The Beginnings of a New Festival

Philippines-Australia Autumn Festival 2019 – the Beginning

Last July 2018, a small group of Filipino-Australian residents living in the growing suburbs of Greater Springfield, Ipswich (a 35-45 minute ride from the heart of Brisbane City), met up and broached the idea of having an Autumn Festival patterned after the fiesta atmosphere common in the Philippines. The festival was to showcase the Filipino culture but at the same time be as far reaching and well attended by both Filipinos and non-Filipinos communities. Migrant Filipinos and Australia-born citizens with Filipino heritage/parents are one of the largest groups of residents living in Ipswich; however, awareness and appreciation of Philippine culture, dances and songs from children of migrant Filipinos and Australians is not very strong. In addition, a Filipino Cultural Festival has never been done before in the area.

To make the Festival a success, initial funding, careful planning /execution and volunteer committee members and Filipino performers would be needed. In spite of the risks, the pioneering team took on the challenge of delivering this Festival with the objective of fostering understanding and appreciation of another culture. It is a celebration of “Unity in Diversity” among peoples.

The team is composed of a mix of Filipino-Australian professionals and entrepreneurs led by Festival Organising Committee Chairman Jomar Nieva. Other committee members include Celi Reyes, Solicitor Jozef Erece, Eng’r Dennis Carlos, Lana Medequiso, Violet Van Haas, Eleonor Erece and Odette Bandarian. Finally, after almost 6 months from the grant of initial funding by the local council and Queensland State Government, the initial small group of pioneers blossomed into a much wider team with different committees created. These committees include the Décorations, Technical and Logistics, Performances, Promotions and Social Media, etc. The Festival has also been given a financial boost with the entry of Philippine Airlines as a major Sponsor. Almost weekly meetings and preparations are now common among the organising committee members to deliver the inaugural Philippines-Australia Autumn Festival. 

This event is organised by a not-for-profit organisation called LUPANG HINIRANG PTY LTD. The festival is to be held on Sunday, 14th April at Robelle Domain, Springfield Central from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. It will showcase our Filipino culture with a festival of food, music, songs, dances and games. There will be some info stalls and rides and/or jumping castles as well. It is FREE ENTRY to the public.

This is a much anticipated event and will no doubt attract an expected 2000 visitors from local communities within the Greater Springfield area, Brisbane and as far as Toowoomba and Gold Coast. This community event has been assisted by the Ipswich City Council’s Community Development Grants Program and the Queensland Government.

Written by Jomar Nieva (Festival Organising Committee Member)
Philippines-Australia Autumn Festival 2019 (www.philozautumnfest.com)

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