Sunday 7 April 2013

Filipino-Canadian Gala 2012

Ida & Jojo Lucila
The 2nd Filipino-Canadian Gala was held last September 15, 2012 at the Northlands Expo Centre. Organized by Gala and Event Management lead by Lixmila Serrano and Ramon Cifra, the Gala is an annual event aimed at bringing together Filipinos and friends for a night of cultural feast and dancing, to celebrate the achievements of the Filipino community and at the same time, to support local charitable institutions. It had, as its beneficiary, iHuman, an organization that supports at-risk youth in Edmonton to rebuild their lives through the arts.  Last yearʼs beneficiary was the Edmonton Food Bank.

Philippine Choral
The Gala was held in a sumptuous hall that seats 800, in tables decked in red, white and blue, with the Philippine flag as the pattern for its layout. A tropical hut served as the dance floorʼcenter piece, perfect for photo opportunities. Around the hall were booths of Filipino businesses and Gala sponsors, and display items for the silent auction. An added bonus for the night was the grand raffle prize of a free trip to the Philippines.

Philippine Ambassador Gatan
MP Rona Ambrose
MLA Thomas Lukaszuk
Guests were treated to song and dance performances prior to the official opening of the Gala, which was marked with messages from the three levels of government of Canada and the presence of the Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Leslie Gatan. Guests of honor were: Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works & Government Services, and Minister for Status of Women - Canada; Thomas Lukaszuk, Deputy Premier of Alberta; Stephen Mandel, Mayor of Edmonton; Naresh Bhardwaj, MLA; Richard Andersen, Northlands President; among others. In their speeches, they extolled on how the success of Filipinos all over the world serves as an inspiration and a reminder that much can be achieved through vision and guidance, and the Filipinosʼ reputation to be hardworking, generous and wonderful contributions to society, making Mayor Mandel exclaim
Mayor Stephen Mandel
We need more Filipinos to come to Edmonton! There are currently 
330,000 Filipinos in Canada, 70% of which are Philippine-born. And to these people and their Canadian friends, Ambassador Gatan appealed for more Canadian investments in the Philippines, to keep both the cultural and economic ties, and declared that the Philippines is not the sick man of Asia anymore.

After a buffet of Philippine-inspired cuisine, guests were treated with performances by the Philippine Choral and HOJA. This performance of the Philippine Choral marked its transformation from a church choir to a show choir, with a full repertoire suite and choreography. HOJA, on the other hand, is an acapella trio who has performed all over Canada and recorded five cd albums. This followed with everyone dancing the night away, more photo opportunities and revelry. It was good to see the people of Edmonton come together in their evening finery to celebrate Filipino culture and achievements, and support a very deserving local charity. We look forward to the 3rd Filipino-Canadian Gala!
Philippine Choral

Post Dinner Dance
Photos courtesy of Kitakits Studio Inc. To view more photos of the event, go to http://

* This was written and published for the Pinoy Times, October 2012 issue.

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