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New Sydney Pinoy Student Group Celebrates its 1st Year Anniversary


By Francis (Boy) de los Santos
St. Peters-NSW-Australia
January 30, 2017


A newly organized pinoy student group called the Association of Pinoy Students in Australia (APSA) celebrated their 1st year anniversary on 17 December 2016 at El Pinoy House in St. Peters, NSW. 

The group’s newly elected officers are Miss Xavera Lao, President; Mr. Joshua Fernandez, Vice President; Miss Ericka Reotita, Secretary; Miss Relyn Dona Faith Pascual, Treasurer;  Miss Ann Lorraine Belmonte, Auditor; Miss Luisa Almogela & Mr. Jonathan Deauna, Business Managers; Miss Judy Ann Imperial and Mr. Rene Tyron Abano, Public Relations Officer; Mr. Raymund Ang & Mr. Ernie Varon, Sgt At Arms; Miss Abigail Aguilar, 2016 Ambassadress; Miss APSA, Miss Rachel Emery Gracia.  Committee leaders include Miss Desiree Joy Liceralde & Mr. Francis Ryan Oyco (Education/Tutorial); Miss Abighail Medrano & Mr. Richard Bernal (Sports/Recreation); Miss Jhona De Guzman , Miss Patricia Malubag & Mr. Leo Aralar, (Arts/Performances); Miss Hazel Marie Honra & Miss Dyann Macaraeg, (Events/Program), Miss Jeny Gurrea & Miss Fatima Aquino (Settlement/Program), Miss Ivory Viernes & Miss April Rose Cominga (APSA Care).  APSA advisers for 2016-2018 Term of Office are Mrs.Vida Fernandez, Founder; Mr. Jasper Diaz (Filomates), Mr. Jerome Babate (Filipino International Students Council); Mr. Alric Bulseco (Vice President-External of PCC-NSW).

In her speech, Mrs. Vida (Bhing) Fernandez, founder of APSA, thanked everyone who joined and participated in the association’s successful 1st year of anniversary.  Bhing  explained the group’s main goal is to foster friendship and camaraderie among pinoy students who arrived in Sydney to study and pursue their professional careers in the Land Down Under.  Bhing advised the APSA members to extend help and assistance to newly arrived student migrants and promote the Filipino culture and tradition called the “Bayanihan) spirit through corroboration among Filipino Student Groups, PCC-NSW including the Philippine Consulate Office in Sydney.

The newly elected APSA President, Miss Xavera Lao expressed thanks and appreciation for those who elected her and vowed that she would diligently perform her duties and responsibilities and would work hard to enable APSA to succeed.  She encouraged her fellow elected officers to work as a team to ensure the next 2 years would be productive in terms of their projects, events and activities to be planned and organized in behalf of APSA.

During her speech, Consul General Anne Jalandoon Louis thanked Bhing for her effort in founding and spearheading the creation of the Association of Pinoy Students in Australia (APSA), specifically the role of its members it played as volunteers  during the Filipino Christmas Festival held on 11-12 Nov. 2016 at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.  She acknowledged APSA volunteers  role from planning to execution stages of the event.  Congen Anne confirmed it was an outstanding success and has received positive comments, anecdotes including suggestions/recommendations from non-Filipinos who attended and witnessed the 2-day festival.  She stated that the Consulate welcomed and accepted the review/comments and would take actions as necessary to further improve the planning and preparation of this annual Pinoy Christmas celebration. 

In addition, she  explained that the Filipino community organizers themselves have to decide the ‘next venue for such event.   Congen Anne also took the opportunity to remind the Filipino passport holders as well as dual citizens, to register their names in relation to the 2019 Philippine Election.   She reminded the eligible voters that in order to register, the Philippine Consulate only need the photocopy of their passports and completed Overseas Absentee Voter registration form and should be personally present themselves at the Philippine Consulate Office in Sydney.   In the event these eligible pinoy voters are unable to visit the Consulate for work, school and other related reasons, they are free to contact the Consulate Office through its Mobile Overseas Voters Registration Team who will arrange for a visit and meet the pinoy group in person (should be 20 or more) in a designated venue.   As to Congen Anne’s end of tour-of-duty, she confirmed that her 6-year assignment as the Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Sydney would  end next year (2017) and would not be able to attend the APSA’s 2nd year anniversary celebration.  She, however, encouraged APSA officers and its members to continue promoting the Filipino Bayanihan spirit through collaboration with various Filipino student groups, PCC-NSW and the Philippine Consulate in Sydney.

Alric Bulseco (PCC-NSW) and Norjamin De los Reyes of the Department of Tourism also delivered their brief speeches congratulating APSA in its maiden year of operation.  They both wished APSA  successful journey towards a successful student association for the many years to come.    Mr. Jasper Diaz (Filomates Adviser) also gave a congratulatory message to APSA officers and advisers and wished the association success through continued networking and communication with his group and other Pinoy student associations in Australia to ensure the outreach and “stay in touch” approach to keep the pinoy culture and tradition alive in Australia.

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