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p23-sa-nh-Oz Asia Moon Lantern Festival Planning Team

The Moon-Lantern Festival Filcom planning team: Norma Hennessy, Ben-Hur Winter, Celia Guillermo, Marita Macalalad and Nenita Lacar-Portman.


South Australia’s Festival Centre recently sent out an invitation to various community groups in South Australia for their participation at the Oz-Asia Festival in September. The event culminates with a moon lantern Festival on September 8, 2014.

It was a challenge to get the many Filipino groups to harness themselves together for one coordinated performance or presentation that will represent all the Filipino groups on the 8th of September. One performance that incorporates various participation will be the ideal way to go. The Filipino community groups come under the one name that bears the essential identity which everyone of the group lays a claim on – being a Filipino.

Being a Filipino is an entitlement. It should be embraced under a more meaningful context – more than having been born in the Philippines. It should not be claimed either against the commonly held view that having been ascended from people who are inhabitants in the Philippines, qualifies you to be a Filipino.

What is being a Filipino? Is it a generic name that embodies our identity or is it simply that – a name we call ourselves ? What essentially makes one qualify for being one? We all have different ways of perceiving our cultural identity. And therefore, we have different measures of importance for it. An identity is not just a name and a name may not just be a name.

Carlos P. Romulo’s famous literary piece – “I am a Filipino”, strongly expresses the popular mindset and patriotic psyche of that generation .

Excerpts: “I am a Filipino–inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task–the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future.

I sprung from a hardy race, child many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope–hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children’s forever….

I am a Filipino born to freedom, and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance – for myself and my children and my children’s children – forever.”
African Poet Femi Amogunla defines the significance of his name to him in a song:

My name is a song;
I can sing it as I want;
in Soprano High or Bass deep.
Oh! It jars your ears.
(beat) I should shorten it?
I won’t. I will not reduce my name to F
A letter. And call it a nickname.
Or funkify it as P-h-e-m-m-y spelt P-h-e-m-m-y
Or change it to Famozo
…or its other version Famoshi
So that you might feel it?
My name is my identity.
On the other hand, is one’s being intertwined with the spirit of the land of one’s roots? Will Martin, a young New Zealander musician sings:
I am my country like the flag I fly,
And I will love her ‘till the day I die,
Bound to each other we will always be,
I am my country: for eternity!
And when my future takes me from my past,
And for the shores of home I’d give my last,
Stand me in waters in a peaceful sea,
That’s when I know she belongs to me.
Now I shout from the mountains high
I belong to her,
I belong to her,
Let no man ever doubt that I, am hers ‘till the day I day
So I shout from the mountains high
I belong to her,
I belong to her,
Let no man ever doubt that I, am hers ‘till the day I die
I am my country like the flag I fly,
I will love her to the day I die,
Bound to each other we will always be!
I am my country for eternity!

“I Am A Filipino” is the theme of the community presence at the Oz-Asia Festival in September. The performance will be wrapped around the essence of the oratorical piece that will be delivered during by voice over.

The planned participation of the Filipino Community in Adelaide at the Oz-Asia Festival in September is a joint effort of various members of the Filipino Community representing different groups. The initial planning was attended by Ben-Hur Winter, Nita Lacar Portman, Jun and Marita Macalalad, Celia Guillermo and yours truly. Rudy Bautista will be reviving his Arnis Group for the event.


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