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Filipino community members in the Bundaberg District gathered last Saturday June 9 at the Brothers Sports club in Bundaberg to commemorate the 114th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence and to celebrate the 29th anniversary of Bundaberg District Australian Filipino Association Inc (BDFAI).
Bundaberg is one of the regional areas in Central Queensland and over the last few years, the district has experienced growth in the number of Filipino migrants.
Capping the celebration was the coronation of the winners of Little Miss BDFAI 2012.
Sarah Jane Brown, escorted by Alexander Burbano, was crowned Little Miss BDFAI 2012. Sarah Jane’s entourage included Mercedes Ruby Mila Schneider, 1st runner-up and escorted by Jared Arriola and Liam O’Neill; Venice Marie Dagondon-Hartwell and Vielle Marie Dagondon-Hartwell, 2nd runners-up, escorted by Ira Korner and Christopher Pohlman.
Newly elected Bundaberg Mayor Councilor Mal Forman and Councilor Wayne Honor and wife Judy, Bundaberg’s Multicultural Director Patti Webb, and Wide Bay Multicultural Officer Agnes Ashley were among the guests.
The Bundaberg Filipino Australian community has recently shown increased activity among Filipino migrants like the rest of Filipino communities in Australia. There were a number of newly arrived Filipino migrants either from the Philippines or from interstate.
The Mariposa cultural dancers with Dympna Kimmorley OAM and her friends together with the BDFAI youth and their cultural dancers provided entertainment numbers with Philippine folk dance.
Also performing in the program were Filipino martial arts Arnis practitioners, BDFAI dancers with Arvind (“Apple Juice”) Layug who helped in the presentation and the husband and wife team of Neitz Agbayani Pagulayan from the Philippines Ilocos region. Maria Theresa (“Maritess”) Nayuba Viney and Arvind Jess Layug compered.
The Filipino community landscape of Bundaberg is changing with more Filipino families and young Filipino professionals joining the already entrenched cross-cultural Australian and Filipino families.
A follow-up celebration was the bi-lingual Catholic mass last Sunday June 10 at the Holy Rosary Parish officiated by the parish priest Rev. Fr, John Daley. The Mariposa Cultural Dancers and other members of the Filipino community in Bundaberg sang the ritual hymns in Filipino.
Morning tea was served after the mass with local Filipino delicacies.
On a personal note: This Philippine Independence Day celebration is a time of the year in our community that we can be one as a people and proud of our cultural heritage.
I must say that the occasion has also given me opportunities to reflect on my heritage as a Filipino which I hope I can help promote to enrich Filipino Australian culture. Mabuhay ang Pilipino sa Australia. Proud to be a Filipino Australian!
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Ed’s Notes: We welcome Lee Pendleton (Lutgarda P. Espiritu) to our group of contributors. Queensland-based Lee is a long-time supporter of The Filipino Australian and emanila. She is a very active participant in community affairs.