By Chris Davidson and Irene Mayo
On the 30th of November 2013, Gawad Kalinga Australia (GKA) held the ‘GK Decennium – A Night of Honouring’ event at the Jesuit House in Chippendale Sydney. The night was aimed to celebrate the 10years that GK has been in Australia as well as to fundraise much needed funds for GKs relief efforts from the recent Typhoon disaster that struck the Philippines in November.
The night kicked off with two of GKA’s funniest and entertaining hosts Ferdy Ko and Allen Chan. The hosts brought much laughter and energy to the night, which kept everyone on the edge of their seats with their wit and humour. Catherine Palomo who was a full-time worker previously in the Philippines for many years and recently moved to Australia gave an amazing, heartfelt testimonial of her transition to Australia as well her vision for the potential of GKA. It inspired all those present to continue their work for the poor.
The second speaker for the evening was Joy Lopez Musa who shared about GK’s early days in Australia and the challenges they faced over the years. She then explained how her and her husband Geffin Musa’s experience and values they learnt in GK has been passed on to their children who have been blessed with the heart to care for the less fortunate.
A special video testimonial was made by Ray Villarica who was one of the pioneering members of GK in Australia early in 2003 and his message of honouring those who have continued the work to be ‘champions for the poor’ motivated all the volunteers present.
The final speaker of the night was GKA’s chair Andrew Chalk who shared about the current and future visions of GKA and how they are aiming to work hand in hand with indigenous areas in such places like Dubbo to help bring solidarity and sustainability within their communities.
The night finished with a spectacular dance routine by the ‘Chundercats’ dance group lead by GKA’s very own Ella Manongdo and Ralph Pusong.
Special thank you to Father David Braithwaite of the Jesuit House who donated the amazing venue for the night as well as all the sponsors who donated for the GK Decennium raffle and food: Tiers of Heaven Cakes, Christian Higoy’s – Better Bodies Personal Training, Australian Hwarangdo Academy and Coca-Cola. The night would not have been a success without the tireless and inspiring efforts by four key people of James Palomo, Catherine Palomo, Catherine Chan and Ferdy Ko who organised the committee, weekly meetings, video presentations, sharers, catering, sound, lighting and overall event program to create such an amazing night to not only help raise $2,848 in funds for the Typhoon victims in the Philippines but also to re-inspire GKA volunteers to continue to be champions for the poor. Thank you to all those who attended and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!