Filipino language curriculum being developed for Alberta schools


    By Quay Evano

    The Alberta government announced the development of a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum during a meeting with Premier Rachel Notley and Filipino community leaders on Feb. 1 in Calgary.

    “The Filipino community has brought essential skills to our workforce and added so much to our social fabric,” Notley says. “Creating a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will ensure this vibrant community can continue to grow.”

    Education Minister David Eggen says adding languages to Alberta’s school curriculum can have positive spin-offs.

    “Providing learning opportunities for students in a variety of language programs helps youth maintain their heritage, strengthen their cultural identity and build language and literacy skills,” Eggen says. “Strengthening language programs based on local need and demand can be an effective tool in addressing racism. In fact, this is one of the ways we’re acting on the feedback we heard, and commitments we made, in our government’s anti-racism consultations and report.”

    Filipino community leaders lobbied for the inclusion of the Filipino language and culture in the Alberta school program.

    Last year, the Alberta government declared June Philippine Heritage Month after receiving a petition signed by Filipinos from all over the province.

    At present, there are around 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta and is considered the largest and fastest-growing community in the province.

    Filipino culture and language teacher, Dolly Castillo, says this move by the government is another historic gift by the Alberta leaders to the Filipino-Canadian community.

    “This strongly demonstrates the respect for a culture’s diversity and uniqueness through its language,” she says. “Programs like this in still pride in students and their heritage and results in active and engaged citizens.”

    The Philippine Consulate in Calgary welcomes the Alberta government’s announcement.

    “That the expansion of the teaching of the Filipino curriculum at Alberta schools would open many opportunities to generate a deeper involvement of the Filipino community and ensure that generations of young Filipinos will continue to learn and appreciate their rich culture and unique identity,” the consulate stated. “This move will be a source of pride to the Filipino community. It will inspire them to become more productive and responsible members of the Alberta community. The Philippine Consulate General in Calgary encourages the Filipino community across Alberta to actively engage the local authorities regarding the introduction next year of the K-12 Filipino curriculum within the school districts where there are large Filipino student populations.”

    Since 1996 the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation has been teaching Filipino language and culture in Calgary.

    Classes are held Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    According to the group’s website, “The PCCF, together with Alberta Education, Calgary Catholic School Board, Edmonton Catholic School Board, and Filipino Canadian Saranay Association of Edmonton and have developed a three- year curriculum that allows students to learn Filipino language and culture.

    Accredited Filipino language and courses are being offered to high school students as optional subjects. Non-accredited students are grouped according to age and knowledge of the Filipino language. Instruction time depends on the age level. An additional adult class is also provided for interested mature students.



    Filipino-Canadian Accepts NDP Nomination for Calgary-East

    Cesar Cala

    By Adrian Dayrit

    A Filipino Calgarian will be running for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming Alberta election.

    Cesar Cala, a long-time resident of Calgary has accepted the nomination from the NDP to run for Calgary-East.

    It is currently held by independent Robyn Luff who was removed from the NDP caucus in November 2018.

    Calgary-East includes the following neighbourhoods: Abbeydale, Applewood, Penbrooke Meadows, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Southview, and East Dover.

    “I want to support Calgary-East become a greater place to live, learn, raise a family, make a living and be part of a community” says Cala about his campaign focus.

    Cesar Cala moved to Calgary from the Philippines with his wife in 1996 and will be the first Filipino-Canadian to be an official candidate for MLA in Calgary and Southern Alberta.

    This nomination comes following the announcement by the provincial government to enact plans to add Filipino language and culture curriculum in K-12 schools.

    According to the provincial government “there are more than 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta” and is the “fastest growing ethno-cultural community in the province.”

    Cala co-founded several community-serving organizations.

    This is the first time he will be running for political office.

    “This decision did not come lightly nor quickly, but it was a decision that I cannot ignore,” he says. “I feel strongly that the next provincial election will set the path for our province for years, if not generations, to come. Who will win and form the next government is important but equally important is what will be the tone and the discourse of the election.”

    Cala has received several awards for his dedication to his community including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Unsung Heroes.

    “I am passionate about building welcoming and safe neighbourhoods and communities, free from racism and discrimination,” he says. “I want to see Filipino-Canadians be proud of our heritage, contributing to the province’s future and represented in the province’s civic and political leadership.”

    The election date will be set between March 1 and May 31. This will be the first election held after the Alberta NDP defeated the Progressive Conservative government in 2015.





    Picture those tiny critters we call ants as they file in line, carrying their individual share of the food loot, towards a common storage area. Just watching this systematic and streamlined operation of each one pulling together to provide bountiful food for everyone is a perfect example of cooperation. As well, take the example of bees as they collect their honey from the accommodating flowers. As a team, they build the honeycomb with the queen bee orchestrating the working system. We can gather insight from these creatures of nature about work, cooperation, and working seamlessly with no words, just tactile touch of antennas or body smell for recognition.

    These examples belie the basic truth that: communication or language is not only spoken words but usually and effectively also body language and gestures. It is said that our muscles or nerves have memories which react spontaneously to stimuli. The reflex reaction is uncontrolled and will bring out a pleasant or bad counter action dependent on the past experience triggered.

    Words are cheap. Yes, eloquence and articulateness are admired traits. Yet the more important is the sincerity and action that concretise what was said. As it’s said, it’s just an empty clanging of gongs or cymbals if no LOVE accompanies the speech. This is not to discredit those who are vocal or are masters of the spoken word. In contrast, it is truly a gift to express oneself with sincerity and conviction bolstered by appropriate action.

    I quote from author Robert K. Greenleaf who elaborated on this term Servant Leadership: “. There is a soul searching to be done to really get to the core meaning of servant leadership. New elders are those who choose to live in ways characterized by a vitality that is grounded in a deep sense of servant leadership. In pondering new elderhood, we reflect on four centre- saving and savoring questions:

    What is my role?

    How can I serve?

    What do I care about?

    What is my legacy?

    The good life is a proactive pursuit of the qualities that engender vitality, not just for the satisfaction of the individual, but also for the common good of society. The four flames of savoring life, which are intrinsic to the good life are: identity, community, passion, and meanings.


    Kalalagpas lang ng Pagdiriwang natin ng Araw ng mga Ina, Nanay, Ima, Mom. Ito’y hindi lamang isang araw ng panandaliang ligaya kundi   habang buhay na pagtanaw sa kabutihan at pag -aaruga ng bawa’t pusong Ina. Sana maski na sa bansang banyaga na ito ay dala ntin ang kinaugaliang paggalang at pagmamahal sa liwanag ng tahanan. Akuin natin ang magandang mga kaugalian ng Canada at Pilipinas sa pakikitungo sa ating mga magulang.,


    Calgary Ballerina Accepted to Juilliard




    By Chelsea Tan

    Briana del Mundo set her sights high at the age of nine when she first visited The Juilliard School in New York.

    “I was going to New York for Broadway Intensive, where I got to perform on Bbroadway with a set of dancers,” she says. “We visited Juilliard and I promised myself that I would go to that school when I grew up.”

    She first started dancing at the age of four with companies such as the Alberta Ballet and the YYC Dance project, which gave her the chance to perform across America. At the age of nine she won a scholarship through a dance competition, and just two years ago she was chosen to backup dance for Justin Bieber at his concert in Winnipeg.

    This fall del Mundo is set to start her first semester in Juilliard with a concentration in dance. She flew to San Francisco this February to audition and got the call for acceptance earlier this May. The audition process was challenging, she says.

    “There was a ballet, modern, and solo round,” says del Mundo. “Then they have you learn a repertoire and see how you adapt to learning information. From there you do the interview. They cut people within each round and it went from 60-70 to nine people at the very end.”

    del Mundo says she is looking forward to everything as she gets ready to leave for Juilliard. I can’t wait to meet people from around the world and share my art with them,” she says.“Juilliard brings in world-renowned guest choreographers to teach and I’m eager to learn from them. There’s so many opportunities for me to explore and discover who I am.”

    It hasn’t been easy balancing school and training, but Del Mundo has found a system that works for her.

    “I train everyday and dance from 5 to 9 p.m. and on weekends I train from 9 a.m until 3 or 6 p.m.”

    del Mundo is set to graduate from Bishop Carroll High School this June.

    8 Things to do in Alberta in Summer


    Kayak and Take Pictures at Lake Louise

    Enjoy the view at Waterton Park

    Relive the Dinosaur Days at Royal Tyrrell Museum


    Hike the Candian Rockies

    Dare to go Whitewater Rafting at Kananaskis River

    Explore Jasper and its SKywalk

    Cool Down at World Waterpark

    Take a part at different festivals


    40th Sacredotal Anniversary


    On April 28,  2019, a momentous and historic event in the Filipino clergy and the faithful community was the 40 th ordination anniversary of 4 priests.  They were classmates in the seminary of Virac, Catanduanes Philippines.

    Two serve in the Calgary parish  – Fr. Ben Marino and  Fr. EdmundVargas, Fr. Vince Borre from Victoria B.C. and Fr. John Tubale from Regina, Saskatchewan.

    Vicar General Fr. Wilbert Chin Jon concelebrated mass with 8 priests and a deacon.

    Bishop William McGrattan said grace at the reception with a full house attendance at St. James Church Hall with parishioners from Calgary and Edmonton.

    The event was coordinated by the Filipino Catholic Society of the Diocese of Calgary – FCSDC in partnership with El Shaddai group.



    Here’s what I know


    By Toni Surtida

    Early in my career in the auto industry, I had an experience so profound that it affected how I conduct my business.

    I was working at West Edmonton Chrysler as a sales consultant when I met this gentleman, whom I’ll call Daniel. He was a recent immigrant to Canada and just bought (and financed) a little four-door from one of our sales personnel. He was happy to be getting his first major purchase. I was happy for him as well, congratulated him and offered my services to him, even though he didn’t buy the vehicle from me. A few days later I even called him just to make sure everything was OK. He said everything was fine. I never heard back from him, but about two months later his wife came to see me and told me that Daniel had died suddenly from a heart attack. She was still grieving and had to find out what to do with the car her husband bought. I didn’t know what transpired when Daniel purchased the vehicle, but the business office did, so I turned her over to the business manager. To make a long story short, she had to give the vehicle back and had to struggle for a couple of years until she was able to purchase a vehicle on her own.

    Fast forward to September 2008, I had just returned to the auto industry after a four-year absence. I had just taken over the lease maturity office when this lady came to see me. She was in her early sixties and. her son was with her. I could just feel all the emotions building up inside of her when she informed me that her husband – Armand passed away barely a month ago. He had a massive stroke and was instantly taken away from her. They were together for 40 years. She explained that Armand had leased a vehicle from the dealership about a year ago, and now that he’s gone, she wanted to know what would happen to the vehicle. She prayed that she wouldn’t have to give it up because this was the only vehicle they had, and she needed it to get to and from work. I pulled the original lease documents and both she and I sat down with the business manager, who took care of the documents a year ago,) and reviewed the file. To her complete amazement she was informed that she could keep the car to the end of the contract and all her car payments would be taken care of until the end of the lease.

    Here’s what I know…. the above stories while similar had different endings. Armand secured his car loan with a Life & Disability Insurance, while Daniel did not. Armand made sure his family was protected so that if something were to ever happen to him, they wouldn’t have to struggle with the car payments. His wife and family were glad he did.

    Life and disability insurance is typically offered the car buyer right before signing the bank documents. Quite often this option is declined by the buyer. Unfortunately, catastrophic events do happen in life. If we’re not prepared, then we suffer the consequences.

    Next time you buy a vehicle, ask your sales consultant about life and disability insurance.

    Question of the week

    Question: I leased a 2016 minivan three years ago. My payments are $650 per month. My wife and I are working a lot fewer hours now and we’re having a hard time with the car payments. What can we do to lower the payment?

    Answer: There are a couple of things that comes to mind.

    Find out what your payoff amount is, then take out a loan to payout that lease. You can apply for the loan at your bank, or have the car dealership do it for you. Find out how much your payments will be for different terms (48 months, 60 months or 72 months), and then decide which payment suits you best.

    Trade the vehicle in and enjoy another new vehicle. This is very possible. During these tough economic times rebates, discounts and all kinds of incentives abound. I bet your car dealer can take you out of your old vehicle and into a new (or newer) and keep your payments the same or better. Ask your sales consultant. They’ll be well equipped to answer all your questions.

    Questions may be directed to

    The Plate Department


    Zac Ardena is one of the newer additions to the Calgary culinary talent pool. This George Brown Chef School graduate has worked in many high-profile restaurants and hotels in Toronto, such as Momofuku and the Ritz Carlton. Zac seeks to become a voice for Filipino cuisine and culture through his writing, food and videos. At the moment, he works as a Chef de Partie at Blink Restaurant and Bar.


    Scotch Kwek Kwek

    This appetizer dish is something I came up with for last year’s “Balik Kultura” event at Oxbow; where I, along with 3 other Filipino chefs, came up with our own personal takes on our favorite Filipino dishes. There’s nothing I love more than relaxing with a cold beer after a day in a hot kitchen. This unique take on kwek kwek, a battered and fried quail egg, is a great pulutan that goes perfectly with your favorite cold drink.



    12 Quail Eggs

    1 lb longganisa sausage meat, removed from casing

    1 Cup All-Purpose Flour plus ½ Cup for dredging

    1 Cup Club Soda or Light Beer

    2 Tbsp Ground Annatto

    3 Tbsp Cornstarch

    ½ Tsp Baking powder

    ½ Tsp salt

    1 Cup white vinegar

    ½ Cup water

    1 quart of oil for frying



    Boiling and peeling the quail eggs:

    1. Prepare an ice bath for the eggs to prevent them from overcooking after boiling.
    2. After bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil, carefully drop the eggs in and let boil for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Immediately remove the eggs from the water and place into the ice bath.
    3. Combine the vinegar with the water in a container. Once the eggs have cooled, place the eggs in the vinegar mixture and let sit until the eggshells have softened. This may take at least 1 hour.
    4. Carefully peel the softened shell off the egg. Try finding the bubble on one end of the egg and slowly work from there.


    Preparing the batter and frying:

    1. Heat the oil in a small pot or wok on medium-high heat, or at approximately 355°F (or 180°C).
    2. Combine the 1 cup of flour with the corn starch, annatto, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the soda water or beer into the flour mixture until it forms a smooth batter, with the consistency of pancake batter.
    3. Separate the longganisa meat into 12 even portions. Wrap each quail egg with the longganisa meat.
    4. Dredge each wrapped egg in the remaining flour then dip into the batter. Make sure the egg is completely covered in the batter!
    5. Fry for about 3 minutes, then remove from oil on to a paper towel lined plate.
    6. Once cool, enjoy with your favorite kwek kwek dipping sauce!


    Studying in Canada simpler and faster with Study Direct Stream


    The Study Direct Stream (SDS) provides a streamlined study permit application process for students who will directly enter their program or course of choice at an eligible Canadian school. Because of faster processing time and fewer financial documents required, the application process is much simpler for Filipinos.

    Some international students can get their study permits faster by using the Student Direct Stream. Most Student Direct Stream applications will be processed within 20 calendar days if you are eligible.

    Who can apply

    To be eligible for faster processing through the Student Direct Stream, you must:

    • Be a legal resident living in China, India, the Philippines, or Vietnam
    • Have an acceptance letter from a post-secondary designated learning institution
    • Prove that you’ve paid the tuition fees for your first year of study
    • Live outside of Canada when you apply
    • Have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of C$10,000
    • Get a medical exam before you apply
    • Get a police certificate before you apply
    • Have a language test result that shows:
    • a score of 6.0 or higher in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening) on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or
    • a Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) score that is equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of at least 7 in each skill (reading, writing, speaking and listening)

    Who isn’t eligible for the Student Direct Stream

    If you live in another country (even if you’re a citizen of one of the countries above), you have to apply through the regular study permit application process.

    If you don’t meet the eligibility for faster processing, you may still be eligible for a study permit through the regular study permit application process.

    Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

    A GIC is a Canadian investment that has a guaranteed rate of return for a fixed period of time. Many banks offer GICs. The bank that gives you the GIC must confirm that you bought a GIC by giving you one of the following:

    • a letter of attestation
    • a GIC certificate
    • an Investment Directions Confirmation or
    • an Investment Balance Confirmation
    • hold the GIC in an investment account or a student account that you can’t access until you arrive in Canada
    • make you confirm your identity before they release any funds to you
    • release the funds to you by providing:
    • an initial lump sum once you identify yourself upon arrival in Canada
    • the remainder of the funds in monthly or bi-monthly installments over 10 to 12 months

    If your bank or GIC doesn’t meet these criteria, you won’t be able to apply through the Student Direct Stream.

    The following banks offer GICs that meet the criteria:

    • Bank of Beijing
    • Bank of China
    • Bank of Montreal
    • Bank of Xian Co. Ltd.
    • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
    • HSBC Bank of Canada
    • ICICI Bank
    • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
    • RBC Royal Bank
    • SBI Canada Bank
    • Scotiabank

    Bring your spouse, partner or child with you to Canada

    Your spouse, common-law partner and dependent children may also be able to get faster processing on a visitor visa, work permit or study permit. You must complete and submit their applications at the same time as your own.

    Written by:

    Leann Iamartino;

    Senior Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant; Commissioner of Oaths

    Foothills Immigration Inc.

    Source –

    Alberta Filipinos Cast Their Votes in Philippine General Election


    By: Adrian Dayrit

    Filipinos in Alberta cast their overseas ballots in the Philippine National Election, which was held May 13.

    Registered Filipino voters in Alberta were mailed their ballots and could deliver the ballots to the consulate in person or mail them in before the date of the election. Over 1,000 Filipinos in Canada mailed their ballots to the Philippine Consulate General in Calgary.

    Though over 18,000 political posts were up for election across the country, the 12 senatorial positions up for grabs were the most watched, as it acted as a referendum for President Duterte’s policies.

    Bato de la Rosa garnered the most votes from Filipinos in Alberta followed Doc Willie Ong and Bong Go. The party list that received the most votes from Filipinos in Alberta were the ACT-CIS followed by the AA-KASOSYO Party.

    The voter turn-out for this election is reported at 74.3 %, which is down from the last midterm election in 2013, with a reported 77% turn-out.

    “Some people had difficulty getting their ballots or couldn’t vote at all because they had changed their addresses or phone numbers.” says voter Benjie Lindo, Chairperson of Duterte Volunteers of Alberta Canada. “I was registered so I had no issues voting. I just wanted to vote pro- Duterte senators.”

    Nine of the 12 elected senators are pro-Duterte and three are independents.

    Opposition to Duterte is now a minority in the 24-seat Senate, which will allow the President to enact his more controversial policies without opposition.

    The policies include re-enacting the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.



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