Singleton's Filipino festivities still a success after 25 memorable years

LOCAL IDENTITY: Event organiser Frieda King declared Singleton's 25th celebration as a success.

LOCAL IDENTITY: Event organiser Frieda King declared Singleton's 25th celebration as a success.

Filipino-Australians from as far as Sydney journeyed to Singleton on the weekend to partake in the region's 25th 'Fiesta in honour of Senor Santo Nino (Holy Infant Jesus)' celebration.

Worshippers filled St. Patrick's church for Sunday's mass before venturing to the Singleton Civic Centre in what has become an annual tradition for the town.

Last month, over a million people gathered on the streets of Cebu City (the capital of the Philippines) for the nation's 455th celebration after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived and planted a cross on the shores of Cebu with an image of the baby Jesus.

The themes of sacrifice and humility were highlighted during the Hubo Mass.

In his homily, Fr Pacifico Nohara Jr, rector of the Basilica Minore del Santo Nio de Cebu, stressed that every devotee's sacrifice is a testament to their deep-rooted devotion to Jesus.

"Even if it's (attending the Fiesta Seor activities) exhausting, even if most of us endured sleepless night despite the rains and heat of the sun. And although there were some who fainted. These formed part of our sacrifices," Nohara said in Cebuano.

Thankfully, there was much more comfort for those celebrating closer to home.

More than 200 people filled the Civic Centre on Sunday in a celebration which featured some memorable medleys from the Singleton Town Band and breathtaking performances from the dance groups (including the Newcastle based Wowoween Dancers and Singleton based Martin Academy of Dance).

ENTERTAINMENT: Members from Martin's Academy of Dance performed a number of pieces including 'Boyfriend'.

ENTERTAINMENT: Members from Martin's Academy of Dance performed a number of pieces including 'Boyfriend'.

The event's coordinator Frieda King, who has been a resident of Singleton since 1983, admits she is proud to have seen the celebrations evolve from a humble gathering at St Augustine's to the annual fiesta.

"Our parish fiesta has continued to get bigger and bigger which is good and I'm very proud we're able to honour the Lord Jesus," she continued.

Earlier in the piece, the traditional thanksgiving song 'Bato Balani Sa Gugma' (Magnet Of Love), also known as 'Gozos Ni Santo Nino', echoed across the halls as devotees waved their arms to the chorus.

Both 'Advance Australia Fair' and the Filipino national anthem 'Lupang Hinirang' (Chosen Land) were also sung by those in attendance.