Home » Friendships forming for Filipino spring festival

Friendships forming for Filipino spring festival

Daniel Bouwmeester    August 25, 2022    4 min read   

Next weekend at Robelle Domain parklands, crowds of all stripes will welcome in spring together at “PAMA SpringFest 2022” – a celebration of cross-cultural cooperation.

The free event takes place Sunday, 4 September at The Circle, in Springfield Central – 9am to 7pm – and is being organised by the Philippines-Australia Multicultural Association (PAMA), an organisation that promotes friendship between the two countries.

With the support of over 50 PAMA volunteers, the day will see more than 20 performing acts comprising over 150 performers, and dozens of food and market stalls.

Entertainment will be non-stop, with 10 hours composed of cultural shows, contemporary performances, and live band music, and concludes with a party finale.

The Circle at Robelle Domain supports large community events, and features 9-metre-high artistic light towers and an interactive surround sound audio.

Raffle prizes include return trips to The Philippines – thanks to sponsors Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines – and $100 vouchers to be spent at Bunnings, Amiga’s Bag Collection, and Sariling Atin, a Filipiniana dress boutique.

PAMA President Jomar Nieva shares a freshly printed design of the bright and colourful meadow-themed SpringFest poster. Image: PAMA.

PAMA is a newly established not-for-profit community organisation, based in Ipswich. The group’s vision statement is that there is unity and strength in diversity, and its mission is to assist, connect, and empower minority communities.

PAMA President Jomar Nieva said the idea for the event sprang to mind in April last year, and that organising the event was a “big but fun challenge” but also an important one.

“Holding festivals that showcase not only a single culture but other cultures that have a deep historical connection with each other would be a great platform to demonstrate appreciation for our countries,” Mr Nieva said.

SpringFest follows a similar event in March – the Philippines-Australia Autumn Festival – which was the first major major festival event held at Robelle Domain since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted SpringFest 2022 to be different by using the festival as a vehicle to enable different cultures – not only Filipino culture – to get involved in the planning, execution, and delivery of the event, which will foster cross-cultural understanding and friendships.”

“It could also provide great information and interest to the wider community as to how The Philippines and Spain remain great influences of each other in modern times,” he said, noting how their Catholic churches are greatly influenced by Spanish architecture.

“On ANZAC weekend, last year, a group of Ipswich residents in South East Queensland gathered to celebrate the day. Out of that gathering was envisioned the creation of a Filipino-led multicultural group whose foremost mission was to promote the well-being of Filipino Australians in Ipswich and its surrounding regions and to promote inclusivity in its activities through multicultural community activities.”

PAMA President Jomar Nieva at their Christmas party last year, standing right of centre, with, from left: Secretary Araceli Reyes, Treasurer Beth Henson, and Division 2 Councillors Nicole Jonic and Paul Tully. Image: PAMA.

SpringFest 2022 is made possible through the assistance of the Ipswich City Council’s Major Funding Program, PAMA Diamond Sponsor Cebu Pacific Airlines, Gold Sponsor Philippine Airlines, Silver Sponsors Australian Law Group and Littles Lawyers, and numerous local businesses and generous community supporters.

Past PAMA events have included a High Tea, Community Christmas Party, a Retro 70s Dance Night, and a number of sausage sizzles in collaboration with Bunnings Springfield.

The guest lists for these events have been diverse, with both Filipinos and non-Filipinos enjoying festivities.

“We welcome the participation and active involvement of other migrant communities in our journey to fulfil our mission and vision.”

Earlier this year, in honour of PAMA’s first anniversary, the Ipswich City Council environmental team planted a rainbow eucalyptus tree, a native species to The Philippines.

Mr Nieva added that PAMA has a special meaning in Tagalog, the country’s national language.

“The word ‘pamana’ means legacy and inheritance for future generations. We therefore envision PAMA as a legacy to the future residents of Ipswich,” he said.

“Exciting days ahead. Watch out for us!”

Image: PAMA.

Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.