Pasasalamat: A Gratitude Gala Celebrating Community Volunteers

Pasasalamat:  A Gratitude Gala Celebrating Community Volunteers

On January 27th, 2018, community leaders and volunteers gathered at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites for the first ever awards gala by the team behind Culture Card to celebrate the volunteer initiatives of the Filipino community.

Nominations for the awards were gathered from the city, with names of individuals and groups that community members wanted to see recognized for their volunteer efforts to promote, preserve, and share our cultural values, interests and traditions.

Lead organizer Judianne Jayme had the visions and intent to have, under one roof, all those who work behind the scenes to provide services or celebrations for the vibrant and growing Filipino community. Often, volunteers do what they do without seeking any type of recognition, and this event was created to encourage our community leaders to continue what they do and know that they are appreciated.

Nominees serve the Filipino community and are all volunteers, not generating a personal income from their endeavours.

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies were the contestants of the youth public speaking contest Dalagita, both from 2017 and 2018. The spectacular event decor was sponsored by Just in Couture, with the program coordination and DJ services done by MYXZ Images, who were the folks behind the seamless program flow.

Pasasalamat: A Gratitude Gala highlighted the profiles of the many volunteers in the community. VIP ticket holders had a 3-course dinner designed by Jeremy Senaris and prepared by the staff at the Hilton. All guests enjoyed the program with performances by Maria Aragon, Faith Arintok, Sheryllynn Padua, Ron Nazario, and original music by Jerick Reyes.

Judges had the difficult task of selecting a winner for each category, although we all know that these volunteers are all winners in their own right! The judges for the awards were Nic Curry (MLA for Kildonan), Alfie Vera Mella (assoc. editor of Filipino Journal and lead vocalist of haLf man haLf eLf), Sachit Mehra (volunteer spokesperson for 2017 Canada Games, owner of East India Company restaurant), and Lilian Tankard (director of partnerships and visitor experiences for Travel Manitoba).

The awardees from the first ever Pasasalamat: A Gratitude Gala are:
Arts & Entertainment – Magdaragat Philippines Inc.
Language & Heritage – Ernesto Ofiaza Jr.
Community Celebrations & Gatherings – Manitoba Filipino Street Festival
Sports & Fitness – Winnipeg Sikaran Arnis Academy
Immigration & Settlement – #PinoyCanada | Forum
Newcomer Volunteer Recognition – Leila Castro
Youth Volunteer Award – Hazel Anne Papelleras
Lifetime Volunteer Award – Aida Champagne

To all nominees and awardees, maraming salamat po! Your hard work does not go unnoticed! Thank you all for your tireless dedication to uplifting, growing and sharing our community, cultures and traditions.

For more information and media about Pasasalamat, please visit us at

Photos by Jeprox Photography.