Legacy Of Achievements
This year 2018, the Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta is celebrating a historic milestone, its 50th year’s golden anniversary and legacy of achievements.
In 1965, a small group of these Filipinos organized an association initially named the Filipino Association in Alberta. The main purpose of the group was to hold social functions to lessen their loneliness caused by their separation from their family and friends in the Philippines.
During the Alberta Teacher’s Convention in December 1966, several Filipinos discussed the possibility of a Filipino organization with legal personality. Subsequently, while attending a summer session at the University of Alberta, they agreed to get together to discuss this matter more extensively. The group met at Garneau Tower and decided to retain the existing organization but changed the name to Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta.
A committee was formed to draft the Constitution and By-Laws of the association. The drafted PBAA Constitution and By-Laws were officially approved and registered with Alberta Consumer and Corporate Affairs on February 15, 1968.
By 1969 the booming years of Alberta began, and more Filipinos immigrated to Canada. Some of these newcomers came from different provinces in Canada or from the Philippines. They were independent business people, other professional or relatives of the Filipinos already established in Edmonton. The rank and file of the Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta grew, and the activities of the association were no longer limited to social gatherings.
Through the years, the Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta had many achievements. Among its accomplishments are the following:
• Purchasing, owning and managing the Filipino Canadian Community Centre.
• Publishing the Bayanihan News
• Organizing different sport activities and tournament (basketball, bowling, golf, ping-pong, chess and fishing derbies)
• Holding the Annual Lenten Pabasa
• Organizing children’s and formal Christmas Parties
• Celebrating Annual Independence Day
• Organizing Annual Family Camping Trips and Picnics
• Providing sports and Appreciation Awards
• Sponsoring the:
a. PBAA Choral Group
b. PBAA Youth Club
c. PBAA Retired and Semi-Retired
d. Alberta Domestic Worker’s Association (ADWA)
1. Hoisting the Philippine Flag for the first time in 1977 at City Hall during the observance of Philippine Independence Day and the proclamation of the Philippine Week, during the time Terry Cavanaugh was the Mayor of Edmonton.
2. Sponsoring and supporting the Survivors Toastmaster Club, which held regular meetings and public speaking tournaments for Filipinos at the PBAA Filipino Community Centre.
3. Aiding typhoon, earthquake and famine victims
4. Undertaking fundraising activities such as:
a. Van Rafles
b. Chocolate Fund Drive
1. Extending monetary assistance to:
a. Bereaved families
b. Northern Alberta Children’s Hospital
c. Cancer Society and Heart Fund
d. Edmonton Food Bank
e. Edmonton Christmas Bureau
f. Terry Fox Marathon of Hope
g. Rick Hansen Man in Motion
1. Presenting Cultural and Theatre Art Productions:
a. “Our Town” Youth Group stage play at Edmonton Centennial Library
b. “Sariling Atin” musical extravaganza at the Provincial Museum
c. Tom Tanada, world renown pianist, in concert at the Filipino Community Centre
d. Maranaw Dance Group and Fashion Show performed by Miss Asia International, Miss Philippines and other models from the Philippines at the Jubilee Auditorium
1. Exhibiting Arts and Crafts and participating in the Klondike Parade and showcasing an award-winning Philippine float “Pearl of the Orient”.
a. Edmonton Multicultural Society
b. Edmonton Heritage Festival
c. Edmonton Folk Arts council
d. Council of Edmonton Filipino Association (CEFA)
1. Sent delegates to Calgary and to the National Council of Canadian Filipino Association’s Seminar and Convention in Ontario and Quebec.
2. In August 1990, PBAA sponsored the year’s Heritage Festival Princess, Sharlynn Grace Briones and the Philippine Pavilion received the 2nd prize award
3. In 2017, during the National Philanthropy Day, Royal Alexandria Hospital Foundation nominated Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta, Philanthropist “2017 Health Award”
In 1984, PBAA came to own the Filipino Canadian Community Centre. The building was located at 12520 – 135th Avenue, Edmonton and stood on ¾ acres of prime land. It became the first Filipino community-owned building and envy of the different Filipino associations in Canada. However, the high cost of maintaining the building gave the association no choice but to sell in 1995.
This did not deter the group from continually pursuing the dream of having another Filipino community hall.
PBAA started fundraising through bingos and casinos and created a Building Fund. As time passed, the current value of real estate continued to increase. Thus, executives and general membership decided to convert the Building Fund to a durable and lasting Legacy Fund. The purpose of the Legacy Fund is to donate and support health institutions and other eligible charitable groups for research, innovative and launch initiative programs. These donations will be a beacon of hope to many people of Edmonton, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and International patients.
On January 30, 2012, PBAA donated the first $100,000 to Royal Alexandria Hospital Foundation, CK. Hui Heart Centre in order:
a. To support research, education and innovation in Cardiology
b. To provide Cardiologists long-term sustainable funding to help and develop innovative therapies, launch-clinical trials and improve patient outcomes.
In recognition of this donation, a waiting area was named in honor of PBAA.
On November 13, 2013, $10,000 was donated to the Red Cross, to support victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines. This donation was matched by the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada, to a total of $30,000.
On November 10, 2014, PBAA donated $100,000 to Cross Cancer Institute Foundation in order to:
a. support research to find a cure for cancer
b. renovate a family quiet room which provides respite for loved ones to gather and grieve during family members and friends end of life journey.
In recognition of this donation, the family quiet room was named in honor of PBAA and was officially opened last September 2016.
On May 11, 2016, during the Fort McMurray fire, PBAA donated $10,000 to the Red Cross to support victims affected by the fire. This was matched by the Federal and Provincial government to make a total of $30,000.
On August 29, 2016, $100,000 was donated to Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation to support the acquisition of highly technical equipment, specifically the Medfusion 4000 Pumps. These pumps are the most up to date syringe infusion pumps and have several features:
a. It supports medication safety and safe administration of prescribed medication
b. It is electronic so that they accurately deliver minute quantities of medication
c. It possesses an on-board drug library which ensures all dosages and calculations are correct for the age, size and weight of the child receiving the medication.
In September 2016 PBAA donated $5,000 to the Kids with Cancer Society to help cover expenses of families with children, with cancer while they are under treatment.
On October 11, 2016, a donation of $50,000 was made to the Kidney Foundation of Canada Northern Alberta/Territories to support 3 areas:
a. Immediate support services for local kidney patients and their families
b. Kidney health awareness and screening, and
c. Campaigns towards organ donations.
On October 13, 2016, PBAA, $50,000 was donated to the Children Autism Services of Edmonton towards a new autism centre in the Southside. The building would be able to accommodate more children who are diagnosed with autism. Executive Director, Terri Duncan was surprised by the donation and characterized it a “Gift from an Angel” which was published in the Edmonton Journal.
In recognition of this donation, a room will be named in honor of PBAA.
On October 27, 2016, a donation of $150,000 was made to the Royal Alexandria Hospital Foundation to support the renovation of the Eye Services Centre and Knee and Hip Services Centre, where a reception area will be named in honor of PBAA.
On November 1, 2016, $100,000 was donated to the Covenant Foundation-Grey Nuns Community Hospital to support the Northern Alberta Vascular Centre (NAVC). This initiative will provide vascular care for those in need across Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, a population of more than 2 million people.
On November 3, 2016, PBAA donated $100,000 to the Mazankowski Heart Centre. This donation will go towards the purchase of Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS). It is a bedside heart and lung support system for patients with severe respiratory or cardiac conditions, who are awaiting a transplant and cannot rely on their own heart or lungs to survive.
The remaining Legacy Funds were donated to the following:
a. Catholic Social Services
b. Marian Centre Edmonton
c. Carmelite Sisters Monastery in Devon
d. Edmonton Food Bank
e. Society of St. Vincent de Paul Edmonton and
f. Hope Mission
Then and now, the PBAA would not thrive and members would not enjoy the camaraderie without the deep and enduring commitments of so many loyal volunteers, supporters and contributors of time, talent and money. The list of these people is endless and to name just a few would not do justice to the membership in general and in particular, to people whose names may be missed.
Like everyone else, Filipinos have varied and diverse interests. The dialects are numerous and they come from different regions of the Philippines. It is therefore not surprising that as more Filipinos arrived, the number of various Filipino association, increased. However, the Philippine Bayanihan Association in Alberta endured and has become one of the most respected Filipino organizations in the community. It has matured, remained vibrant and has continued to become part of the multicultural mosaic in the city of Edmonton.
Research conducted and compiled by: Winnie de Castro, PBAA past Secretary
Tony M. Briones, PBAA current President
The Alberta Filipino Journal has published this article upon the request of Mr. Antonio Briones. Should there be any conflicting historical accounts based on the knowledge of other Filipino pioneers,the author of this historical exposition will be held accountable for the information provided and is responsible for responding to those queries. The Alberta Filipino Journal is not responsible for any controversy that arises as a result of this article.