WINNIPEG – The Filipino community in Winnipeg joined millions of Filipino expatriates around the world in commemorating the 111th anniversary of Philippine Independence from the Spanish colonizers. The community also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Filipino immigration to Manitoba.
The Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba (PHCM) spearheads the various activities to celebrate these two significant events. Perla Javate, PHCM president, said that, “This year, we reflect on our journey through the 50 years. We left the Philippines to take advantage of better opportunities for our families. We packed our bags… and journeyed to unfamiliar grounds. We bravely faced the challenges and conquered them one by one. Today, we are now peaceful and happy in our new home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We can say too, we are heroes.”
The flag raising ceremony was held in the morning of Saturday, June 6 at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) grounds on Keewatin St. (Click to see photos from the Flag Raising Ceremony)
Four flags were raised. Philippine Honorary Consul Edda Pangilinan raised the Philippine flag. She relayed the message of Philippine president Gloria Arroyo that recognized skills and determination of the Filipino, at home and overseas. “Filipino workers sustain the hopes of their country and the dreams of their families,” she said. PCCM president Rod Cantiveros and MP for Winnipeg North Judy Wasylycia-Leis raised the Canadian flag. Provincial Minister Nancy Allan with MLAs Kevin Lamoureux, Dr. Jon Gerard, Flor Marcelino, and Mohinder Saran and MEAC chair Dr. Denise Koh, raised the Manitoba flag while Pt. Douglas Councillor Mike Pagtakhan raised the flag of the City of Winnipeg.
On Independence Day, June 12, close to 500 guests packed the Sky View Ballroom of the Marlborough Hotel for the Philippine Independence Ball. According to PHCM Treasurer, Linda Ramos, “This year’s Independence Ball had the biggest number of guests (compared to previous years).” (Click to view Photo Gallery)
Compared to similar events in the previous years, the PHCM leadership decided to design a short but more significant program this time. They veered away from multiple speeches that could drag on until the late hours of the night. Instead, they invited the Hon. Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, the only Philippine-born, Filipino-Canadian whose achievements as a statesman in a country other than the Philippines remain unparalleled internationally, to be the sole guest speaker. Dr. Pagtakhan talked about the Filipino immigrant’s journey.
PHCM organizers said that they purposely designed the Independence Ball program to be short because they believed that those who bought the $35 dinner & dance tickets deserve to enjoy the night with their friends, and they did.
On Saturday, June 20, 2009, the Picnic in the Park will be held at Assiniboine Park. There will be games and free food for everyone. Festivities begin at 10 a.m.
Other activities have been scheduled to celebrate Philippine heritage. For more information, visit the PHCM website: www.phcm.ca.