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The Philippine Fiesta has come a long way. It started in the summer of November 1982 when a group of enthusiastic Filipinos with a fervent desire to relive a colourful festivity away from home, met at the Caribbean Gardens, Knox City.

This group was composed of officers and members of the Filipino Trade Association of Victoria (FILTAV), Filipino Community Welfare Services (FCWS), Filipino Association of Victoria (FAV), University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA), Silayan Dance Troupe (SDT) and Filipino Friendship Society (FAFS); spearheaded by the Federations of Filipino Associations in Victoria (FAV).

Due to the success of the initial event, the FFAV organized another Fiesta in 1983 at Footscray Park; thus the Fiesta became an annual event because of the participation of other community organisations and the attendance of the growing Filipino-Australian populace in Victoria. For five successive years (1983-1987), the Philippine Fiesta organized by FFAV and FCWS were held at Footscray Park.

Through the years, the Fiesta has grown into a bigger proportion with people looking forward to an array of delicious Filipino food, exciting rides and live entertainment provided by the local Filipino-Australian taints.

In 1987, the Philippine Fiesta of Victoria Inc. (PFVI) was formally established and incorporated through the efforts of Mr. Francis Dizon, Mr. Des Villanueva and Bing Jaraba. A new management committee was formed that thought of an innovative scheme to generate income for the Fiesta as well as "incentives and exposure" to the organizing groups. Community organization big or small, were invited to take turns in sponsoring the Fiesta receiving certain percentage from the total earnings of the event.

The first organization to benefit from this scheme was through the Pampangueno Club (chaired by Mr. Nonong Torres) which in 1988 shifted the Fiesta to Queens Park in Essendon. The event (which coincided with Australia's Bicentennial Celebration), though marred by inclement weather, was a success. That year also marked the launching of the Philippine Community Centre Project, with the aim of acquiring a "Home" for the Filipino community thus becoming the financial focus for succeeding fiestas.

From 1989-1990, the Philippine Fiesta was held at Albert Park Lake Reserve organized by the Philippine Sports Club of Melbourne Inc. (PSCMI) headed by Ms Maina Walkley and Ms Gigi Kalong respectively. The PFVI chairpersons then were Mr. Larry Quiazon (1989) and Mr. Noel Tolentino (1990). The Mutya ng Fiesta Quest was introduced and the first Philippine Fiesta Souvenir Program was born.

People flocked in droves to the Fiesta at Albert Park due to its central location and transport accessibility. It established the Fiesta as the much-awaited event of the year.

In 1991, the Philippine Fiesta Management Committee itself (chaired by Mr. Larry Quiazon), organized the Philippine Fiesta at Albert Park under scoring that the net proceeds will go towards the Philippine Community Centre project."

From that time on, the "incentive scheme" was removed to "maximize the Philippine fiesta revenues for the realization of the Philippine Community Centre."

The 10th Anniversary of the Philippine Fiesta was held at the same venue the following year (1992) with Ligaya Chin as the chairperson. Included in the souvenir program was the Philippine Community Centre

Project feasibility study prepared by Billy Velasco as well as the proposed
Blueprint of the Centre

The Victorian Racing Club Flemington Racecourse became the next venue for the Philippine Fiesta "(1993) chaired by Ms. Ligaya Chin with her message of
"We must continue to join together to promote cohesiveness and strength to achieve the goal we had been working for to preserve our Filipino heritage."

The Philippine Fiesta was held at Laverton when PFVJ purchased the Primary School in 1994 (Chaired by Bert de la Pena). At last, the past Fiesta Commit tees goal had been realized - to hold the Fiesta at the Philippine Community Centre, the "Home" of Philippine Fiesta and the Filipino community in Victoria.

Mr. Atacador, who headed the fiesta from 1994 to 1998 aptly articulated this sentiment in his speech at the Lions club of Wantirna and Rowville: 'What we are building is not just physical amenities....we are putting up a home, a Tahanang PiliPino... a place to mark our coming together as migrants to a great and gracious island."

Mr. Ragel (1998-2001) succeeded Mr. Atacador as the chairperson the following year. The year 2000, promised the biggest Fiesta ever to welcome the new millennium. Under the leadership of Mr. Ragel, it was highlighted by different incentive initiated by Philip Salanguit to boost the much needed funds to pay the Philippine Community Centre. These were the Millennium Book that profiled the migrants in Victoria; the Millennium Beauty Quest; The Grand Raffles and the Vehnee Saturno Talent search.

Mr. Fely Roxas, who has served the Philippine Fiesta for many years, was elected as the chairperson the year 2002.

In May 2003, the Philippine Community Centre' mortgage was paid in full having been paid thru the concerted efforts of people who worked hard towards the achievement of a life long dream-owning the Philippine Community Centre.

This year's Fiesta 2003 (chaired by Mr. Ross Manuel) is celebrating its 22nd anniversary with the theme "Abot Kamay", reaching out - an effort to consolidate and unite Filipino Community organisation for a common goal and purpose. It is envisioned to be a celebration of joy and pride of what the Philippine Fiesta has accomplished in its 22 years of existence.

The history of the Philippine Fiesta is a narrative of many individuals, associations and communities persevered and worked hard towards realisations of a vision - a vision which is now a reality. The Philippine Fiesta is a shinning legacy to the future generations of Filipino-Australians and to the multicultural society of Australia

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