Australia Global Alumni celebrate friendship, regeneration, and wellness at the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day in Iloilo City

The alumni community marked the celebration with the first face-to-face Australia Alumni Network Summit in three years.

Iloilo City – Over 100 Australia-educated Filipinos gathered in Iloilo City to reconnect and discuss new ways of caring for the people and planet at the Australia Alumni Network Summit 2023 – the first face-to-face summit in three years.

Led by Australia Alumni Communities Philippines (AACPh), the summit, themed “Reconnect and Regenerate: Healing Our Future Together,” featured knowledge-exchange sessions on regenerative principles and practices.

“The pandemic caused a lot of rethinking. As we took off from the theme of the 2021 summit, which is regeneration but more conceptual, we thought it would be good to think about it in more practical terms. That’s why we focused on regeneration in practice for this year's theme,” said summit chair Nelia Agbon.

Delegates also visited Iloilo City landmarks that embraced regeneration. These included the University of San Agustin’s state-of-the-art laboratories headed by Australia-educated scientist Dr Doralyn Dalisay; the National Museum Western Visayas, which features the regenerative industry of hablon weaving; Sol Y Mar Ecofarm, which developed regenerative agriculture and food practices; and Iloilo’s artistic and creative spaces, such as the University of the Philippines Visayas Museum of Art, Iloilo River Esplanade, and Iloilo Gardens.

The summit is an annual alumni-led event of Australia Global Alumni in the Philippines, which provides a platform for Australia-educated Filipinos to discuss creative solutions and innovations with fellow alumni as well as experts from Australia and the Philippines.

“The Australia Alumni Network Summit is one of the most anticipated events among our alumni since it was launched in 2018. We commend the leadership of the AACPh convenors for the excellent staging of this year’s event – from the innovative learning expeditions and knowledge-sharing activities to the relevant topics of reconnection and regeneration,” said William Rivera, Counsellor (Chief Migration Officer) at the Australian Embassy in The Philippines.

This year’s speakers was led by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, who shared the city’s journey of urban renewal. Renowned landscape architect and urban planner Paulo Alcazaren talked about design for regeneration while Dr Helen Norrie of the University of Tasmania discussed the role of architecture and design in fostering collaboration among government, industry and academia for sustainable futures.

The summit culminated with a networking reception at the Molo Mansion, attended by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu PSM and Mayor Treñas. The event also kicked off the alumni community’s celebration of the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day 2023 in Iloilo City.
Through a Presidential Proclamation, 22 May of each year is declared as Philippines-Australia Friendship Day to celebrate the strong and enduring friendship between the two countries.

To mark the deeprooted and growing friendship between Australia and Iloilo, Ambassador Yu, Iloilo City Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, and members of the Australia Global Alumni community led by Undersecretary Gerald Divinagracia of the Anti Red-Tape Authority also planted trees at Plaza Libertad. Bike racks and heritage wayfinders were also donated by alumni to the city to symbolise the common advocacies on sustainability and liveability between Australia and the city.

The alumni community also held several outdoor activities including the Heritage Fun Run, in partnership with the Iloilo City Local Government and Junior Chamber International, and Cheers to Wellness together with SM Supermalls.