The Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta Presents: Filipino-Canadian Citizens tribute to Canada 150 Celebration (Part 1)

The Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta Presents:  Filipino-Canadian Citizens tribute to Canada 150 Celebration (Part 1)

Josephine Pallard

Retired Teacher
Founder and Board Member of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta and Founder of Changing Together

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Josephine Pallard, and I am one of the founding members of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta. Today, we are celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Canada, and we are going to pay tribute to Filipinos who came as immigrants 50 years ago. Many of us came as economic, at the same time maybe educational immigrants, because we know that at that point there was a need for us to really be out of our country, knowing that there was so much turmoil at the same time the economic aspect was so poor. Here in Canada, we were given the chance to really improve who we are. And with all these people that you will hear today, our Hon. Consul Esmeralda Agbulos, and our board of directors from the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association, we have to let you know all of the challenges, the struggles, and the successes that we have while we are in Canada. I would really want to tell you that because of the goodness, the kindness, and the beautiful open heart and mind of Changing Together, at the same time with the help of many non-profit organizations, our Filipino Community in Edmonton flourished. We thought we are only here to preserve and to retain our heritage, but we evolve into service agency, and many of us now are helping our new generation of Temporary Foreign Workers, our caregivers, and even our international students.
I will just want to let you know that 50 years ago, we started the Philippine Bayanihan Association then followed by the Federation of Filipino Associations in Alberta, then followed by many others. To this very day, there are 32 Filipino community associations here in Edmonton.
We would really want to say thank you Canada for all the good things that you have given us because Canada is our hope. It is not just a land of freedom. It is not just a land of prosperity, but it is a land, where you can really call your own. So tonight, ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome and say thank you to Canada through the testimonies of many of our people that you will hear. Thank you Canada for letting us stay and making us happy as citizens of this country.
Good bye for now.

Esmeralda Agbulos

Retired Teacher and
The Philippine Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Edmonton and surrounding area

My name is Esmeralda Agbulos, presently the Philippine Honorary Consul General of the Philippines here in Edmonton, and neighboring areas. I came to Canada as a very young teacher, whose dreams and ambitions are to find a place, where I can go to school, attend university, teach, and be of service to whomever will come my way. So for the past 33 years, I taught at Sherwood Park Catholic Schools, became a Religious Education Consultant for the district, and in 2003, I was appointed as the Philippine Honorary Consul General here in Edmonton. For 15 years, I have been serving the community, because God has been so good to me including Canada, Alberta, Edmonton, and where I live Sherwood Park. I firmly believe that when I first came here as a young teacher, you need to work very hard, you need to have the ambition, you need to have the dedication to be of service to everyone including the people that you work for. I serve as a teacher, and in my capacity as a teacher, I nurtured the young minds that came my way. There were so may of these children that I taught in Sherwood Park, who still remembers me today. It’s a blessing when you see them anywhere and they come to you and introduce themselves to you as one of the former students. But the blessings is always bountiful, because when I was appointed as the Philippine Honorary Consul General here in Edmonton, I realize that the blessings is not only for the Philippines that we have to give but also for the people of Canada. We came from a country that nurtured us with love and commitment that have raised us to be a good citizen. We came to Canada and we should not forget that and I have not forgotten it, why I’m here. Canada has been a very good place. It has also nurtured our dreams, our ambitions, and with hard work, and with the people behind us, who would support us, we could do whatever we want to do to help everyone. As part of the Philippine Government, I did so many projects that I have looked at to be of service to the Philippines – we did Payatas, we built houses, we built classrooms, we were there for their calamities and everything. We raise money for them. But, in fairness, we have helped and we will always love the Philippines, but we always love also the place where we at right now. Recently, I did a fund raising to conquer hunger here in Edmonton, and of course, people responded and we raised a lot of money to feed hundreds of children for one year. I always believe that when you receive, you have to give more. So that, if you received a hundred percent of blessings, you have to give back a thousand more blessings. So in my life here in Canada, I am very very blessed. I am blessed with a good family, my husband, who is also devoted and who is also believed in what I am doing; he is a best partner that anybody can have. But also, I have a good community, the Filipino Community that I will serve and continue to serve faithfully. They are very supportive, and they are always there whenever there is a need. But not only that, Canada especially in Edmonton, you find people that do not look at the color of your skin, that do not listen to the language you speak, there is this bond in the community that really sees you for who you are. You serve the community they’re always thankful. I have met so many people here in Edmonton and also in the province of Alberta. I have met the officials from the Federal government, the Provincial government, and the City government. I’ve worked with them for 15 years. And they never failed to answer the call whenever a call is put out to help, not only the community but also Canadians as well. I am here to serve not only the Filipinos but also to serve Canadians who want to go an experience life in the Philippines, and lo and behold they come back, and they have great things to say about the Philippines. They enjoy the beauty of nature, but most especially, the hospitality of the people in the Philippines. The Philippines is knows for its hospitality. It is the best place to receive a smile, the smile of friendship and loyalty in Asia. But here in Canada, we also experience that I am very thankful for being able to come to Canada, for being able to come from the country like the Philippines. We are certainly blessed and I thank God that we are here, we are receiving the blessings, we are here having able to serve whoever we have to serve. And in my capacity, I will continue to serve the community the best way I can. I am not going anywhere, I am going to be with you, all of you to be of service to everyone. Thank you and God bless everyone! God bless Canada for 150 years of existence! I know that this is the greatest country in the world and we have chosen the best place to live. Thank you.

Cesar and Gloria Daus

Current President of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta and recently Retired
And Current Board Member of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta and recently Retired Nurse Manager at the University Hospital

Cesar: I’m Cesar Daus. I’m recently retired. I’m presently the president of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association. I came to Canada 41 years ago, because I believe Canada provides us with the greatest opportunity for a better life to establish a good family and a good future for my children.

Gloria: Hi, I’m Gloria Daus. Currently, retired as a manager at the University Hospital few months ago. We came to Canada to enjoy the future of our family, and [be] able to give good education, opportunities for our children, and of course, at the same time upgrade my profession as a nurse.

Cesar: As a new comer in Canada, there are lots of challenges. One of them is how to adapt to the Canadian way of life. Another one is the cold weather. But as we go on with our life we were able to adapt and adjust what the Canadian way of life.

Gloria: Yes, as a new comer, too, I agree with my husband. Our challenges is the cold weather, however one of them is also the challenges is the Canadian way of live, but because of the Canadian people around us we’re able to adapt and accept the style of living here.

Cesar: When it comes to failure, my failure was as a Canadian is I was not able to practice my professional career as a nurse in the Philippines due to my family priorities. However, I was able to provide my family all the necessities need to have a better future. I was able to work for the City of Edmonton for 36 years.

Gloria: As a mother, and new comer in Canada, one of my biggest disappointment or as a failure was I was not able to spent my time and attend to my growing family in a daily basis due to my dedication of my work at the same time upgrading my skill to pursue my career as a registered nurse in the Philippines. Due to my passion of work, I was able to run the out-patient department surgery at the University Hospital and at the same time run the Edmonton Clinic at the Department of Rehabilitation.

Cesar: As an ambassador to Canada, when I visit the Philippines I usually encourage my friends, and families to migrate to Canada, cause I believe and I told them that Canada will provide them with a better future and a better family.

Gloria: Yes, I agree with my husband, I would also encourage my family, friends, and relatives due to the great benefits of Edmonton, like health care system, great pensions, education, child care supports, lots of things, and is one the best safe city to live in, Edmonton.

Cesar: To give back to Canada, I provide volunteer services to the needs…

Gloria: and lots of community events. And I also participated for the recruitment of nurses from other countries for the Alberta Health Care Services. I did a lot of fund raising for the community services, just like the Laryngectomy Fund for the health care patients.

Cesar: I’d like to thank Canada for providing us this opportunity. Thank you and Happy 150th Birthday!

Gloria: Thank you Edmonton for the good opportunities to enjoy with the community.

Tessie Picardal (Ed Picardal)

Registered Nurse and a Board Member of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta

Hi, I am Tessie Picardal, and I’m married to Ed Picardal, who is the vice-president of the Saranay Association. We came here to Canada in 1969 hoping for a better life and also a better job. I went to Lakravech, which is a small town. And it was really kinda hard to go in a small town for the first time, because we didn’t have any family, and there were not much Filipinos there at that time. So, that’s one of the challenges [was] to adjust to the Canadian way of life. Luckily, everybody was so good to us that I was able to adjust properly. I’m a nurse and from Lakravech, I went to Ontario for two years and I came back to Edmonton, and I have been working as a Nurse at Royal Alex since 1974. I’m still working as nurse, and I think that it is a good success for my part, because I was able to adjust and practice my profession in here. I am very thankful to Canada for giving me the opportunity to come in here and be a part of the country as a citizen. I am a member of the Saranay Association. As far as I can say, I am good member of it, and we sometime do some activities at church, and even [at] school for my grandchildren and for my kids when they were in school. And for my job I take part and teaching the new, like the students with their career. Thank you Canada and Happy Birthday!

Jose Angeles

Financial Planner, EIC of Alberta Filipino Journal, Founder of the Filipino Seniors Association in Alberta, the Filipino Retirees Association of Alberta, the Quezonian Club of Edmonton, and Congress of the Philippines Associations in Alberta (COPA), and current President of COPA

My name is Jose Angeles commonly known as Jun Angeles. I came to Canada from the Philippines on June 1, 1969 as a young fresh college graduate from University of Santo Tomas with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. I was barely 20-year-old, full of dreams, no work experience, looking for whatever life will lead me in my new adopted country. This coming year 2018, it will be my 49th year in Canada.

I consider myself lucky to be given the opportunity to live in Canada and I would like to thank my elder sister, Irene Angeles Emmanuel, a teacher, for sponsoring me to Canada. Presently, I have a company in Financial Planning catering to the needs of families in the form of providing insurance and investment.

Dream big, the bigger the better. I dream of being successful and at the same time have fun. I took whatever the road may take me. I want to travel and see the world.

Canada at that time was just a developing country and Edmonton was just a small city with few buildings. From Edmonton Airport, where I landed, you can see the CN Tower from afar, a landmark building in Edmonton.

To make a story short, Edmonton was just a small city barely nothing to brag about. After working in Edmonton as a provincial employee of Alberta, and while working with the Alberta Government, I took Business Administration courses at NAIT, paid by the government of Alberta where I worked. I moved to Toronto for better opportunity.

Canada has so much things to offer, I worked and save money and spent my money traveling that leads me to USA where I had the opportunity to work at the United Nations in New York. Instead, I chose to become a salesman for Belkraft International Ltd. a cookware company in Windsor, Ontario.

Selling these housewares leads me to a lot of places across the continent and Europe. My traveled to different places gave me a perspective in life, and seeing life in other countries, I choose to still come back to Canada, where I can breathe easier, and live a simple uncomplicated lifestyle.

Being a salesman gave me the opportunity to gain experience and enjoy my youthful years traveling across the world. Thanks Canada for the opportunity.

I came back to Edmonton to join my sisters, and brother, where Edmonton is considered my permanent home. Got married with three children, and left the cookware business and trained as a life insurance salesman with New York Life. This time it’s a different ball game in life. To be successful, you need not only people skill but knowledge in financial studies. Aside from being University graduate and with Business Administration, I took professional designation like gaining the Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Certified Financial Planner. I earned numerous awards and went to a lot of conferences given by the company. But it did not come easy, it’s working hard and smarter, and usig the skills I experience in life.

I am presently still have a company with my daughter, Melanie, continuing the tradition of helping our community in Financial Planning.

My hobby right now is publishing the Alberta Filipino Journal, and an ethnic newspaper catering to the community.

How do I repay Canada for kindness? Well volunteering and helping the community, in general. I founded different organizations, the Filipino Seniors Association in Alberta, the Filipino Retirees Association of Alberta, the Quezonian Club of Edmonton, and Congress of the Philippine Associations in Alberta, in which I am presently the president.

Dream Big, Travel, Study Hard, and Have Fun. Canada, you have given me that opportunity and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a wonderful 150 years anniversary Canada!

Erlinda Armas

Retired Registered Nurse
Currently a Volunteer for St. Joseph Basilica Church and a Board Member of the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta

Hi, my name is Erlinda Armas and I’m a Filipino Nurse. I came to Canada on March 13th 1967. We arrived at Edmonton airport and it was so cold. It was -50 with the windchill. And I was coming from a tropical country – I was on my high heel shoe. The nuns told us that the cold was a spring cold. Anyway, it was so cold!

I came here because I need some challenges in my profession. I want to know how nursing goes in another country. So, that’s why a friend of mine told me about a place that available here. So, she sent me an invitation so I applied for the job. And my parents let me go, because the hospital – although it has 50 beds – it was run by nuns, so my parents said “we’ll let you go”. So the short of it, until now I’m still here. And the successful things were I was able to help my pfamily come over. Even my parents came here and they died here. And my sisters, they have their families here, too. They are all married except me. There were 4 of us. I’m the oldest. And now we love Edmonton so much that we are all here. We seemed to have our residence is here now. We don’t have anymore relatives in the Philippines, aside from my cousins, but my immediate family, my siblings are all here. We are enjoying working here and raising families. So, after I retired in 2000 I started volunteer here at basilica. This is like my second home now. My family was having a hard time looking for me, because I’m here all the time. But, I enjoy working for the Lord is the best! I know everybody would say that. The Lord is the best boss!

Oh, this is for 150 birthday, Happy Birthday Canada! Is it “Happy Birthday, Canada”? I’ve been here for 50 years. So, for 100 years, I wasn’t here yet!

Maria Lourdes del Rosario Bernal

Retired and Volunteer

Hello everyone, my name is Maria Lourdes Del Rosario Bernal known to friends and acquaintances as Lulu. I am here before you to share my biggest journey in life , coming to Canada. I am retired, married to Tony Bernal with 2 children and 8 grandchildren. In my youth I always dream to travel the world. In order to fulfill my dream I pursue my education in the Field of medicine. I have bachelor degree in Preparatory medicine B.S. Pre-Med at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila Philippines. I was in my 3rd year medicine when I found opportunity to come to Canada .I was hired as Pediatric Nurse at the St Anne Hospital in Fort Smith NWT in May 1968. I started my career in banking in 1969 at CIBC, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Yellowknife, NWT. Life was so lonely, then I decided to sponsor my Fiancée and got married the same year. I enrolled at University of Alberta to pursue a career in Education got pregnant and quit. Instead I continue my career in banking at CIBC, I got a certificate at the institute of Canadian Banker at U of A. We moved to Edmonton in 1963 and continue my career in banking with CIBC and retired after 42 years of service. Looking back I have so much to be thankful to Canada. Canada changed the life and future of my family and my husband. My 5 other siblings and my husband’s 8 brothers and sisters. Our family grew from myself to over 50 of us in Canada. Canada is now our home. I made time to volunteer in different fund raising activities in Edmonton United way, Run for the Cure, Food Bank and other community activities. I found it important to get involve in politics so I can help the community to voice out their needs. I was a board member of the Mill Woods C conservative Party for 4 years and now a board Member of the Federal Liberal Party in Mill Woods ,under the leadership of our Minister of infrastructure Amarjeet Sohi. I take pride in participating in different associations in order to share my knowledge and experience I have acquired throughout the years. Thank you Canada.

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