THE Filipino-Australian Community of Ararat has officially incorporated, allowing the election of officials to work towards it goals of celebrating the migrant group’s culture and traditions.
Group president Jamie Batobalani said the incorporation went through on June 12, the same day when the Philippines celebrates its independence from Spain in 1898.
Mr Batobalani works as a draftsman in Ararat and was one of the first Filipino people to arrive in the area 27 years ago.
“At the moment we have a lot of Filipinos working as engineers in the region, as well as in nursing homes, the abattoir and the Lake Bolac piggery,” he said.
“They used to be in maintenance at the mine in Stawell. There is one mechanic working at King’s Cars.
“The latest that came in were skilled workers on 457 visa. There are some who came by marriage.”
There are now at least 50 residents of Filipino background in Ararat with others also in the surrounding towns.
“The group will support Filipino-Australians in Ararat and surrounding districts,” Mr Batobalani said.
“The first event was for Clean Up Australia Day with the council and we held an Easter family Fund day in Alexandra Park.”
The South-East Asian nation of 7000 islands provides the fifth largest migrant group in Australia at one per cent of the population.
The group has four objectives, with the first being to foster solidarity and camaraderie among Filipino-Australians in Ararat Rural City and surrounding districts.
The second objective is to preserve the Filipino culture and traditions that would help instill Filipino values to the younger generations of Filipino Australians.
The third objective is to promote the Filipino heritage in the Ararat community through engagements and partnerships.
The fourth and fifth objectives are to provide recreational, educational and training activities to members and to support Ararat Rural City Council’s cultural programs.
Group vice president Edgardo Lou works as a general practitioner in Ararat said about 90 to 95 per cent of Filipinos were Catholic.
“We learn English as a second language and many people from the Philippines speak English well,” Dr Lou said.
“We love our food and we believe in working hard.”
Dr Lou said the events had brought the community together.
“It was about fun and games, and having a barbie,” he said.
The next events on the group’s calendar will be a Christmas in July celebration and a meeting on July 30 to swear in elected officers.