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Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

The barkada issue Filipinos are never lonely. Wherever we are in the world, we always seek and find our kind. Our life is mostly about building friendships; the unbreakable, lifelong source of joy and companionship – the barkadahan. This issue celebrates a friendship that has spanned forty glorious years (and still counting). Throughout the years, the Apo Hiking Society has won our hearts. Sam Dignadice remembers their 2003 New Zealand concert. Noel Bautista captures the magic and allure of Apo music. We also get to meet fans and community groups who’ve come together to pay tribute to the Philippines’ most-respected trio. Make sure you watch our tribute videos. They are homemade with love. Contributing writer Silvia Alzona met with the Mansell family. They have found their home and their friends in the country’s capital, Wellington City. We also traveled to the South Island to enjoy the scenery and the camaraderie of fellow Pinoys. Back in Auckland, Brgy Pinoy makes new friends at this year’s Sinulog. May you find this issue entertaining – of course, for pure enjoyment, nothing beats watching the Apo perform live. I hope to see you at their Farewell Concert on the April 24 at the ASB Showgrounds, where I’m sure, good ole barkadan and laughter will abound. Ito nAPO talaga!

Editor Email

Issue 14 | Jan-Mar 2010

Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

APO Hiking Society Farewell






April 24, 2010 – 7.30pm Logan Campbell Centre ASB Showgrounds APO Hiking Society Farewell Concert Greenlane, Auckland April 24, 2010 – 7.30pm | Logan Campbell Centre, ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland New Zealand Ticket Prices: $85 (Reserved Seating) | $65 | $45


Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


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Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010 Sam Dignadice (far left) with the APO Hiking Society Jim Paredes, Danny Javier and Boboy Garovillo

The Pascual family with APO

My APO memories The Apo Hiking Society visited New Zealand during the Pistahan sa Auckland 2003, the annual national reunion of Filipinos hosted by the Council of Auckland Philippine Organisations, Inc. (CAPO). Their concert was the main attraction of the reunion and at that time, Filipinos from all over New Zealand came to see them and they filled the venue to capacity. But because Apo was part of the reunion, they had to wait until all the community activities were finished before they could start their concert. By the time Apo started the concert, it was 11pm. Apo arrived at the venue around 7pm, and had to wait for four hours before they can begin their programme. They finished at 12.30 am! But as far as Apo’s concerned, the long wait didn’t matter much. I never heard any complaint from them. They were such easy, self-effacing people, they put the interest of the community above themselves, and as a result, they won our hearts.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

By Sam Dignadice

I am excited about the upcoming concert. This is our way of saying thanks - for their wonderful music, their love of country, and more importantly, for their inspiring personalities. They have given so much of themselves to us and to our country. I am looking forward to joining the community in giving a fitting tribute to the greatest OPM proponent of our generation. Thank you Apo for four decades of beautiful music, which continue to inspire our hearts. Thank you Apo for all the memories.


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

Louella & My Apo: Random Ramblings of a Part-time Apo Admirer By Noel Bautista

Through the ever-sifting sands of hazy time and semireliable memory, I can't remember the first ever Apo song I’ve heard, but it's definitely, definitely between either Pumapatak Na Naman ang Ulan and the generically-titled Pag-ibig. In Pumapatak Na Naman ang Ulan, Apo sings about things we can do on a rainy day. Pag-ibig is a feel-good timeless song that’s an all-time favorite of mine. But, in saying that, I love most of their songs. And it’s not just me. Filipinos who grew up in the 70s, 80s and 90s love the Apo as much as I do too.

In the span of more than a quarter century, Apo has taken me through the ups and downs, hills and valleys of life, very ably capturing the aches and pangs of love, anger, confrontation, rejection and reconciliation - in fact almost every emotion on the spectrum of human feeling. Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010 Which was why, when I saw a feature about them on NZ national TV, I felt a lump in my throat and numerous goose-bumps, a combination of awe, empathy and respect for the inspired people that have joined hands to bring to these shores that quintessentially Pinoy music group, the Apo Hiking Society. Awe, because no truer gesture of fandom and loyalty may an artist receive from an admirer than to bankroll with his/her own funds and bring those artists across far away miles just to make possible such a performance. Empathy, because while we may not claim to be as rabid a fan of the Apo as Louella and her friends, we savour our share of Apo repertoire and have celebrated many a milestone in life with the accurate lyrical narratives of the typical Apo song. It's like Danny, Jimmy and Boboy have been there through many triumphs, heartaches and bondings with friends, lovers and barkada of our socalled life. Respect, because not many people will value their convictions enough to put their money where their mouth is. Louella is too modest to admit it, but she has put up her life's savings, a year's worth of wages for many Pinoys living in NZ, and a small fortune for any standard. All for the love of the Apo. Circa Eighties, when Ewan was on the mental playlist of every adolescent, teener and young adult (no mp3s, iPods or Walkmans then), it served as a perpetual battlecry for us eternal romantics (sugod mga kapatid!), that no matter how doomed, clueless or nerdy our approach was for the unreachable crush ng bayan, there was still that one sliver of a chance in case she gave us the tiniest benefit of the doubt, namely that precious word Ewan. Batang Bata Ka Pa served as a club anthem for the youth of our generation, the last of the baby boomers that couldn't talk back to our elders (still unthinkable then) but could at least respectfully challenge them to a fair discussion of issues, and why couldn't we do it in the form of a song? Apo Hiking Society’s music is truly mainstream, and touched every socio-economic class of Pinoy society. There may have been other musicians and other bands but they do not have the consistency, longevity and relevance of Apo.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

The trio stayed away from being too politically conscious but you could feel that they are more than aware, it’s in their beat, the urgency of their message, and the timeliness of their language. They sing of peaceful reform, before radical change would hold sway. With the slightest effort, they could make you feel the swell of pride in being a Filipino, purely in the strength of their lyrics and melody, and just as you appreciated the theme of their music, you knew that the change they spoke of, was coming.

But can anyone deny that the greatest strength of the Apo is their universal gift of music and their ability to make us connect with their gift, by just making us relate to every phrase and bar of music, every story and fable each song contains, and every pinch of emotion that we feel whenever we hear one of their songs? There will always be greater and lesser bands but Apo has encapsulated the life and times of many Pinoys for the last few generations, and it seems hard to believe they won't be around forever. And that's just it, their mortality as a Philippine institution. More than anything else, it's probably the fact that very soon, they will no longer be singing for millions and millions of Pinoys that drove Louella and her friends to make the final decision to bring the Apo to New Zealand, a decision that most in the Filipino community will be thankful for. At this point we have said more than enough. On their own, the Apo Hiking Society more than deserve our support for being part of our lives for so long. The fact that our neighbors, friends and compatriots are financially underwriting the event, on the strength of their life's savings makes it all the more worthwhile. Let's all attend the Apo concert produced by Louella Docot and her friends. As our kababayan, they deserve no less.


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

The APO Connection By David Collins

A friend, who is a collector of world music, introduced me to Apo. When I visited the Philippines in 2003, I went to records shops in Makati and specifically looked for Apo records. I was fortunate to get my hands on these two classic vinyl records. I bought them for about $13. I know these records are sought after, especially after the guys’ announcement that they are disbanding this year. But I can’t really sell them. These records are special to me. They carry with them, my memories of the Philippines.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

Hear what the APO has to say to their fans in New Zealand

Community Groups Pay Tribute to the APO Hiking Society

Chapters & Verses

The Philippines Christian Group Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

APO News

>> Child-minding services at the venue! For $5 per hour, children from 5 to 12 years old will be looked after and entertained with books, video games and movies. Please book at least three days before the event. (Limited number only)

>> Doors open at 5.30pm Attendees will be let in the auditorium from 5.30 pm. Ushers will be at the venue from 4pm in case some groups arrive early to queue up for the General Admission sections.

>> Yummy food Your favourite Pinoy pastries will be on sale like mamon, ensaymada and food. HOT FOOD is not allowed at the venue.

>> Prompt & on time 7pm Front Act Listen to a local pool of talents sing your favourite OPM songs. 7.30

APO performs live!

>> Autograph signing Some lucky few will get the opportunity to meet the APO after the concert.

Jim Paredes’ Creativity Workshop on April 25 Unlock your inner joy and boundless creative self. The workshop will unleash your dormant creativity. Read what people have to say about the workshop: The workshop was really an eye opener and a mind-blowing technique on how to tap the creative universe. I have also learnt how to deal with and set aside the blocks that stands in my way in everyday life that prevents me from being more creative. I would like to thank Jim Paredes in running this workshop and I really enjoyed every bit of it. It is not only educational but it is also fun and motivational sessions that really unleash the dormant creativity. JIM PERET (Sydney NSW) It has tremendously helped me to focus my energy and passion to what truly matters: (i) here, in the now -- by paying attention to life's everyday details, and (ii) my divine gifts -- by expending them where they will make huge and real difference. It was a very liberating experience for me. I am also very grateful to have met my lifetime friends through the workshop. I am also beginning to re-discover my true self. BETTINA, World Bank (Manila, Philippines)

Email or call Louella on 0212 531 531 for more details. Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010


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Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand



Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

>>Usapang Tambayan Photo by Kabayan Neodelphi

Wow! Their concert in New Zealand is indeed good news. I have watched in awe in Saipan some four years ago. It's time to bring our families together and enjoy some of the best Filipino classics. Kabayan I saw APO performing live at the Folk Arts Center way back in the 80's. We enjoyed it so much. This is definitely a concert not to be missed. Ka Uro


I highly recommend watching the APO Hiking Society, I saw them perform in Auckland back in 2003. And I’m watching them again. They don’t just sing, they will make you laugh too. Pocholo Perez I saw them at Mapua when I was still in college and they are really fantastic. My wife and I will definitely be watching this concert. Eric Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

Anita Mansell (right) and her family at daughter Melissa’s graduation.

Wellington’s their home By Silvia Alzona

In 1983, there were only 250 Filipinos in the Wellington area. Or so says Anita Mansell, a community leader serving the Wellington area for the past 25 years. She remembers because that was the year she became Mrs Kenneth Douglas Mansell and claimed New Zealand as her new home. Three years earlier, she and nine of her classmates at the University of Visayas had their names published in a Cebuano newspaper on a whim to seek pen pals. Yes, by snail mail. And at snail’s pace it was that events unfolded. Anita had all but forgotten about the ad when a couple of years later Kenneth initiated correspondence with her. Stepping up the pace, Kenneth wrote lots of letters, holidayed in her hometown and asked for Anita’s hand in marriage, all in the next 18 months.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

She’s cleared the quarter of a century mark quite gracefully but at the onset, there were things that Anita had to sort out, things such as the NZ public transportation system. In the Philippines, one calls out “paraaa…” to signify the intention or desire to alight shortly from a bus or jeepney. New to the system yet and lost in the locality, Anita felt her best bet was to request the bus driver to let her off at her desired destination. Recognising that they had gone past her stop, the shy Filipina asked the driver, “Why did you not stop there?” “You did not press the button”, the driver replied, to Anita’s consternation. Not long after, she aims for Porirua by train at night. Alighting at the end of the line, she calls home and in as sweet a voice as she could muster, coaxed, “Ken, could you pick me up from the Wellington Train Station?”

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

To which he couldn’t help but ask, “What the heck are you doing there?!” because Porirua was in THE OTHER direction. Anita’s persistence has paid off. She has since made peace with the transport system, and now prefers to take the bus and train rather than drive a car. She makes light of such incidents because the real challenge she says she faced was that of feeling isolated. She was amongst strangers with strange ways in a strange land 8,296 kilometers away from family and the social support on which she depended in Cebu. And even when Kenneth and his mother made it a point to introduce her to all their Filipino acquaintances, she still felt homesick. Determined to shake off this loneliness, she joined a Filipino support group, served as officer, and later


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010 devoted her efforts to education and immigration causes. Amidst the whirl of workshops and fora, she organised main events such as the Race Unity Day around the third week of March every year since 2002, and the Filipino Festival Filifest around February in 2005, 2006 and 2007. It’s all valuable experience as she took to the task of organizing the 2009 Filipino Labour Weekend celebrations held in Wellington.

dances, raffles, food sales in the market and church.

It’s no joke to rally teams of Filipino Wellingtonian volunteers to successfully pull off a three-day festival spread across Wellington, Hutt City and Porirua. Especially when one takes into consideration that Fiesta sa Wellington 2009 had market stalls selling Philippine products, seven sports competitions, and a full cultural programme to showcase the diversity, colour and beauty of the Philippines.

Anita’s volunteerism has certainly rubbed off on her daughter Melissa, who freely shares her passion and talent for graphic design with the community at large via various projects. As a Church Camp Leader for the past 15 years, volunteer work seems to be a way of life for Melissa. While attending Hutt Valley High School, she was a Salvation Army Voluntary Camp Leader in 2000, and Youth Leader in 2002.

Those who have done this type of voluntary work know that it is a thankless job. So, why does she do it?

Voluntary work brought her to live the slums of the Philippines. What a way to connect with her mom’s motherland! Yet, Melissa’s beautiful face lights up as she comments that “though the people had very little, they were so happy”.

“That’s a good question… even I ask myself…” she laughs and goes on to explain herself using Fiesta as an example. “Wellington International Filipino Society [WIFS] was the most active of the many other community organisations. It had been hosting Filipino events since 2001 and was thought to be brave enough to meet the financial challenges that organising a festival of this magnitude would entail.” So on a ferry trip to Christchurch, then WIFS President Nilda Campbell put forward WIFS’ name to the Federation of Filipino Associations, Societies and Clubs in New Zealand Inc, which decides where the Labour Weekend celebrations are held. The Federation gave WIFS the go signal. When Nilda resigned due to health reasons, people looked to Anita to head up the efforts. She agreed on the condition that they would give her their full support. “I accepted without thinking it is a big job”, this petite organiser admits. “Then it’s too late [to back out because I am thinking of the whole community.” She’s proud that when they had a prime corporate sponsor, each Fiesta committee went into fundraising -- movie premiers, garage sales,

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

“I’m just lucky that people, the community working for Fiesta sa Wellington are focused and hardworking people”, she smiles. “I’m happy that Wellintonians could work together for the success of the Labour Weekend event. It’s been an amazing journey for me.”

Flashes of pearly whites and twinkling eyes accompany her recollection of the Philippines. Images of the dipper, the toilets behind the main house, and people washing their clothes on the street readily come to mind. Two incidents top her most memorable moments. The first is when she’s having a shower in the bathshed and this roach suddenly appears from out of nowhere. She panics. Big mistake but understandable. Compared to their Kiwi cousins, Philippine roaches are gross. They’re dark brown, about an inch wide, 1.5 inches long with antennae to match, reek of an awful stink and fly. She shrieks so loud that the 3-year old boy in their household comes running to see what was going on; and as she later finds out, so did half the nosy neighborhood. Another day, she stabs her hand with a rusty implement while building a trench. This time, she remains calm and collected. After all, she had been building baches with her father since she was ten – sieving sand, mixing gravel for concrete. “I must be the only girl amongst my friends who can put up a house”, she explains, “quite in keeping with my image of the tomboy in the girlie dress”. Foreign


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010 visitor that she is, her worried hosts insist on taking her to a nearby clinic which is swarming with patients. The resident doctor quickly decides to give her an anti-tetanus shot on her more fleshy cheeks -- in the waiting room. Then some Johnnycome-lately comes to her rescue and inquires whether there might be place with some privacy, but only after Melissa had already bared her “little white girl’s bum” for all to see. All’s well that ends well. It’s good exposure [pun intended] for one with such varied interests. This martial arts enthusiast plays soccer, and when she can, goes mountain biking and snowboarding on Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand’s largest volcano and one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Though she hasn’t quite gotten into Dancesport, she studies Ballroom and Latin while performing and teaching Filipino cultural dance. When her body’s at rest, she reads a bit of everything, and that currently includes the French writer Jules Verne’s classic science fiction novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Ann Rice’s novel published in 1976, Interview with a Vampire.

“I’m proud of the person that I am”, she declares. “There were many things that could have gone wrong but I’ve graduated from uni, have a steady job, and am happy to help out other people and not taxed by it. It’s making the right choices that I’m most proud of.” At twenty-something, some may think of her as too young to have been Fiesta’s Coordinator for Marketing and the Souvenir Programme but a triple major in Tourism Management, International Business and Marketing from the Victoria University of Wellington and customer-service-oriented jobs have certainly prepared her for this role. Prior to her joining Phil & Teds where she currently does International Sales, Melissa was a Customer Service Representative of the Wellington CourierPost for two and half years. There, she acquired in-depth knowledge of frontline and phone customer service while integrating quickly with constantly changing teams.

“We both want to get our own ways, and have the same personality”, she confesses. “But with a little compromise, a little give and take, we get along quite well and accomplish a lot. Give or take a little, mother-and-daughter’s prescription for a good time in Wellington is the same: one must take in the art, activity, and cafes, or just hangout, at the Waterfront. Melissa emphasizes though that Wellington MUSTs include the pleasant walks and taking in the sights from the waterfront, a ride on the cable car, a day or two at the Te Papa Museum, where there is so much happening. It is one of the best places to learn what Wellington in particular, and New Zealand in general, is all about -- Maori culture and treasures, the country’s unique natural environment, dynamic art heritage, and fascinating history. Tour the Parliament, if only to see firsthand the green room and corridors that are usually shown on local TV. If you’d rather watch nature, Mount Victoria lookout offers fantastic views of Wellington and beyond. Catch an event or an artist at the Botanical Garden, or simply stroll among the blooms. Take a bushwalk or go biking on the extensive bike paths. There’s sailing at Petone, and marathons and running along the Hutt River trail. The Mansells have lived in the flatter area of hilly Lower Hutt for two and a half decades. It’s been perfect for them. It has given them opportunities for overcoming personal challenges, giving back to society at large, and instilling the spirit of volunteerism in others by example. “Everything I want is here”, says Anita. “It’s a good place to live, hold down a job. There’s a good uni, good health services, education. It’s close to the Parliament, and local and national authorities are approachable”.

“Wellington is the best place in New Zealand. You can’t beat Wellington on a fine day. Just don’t come here on a windy day.”

So, what’s it like working alongside her mom?

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mar 2010

The glorious south Stunning, dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful, visiting the South Island is like falling in love for the first time. One gorgeous summer day, we drove for over six hours from Christchurch to Queenstown. Unlike the North Island, the scenery is unpredictably and amazingly moody â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sometimes ruggedly handsome, sometimes quietly happy. Proud mountains are embraced by mirror-like lakes, which reflect the calm of clear blue skies.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mar 2010

Roads that lead to nowhere will take you to a place unlike any other - vast, open and confident. And no matter where you look, you will find beauty staring back at you in its naked glory.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

Meet the Pinoy Southerners Did you know that it is estimated that there are around 1,000 Filipinos living in Invercargill? And if you dine in one of Queenstown's fine restaurants, there is a good chance that your food was prepared by a Filipino chef.

Kodakan at the Cromwell Ranges lookout

UP Alumni Association Christchurch

Some Filipinos living in the south island take a bit of time to get used to the isolation. However, there are worse things in life than being lonely in paradise. Indeed, they count themselves fortunate to be able to enjoy the best that Mother Nature has to offer. On our way from Queenstown to Lake Wanaka, we went via the Cromwell Ranges lookout. And who do we bump into? A group of Filipinos having their photos taken, "One, two, three. Smile!" That familiar accent gave them away, and when we greeted them Kumusta?", we chatted away as if we were long lost friends. In Christchurch, we were welcomed by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association. They prepared an “almost authentic” Kiwi Barbie (of course, rice was served). The instant camaraderie and friendship meant a long night of sharing stories, singing and hearty laughter.

Pinoys at KFC Ashburton

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand

In Ashburton, the local KFC was made more chirpy by the friendly and chatty Pinoy staff. Pinoy diners were happy to meet kababayans from the north island. After swapping email addresses, it was time for kodakan, pinoy style, “One, two, three. Smile!”


Issue 14| Jan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mar 2010

Brgy Pinoy

//All smiles @ the Sinulog!

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mar 2010

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mar 2010

Brgy Pinoy

//Halo-halung saya!

Candelaria Festival angels

Pinoy Streetchildren & Orphans Trust fundraising

UP Alumni Auckland summer picnic at Cornwall Park

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Issue 14| Jan – Mar 2010

I ♥ NZ

Photogaphy by Antony Rola

Discovering the love of fishing in NZ

Maya is a free electronic newsletter distributed to the Filipino community in New Zealand. To submit photos, community-related announcements, feedback and requests for subscription, email We’re on Twitter (username mayanz) and Facebook Maya Magazine New Zealand. Maya Magazine would like to thank the following organisations for their support: AKLnzPINOYS, Council of Auckland Philippine Orgnisations (CAPO), Samu’t Sari Philippine Cultural Society and the University of the Philippines Alumni NZ.

Celebrating Filipino Life in New Zealand


Profile for Louella Docot

Maya Magazine  

The e-magazine for Filipinos in New Zealand

Maya Magazine  

The e-magazine for Filipinos in New Zealand

Profile for mayanz