Filipino language curriculum being developed for Alberta schools


    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

    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.


    Alberta Restricts TFW Program


    As part of the UCP government’s economic recovery plan, large sections of the temporary foreign worker (TFW) program have been suspended until spring 2021.

    The move is meant to encourage unemployed Albertans to fill vacant positions instead of overseas workers.

    According to Parliamentary Secretary of Immigration Muhammad Yaseen, travel restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the high unemployment rate in Alberta are the two main factors for the suspension. The latest jobs numbers from Statistics Canada reveal that more than 365,000 Albertans are unemployed.

    Exemptions to the suspension include caregiving, emergency response, hospitality in mountain parks, and agriculture.

    “These are temporary restrictions,” Yaseen says, “many sectors are exempt, and if things improve we could change it.”Current temporary foreign workers have the ability to apply for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The AINP is an economic immigration program that allows immigrants to apply for permanent residence in Alberta.

    “It’s not that we’re stopping it completely,” Yaseen explains. “As economic conditions get better we will open everything up again.”

    Andy Mahilom, president of the Phil-Can Tennis Association sees no reason for Filipinos in Alberta to be worried.

    “The TFW program helps a lot of Filipinos, and suspending the program is okay because of the pandemic,” Mahilom said. “Hopefully they return back and a lot of Filipinos will return to work in Canada.”

    If conditions improve in Alberta, the TFW program could go back to normal sooner. However, restrictions may remain in place if they do not.

    However, Yaseen remains hopeful.

    “Despite the fact that these are temporary restrictions, certain categories are exempt and it could only be for 12 months,” Yaseen says.

    Read our July 2020 Issue here

    Travelling in the New Normal


    The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has released in April 2020 a document called "Travelling in the New Normal" as part of its comprehensive plan outlining critical steps, coordinated actions, and new standards and protocols toward a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel and Tourism sector.

    Most of the "new normal" protocols are already in place. These protocols have been adopted until a vaccine becomes available on a mass scale, large enough to inoculate billions of people. Here's an excerpt from the WTTC press release articulating the plan for the "new normal:"

    • To offer world-class cleanliness, improved hygiene standards and ensure guest safety, hotels are developing protocols based on learnings from offering free rooms to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis.  
    • There will be new protocols for check-in involving digital technology; hand sanitizer stations at frequent points including where luggage is stored; contactless payment instead of cash; using stairs more often than lifts where the 2 meter rule can be harder to maintain; and fitness equipment being moved for greater separation among other examples. 
    • Cruise operators will take further measures to ensure ships are free of COVID-19 including staff wearing gloves at all times which are then frequently changed; and more frequent room cleaning. 
    • Travelers at airports will find themselves tested before they fly and upon arrival at their destination airport. They can expect to see social distancing measures at the airport and during boarding, as well as wearing masks while onboard. 
    • Aircraft will also be subject to intensive cleansing regimes. These measures will be combined with contact-tracing, via mobile app, that will allow flights to leave airports COVID-19-free.
    • The protocols, which have been developed using experience from China’s initial recovery and from new successful standards used by retailers, have been and shared with governments globally, so there is a coordinated approach to travelling within the COVID-19 world. 

    As travel restrictions are lifted incrementally and many airlines gradually resume air travel, I hope this information gives us some additional consideration around the risks of travelling during the pandemic.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to make a plea to everyone to wear mask when going to public spaces. The following has been shared by a friend on social media and I thought it fitting to use this platform to further emphasize the point.

    When I wear a mask in public, or decline an invitation to a party or to come inside, I want you to know that:

    • I am educated enough to know that I could be asymptomatic and still give you the virus.
    • No, I don’t “live in fear” of the virus; I just want to be part of the solution, not the problem.
    •  I don’t feel like the “government is controlling me;” I feel like I’m being a contributing citizen to society and I want to teach others the same.
    •  The world does not revolve around me. It is not all about me and my comfort.
    •  If we all could live with other people's consideration in mind, this whole world would be a much better place.
    • Wearing a mask doesn’t make me weak, scared, stupid, or even “controlled.” It makes me considerate.

    When you think about how you look, how uncomfortable it is, or what others think of you, just imagine someone close to you - a child, a father, a mother, grandparent, aunt, or uncle - choking on a respirator, alone without you or any family member allowed at bedside. Ask yourself if you could have sucked it up. Was it worth the risk? Wearing a mask is not political. It’s public health choice!

    I am a world traveler myself and I look forward to the day when we can travel freely again within the bounds of normal health precautions.  


    Jay-Ann is a self-proclaimed writer and as of late, occasional film critic. Calgary has been her home since 2012, together with her husband and three children. Besides KDrama, she loves to write (and talk passionately about) about travels, food, geopolitics and the economy. She drew inspiration from the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”  
    She has an undergraduate degree in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Development Management, and has worked in the oil and gas industry as a professional Project/Program Manager. She also finds joy in hiking, cooking and community volunteering. 

    Read our July 2020 Issue here

    Black Lives Matter: What History Has Taught Us


    The resurgence of "Black Lives Matter" has gripped my psyche like nothing I've experienced before. I am aghast at how some prominent leaders in our society have blatantly disrespected the very core principles of diversity and inclusion. Racial flare-ups are common in the US but the recent intensity and breadth of response from common citizens around the world seem different this time. I am tempted to write a long opinion but somehow managed to restrain myself. The world has gone through so much of emotional and mental roller coaster in the past six months and I would rather add a silver lining than fuel the fire. Therefore, I have chosen to reflect on what history has taught us instead. I have carefully selected the speech delivered by Martin Luther King, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on December 11, 1964, as it reflects the paradigm from which I am rooted.

    Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.

    Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

    The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery to Oslo is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity. It will, I am convinced, be widened into a superhighway of justice.

    I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally
    incapable of reaching up for the "oughtness" that forever confronts him.

    I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

    History tells us that injustice began with the original sin of slavery but, injustice has endured because racism and discrimination have, too. Let's be realistic. Some forms of discrimination or racism, regardless of race, cannot be avoided, deliberately or otherwise. What makes it really worrisome is if it becomes systemic and totally undermines the basic human virtues of trust and respect. If that happens, then the very fabric of human ecology crumbles.

    Almost half a decade after MLK Jr.'s passing, his aspiration still lives on. Still far too many have been left out and struggling to overcome racism and discrimination. The Economist (June 13th 2020) mentioned that a large and growing literature links the still-yawing racial gaps in income, employment and wealth to the segregated communities, racial violence and unequal investment that have been a feature of American society for so long. Black and marginalized communities still face differential treatment from the police and unequal access to high quality public goods like education and even environmental quality. I would like to believe that the situation may not be as blatant here in our very own Calgary, although one could say that there are pockets of similar circumstances happening around us. It is not just police behavior that needs to change in order to see progress. Each and everyone of us needs to be part of that change. I cannot allow myself to be a silent spectator. “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Thank you, John Lewis for this legacy.  Translated in Tagalog: “Kung hindi tayo, sino pa? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” A slogan that has long been imprinted in my mind since I was 16 as I entered the University of the Philippines, but still resonates strongly with me.  This has prompted me to proactively seek a forum to contribute my thoughts and work collaboratively with organizations who are advocating for this change.

    I would like to believe that I live in a community that embraces diversity in whatever shape or form. So, it is natural for me to be sensitive to various cultures and beliefs. My professional life has taught me very strongly that tolerance is not only an esteemed virtue but a necessity if we genuinely wish for this world to be a better place to live in. We have done tremendous strides as humanity. Even USA Inc has at last become openly serious about tackling racism. CEOs of the biggest US companies have sent letters to Congress advocating changes to how policing is done, made or in the process of changing corporate policies to make racial justice "intentional and specific." However, the cycle of progression and regression repeats over and over again therefore, in my opinion the intentionality and specificity of our efforts must be consistent at all fronts – social, economic, political, financial, and even spiritual - if we truly want to see a genuine reform.


    Excerpts from the speech was taken from Bartlett, J. 1980. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Toronto, CA: Little, Brown and Company.


    Jay-Ann is a self-proclaimed writer and as of late, occasional film critic. Calgary has been her home since 2012, together with her husband and three children. Besides KDrama, she loves to write (and talk passionately about) about travels, food, geopolitics and the economy. She drew inspiration from the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”  
    She has an undergraduate degree in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Development Management, and has worked in the oil and gas industry as a professional Project/Program Manager. She also finds joy in hiking, cooking and community volunteering. 

    Read our July 2020 Issue here

    Wills and Last Testaments – Why make one in Alberta?


    At some point in their lives, it is not unusual for people young and old to think they are “invincible”.

    For the young, death seems not even part of the life equation considering that being “young” and presumably blessed with good health is the particular high mark in a person’s life journey. The journey through the years is marked in achieving career goals, raising a family,  and to search for the happy life characterized by material prosperity. For the rest of us who are not so young, the goal is to look forward to more years living in this world (i.e. think retirement and enjoyment of the blessed golden years). After all, longer lifespans of our generation are backed by solid science.

    However, humans have a biological shelf life. All of us (without exception) will eventually die. And more often than not, it is often difficult to know for certain when death arrives. 2020 is a stark reminder how fragile our lives are and the continuing effect of the global pandemic in our lives.

    A survey of the Lawyer’s Professional Indemnity Co. (LawPRO) found 88% of Canadians  between the ages of 27 and 34 do not have a “Will, the most common reason for not having one is the fact that they are “too young” to have one and a Will is for those nearing the end of a life’s journey. For the whole of Canada, the LawPRO survey found that 56% of Canadian adults do not have a signed Will.

    Legally, what happens after death?

    Upon the death of a person (i.e. the person who dies is referred to as the “Decedent”), the legal entity – the Estate - comes into existence. The Estate is the totality of all properties (i.e. real properties, personal properties and less the debts and obligations) owned by the decedent.  The Estate is not subject to self-management and properties do not automatically go to the decedent’s family and loved ones left in this world.

    Management and distribution of the Estate may be facilitated through the terms of a Will, a legal document governed by legislation. If there is no Will, management and distribution of the Estate is made through intestate proceedings *(no Will).

    Matters of Estate and how properties are to be managed and distributed are subject of the law.

    In Alberta, the WILLS AND SUCCESSIONS ACT (WSA) was enacted to law on February 1, 2012. The WSA is the law that governs Wills; intestate situations and survivorship situations; dependent’s rights; and successional rights.

    What happens to the Estate if a person dies without a Will?

    The most common perception is that after a person dies without a Will, his or her properties (i.e. the “Estate”) will just pass on gently to the surviving spouse; children; or any other person who is left behind and related to the Decedent. This is not true. Dying intestate may be more complicated than this.

    If a person dies without leaving a Will, The LAW takes over (Intestate provisions of the WSA). He or she loses control over the Estate by way of how it is be administered; how the assets are to be accounted and distributed; how a guardian and a trustee is to be instituted for the minor children for their care and for management of the minors’ inheritance; and even how to best take advantage of tax laws to maximize their use for those loved ones left behind.

    Dying intestate will turn out to be potentially litigious and cumbersome at a time when the family has suffered from the death of a loved one. Almost always, dying intestate will be more expensive (i.e. legal proceedings, lawyer’s fees, and emotional costs) for the loved ones left behind. It is often the rule that relatives of a deceased who died intestate may be compelled to see professional counsel to navigate the appointment of Administrators for the Estate (i.e. advice of lawyers); guardians for the minor children and trustees for the property of minor children; and management of the Estate (i.e. advice of accountants).

    Why make a Will in the first place?

    A Will is any writing that confers a testamentary disposition of the Estate and designates a personal representative to administer the Estate. The Will takes effect upon the death of the person who makes it.

    A Will enables a person to have his wishes fulfilled after his death. If a person dies without a Will, the Estate will be subjected to intestate rules on succession.

    Having a Will ensures the appointment of your designated Personal Representative (i.e. Executor, Administrator, and/or the Manager of the Estate) and an assurance that one’s wishes (made while in complete control and while still alive) are followed. You get to decide who will benefit from the Estate; who gets what, who gets nothing, and decide on how properties are to be distributed (i.e. if there are minors, you get to decide who will manage the properties given to minor beneficiaries). In other words, the careful planning and execution of a legally effective Will can ensure that the one’s wishes (after he or she passes on) are clear and shall be followed as per the terms of the executed Will and last testament.

    The person who makes a Will is called the Testator.

    In Alberta, the Testator is endowed with testamentary freedom. The Testator has the sole discretion to decide on all decisions that will affect his Estate after his or her death.

    The Testator may provide for the burial arrangements. The Testator can designate his or her preferred choice or even choices of the Personal Representative, the manager/administrator of the Estate. The Personal Representative is the same as the Executor and Administrator although the term of the Personal Representative is used in the WSA. He or she is the person who will be entrusted to act in accordance with the terms of the Will and how the Estate is to be managed, accounted, and eventually distributed to the named beneficiaries.

    The Testator can plan ahead on how to take advantage of tax savings measures (i.e. gifts to charities; roll over provisions of the Income Tax Act). He or she can provide for the  guardianship of his minor children, institute the person who will officially be responsible for their care until they reach the age of majority.

    In Canada, the testator can choose who gets what and who is out and this blanket choice is his alone to make concerning his properties that he leaves behind and forming part of his Estate (i.e. in the Philippines, the Civil Code provides that the Testator can only distribute the “free portion” of his Estate in a Will since Philippine succession law mandates certain reserved portions of the Estate to certain “forced heirs” [i.e. the spouse, children, etc.] as a general rule).

    The Testator can even include provisions in his Will as to when the beneficiaries can receive their share of the Estate.

    One of the most practical aspects in having a valid Will is the cost of settling the Estate. It is so much cheaper to have a probate of a Will. The probate process is easier and more cost effective (i.e. compared to applications for Administration and intestate proceedings under the WSA). A probate is a process by which the Court of Queen’s Bench confirms that the last Will of deceased is legally valid and the person (Personal Representative of the Estate) applying for grant of probate has the legal authority to administer the estate.

    A probate process in Alberta is a simple desk application (i.e. there are no hearings conducted before a Judge in probate applications) whereby the Executor will normally go to the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench; fill up the forms (i.e. $35.00) contained in the Surrogate Rules; and submit them to the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench. The process is pretty much streamlined and costly litigation is therefore avoided. The filing fees are reasonable and would depend on the value of the Estate. In Alberta, the filing fees for a  probate substantial Estate (i.e. a $1,000,000.00 or more) will not be higher than $500. The Personal Representative can choose to fill up the forms or seek the advice of a lawyer for a nominal fee.

    Let's face it, making a Will may not be the most exciting thing to do (and there may be a time you are clueless on how to start drafting one and ensuring that the same is legally valid), but by

    protecting your hard earned savings, property and assets, and putting matters in order, you can look after those people who matter to you most.

    Contrary to prevailing legal myths, it is more economical to seek legal advice to ensure that the Will corresponds to the rules of the WSA and to be properly advised on the provisions of the Will one desires.

    Making a Will is one of the most caring things you can do for your family - ensuring that they do not have the additional pain and worry at a time when they least need it.


    Anthony L. Po graduated from the UP College of Law, University of the Philippines and practiced law for 28 years in the Philippines. He was admitted to the practice of law in Canada and is currently a member of the Law Society of Alberta as a Barrister and Solicitor and practices law with the law office of Murray MacKay Professional Corporation of Calgary (Tel. 403 532-8288) in the areas of Personal Injury, Family Law, Real Estate, Wills and Estate, and civil litigation. Comments may be coursed through

    Read our July 2020 Issue here

    Yamnuska: A K8 Induction Mountain


    Have you ever wondered about how the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta welcomes their aspiring members? Every member of the group has a memorable story to tell, but here’s to a few glimpses on how we conduct an induction climb. Coming from the City of Calgary, Mt. Yamnuska is the first mountain on your right when entering the Canadian Rockies. Its most prominent feature is its wide south-facing 152m cliff face. A very popular location for rock climbing enthusiasts.

    Whether you have zero experience about climbing or an experienced climber inside and outside Canada, induction climb is a must in joining K8. The same principle in the business world as It is vital that an employee is given a proper introduction to the new job. It is a process of discovering the values and principles of K8 from a set of facts. Moreover, the new members will be able to gauge the physical fitness and mental aspects of K8’s activities through the induction.

    Since Alberta reopens last June 2020, K8 has undergone an induction climb for June and July. It is important to bring knowledge of the K8’s Pandemic Strategy which serves as a social contract for best practice, rather than rules to be strictly enforced. As we continue to entrust a high degree of accountability and integrity amongst its members, ensuring the health and safety remains its top priority.

    Mt. Yamnuska is a generous mountain. Gaining elevations unlocks spectacular views from time to time. The route that the group typically follows from the parking lot is about 1/2km until you will reach a first junction that says climbers to the left and hikers to the right. Don’t be confused as the sign is correct. K8 typically take the right-hand route. This route requires good experience in scrambling and requires caution. Levi John Ramos, K8’s Executive Chairman, has done 18 consistent summits on this mountain even in the winter season and snow-covered. Route finding skills and being comfortable while traversing is a must.

    As you work your way up through aspen and spruce forest towards the bottom of the east side of the cliff face, you will see a beautiful a large cut in the rock, we call it “Biak na Bato”, with a boulder blocking the middle section. After this section of the climb, average inductees typically exceed physical fitness limits after an exhilarating hike going above the tree line. We typically see some of them having “pulikat” or cramps up to this point. Having a good guide at the back of the pack, we call it “sweeper”, will make a big difference. Patience, good coaching and skill to divert attention will help the climber to push more on the self-imposed boundaries not knowing from that point and getting to the summit later on. A lot of times, it is just about putting one foot in front of the other. We'll get there eventually.


    3 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge
    1 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge
    Team 3.0
    Levi Final Push
    4 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge
    January 2021
    K8 Mentality
    9 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge
    Mhay Honey
    Patrick Carpio
    Candice Jayjay and Friend
    3 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge 1 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge Team 3.0 Levi Final Push 4 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge January 2021 K8 Mentality 9 Mt. Yamnuska Ridge Mhay Honey Patrick Carpio Candice Jayjay and Friend


    K8’s Mentality: You are not doing it right, if you keep on looking at how high is the top. Try looking back to see how far you have come. Keep following a well-worn scree trail up the slope then pass between a spine-like buttress. When the team reaches the bolted chain, K8 provides the inductees with proper gears and equipment typically helmet, safety harness, lanyard with two hooks and locking carabiner. K8’s practice is to make sure the safety of its aspiring members, never be complacent as every decision is just one step back away from accidents. An important reminder to enjoy what you do, no matter what reasons you may have going up to the mountains, whether it's for personal battles alone or testing oneself limits.

    Once you traverse the chain ledge locate the trail again and work your way across and up to the summit. Route finding skills are needed here and you may find yourself above very steep loose slopes that lead to cliffs further below. There are no chains here so once again caution is needed. Typically, the team reaches the summit approximately at noon and enjoys the view and have a quick lunch for 15-20 minutes. Whether it is a simple snack of nuts, protein bars or soup, it is indeed one of the best lunches to experience in your lifetime.

    From the summit, the fastest way down is by the west route. Follow the summit trail down the steep scree slopes that lead down the northwest side of the mountain. Scree slopes have been one of the secrets of the induction climb. It is intimidating to see at first going down as scary as something you probably have never done in your life. As we realize, once you step your foot “heel first” as our normal practice, it is indeed the most enjoyable and memorable part of the climb for most of us. We even look forward to it when we have a chance to climb this mountain again. Keep going, avoiding a few smaller trails that drop down to the valley on your right. Once you pass through a small wet bowl created by an underground stream, you'll be on top of the prominent trail that you viewed from the parking lot. Lots of fun here as you run and hop straight down this loose scree slope. The trail then enters trees again and arrives at the signed junction. Then, lastly, follow your way down to the parking lot.

    We have witnessed different experiences in this mountain, poured emotions in every step of the way, but the most important lesson is to never give up and push yourself on what you might have been afraid of doing before. We come to the mountains to be humbled. And, we are humbled indeed. There will always tough times, regardless of what you do in life. Be able to push through those times and keep on your ultimate goal.

    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 Pinoy Alpinist.

    Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?

    You may reach us at (587) 228-2989 or send and email to

    Read our July 2020 Issue here

    Are Wills in Alberta, Canada Valid in the Philippines?



    A common question arises when Filipino clients ask me for help with their Wills.

    Is a valid Will in Alberta, Canada enforceable and valid in the Philippines as well? It is a fact that a lot of Filipino-Canadians who adopted Canada as their country continue to own properties in the Philippines which they intend to pass on to their loved ones in the event of death. Further concerns arise as to how their properties situated in the Philippines are to be distributed later on to their loved ones in the most expeditious manner when they die.

    Therefore, 3 issues are intertwined from the question on whether or not a valid Will in Alberta, Canada can or could be enforceable in the Philippines:

    If they have a valid Will in Alberta, Canada, must they have to have a Will done under Philippine law?


    What will happen to their properties in the Philippines if they die with a Will validly executed in Alberta, Canada?


    Are bequests and gifts consisting of properties in the Philippines given to their named beneficiaries in their Will?

    The answer is simple enough but the Philippine law governing private international law (sometimes called the “conflict of law” provisions) must be amply explained.

    In layman’s terms, private international law provides the remedy on how documents, contracts, and wills executed and entered by Filipinos in another country (i.e. Canada) may be used and given validity in the Philippines.

    The Civil Code of the Philippines (which became law on August 30, 1950) covers private international law provisions (Articles 15 to 17) as well as the provisions of law governing wills and succession (Articles 774 to 1105). More than half a century after its enactment, the Civil Code covering private international law as well as the law on succession remain largely in placed.

    A Will’s validity has to contend with 2 components: the formal requirements of a valid Will and the intrinsic or the testamentary provisions of the document insofar as the designation of the beneficiaries and the distribution of the properties of the testator (i.e. the maker)

    There are 2 provisions in the Philippine Civil Code that apply to the question on whether Wills validly executed pursuant to the law in Alberta, Canada are valid and recognized in the Philippines:

    Ø Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that “the forms and solemnities of contracts, will, and other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed”.

    o   The article governs the requirements and formalities of a Will.

    o   Therefore, if the Will executed by a Filipino-Canadian in Alberta, Canada conforms to the formal requirements of the Wills and Succession

    Act of Alberta (“WSA” which became effective in Alberta on February 1, 2012), then that Will has passed the formal requirements threshold and will be valid in the Philippines.

    Ø      Article 16 of the Civil Code, “intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found”.


    Ø      The WSA of Alberta and the law on succession of the Civil Code of the Philippines largely differ on the power of the testator to distribute his or her estate to any beneficiary he or she may choose. Canadian law gives utmost freedom to the testator to decide who gets what and how is the estate to be divided. This is what is known as testamentary freedom to the maker of the Will to endow, give, distribute, and do what he wants with his properties after his or her death. Testamentary freedom also allows the testator to even disinherit any person (i.e. the spouse, children, relatives) to properties of his estate.


    On the other hand, Philippine law gives the testator only a limited freedom to decide how his estate is to be divided and who will be his beneficiaries (i.e. the Civil Code provides for a very complicated system of “reservas” and forced heirs; and has provisions that the “free portion of the estate” is the only part that can be given to beneficiaries who are not compulsory heirs). And of course, the Civil Code has strict provisions for disinheritance and to exclude his “forced heirs” from the estate.

    o   If a Filipino-Canadian in Alberta, Canada has taken up Canadian citizenship and executed a Will under the WSA, the testamentary provisions of his Will shall be regulated by Canadian law.


    o   Article 16 gives a break to Filipino-Canadians insofar as having the utmost liberty to write the testamentary provisions of the Will especially on how his estate (including his properties in the Philippines) may be distributed and who will be his beneficiaries.


    o   But I say this with a warning. If the Will executed in Alberta, Canada does not conform to the provisions of the Law on Succession (Book 3 of the Civil Code), the objectionable provisions of the Will may be subjected to litigation.


    Under the provisions and principles of private international law, Filipino-Canadians who have executed a valid Will in Alberta, Canada do not have to execute a separate Will under Philippine law to impact their properties in the Philippines when they die.

    It is settled in Philippine law that “(T)he oneness and universality of the inheritance cannot be divided or broken up merely because of the different countries where properties of the estate are situated” (Dean Capistrano, Gibbs v. Gov’t. of the Philippines, 59 Phil. 293).

    Pursuant to the WSA and the Civil Code, properties in the Philippines of Filipino-Canadians shall form part of their estate when they die. The provisions of their valid Wills in Alberta, Canada shall govern the disposition of these properties which shall forthwith be distributed to the beneficiaries named in their Wills.

    The simple enough answer that a Will validly executed in Alberta, Canada, can be recognized in the Philippines is yes.

    Unfortunately, a Filipino-Canadian who would entertain this question must also be advised on the Philippine law on procedures on probate and distribution of properties in the Philippines; the complicated provisions of Book 3 of the Civil Code (the Law on Succession), and the costs involved in the probate proceedings.


    Anthony L. Po graduated from the UP College of Law, University of the Philippines and practiced law for 28 years in the Philippines. He was admitted to the practice of law in Canada and is currently a member of the Law Society of Alberta as a Barrister and Solicitor and practices law with the law office of Murray MacKay Professional Corporation of Calgary (Tel. 403 532-8288) in the areas of Personal Injury, Family Law, Real Estate, Wills and Estate, and civil litigation. Comments may be coursed through

    Read our June 2020 Issue here

    Pan fried Cod Fish with Hoisin and Ginger sauce


    • 600 g  Cod fish fillet  dusted with  flour and white pepper corn
    • 200 ml Canola oil
    • 2 tables spoon sesame oil
    • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
    • 80g Julienne ginger root
    • 50 g julienne white French onion
    • 100g red and green bell peppers
    • 50 g carrots strips
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 taste spoon  oyster sauce
    • 2tablespoon mirin sauce
    • Pinch  of dashi powder
    • 150 ml vegetables stock
    • 1 taste spoon corn flour
    • Green onion for garnished


    1. Pre heat pan with  canola  cooking oil  medium heat and fried the fish until lightly brown color and set aside
    2. In a mixing bowl dilute  Corn flour with vegetables stock add Hoidin sauce, Oyster sauce, Mirin sauce and pinch of dashi
    3. In a separate pan sautéed garlic, ginger and onion with sesame oil and release the aroma add the remaining julienne of all vegetables cook  for 2 minutes. Add  diluted substance cover for 2 more minutes pour over the fish.
    4. Served with steamed  Jasmine  or Japanese white rice.
    5. Garnished with green onion

    Serves 2 to 3 person




    Chef Norben Sayon is the Sous Chef at Quatro Asian Bistro, Emirates Airline Hotel and Resort, Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites UAE.

    Read our June 2020 Issue here

    Filipino International Students adjust to Canada’s post-secondary education’s ‘new normal’


    Pursuing high standard education in Canada has always been the dream of many Filipino students. But the economic and societal breakdown brought about by COVID-19 has drastically changed the lives and dreams of these Filipinos and 640,000 international students across Canada.

    The international students’ community is regarded as a vital facet of the Canadian society and economy, contributing more than $20 billion to the country’s GDP and bolstering more than 150,000 jobs in various industries.

    While the global pandemic continues to make a significant impact on international students, higher education institutions are working together with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure they keep on prioritizing safety and providing support to these students who are dealing with the pandemic while living thousands of miles away from home.

    Online Classes

    To comply with the safety measures enforced by Alberta Health, most schools continued to offer classes though online platforms instead of the face-to-face classroom delivery, adopting more amenable learning hours to help students adjust with the new set-up.

    Classes and discussions are being delivered live or recorded virtually and all requirements are submitted online. Most institutions have also decided to be more flexible in terms of grading and payment options.

    While different schools have different grading systems, most of them gave students the option to choose between a letter grade and a categorical grade. Others have changed their systems from letter and number grades to credit or non-credit.

    In terms of financial support, international students are qualified to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Emergency aid and support were also put in place to benefit students in dire need.

    “We are thankful with the considerations made because that way we can plan our finances ahead and plan the time we should dedicate for learning, as well as for working,” says Kate, who arrived in Calgary last fall and works part-time in the food and retail industry.

    While international students are prohibited from working more than 20 hours per week while class is in session, those who are working in industries classified as priority sectors like Kate’s will be allowed to work more hours until August 31, 2020.

    Kate is taking a program in human health and services, working part-time as an associate, and taking care of her four-year old daughter. Despite the uncertainties, she remains strong and positive that she can thrive in these challenging times.

    “The school was very proactive in their approach to COVID-19. They acted on the government restrictions soonest they could and kept all the students updated. The international center also provided us with resources on how we can effectively cope-up with the changing situation,” discloses Krisanta.

    Krisanta is studying general management, while taking care of her seven-year old son. While thankful that her family remains safe, she can’t help but also worry about her loved ones back in the Philippines. A former work colleague has passed away because of COVID-19.

    Despite these worries, Krisanta continues her studies online, perseveres by actively looking for other available opportunities—all in the pursuit of a better future for her family.

    Canadian Dreams

    All colleges and universities in Calgary has decided to switch to an online learning format until the Fall Semester in compliance to the Health Ministry’s strict measures to flatten the curve. IRCC clarifies that taking online courses will not affect eligibility for Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP).  

    According to a statement released by the institution: “PGWPP eligibility will not be affected for international students whose fall 2020 courses will be online due to COVID-19. This is in line with guidance provided to students already studying in Canada or whose program had a spring or summer start date.”

    At the same time, potential students from the Philippines who were granted a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, are allowed to travel to Canada. Abel Pagaling of student placement service provider Canada Advantage, underlines that Filipino students have the option to still go to Canada and have a 14-day quarantine plan or begin their classes even while still in the Philippines.

    The IRCC disclosed that if they are not able to travel to Canada sooner due to reasons related to COVID-19, they may start their classes through distance learning and complete half of their program in their home country.

    “Pursuing education abroad has become more challenging and these are indeed, difficult times. But we Filipinos are known for our resiliency,” says Abel. “By following health recommendations, we don’t have to be disheartened and let the pandemic get in the way of reaching our dreams,” adds Abel.

    KDrama and Oppa Obsession: Why Is It Taking Filipinos by Storm?

    If you’re a Filipino, there is a good chance you are hooked on Korean Dramas (KDrama).  You’re a fan of at least one of the male lead characters who we call “Oppa” (Korean = older male but it’s meaning has been extended as a term of endearment for a Korean male pop star).  Whether you’re a social media pro or just a lurker you couldn’t possibly miss photo or video posts about them. “Crash Landing On You,” “The King: Eternal Monarch,” “Itaewon Class,” Lee Minho, Hyun Bin, or Park Seo Joon, raise your hand if you don’t know any of them. I’d be happy to give you an Oppa/KDrama 101 lesson over a cup of bubble tea.

    KDrama: Crash Landing on You

    Thanks to streaming services, my COVID-19 lockdown life got introduced to different dimensions of enjoyment. Like many, I devoured hours watching my Oppas (binge watching in short!). The viewing experience is almost always surprisingly positive.  That’s what made the social distancing saga less daunting for me. Why? Let me count the ways:

    1. The emotional enjoyment. Most KDrama narratives depict a solid storyline of unconditional love. My favorite screenwriters also invest in positive character development – trust, respect, empathy, assertiveness, etc.  To me, this is something beyond cultural; to be loved is a basic human need while trust and respect are two fundamental elements in any human relationship. Oppas are excellent in expressing emotions in the most romantically surreal and heart fluttering ways possible, e.g. hugs and eye contacts that speak a thousand words, poetic expressions, and persistent effort to beat all odds just to be with a loved one. Impactful lines are conveyed against a backdrop of excellent cinematography and musical scoring. You can almost guarantee that you will be transported by the narrative. Call it cheesy, but that’s the core of the “feel good” moment. And once you reach that point, everything else becomes just icing on the cake. Thus, the more suggestive scenes in KDramas are rather implicit and swear words are unheard of. For me, this is utterly refreshing. 

    One of the most common realizations that emerged during this pandemic is the fact that human beings need to experience and share love in whatever shape or form. Our Oppas and the rest of the cast all bring us to that experience and identify with them - we share their laughter, joy, sadness, vulnerabilities, anxieties, anger, faith, and hope while they endeavor to keep their moral integrity high. We appreciate the values that they instill and connect with the emotional journey towards love, forgiveness and renewal. 

    KDrama: Itaewon Class

    So, that my friends, are some breadcrumbs of the self-help therapy I didn’t know I needed.

    2. The visual enjoyment. Most of our Oppas are stunningly good-looking. They have that “if looks could kill” beauty that keeps millions tuned in every week. Others have undeniable charm that captivate audience for reasons I cannot explain why. Therefore, seeing our Oppas on screen is a delightful treat by itself, even my 75-year old mother couldn’t resist expressing “Ay ang gwapo!”. They also bring us to a state of wishful identification through their high fashion, travels, food, elegant homes, and yes, skincare products. I won’t necessarily call this “delulu” (slang for delusional of sorts – a social media jargon I just learned, by the way).  Let’s put it this way: for those who can afford to travel, it could be adding something to their bucket list of destinations. Or acquiring a fashion inspiration without spending on the Chanels of this world.  Having good skin is one of my standards of beauty so I can appreciate how they could influence our choices of skin care products and cosmetics. We Filipinos are known for being creative and resourceful so I chose the opportunity this element of enjoyment could bring instead.  

    3. The cognitive enjoyment. While most KDramas follow a certain plot formula, there are brilliant writers who are willing enough to take the risks and could weave the romantic storyline with political, social, and even scientific complexities. Period dramas (historical genre) are good with this. They execute thought provoking plots with stunning visual effects. My favourite period drama of all time, “Jewel in the Palace” (c. 2004), depicted how a woman from the Joseon Dynasty overcame the political, social, economic and emotional challenges of her time. There are two things I particularly love about period dramas: first, how they bring about visual appeal using their traditional costume and second, how they portray collective values in order to create a great community. 

    Lee Min-ho from The Eternal Monarch

    The most recent series, “The King: Eternal Monarch,” introduced us to the concepts of parallel universe and time travel complete with convincing mathematical articulation, all in a non intimidating way. I mentioned non intimidating because I dislike Math and I sucked in Physics but still found it interesting enough that I made some digging into the scientific evidence of a parallel universe. There are numerous NASA articles on the web if you’re curious. 

    I can certainly go on and on around this topic but for now this is my take and sharing of the lighter side of life in the midst of all the craziness around us. Next time you get hooked on a KDrama or feel like you’re developing an Oppa “obsession,” let’s have a conversation.



    Jay-Ann is a self-proclaimed writer and as of late, occasional film critic. Calgary has been her home since 2012, together with her husband and three children. Besides KDrama, she loves to write (and talk passionately about) about travels, food, geopolitics and the economy. She drew inspiration from the late Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”  
    She has an undergraduate degree in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Development Management, and has worked in the oil and gas industry as a professional Project/Program Manager. She also finds joy in hiking, cooking and community volunteering. 

    Read our June 2020 Issue here

    Climbing Amidst the New Normal


    The last thing we probably want to hear is reiterating what has been transpiring for the last few months. Moving forward, there is a lot of version to taking risks. Adapting to the new normal way of these days while expanding the self-imposed walls that we put around ourselves will be much challenging. But, what is fascinating about us is how we carve our path adapting to these situations and still end up victorious.

    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta moving towards a return with its activities in a planned, phased manner. K8 entrusts a high degree of accountability and integrity amongst its members, ensuring the health and safety remains its top priority and observing Pandemic Strategy which serves as a social contract for best practice, rather than rules to be strictly enforced.

    On June 6th – 7th, 2020, K8 organized a SONA Backpacking, hike-in and backcountry camping at Kinglet Lake, Clearwater County, Alberta. SONA means Site on Assessment or simply “Site Assessment ” of a non or specific trail and routes. This is a non-activity and mostly done by senior or experienced members. This helps the group to examine and assess a certain site before an activity is presented to the whole group. Light and fast is the mantra, sometimes equipment is carried to test vertical routes. SONA will also help K8 to assess the approach of the group in adapting to the new normal.

    The trip was packed with unforgettable hiking activity, great food and camaraderie amongst the members. We were not surprised by the drastic change in the weather and can be expected to happen in some parts of Alberta. Having good firewood in challenging conditions and then use it to reliably get a fire going no matter what. Executing proper clothes layering for the outdoors will make a big difference. The logical conclusion of learning all this allows experiencing new, riskier environments with confidence and comfort. So, we would like to share with you our experience and the fundamental skill that it takes to be comfortable and confident camping outdoors in Alberta.

    The first component of being comfortable outdoors is clothing. Most of the time, when moving and being active, the body will generate heat. By wearing a lightweight base layer for top and bottom and using an insulating mid-layer allows a breather and does not take on any water at the same time. If in case the condition is below freezing a softshell is preferable to a hard shell. A softshell is water-resistant and hard shell is waterproof. Softshell breathes better. So any moisture, any heat that builds up here is free to vent out and still blocks the water. On the bottom, still a softshell pants, and a nice pair of insulated boots. But, as we all know, you can’t be complacent in Alberta. If you’re static and the body temperature starts to drop and you need more insulation, then, a high loft puffy jacket is recommended. Camp at night, it gets colder, you can bring a nice and heavy-duty really warm pair of gloves for that.

    Where to decide to set up the camp is important. In general, camp lower down. But, cold air settles in the valleys and depressions at night. So, when camping low, don’t camp at the bottom. Find a nice piece of level ground that shelters from the wind by the surrounding trees and by the hill, but the valley continues to fall below. So as the cold comes off the mountains at night, it is going to go lower than where the camp area’s location and cold pass through and eventually settle lower.

    The first problem with camping can be the cold ground sucking the heat out of the body. So, the biggest challenge of camping is to prevent that from happening. By having a multi-layer approach here can go a long way. First, by having a waterproof lightly insulated tent floor, prevents getting wet inside. So, when changing or doing other things in the tent will avoid laying on the ground. It will provide a little bit of insulation. The standard cheap closed-cell foam sleeping pad here serves as a block for any of the cold temperatures to reach the sleeping pad.

    To protect from natural cold temperatures is a nice super high fill power down sleeping bag with a proper temperature rating. The trick of mummy bags is to minimize the amount of area of the body exposed to the air. But, it is really important even in sub-zero conditions to keep the mouth and nose outside of the bag so that all the condensation that is ventilating is leaving the sleeping bag and not getting into the system and eliminating its ability to insulate.

    Put on a dedicated pair of socks for sleeping so they stay dry during the day and go on dry when going to bed. And a dedicated fleece base layer set up there can be a foundation of warmth and comfort inside the sleeping bag. It is important with warmth and happiness as a general comfort in these conditions to just be there and be dry as possible.

    The tent is also important when it comes to figuring out how comfortable to sleep at night. For most camping below the tree line, we want to maximize the breathability. Cause it helps move all air in the systems while sleeping. Having a partly meshed tent body with the up to the ground rainfly will be a great set up. The rainfly fully blocks the wind makes it a nice cozy tent to sleep in. And that mesh body combines with that rain fly, provides good ventilation to just move moisture out. Being able to wake up tomorrow morning without dripping water over the inside means being cozy all night.

    K8’s backpacking activity in Kinglet Lake was participated by K8 Executive Officers and Members namely Chris Francisco, Vice Executive Chairman, Leonard Maglalang, Executive Secretary, Reggie Domingo and Ronel Bautista. It was an average three-and-a-half-hour hike ascending and an hour less descending. A spectacular frozen lake on top of a beautiful mountain surrounded by hundred-year-old trees. The sceneries throughout the trail feel like a dream now looking back. It was a great activity to remember. Another one for the book of K8!

    Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?

    You may reach us at (587) 228-2989 or send and email to

    Read our June 2020 Issue here

    Climber: Chris Francisco Trail to Kinglet Lake, Clearwater County, Alberta
    Chris Francisco _ Ronel
    Regz Domingo
    Regz _ Ronel 1
    Chris Regz _ Ronel
    Chris Francisco 1
    Climber: Chris Francisco Trail to Kinglet Lake, Clearwater County, Alberta Chris Francisco _ Ronel Regz Domingo Regz _ Ronel 1 Chris Regz _ Ronel Chris Francisco 1 103621317_726271248130392_5572953287566523262_n 101965654_2663593713882325_6351076603205192009_n 101988922_732252257315094_6695859278492312267_n 101106734_273807230482112_1733198747651304567_n

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