Melbourne Community Gather in Queen Victoria Market for Pasko sa Melbourne: Christmas in our Hearts



MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – On December 5, 2023, the historic Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne’s CBD came alive with the inaugural Pasko sa Melbourne: Christmas in Our Hearts. Organized by The Empowered Australian Multicultural Society (TEAMS), in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne and the City Council of Melbourne, the event drew in over 5,000 participants. The gathering included members of the Filipino community in Victoria, various multicultural groups, consular corps, Australian officials, and the general public, all united to experience the festive spirit of the Philippines’ Christmas traditions.


Drawing inspiration from the longstanding tradition of “Pasko sa Canberra,” Pasko sa Melbourne offered a wide range of cultural experiences. Visitors from as far away as regional Victoria and New South Wales savored a delightful array of Filipino cuisine, including favorites like lechon, barbecue, and assorted street foods. Desserts such as halo-halo, puto, and leche flan were also featured. The event was further enhanced by an exhibit of various types and sizes of belen (Christmas nativity sets) and parol (Filipino Christmas lantern) which included a charity auction of these traditional Filipino Christmas decorations.


The festivities commenced with a colorful Ati-Atihan parade by the Samahan ng mga Pilipino at Australian sa Gippsland (SPAG) accompanied by 2023 Ms. SPAG, leading to an official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Ms. Myrna Ysais, President of TEAMS, opened the event with a warm welcome, followed by Consul General Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo, who expressed her wish to see Pasko sa Melbourne become a regular feature of Melbourne’s cultural landscape, the way Pasko sa Canberra, which she introduced in Canberra 20 years ago, has continued to color Christmas season in the Australian capital.

She was also happy to announce that, with a bit of encouragement, Pasko sa Melbourne: Christmas in our Hearts has had iterations in regional Victoria, notably Ballarat, Geelong, Warrnambool and Gippsland.

Special messages were delivered at the event by MP Wayne Farnham, co-chair of the newly established Philippines Parliamentary Friendship Group of the State Parliament of Victoria, Councilor Philip Le Liu, Victorian Multicultural Commissioner Silvia Renda, and the Mayor of Hume City Councilor Naim Kurt. In her address, Consul General Salcedo underscored the Consulate’s 2023 initiatives, heralding a landmark year for unified Filipino community events in Victoria.


During the event, Ecumenical Prayer Services representing diverse faiths were held accompanied by an interpretative dance by Sayaweh of the Young Generation/Australian Filipino Community Services (AFCS). Mr. Ross Lorenzo from the Pilipino Elderly Association of Southeast Region (PEASER) provided a hands-on demonstration of traditional parol making. Children enjoyed a variety of activities organized byThe Filipino Australian Student Council of Victoria (FASTCO), including storytelling, parlor games, gift-giving, and Christmas songs.


The multicultural program featured a blend of local talents who performed traditional Filipino songs and dances, alongside other multicultural talents, showcasing the welcoming spirit of a Filipino Christmas. Highlights included a Fashion Show by Filipiniana Australia, performances by the Filipino-Australian and New Zealand Duo Hiraya Music, child prodigy Heaven Grant Zulueta, a Chinese Lion Dance, the Luzviminda Dance Group, Chananeah Lydia Campoy, and an African Dance by Melbourne Djembre.


The Consulate General also honored Good Vibes Pilipinas Broadcasting and Ms. Celia Torres-Villanueva with certificates of appreciation for their contributions to the Filipino community in Victoria.

The festival concluded with a grand Christmas party and Noche Buena, featuring performances by Filipino bands Rolly & Paula and Fire & Ice, the Filipino Australian Association of Ballarat, Inc. (FAABI), and the Filipino Chaplaincy Choir, capped off with a DJ-led dance party. A communal lechon was shared, symbolizing the unity and festive spirit of the gathering.


Pasko sa Melbourne is more than a festival; it’s a celebration of community solidarity, bridging diverse cultures with the Filipino community in Victoria. This event embodies the inclusive spirit of the Filipino community, offering Victorians an insightful view into a unique Filipino Christmas celebration.



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