Marissa Bala – Aims Straight From Her Heart

November 11th, 2021 · No Comments

By Benjie de Ubago

In a world of fake news and dubious community leaders, one stands out as a true community leader. Marissa Bala is one such community leader. She’s the ever demure, soft-spoken, branded with sincerity, compassion and genuineness to serve.

Marissa Bala, FILCCA Community Leader Awardee 2021

Last month, the Filipino Communities Council of Australia (FILCCA) honoured Marissa Bala with the 2021 FILCCA Community Leader Award for NSW.  It’s a recognition that’s been long overdue!

Especially hand-picked  by former Philippine Consul General Zenaida Collinson, Marissa was thrust into the Filipino community arena. She took on various roles in the Philippine Community Council of NSW (PCC-NSW) between 2004 to2006.

But her heart always belonged to Banag-Banag (BB), the Bisayan speaking association in NSW.  Steadfast in the name of service, Marissa is unmistakably one of the pillars of Banag-Banag, the cohesive strength behind the scenes assisting  former BB presidents in their projects – be it social, cultural or for charity.  Her affable demeanor has helped strengthen the sister city relations between Parramatta and Cebu City with Philippine Independence celebrations in Parramatta every June. She’s a true professional and has built goodwill for the organization. In our ever-changing world, her sense of gratitude and appreciation is rare.

She finally took on the Banag-Banag Presidential post in 2015-2016 and then returned in 2019 for the 25th Anniversary celebration of Banag-Banag.  She tirelessly fundraised for scholarships and orphanages in the Philippines. To date, she continues to work with Banag-Banag, inspiring and mentoring the younger generation to develop them as our future community leaders.

Likewise, she has been also proactive in the annual Sto. Niño Festival in Plumpton  for years. With her hands in her pocket, she’s always been ready to step up to the call of service and help a community charity event or a friend in need.  

In her usual humble nature, Marissa says: “For me, a sincere community leader ought to change from “self” to become “selfless” and to give significance to the interest of the association.” And she’s one person who really walks the talk.

Bala completed her Law degree from Silliman University and was a Japanese scholar at Waseda and Sapporro Universities where she completed her research studies and masters respectively. She was then hired to work as a Foreign Legal Adviser for Japanese Law firms. While in Tokyo, she involved herself with the Philippine Assistance Group working in tandem with the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo to raise funds for financial, medical and repatriation of Filipinos in Tokyo.

She was also a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Legal Studies in Australia. In the Philippines she worked for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Reynato Puno.

She moved to Australia in 2001 and married her soulmate, Jade Bala, an ex marine and now working as an aerospace officer. Both hail from Ozamis City, Philippines.

Today, she’s a corporate lawyer for Dell Australia and is one of the few community leaders we can be proud of and truly trust.

11 November 2021

Tags: Features