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Australian Embassy Welcomes Fifty Balikbayan Scholars

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely welcomed over 50 Filipino recipients of the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships on their return from postgraduate studies at Australia’s top universities.

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“The Australia Awards Scholarships are part of Australia’s contribution to Philippine development. Scholars earn a world-class degree from Australia and return to the Philippines with new ideas and knowledge to spur social and economic reforms,” said Ambassador Gorely.

The Ambassador welcomed the latest batch of returning scholars at the recently concluded Re-Entry Action Plan (REAP) Conference.

REAP is an important feature of the Australia Awards Scholarships in the Philippines. It encourages recipients to apply their Australian education and skills to high-impact projects in their field, industry or community upon their return. The scholars are expected to implement their REAP within a year or two upon their return.

One of Manila’s most successful social enterprises C&C Home and Gifts was created through  scholar Monica Co’s REAP.  C&C, which stands for Creative & Committed, is a community-based livelihood program benefitting stay-at-home mothers.  Monica partnered with women sewers of Samata Village in Las Pinas, and weavers of Cutud in Pampangga, to produce top-of-the-line hand woven baskets, mats and planters.

The socially-centered principles Monica learned from her Master of Management (Marketing) at the University of Melbourne, coupled with the thriving art scene of that city, inspired her to set up C&C Home and Gifts as part of her REAP.

The latest batch of returning scholars joined the roster of Australia Global Alumni that includes former and current cabinet secretaries, heads of government agencies, successful entrepreneurs and national scientists.

Thirty Filipinos Graduate from Joint Australia-Philippine University Program

33 Filipino scholars of the prestigious Australia Awards scholarship program returned to the Philippines after completing post-graduate studies at Australia’s top universities.

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These scholars bring home new knowledge and skills to help drive development. Australia has provided more than 3,500 Filipinos scholarships to study in Australia since the 1950s.

The Australia Awards offer high-achieving individuals in the Philippines the opportunity to develop their leadership potential by studying in Australia and joining an extensive network of fellow change-makers across the world.

The Australia Awards provide recipients internationally recognised qualifications from Australian institutions and the tools to contribute to their workplaces and communities.

The Australian Embassy in the Philippines hosted a welcome ceremony to celebrate the success of the graduates. The ceremony provided recently returned awardees the opportunity to connect with previous scholars to discuss how to best contribute to development in the Philippines using an Australian education. The event was held at the Novotel Manila Araneta Centre in Quezon City from 9 to 10 October 2017.

The Australia Awards is currently accepting applications for its June 2018 intake. Click here for information on our eligibility requirements, priority fields of study, and application procedure.

67 Australia Awards Scholars set to study in Australia

67 emerging leaders from the Philippines are set to take up postgraduate studies at world-renowned universities in Australia, through the prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships.

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From 9 to 11 May 2017, the scholars underwent a pre-departure briefing at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Manila. They were briefed on living and studying in Australia, and oriented on the requirements of the program.

The pre-departure briefing included finalising the scholars’ ‘re-entry action plans’. These plans allow Australia Awards scholars to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired in Australia to undertake programs and projects to contribute to development in the Philippines on their return, in their chosen government office, non-profit organisation or community.

“The Australia Awards Scholarships offers you, the next generation of global leaders here in the Philippines, an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development, while engaging with Australian expertise and culture. At the end of your scholarship, you will return with new ideas, knowledge and skills that will enable you to influence reforms in the Philippines as leaders in your chosen field” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely, said. 

The scholars will be heading to Australia next month to commence their studies in important areas for Philippine development such as economics, trade, infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and public policy.

Two dozen of the awardees are from partner government agencies of the Australian Government including the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Civil Service Commission, among others. The rest of the scholars are from the private sector, civil society, other government agencies, media and the academe.

The Australian Government has been supporting the Philippinesbest and the brightest to advance their education in Australian universities since the 1950s. The Australia Awards Scholarships are open to talented Filipinos– regardless of gender, ethnicity or disability – who are passionate about leading positive change in the Philippines.

An Australia Awards recipient receives a full scholarship package including travel and cost of living allowance, tuition and other fees such as health coverage and supplementary tutorial assistance. Upon return, he or she will be invited to be a member of the Global Alumni Network. Visit for more details.

Celebrate What’s Great: Philippines-Australia Friendship Day

Filipinos and Australians go way, way back. We started off as trade partners during the 1800s, then war allies during WWII.

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Today, Australia and the Philippines cooperate closely across a range of areas, including defence, counterterrorism, law enforcement, education and development. They’re also our second largest “financer” via the Official Development Assistance for 2016-2017, to the tune of P3 billion.

While we’ve been friends for decades, there hasn’t really been an official event to commemorate our friendship. This is why the Australian Embassy and the Australia Global Alumni in the Philippines decided to hold the first official Philippines – Australia Friendship Day with an outdoor festival on Saturday, 20 May at the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater.

“This is a celebration of the longstanding and close friendship between our two countries,” said Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, “We have strong people-to-people links nurtured through educational and cultural exchanges. So I am very pleased that Australia Global Alumni are leading the celebration of the first Philippines Australia Friendship Day.”

Inspired by Australia’s lively outdoor lifestyle, the festival will feature a free film screening and concert, a food and fashion fair, kid’s games and a traditional Aussie sausage sizzle hosted by alumni and volunteers.

The award-winning Australian family film Paper Planes will screen in the afternoon, followed by a fun paper plane making competition. To cap off the festival, Australian sax duo Half Sound with Erick Calilan and Tusa Montes, indie alternative band Oh! Flamingo, and Filipino rock icons Razorback will perform.

Festival goers will also enjoy a free shuttle service around Bonifacio High Street on Star 8 solar jeepneys. These green public utility vehicles feature innovative Australian technology that modernises the classic Filipino jeep.

“I thank our Filipino friends and my fellow Australians for their warm support of last year’s celebration of 70 years of diplomatic relations,” Ambassador Gorely said.

“One of the outcomes of that was a Presidential Proclamation declaring 22 May of each year as Philippines– Australia Friendship Day so we can celebrate what’s great between our two countries,” she added.

“I invite everyone to join us in celebrating this inaugural friendship day,” said Ambassador Gorely.

The Ambassador launched an online campaign to inspire people across the Philippines to join the celebration by sharing their stories of friendship using the official hashtag #AUPhWeAreMates and #FilAussieDay.

For more information about the first Philippines–Australia Friendship Day celebration, visit, like Australia in the Philippines on Facebook and follow @AusAmbPH on Twitter.


Australia Awards alumni spearhead forum on the impact of ASEAN integration to Filipino entrepreneurs

The Australian alumni community in the Philippines, in partnership with the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo, launched the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Forum last 24 June 2015 at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City.

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The forum stemmed from the Re-Entry Action Plans of Australia Awards 2013 intake scholars Katrina Santillan and Jo Anne Loquellano-Cruz, both from the University of Melbourne.

The program served as a platform for sharing best practices and strategies to help Filipino micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) prepare for the ASEAN integration. It also gave the audience an international perspective on doing business with ASEAN counterparts.

Australia Awards alumni Dandy Victa (Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology) and Mydia Lacaba (Master of Commerce, University of New South Wales) shared their experiences on on-line entrepreneurship while local entrepreneurs such as Laura Bertotto of VMV Hypoallergenics and Jay Yuvallos of Interior Basics  talked about expanding their businesses abroad.

Another highlight of the program was the webilogue (video conference) with counterparts from Vietnam and Indonesia about the efforts done by other ASEAN countries for the AEC. (Photo courtesy of Go Negosyo)