SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Masayang ipinagdiwang nang maaga ng mga Pilipino sa Australia ang Pasko sa pamamagitan ng free-entry event na Philippine Pasko Festival in Spring 2022 na ginanap noong October 22 at 23, 2022 sa Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Inorganisa ito ng Philippine Community Council of New South Wales o PCCNSW kasama ang iWantTFC bilang official media partner.
“PCC was established in 1990 with the principal objective of being the unified voice of the Filipino community and advocate for its common interest in the State of New South Wales,” sabi ni Alric Bulseco, Immediate Past President o IPP ng PCCNSW na tatlumpu’t isang taon nang naninirahan sa Australia.
Taong 2016 ang pinakaunang Pasko Festival na idinaos ng PCCNSW sa Australia kung kailan ang tanging schedule na available sa venue na kanilang nakuha ay ikalawang linggo ng November. Kaya simula noon, mas maaga na nilang ipinagdiriwang ang Pasok Festival sa Australia.
“It is an annual event that celebrates the coming of Christmas while simultaneously promoting Philippine culture and products to the City of Sydney's growing multicultural society.
This year's event was in October as apparently, November was not available as per the advice of the Place Management of NSW, the agency overlooking the venue.
Pero tama lang rin siguro dahil ‘di ba ang kasabihan na Christmas na sa ‘Pinas sa pagpasok pa lang ng buwan ng ‘ber,’” ani Bulseco.
Mahigit sa isandaan at dalawampung libong katao ang nakilahok sa malaking in-person Pinoy Christmas event.
“From an estimated number of 40,000 visitors at our first Festival in 2016, this year attracted a total of 121,000 visitors in two days. Around 70% of the crowd was of Filipino heritage.
Darling Harbour is the perfect site for this event as not only is it at the center of the city but it is a major tourist attraction drawing people from all walks of life as well as from different ethnic groups,” dagdag pa ni Bulseco.
Ang dalawang araw na event ay puno ng kasiyahan, sayawan, kantahan, pagpapakita ng mayamang kultura at talento ng mga Pilipino kung saan inihandog din ang iba-ibang pagkaing Pinoy na ilan sa pinaka-aabangan at kinasasabikan ng mga kababayan sa Australia. Sinuportahan din ito at dinaluhan ni Philippine Ambassador Ma. Hellen De La Vega at ng Philippine Consulate General sa Sydney kabilang na ang Filipino community ng NSW.
“I would say that this is the largest Filipino festival in Australia. The crowd numbers have increased every year from its launching in 2016. The massive turnout this year despite the gloomy weather forecast proves that the Filipino community has been looking forward to this event particularly after a 2-year absence during the pandemic,” pahayag ni Bulseco.
Kasama sa programa ang mga sumusunod: chorale singing competition, parol competition, tulambit o pagbasa o pagsambit ng tula, children's drawing competition, fashion shows, raffle draws at marami pang iba.
Si Ery Rivera ang tinanghal na Grand Prize winner sa parol competition habang ang mga sumusunod ang mga nagwagi sa Tulambit:
Vee Perez - 1st prize winner
Eric Maliwat - 2nd prize winner
Irma Del Mundo - 3rd prize winner
Malaking bahagi ng tagumpay ng Pasko Festival 2022 sa Australia ang pakikilahok ng iba-ibang Filipino at Filipino-Australian stakeholders at volunteers.
“We had a total of around 100 volunteers from the youths right up to the senior citizens of the community. They all had their share of work from helping putting up the stall banners, acting as Marshalls, clickers/counters at the entry points, selling raffle tickets, organizing food for the performers/volunteers, backstage assistance, accompanying Santa Claus, chairs/tables preparations, First Aid duties,” sabi ni Bulseco.
Inaasahan ng PCCNSW ang patuloy na pagtangkilik ng mga kababayan sa Pasko Festival na muling idaraos sa susunod na taon.