LOOKING BACK: Early Years in Adelaide

by DR. R. DANTE G.
Philippine Honorary Consul General
Adelaide, South Australia


p30-insight-dj-3lookbackphoto Nov  2013 192

Eleanor Chiew, Cora and the children – Cielo, Zette (Cortesse), Ranel and Dyke (Randy),

Corina and Gelo (Rangelo) at a birthday party.


Part 3

We migrated to South Australia in 1973. My family found Adelaide City and surroundings peaceful; life was simple. Adelaide had rustic charm. Parks were wide and spacious, green and well taken care of.

Shopping was done with ease. Shop assistants were helpful, courteous and polite. Trolleys were big relief and comfort to customers especially parents with small children in tow and the elderly.


Unlike Metro Manila, Adelaide was hassle-free. We found no hawkers, no sidewalk vendors to annoy people while doing their shopping in public markets. There was an absence of noisy frenetic transactions, like the ones found in Divisoria or in Blumentritt, the buying and selling, wheeling and dealing, jostling for best bargains “baratillos”.

Simple living
It was pleasing to see Cora dealing and feeling comfortable with her new family budget. Food prices and grocery items were pretty cheap compared with expensive commodity items in Manila she left behind her only a week ago. A pint of fresh milk in Adelaide, for instance, cost her only 12 cents, a loaf of bread, 20 cents.

RICE, however, was hard to find. Most stores did not have it on shelves. Perhaps, only few customers asked for it, Asians in particular, let alone Filipinos! Indeed, we found just a small number of Asians living in Adelaide then.

One weekend, as I drove my family down in the city, I stopped the car in front of STAR Grocery Store on the far west end corner of Rundle Street to buy the children some snacks. By sheer luck, Cora saw in one little corner of the store few packs of “rice power”. But some years later, the store stopped trading, it closed down for good.

Influx of migrants and refugees
More migrants came to South Australia in the late seventies, from Oceania, North America and Asia. Refugees from Vietnam also came in big numbers. Like the rest of the States, South Australia steadily and progressively developed into a vibrant multicultural society accommodating and accepting peoples from diverse multicultural backgrounds. Communities learned to accept one another and live together in harmony.


There was UNITY IN DIVERSITY. Adelaide’s landscape changed. Exotic, charming vignettes came to the fore. Never before had Adelaide been culturally transformed. Colorful multicultural presentations and festivals were organized by different community groups. Some were held at the Adelaide Festival Centre, others in town halls. Asian cuisines soon became popular. As the children grew up, they too learned to enjoy the company of classmates and friends from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds. ©rdgjuantaNov2013


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