Colourful traditional dresses and the tantalizing smell of freshly cooked chicken adobo, pancit and lumpia Shanghai welcomed people to the first ever public celebration of the Philippines’ Independence day in Centennial Square in Victoria.
Members of the Bayanihan Cultural Society, The Victoria Filipino Canadian Association, The Victoria Filipino Canadian Seniors Association, and The Victoria Filipino Canadian Caregivers Association helped organize the event with the City of Victoria.
“We encourage everyone to come join us, because this is the first time we are doing this publicly and then they can come and see and learn the culture and traditions, and all the food for the Filipino community,” said Annette Beech, President of The Victoria Filipino Canadian Caregivers Association. “Today is about celebrating the freedom we have…and also celebrating the Canada-Filipino friendship day that actually happens on the same day.”
The organizations also combined the celebration with the annual Filipino Food Fiesta, so that attendees could sample many different dishes.
|Loren Barter (left) with her daughter Marianne Isidro and Grace Elaco with Zeke Elaco at the Filipino Food Fiesta and 120th Philippines Independence Day. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS|
Municipal, provincial and international representatives were able to attend and welcome all guests, including Arlene Magno, the consul at the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver.
“Today we celebrate our heritage, our identity and our country, and this is all possible because around this time 120 years ago our forefathers decided that we should be masters of our own fate,” Magno said. “It is because our ancestors resolved to take those first steps that led to the Filipino revolution, and ensued the start of our national heroes’ bravery and sacrifice, that we are able to stand here today as Filipinos.”
|Jackie Manley has been in Canada for just under a year after moving from the Philippines. She’s happy there’s a large Filipino community in Victoria to help her celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Philippines’ independence. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWSS|
Greater Victoria’s Filipino community hosts over 4,000 families, including Jackie Manley who only arrived in Canada last July.
“I’m still learning about here,” Manley said. “It’s very nice for me because I’m a Filipino and we’re here in Canada, but it’s just like home.”
The event runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To learn more about the Filipinio community in Victoria you can head to https://www.bayanihan.ca/