CBC’s Up to Speed new host is a Kababayan

Photo credit: Andrew Kurjata/CBC

Faith Fundal, a Filipino-Canadian from Prince George, British Columbia, is the new host of CBC Manitoba’s radio program, Up to Speed. Faith is an award-winning News and Current Affairs multi-media journalist well-known for getting to the heart of stories that spark meaningful conversation.

Faith first joined CBC British Columbia in 2008 and was most recently the morning news editor of CBC Prince George’s Daybreak North. Faith is also host of They and Us, a 6-part podcast from CBC British Columbia inspired by Faith’s own journey exploring gender identity. Faith uses the gender-neutral pronouns they/them.

Faith’s full name is Wilfred Faith Ramilo Fundal. The name Wilfred was derived from their father’s name Wilfredo and Faith was given to them by their grandmother. It was until their family moved to Canada that they changed their name to Wilfred after being laughed at at school because of Faith which is a girl’s name.

From high school until they graduated from British Columbia Institute of Technology, Faith has went by Wilfred until a friend suggested to shorten Wilfred to Wil.

“For 17 years, I’ve been going by Wil Fundal and it wasn’t until I recently realized and rediscovered myself, as I identify as a non-binary person, that: “You know what, my family called me Faith. It’s only recently that they started calling me Wil because that’s my public name. I’m gonna reclaim my name Faith because that is my name. Now I go by Faith and it’s just been great.”

The 35 year old journalist who was born in the Philippines and raised in Metro Vancouver, talked about how proud they are being a Filipino.

“I’m very proud of my Filipino Heritage . I don’t know as much as I think I should know so I’m still rediscovering my Filipino side. I am very glad that my mom and dad spoke Tagalog with me growing up.”

Faith shared how excited they are about the new job and about moving to Winnipeg. In fact, they already got the attention of listeners when they guest-hosted in Up To Speed last September.

“My bosses kept saying “just be yourself.” At the start of one of the shows, I started with “Magandang Hapon” (Good Afternoon). After that, so many people messaged me saying “I didn’t know you’re Filipino. That’s so great.” A bunch of people started listening. My family started downloading the CBC Listen App and on Facebook they were saying, “you should listen to Faith.”

But with their job at CBC, not only Faith is able to represent their culture, but also to reflect contemporary Canada.

“Our mandate is to reflect contemporary Canada and contemporary Canada includes Filipinos. It includes non-binary queer folks, it includes all these people. So that what my goal is – to share stories that matter to people because I’m very privileged. Not everyone gets to do what I’m doing so I’m using my privilege to give voice to people who may not even have a voice.”

Though coming to Winnipeg at a challenging time given the pandemic situation and the winter season, Faith shared that it already felt home when they first came in Winnipeg.

“As soon as I landed and met my family and people at the (radio) station, it felt like home so I thought this is the place that eventhough I don’t know a lot of people, I can build a community here.”

Faith also hopes to connect with the community not only through their radio program but also through community events especially when the pandemic is over.

And when asked if they are ready for Winterpeg…

“Not the Manitoba -30 and -40 but in Northern BC it gets cold here too but the thing is…it’s not as windy as Winnipeg. I’m not used to the wind but the cold is something I have experienced here. I’m told I just have to layer.”

Faith’s first day in the host chair on Up to Speed is December 14th. They will be on the airwaves weekdays, 3-6pm on 89.3FM or on CBC Listen.