Pasasalamat is never lost on the Filipino, no matter which corner of the world you may find him. It can’t be helped – the spirit of thankfulness is hammered into the Filipino child’s head way before his first birthday, what with “salamat po” being one’s rightful response to a parent’s “Now what do you say?” How many goats have been slaughtered and pigs turned to lechon in thanksgiving for graduating from college or for passing the nursing licensure exam?
Filipinos come to Canada for various reasons. Whatever those motivations are, Filipinos mostly share a common goal. They want a new beginning, a fresh start.
Their journeys inevitably take them to different directions. Like any other ethnic group, the Canadian Filipino community is a diverse one, and its stories unsurprisingly represent a mix of experiences.
Even though many new Canadians of Filipino heritage find success in their adopted country, their stories are typically unheard beyond a small circle of family and friends.
Bayanihan is a valued tradition among Filipinos. In Philippine villages, its spirit draws farmers to join hands and help each other plow the fields, plant and harvest the rice, maintain irrigation canals, or move a house. It inspires urban dwellers to get together and volunteer to patrol the neighbourhood to keep peace and order or fight fires.
Interestingly, when Filipinos migrate to Canada, the bayanihan spirit continues to permeate their community life through the formation of Filipino associations.
Every year, Canadian Filipinos celebrate two national commemorations.
One is Philippine Independence Day on June 12. The second is Canada Day on July 1, marking the birth of the country that many Filipinos call their new home.
This year is special because 2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial or 150th anniversary.
Much has been said about the low level of Filipino representation in Canadian politics.
It’s only right to keep up the public discourse about this condition.
That’s because only a few have prevailed in the ballot box since Conrado Santos in Manitoba became the first Canadian Filipino elected to public office in 1981.
Filipinos are found in the seven continents of the world. And everywhere they go, Filipinos are proud to say that they can compete with the best.
Here in Canada, Filipinos are found in various fields, from the professions to the arts and trades. Many of them are successful in their own right, proving that Filipinos can indeed shine among the finest.