I had a grand time at the Broadwater Parklands on July 17 celebrating the Philippine Festival. I was able to enjoy Filipino food and network with my fellow countrymen. There were a few really great conversations that I had and I would like to share them with you.
One was with Mr Mauro Somodio who reminisced about the time he saw me onstage at the Martin Nieverra Concert last year. He remembered me as a pageant contestant from when I was 18 years old (about 21 years ago). This struck me because he said he was really worried about me then and come to think of it, everyone had every right to be worried about me in those dark times of my life. I was living a double life then, as most addicts do.
I joined the Philippine-Australia pageant to put on a ‘good front’ but all it did was prove my denial of the fact that I am addicted to meth, ecstacy and toxic men. We spoke briefly of how bad those times were for me and he expressed how proud he was that I am now running a successful charity that has Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Status, something he has dreamt of having for his charity from the beginning – but is too hard to get. We talked more about me coming to speak at his Youth Leadership events and also writing grants together.
Just a quick word about Mr Mauro Somodio, he started The Filipino-Australian Foundation in 1997 and has always has been the Father of this association. Now they have received funding for a Filipino Centre at Coopers Plains that is a “Home Away from Home” for both the old and new Filipino immigrants. It is through his and his wife’s hard work that continues to strengthen Fil-Aus unity towards the common goal of becoming productive citizens of their respective communities without forsaking their rich Filipino heritage.
The next striking meeting was with this beautiful chick, Charlotte. She was gorgeous and had such an electric smile. She shared how impressed she was with my success and how she has been following me on Facebook. She bought my book, I autographed it and we parted ways. Next day, I see her post on Facebook and this is what she said (warms my heart):
”Went to Fil-Aust fiesta festival yesterday, watched the programme and had a big feed lots of Filo variety foods especially the Lechon and dinuguan. As I walked around I finally met this successful lady in person which I am reading and following all her social media channels, it made me change the way I think and see things in different perspective.. “Kill your addiction before it kills you” grab a copy of her book now! I highly recommend it guys. It gives you hope when life gets tough and out of control…xox❤️❤️❤️”
There were a few more conversations about people’s experiences with their loved ones (sons and daughters) using drugs and drinking too much. Also a lot of talk about excessive social media, gaming and internet and SMS use was had with a few people.
Then there was a pivotal meeting with Ms Feli Gayat. She has also been following my work and is eager to introduce me to another great advocate of addiction work, Dr Frances Hunt. Feli is dedicated to social work and is working with the multicultural community in Brisbane. From Davao (the current Philippine President’s hometown), she has contacts that can see my dream of really making a difference in the lives of those with addiction issues in the Philippines. We have decided to follow through and spearhead a task force that will fund a transformative service providing addiction intervention, education, training, treatment and coaching in The Philippines.
It truly was a great meeting and melding of purposes. I am hopeful and look forward to how things pan out, will surely keep you all posted.