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Filipino health professional migrants, doing well in Australia

at stairs (800x532)

L-R: daughter Maria, author, wife Delia
L-R: daughter Maria, author, wife Delia

Group excursion to Hunter Valley with the author, left

Group excursion to Hunter Valley with the author, left

By Elpidio R. Estioko, associate editor of  Fil-Am Star in West Coast,USA . Photos by Maria Edelgrace Estioko-Malapitan)

Sydney Australia – A number of Filipino migrants working in  Australia’s health industry are doing well  after  different experiences  how they successfully entered   and worked in Australia as health professionals, some under the more relatively easier programs during the earlier years.

This writer  found this out during a visit to Australia recently, networking with friends and relations most of whom had settled well in Australia as health professionals.

Yours truly and wife Delia  were able to spend a three-week vacation in Australia visiting a number of long time Australian residents including Sydney residents  Eric Malapitan and wife Maria. Malapitan is a Registered Nurse (RN) at Concord General Hospital.

Malapitan revealed  that with the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 and the renunciation of the White Australia policy, Australia became an active destination  for Filipino migrants, particularly skilled workers, and the nurses. Malapitan  said  1987-1988 was the peak in the influx of Filipino migrants.

Malaitan  said he was attracted by Australia’s strong economy, world class health, and superb educational systems.

Malapitan said there was more open policy on the entry of skilled workers at that time.

“I came to Sydney as a student,” Malapitan said,” enrolled in a three-month nursing refresher course, took the state exam, and passed it. Then I looked for a sponsor. I was hired by St. George Hospital and after a couple of years, moved to Concord General Hospital as Registered Nurse (RN) assigned to the Dialysis Department up to the present”.

Another Filipino who went through the same program with Malapitan, Agnes Caspe was likewise hired by St. George Hospital.

Succeeding students Armel and Marvin Diroy, however,  had to go through a different program instead of the three-month refresher nursing  course

The couple had to complete the  full nursing course and  pass the state exam and look for sponsors. The nursing course can be taken full time or part time schedule.

With the group of Malapitan and Caspe in Sydney who are now settled in their respective professions are Je Caspe, Tess and Bernard Macapagal, Sahlee and Jim Delos Santos, and Engie and Michael Diroy, all of whom are living in various suburbs in NSW.

Alberto “Bert” Lapena, who first joined a hospital in Tennessee, USA, and came later to Australia had a different experience.  When his two-year working visa in the US was expiring, he was encouraged  by a US embassy official to try Australia which was looking for Registered Nurses (RNs) at that time to address skills shortage.

 Lapena applied, and together with her wife Zeny, moved to Melbourne, Australia and worked in a hospital there.  He didn’t have any difficulty looking for a job since Pinoy nurses, especially those trained in the US, are in demand in Australia.

For her part, Leora Jane Estioko-Mangubat, a dentist from UP-PGH in Padre Faura earned a scholarship in a Melbourne University. After finishing her Master’s Degree in Dentistry, she put up her own dental clinic in Melbourne. She, together with her daughter Kate and son Juan; sister Dina and daughter Tuesday; and her niece Kat; came to Sydney to visit his uncle who is visiting her daughter Gigi. Her mother Judina Lamagna Estioko resides in Melbourne, Australia too.

Jerry & Annaliza Marinas also struggled their way here in Australia but are now a happy and established family in their Blacktown residence where a concentration of Filipinos in Sydney live. They have two children ages 17 and 10. The visiting couple from the US, together with their daughter and their friend Josh Mataitoga from Fiji who is now a resident of Sydney who thinks, lives, and acts like a Filipino more than anybody else, visited the Marinas family in Blacktown for a Filipino-style dinner.

Businessmen Mr. & Mrs. Mel Lozano, Owner of Mr. Wong, an Oriental Store in Ashfield are doing great. They have been serving the Filipino community in their suburb and they said our kababayans are patronizing their local products such as chicharon, bagoong, kakanin, and other Pinoy products.

In Cessnock, Pinay-Australian Celeste and her German-Australian husband Bernd Beltmann, owner and proprietor of a 20-room Cessnock Motel, said they learned to love Australia which they claim to be their home for many years now. “It is a family-run motel and we strive  to provide quality stay of our clients, especially to the Filipino community, who attend  the Hunter Valley festivals in July and December, among other customers”, Celeste said.

The group of Agnes & Je Caspe, Tess & Bernard Macapagal, Sahlee & Jim Delos Santos, Armel & Marvin Diroy, and Engie & Michael Diroy checked in at Cessnock Motel when they attended the Hunter Valley Winery festival in July this year.