Aegis Celebrates 20 Years, Sells Out Concert in Calgary

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By Chelsea Tan

The well-renowned band Aegis celebrated 20 years in the music industry this year.

Their classic hits Halik, Basang Basa Sa Ulan and Luha, which continue to resonate with Filipino fans all over the globe.

The seven-member group is touring North America for the latter part of the year, and we caught up with them during their press conference here in Calgary.

Juliet Sunot, one of the lead singers, spoke about their experience in the city.

“We can’t forget Calgary,” she says. “We’ve made so many memories here. Even though we’ve made you guys happy with our past performances, we hope that we’ll make you even happier through this concert, even though we’re getting really old.”

The band’s sold-out concert was held at the Grey Eagle Event Centre this past Oct 20 and fans were amazed to find that the calibre of their voices has not changed, despite two decades worth of performances.

“After 20 years, their voices are still the same,” says Calgary Aegis fan, Debbie. “They can still hit the high notes!”

The lead singers of the band are the siblings Juliet, Mercy, and Kris Sunot. They’re famous for belting out high notes in their signature raspy voices, and there’s nothing quite like the Aegis when it comes to epitomizing Filipino angst and heartbreak.

“We enjoyed watching and listening to their powerful performance,” says Debbie “It was definitely worth paying for.”

To celebrate two decades of music, the band held a star-studded concert in Manila in July at the famous Araneta Coliseum with guests like Vice Ganda and Anne Curtis.

The Coliseum, which is located in Quezon City, holds as much as 16,500 people.

When asked about their most memorable experience as a band, Juliet says filling the stadium was one of their most memorable moments.
“We filled the Smart Araneta Coliseum!” The band’s keyboardist, Stella Pablico echoed the sentiment.

“We had our first major concert at the Araneta Coliseum, and although it was raining hard, the fans still showed up.”

 

 

 

Downtown library ‘for everyone’: Nenshi

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    By Darlene Casten

    The new Central library opened Nov. 1 with thousands lining up to get a look at the $245 million building.

    Mayor Naheed Nenshi opened the library, telling the crowd, the building is here as a springboard for dreams and is open to all Calgarians.

    “We believe in public spaces for everyone,” Nenshi said. “Whether you’ve lived here for hundreds of years or you arrived last week from terrible conditions in a refugee camp. This place is for you.”

    Justine Bacani was at the opening with her cousin and sister, who had the day off school.

    “We wanted to be one of the first to see the library,” Bacani says as her younger sibling and cousin played a wood block stacking game in the children’s area.

    Bacani and her family members were three of 52, 223 people who visited the library on its opening weekend.

    They waited in the lineup starting at 9:30 a.m. on the opening day and were still at the library at 1 p.m.

    “They are enjoying, so I don’t mind,” Bacani says.

    The modern and retro design and acclaimed architecture of the building impressed Bacani.

    “It’s very cool,” she says. I’d like to come here more often to study.”

    The Ilocano speaker was surprised to hear the library carries Filipino language and Filipino dialect books and movies from the Philippines.

    Sarah Meilleur, director service delivery, says the Calgary Public Library builds its foreign language collection based on the growing ethnic populations.

    “We have over 20 languages…in print, DVDs and CDs,” she says.

    Many books are dual language, to help those learning to the Filipino language or Filipino speakers wanting to learn English.

    The new central library also has immigrant services through Immigrant Services Calgary on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Settlement workers will meet with new immigrants to answer their questions and point them to other service agencies that can assist them.

    The new building, over four floors, also has in indoor children’s play area, study areas, public meeting spaces, video-conference room and a teen tech lab with everything from video games to sewing machines.

    The new central library is located on 3rd Street SE, behind City Hall.

     

    Are you the Hunter or the Hunted? Surviving or thriving the Jungle of Life

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      Years ago I worked as a young, hungry investment advisor on Bay Street, Toronto.  Bay Street was the heart of the financial services industry in Canada. It was the home of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the headquarters of every major financial institution in Canada.  This was where the action was.  I felt like a modern day soldier going into battle, wearing my fancy suit, carrying my briefcase while attempting to close business with anyone who would listen to me. My suit was my armour. My briefcase was my shield and my pen was my sword. I was one of many “suits” hunting for the next deal and determined to make a name for ourselves. Everyday I would look around downtown and see well dressed guys just like me living in this dog eat dog environment. It was ruthless, scary and exciting all at the same time. I loved it!

       

      It was the summer of 2008 and I was on the floor of the New York Stock exchange. I remember one afternoon seeing the frenzy of activity that caused everyone in the building to feel this sense of panic. I looked up at the stock ticker symbols to see an ocean of red.  This was a bad sign as the stock market was plummeting.  The stock market wasn’t just down, it was collapsing.  The basis of our entire financial system was in turmoil.  There I was in the heart of the 2008 Financial Crisis, the worst global economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929 wondering what in the world was happening. As I observed the commotion, this trader turns to me and says “This is an absolute bloodbath. Kid, it’s a jungle out there and you need to learn to survive or this world will eat you up.”

       

      That advice still rings true today as we do live in a concrete jungle.  My colleagues and I would joke around and ask, ”How do you survive a bear attack in the woods? You out run your friend who you are camping with!”

       

      I remember reading the 2005 best selling book by Thomas Friedman called “The World is Flat”.  In this book he recounts a tale he labeled “An African Proverb”.  I have also seen it on a motivational poster titled “The Essence of Survival”. It goes as follows:

       

      “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.  It doesn’t matter whether you are the lion or a gazelle- when the sun comes up, you’d better be running “

       

      Lions represent the leaders of the market. He is fierce and feeds on his competition. He swallows up the slowest, weakest gazelles without mercy. In his eyes, this is life and he’s doing what is natural to him. There are few lions and only the best animals can become lions in the field. This is why we call him the King of the Jungle.

       

      Gazelles are abundant. They are common and they are everywhere.  Gazelles symbolize the herd of average people. You know who they are as they are also known as sheep in some social circles. You don’t have to be the best to survive, you must only be faster than your slowest competition to win another day of life.

       

      Lions are masterful hunters who need a high level of skill to reign over their kingdom.

      Gazelles need average standards to get by. They often fly under the radar and can be forgotten in a social circle. They feel secure in the safety of their crowd. The gazelle believes in the illusion of safety in the herd. Yet deep down inside they know one will die today.  They just hope it’s not them.

       

      Why is this story of the Lion or the Gazelle important?  Whether it’s business, career, social climbing, personal life if you want more out of life you cannot be the gazelle. If you want to reign over your kingdom you have to be a lion and master the skills required to be a king. It all starts in your mindset and how you see yourself. Ask yourself are you a lion or are you a gazelle? Are you a hunter or are you the hunted?

      Whatever the average person does, do the opposite. The most highly successful people create winning habits and do the opposite of the average person.  This is why they are extraordinary. If you do the opposite of the ordinary and resist the urge to follow the herd, logically you will succeed with results unique to your efforts.

       

      Paretos Principle states that for many events, roughly 20 percent of your actions will create 80 percent of your results. This is also known as the law of vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity.  In the animal kingdom, lions represent the 5% of the animals that controls 95% of the gazelles. In the concrete jungle of North America, 1% controls 99% of the world’s wealth.

       

      If this principle holds true, why would anyone want to be a gazelle when you could be a lion. It starts with how you see yourself and your belief that you either are a lion or can become a lion. You must commitment and always see yourself in this way.

       

      Find people who are lions and seek out mentorship. Surround yourself around a pride of other lions and avoid the herd of gazelle.

      Ask yourself the following:

      How many books have you read in the last 12 months to improve yourself?

      How many coaches or mentors have you worked with over the last 12 months?

      How many seminars, networking events or conferences have you attended?

       

      If you answered zero to any, odds are you are becoming a gazelle. While you can, change your mindset and go out and rule the way you are meant to. Find your inner lion.

       

      ABOUT MICHAEL SIERVO

       

      Michael Siervo is a successful strategist, public speaker, entrepreneur, mentor, philanthropist and visionary. He has held high ranking positions in several Fortune 500 Companies and influenced the development, turnaround and growth of some of the most successful product launches in Canadian history. He was the youngest and first visible minority Vice President in Western Canada for the oldest financial institution in Canada.  He has been awarded several top performance awards in his industry as well as recognized for the 2018 Community Spirit Award in Calgary. Michael is passionate about personal self-development for the betterment of humanitarian and philanthropic causes. He currently sits on the board of several charities and resides with his wife in Calgary.

       

       

      Simbang Gabi

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      Everyday Heroisms – Life’s Enrichments

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      Higher Story by Dolly Castillo

      The simple unobtrusive way of life of most people passes on unceremoniously at first glance. Yet, if the surface is scratched deeper, by way of personal stories and revelations shared with frankness and candor, jewels of life lessons surprisingly come up. Sharing life experiences is a powerful conveyor of beautiful, and at times, fascinating food for thought. Permit me to pass on such stories full of human sentiment and wisdom. The sharing is meant to enlarge and enlighten listeners of life’s twists and turns – at times strange, inspirational and defying usual logic. Yet proving once more the power of faith and trust that can overturn what could have been disastrous.

      Let’s start with a young woman who suffered a heart attack when she was conceiving her fourth child.  The doctor discouraged her from proceeding with the pregnancy. He strongly recommended ending the life of the fetus. The mother was wracked with guilt, doubts and confusion as she searched her mind for a decision she could live with. Faith, prayers and trust in the Divine are what kept her from going out of her mind. Foremost was still the resolve to keep the baby and brace for any outcome, difficult though it may be. The pregnancy proceeded and though premature, the baby was delivered safely. It was such a hard situation with heart wrenching and risky unpredictable results. The mother and child are happy in their world of being alive, continuing as best they could.

      The stories of immigration and being transplanted to a new and different culture revolve on challenges of integration. Uprooting oneself from comfortable and predictable lives and relearning expectations, systems, surroundings is a big challenge. The beauty is such adjustments usually result in fairly successful outcomes. Nobody freaks out beyond control, some manageable frustrations are handled with good sense and practicality and people survive for another hopeful day. Other revelations are the readiness to accept any kind of jobs that will tide the family over in their daily needs of shelter, food and other living expenses. Dignity of labor and earning one’s keep with their own efforts and sweat motivate the people to work hard and honestly. There are no shortcuts, especially when earnings are shared with some needy families back in the old country. The upside is an increase of income with two or three jobs, so more can be shared. The downside is lack of time and energy for the family at home. All of these sacrifices are taken in stride in the hopes of better tomorrows.

      In the face of hardships, there are people with big hearts who help and empathize. I know of elders and seniors who themselves are strapped for time, energies and even cash, who still manage to help in their own way. An elderly woman cares for a young boy of a single mother who had to work. The pay is menial, but the happiness and joy the woman and young boy share is a sight to behold. Gurgling laughter and tight hugs renew the souls of these individuals. Priceless are relationships which derive simple joys from each other – lifting spirits from the abyss of human miseries.

      Such are the unexplainable mysteries of life. What appears to be hard and frustrating, somehow has some surprising silver lining. People rise up to the challenges of a full life, knowing that pain undergone will transform into happy souls. The richness of peoples’ inner worlds is a mine of intersecting positives and negatives.

      It is up to our choices what kind of decency prevails and owning responsibility for consequences.

       

       

       

       

      Meal Prepping 101­­

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      You go to the gym. You kill your workouts! You reap the benefits of the physical activity and love every minute of it.

      But it takes up so much of your free time to prepare a well balance and healthy meal.

      If you’re interested in less-hectic mealtimes, saving time in the kitchen or making healthier food choices, you need to try meal prepping. It ranges from simply preparing freezer smoothie packs for breakfast to cooking complete dinners for the upcoming week. Keep in mind, there is no right way to meal prep — it’s about what works best for you. And you don’t need to spend your entire Sunday in the kitchen to get it done. Prepping meals will make it easier to eat well during the week.

      Determine the best prep method for you

      Make-ahead meals: For those with little time to prepare meals during the week, cooking complete meals in advance that can be reheated at mealtimes (like a pot of soup or a casserole) makes for superfast weeknight dinners.

      Batch cooking/freezing: Batch cooking is preparing multiple batches of a recipe to be portioned out and frozen for meals in the weeks to come. For example, doubling a chili recipe or steaming extra rice to freeze and use in the next three to six months.

      Individually portioned meals: Those with specific health goals or looking for the convenience of grab-and-go meals may choose to prepare foods and portion them into individual servings. Think overnight oats portioned into single-serving containers, and Mason jar salads.

      Ready-to-cook ingredients: If you prefer to cook meals right before serving, prepping ingredients (e.g., chopping onion and peppers in advance for chili) cuts down on kitchen time, which can be especially helpful on a busy weeknight.

      Plan your meals

      Once you’ve decided on the type(s) of meal prep you’d benefit most from, spend a few minutes creating a simple game plan to keep you organized. Consider the following as you write a menu and prep plan:

      Choose meal(s) to prep: Are you looking to streamline your morning routine? Prepping smoothie packs cuts down on time spent on breakfast. If busy evenings limit time to cook during the week, consider make-ahead dinners that can be easily reheated.

      Write your menu: When planning your menu and prep, rely on some tried and true recipes that you’ve cooked before, with one or two new recipes thrown in. Keeping things simple will help save you time. Build meals around seasonal produce for best flavor and value—think butternut squash in the fall and ripe summer tomatoes. If you’re not sure where to start, a batch of brown rice, a few chicken breasts and a tray of roasted vegetables are easily assembled into everything from rice bowls to fried rice to salads.

      Schedule your prep: Setting aside some time for actually prepping is important! Consider meal prepping on the same day you shop and write a realistic prep plan. It may not be reasonable to cook five meals in an hour, but you may have time to prep certain ingredients for the recipes.

      Shop and stocked

      With your menu planned, it’s time to build a shopping list.

       

      Stock up on staples:  Stocking your pantry with a variety of reliable goods, like dried herbs and spice blends and shelf-stable whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, simplifies meal prepping. Low-sodium canned beans and broth, fridge staples like eggs and precooked chicken sausage and a few freezer-friendly foods can transform prepped ingredients into meals in minutes.

      Build a better shopping list: Navigate the grocery store quickly with a list organized by department. Keep a running inventory of foods you frequently use during weekly prep, like olive oil, onions or brown rice and add these to your list when necessary.

      Check your supply of containers: Depending on your plan for the week, you will need an assortment of storage containers, including glass and plastic containers with lids and zip-top storage and freezer bags. Consider these container recommendations for packing work lunches.

      Prep and store

      Make the most of your time: Begin with foods that require the longest cooking times. Preheat the oven and prepare ingredients that will be cooked first. Bring water to a boil for longer-cooking grains like farro or brown rice. If two recipes call for the same ingredient, like chopped onions, prep the onions for both recipes at once, then divide to use as needed.

      Wash your cutting board between tasks, cut produce that will be eaten raw first, followed by produce to be cooked. Always remember to use a clean cutting board and utensils after preparing raw proteins, like meat or poultry.

      Be mindful of storage life: If stored in airtight containers, cut vegetables like onions and peppers will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator. Heartier vegetables, like chopped carrots and winter squash, will keep for at least four days. Lettuce and greens that have been washed, dried and kept in the refrigerator can stay fresh for up to a week. Cooked vegetables, grains and dishes containing meat, poultry, seafood or eggs should be consumed within three to four days. Be sure to reheat to 165℉.

      Freeze properly for best quality: Foods like soup, chili, casserole and cooked grains are easily frozen for future meals. During those crazy busy weeks, there is nothing more gratifying than pulling a ready-to-reheat meal from the freezer!

      For soups and cooked grains, cool to room temperature (within two hours) and store in quart-size plastic containers or zip-top freezer bags. Leave an inch at the top of containers for food to expand as it freezes. Top casseroles with wax paper and cover tightly in foil. Label and date containers and set reminders to consume frozen foods within three to six months. Be sure to reheat to a cooking temperature of 165℉ when ready to serve.

      Enjoy the fruits of your labour

      With a bit of practice, you will discover a style of meal prep that works best for you. Whether you prep ingredients for one meal, prepare work lunches for the week, or cook a double batch of chili to freeze for next month, any amount of time spent meal prepping yields big returns. If you’re in need of menu inspiration, check-out next month issue for some Filipino inspired recipes.

       

       

      Alberta removes minimum income requirement, updates language minimum for Alberta Opportunity Stream

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      Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program says changes will ‘make it easier for people to apply’

       

      Two important changes have been introduced to the Alberta Opportunity Stream, including the removal of its minimum income requirement and an update to its minimum language requirements. This change came into effect Nov. 1, 2018.

      First change – Removal of Income threshold requirement.

      The removal of the minimum income requirement will be applied to all applications submitted on or after June 14, 2018, which is the day the new Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) began accepting applications.

      If you submitted an application under the Alberta Opportunity Stream any time after June 14, 2018, the adjusted criteria will be applied to your application. This means you will not be assessed against the income threshold.

      The AINP will still check that candidates are being paid the provincial minimum wage for their occupation, set out in their Labour Market Impact Assessment.

       

      “Successful nominees already have jobs when they apply to the program, which helps to show that they can support themselves and their families,” the AINP update reads.

      Second change – Adjustment of the Language Requirement.

      The other change concerns minimum language requirements, which the AINP has adjusted for both candidates working in a field that is rated skill level C or D under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) and an NOC skill level of 0, A or B.

      People working in National Occupational Classification (NOC) C and D jobs can continue to apply with a Canadian Language Benchmark score of 4. There are no longer any planned increases to the language requirement for people working in National Occupational Classification C and D jobs.

       

      When the Alberta Opportunity Stream was unveiled in June, the AINP said the minimum language requirement would increase to CLB 5 beginning June 14, 2019. This is now no longer the case for NOC C or D rated occupations.

      People working in National Occupational Classification 0, A and B jobs can continue to apply with a Canadian Language Benchmark score of 4 until January 1, 2020. As of January 1, 2020, these candidates will be required to have a Canadian Language Benchmark score of 5. This change extends the transition time for the increase in language requirements for these candidates.

       

       “These changes will make it easier for people to apply to the program and will help make sure Alberta can continue to fill job shortages with qualified candidates when there are no Albertans or Canadians available to do the work”.

      International Graduates of Alberta Post-secondary Institutions 

       

      International students can benefit from the Alberta Opportunity Stream if they have completed their studies at an approved Alberta post-secondary institution and are employed in Alberta on a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

      The AINP urges student applicants who demonstrate education and skills that are aligned with Alberta’s labour market needs to make use of the Alberta Opportunity Stream.

      To apply, international students must:

      • show that they have at least six months of work experience in Alberta in an occupation related to their field of study (this is less than the requirement for other applicants).
      • meet the same minimum language and income requirements listed on this page.

      It is important to note that international students who have studied in other Canadian provinces will not be eligible for the AINP as Post-Graduation Work Permit holders. They can, however, be considered for the program if they have a different type of work permit.

       

      Written by:

       

      Leann Iamartino; Senior Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant; Commissioner of Oaths

      Foothills Immigration Inc.

       

       

      Fun Page

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      Fun Page

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      Philippine Bobsled Team to Train in Calgary

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      By Lindsay Santos

      Photos By Buddy Cunanan

      The Philippine National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton Association, Inc. (PNBLSA) announced their plans to make Calgary their permanent home base for training as they vie for a spot in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

       

      In partnership with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, the Philippine bobsled team aims to send four of their athletes to Calgary next month.

       

      They made the announcement in a press release last month.

       

      “We are very excited to make Calgary our team’s new home as we admire Canadian bobsledders and their instructors who have greatly distinguished themselves,” says Buddy Cunanan, the PNBLSA’s founder and president. “We also feel that the operating environment in Canada and the support of the local Filipino community are ideal for the advancement of our team and our long-term objective.”

       

      The first organization of its kind in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, the PNBLSA was established last winter.

       

      “Personally, I’ve always been intrigued about this sport,” Cunanan says.

      “We like to do things that have never been done before in the Philippines and when an opportunity came to train in Austria, we took it.”

       

      The Philippine bobsled team trained for four months in Austria before competing in two-man bobsled competitions in the Europa Cup.

       

      “It was a very rewarding experience given the fact that it was their first experience competing and being in that kind of environment,” Cunanan says.

       

      Philippine Coast Guards (PCG)s Sid Isidro and Jeffrey De la Cruz passed the vetting process, beating out 15 other PCGs to secure the coveted spots on the Philippine bobsled team.

       

      “As Coast Guardsmen, they have the required discipline, strong work ethic, commitment, and they are also highly trained athletes,” Cunanan says.

       

      “In Austria, they were no match for the powerhouse teams but the mere fact that there were no mishaps, injuries, or accidents and that there was a progression because their times kept on improving, I’m proud of them. They performed admirably,”

       

      On behalf of the PNBLSA, Cunanan is calling on the support of the Calgary-Filipino community to take on the role of Kuyas and Ates to help the Philippine bobsled team adapt when they move to Calgary .

      “None of us know what to expect in Calgary, so I’d like to reach out to the community to provide mentorship for our athletes while they’re there,” Cunanan says.

       

      “I’m confident that we can accomplish great things with the community’s support.”

       

      Contact Cunanan on WhatsApp at +63-922-842-5665 or email him at buddy.cunanan@gmail.com for more information on what you can do to support the PNBLSA.

       

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

       

       

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