Vancouver, BC, Feb 6th | At noontime, over 50 kakampink supporters of the Leni-Kiko tandem gathered at the Vancouver Waterfront to begin the Tara Canada, Biyahe Tayo (Let’s go, Canada, Let’s Travel!) event. Organized by the Global Filipinos for Leni (GFL-Canada) and the Vancouver Pink Caravan of Hope, it signaled the eve of the Feb 8th official start of the Philippine campaign period for the May 2022 elections. At the final stop, the crowd had grown to at least a hundred participants.
The meetup at the Waterfront set the tempo. Nette Domin-Tale led a short prayer and Ghee Salcedo, Mel Aganon, Neria Lacuna, and Treenee Lopez delivered short messages of inspiration. Musician Edwin Padilla with his ukulele led the crowd in the singing of “Di nyo ba naririnig,” the Tagalog adaptation of the popular song “Do you hear the people sing?” from the musical Les Misérables. Mel Aganon of the organizing group inspired the crowd with, “Ang tagumpay ni Leni ay tagumpay ng bayang Pilipino kung kaya’t magkaisa tayo.” (Leni’s victory is the victory of the Filipino people, and so it is imperative that we unite.)
Treenee Lopez of the GFL described the Tara Canada, Biyahe Tayo as an event symbolic of the Leni-Kiko campaign trail marked by many challenges and bumpy rides, just like going on the public transit (via bus, seabus, skytrain) for seniors, families with children, and everyday ordinary commuters. She reiterated this at the final stop and declared, “But in the end, everything worked out fine.” Treenee stressed the important call at the last stop when she thanked everyone and said, “and more importantly, we are all here together for Leni!”
The kakampinks, in teams of 5-10, in the care of their marshals, took the Seabus to Londsdale Quay where everyone had a short lunch by the water, then hopped on the Seabus to downtown Vancouver to get the No. 5 bus to English Bay. Then it was back on the bus to the waterfront station to catch the Canada Line to go to the final stop at Templeton to meet up with the kakampinks from Richmond.
Imagine a large and long moving crowd of pink going from each “Tara Na” stop to the next, tapping their transit passes and tickets, beeping through the turnstiles, posing for photos while on the escalators, hopping on the bus, and riding the Canada Line. Each stop was a chance for another photo op and a chance for many to visit a different part of the city.
Parents brought their young children. Young people joined their elders. Seniors for Leni came. One could hear conversations in Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Bikolano from among the crowd, a real testament to the diversity and unity of the overseas Filipinos to help the tandem Leni-Kiko win the President and Vice-President seats in the coming Philippine election.
Passersby and those travelling on the Seabus, the transit bus, and the Canada Line could not fail to notice the group wearing pink in all shades and accessories – from toques, baseball caps, scarves, tee shirts, sneakers, complete pink outfits, pink ribbons, laminated Leni-Kiko signs, sweaters, blazers, Leni-Kiko buttons, and of course, the pink face masks! Even the puto or rice cake, the quintessential baon on trips, were baked pink, courtesy of Shirley Bui of Proud Bicolanos for Leni.
At the final stop of the “Tara Na Biyahe Na”, the kakampinks who started out at Vancouver waterfront were met by fellow kakampinks of the BC Coalition of Leni-Kiko from Richmond who came waving elongated and slender pink balloons. Amado Mercado, Jr. from the BC Coalition said, “We have to save the nation from Duterte, the worst president ever. Ituloy natin ito at magsama-sama tayo para matibay tayo.” (We must continue this and together we will be stronger.)
The joyful mood at the start of Tara Na! was multiplied even more at the final stop. Indeed, a successful mobilization from start to finish, even the sun smiled on the event! A lot of new friends were made because of the Leni-Kiko campaign. Friends who had not seen each other because of the COVID restrictions were happy to meet up again. The Leni-Kiko campaign trail bought people together.
There is no solid North, there is a strong and united overseas Filipino community working to bring in a competent, trustworthy administration in the May 2022 election. While there is diversity in provincial origins and regional languages, in age (youth and older Filipinos), in ability, in socio-economic status, there is also the unity as patriotic and democracy-loving Filipinos overseas who have strong ties to the Philippines and who have the desire as democratic forces to fight for a government all Filipinos deserve – one that champions good governance, national sovereignty, respect for human rights, jobs at home, land reform, health care for all, an end to political dynasties, corruption, and militarization. And all that we deserve as Filipinos is made more crucial and imperative under the continuing pandemic.
As human rights lawyer and former Bayan Muna lawmaker in Congress Neri Colmenares, who is running for Senator as part of the 1Sambayant ticket has said in his many speeches, “our survival as a people, as a nation” depends on the outcome of this election. In the online magazine Bulatlat, he emphasized that “This is not an easy win for the opposition in 2022. We need to gather all the votes that we can get.”
The road to the May 2022 election is bumpy and full of challenges but we will get there bringing the Leni-Kiko tandem to victory and preventing the comeback of the Marcoses and the Dutertes back in government.
(A special shout out to our Team 5 marshals Jojo Palencia and Nora Angeles, and members Edwin Padilla, Tirso Principe, Chong Alejandria, Jorna, Maria, Evelyn, Grace!) ###
Caption: Top: L-R: Pink Puto, Starting Point Canada Place with families in pink!
Bottom: Templeton Last Stop for the Kakampinks
Top Photo: L-R: Bus No. 5 to English Bay, to the SeaBus, Lonsdale Quay stop
Bottom photo: L-R -Team 5 @ Seabus , Escalator Photo op