Well known, Filipino quiet achiever Manny Asuncion has finished his year on a high. Manny has worked quietly but productively behind the scenes for 28 years to the benefit of the Victorian Filipino–Australian community. On Thursday 3 December, at Government House, Melbourne, in the presence of Her Excellency the Governor of Victoria, the Victorian Government, through the Multicultural Commission recognised his contribution to Victoria’s multi-culturalism by presenting him with an award for meritorious service to the Community. Manny’s award was “for his support of Filipino-Australian migrant communities and wider multicultural Australia through sharing his talents in arts, drama and language”.
Altogether 36 individuals and 4 organisations were recognised for meritorious awards.
Manny migrated to Australia on 27 June, 1984 with qualifications in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and Bachelor of Arts, Speech and Drama. He pursued higher education in Australia obtaining Master of Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 1999; Graduate Certificate in Literacy, Victoria University, Footscray, Victoria, 2001; and PhD Education (Academics completed), Victoria University, Footscray, 2004. In addition, Manny obtained special qualification in Translator Level 3, National Accreditation for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), English-Filipino (Both ways), 1996 and Certificate, Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Melbourne.
In 1987 Manny became one of the founders of Dulaang Bayan Melbourne Inc (DBMI) a Filipino Development Theatre, based in Melbourne. The initial performance of DBMI was Kayumangging Ibon (written and directed by Manny) which was presented at the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria in Footscray Park.
For almost 25 years, Manny has been writing and directing skits, monologues and plays for DBMI as well as initiating and conducting workshops for its members. Among his works are Kuwento ni Auring (1987), Kayumangging Ibon (1989), Autumn Sonata (2000), Kesehoda (2001), Mga Eksena sa Airport (2004), Summer Butterflies (2006), Ikalawang Tag-Sibol ni Mang Florante (2009) and Miting Sa Makiling (2011). Manny also wrote the lyrics for these plays.
Manny was one of the founders of the Philippine Times, a Filipino-Australian community newspaper. He was one of its former editor-in-chief. He wrote lots of articles (news, essays, film critiques feature stories, Filipino legends and short stories using different pseudonyms) and had a regular column, Pilantik ng Diwa that touched on the Filipino humour and psyche.
Contributions to other newspapers include Columnist/writer: Bayanihan (Sydney), Philippine Community Herald (Sydney), Munting Nayon Newspaper Magazine (Netherlands), Daily Mirror (New York, USA).
Manny was one of the early broadcasters of Radyo Filipino 3ZZZ 92.3 FM in its early days.
He is a Filipino language teacher. He taught Filipino at the Victorian School of Languages, Princess Hill Language School, Philippine Language School of Victoria and was the chief lecturer of the Filipino language Department at the Australian Defence Force Language School (Laverton) and the ADF Special Task Force Language School, Perth, Western Australia.
A licensed Filipino translator and interpreter, Manny was a one-time chief examiner for the Filipino language group of the National Accreditation Authority for Translator and Interpreters (NAATI), a position he held for almost 10 years.
A deeply committed member of the Filipino-Australian Community in Melbourne, Manny was the vice president of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria for 4 years and is currently the PRO of the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria. He was also the vice-president of Filipino Artists of Melbourne (FAME) and one time president of Filipino Toastmaster Club of Melbourne.
In 2014, Manny Asuncion published a book, entitled Seasons, An Anthology of Filipino Plays Down Under, 2014 (A collection of plays written in English and Filipino).
Manny Asuncion’s devotion, passion, commitment and effectiveness in promoting culture and heritage, and supporting multiculturalism and promoting community relations through language, arts and drama has been recognised by the peak Filipino associations in recent years.
He has received many awards for his community work, and in 2015 his work was recognised at the national and international levels.
He received the: Filipino Australian Achiever Award from The Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA), 2014.
Eminent Alumni Award, Philippine Normal University, 2015 and the International Jubilarian Leadership Award, Philippine Normal University, 2015.
Manny Asuncion is quiet about his achievements personally, but people who know him, respect him and support him, believe he was a most worthy candidate for the latest award.
In her message to recipients of these awards, the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AM, wrote that “The Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence recognise and celebrate the extraordinary contribution of a diverse array of Victorians to our vibrant and inclusive society.” The Governor stated that in Victoria we “Collectively speak over 260 different languages and practise around 135 different faiths. We embrace different cultures from across the globe, and value the distinct contribution each culture makes to our broader community.”
In his message, the Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP wrote that, “Since 2002, these annual Awards have recognised many remarkable achievements to support diversity, inclusion and cohesion in our community. We are very fortunate to have so many committed people and organisations working hard to maintain Victoria’s reputation as a world leader in multicultural affairs.”
“The 2015 Award recipients have made significant contributions to support Victoria’s diverse communities to fully participate in society, and to maintain and celebrate their different cultures, languages and faiths”, he wrote.
In a message The Hon. Robin Scott MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs stated that “Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence are an important way for the Victorian Government and the Victorian Multicultural Commission to publically acknowledge Victorians who embrace our diversity…these awards pay tribute to those individuals, communities and organisations who contribute to our successful multicultural and inclusive society.”
Helen Kapalos, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission, wrote that “with recipients representing 22 different cultures, these awards highlight the depth and breadth of initiatives and programs that support and reinforce our strength as a multicultural community.”
She thanked the nominators for taking the time to put forward so many deserving nominees.
Following the presentations, the recipients and their guests were invited to partake of cocktails, and to view several rooms in Government House, including the State Dining Room and the State entrance and the billiard room.
Dulaang Bayan Melbourne Inc. (DBMI), the Filipino community development theatre in Melbourne, inducted its new executive officers on 8 August 2015 at Philippine-Australian Multi-Purpose Centre at 93 Cowper Street, Footscray. The officers were inducted by Ross Manuel, the chairperson of the Fiesta of Victoria Incorporation on (PFVI).
The new officers who were elected during its DBMI Annual General Meeting on 18 July, were: President-Manny G. Asuncion; Vice-President-Willy Obien; Secretary-Adrian Prophet; Assistant Secretary-Gemma Skeggs; Treasurer-Mila Casole; Assistant Treasurer-Mely Apostolellis; PRO-Shiony Maher and Ordinary Members of Committee-Tony Casole and Nena Marcelo.
Entertainment was provided by Raul Roxas, one of the DBM composers and musical arrangers who rendered some Filipino and English popular songs, his own composition and a few songs from DBMI plays. It was a small gathering composed of actors, production staff, friends and supporters of DBMI.
DBMI members, guests and friends shared the light “meryenda” that they brought to this happy occasion.
Dulaang Bayan Melbourne Inc has been with the Filipino-Australian community for 28 years with its fervent mission to establish a Filipino community theatre group that that articulates the hopes and dreams of Filipinos in Australia. One of its objectives is to provide a venue for expression and development the artistic and creative talents of the migrant Filipinos in Victoria.
We welcome individuals or groups who are interested in developing their artistic and creative talents and the promotion of Filipino-Australian theatre here in Victoria.
The Philippine Fiesta of Victoria has been celebrated for the past 32 years without a break. It has become a show - window of the Filipino culture and traditions, not only to the Filipino Community in Victoria but to the
Australian-multicultural society as well. Most importantly, the Fiesta becomes an effective venue for family reunion, meeting old friends and acquaintances and promotion of business initiatives.
Celebrating its 33 years service to the Filipino-Australian community, the Fiesta will be held on 28-29 November at the historical Royal Exhibition Building along Nicholson Street, Carlton, Victoria.
Through the years, the annual themes of the festivity enunciate the positive Filipino values of unity, friendship, strong family ties, debt of gratitude, communal efforts, cultural recognition and camaraderie.
This year’s Fiesta PAGSULONG SA MAUNLAD NA KINABUKASAN (Moving on to a Progressive Future) underscores the essentiality of moving forward to achieve growth, progress and development not only in the present but most importantly in the future.
The current Philippine Fiesta management committee believes that any organization, in order to progress and develop, has to grow with the times. Further, It has to find new ways and means to improve its operations and cater to the needs of its members and to the community’s welfare in general.
Fractious relationships, counter-productive attitudes, negative thoughts and pride have to be abandoned to pave the way for amicable relations and smooth performances.
During its 32 years of existence, Fiesta has evolved from a small scale-festivity to a bigger festival and has become the much-awaited event on the Filipino-Australian calendar.
Its location has been moved to different venues to accommodate its current needs and the growing attendees and the looking forward to a new Philippine Community Centre to be built in Laverton by 2017.
This year, the Philippine Fiesta will be held in a much bigger and better venue, the historic Royal Exhibition Building which is within the heart of the city, along Nicholson Street, Victoria. It is accessible to public transport and parking areas.
In line with the Philippine Fiesta, is the holding of a two-day Australian–Philippine Business and Investment Expo which aims to promote trade, business and investment opportunities between Australia and the Philippines
This enterprising venture is in initiated by the Australian Philippine Business Council (APBC) in cooperation with the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria, and with the support of the Philippine Consulate of Victoria.
Apart from showcasing businesses engaged in Australia and the Philippines, it is hoped that the Expo will expose Australian businesses to Filipino culture and encourage more non-Filipinos to be involved in the Fiesta.