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.

     

    Stir Fried Bam-i Noodles

    Legend has it that bam-i (“bam-ee”), a stir-fried Cebuano noodle dish that uses both egg and bean thread (glass) noodles, was invented by a cook who ran out of noodles while cooking for a party. Some historical sleuthing, however, reveals bam-i’s close relation to Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean noodle dishes likely brought over by immigrants from Fujian, China. Bam-i is rich and filling, with its base of noodles plus 10 to 15 ingredients comprising meat (bits of pork and pig liver), poultry (shredded chicken breast), seafood (shrimp and squid), vegetables and herbs, plus a mushroom locally called tengang daga, or “rat’s ear” (tenga = ear, ng = of, daga = rat), because of its appearance. The Chinese associate noodles with long life and bam-i’s southeast Asian cousine are sometimes referred to as “birthday noodles.” In Cebu, bam-i is likewise festive food, typically served to symbolize long life during birthdays and special occasions. Thankfully, the influence of Cebu’s huge Filipino-Chinese community has made this dish available everywhere—a guarantee that you can chow down on bam-i even if it’s not your birthday.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 200g pork strips
    • 200g chicken boiled and shredded
    • 4 pieces Chinese sausage sliced (chorizo bilbao)
    • 100g shrimp shelled and heads removed
    • 100 mussels or calamari
    • 450g flour sticks pancit canton noodles
    • 350g rice noodles sotanghon soaked in water
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 200g cabbage chopped
    • 200g  carrots julienne
    • 100g red bell pepper
    • 100g snap peas
    • 50g dried wood ear "black Fungus" soaked in water and chopped (also known as tengang daga)
    • 1 medium onion diced
    • 100g celery root julienne
    • 1/2 cup shrimp juice derived by pounding the head of the shrimp
    • 100ml kikkoman soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoon oyster sauce
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 250ml  chicken  bouillon
    • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
    • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • pinch of hondashi powder
    • pinch of white sugar
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame  oil

    PROCEDURE

      1. Heat a cooking pot or wok pan then pour in sesame  oil. Sauté garlic and onions then add the pork strips and cook for three minutes.
     
      1. Put-in the Chinese sausage and shredded chicken and cook for three to five minutes. Add soy sauce, oyster and hoisin sauce, shrimp juice, salt, Hondashi powder, sugar and  ground black pepper, chicken bouillon, and then let boil.
     
      1. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.
     
      1. Put the shrimp,mussels or calamari, celery root, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper snap peas and wood ears in then cook for three minutes.
     
      1. Add the soaked noodles then stir. Cook for a minute. Put-in the flour sticks then stir well. Cook for three minutes or until the liquid is gone.
     
    1. Top with green onions and drizzled with sesame oil on topped.
      Serves six to eight people

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Chef Esmo Fernandez III career includes being a CHEF DE COUSINE at Quatro Asian Bistro, sous chef at Burj-al Arab dubai UAE and chef de Partie at the Hilton Creek Side Dubai UAE.

    The “annulment legal cottage industry” in the Philippines

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    Divorce
    The Philippines does not have divorce and it is the only country in the world that does not provide for divorce as a measure to legally end a marriage. In Canada, a husband and wife who are separated can ask for a divorce and end a marriage.  There are a lot of Filipino Canadians who have been granted a decree of divorce in Canada.  More often than not, the question asked is whether the divorce granted in Canada by the Court of Queen’s Bench automatically ends legally the marriage entered into by Filipinos in the Philippines.  The short answer: no. In 2011, the predominantly Catholic country of Malta approved the enactment of its Divorce Law.  This bestowed to the Philippines the inglorious honor of being the only country in the world (i.e. apart from the celibate City State of the Vatican of course) that does not legally recognize divorce. Instead, the road to legally end a marriage in the Philippines is through the process of annulment of marriage. I have been reading an interesting email from my former partner inviting me to look up the series of articles which appeared at Rappler.com on the various legal schemes and outright scams to secure an annulment of marriage in the Philippines. The 5 part series cover “The Annulment Business” (Part 1); “Cotabato Court Issues Spurious Annulment Documents” (Part 2); “Cavite: Haven for Paid-Up Annulments” (Part 3); “Bribery in Annulment Mills” (Part 4); and “Annulment Scams” (Part 5). The authors named judges of various courts in known annulment havens, clerks and officers of the courts, lawyers who styled themselves as “annulment specialists”, and favored court venues to file for annulment of marriages. There were revelations of the falsification of court decisions, bribery schemes of lawyers, judicial “facilitation fees” demanded by judges and court personnel, falsely voided marriage contracts manufactured by the notorious “C. M. Recto falsified documents factory”, and other scams that promise to cut the marital bond of spouses who seek an annulment. For this month of February, I welcome Filipinos to the “annulment legal cottage industry”. This nefarious but highly profitable legal industry will continue to thrive for so long as the Philippine legislature and the judiciary continue to make it extremely expensive and very difficult for married couples to opt out of marriages that have gone down the drain. It is an accepted fact that the influence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines has greatly contributed to the lack of the legislative will to enact or even seriously consider the passing of a reasonable divorce law. According to Msgr. Oscar Cruz, "(B)eing a country where divorce is not legal is an honor that every Filipino should be proud of. Love for the family is the heart of Filipino cultural identity and cannot be destroyed by divorce".  Go figure. The prelate’s view is a myth. To date, social weather station surveys show that more than 70% percent of Filipinos are now open to the enactment of reasonable divorce legislation. I now believe “Catholicism” is not entirely to blame (except for the unique power hungry Philippine Catholic Church which continues to be the institution it was since the time of Rizal). In other predominantly Catholic countries, the reality is faith has not stopped the enactment of reasonable divorce legislation. I do however believe that the “Philippine Catholic Church” is an institution that is bizarrely unique. The Philippine Catholic Church’s strange influence in the Philippines in this day and age remains the biggest reason why divorce will remain a dream. Italy (where the Vatican city-state is situated) legalized divorce in 1970 despite fierce opposition from the Vatican.  One by one, predominantly Catholic countries eventually recognized divorce – Brazil legalized divorce in 1977 followed by Spain (the original “exporter” of Catholicism to the Philippines) in 1981; Argentina (1987); Ireland (1997); Chile (2004); and, Malta (2011). In lieu of divorce, the Family Code of the Philippines provides for annulment of marriage to legally end a marriage. Annulment means the marriage is void and did not even legally exist once a decree is granted by a court. Once annulled, it is as if the marriage did not happen and the parties are given the opportunity to legally enter marriage again should they choose to do so. The most controversial of the annulment grounds under our law is “psychological incapacity” which is found in Article 36 of the Family Code. It provides that a marriage may be declared a nullity if a party is found to be “psychologically incapacitated” to perform his/her essential marital obligations.  The provision of the law was adapted from the provisions of Canon Law on Church annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incompatibility. “Psychological incapacity” has proved difficult through the years.  The main problem is its lack of a definition. The parties are obligated to prove “through their marital history” that either or both parties to the marriage are suffering from a psychological anomaly; an aberration; or “incapacity” that render them incapable of performing their essential marital obligations. The law also mandates that the State (through the Office of the Solicitor General) must participate in the proceedings to “protect” the sanctity of families and the marriage at all costs even in situations where the spouses have long been separated and the possibility of reconciliation is nil. It is not uncommon for parties to present to the court a marital history fraught with exaggerated (and even fictitious) “factual claims” to prop up a situation of the utter failure of their marriage. This process can be akin to a gladiator contest, emotionally painful for families and the children, and civility of a painless separation is essentially non-existent. It is the norm in the Philippine annulment process that the “more serious” the incapacity, the better the chance of securing an annulment. It is not farfetched that parties (with the nudging of their counsel) even resort to perjury to present evidence of the “most serious” facts that may be accepted as manifestations of psychological incapacity. The annulment process also stoked the rise of “psychological and psychiatric experts” who give their imprimatur and opinions on what constitutes “psychological incapacity”. The lack of a definition in the law gave the courts and their clogged case dockets a wide unfettered discretion to grant annulments subject only to a review by an appeals court.  This gave rise to the perfect legal storm for delays and expensive litigation which became a boon for legal practitioners but a bane for litigants who wanted out of their marriages. Lawyers styling themselves as “annulment specialists” are only too aware of courts which are “liberal annulment mills” and which courts are to be avoided at all costs. It did not take long for some judges, court personnel, and other unscrupulous characters to join in.  The legal cottage industry for annulment was born. Through the years, the Supreme Court released several decisions on the issue of what constitutes “psychological incapacity”.  To date, a definition is still to be pronounced by the highest court in the Philippines. In January 2015, the Supreme Court rendered its final decision in the case of Kalaw v. Fernandez (G.R. No. 166357) and declared the marriage of the parties null and void.   The Resolution (which is actually a reversal of its original Decision) was picked up by newspapers and legal opinions abound as to the “relaxation” of the rule on “psychological incapacity” in marriage annulment. The ruling reiterated that “psychological incapacity” has no definition and what constitutes it to annul a marriage will depend on the factual circumstances; the opinion of experts; the rulings of Church Tribunals (i.e. Catholic annulments); and the appreciation of the trial judges hearing the case. The Kalaw case confirmed the tedious, expensive, and unsettling nature of annulment cases grounded on “psychological incapacity”.  It constitutes indelible proof on how long parties may have to wait for their “life ever after”. The Kalaw petition was filed at the trial court sometime on July 6, 1994.  After a protracted trial, the Regional Trial Court granted the annulment after 4 years. The Court of Appeals heard the appeal and examined the facts of the case for 6 years and reversed the trial court and effectively denying the annulment. The Supreme Court examined the facts and the law and rendered its first decision on September 19, 2011 affirming the denial of the annulment. After taking a “second hard look at the facts and a re-application of the law and jurisprudence”, the Supreme Court reversed its earlier denial of the annulment and granted the nullity of the marriage on 14 January 2015. The Kalaw case took almost 21 years to finish (1994 to 2015).  This extremely long legal journey can only lead to the continuation of the highly lucrative legal cottage industry in the Philippines. Considering the immense study done by the Supreme Court to merit a reversal of its earlier ruling, is the Kalaw ruling the final say of the Supreme Court on the matter of “psychological incapacity”?  There is nothing in said ruling that says so. Reports and legal opinions have prematurely pointed to the ruling in Kalaw as a “relaxation” on the rule on “psychological incapacity” despite the Supreme Court’s careful caveat that its ruling on the motion for reconsideration is not to be taken as a “relaxation” of its stance on Article 36.  The court spokesperson was quick to pronounce that the Kalaw ruling is not actually controlling since it was rendered by a mere “division” of the Supreme Court and not a ruling by the en banc.  You can ask your lawyer what this means as it can mean anything. To date, lawyers (and judges) are still in the dark on what factors measure to “psychological incapacity” to legally end a marriage in the Philippines.
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all." (Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6)
    In other words, the search continues.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anthony L. Po is a Barrister and Solicitor in Alberta, Canada since 2016.  He practiced law for 28 years in the Philippines in the areas of family law, annulment and legal separation, child adoption and custody, property and real estate law, and civil and criminal litigation. He currently practices with the law firm, Murray MacKay Professional Corporation, of Calgary, AB. Comments may be coursed through anthonypo@albertalawyer.com 

    Alberta Filipinos providing assistance to Taal victims

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    Some Filipino Albertans saw firsthand the latest eruption of Taal volcano on Jan. 12, while others could only sit by at home worrying about their loved ones who lived in the area.

    Last month Taal suddenly erupted, emitting a hazardous colossal ash cloud, and activity on the Philippine tourist island came to a sudden halt.

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) issued an alert level 4, gearing local governments for an impending hazardous explosion. A series of earthquakes trembled the region, obligating local government units to declare a total lockdown of 199 barangays and 15 municipalities in Batangas and the nearby province of Cavite. Almost 2,000 families within the 14-kilometer radius out of their homes, as the surrounding areas were covered in volcanic dust. The normally vibrant and picturesque landscape turned grey and electricity went out, turning nearby towns into ghost towns.

    The effect of Taal’s eruption magnified as it continuously spewed ash that reached nearby provinces in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila. Visibility and air quality were greatly affected that classes, businesses and flights were suspended.

    Kris Salumbides was on vacation with his family in the Philippines when the volcano erupted. He saw the devastation from the news reports and immediately initiated an effort to raise funds and help the displaced families in Batangas.

    “I contacted my friends in Calgary and Edmonton, sharing the devastating news and without second thoughts, they offered to help and raised funds,” says Salumbides.

    He reached out to the local government in Batangas where he was directed to San Luis, a small municipality that was difficult to reach and did not receive immediate relief.

    With the help of friends and family in Canada, Salumbides was able to gather sufficient funds. Within 72 hours after his call for assistance, he was set to visit San Luis with friends and volunteers, bringing in packed goods like groceries, water, toiletries and masks.

    Seeing the smiles of children who were wearing the same clothes and adults who were not able to deal with their hygienic needs for a week made their efforts worth it, he says.

    According to reports from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 1,813 families were displaced, taking temporary shelter in 40 evacuation centers. While farmers try to come back for their livestock and some families insisting on going back to gather valuable items from their homes, the police and the military were firm in keeping the residents out of the danger zone as PHIVOLCS retained the alert at level 4.

    Aimee Cowley, a detective with the Calgary Police Service, commends how the government managed the tense situation on the ground. Her retired parents both live in Talisay, one of the affected municipalities in Batangas, and were home when the volcano erupted.

    Cowley felt uneasy when her parents refused to leave at first.

    “Because it was our family home, it was difficult for them to leave even when the situation outside was already really bad,” Cowley says. “They only left when it was already the military who knocked on their door.”

    “I’ve seen improvements on how the government manages calamities and act upon it the best they could,” she says.

    She was relieved when her parents finally left the danger zone and sought shelter in one of their family friends’ houses outside the zone.

    Known as the world’s smallest and the Philippine’s second most active volcano, Taal remains one of the most popular tourist destinations south of Manila. Resting in the province of Batangas, the volcano had only a few minor activities in the past 40 years.

    More than a month after the eruption, PHIVOLCS downgraded Taal’s alert level to 2, which signifies a decrease in unrest. According to an advisory released by the agency, “local government units are advised to additionally assess previously evacuated areas within the seven-kilometer radius for damage and road accessibility and to strengthen preparedness, contingency, and communication measures in case of renewed unrest.”

    While most families are back in their homes, residents were still asked to practice precautions as ground displacement and earthquakes may still occur.

    Here’s What I Know

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    So I get a phone call at 8:30 p.m. last Saturday from a good friend and community leader (we’ll call her Eva), who was helping out and one of her employees who found herself in a major predicament. The predicament was that the employee, let's call her Girlie, was asked by a close friend (who we shall call Linda) to help in the purchase of a vehicle.  Apparently, Linda had gone to a dealership (who we will call 666 Motors), picked out a car and applied for a loan.  Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, she got declined and needed a cosigner for the loan.

    Linda then asks Girlie if she could help. Being a good friend, and having a generous heart, Linda said yes. Linda then provides 666 Motors all her info.

    The loan approval process took forever. It was one delay after another and Girlie ended up leaving for a previously scheduled vacation to the Philippines.  As far as Girlie was concerned, the purchase contract was never completed – the loan documents never signed. She never heard from the dealership after that initial meeting.

    Fast forward three months and Girlie and her husband met by a realtor who suggested that they should look at purchasing their own home. Girlie thought it was a good idea and agreed and the realtor started the pre-approval process. As soon as Girlie's credit report was accessed, the realtor saw a $50,000 car loan posted in Girlie's credit history.  Which, in order to proceed with the mortgage approval, had to be paid off.

    Girlie was shocked. As far as she knew that car loan she was supposed to cosign for, was never completed. While she remembered providing all the loan requirements, she vividly remembers never signing the loan documents.  She immediately knew something was very wrong.

    In quick order, Girlie was able to obtain copies of the loan documents and Girlie saw that her signature was forged. She was furious and proceeded to investigate to find out how and what happened for her to end up with this huge loan.

    It was a very frustrating and infuriating two weeks, between having to make dozens of phone calls (and getting the run-around), then travelling back and forth to 666 Motors, she was literally at her wit’s end. What made the situation seem hopeless was that 666 Motors maintained that Girlie provided all the necessary supporting documents, then signed the agreement, to make the contract legal and binding – even though Girlie insisted that the signature was not hers.

    Enter my friend Eva, who wanted my experienced assessment and advise. She wanted to help Girlie get out of this situation. Eva also wanted to expose the illegal activity that was so obvious in this situation.

    I reached out to a good friend who works at the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) – a provincially mandated organization tasked to regulate the automotive industry.   They are the investigative and enforcement body that oversee the auto industry, there to safeguard and uphold consumer rights. So, here’s what my friend recommends:

    1. Go to the AMVIC website https://www.amvic.org/ and file the complaint online. Be as detailed as you can and include names and dates whenever possible. Supporting documents may be uploaded in this portal. If you experience difficulties accessing the portal you can also call AMVIC at 877.979.8100 and ask to speak with a Consumer Services Officer.
    2. If there is any criminal wrongdoing, then a complaint should be filed with your local police service.

    I relayed the above information to Eva, who said she’d heed my advice and, in addition, would hire a lawyer.

    If you find yourself in a financial bind and need someone to talk to, CALL ME AT 780.710.4895. I CAN HELP.  

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tony Surtida has been involved in the auto industry since 1990 and has had a long and distinguished career not only as a sales consultant but as a sales manager and finance manager as well.  He currently works a Finance Specialist at FILCAN CARS. His knowledge of the auto industry will be an invaluable tool for those in the market for a new or newer vehicle. The insight he shares in this column is a culmination of years of experience which he hopes will provide information one needs to make an informed choice.  Kung Sasakyan din lang naman, ‘wag nang kung saan-saan pa.  Kay Tony Surtida na!

    An Intro to Ice Climbing: Troll Frozen Waterfall

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    Photos by Leonard Maglalang

    Ice climbing is an exciting technical sport and one of the key components of the Mountaineering skillset. It is a roped, protected climbing that typically features a frozen waterfall, icefall, rock slab covered with the frozen flow of water and other inclined ice formations. This season runs typically from November up to the end of April, depending on the temperatures.

    In the winter season, many Filipinos stay at home because of the extreme cold temperatures in Alberta. But, some of us are actually excited and looking forward to winter because of the exciting outdoor activities that you can enjoy throughout the season.

    Laura Kwok
    Climber Laura Kwok at Troll Frozen Waterfall, Kananaskis Country, Alberta

    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta intro to ice climbing took place this year at Troll Frozen Waterfall in Kananaskis Country. This is designed for beginner-members who wish to experience ice climbing. They are taught at a single pitch or top rope climbing. The top-roping is a climbing method that the climber is securely attached to a rope. The rope is passed through to an anchor to the belayer and a partner belays the climber from the base of the climb.

    Using technical protection and equipment such as ice axes and crampons may sound intimidating, but everyone can try this fun sport without feeling like they need to boost upper body strength. The execution involves kicking and swinging your way up the frozen waterfall and if done properly, should feel very similar to climbing a ladder. The same as other technical sports, the correct technique, good coaching and proper instruction go a long way.

    Filipinos are known for competitiveness and willingness to contribute and participate. It doesn’t matter if we are below one per cent of the climbing community around the world that does it. The important thing is we are part of it and we are doing something for us to grow.

    Levi John Ramos, Executive Chairman of K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta ones said: “Hindi na pangarap lang sa mga Pilipino ang umakyat sa bundok na may yelo.” This is big especially in a tropical country like the Philippines.

    Today, whenever you see mountaineers doing Alpinism or Ice climbing, please remember we Pinoys contribute and participate in it as well and we are proud of what we do to help grow this community.

    Leonard Maglalang is on the committee for multimedia for the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta.

    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta
    The K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta at Troll Frozen Waterfall, Kananaskis Country, Alberta

    Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta? You may reach them at (587) 228-2989 or send and email to k8mountainclub.ab@gmail.com

    Filipino Calgarians mourn the death of Kobe and Gianna

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    Kobe and Gianna
    A photograb from Kobe's Instagram Account dated September 2019

    The sudden and tragic death of one of the NBA greats Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a horrific helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California shocked the whole world and millions of basketball lovers everywhere.

    Bryant who won five NBA championships and multiple awards, including being the top four leading scorers in the NBA, was travelling with his daughter and seven other people for a basketball workshop on the day their helicopter crashed on a mountain.

    For many Filipinos, Kobe Bryant. who famously wore numbers eight and 24 as a Laker, was an inspiration for the "mamba mentality" he showed on the basketball court. His unmatched perseverance, work ethic and determination to win was what endeared him to his legions of fans.

    Many Filipinos in Calgary were in utter disbelief when they heard the news about his death.

    Marvelous Ocenar has been a die-hard fan ever since Kobe Bryant became the youngest person to play in the NBA at 18 years and 158 days old in January 1997. Like many of Kobe's fans, he cried when he learned the news of his death and at first thought it was simply fake news.

    "I was very sad when Kobe announced his retirement, to the point that I almost cried watching his last game, so you can just imagine how I felt when I found out that he died?” Ocenar says. “I just woke up and saw a Facebook post from TMZ confirming that Kobe Bryant was killed in helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. I was really shocked and I still couldn't believe it since it was just TMZ who reported it. So I searched on Google and saw that Fox News and ABC News already confirmed it. And of course, just like all the Kobe fans around the world, I really cried because I was so devastated by that bad news and I was also shocked to find out that his 13-year-old daughter Gianna who was supposed to be his legacy in the WNBA was also with him and seven other people.

    The loss hit him hard, but in the end Ocenar says it was basketball that helped him with his grief.

    “We had a game in our Filipino Basketball League that day, but I chose not to play and coach,” he says. “My teammates already knew why I didn't show up since they already know who's the biggest Kobe Fan in our team, but I still ended up playing a basketball pickup game that night since I really needed to release all the sadness I was experiencing by shooting the ball like Kobe.

    Kobe's Jersey #24
    Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash

    Since 2010, he has started collecting Kobe Bryant Nike shoes and now has 41 pairs, which he uses on and off the court.

    Ocenar has always believed in Kobe's mamba mentality, which is about never giving up and always try to win.

    "Mamba mentality is not just about basketball, but it is also about our daily lives,” he says. “Though we experience hardships in life, we must always look up and get up to face all the challenges ahead of us. Know that God doesn't give us trials that we cannot overcome."

    Ocenar adds that with the mamba mentality, he was able to get a job in Best Buy even after failing the job application on the first try.

    "I actually had two interviews with Best Buy and the first one was a failure even though I knew that I did good,” he says. “I was so down after finding out that I didn't pass the interview with the department manager, but since I'm a Kobe Fan with mamba mentality, I went back and applied again during the Best Buy's national hiring day for the holidays and got the job.”

    Kobe and Gianna
    A photograb from Kobe's Instagram Account dated March 2019

    Christian Dela Cruz, another big Kobe fan said that he was a huge influence on him and to many generations of players.

    justify

    Like any Kobe fan, Dela Cruz was devastated when he heard the news about Kobe and Gigi’s passing.

    "I was in a state of unbelief (sic),” he says. “I was leaving church with friends and we just stopped and checked every app of social media and kept refreshing news feeds. After the same story popped up on more and more news outlets as the day went on, it started to sink in, that one of the world’s most beloved legends, his daughter, and each of the lives of those on the helicopter, were lost. Heartbreaking, to say the least."

    Jerome Dizon, who plays with Christian every Saturday at the IamTeam Basketball League in Balzac, said he was torn when he heard the news because he didn't want to believe it.

    “It still hurts up to today, but I am glad that I watched him play and grow as a player and a father," he says.

    Dizon looks up to Kobe as a motivational and inspirational person who prioritized his family and his passion.

    "He thought about hard work and dedication when playing ball,” says Dizon. “He had that mamba mentality that outworked everyone in the gym. I'm impressed of how he was able to stay dominant for his whole career. He was well respected by the players and the association. He achieved so much and inspired a generation."

    Young and old Filipinos who play in several basketball leagues in the city wore Kobe Bryant's jersey and dedicated their games to him.

    Starting on the day he died, all NBA players and teams paid tribute to Kobe Bryant by committing the 24-second shot clock violation and the eight-second back-court violation.

    Kobe Bryant left behind his wife Vanessa of 19 years and three daughters, Natalia (17), Bianka (three) and Capri (seven-months-old).

    Seafood City Opens Calgary Location Today

    1
    Seafood City VP of Marketing
    Ms. Mildred Smith, Seafood City VP of Marketing welcomes Calgarians | Photo taken by Armand Flores

    The hugely popular Filipino-American chain, Seafood City Supermarket, opened in Calgary Feb. 20.

    Seafood City marketing coordinator J.P. Sumbillo explains the grocery store is a one stop shop for Filipinos and they now have a “taste of home” at Seafood City.

    Calgarian Tina Macapili agrees that having a Filipino store is a game changer for immigrants in Calgary.

    “Usually we shop in the Chinese stores but it’s quite different when you have a place to shop that is your own,” Macapili says.

    The Pomona-based grocery chain operates 28 stores across the United States including stores in California, Nevada, Illinois, Hawai’i and Washington.

    Calgary is Seafood City’s 31st store and their third Canadian location after Mississauga and Winnipeg.

    Blessing of the Seafood City
    Blessing of the Seafood City | Photo grab from Seafood City Facebook Page

    Last November, the Seafood City opening in Winnipeg drew a lineup of hundreds in -30 weather, with some waiting as early as 4 a.m. for the doors to open.

    Vice president of Marketing, Mildred Smith, explains that the chain chooses to operate in cities where the most Filipino migrants are. Moreover, Smith says that Seafood City is all about Bayanihan and community.

    “Our mission is to bring what most Filipino immigrants miss from home,” Smith says.

    The supermarket carries popular brands, hard to find goods, Filipino skin products, fresh produce, as well as locally sourced and internationally imported ingredients.

    Smith explains that the supermarket sells local where possible but will purchase high-quality items abroad when it is affordable for customers. Some of these ingredients include bangus from Pangasinan and fish from Hawai’i.

    Seafood Choices
    Smith showing the media their packaged seafood choices | Photo taken by Armand Flores
    Inihaw na Pusit
    Inihaw na Pusit served during the Media Opening | Photo taken by Armand Flores

    The seafood area is especially a point of pride for the company.

    “You will not smell the seafood,” Smith says. “We are very proud of our cleanliness.”

    Additionally, you can purchase a fish from the supermarket, and they will clean and fry your fish at 50 cents per pound.

    Unlike other supermarkets, Seafood City also has a Filipino food court and a community room directly inside of the store.

    The food court includes their aptly named flagship restaurants: Grill City, Noodle Street and Crispy Town, which serve the supermarket’s popular Filipino barbeque, pancit, dim sum, and all of the fried food you wish you could make at home like crispy pata, chicharon bulaklak and chicken skin.

    Tucked in the corner beside the restaurants is the community room which can be rented for free provided that all of the food is purchased from Seafood City.

    Smith says that like other locations, the Calgary Seafood City will eventually have free community events such as bingo, singing contests and more.

    Visit Seafood City Supermarket at 3320 Sunridge Way NE to check out everything this Filipino grocery store has to offer.

    Media
    Juan Manila and Diwata of Pinoy Radio with Vangie Caoile and community leader | Photo taken by Armand Flores
    Seafood City VP of Marketing
    Ms. Mildred Smith, Seafood City VP of Marketing welcomes Calgarians | Photo taken by Armand Flores

    The hugely popular Filipino-American chain, Seafood City Supermarket, opened in Calgary Feb. 20.

    Seafood City marketing coordinator J.P. Sumbillo explains the grocery store is a one stop shop for Filipinos and they now have a “taste of home” at Seafood City.

    Calgarian Tina Macapili agrees that having a Filipino store is a game changer for immigrants in Calgary.

    “Usually we shop in the Chinese stores but it’s quite different when you have a place to shop that is your own,” Macapili says.

    The Pomona-based grocery chain operates 28 stores across the United States including stores in California, Nevada, Illinois, Hawai’i and Washington.

    Calgary is Seafood City’s 31st store and their third Canadian location after Mississauga and Winnipeg.

    Blessing of the Seafood City
    Blessing of the Seafood City | Photo grab from Seafood City Facebook Page

    Last November, the Seafood City opening in Winnipeg drew a lineup of hundreds in -30 weather, with some waiting as early as 4 a.m. for the doors to open.

    Vice president of Marketing, Mildred Smith, explains that the chain chooses to operate in cities where the most Filipino migrants are. Moreover, Smith says that Seafood City is all about Bayanihan and community.

    “Our mission is to bring what most Filipino immigrants miss from home,” Smith says.

    The supermarket carries popular brands, hard to find goods, Filipino skin products, fresh produce, as well as locally sourced and internationally imported ingredients.

    Smith explains that the supermarket sells local where possible but will purchase high-quality items abroad when it is affordable for customers. Some of these ingredients include bangus from Pangasinan and fish from Hawai’i.

    Seafood Choices
    Smith showing the media their packaged seafood choices | Photo taken by Armand Flores
    Inihaw na Pusit
    Inihaw na Pusit served during the Media Opening | Photo taken by Armand Flores

    The seafood area is especially a point of pride for the company.

    “You will not smell the seafood,” Smith says. “We are very proud of our cleanliness.”

    Additionally, you can purchase a fish from the supermarket, and they will clean and fry your fish at 50 cents per pound.

    Unlike other supermarkets, Seafood City also has a Filipino food court and a community room directly inside of the store.

    The food court includes their aptly named flagship restaurants: Grill City, Noodle Street and Crispy Town, which serve the supermarket’s popular Filipino barbeque, pancit, dim sum, and all of the fried food you wish you could make at home like crispy pata, chicharon bulaklak and chicken skin.

    Tucked in the corner beside the restaurants is the community room which can be rented for free provided that all of the food is purchased from Seafood City.

    Smith says that like other locations, the Calgary Seafood City will eventually have free community events such as bingo, singing contests and more.

    Visit Seafood City Supermarket at 3320 Sunridge Way NE to check out everything this Filipino grocery store has to offer.

    Media
    Juan Manila and Diwata of Pinoy Radio with Vangie Caoile and community leader | Photo taken by Armand Flores

    ‘Maraming Salamat, Calgary’ mula sa City Councillor ng Ward 5, George Chahal

    0

    Sa nakaraang dalawang taon, Ako ay nabigyan ng pagkakataon at prebilehiyo na makapagsilbi bilang City Councillor ng Ward 5. Maraming matagumpay na proyekto ang ating naisulong nitong nakaraang taon at nais Kong ibahagi ang mga pangyayari Sa loog ng ating komunidad at lungsod bilang pagsusuri sa aking ikalawang termino. Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga emails, sulat, tawag, pag uusap at mga mungkahi na inyong ibinihagi sa amin. Ang inyong konktribusyon ay Ang patuloy na magpapaunlad sa ating komunidad.

    Ang ilan sa proyekto na aking pinangunahan at ginanmpanan kasama kaya at Administrasyon ng Siyudad kasama na:

    • Ang makibahagi sa napakamatagumpay na pagdidiriwang ng Fiesta Filipino sa Olympic Plaza.
    • Nakilahok sa Philippine Festival Council of Alberta ng pag lulunsad ng 2020 Alberta Filipino Leadership Conference bilang pagsuporta nitong loyal ng inisyatibo.
    • Nagtaguyod para sa mga pagbabago sa Mortgage Stress Test para gawing abot-kaya Ang pabahay sa mga Calgarians at muling makapagtrabaho Ang mga Tao.
    • Isinulong ang mas malinaw at pantay na proseso sa pagbabadyet para sa apat na taong business plan at badyet ng lungsod.
    • Pagtitiyak na Ang ating komunidad ay may sapat na Lugar para sa mga Parke na magtutugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga residente.
    • Pagkakaroon ng kinakailangang ruta ng mga bus na planado at mas pinalawak para tugunan Ang pangangailan ng mga residente.
    • Patuloy na pagsulong para sa intilasyon ng aprobado at kinakailangang outdoor artificial turf field sa Genesis Centre.
    • Pamumuno ng Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Assessment Committee upang matulungan pagkakaroon ng kinakailangang multi-multisport fieldhouse sa ating lungsod.
    • Paglalagay ng mga bagong traffic lights, crosswalks, at traffic-calming na mga hakbang upang maisulong Ang dagdag na kaligtasan ng komunidad
    • Pagsusuri sa plano ng pensyon ng lungsod upang matiyak ang pagpapanatili, kakayahang umangkop at pagiging Patas.
    • Pagtataguyod para sa malinis na mga komunidad sa pamamagitan ng pagho-host ng aking pangalawang taunang Ward 5 Community Clean Up na may higit sa 600 mga boluntaryo na lumahok.
    • Pagtataguyod para sa pagpapatuloy ng Low Income Transit Pass at para sa paggawa ng libretto transit para sa mga may edad na 70+ at mga hindi pa 18 anyos.
    • Patuloy na nakikipagtulungan sa Lungsod ng Pangangasiwa upang makabuo ng isang bagong diskarte sa pakikipag-ugnayan at pakikipag-usap sa etnically magkakaibang mga lugar ng lungsod.
    • Nagsulong ng matagumpay na Public Safety and Community Violence Townhall na May higit sa 200 katao Ang dumalo .
    • Tumawag para sa transparency tungkol sa pananalapi sa likod ng pakikitungo para sa isang bagong Event Centre (Arena).
    • Binuksan Ang Bagong Northeast Calgary Skatepark sa Genesis Centre.
    • Inilunsad ng Ward 5 Sports Council upang mapagsamasama Ang ibat-ibang grupo ng laro sa Calgary.
    • Nagsalita laban sa kontrobersal na Bill 21 ng Quebec kasama Ang pormal na resolusyon na inaprobahan ng Konseho.
    • Tumayo laban sa pagtaas ng karahasan ng baril sa Northeast ng Calgary sa pamamagitan ng paghingi ng ibat-ibang solusyon.
    • Sumulong para sa nakaplanong Future Ward 5 Recreational Facility at Library upang maisama bilang isang priyoridad sa pagpopondo.
    • Ipinapatuloy Ang Chai with Chahal Kung saan Ang mga residente at negosyante ay nakipagugnayan sa akin ukol sa mga bagay na mahalaga sa kanila.
    • Nagtatrabaho kasama ang mga pinuno ng komunidad upang magsagawa ng paglilinis sa buong ward at sa aming mga parke.

    Sa kalagitnaan ng aking termino bilang iyong kinatawan sa Konseho, hinihikayat ko kayong makisali sa ilan sa maraming magagandang inisyatibo na nagaganap sa paligid ng Ward 5. Sa pamamagitan ng suporta at masigasig na pakikilahok ng aming miyembro ng komunidad, tayo ay nakakagawa ng mahuhusay at matagumpay na mga hakbang para sa ating lahat.

    Ang iyong Boses ay Mahalaga!

    Mangyaring manatiling nakikipag-ugnay sa aming tanggapan sa ward05@calgary.ca o bisitahin ang aking website sa GeorgeChahal.ca.

    Salamat sa isang kasiya-siyang taon at Maligayang Bagong Taon!

    Taos-puso,
    George Chahal

    The Mountains Are Calling

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    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta at Vision Quest, Nordegg, Alberta (Photograph by Friend Franco | Edited by Leonard Maglalang)

    Photo of K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta at Vision Quest, Nordegg, Alberta
    Photograph by Friend Franco
    Edited by Leonard Maglalang

    They say that “It Is Not the Mountain We Conquer, But Ourselves.” Today, mountaineering is divided into many sub-categories which include hill walking, traditional and sport rock climbing, ice climbing and alpinism or winter mountaineering.

    K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta, a Pinoy mountaineering group in Alberta, recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of the organization’s existence since 2014. The event was participated by K8 Members, Sheila Patron, FORM, Fiesta Filipino and Norben Sayon held last November 30th, 2019 at the YWCA Banff Hotel.

    The group was founded by Levi John Ramos, still the current Executive Chairman, who has been guiding and steering the wheel of the organization. From Levi’s opening statement and presentation “It was 5 years ago, 2014 when Archer and I first came up an idea to form a pinoy mountaineering group in Alberta after a hike in Tunnel mountain.” Started with a dream, climbing without any equipment’s, lived by a trekking pole and a back pack on hand. K8 has current 38 members, we have gathered climbing gears and equipment one at a time and pushing self-imposed limits. It feels a dream now looking back. What a day to remember.

    On the year 2018 24th of March, K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta became an organized mountaineering group, witnessed and constitutionalized by 8 members outlined in Edmonton, Alberta.

    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.

    ‘Thank You, Calgary’ says City Councillor for Ward 5, George Chahal

    0

    The last two years have been a tremendous experience, having had the honour and privilege of serving you, and all Calgarians, as The City Councillor for Ward 5. This update is meant to serve as a year in review for the second year of my term to let you know how things are going at The City and within our communities. This past year has provided many great successes. I would like to thank you for the emails, letters, phone calls, conversations and ideas that you have shared with my office. Your contributions continue to keep our communities thriving.

    A few of the items I have championed and worked with you and City Administration to move forward include:

    • Had the pleasure of attending the successful Fiesta Filipino at Olympic Plaza.
    • Attended the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta’s launch of the 2020 Alberta Filipino Leadership Conference in support of this local initiative.
    • Advocating for changes to the Mortgage Stress Test to make housing more affordable and attainable for Calgarians and get people back to work.
    • Pushing for a more transparent and equitable budgeting process for The City’s four-year business plan and budget.
    • Ensuring that our communities have adequate park space to serve the needs of our residents.
    • Having much needed bus routes planned and extended to meet the needs of our residents.
    • Continuing to push for the installation of the approved and needed outdoor artificial turf field at the Genesis Centre.
    • · Chairing the Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Assessment Committee to help direct the development of a much-needed multisport fieldhouse in our city.
    • Increasing community safety by having new traffic lights, crosswalks and traffic-calming measures installed.
    • Reviewing pension plans at The City to ensure sustainability, affordability and fairness.
    • Advocating for clean communities by hosting my second annual Ward 5 Community Clean Up with over 600 volunteers participating.
    • Advocating for the continuation of the Low Income Transit Pass and for making transit free for those aged 70+ and under 18.
    • Continuing to work with City Administration to develop a new approach to engagement and communications in ethnically diverse areas of the city.
    • Hosting a highly successful Public Safety & Community Violence Townhall with over 200 attendees.
    • Called for transparency about the finances behind the deal for a new Event Centre (Arena).
    • Opened the new northeast Calgary Skatepark at the Genesis Centre.
    • Launched the Ward 5 Sports Council to bring together northeast Calgary’s diverse sport groups.
    • Spoke out against Quebec’s controversial Bill 21 with a formal Resolution approved by Council.
    • Took a stand against increased gun violence in Calgary’s northeast by demanding a multi-faceted approach.
    • Advocated for the planned Future Ward 5 Recreational Facility and Library to be included as a priority in funding decisions.
    • Continued Chai with Chahal where residents and business owners connected with me about things that matter to them.
    • Worked with community leaders to undertake community cleanups throughout the ward and in our parks.

    At the mid-point of representing you as Councillor, I encourage you to get involved in some of the many wonderful initiatives going on around Ward 5. It is through our community member’s support and enthusiastic participation that we make great strides and accomplishments for all of us.

    Your Voice Matters!

    Please stay in touch and reach out to our office at ward05@calgary.ca or visit my website at GeorgeChahal.ca

    Thank you for an enjoyable year and I wish you and your family a Happy New Year!

     

    Sincerely,

    George Chahal

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