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Cochrane Filipino association celebrates Philippine Heritage Month and launch of Seniors' Portal

On June 12, the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta will raise the national flag of the Philippines at the RancheHouse and announce the launch of their new computer literacy workshops for seniors

The month of June marks Philippine Heritage Month in Alberta, and the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta (FCACA) has found a way to celebrate the occasion, while giving back to the community.

On June 12, members of the association hoisted the national flag of the Philippines above the Cochrane RancheHouse to commemorate the month-long event and the country’s Independence Day. The celebration was also the group’s way of capping off seniors' week.

“This will be our 124th celebration of Philippine Independence,” said FCACA vice-president Edwin Aguanta. “We’re also collaborating with Seniors on the Bow and other local senior organizations to kickstart our Seniors’ Portal, wherein we are going to teach and make some workshops for seniors to teach them computer skills.”

The association was granted $24,000 for the initiative through an application they made to the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. It will allow the group to purchase computer equipment, rent a venue to host the workshops, and purchase any other required services.

For Aguanta, being a Filipino-Canadian is about keeping his heritage alive and a celebration is one way to do that. Another is to give back to the community.

“We want to volunteer here, we want to do this to show our importance as Filipino-Canadians and our importance to the community itself, to the town of Cochrane,” said Aguanta. “We really want to inspire by showing our vibrant culture, our vibrant heritage and by showing that spirit of volunteerism so that we can motivate the next generation.”

One of the Filipino association’s latest acts of volunteering was performing a roadside clean-up along Highway 1A from Cochrane to Stoney Nakoda First Nation in May. They recruited about 40 volunteers from the group and the wider community to cover the 19-kilometre stretch as part of their team.

They’ve also hosted children’s painting workshops, outdoor Zumba classes, basketball clinics, and countless fundraisers over the years.

“These types of activities really mean a lot to us because we feel that we are really just making our contribution,” said Aguanta. “It also gives us the opportunity to share our heritage and it’s a reminder also to the next generation of Filipinos that Philippine heritage is still alive.”

Along with the flag-raising on Sunday, the group hosted a brunch of traditional Filipino cuisine – including a whole-roasted pig and adobo – to invited seniors and guests.

The guests of honour, Aguanta added, were the seniors in attendance.

“This is in appreciation to their contribution, their unwavering support and contribution to the town, the whole community because before us, they were here,” he said prior to the event.

“It will also be a celebration of food, music, dance and culture – all in one.”

The seniors’ computer literacy workshops are tentatively set to begin in August and will take place at Seniors on the Bow. The Filipino association will release more details after they celebrate the announcement this weekend.

In addition to the flag-raising at the RancheHouse, the Jack Tennant Memorial Bridge was lit in the colours of the Philippines' flag later in the evening.