Pinoyspotting: Australia

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 I enjoyed the beach in Manly, New South Wales! (Photo by Norman Javier)

I enjoyed the beach in Manly, New South Wales! (Photo by Norman Javier)

I gained more perspective when I revisited the Continent Down Under. I was able to experience Sydney in the early fall when temperature could still get warm. I went to different suburbs and met new and old friends, as well as people of other cultures. And to top my Aussie experience, I finally had kangaroo meat!
 Mary Anne de Ocampo and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz)

Mary Anne de Ocampo and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz)

My journey to Sydney started on a good note. I met Mary Anne de Ocampo (Manila), an Air Canada customer representative at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

 Edward Lopez, Cathy Lopez Moore. Sol Refiago Wilczynski, Raul Refiago, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Maria Amor Martinez)

Edward Lopez, Cathy Lopez Moore. Sol Refiago Wilczynski, Raul Refiago, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Maria Amor Martinez)

Raul Refiago (La Paz, Iloilo) and I took the same Delta Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Sydney. He is a machine operator in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Edward Lopez (nephew), Cathy Lopez Moore (niece), and Sol Refiago Wilczynski (sister) met him at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport.

 Rey E. de la Cruz, Norman Javier, and Maria Amor Martinez. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz)

Rey E. de la Cruz, Norman Javier, and Maria Amor Martinez. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz)

My hosts in Sydney were Norman Javier (Manila) and Maria Amor Martinez (Manila), who are my fellow University of the Philippines at Diliman alumni.

Norman is a gas-and-gear representative, whereas Maria is a school counselor. She is also the “Filipino mayor of Sydney” because of her vast network of Filipinos in the Sydney area.

 Sonny Regala, Erica Regala, Rey E. de la Cruz, Evelyn Maranilla, and Bryan Luartes (Photo by Raphael Regala)

Sonny Regala, Erica Regala, Rey E. de la Cruz, Evelyn Maranilla, and Bryan Luartes (Photo by Raphael Regala)

I met the following family after they attended an Easter Sunday mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney: Sonny Regala (Dasmariñas, Cavite), Erica Regala (Dasmariñas, Cavite), Evely Maranilla (Dasmariñas, Cavite), and Bryan Luartes (Manila).

 Seated: Rey E. de la Cruz. Standing: Tony Dominguez and Leody Martinez. (Photo by Maria Christine Dominguez)

Seated: Rey E. de la Cruz. Standing: Tony Dominguez and Leody Martinez. (Photo by Maria Christine Dominguez)

I reminisced carefree days with my high-school batchmates at San Beda College (Manila): Tony Dominguez (Quezon City) and Leody Martinez (Manila).

Tony is a building designer and a frame-and-truss estimator/ detailer in the housing industry. Leody is a university lecturer.

 Dodo Pulido, Rey E. de la Cruz, and Nestor Ramos. (Photo by Rosmel Ramos)

Dodo Pulido, Rey E. de la Cruz, and Nestor Ramos. (Photo by Rosmel Ramos)

I had a reunion with my high-school students in theater arts at San Beda College (Manila): Dodo Pulido (Manila) and Nestor Ramos (Manila).

Dodo works in the printing industry in Sydney, whereas Nestor is a cell-tower technician in Los Angeles.

 Alfonso Aranda, Aimee Aranda, Gabriel Santos, Gina del Mundo Aranda, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Jane Hofala)

Alfonso Aranda, Aimee Aranda, Gabriel Santos, Gina del Mundo Aranda, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Jane Hofala)

I delivered a padala (package) from Chicago to the following family: Alfonso Aranda (father; Castillejos, Zambales), Aimee Aranda (daughter), Gabriel Santos (grandson), and Gina del Mundo Aranda (mother; Agoncillo, Batangas).

Alfonso works in the facilities department of a sports-and-entertainment complex. Aimee is a manager of a Michael Kors store. And Gina is busy taking of her grandson, Gabriel.

 Seated: Rey San Juan and Raquel Irinco San Juan. Standing: Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Francis Rosete)

Seated: Rey San Juan and Raquel Irinco San Juan. Standing: Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Francis Rosete)

My friends brought me to La Mesa Philippine Cuisine, which is in downtown Sydney. I met the husband-and-wife owners, Rey San Juan (Marilao, Bulacan) and Raquel Irinco San Juan (Laoang, Samar).

 Maria Theresa Santos, Merlie Menor, Maria Amor Martinez, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Ynez Ruiz)

Maria Theresa Santos, Merlie Menor, Maria Amor Martinez, and Rey E. de la Cruz. (Photo by Ynez Ruiz)

Maria Theresa Santos (Las Piñas City, Rizal) and Merlie Menor (Baguio City) brought the image of the Virgin Mary to Maria Amor Martinez’s home.

Maria is an accountant, whereas Merlie owns Merlie Cleaning Services.

 Lilian Bucud Cortez, Rey E. de la Cruz, and Alfredo Cortez. (Photo by Maria Amor Martinez)

Lilian Bucud Cortez, Rey E. de la Cruz, and Alfredo Cortez. (Photo by Maria Amor Martinez)

Alfredo Cortez (Mexico, Pampanga) and Lilian Bucud Cortez (Guagua, Pampanga) are husband-and-wife entrepreneurs in Blacktown, New South Wales, which has about 40, 000 Filipino residents. They own BM Express Kapitbahay Grocery, a one-stop place for groceries, remittances, and sending balikbayan (repatriate) boxes.


 Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz, Ed.D.,writes from Chicagoland when he is not busy loving the arts and traveling.


More articles from Rey E. de la Cruz:

Uncle Mike's Place
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Pinoyspotting: Barcelona
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Paella In The Land Of Calatrava
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Pinoyspotting: Croatia
October 19, 2014
Rey E. de la Cruz is delighted to spot fellow Filipinos in the former Yugoslavian republic of Croatia.

Ten Thousand Stories In Chicago’s The Field Museum
December 17, 2014
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She Spins In The Air With The Greatest Of Ease
January 26, 2015
That’s how she hangs. Sarah Angelina Bustilo Johns is a professional aerial dancer.

Pinoyspotting: Jamaica
February 7, 2015
Rey E. de la Cruz easily rubs elbows with kababayans on his travels.

Let’s Get Digital
March 4, 2015
The City of Pines is now the seat of one of the Philippines’ premier digital arts schools.

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