Jun 19, 2024

Kids join their elders at a June 9 Filipino cultural gathering in New Westminster, B.C. Photo by Christian Cunanan.

It’s a great time to be a Canadian Filipino.

They may not be used to it, but Filipinos are surely getting a lot of attention as Canada marks the first celebration of Filipino Heritage Month across the country in June 2019.

On June 2, Honoré-Mercier MP and Minister of Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodriguez issued a statement lauding the community.

“With a community of over 850,000, Filipino Canadians are the fastest‑growing community in the country,” according to Rodriguez. “Proud of its rich heritage and history, the community has made and continues to make outstanding social, economic, political, and cultural contributions to our society.”

The minister went on to say that Filipino Heritage Month is an opportunity for all Canadians to “recognize and learn more about the Filipino community in Canada and the valuable role they play in creating an open and diverse society”.

“As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, I invite all Canadians to learn more about the rich culture and traditions of our fellow citizens of Filipino descent and to take part in the many activities taking place across the country in June,” Rodriguez said.

On October 30, 2018, the House of Commons unanimously adopted June as Filipino Heritage Month.

In the Montreal-area borough of Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, a motion was brought forward on June 3 to congratulate the Filipino community.

Introduced by Councillor Marvin Rotrand and seconded by Councillor Lionel Perez, the resolution noted that the borough is the “epicentre of the Filipino community in Quebec”.

According to a report by The Suburban newspaper, the resolution also noted that the borough is “home to a significant population of persons tracing their origin and heritage to the Philippines while also hosting all the major institutions and organizations of the community”.

In the city of Swift Current in Saskatchewan, city council declared Philippine Heritage Week for the period June 9 to June 15.

The Swift Current Online reported that Icasiana de Gala from the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre and Rhigan Abarquez from the Filipino Association of Swift Current and Area Inc. attended and addressed the council meeting.

Other members of Swift Current's Filipino community were also present to witness the proclamation of the Philippine Heritage Week.

The Swift Current Online noted that the city has an estimated 1,000 Filipinos.

"We see a certainty here in Canada, here in Swift Current with the community and the life we have here,” de Gala said in the report.

In Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, city hall designated June as Filipino Heritage Month.

Mayor Rebecca Alty read a proclamation stating that the city and the Filipino community have built strong connections.

The proclamation recognizes, in particular, the “tremendous commitment and accomplishment” of the Philippine Cultural Association of Yellowknife (PCAY), according to a report by My Yellowknife Now.

Councillor Rommel Silverio, a Canadian Filipino, noted that Filipinos comprise the biggest group of new arrivals in Yellowknife.

“This is what makes Yellowknife and Canada a good place to live,” Silverio said in the report. “As an immigrant, they give us an opportunity to grow and be a part of the community and that means a lot to us as Filipinos.”