It’s 2020 and there’s a whole lot of interesting things to look forward to in this year like the Summer Olympics in Japan, the 2020 US Elections, Wonder Woman 1984 movie and the most anticipated coming of the cure for peanut allergies! But before we move on to the promise of a head banging 2020, let us not forget the the moments that made 2019 an exciting precursor to this year. 

2019 was a roller coaster ride for a lot of people and though the news keep on ending in a somewhat positive note, the odd, the sad and the promisingly scary sometimes outweighed these positive efforts. So let’s tip the scale towards the positive and highlight some very interesting Australian-Filipinas who have made 2019 a memorable year.

BAMBI MANLULO

First of which is the formal launch of the Filipino Food Movement Australia (FFMA) – a registered not-for-profit organisation composed of passionate foodies, business owners and community members who embrace their Filipino heritage.

The group is headed by passionate food aficionado known for her Instagram handle @adobodownunder, Bambi Manlulo. Bambi started her initial meetings with fellow foodies in 2018 with the hopes to bring Filipino cuisine to mainstream Australia by educating home cooks and chefs to embrace the Pinoy cooking techniques, ingredients and style.

2019 saw FFMA’s efforts to share the Filipino culinary ancestry and inspire budding Filipino entrepreneurs to create viable food business ventures through varied Filipino food experiences beginning with Mabuhay Nights – a curated food event that features different Filipino chefs and their creations celebrating Filipino dishes coupled with the heart-warming stories of their heritage. FFMA has also sampled Pinoy traditional dishes to different dignitaries as part of the yearly event “Windows to the World” in Canberra.

“Our collective spirit, creativity and dedication are the main ingredients to elevate the Filipino Cuisine to world-class standards," says Bambi.

So do we see a Filipino street food festival from FFMA in 2020? This we have to wait and see.

(If you want to know more, log on to https://www.filipinofoodmovementaustralia.org)

MELANIE PERKINS

The final year of the noughties saw a new name on the Australian Financial Review’s “Top Five Young Rich List.” She is technology entrepreneur, Melanie Perkins who together with her partner Cliff Obrecht put up design platform Canva (canva.com) which is an online design and publishing tool which makes graphic design simple for overyone. 

Canva, in early October 2019 was revealed to have been valued at $4.7 billion ($US 3.2 billion) amidst valuation challenges due to an ever more sceptical look at company valuations, and particularly of “unicorns” – start-ups that reach $US1 billion status. Melanie, the CEO of the Canva is the youngest female CEO to be leading a tech start-up valued at over a billion dollars.

Originally from Perth, Australia, Melanie began her entrepreneurial activities at the age of 14 selling hand-made scarves that she sold at shops and markets throughout Perth. In 2006, while still in uni, Melanie created Fusion Books with her boyfriend Cliff – this was the springboard to the 2012 launch of Canva. There’s so much more to expect from this young Australian-Filipina entrepreneur so let’s keep our eyes peeled in 2020.

CATRIONA GRAY

December 2019 witnessed the end of the Australian-Filipina who has, a lot of netizens would say, the queen that changed the face of beauty pageants – Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray. Catriona won the coveted Ms. Universe crown in December 17, 2018 at the Nonthaburi Province in Thailand making her the 4th Filipina to win the most prestigious  international title.

Aside from her very famous “lava walk”, Catriona also brought to the world’s attention the Filipino design genius and impeccable craftsmanship from all her outfits worn during the duration of the pageant but most especially in the pageant’s major competitions – National Costume and Evening Gown.

Her seamless performance captured the hearts of the judges and the world with how she confidently discussed her advocacies especially the educational development of the impoverished children of Tondo, Manila.

On her final walk to relinquish her crown, Catriona wore another Mak Tumang creation in blue paying homage to the Philippine Eagle.

These are some of the names that made waves in 2019 and will definitely graze the spaces of the Australian-Filipina this year 2020. So keep on browsing as the year unfolds!

Photo credit: Google, Facebook

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