Recognizing common customs and values between two nations, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell introduced this year’s “Celebrate Australia Festival” by hosting an intimate dinner with the Australian business community and a select media group on January 15 at his North Forbes residence in Makati City.
While his guests enjoyed an outdoor feast of the best “Barbie” (Australian slang for barbeque) dishes, Tweddell mentioned how Filipinos and Australians have “a common fondness for food,” which is why the embassy has chosen its food and beverage sector to be one of the main features of Australia’s National Day celebration.
The embassy especially teamed up with major hotels like The Peninsula Manila in Makati City, as well as supermarkets and retail stores around Metro Manila to promote Australian cuisine, which is heavily influenced by different cultures—from the aboriginal Australians to the settlers from countries like Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (Wikipedia).
Traditionally held January 26 every year, Australia Day is a festive occasion celebrated all over the world. Australia, which is considered an “island continent,” commemorates their unique heritage comprised of “ancient indigenous culture, early European settlement, and the arrival of new Australian migrants from over 200 countries” (www.philippines.embassy.gov.au).
Australia’s most important public holiday is honored in the Philippines through the annual celebration of “Celebrate Australia Festival” hosted by the Australian Embassy in Manila. This year, the embassy has arranged a month-long festival that will showcase Australia’s modern, diversified culture and artistic talent.
“The Celebrate Australia Festival is not only an opportunity to share with Filipinos the best of Australia, but also reflects the shared values and forward-looking attitude that has been the foundation of the deep, broad-ranging and growing relationship between our two countries,” the ambassador said in a statement.
Impressed with the Filipino resilience during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath in November, Tweddell proudly compared Filipino camaraderie with Australian values. “The Philippines and Australia have similar overarching values, including bayanihan or mateship, which we saw during the most trying times in 2013,” the diplomat affirmed.
Beginning January 24, Fully Booked will display best-selling Australian authors in a festival that will run for two weeks to celebrate the country’s contemporary literature. The Book Thief author Markus Zusak and his highly-acclaimed novel will also be featured in the “read it before you see it” book-club session on February 1 at Fully Booked outlets in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City.
Adapted into a feature film, Zusak’s 2005 novel is set to open in Philippine cinemas on February 19 with an advance special screening to be hosted by the Australian embassy.
Filipinos will also experience the Australian laid-back lifestyle with an outdoor film screening and mini-food fair on January 25 at the Greenbelt Park in Makati City. After sampling the wide array of Australian food products such as cheeses, wine, juices and ice cream, the Saturday event will end with the screening of the heart-warming film Red Dog that placed among the top 10 highest-grossing films in Australia earning more than $21 million.
Lastly, Manila-based, Australian DJs will also display their brand of music. On January 30, Australian DJs Callum David David and Emil Rowe, together with Filipino DJ Jason Go, will spin Australian and international dance tunes in URBN Bar, BGC in Taguig City.