APOLLO BAY residents Jose and Gabriel Del Rosario are celebrating after becoming Australian citizens during a ceremony in Colac yesterday.
Mr Del Rosario moved to Australia from the Philippines more than four years ago in search of a new place to call home for him and his wife Doreen.
Mr Del Rosario works as a nurse and said he had to choose between living inland or by the beach at Apollo Bay when he was looking for a place to work.
“We were deciding on a place to live and make home and I just thought about where I’d like to have a family,” he said.
Mr Del Rosario moved to Australia without his wife who was based in Dubai and working as a flight attendant, but she moved to Australia within nine months.
He said he initially lived in Canberra while he was completing a bridging course so he could work as a nurse in Australia.
The Del Rosarios had their first child Gabriel three years ago and also have an 11-week-old daughter, Bianca.
Mr Del Rosario said it was difficult raising their children without their family being close by.
But he said the Apollo Bay community had been a great support to the family.
“I think initially we were a bit worried but then we learnt about all of the groups and services and they were useful,” Mr Del Rosario said.
“I think from the start we kept to ourselves a bit and were a bit shy but you slowly start meeting people and then really start feeling a part of the community,” he said.
“Now if we’re going away and need people to collect mail or something like that we’ll always have five or six people offering.”
Mrs Del Rosario said she would become an Australian citizen in coming months.