As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declares, diversity is Canada’s strength. With its immigration policy, Canada has developed a society of varying cultures, languages, and sensibilities. To this end, numerous initiatives are undertaken in the promotion of multiculturalism in all facets of Canadian society.
One such event is Culture Days, a 3-day event held annually on the last weekend of September. The Alberta Culture Days actually started in 2008 as Alberta Arts Days, and was instrumental in the creation of Culture Days, a nation-wide event to “raise awareness, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities.
One such event this year, and has been selected as an official celebration site for Alberta, is Kalinangan, organized by the Philippine Arts Council. It will be held on September 30, 2017, 1-7 pm, at the ACCA Centre, 3530 91 Street, Edmonton. Kalinangan, in its many variance of use, is the Tagalog word for culture, way of life, or cultivation of learning. This event features back-to-back workshops on Philippine dance, music, visual arts, and martial arts, among others:
- Filipino Image Painting - acrylic artist Mila Bongco-Philipzig, assisted by portrait-artist Heidel Valeriano, will guide participants into creating their own artwork on a chosen Philippine image.
- Philippine Folk Dance and Modern Transformations - Facilitated by established choreographer & director Jojo Lucila, this is a workshop on Philippine folk and ethnic dances, encompassing cultural contexts and imageries of movement, which will serve as framework in the translation and/or adaptation of folk/ethnic movements to modern westernized dance idioms.
- Emma the Musical and Indigenous Instruments Workshop - Emma is an original musical by Chie Floresca and Erica Cawagas. Scheduled to premier in 2018, it is a play inspired by the perseverance and resilience of the Filipino spirit. The workshop will include a mini-talk on the creative process of the musical, a performance of excerpts, and hands-on instruction on indigenous instruments. The workshop will be facilitated by Erica Cawagas, Kreisha Oro and the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association.
- Filipino Martial Arts - the Philippine Warrior Arts Society in Edmonton instructs on Pekiti-Tirsia Kali, a style specific to Filipino martial arts, founded in 1897 and is the system of the Tortal family in the Philippines. It is strictly a combat-oriented system, as opposed to sport-focused style. It is a fighting system that focuses on the knife and machete/sword for combat and has been adopted by elite Philippine military and law enforcement units around the world.
- Meet the Authors and Book Signing
- Annie Chua is the author of Domestically Yours: A Caregiver’s Inspiring Journey, a chronicle of Annie’s experiences under the Live-in Caregiver Program in her quest to create a better future for her four daughters, at the same time leaving them behind in the Philippines.
- Mila Bongco-Philipzig is the author of 2 children’s books: Sandy Beaches to Snow, Snow to Sandy Beaches is a child’s story about a family coming from a tropical place to a land of ice and snow, mirroring the author’s own move from the Philippines to Edmonton; and Good Night Philippines, Good Night World, a story of different places tenderly saying goodnight to each other, as separated Filipino loved ones bid each other good night.
- Work in Progress: Graphic Book on Migration - An illustration on the story of migration to Canada. A Canada 150 project of Migrante Alberta.
Culture Days starts on September 29. Check out the Culture Days website for activities going on all over the country. Get involved...plan your activities...diversify. And if you’re Filipino or of Filipino descent, do not be a stranger to your own country. Or live what you know and remember about being a Filipino. It is to be noted that among the official celebration sites in Alberta, it is the Philippine Arts Council, with Kalinangan, whose main focus is Philippine arts and culture. To participate, support and for more information on Kalinangan, visit philippineartscouncil.com.
This article was published in the August 2017 issue of the Alberta Filipino Journal.