A Symphony of Dedication: Filipino health workers and their musical journey

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Oct 24, 2023 |

Front row, from left, Melanie Ballado, Honey Quipanes, Lourdes Mati, Anna Cabanas, and Angelin Ipapo Back row, from left, Eliazar Dimalapang, Noel Ballado, Michael Cabanas, Hospital Aide Lea Ordinario, Occupational Health Nurse Maries Villa, Older Persons Health Clinical Assessor and Registered Nurse Kristian Rubi and Emergency Department Administrator Nelie Pascual.

Celebrating Filipino culture and uplifting the spirits of its members and audiences are some of the aims of the Musika Filipinas.

Founded by Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury Older Persons Registered Nurse Kristian Rubi in 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, several staff are involved in the choir.

One of those is Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) Maries Villa, who says she is part of a strong Filipino community within Te Whatu Ora Canterbury.

“I know of many Filipinos working here who have strong dedication and work ethics.

“We all contribute to workplace diversity and positivity.

“Many Filipinos are good singers, dancers and performers and the Musika Filipinas Aotearoa choir is one example of how we love to celebrate our culture and traditions by engaging with one another. I am proud to be part of this.”

As an OHN Maries plays a crucial role in promoting the health and safety of Te Whatu Ora staff.

“My role can be quite diverse, and often involve health assessments, vaccinations, health screening and more.

“Music is known to have therapeutic effects and I find being a member of the choir serves as my stress-reliever after a week of hard work!

“I enjoy the beautiful musical harmonies that we create. The choir also enhances my vocal skills, music reading abilities and music proficiency.”

Kristian’s vision for the choir was to uplift our spirits during the pandemic lockdowns, bringing together skills and talents in music to create a group that celebrates our rich Filipino culture, he says. “Singing together allows us to build close relationships and have a sense of belonging.

“We come from diverse age groups, backgrounds, and belief systems, but our shared culture and love for music has brought us together.”

The group’s goal is to produce a significant choral concert each November, featuring different themes. This year, they are presenting some original Filipino music, encompassing folk and traditional tunes,

Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) Maries Villa

as well as disco and modern love songs, in a concert titled ‘Musika’t Kultura’.

The event takes place on 11 November, 1.30pm, at Te Hapua: Halswell Library.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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