The Filipiniana Friends Group Community Service spearheaded community events to celebrate the 124TH Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. It held a flagraising ceremony on June 4 ,2022, at the Evans Bridge, Kelso in Bathurst, New South Wales. The event was also dedicated to the 76th anniversary of the start of Philippine-Australia Diplomatic Relations and the 21 Years of Filipiniana Friends Group Community Service, under the leadership of Nenita Lopez-Weekes.
The event commenced with the raising of both the Philippine and the Australian flags, and the singing of the two National Anthems. This event has been organised for many years by Filipiniana Friends Group of Bathurst and the Central West in partnership with the Sydney Philippine Consulate, Bathurst Regional Council and Bathurst Lions Club.
Many Filipinos attended from Bathurst and the Central West and as far as Dubbo and Sydney. There was great sense of pride as the largest Philippine flag in the Southern Hemisphere was raised majestically up the huge flagpole in Berry Park by Yolanda Sta Ana, Hon Andrew Gee MP Federal Member of Calare, Hon Paul Toole MP Deputy Premier of NSW, Bathurst Mayor Cr Robert Taylor together with all members of the Filipino Communities of Bathurst and the Central West, with the assistance of the Bathurst Lions Club.
The blessing and prayers were provided by Father Joshy, Parish Priest of the Bathurst Cathedral. Speeches were made by the special guest: Hon Paul Toole MP, Deputy Premier of NSW, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister for Police. The Hon Andrew Gee MP Federal Member for Calare.Bathurst, Mayor Cr Robert Taylor and the Philippine Consul General Sydney Representative Ms Yolanda Sta Ana.
It was followed by a salu salu or feast with a lechon or spit roasted pig, music and dancing. Entertainment was provided by artists from Sydney Efren Your Friend and Bernadette Harrison.
There is a great deal of warmth from Filipinos who come to this wonderful country and who have made their homes here. We have been welcomed and the Filipino community has fitted in well and added greatly to Australia’s cultural diversity, combining a strong work ethic with considerable creativity, and a common religion. Philippines is also a diverse society like Australia, with an indigenous population and a mixture of Malay, Chinese, American and Spanish blood and Filipinos get along well with Australians. The celebration clearly shows how we can keep our traditions alive and celebrate with Australians in our adopted country,
Nenita Lopez-Weeks thanked all the sponsors and all involved in the celebration:
We are very privileged to support our homeland in this way with the cooperation of the Sydney Philippine Consulate, the Bathurst Regional Council and the Bathurst Lions Club. This celebration is indeed for the Filipinos around the areas. Mabuhay till next year! Long Live Australia and Philippines!