Last weekend we witnessed and were part of meaningful celebrations in Sydney to commemorate the 124th proclamation of the Philippine Independence.

On June 11, at 1:30-3:30pm, Rhythm of the Philippines, a cultural presentation to celebrate Philippine Independence was undertaken with the collaboration of the Blacktown City, the Filipino Saturday School and Handog Pinoy. The fiesta style celebration of music, dances and food was open to the public at no charge, at the Bowman Hall, Blacktown.

Dr Deborah Ruiz-Wall OAM was one of the guest speakers. She shared excerpts and message of her book: “Re-imagining Australia: Voices of Indigenous Australians of Filipino Descent”.  Jade Cadelina acted as the emcee of the event.


Later in the evening of the same day, the Australia Philippine Services League Inc hosted a wonderful evening of entertainment and fine dining at Chu's Restaurant in West HQ. On the same night, the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations (spun off the founding organisation of the same name) celebrated Philippine Express, which was a fiesta-style event from 6pm held at St John’s Park Bowling Club. 

Acting Head of Post of the Philippine Consulate General Sydney Consul Manny Guzman and other consular staff attended the event. The Philippine Ambassador to Australia, HE Ma Hellen Dela Vega sent a video greeting for the occasion.  Jhun Salazar and Fe Hayward acted as emcees of the occasion. One feature of the event was the presentation of various awards by the group.  A feedback on a standout part of the program was the delivery of poems by Rado Gatchalian “Ilang bahagi ng Desiderata Para Sa Pilipino” and “Isang Kawalang Hanggang Pagibig”.

On the morning of June 12, the actual proclamation day, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney held a virtual flag raising ceremony which was joined by Filipinos in various states in Australia and overseas (see below video).

The Philippine Community Council NSW held the Philippine National Day Ball 2022 at the Rosehill Gardens Grand Pavilion to celebrate the commemoration of the Philippine Independence on the evening of June 12. The event opened with folk dance numbers before the parade of colours and official start of the program.  Later the traditional Rigodon dance by officers and affiliate members was performed, as well as other Philippine folk dances.  The guest artists included Makisig and Fasika Ayallew. The emcees were Melanie Balagtas and Iñaki Arrieta.


The Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations under the leadership of Dr Ed Escultura held the APCO Freedom Ball 2022 celebrating Philippine Independence Day with the theme "Paglikha At Pagbabago Tungo sa Kaunlaran" or "Creativity and Change for Progress."  This was held at the Renaissance Westella in Lidcombe. The event opened with the rendition of “Ako ay Pilipino” by three local artists  Nathaniel Gale, Mirasol Loyaga and Emerson Tuazon. 

APCO President Dr Ed Escultura shared in his welcome message the Philippine struggle for freedom.  Dr Cen Amores, APCO Founding President also welcomed all and especially acknowledged the following VIPs:  Her Excellency Hellen B De La Vega Philippine Ambassador to Australia;  The Hon Mark Coure MP Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors; The Hon Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn;  Consul Melanie Diano, Philippine Consulate in Sydney; Clr Kun Huang, Deputy Mayor of Cumberland Council; Mr Laurie Ferguson, Retired Member of Australian Federal Parliament; Ms Maureen Walsh, Former Deputy Mayor of Parramatta Council; Ms Eleanor Palma, Head of the Department of Tourism, Sydney and Karla Muller; Ms Krystle Ramirez, Country Manager, Philippine Airlines.


NSW Premier Dominic Perrotet sent a video greeting that was shown at the APCO event.

Ambassador HE Ma Hellen Dela Vega and the Minister for Multiculturalism & for Seniors Hon Mark Coure, plus Consul Melanie Diano and other consular staff attended the PCC NSW and APCO Independence Day events, plus other government officials and community partnership of the Philippine and Australian people. They also held the toast to further collaboration of the two countries, and to the Philippine Independence.  In her talk, the MP for Auburn, Hon Lynda Voltz also paid tribute to the contributions of the Filipinos to the multicultural society of Australia.

As part of her message in the APCO event, Helen B, de la Vega appealed to the communities of NSW , "Let us have only one Independence Day celebration next year!"  This was met by enthusiastic applause by the audience.

The APCO event also showcased the singing talent of the artists which included Brian Lorenz with folk dances performed by the Balangay Dance Troupe and the PASA dancers.  Emcees were Jojo Sebastian host awardee and Edinel Magtibay of SBS Filipino Radio.A special and solemn feature of the event was the tribute to APCO's supportive member, the late George Torres who served for many years in the NSW Police and held international title in the World Sikaran and Arnis Brotherhood International (5th Dan Blackbelter.  Another feature of the event was the selection and awarding of Best Traditional and Modern Filipiana and Barong Tagalog.

Hope to see you next year at the 2023 celebration of the proclamation of the Philippine Independence!   

Photography: Bob Reyes
Additional images: Loreto Pangilinan; Jade Cadelina; Rado Gatchalian; Louie Pelaiz

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