Melbourne PCG and AU officials grace inauguration of Philippine Community Center


       “Let’s embrace other groups in our Community and reach out to other multicultural organizations as this is the best way to promote our culture,” advised Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo in her remarks at the grand opening and inauguration of the Philippine Community Center in Laverton on 16 March 2024.

       Attended by around 300 members of the Filipino Community, the event was also graced by Federal MP and Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts as well as the Mayor of Hobsons Bay Matt Tyler. AFM Watts spoke of the elevation of PH-AU relations to strategic following the visit of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the Philippines on 8 September 2023. He said that relations are robust in many aspects and the people-to-people links matter a lot to Australia with over 400,000 Australians with Filipino ancestry sharing such dishes as adobo, he said, eliciting a rousing applause from the crowd.

Top: President of PFVI Ross Manuel, Assistant Foreign Minister and Federal MP Tim Watts, Hobsons Mayor Matt Tyler and Consul General Maria Lourdes Salcedo; Below: Ribbon-cutting preceded the event.

       Mayor Tyler, for himself, affirmed the important contributions Filipinos to the wider community with numbers increasing in the past few years. The President of Philippine Fiesta of Victoria, Inc. Ross Manuel narrated the many years of anticipation and hard work to make the dream of having a PH Community Center a reality. “We have started it, it’s now your task to make sure it is maintained,” he said.

       The ribbon-cutting was followed by a blessing of the entire facility consisting of a decent foyer containing a façade of bahay kubo with several Philippine handicrafts and promotional materials, meeting rooms, first-aid room, kitchen, a spacious parking area and a backyard that could fit a basketball court. The property is a third of the original 4-acre land bought years ago by the PFVI but had become controversial following a court case involving contending groups out of the original PFVI.

       Consul General Salcedo also shared her hope that the auspicious opening of the Philippine Community Center, which received both federal and state funding, could pave the way for “healing” within the Community. END

Clockwise from top left: Igorot dance opens the program; Consul General Salcedo with her message of ‘healing’; and the first Philippine Community Center in Victoria.

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