Filipino fans gather fly the flag

PHILIPPINE Independence Day will be celebrated with gusto in Warrnambool tomorrow when people from throughout the south-west with Filipino connections gather at St Pius X hall.

About 200 people are expected to attend the celebrations, which will include a meal of the popular Filipino dish of whole roast pig, traditional dancing, a parade of the Filipino and Australian flags and the latest innovation — competitions for the best-dressed female and male in national costume.

Event spokeswomen Roditha Trotter and Emilia McDonough said the Saturday night celebration commemorated the Philippines’ declaration of independence day on June 12, 1898.

They said Independence Day — when the country broke free of Spanish colonisation — was a significant event in the Philippines and the local celebrations reflected that fervour.

The Filipino community in Warrnambool has celebrated Independence Day annually for many years.

The women said the Filipino community in Warrnambool comprised about 200 people, some of whom had married Australian men, while others were skilled migrants or had come to Australia on student visas.

They said many of the Australian men who had married Filipino women entered into the local celebrations’ spirit of cherishing the links between the two countries and donned the traditional Filipino male “barong” attire for the night.

The links between the two countries will be further highlighted with the singing of both the Phillippine and Australian national anthems.

Among those attending will be Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh, Sister Marie Mansbridge from the Sisters of Mercy and local parish priests.

Mrs Trotter and Mrs McDonough said the Filipino community also socialised at Christmas and planned to get together in May next year to celebrate the Santacruzan Day — a religious event similar to the United States’ Thanksgiving Day.

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