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"Proud na proud ho kaming Pinoy sa Toronto," said an entrepreneur known as Harvey during Saturday's Independence Day celebrations in downtown Toronto. "Kahit na naging citizen na kami, hindi mawawala sa amin ang pagka-Pilipino."
Harvey was among those who attended the 11th annual Pistahan sa Toronto, an event organized by Filipino communities in Canada. It was held at the Filipino Centre Toronto, which is located at an area frequented by Torontonians.
Organizers said it was an opportunity to promote Philippine culture to the already multicultural city.
"What we want to showcase is what we are all about," said Filipino Centre Toronto President and CEO Rosalinda Cerrudo-Javier. "Most friends of the Filipinos know Filipinos because of good food. Most Filipinos are also proud of what they can show their friends who are not Filipinos: their dances, their singing, and everything else. Their clothes, ternos, T-shirts, barongs, and kimonas."
Newly-appointed Toronto Consul General Junever Mahilum-West attended the event, extending warm greetings from the Philippines.
"I noticed masayahin ang ating community here in Toronto and malaki at marami ho tayong members," she said. "At the same time, they are very conscious in presenting the Filipino culture and identity."
Non-Filipinos were also involved in the presentations.
Pistahan is only one of a string of events being organized by Filipinos for the summer in Toronto.
At least 100,000 Pinoys now call Toronto their home, in 2010 outnumbering Chinese and Indian nationals in immigrating to Canada. Most of the immigrants land in Ontario; Toronto, to be exact.
"Pinapakita namin sa mga tao na may mga taong nagbuwis ng buhay," Harvey said of the Independence Day celebrations. "Be proud Pinoy!"
Through his own line of patriotic apparel called Filipinas Clothing, he seemed to be advocating just that, no matter the distance separating him from the land of his birth. With Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com