The Filipino community of Gunnedah hosted the 125th Philippines Independence Day celebration for the New England and North West region during the King’s Birthday long weekend.
The celebration featured more than 170 guests and started with Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Church before moving to the Gunnedah Town Hall.
Filipinos and Filipinas were visiting from Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Uralla, Guyra, Barraba, Carroll, Scone and the Hunter Valley, to help celebrate and bond on the special occasion in Gunnedah.
Special guests to grace the occasion included Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffy and wife Judy, Multicultural Tamworth president Eddie Witham and wife Barbara, Multicultural Women’s Association president Katerina Marie Haenga, Filipino Association of Tamworth president Paul Aguilar, Dr Ruzchella Javaluyas, of Tamworth General Practice, and community leaders from around the region.
Organisers said the night was a resounding success in bringing the Filipino community together to pay homage to their ancestral home, the Philippines.
As is customary in the Philippines, big, bold and bright was the order of the night and the Gunnedah Filipino committee did not fail to deliver with splendid decorations, displays of arts, crafts, sounds and sights from the old country.
Many graced the night with their traditional Filipino outfits from their local districts, enabling them to showcase their talents on stage through traditional dances and songs. A smorgasbord of traditional Filipino dishes was also prepared and served.
Raffles and district dance competitions were held during the evening.
The night culminated in guests winning a prize in the following categories – best male and female traditional costumes, PID prince and princess, PID king and queen. The traditional Philippines flag was handed to the Armidale community which has agreed to hold the 126th PID in 2024.
On Monday morning some local guests and the travellers who chose to stay the night enjoyed a morning barbecue where old acquaintances were reunited one last time with many fond memories of the celebration before hitting the road.