Youth Benefits from Free Training in Trades



    By Sheena Manabat

    Jan Pierre Acido left high school with no idea of what to do next, but a free employment program has him working in the trades – without any student loans.

    Acido is a recent graduate of the Motive Action Automotive pre-employment program and was recently hired at Calgary Car Kings is now working on automotive performance, suspension and exhaust upgrades.

    The 21-year-old pinoy from Asingan is grateful for the opportunity with Motive Action, where he had a positive experience in training with their educators.

    “It was a different kind of learning experience,” Acido explains. “Iit’s a lot more free-flowing, the group is tight knit and the teachers become your friends.”

    He explains he graduated high school without a career path, but was looking into SAIT programs. While looking for jobs on Kijiji to help pay for his tuition, he found an ad for Motive Action.

    Motive Action is a Calgary-based non-profit organization that provides hands-on work training for those between 18 and 30 entering the trades.

    Their free program is six months long and alternates between work experience with partner employers, and training at Motive Action. Eighty to 100 students are enrolled each year and 95 per cent of graduates gain full-time employment once they have completed the training. Over the last two years 14 Filipino students have enrolled in Motive Action.

    The work experience is unpaid but, the tuition costs for the entire program is covered by the Alberta Labour and the Government of Canada. Eligible students can also still receive funding such as Employment Insurance or learner income support.

    “There’s basically no tuition fee as long as you meet the requirements and the program is very welcoming to people,” Acido says. “I think the program is perfect for people who want to get started in a career but don’t have a certification and need a boost.”

    The program does have its challenges though, Acido says, like getting used to the work environment and the experience of transitioning from a classroom to an actual workplace.

    Acido cautions going into the program thinking that a job is guaranteed. Instead, he says you must have the right attitude and be serious about training and study.

    “If you put a lot of effort into it, you’ll definitely find success,” Acido says.


    Motive Action executive director Karl Herzog, agrees. Herzog is a licensed heavy duty mechanic and co-founded Motive Action with his brother in 1985. He explains students learn a combination of hard and soft skills.

    “Students learn how to get along with people and the importance of developing good work ethic, reliability, hard work, respect for others and honesty” Herzog says.

    The most challenging part is learning the trade especially in the first few years, he says. However, many find themselves with a well-paying career if they are willing to put in the time and the work, he adds.

    “The people we bring in really do need to be focused and have a strong interest in the trade and understanding of what it takes to be successful,” Herzog says.

    Herzog says Filipinos have flourished in the program.

    “We find work ethic among Filipinos to be among the highest of the people that we work with,” Herzog says. “There’s certainly a high level of responsibility for family and they know the importance of supporting them.”

    Motive Action offers monthly intakes, with 60 minute information sessions offered every Monday to Thursday 10:00 am at Motive Action’s facility at 1201 42 Ave SE Calgary.

    To learn more, visit



    Filipino parents believe son’s killer will be free soon



      By Darlene Casten

      The decision to move their son’s killer to an Edmonton psychiatric hospital for

      increased reintegration into society has a Filipino family feeling hopeless.

      The Alberta Review Board released it’s decision for Matthew de Grood Oct 3.

      de Grood was found not criminally responsible for the killing of five university

      friends at a gathering April 15, 2014. He was diagnosed with PTSD, major

      depressive order and schizophrenia, which is now in full remission.

      The review board decision will see de Grood move to the Edmonton hospital and

      likely into a halfway house within the next year.

      Marlene and Lorenzo Hong’s son Lawrence was one of the five people killed at the

      party four years ago.

      They say the system doesn’t listen to the concerns of the victim’s families.

      “It is the Canadian system,” says Marlene. “What can I do? Can anyone change it?

      Other cases with people found not criminally responsible have also had notoriety,

      but in the end nothing changes, she says.

      “NCR victims before us had done a lot but the news just died,” says Marlene.

      A disposition before a six-panel board was held Sept. 7 in a Calgary courtroom.

      In their decision the panel members expressed concerns over de Grood’s

      psychiatrist meeting with the victim’s families and incorporating their concerns into

      his recommendations.

      “Dr. Santana’s duty to his patient is paramount,” the review board recommendations

      read. “The recommended Conditions and Privileges are to the be the least onerous

      provided that they address the paramount consideration of the safety of the public.”

      The panel reflected on de Grood’s psychiatric team’s recommendations to keep him

      in Calgary, but concluded it would be a “toxic” environment for him to be in.

      They noted that a Calgary dentist rejected de Grood for treatment because of his

      notoriety in the community and his family fears media scrutiny and the victim’s

      families continue to keep his case in the news, the report concluded.

      Alberta Hospital Edmonton also has additional programs, not offered in Calgary,

      where de Grood has completed all available programming and even helped facilitate

      a psych education course with staff.

      The board allowed for de Grood to have unsupervised use of the hospital grounds

      and supervised visits around Edmonton.

      de Grood has annual hearings to determine his conditions and privileges, but his

      team can ask for an early hearing if they want to make additional changes.

      A chamber of economic power



        By Will Tigley

        The Filipino community is mobilizing to showcase its economic strength. Formed earlier this year, the Filipino Chamber of Commerce Alberta (FCCA) held its first official event on September 27.

        The FCCA Business Connect was an evening networking event meant to gather Filipino business owners and entrepreneurs to build important connections.

        “The strength of any community can be measured by the strength of its businesses,” says Michael Siervo, FCCA Board Chair. “We have so many Filipino-owned businesses in our community that are doing amazing things. Imagine what we can if all these businesses had a Chamber to represent their voice in Alberta.”


        The sold-out

        Business Connect event was sold out with nearly 100 attendees at the Ranchmen’s Club in Calgary.

        “We’ve had great feedback from the event, with many other Filipino businesses and entrepreneurs already asking for the next one,” says Siervo. “We hope to hold these events on a monthly basis as an opportunity for our members to learn valuable business skills and develop long-lasting connections within our community.”

        The FCCA continues to develop and grow its membership in its inaugural year. With more events to gather the Filipino economic community, the upcoming Chamber of Commerce is poised to become a a voice for the best interests of Alberta’s Filipino community.

        For more information about the FCCA and updates on their events visit or follow them on Facebook.



        Movement with a Message starts a conversation



        Submitted by Movement with a Message

        We need braver conversations around sensitive issues such as #metoo, racism, colonialism, indifference. It seems everywhere you turn, there is heightened emotions that are fuelled by hate and fear. We need to tell our stories in a way that brings people together, not create further lines of division. We need to be able to navigate these conversations with wisdom and skill that will strengthen connection between people and people groups, not fortify dividing walls.

        This is what we are seeking to do with our show Rewritten. What creates us? What joys and sorrows reveal the culture and people we are presently? Join us as we dive deeply into issues of sex, relationships, racism, colonialism, and a hope to be rewritten. Playing at DJD Dance Centre Theatre November 16 to 17 at 8 p.m. Visit to purchase tickets.

        Contact info: Ceniza Mejia – (403) 836-0263 | Vanessa Padillo – (403) 875-650

        Calgary Film Festival Features ‘Respeto’


        By Chelsea Tan

        A Filipino film screened at this year’s Calgary Film Festival thanks to its international appeal with a young audience.

        Alberto Monteras II’s Respeto is a hip-hop, politically charged take on the issue of violence, poverty and corruption that underlies Philippine history.

        Calgary Film Festival’s lead programmer, Brenda Lieberman, says the film was chosen to be in the festival by teenage screeners.

        “Respeto is part of our Generation Next series, where we choose 10 high school kids from the Calgary Board of Education to be our previewers and make the decisions on the films,” Lieberman says. “We’re just looking for content that interests or targets those age groups. It can be any genre or any subject matter.”

        The story follows a life-changing relationship between Filipino rapper Abra, who plays Hendrix, a poor aspiring rapper with a criminal history and Doc, played by Dido de la Paz, an old-school poet still traumatized by his experience during martial law.

        Although never mentioning Rodrigo Duterte’s name, the film alludes to the repetition of history between Marcos’ tyrannical reign in the 70’s and the current president’s militaristic approach to fighting corruption. The film connects the experience of violence between two different times and across generations while showcasing the underground world of hip-hop in the Philippines.

        Moviegoers had strong reactions to the film as well.

        “I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about this movie,” says Jill. “It was impactful, emotional, stressful and unpredictable.”

        Another viewer says it made her reflect on, Karla, stated that “I think about the immense privilege we have to sit here and watch it and to have the decision to get up and walk out, but that’s not the reality of what they’re trying to depict.”

        Respeto won Best Film at the 13th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and has been featured at the New York Asian Film Festival.





        What the heck am I going to do with all these tomatoes! Have you heard of the big outraged that  happened on social media?  10 tons of tomatoes dumped in the river in the Philippines, due to oversupply? WTF! Don’t they know that they can preserve these and put it in cans. That’s potentially 10 tons of sweet spaghetti sauce wasted!  LOL

        Let’s not hate, actually this is nothing new. Study has found that vast majority of produce ( vegetables, fruit, etc…) are wasted all over the world. Tomatoes are one of them. They are rejected based on appearance. Too small, too big, odd shapes. This is not the farmers  fault. Supermarkets and consumers have strict standards when it comes to quality.

        Regulations need to occur at these markets. Here are some ways to use them , if you have too many.






        3/4 pound tomatoes (about 2 medium), seeded and finely diced (1 1/2 cups)

        1/3 cup chopped cilantro

        1/4 cup finely chopped white onion

        1 small fresh jalapeño, finely chopped, include seeds if you want spicy

        1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice,

        1/2  teaspoon kosher salt



        Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt.This salsa keeps in the refrigerator for up to one day. Before you serve it, stir it well and drain any excess liquid that has accumulated in the bowl.



        8 plum tomatoes (roma ) or any other tomatoes will do, diced

        1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

        1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

        2 cloves garlic, minced

        1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

        1 teaspoon olive oil

        1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

        1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced


        In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.



        12 onions diced

        1 stalk celery, include leafy parts, diced

        1 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil

        1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper

        36 ripened tomatoes

        4 garlic cloves, minced

        3 tablespoons salt

        4 tablespoons sugar

        2 tablespoons oregano

        2 tablespoons basil

        2 tablespoons thyme

        12 bay leaves

        2 small can tomato paste


        Saute’ onions and celery in vegetable oil.

        Add salt and pepper to taste

        In a large pot, place the whole tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, spices and onion/celery mix.

        Bring to a good rolling boil.

        Add paste last, one can at a time.





        Fun Page


        The Echoes of your Soul

        Woman praying and free bird enjoying nature on sunset background, hope concept


        By Hazel Nut


        Allow the pain to linger but once…

        For in the process you will know

        You truly loved –

        Have loved and must let go


        And only until the ache is soothed

        shall you find comfort in having to walk this road


        And though there are no promises nor guarantees

        That such road must lead to stillness


        Allow the songs to bring you joy, but not sorrow

        For it is in your solitude that the lyrics speak the loudest


        Allow yourself to weep

        Don’t throw thy memories but keep

        Even the dullest days

        Were better off than none


        Allow emptiness to filter your heart

        For new beginnings to evolve


        Most metamorphosis occurs with such discomfort

        Before a butterfly’s life unfolds


        Allow the dimness of the moment

        Reveal the questions left unanswered


        For it is in these crevices in a cave

        That the light shine through the brightest


        Allow the places you’ve both been to

        Be a hallmark of a love so young


        And in the midst of tears and all

        You’ll free the echoes of your soul


        Fiesta Filipino Welcomes Yassi Pressman, Bella Padilla, & Xian Lim to Calgary



        Written by: Chelsea Tan

        [Left to right] Backstage at Fiesta Filipino: Annie Lux, Chelsea Tan, Xian Lim, Bela Padilla, Yassi Pressman, Chad Kinis.


        Fiesta Filipino is the largest public show of Filipino culture here in Calgary, and 2018 marked the fourth year of this fun-filled event, which attracted audiences from as far as Edmonton and Lethbridge.



        The celebrity appearances, have become a Fiesta Filipino staple. Past celebrity endorsers of the outdoor event have included Matteo Guidicelli in 2015, Jericho Rosales in 2016, and Sam Milby in 2017.


        This year was the biggest celebrity lineup yet to grace the Fiesta Filipino stage.

        Yassi Pressman, Bela Padilla, and Xian Lim of the Viva Artists Agency flew in from the Philippines. Other guests were Miss Annie Lux, Calgarian singer and signed Viva artist, and comedian Chad Kinis, who brought laughter to the crowd as he hosted the celebrity stage.


        All three have become Filipino household names in recent years, with multiple big screen and small screen projects under their belts.


        No amount of rain could dampen the fans’ enthusiasm as they braved the chilly weather to see their favourite Viva stars perform onstage.


        Some were hardcore Yassi, Bela, and Xian fans who were giddy with excitement.


        Meghan, who is new to Canada, says she was there to see one person.


        “Yassi Pressman,” Meghan says. “I really like her. I wanna see her dance. She’s really popular in the Philippines.”


        Another Fiesta attendee, Miss Teresita, responded with, “Lahat sila!”


        It was around 5 p.m. when it started to rain and I caught up with the Viva stars backstage, just before they were set to perform. The drizzle had turned into a torrential downpour, causing about a 35-minute delay to their schedule, but Yassi Pressman was more concerned about the fans waiting outside in the rain.


        She considered performing on the wet stage (in stiletto heels) and as Bela offered to lend her comfortable shoes for dancing. They decided against it for safety reasons and I was secretly glad because it meant I could chat with them briefly while they were waiting backstage.


        Xian Lim


        I started off by saying “I’m here with Kuya”— and he jokingly interjected with “No, don’t call me kuya!” in a joking manner. Straight off the bat, I got the feeling that Xian Lim was down to earth and accommodating.


        I asked whether it was his first time in Canada.

        “Maraming beses na,” he says. “I’ve been to Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, there’s a lot.”

        Fiesta Filipino 2018 breaks records



          By Will Tigley



          The fourth year of Calgary’s annual Fiesta Filipino had amazing growth.

          Over 66,000 people attended throughout the three days over the September long weekend and even downpours of rain couldn’t keep the crowds away from enjoying the food and entertainment.

          “We had the most Filipino celebrities attend this year than any previous Fiesta,” says Prima Anderson, Fiesta Filipino co-chair. “On Saturday people waited the whole day to see Viva artists Xian Lim, Yassi Pressman, and Bela Padilla and just before they made their appearance the rain came down.”

          Anderson was amazed at the resilience of the crowds who stood their ground in the rain, but the Viva artists delivered to the screams and cheers of their fans.

          Each year, the event continues to grow with support extending far beyond the local Filipino in Calgary.

          “We see many non-Filipinos come attend the event,” says Anderson. “Yes, the food is a huge draw because our 13 food vendors offer up some of the best Filipino dishes, but the entertainment and the energetic atmosphere is a draw too. People just enjoy being at the Fiesta.”

          With the crowds it draws and the fact that there are over 75,000 Filipinos in Calgary, officials from the municipal and provincial governments made appearances to greet the crowds enjoying the event.

          “This year, the Alberta government designated June as Philippine Heritage Month to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our community to the province,” says Anderson. “So it was so nice to see so many ministers, MLAs and city councillors attend Fiesta Filipino. It shows how much importance they place on our community and we’re so grateful for their support.”

          With another year under wraps, Anderson and the rest of the Fiesta Filipino Council and its over 200 volunteers are satisfied with the success of 2018, but know they’ll soon have to prepare for 2019.

          “Next year will be our fifth year for Fiesta and we know it’s just going to continue to grow,” says Anderson. “We’re pretty exhausted right now, but we can’t wait to bring Calgary another amazing show.”



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