by Jackie Doming
Fernando Dalayoan has always been an active member in the Filipino community. Whether it was dancing for Magdaragat, or getting involved with the University of Manitoba Filipino Students’ Association, he’s managed to stay deeply rooted to his culture.
Now, Dalayoan is giving back through a less conventional avenue – film. This year, the filmmaker and founder of Blue Water Buffalo Productions released his first ever documentary Manila Road, which is now available for viewing on MTS Video On Demand.
“Manila Road celebrates the Filipino community and its brief history,” says Dalayoan. “It also reflects my take on why a lot of Filipinos stay in Winnipeg – the two main factors – family and kababayan. Kababayan is like brotherhood and friendships.”
Dalayoan focused his film on the business, educational and social aspects of the Filipino community. Some of his interviewees include Jon Reyes (President of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council), Darlyne Bautista (School Trustee) and Mike Pagtakhan (Winnipeg City Councillor for Point Douglas).
“I wanted to interview more people,” says Dalayoan. “But because of the timeframe, I wasn’t able to get it all in. Jon Reyes was very generous of presenting his point of view about the businesses in the community, and it’s thriving. There’s also kids I interviewed about Magdaragat, at least 12 of them, but sadly I had to cut 10.”
It was not difficult for Dalayoan to find people to talk to since his mother has many resources. She interviewed pioneers for a book she co-wrote on the first Filipino immigrants in Manitoba, and is the president of MAFTI (the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers). Dalayoan is a member of the same organization, teaching grade six students at Lord Nelson School.
In fact, his students ushered the Manila Road screening event held at the Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba on April 28, 2012. Over 150 attended the documentary’s debut, and all the contributions collected from the night were donated to the Lord Nelson camp fund.
Dalayoan is currently working on finishing his trilogy based on the beginning, middle and end of the Filipino-Canadian experience. The three year project includes his current short films Tutulungan Kita (I’ll Help You) and Young Ligaw, both which have been featured in national and international film festivals. He is in the process of collecting grants to complete his third film, describing the end of the Filipino experience.
Although Dalayoan helps put Filipinos on map in the arts community, he hardly sees himself as someone to look up to. “I don’t consider myself a role-model or pioneer. I see myself as more of a supporter – I’m more of a cheerleader!”
To view Dalayoan’s short films and trailer for Manila Road, visit his YouTube channel at YouTube.com/FDWinnipeg.