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Dozens of community leaders sign statement of unity for provincial Filipino Cultural Centre and Mabuhay House Society

William Canero Mabuhay House Society
Mabuhay House Society vice chair William Canero spoke to the media at last year's inaugural Pinoy Festival in Burnaby. Photo by Mabuhay House Society.

Pressure is building within B.C.’s Filipino community to develop a new provincial cultural centre “in coordination with the Mabuhay House Society”.

This week, dozens of community leaders in B.C.’s Filipino community signed a “Statement of Unity” for the proposed centre. They also expressed support for the nonprofit Mabuhay House Society as the B.C. government’s partner.

Mabuhay House was one of the organizers of the very successful Pinoy Festival in Burnaby. It was held for the first time in June of last year to coincide with Filipino Heritage Month.

In his December 7, 2022 mandate letters, Premier David Eby instructed Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Minister Lana Popham and the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, Mable Elmore, to advance a provincial Filipino Cultural Centre. The provincial government subsequently granted $250,000 to the Mabuhay House Society to conduct public consultations.

Pancouver has posted the community leaders’ statement of unity below

Statement of Unity

We, the undersigned representatives of the Filipino community in British Columbia, reaffirm our united call for a provincial Filipino Cultural Centre and our support for the Mabuhay House Society as the provincial government’s partner in this historic effort.

Like many other immigrant communities, ours is a diverse one. There are almost 175,000 Filipinos across BC and we are among the fastest growing communities in Canada. We speak more than one hundred languages, we occupy a range of professions, we hail from different parts of the Philippines and are interested in a broad range of issues and sports activities. The many community organizations we formed over the decades reflect this. But after hard lessons from previous attempts, there is one effort that truly unites us: the work to create a provincial Filipino Cultural Centre.

We recognize this is a monumental task requiring one dedicated organization with the capacity and skills needed to manage and move the project forward to completion and beyond.

As such, we welcomed the announcement about the provincial government’s commitment to a Filipino Cultural Centre that will be developed in coordination with the Mabuhay House Society.

We have a generational opportunity before us. We know it is the result of the hard work of the many, many leaders and organizations that previously advocated for it.

We fully support the Mabuhay House Society as they navigate the work ahead with all of us as their community partners. We know the goal is as important as the journey. And the dream is not simply the opening of a building – it is the opening of a home. A place that anchors us and that can serve to empower and build connections with the many other cultural and indigenous communities that form the tapestry of our province. And that has the capacity to continue to operate and flourish for generations to come.

In closing, we the undersigned represent members of our community with deep roots and extensive experience in organizing and advocating for our community. We reiterate our unified clamor for a Filipino Cultural Centre and support for the Mabuhay House Society.

Together with our community, all orders of government and various stakeholders – we know this long-standing dream will be achieved so that a legacy for all is realized.

Signatories:

Rudy Antonio, President
Adamson University Alumni Association

Mark Jayson Rivera, Grand Skeptron
Alpha Kappa Rho Vancouver Council

Gene Generoso, President
Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of BC

Chris Canilanza, Area Governance
ANCOP Canada

Alfredo Frias, President
Association of Basistans in MetroVancouver

Ricky Cruz, President
Ateneo Alumni Association of BC

Carlos Morales, Barangay Captain
Barangay Burnaby

Alan Yu, Founder and Chairman
Barangay Fort St. John Society

Fe Brucal, President
Batangas Club of BC

Roxanne Cecilia, Founder
Joyce Navarro
BCPinoyMD

Bruce Ganase, President
Benguet Society of British Columbia

Meredith Tayaban, President
BIBAK

Zenia Grace Simeros, Member / Vice-President
Bike For Life, Filipino in Richmond Support Team

Iane Penala, President
Burnaby Filipino Cultural Society

Edilberto Abenojar, President
CIASI-Samahang Ilokano 61892 Community Society

Salve Dayao, President
Arman Arellano, Past President
Jo Ann Belen, Marketing Director I
Renato Nicolas, Assistant Auditor
Circulo Pampangueno Association of British Columbia

Vinzent Po, Administrator
Enkanto Explorers

Diosdado Mendoza, President
Amado Mercado, Founding President
Filipino Canadian Construction Society

Jody Flores, President
Fil Co-operative One Housing Society

Orsa Lia Sanuco, President
Filipino International Student Association (UCW)

Carlawynji Daquigan, Co-organizer
Filipino K-pop Community in Vancouver Mainland

Carlos Castro Aguasin, President
Angelita Helen Dela Rosa, Past President
Marius Alparaque, 1st Vice President
Filipino Seniors Club of BC

Maycko Macapugas, Founder
Foliage Filipino

Merlina Fayusal, President
Forever Young Seniors Society

Maki Cairns
GABRIELA BC

Nelia Asutilla, President
Goldenaires Friendship Association of BC

Ana Napieralski, President
Grupo Ilocano Association of BC

Bea Correa, Founder and Director
Himig Kabataan

Lita Cabal, Director
Inarte Society

Genaro Tambogon, President
Inter City Sports Association

Catalina Arguzon, President
Marius Alparaque, Vice President
International Heritage Cultural Center Society

Gregorio Apolonio, President / Councillor
KALIPI South Peace Filipino-Canadian
Association In Dawson Creek / Dawson Creek

Sobey Wing, President
Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Society Collective

Herbert Yang, State Deputy
Knights of Columbus BC & Yukon State Council

Gregorio Apolonio, Grand Knight
Knights of Columbus Council #4680

Dennis Saavedra, Interim President
Kwantlen Polytechnic University Pinoy Community

Dexter Tarampi
National Association of Mapua Alumni of Canada (BC Chapter)

Leonora Angeles, Founder and President
National Pilipino Canadian Cultural Centre

Salvacion Dayao, President
New Westminster Philippine Festival Society

Vivian Paule, President
One Filipino Cooperative of BC

Don Vasquez, Founder
Pamilyang Bikolnon

Gillian Lamoly, Executive Director
Philippine Cultural Arts Society of BC

Mary Joy Neri, President
Philippine Bagong Pag-Asa Society of BC

Robert Azana, President
Philippine Bicol Association of BC

Rachel Tara Ambrosio, President
Gillian Lamoly, Executive Director
Philippine Cultural Arts Society of BC

Clifford Belgica, President
Philippine Nurses Association of British Columbia (PNABC)

Carmela Tapia, 1st Vice President
Philippine Historama Society of BC

Ernesto Ong, Treasurer
Philippine Institute of Chartered Accountants – Vancouver Chapter

Marissa Joy Doria, Moderator
Tim Toledo
Pinoy 4X4 BC

Carmela Del Rosario, President
Pinoy Canada British Columbia

Ellen Raquepo, Director
Pinoy Festival Alliance

Jeremy Dagao, President
Pinoy Peacekeepers Society of British Columbia

Virgil Hilario, Co-Chairperson
Pinoy Pride Vancouver Society

Rob Cordero, President
Pinoy Velo Racing

Michael Gorospe, Moderator / Administrator
Pinoy4x4bc/OverlandNation4x4

Jah Palibino
Pi Sigma/Delta Vancouver Paragons

Andy Rodriguez, Administrator
Neila Melchor
Henry Rocapor
PSON (Pinoy Softroading Overland Nation)

Bert Parungao, President
Rotary Club of Vancouver Mountainview

Peter Siglos, President / Director
Sambayanang Pilipino

Roseller Abad, Adviser
Sanchez Miranians of BC, Canada

Ester Cheer, President
San Fabian Group Society of BC

Carmencita Orquiola, Founder / Adviser
Seniors Brigade Society of BC

Jazmin Erice, President
Simon Fraser University – Filipino Students Association

Darwin Ines, President
Sinaitenians of B.C

Anne Claire Baguio, Co-Founder
Sliced Mango Collective

Alvin Aggari, President
Society of Filipino Engineers

William Canero, President
South East Asian Cultural Heritage Society

Narima Del Cruz, Founder and President
Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS)

Belindo Ablaza, Director of Membership
Triskelions Grand Fraternity and Sorority (BCRC)

Anicia Miles, President
Joel Castillo, Founding President
United Filipino Canadian Associations of BC

Reynold Orogo
United Architects of the Philippines-British Columbia Chapter

Michael Angelo Caparas, Chairman
University of Victoria Philippine Community (UPC)

James Mark Villamayor, Club President
Chito Vasquez, Club Vice President
Vancouver Hinirang Eagles Club Socio-Civic Organization of BC

Teena Santiago, 1st Vice President
Victoria Filipino Canadian Association

Annette Beech, President
Victoria Filipino Canadian Caregivers Association

Chona Tomelden, President
Zambales Society in BC

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Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.