Filipino community celebrates culture

Several young ladies called the Titas of High Prairie wowed the crowd with the dancing. Left-right, are Veronica Mandocdoc, Winnie Dominguez, Diane Escano, Rhoda Fabian, Mehja Nava and Josephine Francisco. A tita is an auntie in the Filipino culture.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Local residents from the Philippines celebrated their culture Feb. 16 in grand style at the High Prairie Elks Hall.

The LUZVIMINDA Filipino-Canadian – High Prairie organization hosted its eighth annual LUZVIMINDA Valentine’s Party for families and people of all ages.

Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk honoured the cultural community as a special guest.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about the local Filipino people,” Panasiuk says.

“They are a valuable part of the community.”

Local president Wintoun Pichay says the event is open to people from all cultures.

“It is not only for Filipinos but we are trying our best to connect other people to be part of our annual events,” Pichay says.

“The party is a time to gather all Filipinos and experience the camaraderie of being a Filipino, which we miss from our motherland.

“We also realize, as Filipinos, that it is a time for us to introduce our culture, food and traditions to the community and be part of it.”

LUZVIMINDA was established in December 2010 and has played a vital role to celebrate and unite Filipino people.

LUZVIMINDA stands for Luzon Visayas Mindanao [Philippines].

More than 200 Filipino live in the High Prairie region, extending into Big Lakes County and Falher, Pichay says.

The first Filipino to arrive in High Prairie was Helen Pagatpatan in the 1970s, he says.

“Filipinos moved to High Prairie where they have relatives and stayed in the area because they feel it is their home,” Pichay says.

“Even though High Prairie is only a small town, we feel like we are in our own place in the Philippines.

“Most of us are helping each other and stay connected such as finding jobs and celebrating our Filipino traditions.

“We never really dream of moving to the city.”

Other annual events are planned during the year. Filipinos will celebrate their first Heritage Month in June. They will host their annual sports festival on the long weekend in either August or September. Filipinos will hold their Christmas party the last week of December.

“We encourage people to join our events,” Pichay says.

The organization is also eager to contribute more to the community and support other organizations and groups.

“We believe we can have a share and be productive to any community-driven event,” Pichay says.

“We will be in contact with the different organizations to ask any contribution we can make.”

LUZVIMINDA Filipino-Canadian – High Prairie Board of Directors

President – Wintoun Pichay.
Vice-president – Alicia Cristobal.
Executive secretary – Diane Escano.
Financial secretary – Rhoda Fabian.
Recording secretary – Zhoii Francisco.
Treasurers – Pauleen Pecpec and Wilhelmina Somera.
Auditors – Mehja Nava and Mary Jean Ablog.
Public relations officers – Winnie Dominguez, Veronica Mandocdoc and Max Simogan.
Business managers – Aaron John Sabas, Susan-Cocoy Reyes, Russel Aquino, Maribel Juarizo, Leovina Bolanos, Juvelyn Aquino Abubo, Jannet Flores and Christopher Modean Nava.

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