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John Radcliffe Hospital plays host to Filipino celebration

This article is more than five years old.

In 2002, Ariel Lanada moved from his home in the Philippines to work at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Homesick, tired, and struggling with British weather, he told his family he was coming back home after two months.

He talked to his friends - some of the 54 Filipino recruits who had started working in the Trust alongside him - and found that he wasn't alone in missing home, and feeling out-of-sorts in an unfamiliar place.

A chance meeting with Sister Clare Joseph, a Filipino missionary nun based in Oxford, spurred Ariel to gather up his friends and form what is now known as the Filipino Community of Oxfordshire.

Formed in 2002, the group started with 22 members - all keen to spread the word on how they could provide support to fellow Filipinos in the local area.

Ariel was elected chairman of the organisation in 2004, and since then the Filipino Community of Oxfordshire has hosted an annual event to celebrate Philippine Independence Day.

The next event is on 23 June 2018, and is the biggest event in the organisation's calendar. Starting at Corpus Christi Church in Headington, attendees are welcome to take part in all celebrations throughout the day, including a parade from the Manor Surgery to Tingewick Hall in the John Radcliffe Hospital for lunch and a cultural show.

Attendees include Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Iman Monawar Hussein MBE; Consul General at the Philippine Embassy London Mr Senen Mangalile;  Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Colin Cook and Sam Foster, Chief Nurse at the Trust.

Ariel said: "We organise all kinds of events to promote friendship, unity and camaraderie. This particular event is always a highlight in our calendar, and we want Filipino people in the county to know that we're here for support and advice.

"We're not just here for Filipino people, though - we can help anyone who feels like they don't belong, or people who are struggling to integrate into their local area. For instance, I have recently supported an Italian nurse who was settling in.

"In 2002, I was very close to going back home. It's incredibly difficult in a new place where you don't know many people - but by forming the organisation and reaching out to people in that same situation, we felt like we were making a difference."

Ariel's experience means that he's involved in the Trust’s overseas recruitment process.

"I'm involved in varied parts of the overseas recruitment process," he said, "which can vary from helping with the Trust Adaptation Programme, helping with interview skills workshops, or even something like picking up a new nurse from Heathrow Airport.

"I'm very proud of this community organisation. I'm equally as proud to work for the Trust - I have been here for 16 years now. I've loved my time here, and the opportunities given to me - I want to show people new to the country that you can make this work, and that support is available."