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Wet weather failed to dampen the spirits of Philippines Independence celebrants in Bathurst.
The Lions Berry Park was crowded with Filipinos in colourful umbrellas when the biggest Philippine Flag in the Southern Hemisphere was raised last Saturday June 2 to commemorate the 114th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain.
This public Flag Raising event has been running for the last seven years by courtesy of Bathurst Lions Club, who purchased the flag and helps raise it.
This is a special event to the Filipinos in commemoration of their rights and freedom and to promote and foster awareness of Philippine Culture in the community. Filipinos and friends from all over Bathurst Central West along with some organisation from Sydney area also attended.
The Filipiniana Friends Group and incoming officers who were also inducted on this day organised the celebration in cooperation with the Bathurst Lions Club, and supported by Bathurst Regional Council, the Philippine Community Council of NSW, and the Philippine Consulate General Sydney.
The highlight of the ceremony was the raising of the Philippine flag and the Australian flag by Philippine Consul Marford Angeles, Member of Parliament for Bathurst Paul Toole, Bathurst Mayor Cr Greg Westman and Bathurst Lions Club President Terry Renshaw along with the Club Secretary Paul Haysom and their members who despite the rain were determined to have both flags raised on the day.
As the flags were raised, the anthems of both countries were sung. Inspirational speeches were delivered by Mayor Westman, Mr Toole, Consul Angeles, PCC-NSW President Arturo Sayas, and Filipiniana Friends Group President Nenita Weekes. The speakers’ messages emphasized loyalty towards Filipino traditions and their adopted country of Australia.
The flag raising was followed by a traditional Filipino feast at the St Michael and John Parish Hall and some lively local entertainment which included a Philippine folk dance in traditional dress by Bing Willott, Agnes Alborough and Crissy Cannon, a dance by Claire Torreno and Sheila Montague, Vietnamese music by Ha Dinh, and a message by Filipiniana Friends Group Vice-President Rosalie Tanquiamco.
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