Jul 20, 2024

Here's to no hoarding of toilet paper, less wearing of face masks and fewer COVID-19 cases in year 2021. Illustration by Gabriel Rutaquio.

Editor' Note: at the end of each year, CFNet reviews all the articles it has published and selects for its yearend review articles that were the most read, most liked or had the most impact.  This year those articles were mostly related to Covid-19 which has occupied the mind of almost everyone in the world.) 

As we look forward to the rolling out of COVID-19 vaccines in the next weeks, heaving a collective sigh of relief and bidding farewell to this pandemic year, we look back at the year that was 2020.

The virtue of kalinga (care) shone from and among Canadian Filipinos this year.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Health Officer for the City of Toronto, continues to make us and her Filipino parents proud with her leadership in the fight against COVID-19. De Villa continues to be a familiar face these days with regular COVID-19 updates for the citizens of Toronto.

CFNet was one with Migrante Canada in expressing gratitude to many (and mostly Filipino) frontline health workers who not only include doctors and nurses but the countless homecare workers, care aides, hospital workers, housekeeping staff, cleaners, food service and retail workers in groceries, markets and pharmacies, farm workers, domestic workers, bus and delivery drivers and all those who work to provide daily essential services. Migrante Canada notes too that “not only are we all in this together, but we are here for each other.”

Also in the Greater Toronto Area is GO Transit bus driver Bryan Jeresano whose quick thinking and compassionate heart probably saved a young woman from certain harm. He reflects humbly, saying “I was just happy I was there at that moment.”

In May, Canadian Filipino Net (CFNet) reported on Chef Audie Banania, a Fort St. John resident who tirelessly provided food to frontline health workers and seniors living in isolation aside from running fundraisers to help those in need in his community. It is no surprise then that one can find Banania still up at 2:00 in the morning, worrying about how to help other folks in need.

An unfortunate circumstance turned into a gift that kept multiplying for various Lower Mainland hospitals, care homes, clinics, and health facilities. The Coquitlam, BC couple, Jamie Haakons and Keisha Go, initially planned on donating protective personal equipment (PPEs) to the Philippines but suspended courier services prevented them from doing so. So, they turned to communities within the Lower Mainland and ended up providing more than any one expected.

CFNet correspondent Veronica Caparas penned a heartfelt open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him and Canada’s leaders to “walk the talk” in leading a country united in compassion, equity, generosity, justice and peace.

The Canadian Filipino artist was also a star in her own right this year. Canadian Filipino artist Han, Haniely Pableo who happens to be a nurse by profession, continues to make her name in the world of rap music by singing in both Tagalog and Cebuano, never “shoehorning her ideas into translation in order to cater to English-speaking audiences.”

Faith Fundal trailblazes as the morning news editor of CBC Prince George’s radio drivetime broadcast Daybreak North and producer of CBC’s podcast They & Us. In telling their story, Fundal gives much needed light in understanding the journey of one whose gender identity intrinsically intertwines with one’s professional career.

A popular international travel website, Big 7 Travel, proved that Filipino cuisine has what it takes to be noticed on the international stage. A total of 25 Filipino restaurants in Canada were cited on the site’s February edition, noting that Canada is “full of quality spots where you can enjoy everything from traditional roasted pig, tortas and even some world-class sisig”.

In step with current events, CFNet also published a number of informational and inspirational pieces on COVID-19 (about half of the year’s entire CFNet coverage), ranging from Dr. Rey Pagtakhan’s health education series Medisina at Politika which premiered in February to Dr. Nora Angeles’ column on RESPECT (Responsive Engagement, Service and Possibilities for Empowerment and Collective Transformation), launched in June, which identifies the Canadian Filipinos’ significant contribution to Canadian society particularly during the time of the pandemic. Contributor Manolo Abella reflects on the effect of the pandemic on the Filipino diaspora and worker outmigration/OFW phenomenon.

The darkness that 2020 brought only showed how brightly the Canadian Filipino’s light shines. Maligayang Pasko, dear CFNet readers, and allow us to showcase to you that bright Filipino spirit many more times in the coming, and hopefully promising, new year 2021.

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