WELCOME: Maricca and Marietta Manlapaz are two of Gladstone’s newest citizens.
WELCOME: Maricca and Marietta Manlapaz are two of Gladstone’s newest citizens. Andrew Backhouse

New Aussie home brings smiles and love

A TWENTY-two year old Filipino came to Australia, found love and now she never wants to leave.

Maricca Manlapaz and her mother Marietta are two of Gladstone's newest citizens.

The duo pledged their loyalty to Australia, its people and democratic beliefs, and swore to uphold and obey the laws of the country at a ceremony in Gladstone on Wednesday.

Maricca Manlapaz said she came to her Australia to see what the country could offer.

"All my family were here; I came to the country, met someone and will probably live here for the rest of my life," the Gladstone resident said.

She said she had plans to visit many places around Australia.

"I'll bring my culture to Australia, like dancing and all the Filipino food," she said.

Her mother Marietta Manlapaz said she loved Australian foods, like Vegemite, and the relaxed culture in the country.

Fourteen new citizens from countries including South Africa, India, the United Kingdom, the Philippines and Hungary took part in the ceremony.

Councillor Maxine Brushe from Gladstone Regional Council officially welcomed the new citizens.

"Our country gains by your commitment to Australia and the Gladstone region has been made richer by your decision," she said.

The new citizens joined in a jingoistic Aussie Aussie Aussie refrain and received a flag and a plant.



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