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123 reasons to celebrate

Emma Pritchard

It was a colourful and cultural display of pride, unity and friendship as members of the Clarence Valley Filipino-Australian Community Club Inc (CVFACCI) celebrated the 123rd Philippine Independence Day on June 12.

The event commemorated the anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898.

Coutts Crossing residents Anna Hinton and her young daughter Jadelyn attended the celebrations at the South Grafton High School auditorium earlier this month, with the proud mother referring to it as one of the biggest events of the year.

“We always attend the celebrations,” she said with a smile.

“It’s an important day to remember for the Philippines and we like to share our celebrations with our community here too.”

Although singing and dancing was limited at the celebrations this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, guests were still able to enjoy plenty of traditional Philippine food and music.

More than 120 people attended the event, with Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons and councillor Karen Toms among the special guests.

As he acknowledged the members of the CVFACCI, Mr Simmons said he was honoured to be invited and said, “it is your day to celebrate.”

“The event was beautifully presented, the members of the club are also members of our Clarence Valley community, and it was very humbling to celebrate the day together,” he said.

During the festivities, Gresilda Elliot was officially welcomed as the new president of the CVFACCI by former president Bing Aboga Cave, who also oversaw the induction ceremony of several newly elected officers of the club.

During her welcome address, Ms Elliot described herself as very proud and excited by her new role, adding she was happy to see so many Clarence Valley residents join the CVFACCI for their annual celebrations.

“It’s a very important day as we thank you all for celebrating with us,” she said.

Two locals who attended the celebrations after reading an article in a recent edition of the Clarence Valley Independent promoting the event, were Gail Zietsch and Alison Greenbank. Both women said they enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of the CVFACCI and learn about Philippine culture.

“They’re lovely people, the food was beautiful and we were made to feel very welcome,” Ms Zietsch said graciously.

“It was a wonderful day,” Ms Greenbank added.

“It was so beautiful and colourful.

“We’ll definitely be attending more celebrations in the future.”