By Cindy Gilroy
Mabuhay! All across Winnipeg, celebrations are taking place as part of Philippine Heritage month celebrating the 121 anniversary of Philippine Independence on June 12.
The West End is home to one of the largest concentrations of Filipino families in Winnipeg. As Councillor for Daniel McIntyre I am proud to represent our community at both City Hall and the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba annual flag-raising ceremony to honour this occasion.
Our Filipino community is strong, vibrant, and growing. From 1959, when four nurses settled in Winnipeg, there are now over 80,000 Filipino residents in Manitoba.
Winnipeg was one of the first Canadian cities to open its arms to the Filipino community, and I am proud to say their culture, heritage and food have all shaped the fabric of Winnipeg. Who hasn’t been to a social gathering with people crowded around Filipino food enjoying lumpia, pancit, or ensaymadas?
The Filipino community in Winnipeg is doing so many things to give back and make our neighbourhoods stronger. Multiple Filipino basketball leagues give young people opportunities for recreation and build belonging outside of school hours. The Original Filipino Seniors Association of Manitoba organizes social events like dances while many local associations keep their ties strong by holding festivals throughout the year acknowledging where they came from in the Philippines.
The Filipino community are active members of our society, making amazing contributions for the betterment of our city, and this is a chance to celebrate them. Throughout June, Philippine Heritage month, there are many events to take part in including the Manitoba Filpino Street Festival and parade, Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba’s Philippine Independence Ball, and Picnic at Assiniboine Park.
This month is a time to say “Salamat po” to Filipino Canadians and remember that our strength as a community comes from diversity and from a belief that we must never turn our backs on people in need. As described in the Filipino custom of Bayanihan, community spirit makes seemingly impossible feats possible through the power of unity and cooperation.
The Filipino community is welcoming, warm, and kind. They bring you in and make you feel like a part of their family. Thank you for bringing that spirit and sentiment to Winnipeg. Working together in cooperation we can accomplish anything!