The Philippine-Australian Community Foundation Inc. (PACF) and the community came together in a celebration of thanksgiving, conciliation and hope for the future at a Thanksgiving Mass and Appreciation Day held on Saturday, 12 September 2015. The event also farewelled the Philippine Australian Cultural Centre on Grange Avenue, Schofields for which contracts had been exchanged and settlement is expected to occur on 14 October 2015. The Schofields property sold for $2.5 million in a move that will see the PACF pay off all its debts and have enough funds left over to buy a new property without incurring any new debt.
The Saturday event was highlighted by the Eucharistic Mass celebrated by Fr Renato Paras and Fr Jojo Eloja. It was also a celebration of the 77th birthday of Fr Renato Paras, the first Filipino chaplain in Sydney and who first envisioned a centre for the Filipino community. It was also a day for thanks and appreciation to the pledgors, supporters, volunteers and friends of the community who have, over the last 25 years, made regular donations, supported raffles and fundraising and celebratory events, and generously given their time, treasure, talent and community spirit in various ways at various times.
The event was a day of firsts - Chairman of the PACF Board of Trustees Mansueto Villon offered an olive branch of conciliation to the community, writer Richie Valencia Buenaventura wrote and delivered a poem entitled “Bayan nakahanda na ang iyong tahanan” that moved listeners to tears, PCC-NSW and APCO volunteered side by side as food servers and program coordinators respectively. Around 300 people came to the event and left not only with appreciation of the day’s entertainment, food and fellowship but also hope in their hearts for a united Filipino community.
Meanwhile, PACF after inspecting commercial and industrial properties for sale in various locations, negotiated to purchase a property located in the heart of Blacktown. The property is located on 50 Forge Street, Blacktown (about 200m off Sunnyholt Road). The land area is 1279sqm and the building which houses the President Body Repairs P/L Panel Beaters & Painters (a family owned business) is approximately 800sqm. It has offices, kitchen, toilets, adequate entry and exit points, and parking. Contracts were exchanged for the purchase price of $1,290,000 on 7 September 2015. The sale is expected to be finalised on 15 October 2015.