Pinoy festivities are already visible in the month of June, when Filipinos commemorate Philippine Independence Day. This year was the launch of the first Annual Filipino Heritage Month in Toronto.
The Filipino Heritage Month formally celebrates the rich diversity of Filipino heritage, unifies community members, and recognizes the contributions of Filipino Canadians in all aspects of society.
Paulina Corpuz started the petition to formalize Filipino Heritage Month.
“I first thought about it when I read about the Tamil Heritage Month, which was declared in January 2016. And I said, ‘well, the Filipinos are here and they are larger, like what Councillor Neethan Shan was saying, but still we do not have a heritage month.”
In November 2017, Councillor Neethan Shan introduced the motion to declare every June as Filipino Heritage Month in Toronto. The city council passed the motion unanimously.
“Filipino-Canadians have migrated to this country, have gone through many settlement-related struggles to make ends meet and now become successful in arts, in economics, in all sorts of fields, in media so it is a connection that we have,” said Shan.
In other parts of the city, the Federation of Filipino-Canadians in Ontario held a Flag-Raising Ceremony at Queen’s Park. Community leaders hope that this declaration would attract more participation from Filipino youths.
“We’re missing the youth there. And we felt that the one way to reach out to them is through social media,” said Louroz Mercader. “And one way we did that is when we were trying to develop the brand and look that would unify Filipino Heritage Month, we did a call for designers.”
30 entries were submitted by amateur Filipino designers. The winning design became the brand for Filipino Heritage Month 2018. The winner also received $1,000.
Other youths worked on their dance performance and engaged in their own way.
“Celebrating my Filipino culture is really exciting because I share a lot of common interests with my friends, we love to dance,” said dancer Tristanne Lovetana.
There are bills sitting before the provincial and federal governments which declare June as Filipino Heritage Month.