Philippine Bobsled Team Needs Support!


By Lindsay Santos

Photo By Buddy Cunanan

Mabuhay caught up with the Philippine National Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton Association, Inc. (PNBLSA) to find out the progress they have been making and to get an update on their plans to make Calgary their homebase for training.

“The team has continued to carry out bobsled-specific gym and technique training in the Philippines, in preparation for the actual ice canal and ice house training in Calgary,” says Buddy Cunanan, the PNBLSA’s founder and president. “More importantly, the PNBLSA has entered into an agreement with the Alberta Bobsleigh Association (ABA), which will help the PNBLSA athletes develop their skills.”

The PNBLSA – ABA agreement will be formalized in February, Cunanan says, after Calgary officially becomes the PNBLSA’s homebase. From there, the ABA will take the team under its wings.


“The PNBLSA will be in Calgary in the third or fourth week of January,” he says. “They will train, under the tutelage of the ABA, beginning February 3,rd and will participate in the Alberta Cup Provincial Championship at the end of February.”

With January fast approaching, obstacles have come up that have made the PNBLSA’s move to Calgary a challenge. Coordinating with potential training partners in Calgary and meeting the team’s logistical requirements are a few of the hurdles they have managed to overcome with the ABA’s support.

“The PNBLSA has made tremendous progress with the ABA, which has been tremendously helpful,” says Cunanan. “There are still logistics requirements pertaining to accommodation and assistance with athletes’ needs that are challenging and we hope the Filipino Community can assist.”

The athletes need people who can act as mentors to help them adjust to life in Canada as it is a completely new environment for them. They are also in need of people they can rely on as ‘guides’ or ‘lifelines’ in the city in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Contact Cunanan directly on WhatsApp at +63-922-842-5665 to lend the PNBLSA your support.

For team updates, follow their Facebook page under The Philippine National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton Association.

Boracay Cleaned and Open to Limited Visitors


    By Darlene Casten

    Boracay re-opened October 26 after a six-month shutdown to complete the first phase of cleanup of the island.

    In April, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte announced Boracay would be shut down to clean the beaches and deal with illegal sewage tie-ins that were draining into the ocean.

    Millions of pesos have been spent to improve sewage systems, rehabilitate wetlands, widen and pave roads and demolish illegal and unsightly structures.

    According to the Philippine Information Agency the coliform level in the water is now safe to swim in at 18.1 per 100ml MPN (most probable number), down 100 per cent from April.

    Other measures include banning fireworks after 9 p.m. and roasting meat over coals and single-rider motorcycles are also banned. Drinking, smoking and dining on the beach is also no longer allowed. Hawkers and vendors, as well as electric lights, have been removed from the beach.

    Snorkeling and diving has also been temporarily suspended. In order to get access to Boracay, tourists will need proof of a reservation at an approved hotel when they arrive at the

    The island will undergo two more phases of cleanup. The last phase will take place in December 2019.

    The ‘soft’ re-opening of Boracay came a week after locals were allowed to return.

    Just over 2,060 hotel rooms in 25 hotels and resorts were open for business at the time of Boracay’s re-opening.

    Gambling and casinos have been banned on the island and local ordinances and environmental regulations will be strictly enforced, government officials say.

    Visitors to the island are restricted to 19,215 per day and only 6,405 tourists are able to stay overnight. The Philippines government is also considering restricting the number of tourists to sites like El Nido and La Union. Philippine media reported 3,068 tourists visited Boracay on October 26, far below the government’s limitations.

    Calgary travel agent Anabelle Bedrejo of Fiesta Travel, says she has had some inquiries, but no bookings for Boracay since it has re-opened.

    “People are still apprehensive to go,” she says. “They think some of the hotels might still be closed.”

    The economy in Calgary is also playing a part, says Bedrejo.

    “People are apprehensive to book,” she explains. “They don’t know if they are going to have a job next month.”

    However, Bedrejo expects Boracay bookings will pick up in the coming months.

    “We are just booking into the summer months now,” she says. “We will probably start getting more questions about Boracay in the next month or two.”

    An Australian friend recently visited Boracay, she adds, and tells her the beaches are much cleaner and that vendors have been moved off the shore.

    The Philippine government has also taken steps to prepare Boracay workers for the re-opening.

    Just over 2,000 front-line workers, including hotel staff, tour guides and boat porters, received free government training to help them promote the ‘better Boracay’.

    “Since the island’s temporary closure, we have been providing free training for our front liners or the ones who will work face to face with our tourists,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says in a statement. 

    The training included information for workers on environmentally friendly tourism practices and services.

    “We encourage everyone who sets foot in Boracay to be the best and most responsible tourist that you can be. Practice sustainable tourism and respect the island, and you’ll just keep it more fun for the generations to come,” Romulo-Puyat says. 

    More training has been held or is planned for the Boracay’s police officers, guides and stakeholders.

    For more information about the new rules for visiting Boracay visit the Philippine Information Agency.

    Filipina-Canadian Short Film Premieres at TIFF Lightbox


    This year, Calgarian born Karla Villanueva Danan participated in The Unsung Voices Youth Video Production Workshop with the Reel Asian International Film Festival based in Toronto. The 11-week workshop provided mentorship from media professionals and a platform for Asian Canadians to express themselves as artists to produce distinctly Asian Canadian stories.

    The 26- year- old Filipina was one of five chosen out of a pool of 60 applicants hailing from different asian backgrounds. Each participant was tasked with working on each other’s short films as well as writing and directing their own. Danan’s short film Jezebel premiered on Nov 9 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto during the annual Reel Asian International Film Festival.

    The eight minute film is a Filipina-Canadian coming-of-age story, which focuses on the relationship between a traditional Catholic mother and her 20-something Canadian born daughter living in the city. Jezebel is lighthearted, with plenty of relatable Filipino-isms from hilarious tagalog mom texts to portraits of Jesus. The film was inspired by something that actually happened between Danan and her mother and is a project she is very proud of.

    “I made a short film about my mom and I that is a bit silly but sweet and shows a snippet of Filipino-Canadian essence that we haven’t seen before on any screens,” explains the first time filmmaker.

    Many relatives and close friends attended the screening in support of Danan, including her mother who flew to Toronto from Calgary for the event.

    “It was a dream come true of [my mother] having this experience of ‘let’s go to Toronto for the weekend and watch my kid’s movie at the TIFF Lightbox,’” she explains.  

    The venue where the premiere was held is the largest theatre of the Toronto International Film Festival, a fact which Danan was intimidated by. However, she says with relief that she drew many laughs, even from those of different ethnic backgrounds.

    “It was really special to have strangers come up to me and tell me they enjoyed it,” she says.

    Danan was especially happy that she was able to bring together many different Filipina artists from Toronto for her film, including the actors, music, visual art and behind the scenes crew.

    “It’s so important for this program to exist and for Filipinos to be encouraged to be in the arts,” she explains.

    “The sense of belonging and identity that we can create through media – that’s what’s going to change lives.”

    Danan is currently coordinating more screenings of Jezebel, including this spring at the next Pinay Power conference in Montreal, an event that will highlight the Filipina experiences in the diaspora.

    To learn more visit

    Filipino Calgarians make it to Audi Quattro Cup World Finals


    by Will Tigley

    Two local Filipino golfers made the world stage this year, representing Canada in the Audi Quattro Cup World Finals 2018 in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

    The chance to compete was a dream for Fred Molina and Leo Casuga.

    “It was a very humbling and the best experience of our lives to compete in Austria and to represent Canada,” says Molina.

    The journey to Austria started with a tournament in July with Molina getting invited to participate in the Audi Royal Oak Quattro Cup in Bearspaw. Inviting Casuga to be his partner, the duo ended up qualifying for Audi Quattro Cup Nationals in Morell, Prince Edward Island in August. It was their success at Nationals that got Molina and Casuga the chance to compete in the international cup on September 23 to 27.

    Molina is still amazed that he and Casuga were the champions chosen to go to Austria. They were among 43 other pairs representing nations from across the world. In the end, Molina and Casuga placed 5th in the A Division of the competition.

    “It was fun in Canada, but definitely more difficult in Austria,” says Molina. “There were some very good European players.” 

    A trip of a lifetime, the chance for Molina and Casuga to compete was paid for by the Audi Quattro Cup. Molina made sure he took time while overseas to stay an extra week in Austria with his wife.

    The experience has given Molina a taste of what international competition has to offer.

    “If we get invited again, we’ll do it,” says Molina.



    It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! With the kids jingle belling, hearts will be glowing, marshmallow roasting, there’ll be parties hosting, it’s the happiest season of all…..hold up this sounds like a Christmas carol, ha ha.

    One of my favorite things to do during the holiday is to entertain family and friends. I love, watching them enjoy great food, wine and conversation. It’s what memories are made of. We all live a very busy, hectic lives and sometimes the thought of cooking could be daunting.

    Cooking for the holidays doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Just focus on the seasonal and the freshest ingredients. Be innovative this season, make clever use of what you have in your pantry (this is a good way of getting rid of stuff) to create a memorable meal.


    Instead of dessert, have some fun with a do-it-yourself MOUBECHINO. Give everyone a shot of expresso, dark chocolate shavings, steamed milk, and spoon in ube whipped cream, WALA – YOU HAVE YOURSELF A TASTY BEVERAGE!



    3 cups store bought ready-whipped cream

    1 tbsp ube flavoring (any Asian store will have this)

    1 tsp vanilla extract


    Gently fold the ingredients together. Enjoy.



    1 (13 lb) whole turkey (uncooked)

    2 cups butter (softened)

    1 1⁄2ounces fresh sage

    1 lb bacon (uncooked)

    1 whole onion, chopped

    1 garlic clove

    salt and pepper  to taste


    Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold running water and drain well. Blot dry with paper towels.

    Chop onion and garlic and mix together.  Stuff the turkey with the mixture.

    Chop sage and mix in with softened butter. Rub sage butter mixture under the skin and over the skin of the turkey. Salt and pepper to taste

    Place uncooked bacon slices all over the skin of the uncooked turkey.

    Place turkey in a roasting pan and use foil to tent the uncooked turkey. Remove foil tent for last hour of cooking turkey. Cook until golden brown or bacon is crisp.

    A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F – measure with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast, to assure doneness.


    A few weeks until 2019 Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship opens again


      A few weeks until 2019 Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship opens again

      The Canadian government announced they will be increasing the number of parent and grandparent sponsorship applications to 20,000 in 2019. Additionally, the program will no longer use a lottery system to select applicants. Instead, applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.


      During 2017 and 2018, the Government of Canada said a randomized approach would level the playing field and give everyone the same opportunity to be selected to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents. The randomized selection process for applications for PGP was greatly criticized.

      20,000 New Applications for 2019

      To help reunite even more families through immigration, Canada will increase the quota for the parent and grandparent sponsorship program (PGP) to 20,000 in 2019. This number refers to the number of complete applications to be received in 2019 and marks a slight increase in the quota from this year.

      In 2018, Canada accepted a total of 17,000 complete applications after increasing the quota in July. By increasing the quota, the government will be accepting four times as many applications than in 2014 when it was re-opened and the cap was 5,000 applications.


      Under the new, first-come, first-served model, candidates will be invited to submit an application based on the order in which their interest to sponsor forms are received. The forms will be available to submit at the beginning of 2019.


      “As a result of listening to stakeholders and closely examining the PGP Program, the government is making further changes to the application intake process that will streamline access to the program and improve client experience,” IRCC said.

      Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, said the changes are evidence of the Government of Canada’s “commitment to helping families live, work and thrive together, in Canada.”

      Who Is Eligible?

      Both the sponsor and the person being sponsored must meet certain requirements to be eligible for this program. Sponsors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are living in Canada at the time of application. As well, all sponsors must meet a minimum necessary income requirement, proving that they have enough funds to support the sponsored family members when they arrive in Canada.


      You can sponsor your parents and grandparents if you at least 18 years old, living in Canada and:

      • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
      • Meet the minimum income requirements depending on your family size
      • Agree to sign an undertaking promising to provide financial support for basic requirements for three to twenty years (factors are determined)

      All persons being sponsored through this program must be either the parents or the grandparents of the person sponsoring them. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements as determined by the government, so significant medical or criminal problems could render a person ineligible.

      If a person is not eligible for PGP, they may be able to help their relatives travel to Canada more easily by applying for a super visa for parents and grandparents.



         by Dolly Punsalan Castillo

        May the traditional Christmas greeting of the title be rendered in our Filipino or Tagalog heritage language as “ Kapayapaan ay mangibabaw sa mundo at mabuting kalooban sa sangkatauhan”. What a wonderful message express the essence of the season. The evolution of ideas and values is scary at times. Basic homegrown values respecting human decency veer toward self interest and self aggrandizement and selfish me first justification.  It’s an observation which I’m sure we all experience and try to modify. 

        In the spirit of the Christmas season, it is best to look back to what our elders taught and instilled in us. The simple basics of true and gratifying happiness and gratitude for our individual circumstances in life is a big blessing. Contentment in earning the fruits of one’s labor in honesty and hard work is another great blessing. Working towards keeping harmony and peace in the milieu of each one’s home and work environment count as a true blessing. In all of this, if complete and perfect satisfaction don’t quite meet the expectations, reasonable contentment is the key. There are trade offs between good and bad. A sense of balance and equity helps to accept the big picture perspectives and priorities.

        We had a good year with wins and losses. We hope you enjoy a great time with family and friends – making a better world with your individual presence and sharing.


        Ang biyaya ng hiwaga at ganda ng Kapaskuhan ay sumainyong lahat.  

        Nawa’y manatili sa ating mga puso at diwa ang malasakit di lamang sa ating mga sarili kundi gayun din sa ating kapuwa manlalakbay sa mundo.

        Palakasin at pagtibayin ang pag -asa natin sa kabutihan ng Poong Maykapal at ng kapwa tao na tayo’y aruga sa pagmamahal at respeto.

        Maligayang Pasko sa lahat at nawa’y Manigo ang ating Bagong Taon!     

        Fun Page


          Fun Page



          The Calgary Bridge Foundation held its 5th Multi-Cultural Newcomers Fair



          Nov. 2 at Bishop Grandin High School to further educate Newcomers and their families

          Educational information and services available from participating organizations like Money Mentors, SAIT,CIWA,CCIS, Distress Centre,Centre for Newcomers along with Youth Organizations.

          One of the Youth Groups was the Filipino Youth Empowerment(YEP)and another focusing on School Settlement.  The evening also included Nepali Dance, and Chinese Dance performance and success stories of integration. During the Chinese Dancer performance, one small boy jumped in and started to copy the dancers movements and to a cheering audience.

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