Randy Bucao is a man with a plan. And a back-up plan, to boot. After all, it is always good to be prepared. The day in January of 1994 that he received the phone call from the Embassy of Canada was the day he put that back-up plan aside. After all, it is better still when your original plans come to pass.
In pursuit of Plan A
Randy was working as a teacher in a computer school in Manila and was also in the process of reviewing for the Mechanical Engineering Board Exam when he received news that he, his brother, and parents had been accepted for immigration to Canada. Plan A was coming to pass. He then put Plan B – to work in the Middle East after the Board Exams – on a shelf, in pursuit of the Canadian dream. His sister was already working there, and he had great expectations of life on Canadian soil.
But, like countless other migrants before him, Randy struggled to find a suitable job. He tried his hand working in a jewelry company, given that he had acquired a few skills in jewelry making while in Manila. But the job proved tedious, cumbersome and not financially adequate; so he found himself on the hunt for a better means of employment. Perseverance paid off, and some months later, he landed a job as an AutoCAD operator in an I.T. Structured Cabling company. Little did he know that this was the beginning of a career in the I.T. industry, now spanning 21 years with his current posting as an I.T. Networking professional.
Two decades later, life in Toronto is proving fruitful for Cebu-born Randy, his wife Zenalyn (who hails from General Santos City) and their two daughters , 10-year-old Maelynn and 6-year-old Vanezza . Having settled into his Canadian dream, Randy now finds himself setting his sights on yet another plan: running for Toronto City Councillor of Ward 10-York Centre.
Making the best even better
If it were possible to make the best even better, Randy Bucao feels that he is the man for that job.
“Toronto’s Ward 10-York Centre is the best part of Toronto, especially for all the Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians who live and work here. It is where we can find dozens of Pinoy Stores and Restaurants, Pinoy owned business, Pinoy health training centres…and bars and lounges with Karaoke and Dance floors,” Bucao explained.
Bucao, who openly professes his love for Toronto’s Ward 10-York Centre, feels that it offers Filipino-Canadians the best community and culture in the city. As such, he is committed to do what he can to make it an even better place.
“Ward 10 is the hub of the Toronto City Airport and City of Vaughan. We should make Ward 10 cleaner, and more profitable; generating more jobs for the community. I would like to see another Public Library, because right now, there is only one; and also, more public sports grounds and recreational facilities. We should likewise consider developing the flow of traffic on five major transit lines: Bathurst, Dufferin, Sheppard W, Finch W, and Steeles W, by redesigning the Transit Services; as well as re-surfacing the roads of Ward 10,” Bucao listed among his plans, should he be voted in.
A proud Torontonian
“I am proud to call myself a Torontonian,” Bucao shared. He would like to see that same pride extend to being a proud “Ward 10” citizen.
Truth be told, he has done his fair share of contributing towards making Toronto, and Ward 10, places of which to be proud.
“I was a volunteer teacher of Personal Computer Applications at Silayan Filipino Community Centre near where we used to live in Jamestown, Downtown Toronto. When we moved to Scarborough in 1996, I extended my community service with the Toronto Golden Vision Lions Club. When my first daughter became of school age, I joined the Catholic School Advisory Council (CSAC) and became active in our local community at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School. Just this school year, I ran for CPIC (Catholic Parent Involvement Committee) Ward 11 Representative, becoming the first Filipino-Canadian elected as Vice-Chair of TCDSB CPIC,” he shared.
Bucao doesn’t mind allotting a good deal of his time to the service of the community. He believes that anyone who aspires to be a community leader must not only be a part of the community, but also serve without hesitation.
So what pushed him to throw his hat into the political arena, aside from being already involved in the arena of community work?
“I see my community service as God’s will that I should do. No one is pushing me into this. As for going into Municipal Politics, after 20 years in Toronto community service, I realized that we have not placed or we don’t have a Filipino-Canadian in the Toronto City Council yet. I thought that this is the best time to start it; now. Over 51 percent of Filipinos in Toronto reside in Ward 10-York Centre; now is the time to give them a voice,” Bucao expounded.
Bucao says that most every waking moment of his time is “spent working,” but he is quick to qualify that this also involves working for the benefit of his family. “Whenever I am awake, that means I am working. Either working for compensation , or working on raising our two daughters,” he said.
Admittedly a tight squeeze, time-wise, this busy but devoted dad does all he can to make room in his schedule to be with his daughters. “I try to squeeze time between my hectic I.T. work schedule and community service commitments to go out with my family; even in small ways, like strolling in the mall with our girls. We love our girls so much; so they are my “main pastime,’” he added.
Humour and hard work
He opens up to not being all that humorous, and – as such – enjoys the company of those who are. “I like people who are humorous, because they are opposite of me,” he said.
Bucao recounts, as well, that he enjoys meeting the people in his community, and is always awestruck at how hard-working his fellow Filipino-Canadians are. “During my 20 years here in Canada, I have met hundreds of interesting people. But what interests me so much are the Filipino caregivers and nannies that I see on the streets and in the parks of Ward 10-York Centre. I like knowing their personal stories. They are professionals back home, and here they are working for someone’s elderly parents or young children. Many of them have found passion for their work and do not feel the hardships involved. Even more surprising is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, who are already Canadian citizens, but still working as caregivers. Filipino-Canadians are really very hardworking for their family here in Canada, and also for their loved ones in the Philippines.” he stated.
With all that in perspective, Bucao looks forward to expanding his platform in the Filipino-Canadian community, as a representative of all his hardworking kababayans (country folk). And if this should come to pass for him, the he will happily put Plan B – which I am sure he has – on a shelf yet again.