The Filipino Association of Grande and Area hosted the First Musical and Cultural Heritage Festival at Muskoseepi Park Grande Prairie Alberta last June 12, 2022. It was well attended by the community of Grande Prairie. Almost 1,450 people came to the event. There were long line-ups for the food trucks and they successfully sold out all of their food. It was a combination of Filipino, Mexican, and Canadian fare.
The event was highlighted by the Karilagan Dance Society. They came from Edmonton with a tourist bus full of 46 people including performers, parents, and volunteers. This dance society already won different awards around the world and performed on various big cultural events all over Canada and have been doing this for the past 50 years. The different cultural dances performed were the Ragragsakan, Bumayah, Maglalatik, Binasuan, Sakuting, Polkabal, Tinikling, Malong, Paunjalay, and Singkil.
This is the 3rd consecutive year that we are celebrating our Independence Day at the City of Grande Prairie. Our good Mayor Jackie Clayton proclaimed June 12, 2022 Philippine Independence Day at the City of Grand Prairie. On June 10, 2022 the Philippine Flag was raised for the 3rd time at the City Hall of Grande Prairie and followed by the celebration on June 12, 2022 at Muskoseepi Park with Live Bands, Fashion Cultural Shows and Cultural Dances. People were so excited to celebrate our Independence day after 2 years under restriction due to pandemic.
It was also attended by the Alberta various Filipino community leaders across the Province of Alberta. The Mayor of the City of Grande Prairie, Jackie Clayton, was present at the event with Councillor Kevin O’Toole, Councillor Chris Thiessen, and Councillor Mike O’Connor. Also joining was the MLA of Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Travis Toews, who was present with his lovely wife Kim.
MLA Travis Toews was also appointed as Minister of Finance of Alberta and President of the Treasury Board. Now, he is running to be the next leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta.
The Filipino Association of Grande Prairie and Area was born in the year 1983 when Willie Villarin, Vic Ventic, and Frank Matias talked about building the community for the first time in Grande Prairie and they chose the best man for the job.
Vic Ventic was the first President and the Founder of the Filipino Association of Grande Prairie. As one of the elders he was tasked to lead our kababayans in Grande Prairie that started the unity of all regions of the different provinces of the Philippines. After a year, the Association also received assistance from Romy Casilla who helped draft the By-Laws.
Manong Vic Ventic was followed by (NOT IN ORDER ) Lydia Melnichuck, Tessie Foster, Carlos Miranda, Gilbert Golamco, Ramon Tolentino, Prisilla Lanada, Ric Cabie, Virgie Tang, Tad Cortez, Frank Matias, and Neil Tuazon who is the current President of the Filipino Association of Grande Prairie and Area.
Now, the Filipino Association of Grande Prairie and Area is lead by Neil Tuazon as President, Meriam Nabor as Vice President, Rosemary Hussey as Secretary, Florinda Bauda as Treasurer, Carmencita Rea as Auditor, Suzanne Bancale Smith as PRO (Events), Monserat Zapanta PRO (Sports), and Marites Dungo as Business Manager. This board is composed of the most active officers of the Filipino Association of Grande Prairie. Since this group was formed and was elected last 2019, they have given back almost $40,000.00 to the community of Grande Prairie in terms of the free Sports program, Mental Health Programs, Community Service, Volunteering on Feeding Programs, Monetary help to Low Income families, PPE distribution during the pandemic, Community Development and Entertainment and so much more. Team F.A.G.P.A. is here to help and to serve. They are very thankful to for their volunteers, especially to Randy Russell and Dave Hussey.
Our 124th Philippines Independence Day is a symbol of freedom and unity for all Filipinos across the seas. We need to remember the sacrifices of our heroes who gave their lives for our country.
We need to keep our culture and traditions so we can pass it on to the next generation. Let’s not allow our next generation to be misguided by the crab mentality we inherited from the past. Let us teach them the true values of the Filipino and continue this passion so that the world will see how great our Culture and Heritage are.
Neil Tuazon President of the Filipino Association of Grande Prairie and Area
Mayor Jackie Clayton of the City of Grande Prairie
Jeffrey Mendoza - Jeffrey Mendoza of BIMPAAK
Alberta Minister of Finance Travis Toews dancing the Cultural Dance of Tinikling
City Councillors of Grande Prairie Kevin O'Toole, Chris Thiessen, Wendy Bosch, and Mike O'Connor
Flag Raising at Grande Prairie City Hall
KARILAGAN Dance Society at Royal Diner Grande Prairie
Meriam Nabor, Anne Engcong Macaraeg with F.A.G.P.A. Treasurer, Flo Bauda
R to L Officers - F.A.G.P.A. Treasurer Flo Bauda, Business Manager Marites Dungo, Auditor Carmen Rea,
Secretary Rosemary Hussey, with past President Virgie Tang
Julie Dengay Mendoza and Jervin Bendian from Grande Prairie. Our very own Igorot of Baguio City Benguet
The Karilagan Dance Society with the BIMPAAK Group of Grande Prairie
R to L - R to L F.A.G.P.A. PRO ( Events ) Suzanne Bancale Smith, Sheryl Bancale Gamracy, F.A.G.P.A. ( Vice President )