Over 400 people came to celebrate Philippine Independence Day in mid-June at the Hills Campus in Sydney. The yearly event, which commemorates the Philippines’ independence from Spanish colonial rule, was hosted by the Hills Filipino Community. This year’s theme was “Filipiñana” and many guests came wearing traditional formal and semi-formal national dress like the famous Barong Tagalogand the glamorous Maria Clara.
A two-hour programme featuring dancers, singers, and a full buffet dinner was organised for the evening. The Filipino Community raised money to provide all of the dishes for the buffet dinner, and many others donated food including the two massive whole lechon(pig on a spit)!
Various Filipino community dancers also volunteered their time and talents. Three local dance groups performed different traditional dances, each from a different culture from within the Philippines. Local Filipino musicians as well as Filipino Hillsong College students, played a mixture of old acoustic favourites as well as modern Filipino songs.
Our Cultural Pastor, Kim Brinsden, shared a beautiful word of encouragement: that, no matter what is going on in life, we must remember God has good things ahead and a plan for each of us.
The Hills Filipino community planned for months with dozens upon dozens of volunteers donating their time meeting and planning for the event. We spoke with the Filipino community leaders at the Hills Campus, Grace and Pat Garcia, about the event and why it was important to celebrate it in Sydney.
Why did you run the event?
Firstly, we wanted to let the Filipinos who attend the Hills Campus know that there’s a strong Filipino community here. Secondly, we wanted the community to get to know each other, especially those who aren’t part of a connect group yet. And lastly, we wanted to invite Filipinos (and non-Filipinos!) who don’t normally come to church to join us to celebrate what’s an important day for many Australian Filipinos.
What was your favourite part of the evening?
Seeing the cultural dances and hearing Filipino music: those things that reminded me that, as Filipinos, we have a rich cultural heritage that we can introduce to the younger generation and inspire them to love the Filipino culture as well as the Australian culture.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the volunteers?
The event wouldn’t have been a success without the heart and soul the volunteers put into it. What a generous bunch of people! We can’t thank them enough, they’re so amazing!