Two Canadian Filipinos are among those presented with this year’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. Edmonton-based arts administrator Ida Beltran-Lucila and registered nurse Edsel Mutia from Toronto joined 23 other immigrants recognized for their contributions to the Canadian economy and society.
In accepting the award, Beltran-Lucila said, “The most important part of being a Canadian for me is Canada’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Receiving the award is certainly an honour and a humbling experience (and) a validation of both my personal journey in finding a stronger future for my family and, as an immigrant from the Philippines, the contributions that we bring to Canada. My advice (to new immigrants) is to keep your focus, appreciate and learn from your journey, and always keep a sense of humour.”
Advocating for the promotion and development of Philippine art and culture in Canada, Beltran-Lucila spearheaded collaborative projects like the Philippine Arts Festival, Edmonton Filipino Fiesta, Kalinangan and the Learning Table. She is the director and writer of the documentary Paglalayag: the Philippines to Canada Journey, which chronicles the stories of the migration of Filipinos in Edmonton. She regularly writes for the Alberta Filipino Journal and contributes to other publications in Alberta previously, focusing on arts and culture.
Mutia, in his acceptance speech, said: “Being in the Top 25 is a blessing, especially to represent international educated nurses from the Philippines.” To new immigrants, he advises, “Don’t give up. Always, always fight for your dreams.”
Over the last 13 years, Mutia gained respect among those in the health care profession as a passionate professional, mentor and patient advocate. In 2013, he received the Joan Lesmond Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) of the Year Award from the CARE (Creating Access to Regulated Employment) Centre, an organization that supports IENs to practice in Ontario. He also contributes to his community by providing mentorship to other immigrant nurses through the Integrated Filipino Canadian Nurses Association (IFCNA) and CARE.
The other Canadian Filipinos that made it to the finals are an artist and writer Ovvian Castrillo-Hill of Fort St. John, BC and grassroots organizer Erie Maestro of Vancouver, BC.