On 16 December 2023, the Filipino Community of Colac proudly hosted a Pasko sa Colac Dinner Dance at their local RSL Club to celebrate Christmas and the launch of their newly incorporated association.
The City of Colac is located 150 km southwest of Melbourne, within the picturesque Shire of Colac Otway that boasts lush forests, national parks, volcanic lakes and the Great Ocean Road coastline. Colac has a population of 13,000 (as of June 2022) and has seen a significant increase in Filipino arrivals since 2016, with some 700 Philippine-born residents now calling Colac their home.
The successful event was organized by the Filipino Australian Bayanihan of Colac Inc (FABCI), with attendees coming from Melbourne, regional Geelong and Warrnambool, and rural towns of Timboon, Camperdown and Simpson.
“The Filipino community here is just fantastic!” enthused Rev Father Michael O’Toole, the parish priest for St Mary’s Catholic Church, as he described how the Filipino community’s involvement has enlivened the church into an active social hub.
The keynote speaker, Councillor Chris Potter, has always been a proponent of multiculturalism and encouraged the Filipinos to form the incorporated association FABCI. He praised the economic and social contribution of Filipinos living in the Barwon Southwest Region as he inducted the newly elected officers of FABCI into office. The officers are:
President: Haidee Asidor
Vice-President: Ramil Papelera
Treasurer: Lilia Item
Asst. Treasurer: Almira Papelera
Secretary: Vanessa Oakley
Asst. Secretary: Jane Marteja
IT Coordinator: Lucio Jagmoc Jr.
Religious Coordinator: Ronante Asidor
Cultural/Entertainment Coordinator: Rey Marteja
Sports Coordinator: Carlo Pinca
Grievance and Conflict Resolution Coordinator: Fidel Licayan
Youth Coordinator: Sugi Licayan
Media Coordinator: Kim Calsarin
After the formalities and a sumptuous Australian dinner, the officers held a fun Dance King & Queen competition as the evening’s fundraiser. The musical group Rob & Friends Band provided the music, and guests were later entertained by local Pinoy karaoke stars who belted out popular disco songs for the non-stop dancing that went on until midnight- oh, what a night, indeed!