How we remember and are remembered as Filipino-Canadians
by Andrew Aviso
Every year, I look forward to meeting so many young Filipino-Canadians who are so eager to learn more about their Filipino heritage through participating in ANAK’s annual Youth Forum and Gala. At last year’s Youth Forum (themed #Pinagmulan; origins), many Filipino-Canadian youth, aged 15-20, engaged with our guest speakers, Filipino-Canadian elders Erlinda Ramos and Gloria Agravante. Through meaningful dialogue and discussion, Filipino-Canadian youth across Winnipeg enhanced their understanding of cultural self-identity and reflected on the importance of cross-cultural acceptance and growth. The wisdom and experience of our Filipino-Canadian elders speaks volumes when shared with the future generations of Filipino-Canadians.
ANAK Inc. continues this tradition of exploring our Filipino-Canadian heritage in the 2017 Youth Forum and Gala with this year’s theme #Pagpapanatili (to preserve; to protect). In the advent of celebrating Canada150+, furthering our dialogue to figure out where we as Filipinos, and as Filipino-Canadians, fit in the mosaic that everyone calls Canada is ever more important. I further realized this when I attended one of ANAK’s Kapatid In-School Mentorship sessions as a mentor at Sisler High School in February 2017.
The mentorship session was about brainstorming and discussing with the mentors and mentees what cultural identity is. The discussion started with an activity that involved completing as many statements beginning with “I am Filipino because…” and “I am Canadian because…” Once finished, I found myself being proud that I ended up with having a longer list for “I am Filipino because…” However, when it came near the end, I was perplexed. The session concluded with a horizontal line being drawn on the chalk board. On one end was the word “Filipino” and on the other end was the word “Canadian.” We then were asked to put a dot on the line with our name beside it. This dot on the line represented which identity we most closely relate to. I was surprised that I found myself putting a dot a bit closer to the Canadian side. Having lived ¾ of my life in Canada, I found myself identifying more as a Canadian rather than a Filipino. This realization gave me a clearer perspective on where I am now, and the relationship with my dynamic culture and identity here in Canada. The upcoming Youth Forum at the Manitoba Museum will further enhance our perspective and add to the story of the people who are helping to shape our province of Manitoba.
ANAK is proud to partner with the Manitoba Museum in its Bringing Our Stories Forward campaign. Filipino-Canadian youth, age 15 to 20, from across Winnipeg will have an opportunity to be part of the museum’s important evolution. Through youth-lead dialogue and discussion on the importance of our cultural identity and history as Filipino-Canadians in Manitoba, participants will take on this year’s theme: Pagpapanatili (to preserve; to protect). A special oral history workshop lead by Kathryn Boschmann, Assistant Curator (Immigration) at the Manitoba Museum, will provide students with the skills needed for the daylong workshops.
The one-day forum concludes with a Gala Dinner at Pampanga Restaurant (349 Henry Avenue), an evening celebration with community supporters, parents, and guests featuring participant presentations and performances.
Lunch and dinner will be provided to participants. Through the support of our valued sponsors, registration is completely free of charge!
Space is limited! Complete the registration form (download from anak.ca) by May 19. To inquire, contact 204-293-4100 or email@example.com.
Andrew has been member of ANAK since 2007. He recently graduated from the Industrial Arts/Technology Teacher Education program at Red River College (joint U of W). He is looking forward to his future career as a teacher.