VANCOUVER ISLAND FILIPINOS SHINE AGAIN AT MAHARLIKA AWARDS
There were four tables of proud and beaming guests from Vancouver Island at the Maharlika Awards for 2014 held at Hilton Vancouver Metrotown on January 31, 2015. They all traveled to Vancouver to cheer on awardees hailing from the Island, notably Victoria.
Now on its fifth year, the Maharlika Awards are given by the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society of BC to recognize invaluable pioneering work, leadership in various fields and exemplary community service by Filipinos in British Columbia. The awards aim to inspire many to be the best in what they do and set the pace for other members of the community to follow.
This year six Filipino-Canadians and one organization from Vancouver Island were recognized. They are:
Eufrocina ‘Seny’ Narciso. Seny received a Leadership award in Arts and Culture. Since 1976, she has worked hard to promote Filipino culture in Victoria. She has dedicated herself to choral singing and folk dancing and has used her many talents and leadership skills to participate in various Filipino community events. She has also helped fundraise for the Victoria Filipino Canadian Association and the Bayanihan Community Centre.
Ed Araquel. Ed was also recognized for his contributions to Arts and Culture. The epitome of the Filipino immigrant to Canada who brought his skills to the country and, with hard work and confidence, steadily rose in ranks to be recognized as a gifted artist through his brush, paint and easel, Ed has had has work included in various art exhibitions – including shows in Toronto and Mississauga in Ontario and Victoria. He has promoted Philippine culture in his art. He has received numerous awards and is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.
Mary Lee Jetko. Mary was recognized for leadership in her work with seniors, temporary foreign workers and live-in caregivers.
Dominga Passmore. Dominga was cited for Leadership and her long-time dedication as president of VFCA and BCHS for a total of 14 years. The ‘workhorse’ of both organizations, she takes fundraisers to successful conclusions. Her work with the Intercultural Association, the Advisory Group of the University of Victoria’s Asian Heritage and the Community Partnership Network (a group of over 150 local agencies, businesses and institutions committed to building diverse, welcoming and inclusive communities in Greater Victoria) were also acknowledged.
Irma Rodriguez. Irma was recognized for leadership in the field of education. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Education from the National Teachers College and her Master’s in Education from De La Salle University and obtained a certificate from the Centro Internazionale di Studi Montessoriani. In Vancouver and Victoria, she conducts teacher training for public schools and the International Association of Progressive Montessorians.
Mike Gonzalez received an award for Business Excellence. Mike is the owner of the Old Spaghetti Factory, a popular dining establishment in Victoria. It marked its 15th year anniversary and employs more than 100 people all year round. Besides being an astute business man, he helps various causes in the community like Ride for Cancer to benefit the BC Cancer Society and hosts CTV’s personalities and Pasta Night to raise funds. He was a Canadian Red Cross youth leader, an Armoured Corps Lieutenant with the British Columbia Regiment in Vancouver and a volunteer group fitness instructor at YMCA.
The Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Filipino Association. Established in 1991, the society is based in Victoria where it operates the Bayanihan Community Centre. It is a registered charity with the Canadian Government. It is owned and operated by the society mortgage free and fully run by volunteers.