The Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba (PHCM) Inc. and its member organizations hosted yet another successful Philippine Heritage Week from June 9, 2017 to June 18, 2017, with daily events and festivities celebrating 119 years of independence from Spain and 60 years of the Filipino community in the province.
Volunteers from over 30 different Filipino associations and individual members came together to organize a number of events throughout the week to help preserve and promote Philippine culture. These events included heritage nights featuring dance and singing performances, cultural demonstrations, resource fairs and a citizenship ceremony. A cultural exchange and storytelling circles were also held to encourage dialogue of shared experiences between the Filipino community and the Chilean, indigenous, a former refugee and the European communities as well as between generations (elders – Lolos and Lolas- and their apos).
Keeping with this year’s theme of “Imagine,” PHCM facilitated envisioning exercises to “imagine” the community’s collective vision for the future and plan a strategy to achieve our goals of shared values.
The week kicked off with a Flag Raising and Opening Ceremony at the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba and concluded with a Community Picnic at Assiniboine Park. One of the highlights of the celebrations was the Philippine Independence Ball which this year celebrated both the Anniversary of the 119th Commemoration of Philippine Independence and the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The first part of the program featured a moving dance number by Magdaragat entitled “Ako ay Pilipino” and song performances from talents Hannah Sagaral, Arnold Tongol of Traffikk Jamm, and Paul Ong. The second part of the evening was filled with stories of struggles, challenges and successes from representatives of four cultural groups demonstrating the courage, strengths and resiliency of our multicultural society that is Canada. Culminating with a giant circle of all Canadians, Filipino-Canadians, newcomers, old-timers, young and old in the room linking arms together in symbolic recognition of the unity and cooperative spirit that we all share as a Filipino-Canadian community and our wider community of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada.
It is the hope of PHCM that the events of Philippine Heritage Week encourage a sense of pride and oneness among members of the Filipino community and our fellow Canadians. The many volunteers who committed their time and hard work did so because they believe and are passionate about the importance of bringing us all together.
Philippine Heritage Week would not have been possible without the generous support of its sponsors. The Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba would like to thank Scotiabank, RBC Royal Bank, Safeway Sobeys, Mosaic, Young’s, and Vickar Automotive Group.