Newly formed organization Mabuhay House Society (MHS) celebrated the 124th Philippine Independence Day with a parade and program at the Helena Gutteridge Plaza in the Vancouver City Hall. MLA Mable Elmore spearheaded the celebrations, and community members and politicians celebrated with the Filipino community. Entitled “Bayanihan: Building Our Future” the event was capped off with the announcement of the building of a Filipino Cultural Centre in Vancouver.
The program was emceed by Fil-Canadian journalist Ria Renouf, which began at 2pm with a parade led by the Aklanon Santo Nino Association of BC. Babette Santos opened the program with greetings from the Musqueam Indian Band and Philippine AncestralConnection, while the national anthems of Canada and the Philippines were sung by the UBC Acappella Group, composed of Filipino-Canadians. Consul General Andrelita Austria greeted the guests, as Maita Santiago, MHS Chairperson welcomed the crowd. Messages from MLA Elmore and MLA David Eby, who presented the plaque for the celebration of Filipino Heritage Month. Portliving CEO and President Tobi Reyes also gave a message about his involvement in the project of building a cultural center through the MHS
Entertainment was supplied by dances from PhilCAS of BC, the Couples for Christ Choir at St. Bernadette Parish, Fresh Groove Productions, and the UBC Acappella Group. Music was provided by Table Tutors. Food sponsors were Plato Filipino, Pampanga’s Cuisine, and O Taho.
Mabuhay House Society partners with PortLiving to build Cultural Centre
The dream of many Fil-Canadians in Vancouver to have its own centre for culture will now come to fruition. Mabuhay House Society has partnered with PortLiving for the development of the Filipino Cultural Centre.
“The society is comprised of experienced and passionate community leaders, cultural workers and elders who draw on the expertise of consultants from different fields to guide them in the development of cultural spaces,” as their promotions present. Maita Santiago, chairperson of MHS, believes this can happen.
“Mabuhay House Society has partnered with PortLiving for the development of a community centre that will address the community’s needs,” says Santiago. The space will be an intergenerational and intercultural space that will highlight the many contributions of the Filipino Community in BC and Canada.
“It’s so nice to see the younger generation take stock of this project,” says outgoing UFCABC president Joel Castillo. “It is better that the next generation take the lead that a number of us older community members started.”The MHS was formed in 2021 and its members include Santiago, Sammie Jo Rumbaua, Vice-chaiperson; Angelie Caspillo, Treasurer; Rudy Antonio, Chandu Claver, James Infante, and Michelle Silongan as members.
The team hopes that the project encourages much younger generation Filipinos to be proud of their heritage and continue to share their culture with others. PortLiving CEO and President Macario Tobi Reyes hope that his contribution to the project.
“The Filipino community is one of the largest groups in Canada, but also the most disenfranchised. We are a community without a home, without a face, and without a voice. I want to develop a center we can be proud of, one which potentially serves as a model for other cities. I hope to be able to kickstart this commitment with my own resources, but ultimately, we will need funding, leadership, and resources,” he says.
Reyes is hoping to use some space in the Mount Pleasant area as a start, and he is hoping that through the enthusiasm and leadership of the young members of MHS and of PortLiving, the dream of having a Filipino cultural center will finally come true