Australia 2009

Article excerpt

ON January 21st, the ambassador of Australia to the Philippines, Rod Smith, gave a reception for journalists which turned out to be a preview of the two-month festival Australia presents to its guests along with its traditionally well-attended National Day on the 26th.

Festivities include an exhibit by the Australia-based Filipino artist, Alwin Reamillio at the Galleria Duemila; an Australian barbeque in the Sofitel gardens; and a series of concerts by Australia's noted folklorist, Warren Fahey, and his "Bush Band,'' The Larrikins, at a festival for street children at the Museo Pambata, and a session with Filipino musicians and singers who specialize in folk music, capped by an evening performance at Greenbelt 3 Park.

An on-going film festival of Australian films, including the recently released "Australia'' starring Nicole Kidman will be shown at the Greenbelt and Glorietta theaters. From the 26th through the 30th, the Red Curtain Triology''will be shown at the UP Film Institute at UP Manila, moving on to UP Los Banos for March 3rd to 5th.

Australia is famous for its beef and lamb and 32 Manila restaurants will be featuring Australian meat for the festival, including such familiar names as Le Souffle, Gaudis, and Lolo Dads. For every P300 purchase at the restaurants, guests are entitled to a raffle ticket for a roundtrip to Australia for two people.

Australia's wine market is growing and at the journalists reception, reds and whites were offered by Ralphs and the Wine Depot, all available for sale in Manila along with a fine array of cheeses, a prize-winning Camembert and three types of Bleu - ranging from mild and creamy to strong. There were seafood and mushroom and steak canapes, and a whole lamb roasted on a spit as the main attraction.

In his welcoming remarks Ambassador Smith stressed the long and substantial relationship between the Philippines and Australia since 1946. Australia is the second largest aid donor to this country, and a major source of employment for skilled Philippine overseas workers in healthcare, mechanical trades, and hospitality services.

Filipinos have long been attracted to Australia's hospitable and relatively underpopulated country, and there is a permanent community of 200,000 Filipinos who make their homes in Australia. …