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Kwentong Pinoy storytelling event celebrates the rich Filipino language and culture in Victoria

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On 4 September, Kwentong Pinoy storytelling contest culminating event was held at the Performance Theatre, Library at the Dock in Melbourne organised by the University of the Philippines Alumni in Victoria.

Hosted by Australian-Filipina actress Charlotte Nicdao, the event was well attended by primary and secondary school students with their parents, relatives and friends and those interested in learning Filipino.

The event started with kainan prepared by Chef Fhred Erick Batalona of Barangay, a pop up restaurant offering vegan options of Filipino canapes. Independent musician Dane Hulyan sang a few Filipino songs to the audience.

Aussie Fil-Actress Charlotte Nicdao hosted Kwentong Pinoy | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

UPAV president and convenor, Janeca Gross, shared a couple of learnings from the inaugural storytelling contest including a high interest in learning Filipino but only a short time to create a film to enter the contest and a strong presence of being a Filipino given our migrant roots. She also thanked everyone who participated and supported the storytelling contest including the state government and businesses who have ties with the Filipino community.

Deputy Consul-General Anthony Mandap graced the event with his opening message to the Filipino community regarding the celebration of language. He emphasised that:

“One of the finest creations of the Filipino language or the amalgamation of Filipino languages is our rich storytelling tradition, which today, we revisit and rediscover as a unifying medium and art form.

There are stories that built dynasties or business empires. There are some that toppled governments and made people famous. But equally powerful are those that entertain the masses, give hope to the downtrodden, or even give a little child a good night’s sleep. No story is too small or too trivial or too insignificant.”

Theresa Angela of Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV), spoke about the role of MAV as a peak advocacy body for the development and promotion of diverse creatives and artwork practices in Victoria. She also shared her personal story of being born to Filipino migrants and identifying as a “Pinoy-Australian” only later in her teens, and that we, as Filipino Australians, regardless of generation, should be proud of our heritage wherever we go.

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Story coach Anna Manuel delivered a storytelling performance with her ‘kamishibai’ or paper theatre with the story of balloon. The Philippine Language School of Victoria girls’ dance troupe performed their Sayaw sa Bangko.

There were also icebreakers with audience participation including tongue twister, longest to say ‘Ako ay Pilipino’ and those who brought Filipino items from their homes received prizes.

Panel judges, Matthew Victor Pastor, Al Noveloso and Anna Manuel, presented the awards and congratulated everyone who submitted entries. Each of the judges gave their messages to participants to keep honing their film-making skills highlighting Filipino culture and language.

Kwentong Pinoy Storytelling Contest | Photo credit: Angelito Valdez Jr

Kwentong Pinoy short film awardees are:

  • Harana by Cayden Rayon Dacion as Best short fiction 
  • Reunion ng Pamila by Malaya and Selina McNeill Ortiz as Best short non fiction
  • Kwentong Pinoy ni Coleen Egan by Coleen Egan as Best solo documentary
  • Bahay Kubo by the Philippine Language School of Victoria students, namely,  Avalynne Campbell, Reanna Reyes, Makayla Raquel Schinck and Monique Ivy Schinck led by educator Ms Catherine Yap.

Watch the short films of the awardees via the website: www.upalumnivic.org/kwentongpinoycontest or ‘Isko at Iska sa Melbourne’ YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv9WmQJRwtdMDYBNwInWWng.

UPAV acknowledged the Traditional Custodians at which Kwentong Pinoy storytelling event was celebrated, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. 

The organisation also shows their appreciation for the support from the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing – Multicultural Programs and Festivals.

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