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Bobbin bush fire

Bushfire appeal: giving hope with a little hay


When bushfires ravaged Australia, a group of Filipino community leaders leaped to action and initiated a bushfire appeal.  “It was time to give back,” they said.  The group, Handog Pinoy, identified the small rural town of Bobin, one of the most devastated rural towns. Bobin is located in the mid northern part of New South Wales, 40 kms from Sydney. It was one of the hardest hit towns, with 82 houses burnt to the ground including their local school. Contact was made direct to the Bobin community who indicated that their most urgent need was fodder for the farm animals.

Calling themselves the HaPi team  – for Handog Pinoy (a gift from the Filipino) –  monies raised was used to purchase 121 bales of hay which was delivered directly to Bobin town. Spearheaded by Mr.  Mao de Vera, the group including Ferdi Francisco, Dr. Cora Francisco, Atoy & Tess Sayas, Grace Alvarez and Toto Espatero  embarked on a 5 hour marathon drive to meet the townsfolk. By the time, they got there, people were already lined up waiting their share of hay.  Then, they shared heartbreaking stories over a BBQ lunch, and the HaPi team gave them a taste of ‘Hopia’.

For the people of Bobin, the help from the Filipino community was timely and greatly appreciated. “The community of Bobin would like to say a very big thank you to the lovely Filipino people who came up from Sydney to bring some much needed hay this weekend.  It was a pleasure to meet you all, you brought smiles to many faces with your generous gift.  Feeding livestock is a challenge at the moment with so many burnt out paddocks that can’t be used  due to the damage.  Your donation is very much appreciated by our farmers.”

“It was a little amount from us but for them it was a BIG help. It was most satisfying experience,” said Mao de Vera.  “That was the first phase and we intend to have a second wave of donations to deliver,” he added.

Thanks to the organizations who to date have answered the call for help: Philippine Australian Medical Association (PAMA), Aguman Capampangan, Mapua Alumni Association and Timek La Union along with other individuals. (Full list of donors is listed in and is updated regularly.)

However, more is needed and donations for the bushfire appeal are still welcome. Donations may be made through direct deposits to:  Handog Pinoy – Commonwealth Account,  BSB 062 339   Account no. 1103 2537

A little help to give them hope!



For more information contact:  Mao de Vera – 0434 516 734 / Dennis Laxamana 0416 269 270.