The Philippine Consulate General, headed by Consul General Andrelita Austria, held the Proudly Philippines Food and Travel Fair at Robson Square in Downtown Vancouver. Using this year’s Independence Day 2019 theme “Tapang ng Bayan, Malasakit ng Mamamayan” (Courage of the Country, Compassion of the Citizenry), the fair was attended by about twenty vendors of various Philippine products, including two young entrepreneurs who are bringing Philippine grown coffee and chocolate with Canadian flavour. All the vendors took part in handing out samples of their products and answered questions from the visiting public.
In her message, ConGen Austria says that she hopes that the Food and Travel Fair opens doors for Canadians who have not tried Philippine food to do so, and to make it as common as other cuisines adopted and loved in Canada. She also hopes that more people can travel to the Philippines and see the beauty of the islands.
Also giving his address on behalf of the Parliament was MP Don Davies. Donning a jusi barong Tagalog, he emphasized the importance of Philippine trade and relations for Canada because of the immense contribution of Filipinos to Canadian society. MP Davies was followed MP Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, who congratulated the Philippine Consulate for organizing the fair and bringing Philippine products to Canada. In behalf of the City of Vancouver, Deputy Mayor Sarah-Kirby Yung, thanked the consulate for the invitation and announced that there were more opportunities to work with the Filipino community in building Vancouver into a city that would address the needs of its constituents.
Plato Filipino, Kulinarya, Aling Mary’s Bakeshop and Goldilocks, and the various Philippine products already available in Canada through our major Canadian importers, Corinthian Distributors, AFOD Ltd., Seasia Foods Ltd., and Rumtels Solution Inc., and Philippine exporters Mama Sita, Paradise Fruits Corporation, Loobi Canada Inc and Mega Global Corporation participated as vendors. Various Vancouver-based enterprises owned by Filipino-Canadians, such as Kape, Kasama Chocolates, La Glace, Flipside, and Bukobaba Essentials Inc., and Filipino franchises, Max and Potato Corner also joined the exhibitors.
Tour packages to the Philippines from participating travel agencies, New Millennium Holidays, Tourmasters Travel, Sampaguita Travel, Maligaya Travel, and A. Mary’s Travel & Tours, as well as Philippine Airlines, and visit the Philippine Department of Tourism booth were also present, and having pictures with El Nido Lagoon as the background was a feature of the event.
In addition to food and travel, there were exhibits by a group of Fil-Canadian artists and a photography display of Philippine festivals by Allan Florendo at the event. WeavIna also joined the exhibit with their mat-woven products.
Visitors were treated to performances throughout the day, with cultural dance numbers from La Riva Dance Studio, BIBAK, Zambales Dance Group, MASSKARA, and Ifugao Dance Group while the musical entertainment was provided by Salve and Ed Dayao, Janice Lozano, Marie Carlos, Marife Elsted and her band, and Kimwell and Grace del Rosario of Rosario Strings and visiting violinists from the Manila Symphony Orchestra. There was also a be kali and arnis demonstrations by the Maelstrom Martial Arts and the Maharlika Institute for Arnis and Filipino Martial Arts, respectively, and performances by the students of Tabletutors DJ Academy.
Sammie Jo Rumbaua of the Power of Threee hosted the day’s program. Tabletutors DJ Academy provided the sound system. Both establishments are proudly Filipino-Canadian owned. Proudly Philippines is supported by the Philippine Department of Tourism – San Francisco and events organizer Power of Threee.Hosting the program were Jason Pires of CTV and Michelle Eliot ng CBC, who both come from Filipino heritage. The Philippines-born Eliot is the host of CBC Radio One’s BC Today, an open line show, while Pires is a co-anchor of CTV Morning Live in Vancouver. His mother is a Filipina and his parents met in the Philippines while at the University of the Philippines.
(Photo credit: Salve Dayao, Janice Lozano, Angelo Siglos)