Cultural infrastructures are an integral component of Canadian communities. These centres promote cultural values among the members of its community. They are a reflection of an established community where cultural services are increasingly part of municipal services. Arts and culture is one of the attributes that contribute to the highest quality of life of a community.
With the influx of Filipinos in Alberta, which has the second largest Filipino population in Canada at approximately 175,000, and with a migration history to Canada beginning in the 1930s, it is ideal, and rather imperative, that we Filipinos have a sustained venue, that will serve as a gathering place - a recreational, educational and cultural facility. There is nothing wrong in using another culture’s space, but it’s much more gratifying to have one that reflects your values, and way of life.
The Philippine centre is envisioned to be the architectural definition of our community identity. Yet, it is not just about infrastructure but is about the people, our culture, creative engagement, and social interaction. The planning will include multiple perspectives: disciplines of expression – e.g., visual, performing, literary, media arts, heritage, etc.; functions – e.g., recreation, instruction, training, production, exhibition, preservation; levels of artistic activity – e.g., recreational arts, amateur arts, emerging and professional/not-for-profit arts, for-profit creative industries, etc.; and community goals. For a community whose people are geographically separated with the 7,100 islands, should we not bond ourselves in our communal experiences of migration, values, and way of life in our adopted country?
Work towards establishing a centre is long term work requiring dedication, focus, determination and commitment with time, energy and resources. The current group of organizers and volunteers recognize the importance of accountability, trust and transparency and are exerting efforts to uphold these. However, an endeavour of this magnitude will only be made possible by sustained commitment, time, input and vision of MANY supporters - advocates, artists, business leaders, volunteers and community members. I appeal to everyone to lend their support, in whatever capacity, to the various upcoming projects supporting the Edmonton Philippine International Centre initiative. And let us uphold our tagline, The Filipino Spirit Shines Through!