Mabuhay Calgary started 10 years ago with three friends with all the skills to create the city’s first Filipino newspaper.
Ramel Oriel was looking to drum up business for his wife’s dental clinic amongst the Filipino community. With no Filipino media to advertise in, Ramel decided that starting up a Filipino newspaper was the only way to get the word out.
“My motivation was to advertise Christine’s dental clinic that we were just opening up,” Ramel recalls.
He reached out to friends Jay Raymundo and Arnie Laoag.
“Jay was always the entrepreneur from business school, so he was an easy guy to approach about it,” Ramel says. “And Arnie was creative and a photographer so he really complemented our group.”
Arnie’s creativity led to the full-page Mabuhay ads that paid homage to Filipino customs.
“They were special and I believe important because it allowed the three of us to collaborate and in our own way help share the things that make Filipinos unique and special,” Arnie says. “It was a sense of pride because our paper was the only one doing that here in the Calgary area. Plus, it gave our paper a personality and kept things fun.”
Jay brought in friend Will Tigley, a communications major, who in turn brought in other communications major friends, Anne Claire Danan and Kathy Baker.
Together, these three oversaw the editorial aspect of the paper by recruiting writers and searching out all the great stories coming from the Filipino community in Calgary.
Darlene Casten, a journalism major, joined the team a year later and started out as a writer and later joined Will as an editor.
“Mabuhay Calgary has been very fortunate that Will and Darlene have been there through three ownership groups,” Ramel says. “They’ve been dedicated and give Mabuhay Calgary the professional quality control that no one else could have contributed.”
Jay, Arnie and Ramel found an enthusiastic advertising base and loved getting involved in the Filipino community and associations, sponsoring events and putting on Independence Day picnics over four-and-a-half years.
During that time, a lot changed for the three friends—career changes, children (including twins) and marriage on the horizon for the trio.
“The newspaper demanded quite a time commitment and we could no longer continue dedicating our time to it and we were fortunate enough to be able to hand it off to Cherrie and Cecil,” Ramel says.
To see the newspaper carry their legacy on strong has been rewarding, he adds.
“Congratulations to Mabuhay Calgary and we wish you continued success.”
We got involved with Mabuhay Calgary in 2009 when Cecil and I were looking for a copy of the newspaper we always loved to read whenever we were at our dentist’s office. We learned that Ramel Oriel had already shut it down for about a year.
Having a background in advertising and looking for a business opportunity, Cecil and I decided to convince Ramel to let us continue the MC publication.
Our first issue came out in September 2009 after its one-year hiatus. It was well-received by previous advertisers as well as the community at large. Associations and NGOs started to liaise with us on their upcoming activities and gatherings to be included in the paper’s next issue.
Mabuhay Calgary as a business is not financially gratifying… well, not during our time as the publishers. However, there is this sense of pride once people start to recognize you as the publisher of one of the most trustworthy and straightforward community newspapers in Calgary. So that’s why we focused on the paper for the next four years.
Let me tell you the other perks we had while being the “head honchos” of MC:
- Working with the team of young, talented, smart, intelligent and good-looking people that made Cecil and I (especially) feel like I’m just like them.
- The opportunity to meet and get to know different leaders in our community.
- The privilege of being the Filipino voice on important issues within the community.
- The chance of experiencing a stress like no other during the first editions we published.
- And of course, somehow earning a little so we could share more with the team.
Do we miss it? NO.
No, because the paper is still around as if nothing happened when we passed it on to the new publishers. We missed the team, though. The TEAM is what kept us going. The monthly meetings, the twice-a-year team building and of course, our annual Christmas party.
Nevertheless, we wish Mabuhay Calgary all the best and that you may continue to be a paper with integrity for the next generations to come.
—Cherrie and Cecil
This year we are celebrating Mabuhay Calgary’s 10th year anniversary.
Mabuhay has been the most trusted and widely read Filipino community newspaper in Calgary and neighbouring cities for the past decade.
It wouldn’t be possible if not for all the editors, writers, photojournalists, contributors and columnists. Your hard work and dedication has brought our publication original news and features that capture our readers support. We would like to specially mention our senior editors Will Tigley and Darlene Casten, photography editors Jeff Cruz and Quay Evano, layout artist Lillian Mak and illustrator Mark Santos. Thank you for all the sleepless weekends and for bringing Mabuhay to where it is now.
Our vigilance, high respect for journalistic ethics and fairness keeps Mabuhay’s reputation intact and strong. We continue to serve the community by gathering relevant information and providing news that matters.
Community service over profit is the core value of Mabuhay. Its vision to build a stronger community by giving it a voice is supported by our advertisers. Our shared commitment and principles has kept Mabuhay going over the years.
A decade is a milestone for all of us and to celebrate this, Mabuhay will be launching its website www. mabuhaynews.ca. This will be a new endeavor for our organization as we enter a new phase in our publication. Mabuhay will be expanding its presence digitally and on social media.
To all our readers, Mabuhay will be around as long as you all have stories to tell and share. From relevant issues that need attention to stories of triumph and success of fellow kababayans. Mabuhay Calgary is and always will be your newspaper.
MARAMING SALAMAT PO!
—Vangie and Paolo
After months of fruitful talks, the government decided to finally fold its tent and abandon the peace talks with communist rebels. This came in the wake of six soldiers getting killed in an encounter with the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Before the incident the talks turned lukewarm when the insurgents called out Duterte on his promise to release 400 political prisoners. They also accused the military of violating the bi-lateral ceasefire by en-roaching on the rebels’ strong hold areas.
“Peace talks will remain cancelled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Duterte pronounced.
The administration of Rodrigo Duterte has been engaged in a peace talks with the CPP, the longest running insurgency in Asia. Just last week the third round of talks was concluded and set the next meeting on February 24. But even before this happens the CPP announced it is ending its ceasefire and they will be on active defensive mode. This followed by the government announcing its own lifting of ceasefire and declaring an all-out war with the NPA. The government also suspended the immunity of all those consultants participating in the talks and moved for their immediate arrest. This was denounced by the lawyers of the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the CPP as it violates previous agreements.
The NDFP however did not dismiss the possibility of resuming the talks with the government. They cautioned Duterte not to listen those militarists and United States-lapdogs advising the later. The CPP-NPA-NDF openly criticizes the United States for its role in keeping the Philippines as its semi-colony thus keeping the country impoverish and its continued political meddling. Fidel Agcaoili one the lead consultants for the NDFP blamed “spoilers in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the neo-liberal globalization members in the cabinet” for the collapse of their once promising peace talks with the Duterte government.
On the other hand cabinet secretaries known to belong to leftist groups urged the government to proceed with the talks despite the current state.
In a statement, Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano, Social Work and Community Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Masa said ““The current agenda on the table, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), is the most substantive agenda in the negotiations and is key to lasting peace and long-term poverty eradication.”
Given all the issues at hand and the continued tirade between both parties would there still be a ray of hope for peace?
Is it really that simple to just walk away to the process when things get messy? Is it easier to just point guns at each other and quit talking?
The peace talks is a golden opportunity to address the centuries of problems plaguing the country. It is a chance to address the root cause of the insurgency which is the rampant poverty and a political system that only favors the few and not the many. There has been set backs but there has also been progress. Socio-economic and political reforms are to be tabled on the next round of talks. But how would we get there if we are quitting on peace. Finding common ground is the hardest part in any negotiations but this does not mean that we should give up on peace because there is misunderstanding.
Duterte who claimed he is a leftist should learn from past administrations. He should know better that peace talks is beyond ceasefires. And that it should not be used as a tool for capitulation. He should take this chance to bring about real changes that he so proudly campaigned less than a year ago.
The Philippine Festival Council of Alberta in cooperation with ATB Financial and the City of Calgary will be kicking off the first-ever Fiesta Filipino to be held on September 5.
A free outdoor event hosted at the Calgary Olympic Plaza, Fiesta Filipino will showcase the famous Filipino hospitality and culture with foods, arts, entertainments and crafts.
“This is history in the making—the first-ever Fiesta Filipino in Calgary and in Alberta, if I’m not mistaken. Sa ating pagkakaisa, tiyak na tagumpay ang ating matatamasa,” says Prima Anderson, Fiesta Filipino volunteer.
“Having a rich and vibrant mix of culture and different talents in the Filipino community, there will be a great array of entertainment on the ground and on centre stage for sure,” Anderson says.
As planned programming is still a work in progress, Anderson welcomes all kababayans to come on board and share their talents.
“This is a good opportunity set before us to be out in the open and show Calgary and surrounding areas who we are, what we know, what do we have culturally, and what we can do as a community.”
ATB customer service manager, Rupert Matilla, echoes Anderson’s sentiments about banding together as a community to help promote and celebrate the Filipino culture.
“ATB Financial is proud to be a main sponsor of Fiesta Filipino because we have a strong appreciation and respect for the Filipino culture and celebrate diversity and inclusion.”
ATB will be launching the first Filipino branded MasterCard in Canada this summer. The card’s design will feature one of the main forms of public transport in the Philippines and a symbol of Filipino innovation and creativity, the jeepney.
At their Fiesta Filipino pavilion, ATB will be holding a contest with the grand prize of a $2,500 travel voucher to the Philippines. They will also host their own version of popular game show Deal or No Deal with cash and credit prizes.
For more information on Fiesta Filipino, visit their website at www. fiestafilipinoyyc.com.