Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Filipinos thrive, put down roots

'We are a close family system'

  • Print

It's Winnipeg's largest visible minority community, more than 38,000 at last census count -- not bad for a group that could count its members on one hand five decades ago.

From the quartet of nurses who set foot here in 1959, Winnipeg's Filipino community has boomed to become not only one of the fastest growing minority groups in the city, but the largest Filipino group in Canada per capita.

That's thanks in part to a combination of policies and recruitment efforts that saw nurses, doctors, teachers, garment workers and other Canadian hopefuls make Winnipeg their home, and later bring their families along for the ride.

The professionals who arrived in 1959 often came after living for a time in the U.S. Strict immigration laws meant they had to leave that country before being allowed to renew their visas, Darlyne Bautista said. She's the volunteer curator of a current exhibit on Filipino history in Winnipeg at the Manitoba Museum, and a member of Aksyon Ng Ating Kabataan, an organization of Filipino young professionals.

Out of the first wave, some stayed. But the biggest group to come to Winnipeg included the hundreds of garment workers recruited from the Philippines starting in the late 1960s and continuing into the 1980s, some arriving by way of the Netherlands.

The population kept growing with the federal family-reunification program, which let those already here sponsor family members to join them, and another federal program that brought in domestic workers.

Manitoba's last big wave started in 1999, and is still rolling in. The provincial nominee program has drawn thousands of skilled immigrants from the Philippines.

Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba president and Filipino Journal editor Rod Cantiveros came to Canada in 1974, leaving the unstable political climate in his home country behind. He recalls discussing the enigma that was Winnipeg with his late wife Linda on their journey. They wondered if they might have to track down a Chinese grocery store to buy rice. He said he was surprised to find a thriving community here.

There's no one reason why the community is so strong in Winnipeg, but Bautista pointed out travel is part of life for many families in the Philippines, where many kids grow up with both parents working abroad. "It's so entrenched. It's so deep," she said.

Cantiveros points to the ability of Filipino culture to both integrate into the mainstream and remain distinct. "The (Filipino) culture is a hodgepodge of different cultures," he said, pointing to Spanish, American, Chinese, Arabic, Malaysian, and other influences.

Some immigrants to Winnipeg leave for opportunities in bigger Canadian cities, but that seems to be less common in the Filipino community, said Cantiveros. "We are a close family system," he said.

lindsey.wiebe@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2010 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Can Steeves or Bowman catch Wasylycia-Leis?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should panhandling at intersections be banned?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google