Filipino language curriculum being developed for Alberta schools

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    By Quay Evano

    The Alberta government announced the development of a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum during a meeting with Premier Rachel Notley and Filipino community leaders on Feb. 1 in Calgary.

    “The Filipino community has brought essential skills to our workforce and added so much to our social fabric,” Notley says. “Creating a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will ensure this vibrant community can continue to grow.”

    Education Minister David Eggen says adding languages to Alberta’s school curriculum can have positive spin-offs.

    “Providing learning opportunities for students in a variety of language programs helps youth maintain their heritage, strengthen their cultural identity and build language and literacy skills,” Eggen says. “Strengthening language programs based on local need and demand can be an effective tool in addressing racism. In fact, this is one of the ways we’re acting on the feedback we heard, and commitments we made, in our government’s anti-racism consultations and report.”

    Filipino community leaders lobbied for the inclusion of the Filipino language and culture in the Alberta school program.

    Last year, the Alberta government declared June Philippine Heritage Month after receiving a petition signed by Filipinos from all over the province.

    At present, there are around 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta and is considered the largest and fastest-growing community in the province.

    Filipino culture and language teacher, Dolly Castillo, says this move by the government is another historic gift by the Alberta leaders to the Filipino-Canadian community.

    “This strongly demonstrates the respect for a culture’s diversity and uniqueness through its language,” she says. “Programs like this in still pride in students and their heritage and results in active and engaged citizens.”

    The Philippine Consulate in Calgary welcomes the Alberta government’s announcement.

    “That the expansion of the teaching of the Filipino curriculum at Alberta schools would open many opportunities to generate a deeper involvement of the Filipino community and ensure that generations of young Filipinos will continue to learn and appreciate their rich culture and unique identity,” the consulate stated. “This move will be a source of pride to the Filipino community. It will inspire them to become more productive and responsible members of the Alberta community. The Philippine Consulate General in Calgary encourages the Filipino community across Alberta to actively engage the local authorities regarding the introduction next year of the K-12 Filipino curriculum within the school districts where there are large Filipino student populations.”

    Since 1996 the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation has been teaching Filipino language and culture in Calgary.

    Classes are held Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    According to the group’s website, “The PCCF, together with Alberta Education, Calgary Catholic School Board, Edmonton Catholic School Board, and Filipino Canadian Saranay Association of Edmonton and have developed a three- year curriculum that allows students to learn Filipino language and culture.

    Accredited Filipino language and courses are being offered to high school students as optional subjects. Non-accredited students are grouped according to age and knowledge of the Filipino language. Instruction time depends on the age level. An additional adult class is also provided for interested mature students.

     

     

    Filipino-Canadian Accepts NDP Nomination for Calgary-East

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    Cesar Cala

    By Adrian Dayrit

    A Filipino Calgarian will be running for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming Alberta election.

    Cesar Cala, a long-time resident of Calgary has accepted the nomination from the NDP to run for Calgary-East.

    It is currently held by independent Robyn Luff who was removed from the NDP caucus in November 2018.

    Calgary-East includes the following neighbourhoods: Abbeydale, Applewood, Penbrooke Meadows, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Southview, and East Dover.

    “I want to support Calgary-East become a greater place to live, learn, raise a family, make a living and be part of a community” says Cala about his campaign focus.

    Cesar Cala moved to Calgary from the Philippines with his wife in 1996 and will be the first Filipino-Canadian to be an official candidate for MLA in Calgary and Southern Alberta.

    This nomination comes following the announcement by the provincial government to enact plans to add Filipino language and culture curriculum in K-12 schools.

    According to the provincial government “there are more than 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta” and is the “fastest growing ethno-cultural community in the province.”

    Cala co-founded several community-serving organizations.

    This is the first time he will be running for political office.

    “This decision did not come lightly nor quickly, but it was a decision that I cannot ignore,” he says. “I feel strongly that the next provincial election will set the path for our province for years, if not generations, to come. Who will win and form the next government is important but equally important is what will be the tone and the discourse of the election.”

    Cala has received several awards for his dedication to his community including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Unsung Heroes.

    “I am passionate about building welcoming and safe neighbourhoods and communities, free from racism and discrimination,” he says. “I want to see Filipino-Canadians be proud of our heritage, contributing to the province’s future and represented in the province’s civic and political leadership.”

    The election date will be set between March 1 and May 31. This will be the first election held after the Alberta NDP defeated the Progressive Conservative government in 2015.

     

    Filipino leaders gather to form a Network

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    Story by Will Tigley

    It has been three years since Filipino leaders from across Alberta have been able to meet in-person. The pandemic delayed the second meeting of the Alberta Filipino Leaders Conference, but on the weekend of November 20 and 21 over 150 leaders from Edmonton, Lethbridge, Brooks and other Alberta municipalities gathered in Calgary.

    “This has been a long time coming for our community,” says Sherrisa Celis, Alberta Filipino Leaders Conference Chair. “In 2018 we made a lot of progress talking about how we can strengthen and build the Filipino community in our province and finally we’re in a position to once again get together to continue these important conversations.”

    While the previous conference outlined issues facing the Filipino community across Alberta and recommended actions to provide support, this year’s conference focused the structure and governance of what a coordinated leadership organization would look like for the province by gaining consensus from attendees.

    It was also an opportunity for participants to engage with government officials from the Alberta government. Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Children’s Services, Rebecca Schultz, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Tyler Shandro and Associate Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, Muhammad Yaseen all reiterated the need for strong Filipino leadership in the province and the provincial government’s support toward the community.

    Alberta Minister of Transportation, Rajan Sawhney and Federal Member of Parliament, George Chahal also made appearances during the evening conference gala to speak with participants to inspire them to move for more Filipino representation in government.

    “We’re excited to be making progress as a community with this successful second conference,” says Prima Anderson, Co-Chair Philippine Festival Council of Alberta and one of the organizers of the conference. “We know that as Filipino Canadians we have a lot of challenges that we’re trying to solve, but collectively we have a better chance at finding solutions when we share knowledge and work together.”

    From youth engagement, political representation, mental health and employment rights and equality, conversations between Filipino leaders from many municipal jurisdictions moved toward concrete action.

    “Meeting each other and getting to know who’s active in the community is always a great step to build on these important conversations,” says Celis. “We want to ensure we move on this valuable work, so as a committee we’re going to look at all the discussions we’ve had and provide recommendations to the group.”
    “The next time we meet, hopefully we’ll be even stronger and have a clearer path to success for our community across Alberta.”

    Utang na Loob, Family, & Political Franchise

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    Two people holding hands together with love and warmth on wooden table

    (Part 2 — Filipino Values in Democratic Exercises)

    Pilipino pa rin tayo! Di mawawala sa atin yong utang na loob kahit dito sa Canada (We’re still Filipinos! Debt of gratitude will always be part of who we are).

    The statement above suggests that the debt of gratitude remains among Filipinos in Canada. The same claim resonates with a study done with Filipinos in Canada, citing the first-generation immigrants still adhering to the value of utang na loob — a cultural norm regarded as uniquely Filipino (Alama, 2010).

    In a Filipino family setting, utang na loob is a familial expectation. Parents provide lifetime support to their children and anticipate them returning respect, love and care – an expectation that may also extend to siblings and kin. While caring for the elderly in a family home (also called filial piety) is a widespread practice in Asia, it aligns with the value of utang na loob –reciprocity of care and gratitude to the love and kindness of parents or adults providing care to children in the family.

    In a Filipino community context, utang na loob is an extended social norm or social expectation of giving back gratitude to a person or group supporting the community. It is a social obligation to return the favour or kindness. Often, it translates into gifts and favours; however, sometimes, these are not enough as the expectation of “giving back” denotes a lifetime commitment.

    Sadly, the value of utang na loob is exposed openly to control and exploitation. In the Philippines, the “trapos” (a colloquial term to mean “dirty politicians”) exploit the value by giving favours before the election and using persuasive but bogus promises. When someone or family owes a favour from a politician or a community leader running for public office, there is an expectation of support that translates into a vote on the ballot. It is one of the factors that influence decision-making in voting.

    There is no hierarchy of Filipino values to show that one is more important than the other. But the truth of the matter is, utang na loob can stand side-by-side with reason, patriotism, or even martyrdom. It plays a significant role in the political franchise.

    Among Filipino second generations, the value of utang na loob has been diluted with the Canadian mainstream values of free-thinking, moderation, and tolerance. The gaps and familial conflicts between the first-generation immigrants and the Canadian-born or grown Filipinos centre on differing worldviews, expectations, and values. Younger generations expect their parents or family elders to be more mainstream in perspectives, while the latter expect their children to embrace (almost faithfully) the Filipino values. Misunderstandings within the Filipino households because of conflicting worldviews, in some cases, resulted in breakups and dysfunctional families. Among the community priority agenda of youth representatives at the Filipino leadership in Alberta conference held on November 20 and 21, 2021 in Calgary was the urgent need for intergenerational dialogues.

    In a democratic and liberal country like Canada, Filipino family-centrism still plays a role in decision-making on leadership choice in political elections.

    An independent group of Filipino professionals called the Pulse Movement conducted a poll survey with the Filipino community in Calgary before the election in 2021. The poll suggested the extent of family and community centeredness and collectivism of many Calgarians of Filipino descent. Of the 300 respondents, about 44% indicated that their family and friends still influence their choices on who should be in the municipal public office. About 33% of the respondents indicated that community-based groups could likewise influence their voting choices. Interestingly, social media only accounted for 11% of the responses. Of particular interest, the social agenda put forward by the majority (74%) of the respondents was the representation of Filipino Canadians in local and national governance.

    The discussion of the Filipino version of social reciprocity through utang na loob will always be a relevant ethnic identity and familial topic as long as first-generation Filipinos will continue to immigrate to Canada. As suggested earlier, it is an entrenched value lived by Filipino families and communities and will continue to be an embraced or debated value in Filipino households. It is a value founded on parental and familial compassion and care. It is about reciprocity and collectivism that stand in contrast with the culture of individualism. It is also a social norm that enhances or thickens the community fibre of relationships, akin to the social theorist Robert Putnam’s (2000) criteria on social capital.

    Conversely, utang na loob is an ethnic value with layers of vulnerability and malleability. Time and again, it has been taken advantage of in political franchises. It also shows its malleability in the liberalist social milieu, where it is being challenged daily in the dynamics between generations within a Filipino household. For some first-generation Filipino parents and elderly, a realization has started to lurk in, that is, the estrangement of utang na loob and filial piety from among their children.

    (To be continued in Part 3).

    Lest We Forget (Remembrance Day 2021)

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    Photos and Story by Len Chan

    Thousands of Calgarians of all Cultures, and ages wore poppies on November 11 – at the 11 Hour of the 11th Month, and remembered those who serve and sacrificed their lives ending the Great War in 1918.

    We celebrate Remembrance Day today to remember all those who served and sacrificed their all in combat, peace keeping roles and related.

    Ceremonies at Kerby Centre, CPR and Hangar Flight Museum were Virtual while at the Military Museum and Canadian Legion Centennial branch allowed the public to attend with proof of vaccine.

    Later the Military Museum and Hangar Flight Museum was open to the Public via donation after the Ceremony. At the Field of Crosses on Memorial Drive, the Ceremony with 3,500 Crosses and the area for the Ceremony for invited guests – Calgary Chief of Police Mark Neufeld, and Murray Mcann, founder of Field of Crosses, along with Indigenous Elder, Clarence Wolfleg.

    An additional separate part of the park was opened for 120 Crosses for the 120,000 Canadians from across Canada who lost their lives. A pipe Band opened the Ceremony and accompanied by the Cantare Children’s Choir.

    The Field was open for the Public to look at the names on the crosses and some crosses had photos from their families and their Service Role after 2pm.

    Hundreds were present across Memorial Drive watching the Ceremony since the whole Cross area was closed to the Public.

    The year 2021 also marks the 100th Anniversary of the Poppy made by Madame Anna Guerin of France known as the Poppy Lady who was inspired by Canadian physician, Dr. John McCrae who wrote the poem In Flanders Field.

    Once the Field was open hundreds were digesting the information on the Crosses and parents telling youngster the meaning of Remembrance Day.

    Charities in Alberta Receive Monetary Donations and More Than 1,000 Boxes of Donated Goods from Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC)

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      Story by CEBSI Canada

      Charities in Red Deer and Calgary receive a sum of $3,000 and 1,166 boxes of food and clothing donations for the coming winter from the ‘INC’.

      ALBERTA, CANADA, November 4, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Approximately 1,200 boxes of food and clothing for the coming winter were donated by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in various “Aid To Humanity” activities in the cities of Red Deer and Calgary.

      These activities were part of the Worldwide Aid To Humanity of the Church marking the birth anniversary of INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo on October 31.

      The INC, through its charitable arm, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation gave a cheque donation worth $2,000, gift cards worth $1,050, and 200 bags of items in the city of Red Deer on October 23, 2021. These were handed to the Red Deer Native Friendship Society.

      The next day, October 24, INC volunteers in Calgary prepared 689 boxes of non-perishable food items, and 477 boxes of clothing items such as shirts, pants, sweaters, and gloves, or a total of 1,166 boxes. These were donated to the Calgary Food Bank and the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

      The Church members happily donated these non-perishable food items and winter clothing to assist the less fortunate for the coming winter.

      Nadette Agecoutay, Director of Programs for the Red Deer Native Friendship Society, expressed her appreciation to the INC for its support to the organization.

      “It was beautiful, I did not know what to expect. [Despite the] rainy [and] cold [weather], I felt [the] camaraderie and spirit of the whole event,” said Agecoutay.

      Ken Johnston, Mayor-elect of Red Deer, expressed his appreciation to the INC for its help to the indigenous people of the city, and extended his greetings to the Executive Minister.

      “On behalf of our city, and all of the people of Red Deer, happy birthday Brother Eduardo. God bless you, and all the work you do. Have a successful year ahead.”

      Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 9 Councilor, applauded the INC for its continued humanitarian work in Calgary, saying it was “a celebration of community, and of Christians taking care of the [people in need].”

      “And I’m honoured to partake in this celebration,” the councilor said.

      Elise Short, Community Engagement Manager for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, thanked the INC for the donations that, according to her, helped the local shelter in providing necessities to the people in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic caused shortages in necessities such as winter clothing.

      The Iglesia Ni Cristo was registered in the Philippines on July 27, 1914 by its first Executive Minister, Brother Felix Y. Manalo. Since then, the Church has spread to 159 countries and territories around the world, with its members coming from 148 ethnic backgrounds. The rapid growth of the Church is spearheaded by the dynamic leadership of its current Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.

      Mt. Temple: The Ultimate Scramble

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      Photos and Story by
      Leonard Maglalang

      A true experience, dream come true and pushing self-limit are some of the descriptions of K8 climbers on this day.

      Mt. Temple, the third-highest in the Southern Rockies and the highest in the Lake Louise area, is an intimidating giant. A challenge to serious scramblers and a dream to many outdoor enthusiasts.

      It is included on the list of Canadian Rockies 11,000’er to be climbed. The Mountain is rated at Southwest Ridge as Alpine I, 5.3 with 3,544 m (11,627 ft) altitude. This route is the most common way up to the peak and is around 12 hours return. The route when dry is no more than a scramble.

      On September 25, 2021, K8 Team scaled Mt. Temple and made it to the summit again this year. We arrived at midnight in the Moraine Lake parking lot. The team started the hike at 4:30 am. The hike from Moraine Lake to Larch Valley has an obvious trail. A famous route for many hikers during the fall season. Going above the treeline approaching Minnestima Lakes you will get a glimpse of the scrambling sections ahead. The famous moderately steep and long zigzag trail, “Zorro Trail” as K8 call it, will burn your thighs even more.

      The team stayed at Sentinel Pass for 30 minutes break, preparing for the scrambling push and had some photo op.

      K8 started the scrambling route to the right of the ridge below the yellow band. The trail diagonally going to the first rock band is still visible here, but route-finding skill is a must in this terrain. After this section, the team angled up to the right towards the gray rock band and aimed to the right side of the second gully. This is the crux section with class 4 to class 5 rock climbing moves. A steep ascent with an exposure. A wrong move could lead to a fatal accident. Passing the crux, there are gravels and a slabby part that require caution. Approaching the light brown band, the team chose the right side of the ridge and stayed at the gully. K8 calls this “the second crux”, as caution in scrambling moves should be taken. The rest of the ascent after this part was straightforward. However, it was steep, long and mixed with snow and gravel.

      The ascent to the summit was long and a true mental battle during the final push. Finally, K8 made it to the very corniced summit ridge. The wind was crazy with minimal visibility as the approaching clouds were as high as the summit. There was a big icy cornice hanging on the east side. Seeing it from the front of the pack was spectacular with the K8 members pushing and giving their last bit of strength. The team arrived at the summit by noon. The climbers shared thoughts about the ascent and experience while sharing their meals. The view at the top is a complete 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges.

      “It has been a long-time dream and on my bucket list for a few years now. I tried a couple of attempts but never materialized due to severe weather conditions.” Sir Angelito de Jesus standing at the summit.
      Going up to the mountains can be very difficult. As much as you would like to stay at the summit, you must understand that another hard part of your task is still ahead of you. You cannot stay there for an extended period. You must keep moving. But, going down will also remind you how far you have come. The descent was tough on the knees like every other descent in the past but longer. The team discovered a new descent from the crux section following the ladder trail going down to the scree section. This new route shortens the team’s typical descent from the past. Moreover, it saves energy. K8 made it down to Moraine Lake by 7:00 pm.

      Looking at the photos of this activity, the ascent and descent may look straightforward. However, K8 considered Mt. Temple as a major climb and should be treated with respect. The team is prepared with climbing equipment such as rope, harness, helmets, belay device, probes, poles, and ice axe. Proper clothes layering with gaiters and mountaineering boots worn by the members. Climbing in a group is different from climbing alone. There may be some sections that few climbers on your team cannot execute. With the help of the equipment, you will accomplish the goal safely.

      A massive day for K8 Mountaineers. We could not have asked for better weather conditions. You will feel being humbled to be given this kind of beautiful, rare opportunity to see the beauty of the mountains.

      Today, K8 is the home of Pinoy Mountaineers here in Alberta whether freshly from the Philippines or long-time residence, setting up a goal of sharing the beauty of the mountains thru responsible mountaineering and producing more Alpinist.

      Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?

      You can add or send a request on our Facebook Page at K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta

      How Social Commerce is Reshaping Businesses and Shopping Behaviour

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      The overlap of social media and e-commerce has been always projected as the eventual next step of consumer behavior in the digital landscape. Social Commerce or Social Shopping is a term used to define the integration of social media in an individual’s shopping experience.

      Nowadays, it is very typical for a consumer to seek out reviews from social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit before a purchase. Businesses recognize this behavior and use these same platforms to monitor how their brand, product, or service is perceived. With the information of how people engage with their brand in social media, they can also decide where, when, and how they can manage what they are selling. The most straightforward example would be negative posts about a product. Consistent negative experiences, such as bad customer service, can be a point of emphasis for changes that need to be made by the business.

      Consumer behavior can be influenced by factors such as age, values, hobbies, and interests. All of which are expertly adapted by social media platforms through their respective algorithms. These algorithms monitor which content a user would be most interested in. This is why social media companies have excelled in curating the content of their respective platforms to keep their users engaged.

      Social media influencers also play a major role in the proliferation of social commerce. For example, food vloggers and their recommendations are often trusted by their followers. The experience shared through the content created by the vlogger, whether positive or negative, influences the reality perceived by their followers on the food product or restaurant being reviewed. This process of creating a collective experience on a business or an organization is the principle of brand building in itself.

      Other than understanding consumer behavior, businesses have also used social media platforms as a medium to interact with their market; from companies that use their Facebook page for customer inquiries to Instagram business profiles that also serve as look-books or catalogs to showcase their products. Facebook Marketplace was created from the tendency of users to create Facebook groups in offering products or services among friends or communities. Marketplace enabled users to sell or barter with other Facebook users seamlessly. TikTok, with more than 800 million users, is also becoming popular among marketers. TikTok for Business was a tool launched by the company to help businesses manage market research data and ad campaign executions within TikTok. Instagram has also enabled businesses to tag products in a post which can include information such as price and product description. These tags can also redirect the user to where they can buy the product.

      With all the different social media platforms available as well as different marketing channels companies can use to reach their customers, Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) has gained a bigger role in the consumer shopping experience. IMC is the synergy of all marketing communication materials used by a business in creating a consumer experience that is favorable towards their brand. Whether it’s increasing awareness for the business by being easily searchable online or improving its reputation, the goal is to effectively implement all marketing communication strategies according to an idea that the business wants to instill among its intended consumers. With social media and the increasing popularity of social commerce, the way consumers interact with businesses has changed. Traditionally, it is the business that usually dictates the timing, frequency, and messaging of marketing communication executions. However, with the volatile nature of how trends among consumers shift, it is now businesses that need to catch up.

      Fiesta is a Collective Filipino Consciousness

      Fiesta is a term familiar to most Filipinos, albeit each expresses it differently. Hearing the word fiesta awakens a feeling of jubilation or a reminiscence of tradition back home. And rightly so! Fiesta, after all, means reliving a tradition, fun, and festivity. While Filipinos know that fiesta can be pricy, the cost is often and consciously ignored in favour of tradition.

      Fiesta is a Spanish term to mean a “feast” — a term shared by many Latin cultures. The tradition and etymological subtext of the term is part of the cultural DNA of Filipinos, owing to their historical, cultural, and religious experience even before the era of colonization.

      The natives in the Archipelago (which Spain later named Las Islas Filipinas or the Philippines) strongly connected to the earth and creation. Like most Indigenous peoples worldwide, the Archipelago inhabited natives who lived in harmony with creation, defined by respect for the mother earth and their land as sacred spaces of spirits of the earth and their ancestors. They believed in Bathalang Maykapal (Creator) and the gods of and spirits of plants, animals, events like war, and celestial bodies. They called them anitos and diwatas and communicated with these through priestesses or Babaylan or Katalona. They offered bounties of the earth and harvest and held celebrations as offerings and ways to please the gods and spirits.

      Before the Spanish came to the Philippines, the natives had pre-colonization beliefs, customs and traditions, festivities, social structures, laws, and tribal order. They survived in independent chiefdoms and had a diverse cultural and political identity. The diverse mores and local culture evolve over the centuries, with influences from traders from Southeast Asia. At that time, the natives were already trading gold, beads, silk, porcelain, and metals with the neighbouring islands in Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and as far as Cambodia, Japan, China, and India, cultural, spiritual, and political influence from external traders was inevitable.

      The Spanish colonization, however, replaced anitos and diwatas of the natives with Catholic saints. The Church introduced Fiestas in honour of God and patron saints. While many Filipinos are grateful for the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines, one cannot conceal the horrors of colonization and its negative imprint on the historical consciousness of Filipinos. Colonization undeniably ensued genocide, slavery, violence, oppression, and racialization. The worse form of colonial racialization is the inculcation into the psyche of Filipinos that their collective identity was inferior to Westerners. Unfortunately, such collective inferiority is still in the consciousness of Filipinos today.

      Fiesta is a tradition with a religious connotation. As 85% of the Filipinos are Catholics, Fiesta is often always associated with the feast day of a patron saint. For Catholics, it is a religious celebration centred around the Holy Eucharist. One of the popular fiesta celebrations in Central Visayas is the Sinulog de Cebu, the Dinagyang festival in Iloilo, or the Ati-Atihan in Aklan in honour of Sto. Niño (the Holy Child or Infant Jesus). These festivities draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors and spectators from neighbouring towns and different regions in the country.

      Fiesta also means a family celebration, a household festivity. Families prepare their favourite dishes on the eve before the feast day or vésperas for their guests, friends, and neighbours. Traditionally, households open their doors to anyone who is in town for the fiesta celebration.

      The meaning of fiesta has also gone beyond the ambit of religious practices. In the community, fiesta means weeks of preparation of street clean-up and decoration. People adorn their streets with flowers and banderitas (colourful stringed flags. They put up a community stage and a space for events, competitions, and dances. A week-long event, fun activities, and competitions build up toward the feast day.

      Some major fiesta festivals in the country do not necessarily relate to Catholicism but ethnic traditions. For example, Baguio City in Northern Philippines prides itself with its annual celebration of the Panagbenga or the flower festival. In the country’s Southern region, Davao City celebrates its August thanksgiving and harvest festival or Kadayawan. A similar feast in Lucban, Quezon Province, is called the Pahiyas or good harvest festivity, is celebrated in May each year. Nowadays, hundreds of street-party festivals proliferate in towns and provinces as part of the tourism industry in the country.

      Filipino Canadians sustain the fiesta tradition in a variety of ways. Some continue the tradition of honouring the feast days of Patron Saints in Roman Catholic parishes in Canada. Others transnationalize the feast day celebration of their hometowns. They go to the Church, light candles, prepare Filipino dishes, and invite their friends. However, others prefer to organize fiesta events to renew and promote Filipino culture and identity. One of the major festive events in Alberta is the Fiesta Filipino in September of each year.

      The Fiesta Filipino event is a street party celebration of multiculturalism and diversity of the Filipino Community. It opens opportunities for all Canadians to experience Filipino culture and heritage. While it showcases the colourful Filipino culture and tradition, it is also an inter-dialogue of cultures within the Canadian context. It is the Filipinos share of the multi-cultural mosaic of the Canadian heritage.

      The Fiesta-culture is our collective consciousness and a part of our cultural DNA. It is a Filipino way of thanksgiving or saying thank-you to life and its bounties. It is a sense of connection to God or the Creator, a patron saint, mother earth and creation, or spirits of ancestors. And while the celebrations and festivities are rites that connect humankind to the spiritual realm, they strengthen community and foster the social fibres of inclusion, collaboration, partnership, participation, and volunteerism.

      Most Filipino-Calgarians Still Undecided on Mayoral Race 2021

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      YYC Mayoral Candidates 2021
      YYC Mayoral Candidates 2021

      Most Calgarians with Filipino descent are still undecided on who to vote in the mayoral this coming fall. This is according to a survey conducted by Pulse Movement. When asked which of the mayoral candidates they would likely vote for, 57.9 percent of the 350 respondents remained undecided. The survey was conducted back in August.

      The initial findings indicated that Zane Novak is leading among Filipino households with 15.8 percent. He is followed by incumbent councilor Jeff Davison with 7.3 percent. Jyoti Gondek, Jeromy Farkas and Brad Field are all tied at 5.1 percent and Grace Yan at 4.8 percent. The remaining candidates had less than 1 percent share of the pie. The group said that numbers are most likely to change as the election day on October 18 draws closer.
      Meanwhile, the survey also asked if the respondents are voting in the coming municipal election. An overwhelming 88 percent or almost 9 out 10 said they will likely go out to the precincts to vote. About 89,000 Filipino-Canadians now live in Calgary. “Many working as front liners, but rarely or very few are part of the decision making.”, the group adds.

      The much-anticipated municipal election has brought the list of aspiring mayors to 27. Jeromy Farkas who displayed a strong showing at the start of the campaign is now under scrutiny by other candidates for voting against the city bylaw enacting public health measures like vaccine passports. Farkas was the sole councilor who opposed the measure.

      Fil-Can joins the Municipal race

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      Filipino community leader Michael Juarez is running to be a member of Calgary Board of Education Trustee this coming local election. Siapno-Juarez, a first-generation immigrant is hoping to bring more attention to the situation of schools and students in Wards 5 and 10. According to Siapno-Juarez the continuous neglect of the residents of northeast Calgary prompted his bid for public trustee.

      “I have had enough of our children and families being neglected. I want to give parents a genuine voice on the school board. I want more funding for our schools in Ward 5 and 10. This is the only way we can ensure the future of children.” he said.

      Siapno-Juarez said he believes in quality education and its power to positively change individuals and families. But he also mentioned that apart from quality education, families should have quality of life and thus support outside school is also important.

      He added, “It is common for families in Wards 5 and 10 that both parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. We will put an end to the lack of after school support. To ensure the development of students, they should have access to different after school programs, whether be it in sports, arts and crafts and others.”

      Michael promised that he will fight for equal funding and access to resources for schools in the northeast, “The student to teacher ratio is high and teachers and support staff are struggling. It is time for the board to pay attention to our schools in the Northeast. It is time for them to pay attention to our children and educators.”

      Join us on our campaign kick off on Tuesday, September 7 for a campaign launch. Go to our website for details
      www.trustmichaeljuarez.ca

      Nonoy’s Health Condition was Kept as a “Secret”

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      People close to former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, said that he had kept his health condition secret to many.

      In an interview, Deedee Siytangco, former spokesperson of PNoy said that he doesn’t want the public to know his health even when he was already undergoing dialysis for a possible kidney transplant.

      Siytangco also said that PNoy already had a heart procedure and doctors were building up his body for that possible transplant before his death.

      According to the Aquino family, PNoy has been “in and out” of hospital for medical treatment even before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

      The 61-year-old PNoy, son of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino and slain senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was the 15th president of the Philippines who served from 2010 to 2016

      He died on his sleep because of renal disease secondary to diabetes on Thursday morning, June 24, according to his death certificate.

      Meanwhile, U-P political science professor Aries Arugay said that the Cojuangco-Aquino political clan will continue to get voters’ support as it has become an “element” of Philippine politics.

      Professor Arugay made this statement in an interview last Sunday following the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

      The “Aquino magic” is really an element of Philippine politics and it shows that Cojuangco-Aquino is a brand name in Philippine politics that will continuously have constituency, Arugay added.

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