As the annual Asian Heritage Month celebrated across Canada comes to a close, awareness of
Filipino cultural heritage continues to deepen in spring festivities recognizing the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada.
Film screenings, cultural and tourism exhibits, and a powerful presentation of Filipino music were among the platforms selected by the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa this year to raise the profile of Filipinos as a visible minority in Canada.
On May 9 and 24, the Ottawa Public Library hosted the screening of Maryo J. Delos Reyes’ Bamboo Flowers and Bona Fajardo’s Iliw loaned by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), through the Department of Foreign Affairs, for the Asian Heritage Month celebration in Ottawa. Both films helped their audiences, Filipino-Canadian and otherwise, to better appreciate the core values shaping Filipino identity. The film showings took place under the auspices of the Ottawa Asian Heritage Month Society.
On May 23 at Parliament Hill, the Philippines was among five featured countries in the celebration of Asian Heritage Month organized by the Senate of Canada’s Corporate Diversity Committee to showcase the native countries of Senators of Asian descent and to recognize Asian visible minorities as “a positive cultural force influencing many aspects of Canadian life.” The other participating countries were China, India, the Republic of Korea, and Pakistan.At least seven senators of Asian descent, including Filipino-Canadian Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr., sit in the Parliament of Canada.
The Philippine Embassy seized the occasion to present Philippine crafts and tourism destinations as well as offer Filipino food to members of the Senate and their staff. The embassy exhibit revived fond memories of the Philippines for Senator Joseph A. Day, who chairs the National Finance Committee. He includes defence, foreign affairs and international trade among his areas of interest. Reina Bernier, senior advisor on services to senators and special events, took an interest in the soon-to-be launched 2015 Team Philippines-
Canada Winter Escapade package.
Finally, on May 24, the Philippines joined the city of Gatineau’s Experience Asia at the Maison du Citoyen Agora Gilles-Rocheleau where seven rich Asian cultures came together in one festival. Consul Flerida Ann Camille P. Mayo acquainted the largely French-Canadian
audience with attributes that endear overseas Filipinos to their foreign hosts.
The Philippine Embassy participates in local festivals, in line with its continuing promotion of Philippine culture, tourism, trade and investments. “The Asian Heritage Month is growing along with visible minorities of Asian descent. The Filipino population alone is now nearly 620,000 strong, an expansion of about 40 percent since the 2006 official census of Statistics Canada. “Our job is made easier by our Filipino compatriots across who paint a favorable image of our country by virtue of their work ethic and good citizenship,” Chargéd’Affaires Eric Gerardo E. Tamayo said.