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Mabuhay Calgary started 10 years ago with three friends with all the skills to create the city’s first Filipino newspaper.
Ramel Oriel was looking to drum up business for his wife’s dental clinic amongst the Filipino community. With no Filipino media to advertise in, Ramel decided that starting up a Filipino newspaper was the only way to get the word out.
“My motivation was to advertise Christine’s dental clinic that we were just opening up,” Ramel recalls.
He reached out to friends Jay Raymundo and Arnie Laoag.
“Jay was always the entrepreneur from business school, so he was an easy guy to approach about it,” Ramel says. “And Arnie was creative and a photographer so he really complemented our group.”
Arnie’s creativity led to the full-page Mabuhay ads that paid homage to Filipino customs.
“They were special and I believe important because it allowed the three of us to collaborate and in our own way help share the things that make Filipinos unique and special,” Arnie says. “It was a sense of pride because our paper was the only one doing that here in the Calgary area. Plus, it gave our paper a personality and kept things fun.”
Jay brought in friend Will Tigley, a communications major, who in turn brought in other communications major friends, Anne Claire Danan and Kathy Baker.
Together, these three oversaw the editorial aspect of the paper by recruiting writers and searching out all the great stories coming from the Filipino community in Calgary.
Darlene Casten, a journalism major, joined the team a year later and started out as a writer and later joined Will as an editor.
“Mabuhay Calgary has been very fortunate that Will and Darlene have been there through three ownership groups,” Ramel says. “They’ve been dedicated and give Mabuhay Calgary the professional quality control that no one else could have contributed.”
Jay, Arnie and Ramel found an enthusiastic advertising base and loved getting involved in the Filipino community and associations, sponsoring events and putting on Independence Day picnics over four-and-a-half years.
During that time, a lot changed for the three friends—career changes, children (including twins) and marriage on the horizon for the trio.
“The newspaper demanded quite a time commitment and we could no longer continue dedicating our time to it and we were fortunate enough to be able to hand it off to Cherrie and Cecil,” Ramel says.
To see the newspaper carry their legacy on strong has been rewarding, he adds.
“Congratulations to Mabuhay Calgary and we wish you continued success.”
We got involved with Mabuhay Calgary in 2009 when Cecil and I were looking for a copy of the newspaper we always loved to read whenever we were at our dentist’s office. We learned that Ramel Oriel had already shut it down for about a year.
Having a background in advertising and looking for a business opportunity, Cecil and I decided to convince Ramel to let us continue the MC publication.
Our first issue came out in September 2009 after its one-year hiatus. It was well-received by previous advertisers as well as the community at large. Associations and NGOs started to liaise with us on their upcoming activities and gatherings to be included in the paper’s next issue.
Mabuhay Calgary as a business is not financially gratifying… well, not during our time as the publishers. However, there is this sense of pride once people start to recognize you as the publisher of one of the most trustworthy and straightforward community newspapers in Calgary. So that’s why we focused on the paper for the next four years.
Let me tell you the other perks we had while being the “head honchos” of MC:
- Working with the team of young, talented, smart, intelligent and good-looking people that made Cecil and I (especially) feel like I’m just like them.
- The opportunity to meet and get to know different leaders in our community.
- The privilege of being the Filipino voice on important issues within the community.
- The chance of experiencing a stress like no other during the first editions we published.
- And of course, somehow earning a little so we could share more with the team.
Do we miss it? NO.
No, because the paper is still around as if nothing happened when we passed it on to the new publishers. We missed the team, though. The TEAM is what kept us going. The monthly meetings, the twice-a-year team building and of course, our annual Christmas party.
Nevertheless, we wish Mabuhay Calgary all the best and that you may continue to be a paper with integrity for the next generations to come.
—Cherrie and Cecil
This year we are celebrating Mabuhay Calgary’s 10th year anniversary.
Mabuhay has been the most trusted and widely read Filipino community newspaper in Calgary and neighbouring cities for the past decade.
It wouldn’t be possible if not for all the editors, writers, photojournalists, contributors and columnists. Your hard work and dedication has brought our publication original news and features that capture our readers support. We would like to specially mention our senior editors Will Tigley and Darlene Casten, photography editors Jeff Cruz and Quay Evano, layout artist Lillian Mak and illustrator Mark Santos. Thank you for all the sleepless weekends and for bringing Mabuhay to where it is now.
Our vigilance, high respect for journalistic ethics and fairness keeps Mabuhay’s reputation intact and strong. We continue to serve the community by gathering relevant information and providing news that matters.
Community service over profit is the core value of Mabuhay. Its vision to build a stronger community by giving it a voice is supported by our advertisers. Our shared commitment and principles has kept Mabuhay going over the years.
A decade is a milestone for all of us and to celebrate this, Mabuhay will be launching its website www. mabuhaynews.ca. This will be a new endeavor for our organization as we enter a new phase in our publication. Mabuhay will be expanding its presence digitally and on social media.
To all our readers, Mabuhay will be around as long as you all have stories to tell and share. From relevant issues that need attention to stories of triumph and success of fellow kababayans. Mabuhay Calgary is and always will be your newspaper.
MARAMING SALAMAT PO!
—Vangie and Paolo
After months of fruitful talks, the government decided to finally fold its tent and abandon the peace talks with communist rebels. This came in the wake of six soldiers getting killed in an encounter with the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Before the incident the talks turned lukewarm when the insurgents called out Duterte on his promise to release 400 political prisoners. They also accused the military of violating the bi-lateral ceasefire by en-roaching on the rebels’ strong hold areas.
“Peace talks will remain cancelled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Duterte pronounced.
The administration of Rodrigo Duterte has been engaged in a peace talks with the CPP, the longest running insurgency in Asia. Just last week the third round of talks was concluded and set the next meeting on February 24. But even before this happens the CPP announced it is ending its ceasefire and they will be on active defensive mode. This followed by the government announcing its own lifting of ceasefire and declaring an all-out war with the NPA. The government also suspended the immunity of all those consultants participating in the talks and moved for their immediate arrest. This was denounced by the lawyers of the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the CPP as it violates previous agreements.
The NDFP however did not dismiss the possibility of resuming the talks with the government. They cautioned Duterte not to listen those militarists and United States-lapdogs advising the later. The CPP-NPA-NDF openly criticizes the United States for its role in keeping the Philippines as its semi-colony thus keeping the country impoverish and its continued political meddling. Fidel Agcaoili one the lead consultants for the NDFP blamed “spoilers in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the neo-liberal globalization members in the cabinet” for the collapse of their once promising peace talks with the Duterte government.
On the other hand cabinet secretaries known to belong to leftist groups urged the government to proceed with the talks despite the current state.
In a statement, Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano, Social Work and Community Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Masa said ““The current agenda on the table, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), is the most substantive agenda in the negotiations and is key to lasting peace and long-term poverty eradication.”
Given all the issues at hand and the continued tirade between both parties would there still be a ray of hope for peace?
Is it really that simple to just walk away to the process when things get messy? Is it easier to just point guns at each other and quit talking?
The peace talks is a golden opportunity to address the centuries of problems plaguing the country. It is a chance to address the root cause of the insurgency which is the rampant poverty and a political system that only favors the few and not the many. There has been set backs but there has also been progress. Socio-economic and political reforms are to be tabled on the next round of talks. But how would we get there if we are quitting on peace. Finding common ground is the hardest part in any negotiations but this does not mean that we should give up on peace because there is misunderstanding.
Duterte who claimed he is a leftist should learn from past administrations. He should know better that peace talks is beyond ceasefires. And that it should not be used as a tool for capitulation. He should take this chance to bring about real changes that he so proudly campaigned less than a year ago.
The Philippine Festival Council of Alberta in cooperation with ATB Financial and the City of Calgary will be kicking off the first-ever Fiesta Filipino to be held on September 5.
A free outdoor event hosted at the Calgary Olympic Plaza, Fiesta Filipino will showcase the famous Filipino hospitality and culture with foods, arts, entertainments and crafts.
“This is history in the making—the first-ever Fiesta Filipino in Calgary and in Alberta, if I’m not mistaken. Sa ating pagkakaisa, tiyak na tagumpay ang ating matatamasa,” says Prima Anderson, Fiesta Filipino volunteer.
“Having a rich and vibrant mix of culture and different talents in the Filipino community, there will be a great array of entertainment on the ground and on centre stage for sure,” Anderson says.
As planned programming is still a work in progress, Anderson welcomes all kababayans to come on board and share their talents.
“This is a good opportunity set before us to be out in the open and show Calgary and surrounding areas who we are, what we know, what do we have culturally, and what we can do as a community.”
ATB customer service manager, Rupert Matilla, echoes Anderson’s sentiments about banding together as a community to help promote and celebrate the Filipino culture.
“ATB Financial is proud to be a main sponsor of Fiesta Filipino because we have a strong appreciation and respect for the Filipino culture and celebrate diversity and inclusion.”
ATB will be launching the first Filipino branded MasterCard in Canada this summer. The card’s design will feature one of the main forms of public transport in the Philippines and a symbol of Filipino innovation and creativity, the jeepney.
At their Fiesta Filipino pavilion, ATB will be holding a contest with the grand prize of a $2,500 travel voucher to the Philippines. They will also host their own version of popular game show Deal or No Deal with cash and credit prizes.
For more information on Fiesta Filipino, visit their website at www. fiestafilipinoyyc.com.
Adobo Experience has been open for one month and the four Filipino partners of the new restaurant are experiencing success beyond their expectations.
With full reservations and line-ups out the door for lunch and dinner, Jeffrey Angeles, George Maliwat, Eva Parangalan, and Ronaldo Nunag are extremely pleased with the community response to their new restaurant venture.
“I’m getting a lot of good and positive feedback,” says Parangalan. “They like the food, they like our service and they like our price.”
Offering many of the main adobo dishes and other entrees under $10 or around the price point, Adobo Experience is drawing in a lot of people looking for an affordable Filipino meal.
“If you have $10, you have a complete meal,” explains Nunag. “For me, it’s like a magic $10. If you have $10, you can have drinks and whatever you want, like adobo.”
The main feature of the restaurant’s menu is their varieties of adobo. With a selection of meats from pork, pork belly, chicken, fish and beef you can mix it to a variety of adobo sauces ranging from traditional, spicy, crispy, coconut, tropical and cheesy.
“People should try everything, not only the adobo,” states Parangalan. “We serve everything. Like favourite dishes like sinigang and kalderata.”
The menu is aimed at bringing the real Filipino tastes to customer’s palates, but the experience doesn’t stop there. Nunag in particular is proud of the atmosphere Adobo Experience provides.
“You look at the surroundings and you feel like you’re back home in the Philippines,” says Nunag. “You sit down in the rattan chairs and especially Filipinos, they love eating and after they eat they want to relax.”
The four partners have put their hearts and souls into the restaurant each taking a turn at the essential jobs around Adobo Experience from managing, hosting, cooking, taking orders and bussing the tables.
“We each have equal partnership and equal rights in this restaurant, but it’s more about sharing the whole experience,” says Angeles. “All of us can do everything. The concept is everyone, even the servers, need to wear a chef’s uniform so we can all run around with no one noticing, ‘Oh that person should just be in the kitchen.’”
Each partner has experience in the food industry as chefs and managers. And everyone upon coming to Canada has dreamed of opening their own restaurant.
“It’s a blessing in disguise that we met and then together we planned to open this restaurant,” says Nunag. “We opened this not only to have a better career, but we opened this to encourage all the Filipinos living here.”
The former contract workers hopes to wake the sleeping giant that is over 50,000 Filipinos in Calgary.
“Filipinos are known as hardworking people and I want to show everyone that we’re a business-minded people as well,” says Nunag. “I want to show every Filipino living here that we can do it.”
Angeles points to the various cultural cuisines around the city that are already popular like Japanese and Vietnamese food. His hope is to make Filipino food known as well through a specialty dish that people can associate Filipinos with.
“We’re trying to have a signature dish that when people see it, a Filipino restaurant comes to their mind,” says Angeles. “When we were talking about how we want to stand out and we looked at adobo, we thought it is very easy to cook, but we’re going to put it to the next level.”
Angeles says that their expectation for sales and customers has been doubled from their first estimates with 50 to 60 percent of people coming through the door as repeat customers.
“We haven’t even done a lot of promotions yet,” says Angeles. “We didn’t even do flyers, just word-of-mouth.”
The group has plans to continue growing. Each hopes their success will mean future locations, but are focusing on their current location and building up what they offer on their menu.
“Right now we have limited items on the menu to stick to the basics so we can give the best of those items,” says Angeles. “We want the people to see how we grow every month, where we start to add one item at time to interest our followers.”
To become a follower of Adobo Experience visit their restaurant on 17th Avenue and 42 Street in Southeast Calgary or search for them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ready to go on a food trip? Philippine street foods also known as “pagkaing kalye” describes a wide range of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold and prepared in public places. Street foods are mostly spotted at schools, busses and jeep terminals, churches and parks.
Being exposed to these kind of foods when growing up in the Philippines makes you crave it, especially with this warm summer weather. We have the very famous skewered chicken and pork barbecue, the thirst-quenching sago and gulaman and the sweet treat halo-halo.
Rich and poor benefit from nutritious and low cost meals that are prepared in minutes right before our very eyes.
Pagkaing kalye is comparable to the food vendors we normally see at our very own Calgary Stampede grounds. But we have more exotic ingredients that we, as Filipino-Canadians, will have a great food challenge. Are you ready to try some of the bits and pieces of our version of pagkaing kalye?
Kikiam came from the Chinese food quekiam. It is made of ground pork and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets or taupe. These are made from the skin that forms on the surface when soy milk is boiled. It can be bought in Asian stores. It is used as a wrapper the same way spring rolls are made. We use five-spice powder for the distinct taste of this pork roll. The five-spice is a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorn and fennel.
Balut is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It originated in the Philippines, but is a common food in countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It can be unappetizing to some since the embryo can be seen.
The proper way to eat balut is to suck out the amniotic fluid before peeling it off. Balut is best enjoyed with vinegar and salt.
Kwek-kwek or toknen-eng kwek-kwek is a popular street food in the Philippines. These are boiled quail eggs dipped in orange batter then deep fried until crispy. Tokneneng kwek-kwek are boiled chicken or duck eggs.
Taho is a bean curd made of silken tofu. It is topped with arnibal, sweet syrup or caramelized brown sugar with sago or tapioca. Taho is sold by peddlers called as “magtataho.”
Camote cue or banana cue is prepared using a banana or sliced sweet potato coated with caramelized brown sugar and skewered on a bamboo stick. These are mostly prepared in the late afternoon for merienda.
Chicharon bulaklak are pig intestines or chiterlings that are boiled and fried to a crisp. They are usually served as an appetizer together with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.
Fish balls and squid balls are made from finely chopped cuttlefish or pollock that are formed into small balls. They are deep fried and can be dipped in your preference of sauce. Back home, these can be easily be found being served on push carts in the streets.
Binatog are boiled corn kernels mixed with milk, shredded coconut and a sprinkle of sugar or salt. This is made by soaking mature white corn in water and salt until puffed. The soaked corn kernels are then boiled until the skin almost peels off.
Halo-halo is a mix of shaved of ice, evaporated milk, beans, gulaman, pinipig, a variety of sweetened fruits and nata de coco. It is topped with leche flan, ube and ice cream. It is a Filipino favourite, especially during the hot summer.
Barbeque—there is a vast variety of styles of BBQ. Most often, one will encounter marinated chicken or pork that is grilled on hot charcoals. All the parts of the chicken or pig are used, from the skin, intestine and even the blood.
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About the Author
On February 6 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the criminal code prohibitions on physician-assisted suicide and voluntary consent to euthanasia violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Previous to the ruling, a doctor who assists a person in ending his life even with the latter’s consent is subject to criminal liability.
The unanimous ruling overturned the ban on doctor- assisted suicide and gave parliament 12 months to enact legislation that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are suffering intolerable physical or mental suffering from a grievous medical condition to seek medical help to end their lives.
At first blush the decision might not favourably resonate with a lot of Filipino-Canadians and may incite negative passions on the grounds that “mercy killing,” or patient-assisted suicide, is against God and our culture.
On the other hand, a dispassionate debate is warranted on the issue because Filipino-Canadians are after all part of the Canadian mosaic that makes up our society.
In its decision the high court was careful to set limits as to who can avail of the aid of a doctor to end his/her life. The court stated that “a competent adult person” who “has a grievous and irremediable medical condition” and endures intolerable suffering resulting thereof should not be barred from giving consent ending his/her life with the aid of a doctor.
Clearly, the decision limits access to “physician-assisted death” to a carefully circumscribed subset of Canadians. The decision must come from a competent adult person who has a grievous medical condition that is “irremediable” (cannot be alleviated by means acceptable to the individual concerned) and causes intolerable suffering to the person.
Doctors do not have the power to exercise their discretion “at will” to end the life of a person. The decision does not give the physicians the unfettered discretion to provide medical assistance to suicide. The individual must be shown to be afflicted by an irremediable, grievous medical condition that makes continued living intolerable.
What is the bottom line? Choosing a “doctor-assisted suicide” boils down to a personal decision.
In the end, a person who chooses to avail of a “dignified death” of his own volition cannot be trumped by the collective group’s religious, moral or ethical beliefs. It is the concerned individual’s moral standards that are solely relevant and he/she is alone answerable to his religious beliefs.
I may not personally consider such an option for myself in the future (even if a serious irremediable medical condition causing intolerable suffering would befall me).
But taking the cue from the Supreme Court, this does not mean that I have the right not to take away that option for others.
Lenten season is here and many of us mean to give up meat on Friday. Here are some fish recipe ideas I will share. This is easy to prepare in the comfort of your own home.
Crunchy fried fish on soft tortillas/hard tacos
- 4 pcs Basa fillets
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 lemon
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium size red onion
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce
- 1 small red bell pepper
- Cilantro sprigs
- sour cream
- grated cheese
- lime wedges
- salt and pepper
- garlic powder
- Cut the fillets into strips. Pat dry on a paper towel and season with the salt, pepper and paprika. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fillets.
- Season the flour with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside. Beat the eggs and put the Panko bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Individually dredge the fish fillets with the flour. Then dip it in the beaten eggs. Roll it in the Panko bread crumbs. Fry in medium heat until golden brown.
- Assemble all the fixings. Top with the sour cream, salsa, guacamole, grated cheese, lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.
Tuna flakes Pad Thai
Pad Thai sauce
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ cup Hoisin sauce
- 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- handful cilantro
- 3 Tbs honey
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup peanut butter
- chili flakes
- 475 g thick mung noodles
- 2 cans tuna flakes in water
- ½ red pepper, cut in strips
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 1 square bean curd, deep fried into cubes
- sweet peas
- 2 small carrots, julienned
- 2 stalks celery, julienned
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red onion
- chili powder flakes
- ground peanuts
- calamansi slices
- In a sauce pan, combine and boil all the ingredients listed for the Pad Thai sauce until syrupy. Strain and set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions until al dente.
- Sauté the garlic and onion until translucent. Add the flaked tuna and tofu. Add all the remaining vegetables. Then add the Pad Thai sauce. Let it simmer and then toss the pasta and bean sprouts in to the mixture.
- Sprinkle the chopped peanuts and garnish with the cilantro and calamansi slices when serving.
- 1 large boneless Bangus fillet
- 1 large red onion
- 3 Tbs ginger, minced
- 3 stalks green onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbs mayonnaise
- 6 pieces calamansi
- 2 Tbs soy sauce
- 2 siling labuyo
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fry the Bangus fillet. Scrape the meat off the bones and chop finely.
- Sauté the garlic, onion and ginger.
- Add the chopped fish. Season with the soy sauce, black pepper and add the calamansi juice.
- Add the mayonnaise and green onion