The History of Filipino Community in Manitoba
The Filipino presence in Manitoba is very much a part of
the province’s recent history, having been here for
only more than 40 years compared to the European immigrants
who came at the turn of the century. From the first arrival
of a few immigrants in 1959, through the successive influx
of families and sponsored relatives, skilled workers, recruits
and other immigrant categories, to the present effort of
the Canada-Manitoba nominee program to attract more immigrants,
the number of Filipinos has jumped to more than 40,000 strong.
As one of the fastest growing ethnocultural groups in the
province, community members have enriched all aspects of
life in both the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba,
as well as the host country, Canada.
The information provided here is by no means exhaustive.
Time constraints to do a more serious research work of extensive
interviewing and sifting through documents and publications
scattered all across the city, dictated that we resort to
a compilation of information gathered through asking, interviewing
a few community members as well as from our personal knowledge,
having been involved with the community for over a number
of years since the late 60s and early 70s. Far from being
a comprehensive document, this piece of information should
be considered, at its best, as an initial attempt to provide
a limp sketch of the history and profile of the Filipino
community which could serve as a seed to attempt a more
ambitious project of developing a resource material about
I. Waves of Migration of Filipinos in Manitoba
1959: First four Filipino immigrant nurses arrive in Winnipeg.
Fe Ryder and Melba Rous are still here; the other two returned
to the US
1959: Arrival of mostly professional immigrants (doctors,
nurses from US; teachers from Philippines)
1968: First wave of Filipino garment workers, mostly recruited
from the Philippines
1969: Second wave of recruited Filipino garment workers;
and those that applied from The Netherlands
1 979 - early and mid 80' s: Smaller waves of recruited
garment workers from the Philippines
1968- present: Filipino immigrants from all walks of life.
* Sponsorships under the Federal Family Reunification program
and Assisted Relative category (later discontinued)
* Skilled workers and business immigrants
80’s - present: Domestic workers under the Foreign
Domestic Workers Movement program; later changed to the
Live-in Caregiver program.
80’s -present: Catholic priests recruited by the Archbishop;
ministers of various Christian faiths establishing churches
mid 1990s - present: Filipino skilled immigrants from the
1999 - present: LPNs and RN s recruited from the Philippines
under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
1999 - June 2004: More skilled Filipino immigrants (IT specialists,
engineers, architects, etc).
The Philippines is one of the top ten country source of
immigrants under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
with a total of 2140
immigrant arrivees from 1999 when the program started to
II. Ties with the Homeland
1979 December: Twinning of the City of Winnipeg and Manila
under the mayorship of Bill Norie (Winnipeg) and Ramon Bagatsing
1980: Opening of the Philippine Consulate in Winnipeg due
to a recommendation from the 1977 First Provincial Conference
of Filipinos in Manitoba; Consul General Anolin is the First
Consul General. The Consulate closed in 1985.
1985-present: Dr. Roland Guzman appointed and continues
to serve as Honorary Consul General of the Philippines
1991 - 1995: Pagdiriwang annual fundraising events in support
of YM- YWCA Manila projects and other CIDA funded projects
of PDAP Canada -PDAP Philippines
1997 January: Visit of Team Canada headed by Prime Minister
Jean Chretien in The Philippines
1997 November: Visit of Philippine President Fidel Ramos
2000 - May: Manila visit of Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray to
reaffirm sister city affiliations
2003: Business Mission from Philippines under Mina Gabor
visit Winnipeg The Filipinos in Manitoba Chronology of Events
2005 January: Winnipeg delegation headed by Hon. Consul
Gen. Dr. Roland Guzman to attend the 3rd Global Networking
Conference of Filipinos in Cebu, Philippines
2005 January: Winnipeg delegation headed by Mayor Sam Katz
& Councillor Mike Pagtakhan to visit Manila under the
sister city program.
Other projects/programs/events (some dates not confirmed
as of press time)
Red River College joint education projects with St. Joseph’s
50th. Anniversary of Philippines ~Canada Friendship (2000)
Cultural performances of Philippine groups in Winnipeg:
Himig ng Lahi (’81) Bayanihan Dance Company (mid 80’s);
Barangay Dance Troupe (’89). Concerts by major Filipino
entertainers: violinist Gil Lopez Cabayao, Freddie Aguilar,
Sharon Cuneta, Martin & Pops, Rain Makers, Pilita Corrales,
Gary Valenciano, Jaya, Ariel Rivera, Side A Band and many
III. Community Life
The dynamism and vibrancy of the Filipino community resonate
in all aspects of community life. It is no wonder that its
achievements and contributions are felt in all spheres,
political, social, economic, religious, cultural, sports,
arts and entertainment and many others. Gifted with a zest
for life and a strong desire to serve and socialize, members
formed many organizations to suit their purpose and needs.
The Philippine Association of Manitoba, formed in 1970 and
incorporated in 1972, takes the credit as the longest serving
organization in the community. To date, more than 50 organizations
(see list in this program) exist to keep the Filipino community
A. Political Achievements
1981 - present: Election of the first Filipino-Canadian
as Member, Legislative Assembly (Manitoba) - Dr. Conrad
Santos continues to serve to this date as MLA for Wellington.
1985: Election of the first Filipino-Canadian as School
Board Trustee, St. Vital School Division, Dr. Rey Pagtakhan
Other trustees were elected in other years- Rick de la Cruz,
Seven Oaks School Division (1994-2003); Florencio Antonio,
(1995-1998) and again in 2002 to the present, as trustee
in Winnipeg School Division.
1988 - 2004: Election of the first Filipino-Canadian as
Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Dr. Rey D. Pagtakhan. He
held different ministerial portfolios including Parliamentary
Secretary to the Prime Minister; Minister of Veteran Affairs,
Minister of Western Economic Diversification,
1999 - present: Election and re-election of the second Filipino-Canadian
Member of theLegislative Assembly for The Maples -Cris Aglugub.
2002: Election of the first Filipino-Canadian as Winnipeg
City Councilor, Mike Pagtakhan
2004: Councillor Mike Pagtakhan appointed as Deputy Mayor
B. Social Achievements
Housing Coops -two projects undertaken by the United Housing
Co-op (Man) Ltd. (a Filipino-organized group) established
on July 20, 1984
1986 Sept. 20: Inauguration of the Filipino community-initiated
housing project at the Old Commonwealth Path. The Meadows
West project is a $3.6M initiative (36 units of townhouses
and 24 apartment dwellings in a 3-storey building. This
project was built from the ground up.
1987 May 2: Inauguration of the housing project at 474 Hargrave.
The 474 Rehab project is a 27-unit housing project inside
an existing vacant historic building which once housed the
Manitoba Telephone System and later Freed & Freed, a
garment manufacturing company.
1990 Dec. 30 -Approval of the application for the $2.6M
renovation/conversion of a historic building, a former normal
school in the early 1900s into a housing unit for Filipino
seniors at 442 William Ave.
1991 Sept.: Turnover of the completed project, 29-unit suites
(11 2-bedroom suites and 18 I-bedroom suites)
1991 November 21: Inauguration of the Villa FILCASA Housing
Project, later renamed Villa F el Rodriguez in 1998 in honor
of its founder.
C. Achievements in Communication, Culture &
Performing Arts, etc
1977: Birth of a Filipino community newspaper “Silangan”.
1981: New Silangan -Silangan changed hands from Ted Alcuitas
to a group of Filipino -Narra Publishing -
1987: May- final copy of The New Silangan
1987 - present: June, July edition -premier issue of Filipino
Journal; publication now on its 17th year. 80s, 90s, early
2000 Many publications have come and gone including the
Philippine Echo, Kalyaan, Mosaic, Bastat Pinoy, Philippine
Connection, Hiyas and some mid 90s - 2004: The Philippine
is now on its 2nd year.
Late 70s - present: CKJS Radio 810 AM -From an initial few
hours, one day a week (Radyo Pilipino), the programming
moved to several hours a day for a week (Good Morning Philippines)
to its present day multi-programming which include: Good
Morning Philippines (6-9 am Monday-Friday); Manila Sound
(3-4 pm Monday -Friday); Tunog Pinoy Pang Sabado (Saturdays
10:30 am -2:30 pm); and other weekend midnight programs.
80s: TV programs - Filipiniana , Philippine 0 Rama and Seasons,
locally produced shows made their scenes briefly on Cable
Cultural & Performing Arts
Late 60s - present: Kayumanggi Dance Group started; still
continues to perform at the Philippine Association of Manitoba
- sponsored Nayong Pilipino Pavilion at Folklorama
1974 - present: Magdaragat Philippines Inc started and in
the 80s started sponsorship of the Pearl of the Orient Pavilion
at Folklorama. Karilagan Philippine Dance Company was active
up to the mid 90s
1993: Ma Anne Dionisio rose to stardom as Canada’s
Miss Saigon and has since gone on to perform in theatres
1997: Local talents led by the Lazo family (Joy, Marides)
took lead roles in Rainbow Stage South Pacific; Nena (West
Side Story) in 2002 and Joy in The King & I in 2004.
1998: Marides Lazo started appearing in theatres in Germany
and across Europe
2000 - present: Younger generation now joining mainstream
performing arts scene as stage and movie actors, playwrights,
directors, and other media.
2004: Virginia Guiang receives the province’s highest
honor, Order of Manitoba Award, a first in the community,
for her longtime commitment and dedication in serving the
D. Religious Life
1973 - Filipino Christian fellowship organized by spouse
Rev. Noel & Rosina Lapatha
1983 - establishment of the Filipino Evangelical Church,
151 Filipino-led congregation in Winnipeg on Spruce &
Ellice. Previous to this, they shared facilities with Emmanuel
70s - present: Filipino priests have made their way to minister
in Winnipeg and Manitoba Catholic Churches. With the current
shortage of priests, more and more Filipino priests are
being recruited here.
80s - present: Other Filipino-led Christian and charismatic
churches are becoming more and more a part of the Winnipeg
faith community scene.
E. Economic Life
Filipino owned businesses are evident in the following areas:
doctors’ clinics, grocery stores, restaurants &
catering, bakeries, beauty salons, guest homes, insurance
& travel agencies, garages, home renovations, pawn shops,
jewellery stores, real estate brokerages, and many others.
1980s -present: start of local Door -to Door Money Remittance
& Cargo deliveries; later joined in by bigger chains
based out of Vancouver and Toronto.