The generosity of hearts and sharing of varied talents and creativity made it possible to hold an evening of great entertainment featuring the ethnic fusion of some of New Zealand’s leading performers. What made it extra special was the inspiring and dedicated efforts of the Bulwagan Foundation Trust, a Filipino community based organization together with their Maori friends Sharmane, Lesley, Nick, Tana and Maria from Exceptional Communications to help in building a Filipino Community Centre (FilComm) in Wellington by putting together this celebration of music and dance. The proceeds of the event went to the FilComm project which in the words of Bulwagan Trust’s Chairperson, Ms. Flora Muriel Nogoy is envisioned to be “a place of belonging and learning for all people and more importantly, a heritage of the next generation of Kiwi-Filipinos.”
With the theme “Music, Culture, Community,” outstanding performances were rendered by FilCoro (an acronym for Filipino Chorus) with their much applauded repertoire of popular, sacred music, spiritual, jazz, Filipino folk songs and OPM (Original Pilipino Music), Tomorrow People, a dazzling reggae band dubbed as Wellington’s biggest success story, 50/50 Dance Crew, a finalist at the New Zealand Got Talent bringing Bollywood-bhangara-hip hop fusion to the stage and The Noodles, Wellington’s busiest professional cover band playing several times a week and pleasing crowds around New Zealand’s top night spots.
Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez commended the organizers and the performers and said that the much awaited celebration of music, dance, culture and community aptly entitled “ETHNIC FUSION” portrays the colourful and vibrant mix of GOD-given talents and creativity in the performing arts from Filipinos and New Zealanders - vividly capturing the heartbeat and beauty of Aotearoa and its people recognized as a multicultural and ethnically diverse nation. “We are truly touched and greatly heartened by their sincerity, generosity, passion and dedication. The love for music, dances and culture coupled with the commitment to bring us closer to fulfilling a shared dream for a Filipino Community Center that would serve as a home, haven and headquarters for the benefit of both Filipinos and friends from the multi-cultural community of New Zealand illustrate the caring and sharing spirit that is behind this celebratory evening. Indeed, the bridges of friendship, goodwill, understanding and solidarity that we continue to build among Filipinos, New Zealanders and people from other countries through unique events like this exemplify a favourite enduring Maori proverb, He aha te mea nui te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!).”
The spotlight on FilCoro, Tomorrow People, 50/50 Dance Crew and the Noodles brought much joy, pride and enthusiasm. The dream of a Filipino Community Centre continues to grow as the Bulwagan Foundation Trust, Exceptional Communications, friends from New Zealand and the other countries, the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino community join hands and hearts to make this a reality.
An article, "THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY CENTRE PROJECT (FCC) LAUNCH IN WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND", published by the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, on 07 October 2013 with permission.
* Photos courtesy of Rowel Madrisa
More photos available on the Bulwagan Foundation Trust facebook page