by Quay Evano, ABS-CBN News
ALBERTA, CANADA — June is celebrated by Filipinos around the world as Philippine Independence Month.
Now, Filipinos in Alberta have another reason to celebrate this month.
The government of Alberta has proclaimed June as Philippine Heritage Month to “recognize the significant contributions of Filipino-Canadians in Alberta to the province.”
“It is a recognition of all the work that Filipino-Canadian Albertans have done over many years but also a signal to the youth to say, ‘One day you are going to organize this month and help us celebrate, so an opportunity to stay connected and celebrate Filipino heritage and the contributions of so many Filipinos to the fabric of Alberta,” said Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier of Alberta and Minister of Health.
The petition to declare a Philippine Heritage Month started exactly one year ago at the Philippine Independence day at Wetaskiwin, when Filipino community leaders signed the first draft.
“Napaka-importanteng kaarawan ito dahil hunyo pa at national day natin iyan tuwing June 12, kaya ito ay isang pagkakataon na maipakita natin sa buong Alberta, Calgary at saskatchewan ang ating kultura bilang Pilipino,” said ConGen Gilberto Asuque.
Filipino community leaders from Edmonton and Calgary helped gather around 5,000 signatures for the petition, which was delivered to the government of Alberta in March.
It’s a dream come true for those who worked hard on the project.
“For the first time pinakita sa atin na we matter. I think that’s the big significance, the biggest impact sa lahat, that we finally found our niche in this province, that we matter and that we are recognized,” said Vangie Caoile, PH festival executive council of Alberta.
The Filipino communities across Alberta are not only preparing for upcoming Philippine Independence Day celebrations, but months-long activities to kick off Philippine Heritage Month. They say festivities will continue through September for the Fiesta Filipino event in Calgary.