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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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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, 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
June 24, 2014
The best place to go for Filipino breakfast in Chicago is in the Ukrainian Village – at Uncle Mike Grajewski’s Place.
August 11, 2014
Rey E. de la Cruz meets up with kababayans in Barcelona, Spain.
Paella In The Land Of Calatrava
October 8, 2014
Why true paella valenciana can only be had in Valencia, Spain.
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
The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago subverts the “bad reasons” for its extensive collections of artifacts from other cultures.
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.
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.
A Karinderya Of Our Very Own In Chicago
March 9, 2015
The chef-owner of Chicagoland’s favorite, Sariling Atin Filipino restaurant, learned to cook in—of all places—the Middle East.
Art Is Life, Life Art
April 4, 2015
Artist Maria Apelo Cruz Jonavonic has also staged parties and made food for celebrities like Andy Warhol, Jackie Onassis and Ann Getty.