MELBOURNE, Australia – Rain did not stop the celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Philippine Fiesta. Nor did it dampen the spirit of joy and camaraderie of Fiesta revelers. When it rained again on the second day, the festivities continued as planned. It was held at the Polish Club Hall at 19 Carrington Drive on November 25-26.
The two-day Fiesta celebration was formally opened on the first day with ribbon-cutting-ceremony headed by Ross Manuel, the chairperson of the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria, assisted by Ms. El Anisha Guro from Marawi University, with Fiesta Management Committee and the candidates of the Fiesta Queen and Charity Quests. On the second day, a Catholic mass was officiated by Father Joselito Asis with the choir, Harmonico Filipino.
The Fiesta guest speakers were Natalie Suleyman MP, representing the Prime Minister and the Minister of Multi-Cultural Affairs; Hon. Margaret Guidice, Mayor of Brimbank Council; Tim Watts MP, Member for Gellibrand and Anisha Guro from Marawi University, Mindanao Philippines. Ms. Guro delivered a heartfelt speech about the relationship between Muslim and Filipino Christians – a message of peace, unity, and harmony.
Fiesta was marked by a festival of ubiquitous Filipino food, sweets and drinks; a remarkable exhibits that showcased the Philippine Arts and Culture and featured the early beginnings of the Philippine Fiesta (1982-2017); a whole day non-stop program; a number of Filipino games and sports; Fil-Oz Song Birds Competitions; Karaoke; Fashion Shows; dry good sales (clothes, real states, travels and tours; toys, etc) and the yearly Grand Fiesta parade participated in by the different Filipino-Australian communities in Victoria. These festive activities were held inside and outside the Polish Club Hall.
For several years, the Fiesta was celebrated outdoor at the Philippine Community Centre in Laverton and indoor at the Melbourne Showgrounds (once at the Historical Royal Melbourne Exhibition Building).
Marcelito Pomoy and Fasika Ayallew were the guest performers along with several Melbourne-based entertainers. Marcelito wowed the audiences with his uncanny talent of singing both tenor and soprano voices. He sang Tagalog, English and very lively Visayan songs that endeared him to the Visayan speaking audience. Fasika, from Sydney, regaled the Fiesta attendees with her powerful voice. She did a duet with another Filipino guest singer from Sydney, Brian Lorenz. They sang Ikaw popularized by Martin Nievera and Sharon Cuneta. Marcelito and Fasika graciously performed for two days.
What made the Philippine Fiesta special this year was the colorful tribal dances from the different islands of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). These dances were delightfully performed by the 7 candidates of the Mrs. Fiesta Queen and Charity Quests 2017. The indigenous music, the primitive movements, the exotic and elaborate costumes, totally mesmerized the audiences.
Another feature of Fiesta was a Sari-Sari Store where one can buy an array of “Chi-Chiria” or snacks just like in the Philippines. This store offered nilagang mani (Boiled peanuts); ice candy (which came in different flavours – Avocado, Mango, Mongo, etc); Balut; Itlog ng pugo (Boiled quail eggs)’ hilaw na mangga (raw mangoes), nilagang mais (Boiled corn); and all sorts of glutinous rice cakes (puto, bibingka, biko, kutsinta, etc); hilaw na manga with bagoong (raw mango with shrimp paste), Pinoy favorite’s banana barbecue and nilagang mais (Boiled corn). There was even a replica of local ice cream cart where one could refresh oneself with Sorbetes (Ice cream) and Sago-Gulaman.
The 35th Philippine Fiesta of Victoria thanked the commitment, tenacity, dedication and hard work of the Fiesta Committee and its volunteers; the consistent and continuous support of its donors, sponsors and business enterprises; the candidates, families and friends of the Philippine Fiesta Queen and Charity Quests and foremost, to countless people who attended the Fiesta celebration.