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Proudly Filipino in Vancouver

This is a bit late for Independence Day, but it's finally here =)

The photos above include some of the evidence that I saw of the growing influence of the Filipino community in Vancouver. The photos of the restaurant and remittance centers were taken not in some suburb, but on one of the busiest streets in Vancouver.

Two non-Filipinos are included in the album for reasons that will be made clear below. And just in case you're wondering, I did meet Filipino librarians in Vancouver, but you won't see them here because I'll be devoting a separate post to them.

Ayeza is the pseudonym of a Filipina who migrated to Canada with her parents in the 1990s and got her nursing degree here. She is the owner of Balikbayan Box and was one of my very first friends in the Pinoy blogosphere. One of the most remarkable things I learned about her when we finally met in person was that she usually doesn't bring much with her when she goes to the Philippines, but she does bring a balikbayan box full of Filipino goods with her when she goes back to Vancouver. Yan ang Filipina!

Pamela Dent is Canadian, not Filipino, but she enjoyed working so much as an intern at a Davao school library a few years ago that she went back recently and visited other libraries, too (see her photos here). We began corresponding via email last year while she was doing her masters and thinking of going back to the Philippines. The most memorable thing she said to me was, "I love the Philippines," which is not really something Filipinos normally say. It helped, I think, that she met the man who's now her boyfriend when she was in the Philippines =)

Edgar Wickberg is best known today as the American who rescued the Chinese in the Philippines from the relative obscurity to which they had been relegated by historians before he came along in the 1960s. I thought he turned his back on the Philippines afterward and moved on to doing research on the Chinese in Canada, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he merely "took a holiday for twenty years," and still knows what's going on in the Philippines. He's now 81 years old, retired, and is dealing with prostate cancer, but still strong enough to drive his car to meet with a PhD student who wants to talk to him about his work on the Philippines.

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