Welcome to the OFFICIAL Philippine Australian Sports & Culture INC website.
One cannot tell the whole story of Grand Philippine Sydney Fiesta Cultura without tracing the evolution of Philippine Australian Sports & Culture Inc. or it would be like watching a tree’s branch float in the air without a trunk. The Sydney Fiesta Cultura, indeed, is only one of many activities of P.A.S.C. Inc., conceived by the Club and developed with the assistance of many other organizations through its leadership.
There is one aspect of Philippine Australian Sports & Culture that sets it apart from other Filipino migrant organizations: It evolved from necessity. The Club developed because there had to be an organized group to run major sports events for early Filipino migrants in the metropolitan Sydney. Pinoys wanted to play basketball among themselves, and there was no other way around it but to set up an organizing body.
Thus, in 1976, a number of basketball teams got together to launch the first “Palarong Pilipino”, as part of Philippine Independence Day celebrations at St. Columban’s College seminary grounds, Turramurra, NSW. The Palarong Pilipino became an annual event from then on, loosely managed by sports-loving community members.
In 1976, this group organised a Filipino Sports Festival, pitting Sydney against Canberra basketball and tennis teams.
So popular was Palaro, that in 1978 a NSW-Queensland Sports Festival was held in Brisbane. Participating sports were basketball, tennis, softball, tenpins, table tennis and chess.
Then, in 1979, this group of officials formally became organised as Philippine Australian Sports Council, and based the new body at Bankstown Stadium. Among the executives were Manny Castillo, Danny Garcia, Joe Canlas, Oscar Salcedo, Bob Gonzalvez, Tony Chiapoco, Armando Gutierez, Roger Angara and Rolly Villa.
In 1982, the Council launched the first Sydney vs Melbourne Sports Festival. Its connection was the Filipino Tradesmen’s Association of Victoria. This Festival became an annual event, too, alternating venues in Sydney and Melbourne.
Although the Philippines popular sport basketball had been the backbone of PASC’s activity, the then Council was there to cater to the Filipino community’s interest in other sports. It added tennis, tenpin bowling, golf, softball, chess, table tennis, darts and, if only briefly, swimming.
But the Council’s activities did not stop at sports tournaments. In 1987, it ventured into the field of entertainment, promoting two of the most successful Filipino imported acts in Australia, as fund-raisers for disaster victims in the Philippines. First, the Council brought to Sydney the singing legends Apo Hiking Society, and then recording artist Dulce in Sydney and Melbourne.
Their remarkable success has brought calls for PASC to promote more concerts. Yet the Council continued to make its mark mainly in the field of sports.
In 1988, a team of handicapped children from the Philippines arrived in Sydney to take part in the Pacific School Games. Despite limited resources, the children so inspired the Filipino community in Sydney with their medal – winning performances that PASC decided to reward them.
But how? How could the PASC raise reward enough through one major effort? The Grand Philippine Fiesta was born.
Thus, the entire proceeds of about $A11,000.00 from the first Grand Fiesta in 1989 went to Ginintuang Tagumpay, the charitable organization of handicapped athletes in the Philippines where disabled racing wheel chairs, blind’s Braille machines and other sporting equipment were donated. This first Fiesta, on October 2, drew an astonishing number of more than 10,000 patrons at the indoor NSW State Sports Centre, Homebush where it became the venue of the Sydney Olympics 2000. It was, as the Sandigan Newspaper later wrote, “the world’s largest gathering of Filipinos outside the Philippines”.
The following October 1, attendance at the same venue grew to more than 15,000. Some families decided to picnic outside, because the Centre was packed to capacity by lunchtime.
So expecting another jump in attendance, PASC decided to hold the 1991 Grand Fiesta at the much larger and open Sydney Football Stadium. True enough, patron numbers at last year’s function ballooned to more than 25,000.
Still, the location of Sydney Stadium was not ideal for Filipinos living in fringes of the metropolitan area. So PASC organizers studied alternatives, and came up with the much more central Parramatta Stadium which sits in the middle of Sydney. The October 4, the organizing committee predicts an attendance of 30,000 people to spend the Sunday savouring the best Filipino cuisine, watching and taking part in the Filipino entertainment, and meeting friends at the biggest, grandest Filipino gathering in Australia inspite of heavy downpour of rain.
As part of its commitment to extend welfare assistance to the Philippines and Australia, in 1991, it sponsored a Filipino tennis player – the Philippines second ranking player – for participation in the South East Asian Games. PASC has continued to extend assistance to various Philippine charities such as the Philippine National Blind School, House With No Steps, Philippine National Red Cross, Manila Boys Town, Hospicio de San Jose, Westmead Children Hospitals, The Returned Services League, Legacy Appeal and many more.
PASC has opened its scholarship foundation at the Technological University f the Philippines for poor but deserving students doing engineering courses. It also provided financial assistance to local community organizations achieved their community projects through their valuable participation at the Fiesta.
Because of the growing complexity and varieties of activities, the organization decided to incorporate in 1991. It adopted the legal name of the Philippine Australian Sports Club Inc. Among its latest interests are cultural, entertainment, sports and youth activities.
That year, the PASC also celebrated its 16th year by winning the prestigious Philippine Presidential Linkapil Award as the most outstanding Filipino organization overseas. In 1992, the Fiesta was to receive a major award from NSW State Government. The Fiesta was named the “best marketing non-profit for its marketing effort of any ethnic community” in the annual Multicultural Marketing Awards of 1992.
In this award category, candidates included big names such as State Lotteries, National Australia Bank, Yellow Pages, Department of Social Security and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. At Sydney’s Ramada Renaissance Hotel, the then Ethnic Affairs Minister George Souris presented PASC president Manny Castillo and Lolita Farmer with a handsome trophy.
The fifth to eigth celebration were held at Bankstown City Paceway. Special guests were Philippine Vice President Joseph Estrada, Senator Letecia Shahani, Senator Loren Legarda, Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza, selected members of congress, governors, local governments, Philippine Diplomatic Corp and the Philippine Consulate General Sydney. Selected Australian Federal Ministers, State Ministers, Members of Federal and State Parliament have attended also the annual celebrations.
In 1997 and 1998, the Fiesta moved to an even larger venue: the Eastern creek International Raceway, in the Sydney suburb of Blacktown. The city of Blacktown is credited with having the largest percentage of Filipino migrants of any place in Australia. On this occasion saw the dramatic increased of the Fiesta attendance but the increase of unaffordable venue rental hampered its continuous hosting on the new venue.
Due to its central location the succeeding Fiesta venue were moved back to Bankstown City Paceway up to its 14th celebration to cater for the Australia – Philippines Trade and Tourism Fair, the Filipino Food Festival, Tribal/ Folkoric and other related activities. The finale of this affair was the proclamation and coronation of the current Miss Philippines Australia and the Miss Philippines Australia Charity Queen. The Fiesta was always highlighted with invited popular Philippine Artists concerts and appearances through the years such as Martin Nievera, Aga Muhlach, Tintin Versola, Lorna Pal, Allan K, Selina Sevilla, Agot Isidro, and many more in cooperation with Eat Bulaga Philippines and Filipino Chanel / ABS CBN / TARBS.
The Philippine Australian Sports Club Inc., the organizer of this annual major event has attained its silver jubilee, serving the Filipino-Australian community from the time it started as Philippine Australian Sports Council. As the club matured, a new beginning has emerged. In response to a more defined program of activities which are more cultural in nature, the 2002 P.A.S.C. Inc. Board of Management and members have decided unanimously that its club name has to change and it became the Philippine Australian Sports & Culture Inc. (P.A.S.C. Inc.) The registration of its new name has been subsequently approved by the NSW Department of Fair Trading, business and club activities by the Australian Taxation Office and the NSW Department of Gaming.
Historically, the Philippines and the Filipinos have been influenced immensely by foreign culture since its rediscovery by a Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan for Spain and the Western world in 1521. This influence is evident even today, with the Philippines, as a multicultural society in Asia. Starting in 2002, PASC Inc. has decided to invite representative of other multicultural communities in Australia, particularly in Sydney which has link with the Philippines, culturally, politically, and socially. More so in current time promoting arts, culture, sports, tourism and trade cooperation.
As an initial colourful presentation, the Fiesta Cultura Sydney has presented the Grupo Foclorico Da Madeira Inc. to represent the Portuguese Sydney community. Their cultural dancers, dressed in full traditional costumes, has performed special numbers accompanied by their own cultural band using entirely traditional instruments and playing folkloric music.
There will be more and new innovative programs expected from the renamed P.A.S.C. Inc.
The Philippines Australia Sports & Culture Incorporated is a non-profit club.
Culture and Sporting events are run to raise money for charities in Australia and the Philippines
as well as raising the awareness of the the Filipino culture in Australia.