The Fil-Aus community has another reason to celebrate in this sad time brought by the pandemic. Social media is abuzz with the great news that one of its favourite daughters and quiet achievers, Ella Ponce Watts, has been awarded Outstanding Filipino Luminary Awards 2021 for the Business Sector.
Ella is a registered Nurse-Educator and has served in various hospitals, rehabilitation centres and aged care facilities around Sydney. However, as a single mother of five, she left the nursing industry practice last 2018 to be more flexible with her time to attend to her children and focus on her own company — EP Investments and Property Services (Aust) Pty Ltd. On top of all these, she is very active in serving the community, leading and supporting different charitable activities, around Australia and in the Philippines. She has extended help to several international students who lost their part-time jobs due to the pandemic.
The awarding organisation, EspiCom congratulates and recognises Ella Ponce Watts, as a true-blood businesswoman who is passionate in trading and entrepreneurship - known as a jack-of-all-trade from all of her peers, having a knack in just about everything when it comes to businesses and investments. She is also a pageant mother and has been around the pageant and modelling industry for the past ten years.
EspiCom is a production company promoting goodwill and kindness to all. Their shows which include concerts, fashion shows and awarding ceremonies have beneficiaries such as Kanlungan ni Maria, a home for the elderly who had been abandoned; blind school for kids in Baguio City; Balay Silangan for drug 'surrenderees' and now for the White Cross Orphanage and fighting disease program of the Rotary.
The Australian Filipina caught up with Ella to congratulate her in this recent achievement, and glad to share her responses to get an insight into her persona as well as inspire others with her life story.
What is it like for you being a recipient of the Outstanding Filipino Luminary Award?
Being recognised and serve as an inspiration to others, inspires me to continue what I do as I believe if I can do it, anyone can do it too.
I was commended by the CEO of the group Dra Rhoda Espino due to my community involvement and commitment in serving our fellow kababayans during difficult times facing COVID 19 restrictions and lockdown here in Sydney.
I pay tribute to this organisation which has the platform of promoting goodwill and kindness with a number of beneficiaries. The award night will be held at Conrad Manila Hotel on September 24,2021 for its 2nd annual event. But with COVID 19 restrictions, I would not be able to attend in person.
What other achievements in your profession or life do you hold fondly in your heart?
On and off cam, at the end of the day it’s all about fulfillment regardless they are big or small the job is if they are being delivered with TLC (tender loving care) something that I’m passionate about.
Not because it’s my duty or job but it’s my intention and how I delivered the service with passion and real care.
On the flip side, what challenges have you faced and overcome?
My first five straight years on migration here in Australia, I was a victim of the horrifying and terrifying life of being a battered wife and endured domestic violence. Life wasn’t an easy journey but with God's protection I was then shielded and guarded and now becoming a living testimony to those suffering with same situation I had from my past.
Being a single mum of five is another story but through the grace of God I have been managing and surviving, and still happy what life I have now not looking back with my dark times .
When did you realise you have the passion for cooking, to what you are now popularly known as Ella Kusinera?
Cooking is one of my childhood memories as I used to cook street food and sell in front of our house before even I started my grade school then, till I left the Philippines for good to live here. I have been living here in Australia as a single mother of five children and when they were growing up, it was a battle everyday what to feed them with balanced nutrients. So I slowly learned different dishes until I became good with them and over time, it became easier for me to cook as we Filipinos loves food and to eat, and we always gather weekly for food to catch up.
Ella Kusinera was actually born last year 2020 when COVID 19 hit globally and due to the challenging situation where we were, I came up with the idea and cultivated my cooking skill to level it up and because of massive job losses I reached out to our fellow kababayans. They are international students and gave them jobs for a short term until COVID-19 eased in late 2020. I also got inspired to compose Ella Kusinera single jingle and able to upload to youtube for entertainment. This year will be Ella Kusinera' s first year anniversary.
I also have a few friends who encouraged me to do an e-recipe book for Ella Kusinera which I have started. This is going to be launched sometime in September and part of the income of this e-recipe book will go to one of the beneficiaries I’ve picked. The EK team has already coordinated with one of the nursing homes in the Philippines for the proceeds to be generated. I have a second single jingle for Ella Kusinera, which will be out soon. I’m working on the melody as the lyrics have been composed.
What initiatives or activities do you do in line with your other passion of nursing?
To continue and pursue my passion in my nursing passion, especially for the elderly, I decided to franchised Homecaring in Blacktown which was launched last May 2021 with myself as a Director. I wanted to be treated with dignity privacy and with respect same as with everybody when I get to the point passed retirement and when I reach the stage I could no longer look after myself.
Blacktown Homecaring is a service provider for NDIS and Aged Care. We have Domestic Assistance Services Personal Care Services Specialty Aged, Health and Disability Services. Total Home Care Package for clients' convenience. I am happy that I have reliable and trustworthy carers.
From postings in social media, you also seem to do well in the real estate area. What does this involved?
I grew up in a strong family background in real state as my father was a real state agent and property investor. My two brothers are both surveyors and geodetic engineers back home. My sister is property developer and investor also and so it was an easy transformation for me from nursing to real state profession at the same time as it wasn’t new to me due to my family background and history.
What else do you wish to accomplish in life?
I hope to leave a legacy in whatever I started. I’m hoping I can pass it on to my children and for them to continue what I started and have a meaningful and purposeful life as well.
Lastly, what is your definition of success?
To achieve success, we have to have consistency. It is also perseverance as we can’t conquer life's challenges overnight.
ABOUT ELLA PONCE
Ella Ponce was born in Cabanatuan City, in Nueva Ecija, Philippines where her father hails from. Her mother is from Negros Occidental, Visayas. Ella is one of five siblings, three brothers and one sister, with her being in the middle. Her eldest brother passed away two years ago.
She completed BS in Nursing and Midwifery in 1992 in Wesleyan University in the Philippines. She worked as Medical Representative after she graduated college and was Clinical Instructor in Midwifery. At the same time she was running my own business as a wholesaler of cell phone. She also used buy and sell imported goods from HongKong and Bangkok.
She migrated to Australia in 1996. She continued and did further study to pursue her nursing career. She passed the exam and converted her Phil nursing license and did her registration in 2000 to practice general nursing. She also completed Diploma of Management in Blacktown TAFE in 2006.