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.

Aegis Celebrates 20 Years, Sells Out Concert in Calgary



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


    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


      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.




      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


      Everyday Heroisms – Life’s Enrichments


      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.





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