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Backyard Barbeque Party with Australian Ambassador, H.E. Amanda Gorely


This year, Australia Day celebration in the Philippines brought one important event that was organised by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines. Ambassador Amanda Gorely hosted the annual Journalists Briefing followed by a “Backyard Barbeque” in her residence with members of the Philippine press and TV news journalists. This took place last 24 January.



H.E. Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, during the Annual Journalists’ Reception in her residence last Jan. 2017.


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An Australian Business Briefing was hosted by Elodie Journet, Senior Trade Commissioner and Counsellor for Austrade. She presented speakers who are key members of notable Australian companies in the Philippines like:


  • Anthony Tan, Chief Risk Officer, ANZ Philippines
  • David Esteban, Asian Institute for Transnational Education General Manager, Director, Marketing and Projects, Australian International School
  • Jane Papasergio, Principal, International Development Assistance Manager Philippines, Asia Pacific, Cardno
  • Maria Aurora Dela Vina, Country Manager, IDP Education Philippines Office
  • Bradley Norman, Country Director, OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc.
  • Subra Ramakrishnan, Senior Vice President of Strategy GSSC, QBE



Elodie Journet, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and Counsellor for Austrade, with the speakers at the Business Briefing


This session was followed by an open-forum with the Ambassador as part of the Annual Journalists’ Reception to Celebrate Australia Day. Along with other members of the press, Expatch writer participated in this special opportunity to interview the Ambassador with some questions.


A number of senior Embassy officials joined the media for a fellowship dinner after the press briefing. The dinner featured Australian beef, lamb and traditional Australian desserts like pavlova and lamington presented with a twist by the Ambassador’s resident chef.




Mr. Richard Rogers, Counsellor – Political & Public Diplomacy, Australian Embassy in the Philippines


After the dinner, Mr. Richard Rogers hosted some lively fun and games for the media guests at the backyard barbeque festivities. Guests participated in the Thong Tossing contest, “Name that Tune” challenge featuring songs by Australian artists – and some daring journalists also had a go at Vegemite on Toast eating contest. It was definitely a fun and relaxing evening of fine Australian food and drinks.


~ ~ ~


One year has passed since H.E. Amanda Gorely first arrived in the Philippines and made her first media appearance in a journalist reception.


“Ms. Gorely is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Most recently she was Corporate Counsel and head of the Corporate Legal Branch, a position she held since 2012. She has previously served as Deputy High Commissioner at the Australian High Commission in Wellington and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, with earlier postings in Stockholm and Copenhagen.”


Date: 24 Jan. 2017, Tues.

Event: Annual Journalists’ Reception to Celebrate Australia Day (Media Briefing and Backyard Barbeque)

Venue: Residence of the Ambassador, Makati City, Metro Manila



Marcelle: Good evening, Ambassador Gorely. I am Marcelle from Expatch. You’ve been with us for more than one year now. Could you kindly share with us the things that you like most about the Philippines? For example, the places that you have visited and please tell us why you like those places.


And additionally, is there something that you have discovered here in the Philippines, like a Filipino value or tradition, that is not found in Australia, that you think Australia would benefit from if they would adopt this thing? Thank you.


Ambassador Gorely: Thank you very much. [speaking to the audience] I told you someone would ask me about my favourite place in the Philippines. [laughter]


Yes. So, I’ve travelled to quite a few places and I’ve really been impressed by how diverse the country is and how beautiful most places are that I have visited. One place that we really enjoyed going to was Iloilo City. I felt that that was a place that had really invested a lot of money and energy into the development of the city. And the river was a beautiful, clean waterway with great bridges across it, and promenades along the outside. And when I passed over the Pasig River today, I commented to my colleague, “Wouldn’t it be great if this river had much more interesting use of green things along the riverbank?” But in Iloilo, I have gone down that pathway and it is really a beautiful place.


[Her answer to the second question]

I think we do share a lot of values but something that always struck me here that’s really important is the family bonds of people that they have here, and also the way that Filipinos welcome visitors into their family. This is my fourth overseas postings but I have to say even in my first year, I’ve been invited to more Filipino homes and family celebrations than I have in any of the other three countries put together. So it’s something that I think is really in the generous side of Philippine national character. It’s a really genuine characteristic.

Marcelle: Thank you.





Author: Marcelle Villegas
Photo source:
All photos – by Marcelle for Expatch


♡ Special thanks to the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, Wine Depot, Vitorria Coffee, and all our other sponsors for the evening ♡





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