The 4th Philippine Festival of Music, Arts and Culture was held last 17-18 March 2018 at the Polish Syrena Community Centre in Rowville.

Filipino comedians Eva Bay and Tuod, comedians from Zirkoh, Klowns and Music Box entertained the Fiesta revellers. Hagibis, the famous Filipino singing group in the 70s, had a concert which the Melbourne audience enjoyed to the max. In fact, there was even a clamour for Hagibis to stage another concert in Australia.

The Ati-Atihan Group of Melbourne, celebrating its 20th anniversary, also performed. There were stalls which offered food, goods and services.

Strong winds on the second day affected the event. Some parts of the program especially the Santacruzan were cancelled.

Ed Guevarra, organiser of the Philippine Festival of Music, Arts and Culture, has issued this apology letter:

The organisers of the Philippine Festival of Music, Arts and Culture express its deep regret and apologise for the suspension of a full program on its second day, 18 March 2018 Sunday, during the two-day festival (17 & 18 March 2018) at the Polish Syrena Community Centre, 1325 Stud Road, Rowville.

The decision was made after consultation with the owner-contractors of the technical/sound system and the marquee operators upon the advice of the local council that the inclement weather, specifically the strong winds in the morning might pose a risk to everyone.

However, when we observed that the weather had improved few hours after (for the benefit of the patrons who decided to stay on) a scaled-down program was presented, namely the Ati-atihan, the Zumba activity and the guest comedians from the Philippines. The other scheduled performances were cancelled.

Our greatest regret was the cancellation of the Santa Cruzan (Sagala) and the Cultural Dances as we acknowledge that much planning and preparations were poured into these activities. The cancellation of the Mass was also a sad one as many of us were looking forward to attending Mass that Sunday. But as safety is our paramount concern in the operations of the Festival, we needed to make sure that we are not placing anyone in unnecessary danger.

In the four years that the Festival was held on the same grounds, this was the first time such incident occurred. We are sorry for any inconvenience this had caused our patrons, supporters, donors, entertainers, volunteers, community groups, family and friends. We understand your disappointment and join you in this let-down.

However, for those who decided to come in (without any entrance fee charged on Sunday) and chose to stay on, they expressed they had a great time singing, dancing, eating and spending time with one another, regardless of what was on offer. Some food stalls remained until the end with us, making sure there was food for our hungry patrons. We truly appreciate their kindness, understanding, cooperation and generosity of spirit.

We are reviewing what transpired that Sunday, reflecting on the lessons learned from the incident. We trust that the next Festival will bring along more significant and progressive partnerships, and in a greater capacity, move us into a vision that will bring the community closer and stronger, uplifted by trust and harmony.

Thank you so much to everyone who made our Festival still a success despite the challenges posed to us by circumstances beyond our control.

Your Sincerely,
Ed Guevarra
Philippine Festival of Music, Arts and Culture

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