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THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Vicky Santiago
Linda Cerrudo-Javier
Dr. Mario Andres
Wendy Arena
Rey Tolentino
Efren de Villa
Dr. Nenette de Villa
Ed Birondo
Aida D' Orazio
Frank Cruzet
Theresa Lumanlan
Suzette Cresencia
Frank Villanueva
Marilou Parcero        
Juanita Rejdik
Bernie Carreon
Mary Ann San Juan
Mercy Maliglig
Benjamin Bongolan
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FILIPINO CENTRE TORONTO                 597 PARLIAMENT ST. TORONTO, ONTARIO M4X 1W3                  TEL NO. (416) 928-9355
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FILIPINO ELDERLY WELL-BEING PROJECT IN FULL SWING

    The Filipino Elderly Wellbeing Project is now in full swing.  Thanks to the active participation of GTA's Filipino seniors groups and elderly who see the project as an important step in building a bright future for themselves. FEW Project is the research collaboration launched by the University of Toronto and Filipino Centre Toronto to establish a baseline data and to determine the needs of Filipino seniors in the Greater Toronto Area.


ANOTHER
SUCCESSFUL
PISTAHAN
SA
TORONTO

Once again Mother Nature conspired with the FCT by giving us such beautiful weather for the 2-day PISTAHAN SA TORONTO in celebration of the 114th Philippine Independence Day at Nathan  Phillips Square, June 9 and 10. 

The predicted 60% chance of rain on the first day didn't happen.  But on the second day the temperature rose to 32°C.  Hundreds of Pistahan revelers braved the blistering afternoon sun while watching the afternoon shows.  Some of them were under umbrellas.  While others had scurried over to shaded areas and the cool frontage of the Toronto City Hall. Some of them coolly sipping the most sold Filipino drink that day, the buko pandan, according to Mel Galeon of FV Foods.

Our new Consul General Junever Mahilum-West delivered the opening speech. She hailed FCT for its programs on Philippine culture and the arts as she rallied Filipinos in Toronto to fully support such programs. The San Lorenzo Ruiz Choir's beautifully blended voices filled the festive air as more and more people arrived to join in the celebration.

Proud to be Filipino, many pinoys showed up wearing the colours of the Philippine flag. There were brisk sales of similar t-shirts in the souvenir booths.

There was entertainment galore, non-stop, on stage.  Even the Lechon Parade walked across the stage, each of the 11 men carrying a lechon on the shoulders to be dropped off at the lechon booth. There were 22 lechon in all, chopped and distributed to all, during the 2-day Pistahan.

With the lively dynamic duo of Arnel Caballes and Alma Ramos as emcees, the audience had a delightful time. They were entertained by dance groups - Leahnette's Hula Dancers, Culture Philippines, Folklorico Filipino Canada, Lynda Etzkorn's Aloha Dancers, FCT Line Dancers, Kayumanggi Dancers, the Can-Asian Dancers, Albert Carreon's Hip Hop, Falun Data presentation and the Champion Life Centre Youth.

Demonstrating their skills in the Martial Arts were the Punites, Tae Kwon Do and the Black Belt World.

Music was played by the Jamm & Band, Blue Sky Band, Overview Band, South East Cartel, the Banshees and the rondallas of Culture Philippines and Folklorico Filipino Canada.

There was singing most of the time. (Filipinos never tire of it.) The Karaoke Contest: Winners were Angelique, Samantha, Emeterio, Ben, Denise and Jamie.

The renditions from talented singers: Adessa Andrada, Teresa Panaligan, Alyssa Datu, Jheo Navarro, Vianne Gaerlan, Edmund Arevalo, Alma Ramos, Marco Raqueño, Vincent Villanueva, Faith Gumahad, Camille Mendoza, Grace Pinlac, Cecile Wood, Angela Apigo, Ruth Morales, Bea Cerbas, Etheline and Fernando Komosing.

The popular Filipino Singing Idol Grand Finals that ended with the following finalists receiving their prizes as announced by FSI Chair Ed Birondo:  Children Category - Elle Delizo, champion; Jheo Navarro, 1st runner-up; Joseph Pasia, 2nd runner-up; Teens Category - Jessica Pasia, champion; Nicole Garbanzos, 1st runner-up; Marlene Tran, 2nd runner-up; Adults Category - Virgilio Vicente, champion; William Tran, 1st runner-up; Ina Palis, 2nd runner-up.

Judges were Toots Evidente, Leo Mascariñas and Terrence Vince.  Tabulators were Evelyn Birondo and Tess Lumanlan.

Who wants to win $1,000 or a free plane fare to the Philippines?  Forex's Kwarta O Kahon game contest, co-hosted by Philip Beloso and Jane Moallem, had dozens of interested participants wearing Forex's t-shirts running up the stage. The question that quickly crossed out almost all the participants, except one, was: "Who was the brains of the Katipunan?"  Only Leonardo Tan of Scarborough knew the answer - Emilio Jacinto!  But he stopped the game when he accepted the offer of $300.

The finale on Day 1 was Tony Furto's much talked-about Fashion Show.  His good-looking Body Shot models did justice to the outfits from sportswear to formal and ultimately to the impressive - the Filipino Terno and the Barong Tagalog. 

* * * *

The spectacular Santacruzan

The Santacruzan is a religious and historical pageant that has become a traditional event in the cities, towns and small villages in the Philippines. The Philippine Department of Tourism has considered it a cultural event and a must-see for visiting tourists.

It was one of the most anticipated features of the Pistahan, in coordination with the organizers of Miss Manila Pageant, the Fiesta Filipina Dance Company, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Ms. Paraluman and the Body Shot Agency, as well as a fashion showcase under the expertise of Tony Furto, designer-couturiere-hairstylist, et al.

Eight young girls in long white dresses, each carrying the AVE MARIA letters and a basket of flowers, led the way.  They were Kianna Chipongian, Lyla Tilo, Kayani Tilo, Alysa Hernaez, Athene Saldua, Jasmine Aquintey, Alexandra Aquintey and Shielda Godoy

They were followed in the procession by 15 beautiful reynas, dressed in gorgeous Philippine ternos - each reyna representing an attribute of the Blessed Mother.  At the rear was the image of the Blessed Mother Mary atop a flowered carroza which was accompanied by the Hermanos and Hermanas Mayor, the family of Julie Almaria and other worshippers.

This year's Reyna Elena is the reigning Miss Manila, Aura Joy Mitchell. Reyna Banderada at the head of the group was Joanne Ascueta, PIDC's Miss Philippines.  Reyna Emperatriz was Julie May Duce, FCT's 2011 Paraluman. Reyna Profeta was Kesiah Papasin, who was the 4th runner-up in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant. 

Most of the other reynas are currently models or runners-up and/or candidates in some beauty contests.  They are Samantha Oraa, Meghan Garvida, Melissa Barbour, Kathleen Cabillam, Jessica Barbour, Jade Pingol, Danielle Ocampo, Vanessa Saracia, Cerena Masu and Charlene Soliguen.

It was difficult to choose which of the reynas wore the best terno. Everybody was simply awestruck by the beauty of it all as they slowly paraded around Nathan Phillips Square with their escorts and flowered arches above them.

At the stage, the FCT president, Linda Javier, narrated the sequence in the procession while the Dios Te Salve hymn was being played over the loudspeakers.  She called the name of each participant as she came to the front and up the stage. 

As a final tribute to the Blessed Mother Mary, the Flores de Mayo girls in white showered flower petals over her until their baskets were empty. It was a fitting ending to a spectacular event - marking the finale of a successful Pistahan.

Since May, the FEW Project Research Team have conducted group and individual questionnaire surveys in Toronto and Markham. Brampton and Mississauga seniors groups are in line for the survey in June. Targeted Catholic parishes with large Filipino members have also been a good source of respondents. FEW Project will be present at community events to attract individual survey participants. The survey period will continue until August.

Interested seniors can contact the FEW Project at the University of Toronto (416-978-0462) or Filipino Centre Toronto (416-928-9355) to participate. Seniors can also register and complete the survey at Filipino Centre Toronto located at 597 Parliament Street (TTC /Wellesley or Castle Frank Subway Station) during weekday office hours (Mon/Tue/Thur/Fri  between 1pm-5pm).


TEN YEARS AFTER THE ACQUISITION OF THE FILIPINO CENTRE TORONTO BUILDING



                                   by: Rosalinda Cerrudo-Javier, President and CEO
  

    The idea of owning a building for a Filipino community centre in downtown Toronto was simply a pipe dream for interested Filipinos in the 70s and 80s. Nonetheless, it seems only yesterday when a group of well-intentioned Filipinos mobilized by the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa with Ambassador Francisco Benedicto and the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, under the auspices of Consul General Susan Cisternae, Consuls Olivia Palala and Sylvia Maralinga finally lay to rest the dream of a community center in downtown Toronto.

   
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by: Frank Villanueva
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