PHOTOS: Filipino Gladstone parties for independence

GLADSTONE'S ever-growing Filipino community got together on Saturday night as 600 hundred helped celebrate what is that nation's most important date, Independence Day.

It was also a great excuse to get together and party, dress in costume, dance, eat, and catch up with friends.

President of the Filipino - Australia Community Integration Organisation (FACIO) Danilo Tapdasan welcomed the lively crowd and Violy Cortez said it was important that they remember what the date back in 1898 stood for, the day the Philippines gained its independence from Spanish rule 117 years ago.

Manila may have had its 21 gun salute to celebrate another milestone but in Gladstone there was lots of cultural dance mixed in with disco, western and Filipino pop music, and noise from lively conversation as they partied just like it was 1898.

Community member Jun Pepito said the population of Filipino's in Gladstone would now be around 2000 and increasing.

He said the people were attracted to the central Queensland region for work.

Mr Pepito said Australia's 457 Visas that allowed them to work had helped boost the local numbers residing here who are working in Gladstone's various industries.

He said the formation of FACIO and the night's events that also included a talent show and awards for the Little Mr and Ms Philippine Independence Day 2015.

Mr Pepito said the night was not only about its cultural tradition but was also an assimilation of both Australian and Filipino cultures "to remind us living here of our roots, that we come from Filipino roots".

Ms Cortez said the special day celebrating the freedom was important to be maintained particularly to each new generation.

Among the highlights were the Itik Itik Dance and Bulaklakan Dance.

The Itik Itik dancers used special bamboo poles which causes lots of merriment because dancers must be quick on their feet as they dance their steps between the moving poles.

Special guest Gladstone councillor Ren Lanzon who was asked to deliver an inspirational message to the community.

See Page 22 of the Gladstone Observer for more photos of the fun evening.

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