It’s a Small World After All – How I Met a Schoolmate’s Father in Perth, Australia

This happened many years back but I just thought of writing about it because I saw some pictures from my trip to Perth while trying to organize my files in my external hard drive. It’s one of the things that’s been keeping me busy since the enhanced community quarantine started.

In 2008, I was sent to our head office in Perth, Western Australia for training. It was my first time traveling out of the country and I was traveling alone. I was there for 9 days and during the weekend, I got to explore the city. The Saturday during my stay there, my college professor who moved to Perth took me to Caversham Zoo and Fremantle. The following day, a colleague from the main office and his family showed me around in the morning. After lunch, they brought me back to my hotel.

Klook.com

Back then, I was still a practicing Catholic. I attended mass every Sunday. Even if I was out of the country, I looked for a way to attend mass. I found on the internet that there is a Catholic Church near my hotel, the St. Mary’s Cathedral. And so I walked to the church. But when I got there, I found out that the church is under construction. They’re not holding any mass in that church at that moment but they listed alternative churches. Luckily, at that very moment, there was a Chinese lady with her daughter checking out the church too. She was very friendly and told me they’re going to check out the other church and offered me a ride. And so I went with them.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

When we got to the other church, the St. Joachim’s Church, we saw that the mass will start at 6:00 PM. It was just around 3:30 PM at that time. Inside the church, there were three guys who looked like Filipinos. The funny thing about Filipinos is that you know one when you see one. I don’t remember who asked who first, but I was right, they are indeed Filipinos.


Booking.com

We started chatting. I told them I am in Perth for a few days for training. They, on the other hand, are working for a mining company there. During the conversation, one of the guys mentioned that his son is a geologist at Philex Mines. I know the geologists at Philex so I asked him who his son is. Turns out his son is my schoolmate in college.

Then after some time, the Chinese lady said that they had to go and asked me if I will be okay if she left me with them. I told her I’m okay and thanked her for her kindness.

Outside St. Joachim Church

Because it was still early for the mass, they offered to show me around. First, they brought me to Westfield Carousel, a shopping center in Perth. I don’t remember what we did there anymore, but we didn’t stay long.

From the shopping center, we went to King’s Park. It is a park overlooking Perth Water and the central business district of Perth. Also in the park is the State War Memorial. We stayed in the park until it was time to go back to the church.

With my kababayans, Benedict Kiat-ong, my schoolmate’s father Eduardo Manzano and Philip Velasquez with the War State Memorial in the background

The central business district of Perth as my background

The Swan Brewery

It’s not only them that I met that day. The priest who presided the mass happens to be a kababayan (fellow Filipino) too. We approached him after the mass and even had our photo taken with him because it turns out, he is from the Cordillera Administrative Region too. Sir Benedict is from there and the company that I was working for at that time is in Cordillera.

With Sir Benedict, the parish priest (I don’t remember his name anymore) and another Cordilleran who also attended the mass

After the mass, they treated me to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant near the Church before taking me back to my hotel. They ordered lots of food and I don’t know how I managed to eat a lot without feeling full. I guess unlimited tea was the reason.

I had a great time that day. It may have happened 12 years ago but after seeing the photos, memories of how accommodating and nice my kababayans were came rushing back.

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