The inaugural Community Builders Awards was successfully held at the Lidcombe Dooley’s Catholic Club last Sunday (March 13) in Sydney where outstanding Filipino-Australians were recognised for their services to the community.

Organised by non-profit association Adhika (Filipino word for ‘aspiration’), the awards were held in conjunction with the 70th year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Australia.

Guests of honour were the Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis and Consul Marford Angeles from the Philippine Consulate; Blacktown Deputy Mayor Jackie Donaldson; the Hon. Kevin Connolly, Member of Parliament (MP) from Riverstone and keynote speaker Geoff Lee MP representing the Hon. John Ajaka, Minister for Multiculturalism.

“We are humbled by the support of the Philippine Consulate for this event and the support of these outstanding individuals whose lives are stories of courage, strength and success,” said Josie Musa, overall coordinator of Adhika.

More than 250 guests packed the venue and were entertained by celebrated Filipino-Australian artists Lillian de los Reyes, Jasmine Henry, Brian Lorenz, Marcus Rivera (co-host), Robyn Russell and Elysa Villareal.

Australian opera singer Jenny Liu, who played Tup Tim in the recent King & I Musical, wowed the crowd during her solo act and duet with Rivera.

The Mindanao Ethnic Dance Group and VSD opened and closed the event with their cultural dance performances.

Among the highlights of the night was the speech of Lolita Farmer who spoke on behalf of the ‘Hall of Fame’ awardees: Filipinos who have received the highest accolade from the Australian government called the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

Illustrator and caricaturist Edd Aragon who passed away late last year and was a long-time member of the Sydney Filipino-Australian Press Group (FilPress) was also given a post-humous award for his contribution in the field of visual arts.

Representing the youth, James Palomo, Marco Selorio and Bevan Calvert were all honoured for their work in community service, entertainment and sport respectively.

Marking the 70th year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Australia, the press group also honoured the Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis for her tireless work and support for various community projects since she started her posting in Australia four years ago.

“It is without question that the Philippine Consulate has been instrumental in the success of Filipino-Australians as they settle in their new home. Under the leadership and support of our ConGen, we have a wide network of Community Builders,” said Musa.

The list of the Awardees for the night were:

Hall of Fame - Recipients of the Order of Australia Medal

Atty. Lolita Farmer, OAM

Dr Deborah Ruiz-Wall, OAM

Dr. Julie Nunez, OAM

Manny Castillo, OAM

Hall of Fame – Community Service

Atty. Kate Andres

Jimmy Pimentel

Hall of Fame – Sports

Bevan Calvert

Hall of Fame – Peace Advocacy

Joy Balazo – Recipient of the 2012 World Methodist Council Peace Award and Founder of Young Ambassadors for Peace

2016 Community Builders Awards In the Field Of:

  1. Arts

Lillian de los Reyes

Brian Lorenz

Marcus Rivera

Neria Soliman

Dr. Jimmy Lopez

Daisy-Ann Gonzalez Cumming

  1. Economic Development

Riezel Kinsella

Delfin Posada III

Atty. Jessie Icao

Moises Millena

Ric de Vera (jointly with Emma de Vera)

Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Specialized Skill Migrants-Gov’t Assisted Scheme (Representatives: Manny Maniago and Rolly Manarang)

  1. Education

Renato Aldrin Villano, Ph.D.

Alice Posada, Ed.D

  1. Environment

Bicol Inc.

  1. Health care

Medlife Medical Practice, Dr. Joe Marie Languido and Dr. Marietta Languido – Family Health Care Services

Quality Medical Nursing Services (QMNS), Danny Adriano and Maria de Joya – Employment and Medical Services

Ella Magallanes Martirez, Registered Nurse – Medical Mission and Nurses Training

  1. Sports and Entrepreneurship

Marco Selorio

  1. Young Leader - Volunteerism for the Poor

James Palomo

  1. Community Builders Post-Humous Award in Visual Arts

Edd Aragon

  1. Community Builders Awards - Contribution to the welfare of the Filipino Community

Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, Philippine Consulate General, Sydney

Special Citations were also given to:

Sennie Masian – Philippine Community Council-NSW Interim President (for helping establish PCC-NSW)

Chris Pilao – First Filipino elected as RSL Director (Rooty Hill RSL)

Australian Masonic Friends of the Philippines (AMFOP) - Antoine Georges, President and Jamie Melville, Patron – Adhika partners in charity projects in the Philippines.

Speaking at the closing of the program, Musa said: “Our only regret is that we cannot acknowledge all who rightly deserves to be onstage tonight. There are so many others and we hope to recognise their achievements at our next awards.”


Adhika is a Filipino-Australian association made up of members of Philippine-Australian community media. Proceeds from the event will go towards a school library in the Philippines and towards Typhoon Yolanda rebuilding projects. The event’s co-hosts were Michelle Baltazar and Marcus Rivera from community TV program, The Marcus and Michelle Show and production staff was FLAGCOM, led by Albert Prias and radio broadcaster Charles Chan. Videography: Joe Mie Sarmiento of Project Wisdom Tooth Productions. Sound by Andrew Russell and Oliver Gadista.

Photo credit: Joseph Garingarao, Gerry Musa, Ricky Reyes and Marilie Bomediano. More photos on Facebook via Ang Kalatas Newspaper here.

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