Festival celebrates growing Filipino community in Edmonton

Festival celebrates growing Filipino community in Edmonton
There were various performances, including a display of Filipino martial arts, arts and crafts for children, a slew of Filipino food vendors and traditional lawn games.

Tony Santiago, chairperson of the organizing committee, said the Alberta government recently declaring June to be Philippine Heritage Month contributed to the festival.

“There’s a lot of awareness, recognition of Filipino contribution to Edmonton,” he said on Sunday.

The Filipino community in Edmonton has grown in recent years; census data shows there were 42,760 people in the city identifying as Filipino in 2011, a number that jumped to 60,175 in the 2016 census .

Santiago said word of mouth may be responsible for the dramatic growth.

“Most of the migration is really people from your hometown coming here ahead of you and telling you Edmonton is a nice place to live,” he said.

“It’s really the pull of people who came before [that] is driving this immigration to Edmonton.”

The Philippine language Tagalog is one of the top unofficial languages in Alberta and  is the fastest growing language in the country, according to Statistics Canada .

“I think it’s cool because we all know Filipinos have a huge presence here. We are trying to make sure Tagalog is still spoken by the second-generation Filipinos,” Santiago said.

Albert Rosana, a vice-president of the Philippine Students’ Association at the University of Alberta, moved to Edmonton from the Philippines eight years ago.

“I came to Edmonton to pursue my higher studies, specifically a masters in microbiology and biotechnology,” he said.

The student said he now calls Edmonton home.

“For the past eight years, I managed to create a good network with Filipinos, Canadians and the scientific community. I envision myself having roots here for the years to come.”
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