MELBOURNE, Australia — It is springtime here and everyone is gearing up for the 30th anniversary of the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Inc. (PFVI) which will be held on November 24-25, 2012 at the Pavillion Exhibition Hall, Melbourne Showgrounds just before summertime begins. The annual celebration has brought countless excitement, happiness and joy to the Filipino-Australian Community since its formal inception in 1982. This year’s theme is Bukas –Bisig (Open arms or Welcome!)
From its humble beginnings at the Carribean Gardens in Knox City, the Fiesta has grown into a bigger proportion and becomes the much-awaited event of the year. Though it has changed its venues over the years, the Fiesta has been attended by thousands of people from all walks of life sharing its amicable and vibrant atmosphere.
Year after year, people flocked to the Philippine Fiesta capturing its celebratory moments with families, relatives and friends – savouring Filipino food (lumpia, lechon, dinuguan, minudo) drinks (San Miguel Beer, sago, gulaman) and sweets (bibingka, biko, leche flan, sapin-sapin, maruya ) as smile and laughter dominated the festive air and participating in its flurry of local activities like Ati-Atihan, Santacruzan, Flores de Mayo, Sinulog and a number of Filipino games.
The Fiesta becomes an effective venue to catch up with the news, overwhelming camaraderie and reunions with kababayans and loved ones whom they have not seen for a long time.
It becomes a superlative showcase for the musical and terpsichorean skills of the members of the Filipino-Australian community and in the process, creates a deep appreciation for the Filipino performing arts through a kaleidoscope of lively song, music and folk dances from the different regions of the Philippines.
With its yearly exhibits, Fiesta has emphasized the historical and cultural traditions of the Filipino people in Australia. It conjures lots of beautiful memories way back home and a sense of belongings among the Filipino-Australian youths.
Fiesta is not complete without the essential Philippine Beauty Quest. This competition does not only help in the financial needs of the Fiesta, but also builds charm, poise and confidence among the candidates. It has also forged friendships, cooperation and camaraderie, and a profound understanding of one’s culture, traditions, values and beliefs.
Fiesta is also the time of the year that the Filipino values of Pakikisama (cooperation) and the time-honored Bayanihan (volunteerism) are foregrounded among the members of the Filipino-Australian community. A number of people coming from different organizations have voluntarily given their time, efforts and energy to make the annual Fiesta a success.
This year’s theme of the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Incorporated (PFVI) highlights the sterling value of Filipino hospitality, Bukas –Bisig (Open arms or Welcome!), which coincides with 30th anniversary of the Philippine Fiesta. With this theme, the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria underpins the Filipino values of generosity, hospitality, fellowship and close family ties.
Observing these amicable traditions, the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Inc. welcomes everyone to its annual celebration! All are invited to share with us the joy and the spirit of friendship and Filipino congeniality.
As the organizers say: Bukas-Bisig po namin kayong tinatanggap sa ika tatlumpung anibersaryo ng Philippine Fiesta ng Victoria! (We welcome you to the 30th Anniversary of Philippine Fiesta of Victoria!).
Manny G. Asuncion is Philippine Daily Mirror’s correspondent in Australia.
PHOTO 1: Philippine Fiesta held indoor with thousands of attendees.
PHOTO 2: Fiesta performers waiting for their cue.
PHOTO 3: Outdoor celebration of the the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria, Australia.
PHOTO 4: 2012 Candidates for Miss and Mrs. Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Beauty and Charity Quest.