A World Title for Joe Concha

By Titus Filio

Here’s Pinoy power at its best. Joseph Concha took the world championship in Muay Thai last February when he beat the highly rated Dane ‘Daddy Kool’ Beauchamp for the 61 kg MASA World Title held in Orange, NSW.

Joe has been getting the attention of martial arts experts in recent years for his never-say-die style in the arena. The young fighter from the stable of the Full Force Gym finished his opponent in heroic style – a knockout in the final seconds of the last round.

“It was a tough fight – Joe got dropped on the second round. Joe dropped Daddy Kool on the third, then Joe got dropped again on the fourth round,” said Reinhardt Badato recalling the crucial fight.

“It was all-out war on the last round and both went fo r it. Joe gave a clean elbow and KOd Daddy Kool that he couldn’t get up – it was just five seconds before the bell!.” Daddy Kool is no easy conquest. The fighter has been in Muay Thai for over a decade.

Holding the title as Australian champion for several years, Daddy Kool has been a seasoned fighter who had fought matches around the world.

Joseph, who turns 25 this year, raised his record to (29 fights) 19 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw with 10 KOs.

“That was my third world title shot – the first in Canada and the second in New Zealand. Now I was very happy and blessed to have that chance to fight the best in the world,” Joseph told magPinoy.

Born in the Philippines, Joe was three when his family moved to Australia. He was, like most all ordinary curious teenagers, daring and trying out new things. One day, when he was 15, he had his first glimpse of Muay Thai training and since got hooked to the sport under the watchful eye of Reinhardt.

“I just went with some of my friends who decided to visit the Full Force Gym to get fit. That’s where I met Reinhardt and I’ve been there ever since.”

“When I’m competing for a fight I like to get at least 5-6 days a week with 3 – 4 hours a day. When I’m not fighting, to stay active at least 3 times a week, depending on my work and university schedule.”

Outside the arena, Joe is busy with his studies. He is currently taking a master of education program after completing his Bachelor in Health Science.

Other than training and fighting, Joe is also into music playing the guitar. “ I love hanging out and going out with friends. I love listening to RnB, hip-hop, dancce and electro.”

He’s setting his sights on more triumphs in the ring in the future. But does the danger of martial arts sport ever discourage him?

“I guess people might view it as dangerous because of the sterotypes of Muay Thai with being knocked out, getting cut or having matches with lots of blood but in my opinion its only dangerous if you compete without the proper training and conditioning.

“When you compare it to other sports there’s always that element of risk or danger, but with Muay Thai, theres always a qualified ref, a doctor, judges and officals monitoring the bouts. For amateurs theres padding and protective gear.”

He attributes his growing physical power to The One above. “I dedicate this victory to God, through him all things are possible,” he said.

In their House of Music

By Titus Filio

Members of the prestigious Sydney Youth Orchestra, the gifted Carreon siblings just can’t stop hitting the right notes.

You can call theirs as the house of music because it is. The young Carreons of Sydney find music even beyond the instruments they play. They discern the pitch in their Ninong’s snoring or even melodic notes in the sounds of traffic and barking dogs!

All Australia-born, the talented Carreon siblings Francis (20), Patrick (18), Melody (15), and David (11) can be considered the Filipino-Australian community’s pride in the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Their musical talents have been gaining the attention of music-lovers and keen interest of their teachers over the past couple of years.

Young as they are, their bio suggests the incredible heights they have reached and could be reaching in the field of music.

“Music envelops family life: instrument practice starts every day before breakfast and preparation to leave for school or university, continuing in the afternoon and evening before the day ends,” said mum Beth who manages home and as well finds herself kids’ busy schedule.

“The children naturally gravitate towards anything musical, even interpreting non-musical sounds. They identify everyday sounds of traffic, conversation, noise, barking dogs, even thunderstorms (!) as musical notes. They have identified notes of
their Ninong’s snores as he napped, blissfully unaware of being the subject of aural scrutiny.”

www.syo.com.au recent post gives a glimpse on the Super Four.

“I started learning the piano at age six (siblings and I all began with piano as the base for our other instruments) and completed two associate of music diplomas (Guild & AMEB) by Year 10. I also took up Classical Guitar, reaching AMEB Gr.8. As neither of these two instruments would have allowed me to join a traditional orchestra, it was exciting news when TangoOz was formed in 2009. Discovering that the piano is an integral part of Tango music, I am proud to have been part of the orchestra as a pianist,” said Francis.

In 2009, he performed with illustrious international performers Ignacio Varchausky (double bass) and Santiago Polimeni (bandoneon) from Buenos Aires. He is currently pursuing an engineering career and a degree in arts and music at the University of NSW.

Patrick started playing the piano even younger:

“I started the piano at age four together with older brother Francis and have since completed the AMusA in Year 11. I also started to learn Classical Guitar but did not connect as well with this. I began to look for an instrument to enable me to join an orchestra.”

“One of the highlights of my time at SYO was to have played on the barge at Darling Harbour for the Australia Day celebrations in 2011. I would never have imagined playing with an orchestra afloat on the water.”

Like her brother Patrick, Melody started playing the piano at age four and had completed two associate of music diplomas by Year 10.

“I started to learn Classical Guitar like my older brothers but did not connect as well with this. I have always been fascinated by the sound of the clarinet. Listening to brilliant players inspired me to learn how to one day be like them so I took this up in Year 6. … With my younger brother David already in Chamber Strings I looked for opportunities for a clarinetist in SYO.”

David joined the SYO when he was six after getting much encouragement from his violin instructor.

“It was a thrill being placed with the older kids to play violin with the Chamber Strings Orchestra under Caroline Watson,” David said.

“2012 brings me to my 6th year with SYO, having started with Chamber Strings, then Sinfonietta with Michael Thrift in 2010 and Peter Seymour Orchestra with John Ockwell this year. At the same time, I joined TangoOz with Maggie Ferguson in 2011. As with my older siblings, Maggie also encouraged me to understudy the piano.”

The kids’ father, Butch (Gabriel Carreon) on his family’s side migrated to Australia in 1979 while mum Beth (de la Cruz) arrived in Australia in 1983. Both their families settled in the St. George area in southern Sydney. Butch is an accountant while Beth currently acts as the kids’ manager.

Their parents come from Manila. Music and the performing arts have somehow been in their blood.

“Music is an inherent part of both families – two Titas from both sides are Piano Performance graduates of the Centro Escolar College of Music and the UP Conservatorium, one married to a professional violinist,” said Beth.

“Two great-grandfathers played the banjo; a great-uncle is a pianist …Butch’s sister has sons with the St Mary’s Cathedral choir; Beth’s brother is a singer in New York; family members from both sides are in church choirs and bands; Beth’s sister (Nina) is a Zumba Dance fitness instructor.”

AS MUSICIANS, the children have played for 50th, 70th and 90th birthday celebrations, wedding anniversaries, a Christmas performance at a Retirement Home and school assemblies.They are booked for an upcoming Wedding in October this year.

All four are organists and Butch and Francis are cantors at St Declan’s Parish Church. They played for the Philippine Independence Day Freedom Ball organised by APCO in 2010.
Patrick, Melody and David were involved in recording the music for the short film, “Den Sista Galaxonaut” which was a finalist in the TropFest Film festival last year.

The kids are not just into music. Music aside, the children have excelled in their academics and extracurricular activities: all four have represented their schools at District Swimming Carnivals; basketball is a regular activity for the boys from weekend games with the family to competitions with various teams.

“Francis was part of a team that won the Boys B-Grade Tennis Championship; Patrick has represented Marist Kogarah High School in chess; Melody competed in Physie-Culture Dance with other zone teams up to age 14 (they were regular performers for the Royal Easter Show); David represents his school every year in Cricket and OzTag, competing successfully with other schools, bringing back trophies each season!,”

What parents won’t be proud?

Yet amidst the bright prospects that’s within their reach, for the Carreon brood, their passion for music is driven by that simple desire to make the people around them happy.

The children’stop fans? “Their grandparents!! Lolo Gabriel and Lola Dolores Carreon, as well as Papa Nilo and Mama Mila dela Cruz,” said Beth.
“The children know how proud they make their grandparents feel and how playing and sharing beautiful music really does help make our world a nicer place.”

‘Dead Moon Circus’ and a perfect role for Aprille

Former Ms Phils-Australia Charity Queen steps on a bigger stage playing a role in a movie that’s set to hit audiences next month.

APRILLE Lim plays ‘Serena’ in ‘Dead Moon Circus’ based on the popular Japanese anime series Sailor Moon which used to air worldwide including Australian TV.

“It’s like a dream come true role for the young lawyer who says she’s practically grew up following the Dead Moon tales and admiring the character of Serena/Sailor Moon.

“When I was young – I was a huge Sailor Moon Fan so when I was asked to play Serena/ Sailor Moon in the film, my heart stopped. She was my idol. She’s a very strong character but is so innately good and filled with so much love,” Aprille said.

“It was very easy for me to play sailor moon as I grew up watching it and idolising her. I even had all the dvds of the anime.

“And everyone on set said that I was very similar to her in real life. Personality wise. Shes fun. shes a little clumsy. shes always hungry. But when it comes down to it – shes very strong. will do anything for the people she loves and isn’t afraid to fight for what is right.”

The fantasy film uses a lot of special effects and was shot mostly in Sydney with with the green screen studio done in Alexandria.The film is directed by James Peniata and took six months to shoot.

The film will have a premiere here in Sydney and will release worldwide. It has already gained international support. I am really hoping this will help put Australian-Filipinos on the map. The Sailor Moon franchise itself has a phenomenal following worldwide.

The great ride of Marlon Dolendo

by Titus Filio / magPinoy

The superstar jockey from Port MacQuarie is back on the saddle and raring to hit the racetracks next month.

Fil-Aussie Marlon Dolendo embodies courage and dedication to the sport he loved – horseracing, the same sport that had made him a big name in Australia’s horseracing circuits over the last decade.

But his is a story not without its own trials including battling an illness that cut short his jockey years, an illness that almost cost him his life.

“I’m back to riding races by March, I feel much better now and I cannot wait to ride a winner soon,” he told magPinoy.

Marlon has had a colourful career in Australia’s racetracks since he started in Sydney with Tommy Smith back in 1990.

It has been a long way for the Negros-born rider who as a kid never even rode a horse, only a carabao.

His first horse ride was in 1992. Since then he has won hundreds of winners since he started riding and he himself cannot now even count how many trophies he had won.

In late 2010, just after winning the 2008-09 Northern Rivers riding premiership, illness struck Marlon.
Both his kidneys suddenly failed him. Undergoing dialysis, not to mention an eventual financial hardship, many thought it was all over for Marlon, dubbed by some race media enthusiasts as the “Flying Filipino.”

His diagnosis showed that only 13 per cent of his kidneys were functional.

“I believe it was my kids, my family, who got me through it … I sometimes just didn’t want to think of the past,” he said.

Life was slipping Marlon until family members stepped in to help Marlon. His younger sister Maria donated a kidney to Marlon to save him.

“I am very grateful for what Maria is doing for my life,” Marlon said in an interview last year with the Daily Telegraph.

“She is giving me another chance, we are a very close family and I will never be able to thank her enough.”

His operation was done successfully at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

In 2011, Marlon was at the centre of fundraising and charity work done by Australia’s racing circuits.

Racing bodies like the Racing NSW and the National Jockeys Trust and individuals like his former trainer Darren Sage organised activities to raise funds for Marlon. Other big names in Australian racing like John Singleton and Gerry Harvey outrightly donated cash ($10,000 each) to help Marlon.

Marlon, now 40, is on his road to full recovery. And he is back into riding and flying high again in the tracks.

“I’m back on the saddle … I’m sure my cabinet has a little more space for a few to come.”

FEATURE: magPinoy Feb 2012 Issue

Pinoy Rugby team wins at Cabramatta 9s

Finally, we see an all-Filipino-Aussie team play in a rugby league. And the team, in their first outing, did the community proud.

Go Carabaos!

The Philippine National Rugby Leagues team – the Carabaos – played at the Cabramatta International 9s on February 4 and won the Bowl Final, an amazing feat for a newly formed team.

The Philippine team was one of 21 teams that joined the one-day event. Amidst cheers from the Pinoy corner, the Fil-Aussies turned out to be the day’s surprise blasting their way in their second and third matches after a rather shaky first outing against Fiji.

It was their first season in the tournament and the Pinoys’ coach was impressed.

“They’re very competitive, very promising. They learn fast from their experience – and it’s good to see that especially from a team that has been formed rather very quickly,” said Coach Clayton Watene after the first game.

The Philippine team indeed turned out to be quick learners.

By their second match they held Niue to a draw and then blasted Portugal in the quarter finals.

The Cabramatta International NInes was first played in 2003 (then as Sevens)

“The staging of the tournament gives international teams the chance to compete at a higher level against Australian opposition,” said Tas Baitieri RL International Federation development officer.

The team played in Group G and completed the tournament with one loss, one draw and two wins. POOL G Results: Philippines V Fiji, 4-10; Philippines V Niue: 16-16. Bowl Quarter Finals: Philippines V Portugal: 20-0; Bowl Final: Philippines V Burwood N Ryde 22-18 (18-18 all full-time whistle, 22-18 golden point extra time)

New Australian Ambassador to the Philippines

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III welcomes His Excellency William Tweddell, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Commonwealth of Australia to the Philippines, during the Presentation of Credentials on January 26 at the Malacanang’s Music Room.

(From the www.pia.gov.ph / Photo by: Rey Baniquet / Malacañang Photo Bureau / PCOO).

Australia Day Picnic at Campbelltown

NSW Pinoys held a picnic at the last Australia Day celebrations held at the Rizal Park in Campbelltown.

The event was joined by Australian officials, the SAFSI seniors group, guests and Philippine Sydney Consulate officials led by Consul General Anne Louis Jalando-on. (photos by Nards Purisima)

Issue: magPinoy February 2012


‘May oras ka ba?’ It is maybe the moment to share time and heart to our elderly Kabayans. Pinoys are invited to join a government initiative to reach out to a growing number of ageing Filipino-Australians needing that filial touch of care and love.

The Community Visitors Scheme is recruiting bilingual volunteers who can visit elderly people in residential aged care homes (nursing hoes and hostels) in the Sydney metropolitan area. The Scheme, a Federal Government initiative, aims at matching special friends, on a one-to-one basis, for the isolated residents from a culturally and linguistically diverse background in residential aged care facilities.

It is expected that the volunteer visitors can help to improve the quality of life of elderly people, maintain their independence, enhance their social contacts and minimize their isolation from the general community. Community visitors are expected to pay regular visits (once a fortnight) to isolated elderly residents living in residential aged care facilities. The volunteers needed are those who can speak English and Filipino.

Currently there is a number of Filipino speaking men and women residing in facilities in Banksia, Burwood, Chatswood and Lilyfield who have very limited social contact and requires friendly visits from people coming from a similar cultural background and speak the same language. The English proficiency of many is extremely limited. It would be of great benefits to the residents if someone from your community is willing to visit them regularly.

Orientation and on-going support (e.g. training, meetings and newsletters) will be available to the visitor. Travelling expenses will be reimbursed. A small yearly budget will be allocated to the visitor to purchase gift(s) for the resident being visited.

If you live in the NSW area and would want to know more on how to join the Scheme, contact:

Community Visitors Scheme

(02) 9515-9871 / 9515-9872
Level 7, King George V Bldg.Royal Prince Alfred Hospital,Missenden Road, Camperdown 2050
valerie.chu [at] sswahs.nsw.gov.au, jeannie.tam [at] sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Issue: magPinoy December 2011


She closed 2011 with a big kick. She’s a knockout. And twenty-year old Pia Castray swears she’s not really a ‘tomboy’ but in fact can be the ‘biggest princess’ one will ever meet.

By Titus Filio (magPinoy December 2011 issue)

The beauty is in a field few girls will venture in: martial arts specialising in foot fighting and sikaran arnis. The multi-awarded fighter has powers that can be lethal. “I was a bit of a tomboy and always played soccer or football until I thought martial arts was something different,” she told magPinoy.

“I was 10 when I first showed my interest in martial arts and ended up showing some skill and being quite talented in it so I continued and never stopped training. Now however I am the complete opposite of a tomboy. I am the biggest princess you will ever meet.”

At the 16th International Sports Karate Association 2011 World Cup Championships, Pia showed her prowess becoming the Red Rangers’ winningest martial artist. She took away the five-foot tall trophy as the traditional weapons ‘grand champion’.

The World Cup championships, held every four years, this year brought together the best martial artists from Korea, New Zealand, Ireland, Egypt, Nepal, Fiji, India and Australia to the Whitlam Indoor Centre in Liverpool. (The other Filipino to place at the championships was 12-year-old Rick Paras, who finished third in the ‘kata’ section.)

Castray, after taking the ‘grand champion’ title as the best-of-the-best overall in the weapons section of the tournament, won the ‘kata’ championship in her class. ‘’Pia was outstanding, and should have been awarded the title of grand champion in ‘kata’ as well,’’ said Red Rangers’ chief instructor and 9th dan sikaran-arnis martial artist Jesse Diestro.

‘’But it was a good ending for Pia in 2011,’’ said Diestro, a martial arts expert himself and Pia’s trainer.

The Filipina-Australian is the daughter of John and Cristina Castray, of Pennant Hills. She has just completed a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting) at Macquarie University under a sports scholarship. Strong-willed but she admits getting nervous every time she’s at the arena.

“I get nervous every time I compete. No one wants to get hurt. That’s why we train so hard to know how to protect ourselves and toughen up our bodies. “There is also the pressure I put on myself to win,” she said. “But my biggest fear is losing.”

Her parents support her chosen field and have become her biggest fans and in her words, her “loudest cheerleaders.”

Will she stay longer in this sport?

“I will always train, athletes feel lost when they are separated from their sport. It is who we are, so I plan to continue training and perhaps one day I will teach in my own martial arts school.”

She laughs out when asked if she thinks the boys are intimidated whenever they learn she’s a martial arts champ.

“Guys usually have one of the following reactions: disbelief, shock or amazement. I do not look or act intimidating at all, I am petite, womanly and huge princess – total opposite of your stereotypical image of a martial arts champ.”

Outside combat, Pia’s next battleground is the kitchen. She loves food and cooking. She can be your sweet princess.

“My new favourite hobby is cooking! I love making sweets and desserts and Spanish food. Just because I’m an athlete doesn’t mean I have to stick to a strict diet – give me carbs and sugar any day!!! I have yet to conquer Filipino food, but I will! I think I’m turning into a masterchef. She’s in love with the Philippines where she has been to many times before. “My sister, cousins and I also love going to Boracay for a getaway. I think the Philippines is one the most beautiful and exciting countries in the world – and I am very proud to be half-Filipino.”

Issue: magPinoy December 2011


She’s all set to study two languages: French because of her interest in culture and history, and Filipino because, well, she’s one. Filipina-Australian Stephanie Rose is a stunning beauty who made heads turn at the last Miss Philippines-Australia beauty pageant.

The verdict: she walked away as the community’s new 2011 Queen (apart from being named Miss Friendship and Best in Swimsuit).

Soon she may even land a slot in the prestigious Binibining Pilipinas pageant where her entry is being endorsed by the Philippine Australian Sports and Culture. That may not be a far-fetched idea. She has the looks. And the 5’6” beauty who is inclined to deeper intellectual pursuits is interested in doing charity. Just the right ingredients for a beauty titlist.

Her preferred charity work will focus on children. “I hope to collaborate with charity organisation ‘Ang Bata at Kalinga’ which looks after poor children in the Philippines. I would like to see myself as an ambassador for a charity organisation such as UNICEF. I am very passionate about helping the less fortunate in the Philippines. Especially children.”

Currently residing in Rouse Hill, Stephanie’s Filipina-Australian lineage is traced to her mother being from her Australian father and her mother who hails from Alabang in the outskirts of Metro Manila. She’s the eldest in the siblings that include Liam (8) and Lachlan (13).

She’s a habitual visitor to the Philippines and had fell in love with the country – including its food. “We frequent the Philippines as my mum has a residence there. I always stay in Alabang, if we are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Manila we stay in Calatagan, Batangas. I have experienced the beautiful island of Puerto Galera but am yet to visit Boracay.”

She recently just completed her HSC. “I now plan to study French language and culture at the University of New South Wales.”

She’s probably not the typical 18-year old who loves to dig into the realm of classy thinkers counting George Orwells “1984” as one of her favourite books. The other is Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Films? She loves them but would go for movies like “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Apocalypse Now” or “any other Martin Scorsese film.”

“I confess to be a bookworm. My favourite subjects in school was English and History.”

Indeed, there’s something about Stephanie that makes her an exceptional beauty queen. Very different. In fact her favourite actress is Audrey Hepburn and a music band for her means The Beatles.

But what could be Stephanie’s most important pursuit now has something to do about her being Pinay. She vowed to master the Filipino language very soon. She speaks it but “Konti lang,” she laughs. “My mum tells me I used to speak it quite a bit when I was much younger, I seem to have forgotten a lot of the language. I plan to take lessons in Tagalog and one day become fluent.”

Issue: magPinoy December 2011