In our series Kuwentong Pinoy sa Harvey we dive into the stories behind the Filipino migrants in our community. We believe it is important to embrace multiculturalism and celebrate diversity. In this edition we will be discussing Filipino culture — including food, traditions and dance. Filipino culture is built on food, festivals and fun. And by fun we mean belting out Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody in a late-night karaoke sesh in the lounge room — with way more people than microphones. Each event is met with explosions of colour which seamlessly marry the traditional Filipino way of life with modern adaptations born through migration. The recent wave of Filipino migration in Harvey has seen just that. Eager to keep their culture alive, new migrants have forged a new Filipino-Australian culture with adopted mannerisms from Down Under. Tuesday Santiago and Leni Mosne are examples of two Filipinos in Harvey who are pioneering Filipino-Australian culture. They said family and feasts were at the heart of each celebration. “Filipinos love to get together through food,” Leni said. Other favourites include noodles, spring rolls, mango cake and rice — three times a day. She also said avocado was an ingredient in fruit salad. “When we came to Australia and saw people putting avocado on toast, we were a bit confused, because it wasn’t considered a savoury ingredient for us,” she said. Filipinos also use their hands to dig into long-table feasts. Leni said Filipino parents would often send their children to school on their birthdays with cake, ice-cream, spaghetti/noodles and fried chicken to share. Dance is also a big part of Filipino culture. Leni and Tuesday are part of The Karinyosas — a group which performs traditional Spanish-inspired dances around the State. Tuesday said it started as a group of friends coming together to keep their tradition alive and spiralled into more and more shows as an increasing number of people wanted to experience Filipino culture. “We wear big red costumes and have a lot of fun,” Tuesday said. “Sometimes our husbands even participate with the bamboo sticks.” Tuesday said Christmas was a big event on the Filipino calendar. “As soon as September hits, the Christmas tree goes up,” Tuesday said. “We also go house-to-house to participate in carolling.” She said there were many religious festivities, including Noche Buena on December 24, when Filipinos gather to remember the birth of Jesus; and Misa De Gallo, when nine early-morning masses are held in the lead-up to Christmas. There is no doubt the Filipino-Australian way of life is full of flavour and love. In essence, what Filipinos love most is coming together to celebrate life.