Philippines Independence Day celebrated in Lethbridge with first-ever flag raising

Philippines Independence Day celebrated in Lethbridge with first-ever flag raising
On the day marking the 121st year of independence for the Philippines, Lethbridge is making its own history by raising the country’s flag outside city hall, giving the local Filipino-Canadian community even more reason to celebrate.

“I feel proud and thankful for the Lethbridge community for embracing the event and joining us in this celebration,” Vic Visitacion, secretary for the Filipino Canadian Association of Lethbridge, said of the ceremony on Wednesday.

June 12 is a monumental day for Filipinos everywhere, and in Lethbridge on Wednesday, there was no shortage of happy faces outside of city hall.

“This is a really big day not only for me but for all the Filipinos here in Lethbridge,” said Kristina Mateo, a local resident.

“It means so much that we can have our own flag and we can have our own national anthem, and what we can call our own independence day.”

In 2018, a provincial proclamation was signed that declared June as ‘Philippine Heritage Month’ in Alberta. Soon after, however, the whole country jumped on board with the initiative, making 2019 the first year the occasion is being celebrated from coast to coast to coast.

“We are finally free from the colonization of Spain and are able to live free and strong like Canada,” Visitacion said.

“The Filipino community here in Lethbridge consists of about 1,600 Filipino-Canadians and this is a momentous event that symbolizes the strong community here in Lethbridge

In Lethbridge there is a prominent Filipino presence that Visitacion said keeps growing each year, and that community is proud of what they continue to contribute to the city.

“We are one of the citizens who have the lowest unemployment rate,” Mateo said, “and you can see Filipinos all over town working in different careers and establishments.”

Many Filipino-Canadians made their way to city hall on Wednesday to commemorate the historic occasion, singing in unison and flying their own flags in excitement for being honoured by the city they now call home
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