By Violi Calvert
The Miss Philippines-Australia and Miss Charity Queen Australia 2017 Gala Night held on July 15 at Rooty Hill RSL was a success at many levels.
In addition to PASC President Lolita Farmer and the PASC team presenting the finalists in this beauty pageant to the audience, the event also included: an inspiring talk by Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, a presentation by Ernesto Teston of the Department of Tourism on the National Tourism Development formulation process; and the impressive performances by “Paraiso”, the Singing Priests of Malaybalay, Bukidnon and raising funds for their diocese.
The beauty pageants finalists presented at the event were: Kimberley Alcaraz (NSW), Patricia Ang (NSW), Carossa Gallacher (NSW), Cyna Sandra Palis (NSW), Julianne Richards (NSW), Daniele Sanz (NSW), and Kymberlee Street (NSW). Two candidates – Johan Molin (NSW) and Mary Villares (Qld) – sent their messages by video.
The supporters in the audience clapped and cheered loudly for their respective candidates. Each candidate was given the opportunity to speak about what motivated them to join and hoped to achieve in joining the pageant.
In her welcome address, PASC President Lolita Farmer, said: “…. Tonight PASC and the 2017 candidates for the beauty pageant, have focused tourism as its theme. The diversity of people and natural wonders make us aware of our rich heritage, cultural values and the responsibility for environmental protection.
“Intercultural exchange and dialogue made possible by travel as over 1.2 billion people are crossing international borders. This interaction breaks down the barriers of ignorance and prejudices. Jobs are created along the way and culture is major factor as a driver in growth and innovation.
“PASC joins the various groups in celebrating the International Year for Sustainable Tourism and applauds the Philippine Government initiative of hosting the conference from 21- 23 June 2017, which sets to establish the road map to measure the sustainable tourism…”
The touring Paraiso Singing Priests immediately made an impressive impact by their rendition of a fusion of “Our Father” and “I Believe” as the event’s Invocation. Later in the evening, they enthralled the audience with their singing of the popular medleys of songs by Bruno Mars, Abba, Beatles and Carpenters, accompanied by crisp synchronised dance steps. The audience responded generously to the appeal for donation and sale of the Singing Priests CD. PASC Press Relations Officer Josie Musa announced that more than $1000 was raised at the event.
Ernesto Teston of the Department of Tourism discussed the National Tourism Development formulation process which drew the DOT’s initiatives and activities consistent with the thrust of the 2017 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The initiatives taken also underpin the overarching tourism drive “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”
Angela Leonidas, 2016 Miss Philippines Australia and Jayde Crystal Wright, 2016 Miss Charity Queen Australia also spoke about their experiences and achievements during their reign in 2016.
Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, the event’s guest speaker, announced at the gathering that after a number of extensions of her appointment, she would be leaving Sydney at the end of August 2017. She thanked all for the support during her six years of stay in Sydney.
Excerpts of her talk: “I would like to congratulate Lolit and the current PASC team, as well as Manny Castillo and previous teams for organising successful Fiesta Kultura and the Miss Philippines Australia – Charity Queen Australia Beauty Pageant.
“I also thank Lolit for choosing to feature in tonight’s Gala’s, tourism and its role in sustainable development. It is known that tourism can contribute to the achievement of the development millenium goals in two ways. It generates local and regional development and also because of employment creation. We know that the tourism industry employs a lot of people. There are challenges but there are a lot of potential; so if we can harness the tourism industry, it will become an important sector to bring about development in the country. And I always highlight and have spoken a number of times, the importance the Filipino migrant community can play in our tourism promotion as well as the promotion as a business destination. Each Filipino migrant becomes an ambassador for our country. You are the first contact and source of information; you can influence them, especially our foreign friends who have not visited our country and are not familiar with our culture.
“This brings me to the role of the candidates and finalists in this beauty pageant. I know the time and effort in the preparation in your involvement in this pageant. I know that is a celebration of not just the beauty, the strength and the contribution that women can make to the community and the society, but I hope that your involvement with the pageant will also encourage you to commit more with the engagement with the community I hope this will develop a greater interest to be involved in community building. I have always said to the current community leaders that we will not hold the baton for long, and that we need to pass on to the our young people who will become leaders of the community. I hope there will be among you who will rise to become leaders in our community by being involved in organisations and in community building. I hope your journey in the pageant will also instill in you a deeper appreciation of the Filipino in you and a deeper understanding of your Filipino heritage…..”
Aside from the performances by the Paraiso, Singing Priests, the entertainment of the evening also included the performances by finalists as a group, Angela Leonidas, Robyn Russell and Brian Lorenz. The Emcee was Arianne Tan.
*** Credits:Images from video frame grabs by Bob Reyes | Talks transcribed from audio by Andrew Russell