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