancers’ performance showcased how vibrant our culture is and how graceful, lively and fun-loving we are as a community, with special participation of the Maharlika Junior dancers as they performed with great enthusiasm and pride.
And the best part, “Mamang Sorbero”, PAG’s ice cream men who, with their kalembang (bells) ringing, distributed ice cream to kids and everyone. It was such a fun and exciting scene to watch as you reminisce memories of your childhood and a true “only in the Philippines” experience.
Philippine Association of Geelong, one of the Filipino regional Victoria organisations, is headed by Judith Zamayla and supported by other PAG officers including Dion Alfaro, Vice President; Bonn Barantez, Secretary; Nelia Hodge, Treasurer; Elda Wackett, Welfare Officer; Loney Tarsitano, PRO; Elnore Baello, Dance Director; and the Working Committee members Joy Rafols and Emma Hatton.