QUEANBEYAN are holding a Citizenship Ceremony this Thursday where 27 residents will officially be made citizens of Australia.
Phill Yonzon, a resident of Queanbeyan, left the Philippines four years ago. Together with his mother and sister, they were fleeing a poor life.
“We left the Philippines because Mum was looking for a better life,” he said.
Phill and his family only intended to be permanent residents. After two years it was clear they wanted to become citizens of Queanbeyan.
‘We like it here. The people respect us. In Philippines if you’re poor the people will step on you. Not here. The people are cool.’
Phill was 16-years-old when he first arrived by plane in Nunnawal. He moved over to Queanbeyan to meet up with his father. After living with friends, the family soon found a house for themselves and are still happily living there today.
‘We love Australia. I like the economy, the cost of living and the people.
‘There are also a lot of opportunities around here…I’m planning to move to Canberra and then to Melbourne.”
After graduating at Karabar High School in 2010, Mr Yonzon, now 20, is a first year apprentice in refrigerating. He plans to work for different refrigerating companies and then start a business of his own.
‘Here we can afford anything we want. In the Philippines we were limited to what we could have. Being a tradie here you can earn a lot more. In the Philippines, if you’re a tradie, you’re poor.’
In high school, Phil was taught to play rugby and AFL. These days he enjoys playing his guitar and going out with family and friends.
A keen apprentice, Phill is looking forward to the future.
‘I’m in my first year. It’s a bit hard but I love it. My dad is also a refrigerating tradie. I want to follow in his footsteps…
However, Phil does miss his relatives and remains in close contact with them.
‘In the Philippines are our relatives, our cousins…They bond with you. We talk to them every night on Skype. We want to help our family and maybe one day they can come over.’
‘When we came here we were nothing. Not ‘nothing’ but we had to start again. There is lots for us to do here…We’re much happier.’
The citizenship ceremony is this Thursday at 4pm in the foyer at ‘The Q’.