Summer time and the living is easy…” an iconic song inspires the Filipinos in Winnipeg especially the bagong dating (new comers), to discover the many festivals, heritage parks and places and points of interests in Manitoba and in Winnipeg and its environs.
Indeed, the Manitoba’s festivals and celebrations have become the best events and activities during the length of summer. Somewhere in the length of summer, excitement and memorable experiences are in store for you. You do not need to fly to Florida, or to Las Vegas or to Caribbean Islands to enjoy what summer has to offer. Go for local tourism and it’s worth the trip!
And the Filipino Journal, its management and staff, for many summers, has become the front and centre to bring our kababayans to the various festivals, heritage parks, and point of interests. Other groups sent also their summer activities like the San Jose Fiesta. And a welcome picnic given by QPAM members to the visiting Filipino Californians. One of the visitors is my best friend during my teaching years at UST when we were, together with my brother, Jessie, living in Manila with some of our cousins, the Angeles family whose members now living in Edmonton. I was surprised to see Mely Salvador in Winnipeg for the past 30 years. She is a relative of the Aquilars of Agdangan, Quezon and of Winnipeg.
The Filipino Journal already published our visit to Narcisse’ garter snake pit where you can cuddle the garter snake. We had fun looking and touching those “friendly serpents”; and our visit to the Lower Fort Gary museum where the new immigrants and Winnipeggers joined to retrace the glory days of the last part of the 1800’s.Some “old timers” said that this is the first time to see this historic beginning of the City of Winnipeg. That visit to Lower Fort Gary brought us “back to the future” scenario. Also published recently is our trip to the Morden Corn and Apple Festival which has been a yearly event for the bagong datings and for the corn and apple cider lovers! From the start of the trip, games were held and prizes were given. And back to Winnipeg, a bingo game was held. It was a doubly fun and a rewarding trip. More gifts and free sweet corn were part of the excitements.
Lately, the management and staff and volunteers of the Filipino Journal went to attend the Altona Sunflower Festival. We enjoyed the parade but to my surprise, not even one fresh sunflower was present during the parade. What we had seen were Altonians, their beauties, fire trucks, some organizations, and most important, farming machineries. We found few silk sunflower in one of the floats but it did not fully define why the festival centers on the sunflower! You would be surprised to see our “Ladies On Wheels”, Lucille Nolasco, Veron Opina and Carolina Rodriguez to have a space inside the big rims of the farm tractor. Altona has a garden museum, farmer’s market and mini-fair. “Where can we find sunflower as big as my face?”, I asked one of the Altona officials. “You’ll find those big sunflowers along the highway leading to Altona.”We did find the sunflower fields and we had a great time capturing the beautiful sunflower, mostly, bigger than my face. And we did stop where the Wind Power stations are situated, along Highway 14! Some had a face to face with wheat plant!
“Wow, this is my first time to see and touch a wheat plant,” said one of the old timers.
Our next stop is Oak Hammock Marsh, an interpretative centre for Wildlife Management. We saw the vast network of marshes and birds and fowls and wide variety of plants and flowers. Snack time at this wonderful place where you can have a quiet moment and a solemn communion with nature. What a beautiful place to see and to engage with the wildlife. As we headed to Winnipeg, we did pass Morris, Manitoba where stampede festival is being held every year and it is one of the summer attraction in the Southern Manitoba. I did explain also the St. Norbert Museum where you can find the 1st cold storage used during the 1800’s. And to complete the day’s trip, we side tripped to the former “Our Lady of the Prairie” at St. Norbert. A place formerly occupied by the Trappists. The church ruins have become the favorite wedding photos shots because of its beauty and the serene surrounding near La Salle River. We had spent more than an hour to capture the beauty of the ruins. We had some photos taken with the old building as a backdrop. This antique building is considered as the former residence of the Trappists.
For the past years, we had brought our friends, old timers and newcomers to the Fortwhyte Alive to witness the exodus of the Canadian geese to the South for Winter flight and to enjoy the wetland; to the Neepawa Lily Festivals where hundred of lily varieties are foods for the eyes and if you want to own, you can purchase the plants; and to St. Pierre Joly’s where frog jumping contest is so popular among Manitobans. We did go to the Heritage Celebrations in Steinbach and had a chance to visit the Mennonite Museum. We had a wonderful lunch at the Penner’s Park. Some kids enjoyed the Water Park. And I attended the Summer Festival in Steinbach when the Southwestern Filipino Association participated in the various events. At Gimli, we had a special merienda at the Winnipeg.