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L-r: Christopher Santos, Member; Dante Aviso, Auditor; Lou Fernandez, Treasurer; Virginia Gayot, President; Gigi Gacula, Member; Lucille Nolasco-Garrido, Member; Maria Harper, Assistant Treasurer; Rodrigo Lopez, Member, and Atty. Efren Cabrerea, Member.  Photo by Rey-Ar Reyes

There are about a million people of Filipino descent living in Canada today – 960,000 according to the 2021 census. About 100,000 of them now live in Manitoba (94,000 in 2021), making up 7.4 per cent of the province’s population.

At present, there are many Filipino groups and organizations operating in the province, of which the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) serves as an umbrella organization in keeping their traditions, customs, values, and identity, remain strong even far from the motherland.

Virginia Gayot
Gerard Madarang
Rodrigo Lopez
Lou Fernandez
Maria Harper
Dante Aviso
Atty. Efren Cabrera
Gigi Gacula
Eric Hernandez
Lucille Nolasco-Garrido
Christopher Santos
Enrico Tiglao
Paul Unciano

Last March, an Annual General Meeting (AGM) was called in the community wherein new officers were elected to the PCCM Governing Board, to serve their respective one to three-year-terms.

Virginia Gayot – President

President of the PCCM since June 13, 2019, to present. Virgie is also an adviser of the BIBAK Association of Manitoba. She was a board member of Siloam Mission from 2003-2010. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, St. Louis University in Baguio City, Philippines. Currently, she works as Inspector Specialist at Standard Aero Ltd.

Gerard Madarang – Vice President

Gerard joined the PCCM in 2021. Prior to immigrating to Canada in 2016, he served as a public health physician for nine years in the Philippines. Currently, he continues his public service in the field of social work. He also regularly volunteers for Canadian Blood Services.

Rodrigo Lopez – Secretary

Rodrigo [Rodge] arrived in Canada in 1985. He volunteers at various community events and organizations such as Cancer Care Manitoba, the Winnipeg Consular Office, the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba, and others. He has been with the PCCM since 2014.

Lou Fernandez – Treasurer

Lou served as PCCM president from 2014-2016. He was president of the old Philippine Association of Manitoba during the years when the PCCM land lease for 50 years with the City of Winnipeg was under negotiation. He has a bachelor of commerce degree and a graduate degree of master’s in business administration. He is now a retired accountant, program/planning analyst, and paralegal. As former Senior Immigration Officer, he was a member of a team who developed the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program in the 1990s. Along with his wife Leah, Lou has been running a successful day spa for the last 12 years.

Maria Harper – Assistant Treasurer

Maria is a Human Resource Professional in the Child & Family Services sector for the Government of Manitoba. She and her family moved to Canada in 1989. She is thrilled to be a part of the PCCM board and contribute towards its mission and vision.

Dante Aviso – Auditor

Dante was recently elected as a School Trustee for the Winnipeg School Division during the October 2022 civic elections. He joined the PCCM board in 2021 and heads the fundraising, programs and services committee of PCCM and at the same time he is the artistic director of the Musica Singers of PCCM. He is passionate in promoting Filipino arts and culture and mentoring the youth in the pursuit of their chosen interests. Dante is a real estate agent for Century 21 Bachman & Associates and a Commissioner for Oaths in the Province of Manitoba.


Atty. Efren Cabrera – Member

Efren arrived in Canada in 2011. PCCM appointed him as a member of the Board of Directors in 2022 and was subsequently elected as a Member of the Governing Board in 2023. Efren is a practicing lawyer at Cabrera Law Firm.




Gigi Gacula – Member

Gigi immigrated to Canada in 2014. She is thrilled and happy to be a part of PCCM since 2018.



Eric Hernandez - Member

Eric has been a PCCM volunteer for the last six years. He heads the PCCM Building and Maintenance committee. He currently works at Carte International where he has served as a lead hand for the past 39 years. He immigrated to Canada in 1982.

Lucille Nolasco-Garrido – Member

Lucille is a familiar voice in the community, being the host of 92.7 FM – CKJS drive-home program, Afternoon Pasada. She is also a Board Member of Pinays Manitoba, a community organization dedicated to empowering and supporting Filipino women. Lucille is a licensed Zumba instructor. Her love for dance has allowed her to raise funds for different organizations such as the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, Diabetes Canada, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, and others. She has been elected as a new Member of the Governing Board of the PCCM during the AGM in March.

Christopher Santos - Member

Chris was the PCCM President in 2018-2019. He has been an officer and volunteer for various community organizations such as the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba, the Bulacan Association of Winnipeg, and the Filipino-Canadian Technical and Professionals Association of Manitoba. He volunteers in many charitable works and fundraising projects, mostly in the Filipino community.


Enrico Tiglao - Member

Enrico joined the PCCM Board of Directors in 2018. He works as a site superintendent at J5 Construction. He is an alumnus of Red River College, Robertson College and International Worship Centre’s (IWC) School of Leadership.


Paul Unciano - Member

Newly appointed member of the PCCM governing board, Paul is an accounting professional and a tech savvy finance person. He has 16 years of accumulated experience in government, insurance, and non-profit organizations.