by Tony Surtida

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.  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!


How do you resolve car warranty issues?


A previous client of mine, let’s call him Jefferson, called me last week to complain about being asked to pay for work done on his Jeep Cherokee, purchased a year ago, and supposedly covered by the “bumper-to-bumper” manufacturer’s warranty.  He was being asked to pay $462 – the cost to replace a defective electronic sensor, which was triggering his “Check Engine” light.  The service technician states that the part they pulled out of the unit was not an original Chrysler product and as such, was not covered by warranty.


The problem here is that, aside from an oil change performed by a third party, the Jeep had never been serviced.  The vehicle never needed servicing, until now.  So, the news (that his Jeep had non-original component) came as a shock to him.  He didn’t know what to do…. He argued, first with cashier, then the technician, then the Service Manager, all to no avail.  HE WOULD HAVE TO PAY $462 IF HE WANTED HIS VEHICLE BACK.


He calls me in frustration asking for my advice.  After a few hours and multiple phone conversations, here’s what I recommended:

  • Get a written statement from both the Service Technician and Service Manager, stating why he was being asked to pay.
  • Ask for the original component in question.  If they won’t release it, take pictures – to include the part/serial number.
  • Get details of the replacement part – including part/serial number
  • Keep a copy of your receipt
  • Prepare your own written statement, detailing everything that you remember of the incident


Take the above information, and do the following (in this order):

  1. Email the dealer principle (Dealership Owner) and state your case.  Simultaneously,
  2. Write a Google Review and Facebook Review.  And finally,
  3. The Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP – a private institution tasked to resolve warranty claims thru binding arbitration.  This service is FREE OF CHARGE.


Your problem will be resolved, one way or another.  You just have to fight for it.


If you find yourself in a similar situation, CALL ME AT 780.710.4895. I CAN HELP.

Filipino Family Seeks Support for Memorial Park


    By Darlene Casten

    A memorial park planned for five young people killed just over five years ago is almost ready to break ground, but the victim’s families still need financial support for the project.

    Filipinos Marlene and Lorenzo Hong say the park is a way for them and the families of the four other slain university students to be remembered in a happy space and they are looking forward to it opening, but another $450,000 is required to bring the project to completion.

    The Hong’s son, Lawrence, was one of Matthew de Grood’s victims. de Grood, who was having a psychotic break, stabbed five people at a get together celebrating the end of the university school year. Lawrence had just completed his last exam in at the University of Calgary, where he was taking urban studies.

    Lawrence’s brother, Miles, says the idea for a memorial park has been in the works for three years.

    “The trial had just finished a few weeks earlier so it was something to help us move forward and give back to the community that had helped us so much,” Miles says. “It was about moving forward, doing something positive, not dwelling in the negative.”

    The park, called Quinterra Legacy Garden, will be located near the spray park and playground in South Glenmore Park. It will include an area for performances, and outdoor musical instruments to honour the victims, some of who were musicians and dancers.

    Miles says Lawrence would love the park concept, in part because he loved biking.

    “Just having a place to gather together – that what my brother is about – having more engagement,” Miles says. “Anything that would have been done, he would have been happy. There will be lots of people being active, lots of people riding their bikes.”

    The families have been working with the City of Calgary and a landscape architect to design the park. The total cost of the project is $800,000 and the group has fundraised $350,000 to date. Miles says they can begin construction, but will need to fundraise the rest as the city requires a 20-year budget for maintenance of the park.

    The group is applying for grants and approaching business donors.

    The Calgary Parks Foundation is holding Parks Day Sept. 21 at Haultain Park, where people can vote for their favourite community project. The project with the most votes will get a $50,000 grant. Marlene’s mother says she hopes people will come out and enjoy Parks Day and vote for Quinterra Park.

    “We still need the public awareness that we still welcome donations,” says Marlene “There is still a lot of money the city needs us to have.”

    People who need a tax receipt can make a donation to Quinterra Park on the Calgary Parks Foundation website. There is also a Quinterra Legacy garden go-fund me page to make donations.





    Submission by Dolly P.Castillo

    You must have noticed that I started my last article with the earth element of water. I now follow it with my treatise on heat, fire, light – synonymous earth elements.

    Didn’t we all experience as innocent and inquisitive children the magnetism of light and fire? Even to the point of throwing all cautions to the wind and actually having our noses and eyebrows nearly sized by the flame.  Or the fascination of putting our finger to the middle of the flame.  How about the fireflies that we captured in bottles through the night, only to find the fire gone on their tails by day? Yes, the luminosity of lights and flames titillate our imaginations to mysteries beyond the obvious, the surface.  When the fire flames dance in undulating motions, the fascination increases for what move these flames like a life of their own.  True, the breeze or oxygen in the air stir the motions but still# our minds are curious whether there are eunuchs or dwarfs within, unseen by the human eye,

    Heat or fire is most beneficial when provided in manageable doses. This is so when specifically used to either heat the body, our food, our homes, our environment, especially in the dead of winter or the rainy season. On the other hand, extreme heat can zap the winds out of our normal bodies, generate unusual ailments that are not experienced before.  The devastating forest and brush fires due to extreme heat attributed to the much-scapegoated climate change have altered innumerable lives in destruction, despair and hopelessness.  Just because these catastrophes have not reached our backyards, that we can remain aware yet unresponsive.  This earth element is the concern of each one be it for their usefulness ir destruction.  We cannot take for granted that as long as we benefit, that’s all we care.  Prevention and vigilance in handling fire or heat behooves each one the correspondent responsibility in handling it right.

    The other kind of heat is that which is generated in the human soul.  It translates into compassion, kindness, humility, and most of all the ever warm and hot sensations of love.

    This is the kind that can inflame and transform, that can move mountains and scale the skies.  True and authentic love is human and most of all, divine.



    Consul General Zaldy Patron, Newest Philippine Consul General for Alberta and Saskatchewan


    by: Quay Evano

    Just like the definition of his last name, the newest Philippine Consul General for Alberta and Saskatchewan Zaldy Patron is definitely a person and a government official who gives his utmost support and service to his fellow Filipinos, Filipino organizations, causes and activities wherever they may be.  In his illustrious 23-year career as a diplomat, he has worked tirelessly for his kababayans and for the Philippines in different posts and responsibilities around the world.

    Prior to his posting in Calgary in April 2018 as Deputy Consul General, he was Consul then Deputy Consul General in the Philippine Consulate General in New York, U.S.A. from 2008 to 2014. From 2002 to 2005, he was the Second Secretary and Consul in the Philippine Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil and from 1999 to 2002, he was Third Secretary and Vice Consul in the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. While in Indonesia, he received a plaque of appreciation from the Directorate General for Immigration of the Republic of Indonesia in December 1999 for helping Indonesian authorities “arrest a human smuggling syndicate sending illegal foreign nationals to various countries, including the Philippines.”

    Consul General Patron was the Executive Director of the DFA-Office of ASEAN Affairs from 2015 to 2018 where he got heavily involved in the Philippines’ Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2017. He helped manage the Philippines’ relations in ASEAN and became part of the various Philippine delegations to the ASEAN Summits, ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meetings. He also served as Senior Assistant to the Philippine Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).

    From November 2014 to June 2015, he was a Senior Special Assistant in the Office of the Director General for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) National Organizing Council under the Office of the President.  His other assignments in the DFA included being a Director for Institutional Relations and for Functional Cooperation in DFA-ASEAN from 2005 to 2008. He also served as Special Assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Principal Assistant in the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs, Acting Director in the Office of Protocol, and Principal Assistant in the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination.

    Consul General Patron was born in Tuktukan, Taguig City but both his parents come from Bagong Pook, San Jose, Batangas so he considers himself both a Taguigeño and Batangueño.  He graduated valedictorian from Taguig Elementary School then took his high school in Pasig Catholic College.

    “Graduating valedictorian in elementary gave me the confidence to aim for higher and bigger things,” says Patron. “My father wanted me to become an engineer so for some time that became my aspiration. In college, I first started as BS Agriculture student in the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus, then shifted to BS Economics. I finished BS Economics, Major in Development Economics. I finished my MBA from Ateneo De Manila University Graduate School of Business.  Entering and surviving UP were also great achievements by themselves.  When I already joined the world of professionals, I sometimes look back at my past experiences to remind myself of the things that I am capable to do.”

    As a proud UP alumni, ConGen Patron brings with him his UP education and experience wherever he goes.

    “UP education goes beyond the four corners of the classroom. As I was trying to pass UP’s very competitive courses, I also got exposed to various social issues and became active in different student organizations and campus activities. UP taught me how to be analytical and resourceful. It was in UP that I developed people skills and leadership. These training, experience and qualities served me well in my work during the past 23 years as a career diplomat. “

    Consul General Patron’s career with the Department of Foreign Affairs was started with a chance meeting with a former UPLB classmate.

    Agahan 2019


    By Dolly Castillo

    Sunday heralded a bright and sunny day with clear skies and gentle cool breezes – a most fitting ambiance indeed for the fourth year celebration of Stampede breakfast – Filipino style.  The food consisted of the popular and loved sinangag ( white rice sautéed in golden brown garlic), longganisa hamonado, baby hotdogs, scrambled eggs with tomatoes, pandesal ( soft bread), coffee, and juices.

    Hospitality started with free admission as long as you line up between 7 – 10 AM or until food lasts, smiling and cheerful servers, orderly movement of seemingly endless lines of people of all ages and nationalities.  The spirit was one of gaiety, lightheartedness as each partakes of the typical heavy Filipino breakfast.

    Music with singers and bands, dances, welcome and thank you speeches of the hosting Philippine Festival Council of Alberta – PFCA together with the commercial establishment donors headed by Pacific Hut restaurant and other surrounding the 17th Avenue parking lot graced the festivity till closedown time.

    Satisfied smiling visitors were all thankful with their expressed “Salamat po”.

    The sense of community was clearly felt and demonstrated in this one celebration of food, music, fun, and all around goodwill.



      by Tony Surtida

      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.  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!

      Q – I have two boarders now living with me who are FOREIGN WORKERS.  They’ve been here for almost 2 years now.  They have very good stable jobs and in fact just got extensions on their contracts.  They each need a vehicle.  Will they qualify for a car loan?

      A – “FOREIGN WORKERS” by definition are individuals hired from outside the country to perform a function for a specific period of time (typically 2-year terms).  They are non-immigrants and are issued SINs that start with “9”.  Generally speaking, banks will not grant loans to non-immigrants with “9” SINs.  Especially CAR LOANS, for a number of reasons.  Most obvious of which is the fact that they are in the country temporarily and could lose their jobs anytime and be gone in the blink of an eye.  In fact there have been many unreported cases where foreign workers are sent back to their home countries, and businesses (utility providers, cell phone companies, property management) are left to deal with unpaid bills.  However, banks or lenders do make exceptions.  For example:

      • The foreign worker has established credit, and/or
      • The foreign worker has established residency, and/or
      • The foreign worker has the income to support the loan, and/or
      • The foreign worker has money to use as down payment, and/or
      • The foreign worker has ties to the community, and/or
      • The foreign worker has a co-signor, and/or
      • The foreign worker is a professional (licensed or ticketed), and/or
      • The foreign worker has job security (contract)

      If you are a foreign worker and you can satisfy any three of the above conditions then I CAN PROBABLY GET YOU APPROVED FOR A CAR LOAN!

      Let me share a story with you:  About a month ago Rizza was referred to me by a friend who works at another car dealership. Rizza is a temporary foreign worker who works as a nurse at one of the local hospitals.  She’s been in the country for less than a year and she’s been trying to buy a car and has been to few dealerships.  Unfortunately no one’s been able to get her approved. To make a long story short, we worked her file, found an angle and got her approved for a car loan.  She’s now driving a SUV, enabling her to lead a normal, productive life.

      CEFA celebrates the 121st Philippine Independence


        by: Tony Surtida & Marilda Kane

        The Council Of Edmonton Filipino Associations (CEFA) has been around since 1989.  It has always been, and continues to be, an instrument of harmony among Filipino-Canadian associations in our city. The Council utilizes a transparent approach to its operation and believes that being unbiased is essential towards inter-societal relationships. Also integral to CEFA are communication, optimism, compassion and empathy.   Above all else CEFA is a family, an assemblage that strives to work collaboratively to celebrate and support the voice and aspiration of the Filipino Community in the greater Edmonton area.

        Thru the years, CEFA has spearheaded the Philippine Independence Celebrations employing a variety of activities all intended to bring focus to this very important event.


        On June 22, 2019, the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations (CEFA) celebrated the 121st Philippine Independence Day at the River Cree Resorts and Casino, Enoch.   It was a celebration unlike any we did before.  We went all-out….. live-band, DJ, décor, and the food were plentiful and surprisingly very good.  Everyone had a wonderful time (many stayed until the band played their last selection!).

        We will be hard-pressed to duplicate what we accomplished this year, but we will do our best to bring an even bigger event next year.

        The Executive Officers, Advisers and countless and dedicated CEFA volunteers wish to thank all our supporters, patron and donors for your support.  We also wish to thank our sponsors, particularly Rick Mallett of James H. Brown & Associates, Mr. Rob Victoria of the Honda Club, Stephen Bosch of Desjardin Insurance, Shirish Chotalia, Art & Science Dental, Dental Oasis and Swish Dental without your financial support we would not have been able to pull this off.  Thank you, one and all!


        Youth Empowerment Program


        YEP, which stands for Youth Empowerment Program (under the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta), is a community that provides opportunities for Filipino – Canadian youth’s personal, social, and professional development.


        YEP offers FREE bi-weekly workshops at Arts Commons for youth’s ages 13- 25 yrs old.

        You can register for the workshops on Eventbrite, just search YEP!

        Join YEP on the free workshop dates this coming August 11 and 17! YEP is also at Fiesta Filipino showcasing various youth games and activities at the YEP Zone. Sali na!

        Check us out on:

        Follow us on Facebook: YEP FF- Youth Empowerment Program, Instagram- yepyyc

        Twitter- yepyyc

        Contact us: or leave us a message on our Facebook


        In collaboration with a good friend of mine, Mikko Tamarra of ConMiTaco we put together a recipe for you to all try. This vegetable empanada is a feature dish in his future pop-up events and makes a great light snack for sharing. Follow his Instagram account @ConMiTaco for all of his future events! My signature chicharrons will also be featured in the menu!

        Vegetable Empanada (makes 10)


        For the Empanada dough:

        (Note: for the best results, look for PAN brand corn meal. You can find it in your local Latin grocery store!)

        2 ½ cups hot water

        2 cups PAN white corn meal

        1 tsp salt

        For the filling:

        4 potatoes, boiled and mashed

        1/2 onion, diced

        1/2 lb mushrooms, cooked and chopped

        1 clove garlic, diced

        1 cup grated cheese

        Salt and pepper to taste

        4 cups of oil for frying



        1. Prepare all the ingredients and let cool. Combine. Begin heating oil over medium heat, to approximately 180°C. (Note: make sure ingredients are cool before adding the cheese)
        2. For the dough, combine the salt and corn meal. Slowly whisk the water into the meal and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Trying balling the dough and pressing it flat. If the edges crack, the dough is too dry and add a little more water.
        3. Separate the dough into 10 equal parts and roll into balls.
        4. In between two sheets of saran wrap, roll out the dough into flat circles.
        5. Fill each circle with about 2 tbsp of filling and fold in half. Seal the edges by pinching them and/or using a fork.
        6. Fry a few at a time until the empanadas are a golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain off the excess oil.
        7. Serve with a side of fresh salsa (included below) and enjoy!

        Salsa Recipe:

        Blend the following ingredients:

        2pcs Ripe Roma tomatoes

        Quarter White Onion

        Cilantro (to your personal liking)

        Juice of 1 lime


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