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Medisina at Politika by Dr. Rey Pagtakhan  

Indomitable Canadian Filipinos:

a book to watch for!

by Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan

Indomitable Canadian Filipinos. Wow! What a title for a book! Do not be upset if you have not yet spied this in hardcover or paperback. It’s not available, but it’s coming soon. I have been privileged to preview the whole manuscript and I shall share my takeaway of it.

I am told that as early as the New Year, the book will be ours to purchase, own and read. A family heirloom to cherish, perhaps? Or a gift to family members, neighbours and friends?

Whether it is a community memoir or a contemporary history book – it can qualify for both. The title reflects the enviable work ethic, unyielding confidence, and passionate spirit of a people – the Canadian Filipino community.

Edited by Eleanor R. Laquian, an established Canadian Filipino author and acknowledged authority on Filipino migration to Canada, the book promises to be informative, inspiring, and entertaining.

To remind readers, Eleanor and her husband, University of British Columbia Professor Emeritus Dr. Aprodicio, jointly authored the pioneering bestseller, Seeking a Better Life Abroad: A Study of Filipinos in Canada (1957–2007), which was printed in 2008 and distributed in Manila. Now a vintage publication, it provided the natural groundwork for the forthcoming book, now being published by Friesen Press for distribution in Canada.

Many have toiled on this book. The core of the CanadianFilipino.Net (CFNet) staff constitute the editorial team: Emmy Buccat, Carlito Pablo, and Rachel Ramos-Read. These volunteers all have expertise in the fields of journalism and communications and are passionate about community engagement. They shared their keen media minds and untiring eagle lens.

The introduction begins with a quote from one of them:

“It is and will continue to be a long and hard grind for every Filipino who has a spot to claim in the Canadian landscape, but success can certainly be had and be rightfully deserved by those who do not hesitate to take that journey.” – Rachel Ramos-Reid, CFNet Managing Editor, 2022.

Then, it describes the experiences of generations of the Canadian Filipino immigrant community nationwide as witnessed and recorded in real time on CFNet, a digital only newsmagazine in operation since 2016.

The Purpose and Scope section reads, and I quote at length:

“The first Filipino migrated to British Columbia in 1861, six years before Canada’s Confederation in 1867 and a century earlier before the first wave of Filipino migration to the country started cautiously in the 1960s. Today, 70 years since the onset of the first migration wave, close to a million Filipinos across the country call Canada home. In grateful celebration, the Canadian Filipino community is pleased to share their contemporary Canadian story.

“This is where CanadianFilipino.Net comes in with its novel history book, Indomitable Canadian Filipinos, telling the broad story about the past seventy years of Filipino immigration to Canada from a uniquely Filipino viewpoint on Canadian life.

“How can one best judge it is, indeed, one-of-a-kind, a novelty?

“University of Manitoba history teacher Dr. Jon G. Malek provides a guide on how to answer such a question. When he accepted the invitation from the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) to do a “summary history of the Filipino community in Canada,” he included in his Pilipino Express column, It’s All History, these twin guidelines in the form of interrogatives: 1) How can one best represent the lives, activities, and experiences of those who have come to call Canada home? and

2) What broad story should be told?”

When he released in December 2021 his CHA-sponsored booklet, Filipinos in Canada, he wrote: “History is something that is lived, experienced, remembered, and shared.”

Aptly, the forthcoming CFNet book is a virtual window into the lived experiences of the first, first-and-half, and second generations of Canadian Filipino migrants across the vast geography of the country from the Arctic North to the Atlantic Eastern Shores and the Pacific West Coast.

It mirrors that broad Filipino-shared immigrant story of aspirations, sacrifices, triumphs, and the search for a better life.

It reflects the arduous path travelled; the heritage and cultural values summoned to anchor one’s fortitude; the unyielding confidence and strong work ethic marshalled and applied; the indomitable spirit mustered to conquer adversity; and the rewards of success harvested at the end of an audacious journey.”

To be continued.

Dr. Pagtakhan will share his preview of the forthcoming CFNet book, Indomitable Canadian Filipinos, in the upcoming issues of the Pilipino Express until December. Dr. Pagtakhan is a retired physician (lung specialist), professor and parliamentarian, a widely published author of articles and chapters in medical journals and books; and a regular contributor to CanadianFilipino.Net and the Pilipino Express.

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