Filipinos in Canada

1961

 

Hilarion "Larry" Abaya Gironella, MD 

October 7, 1932 - September 8, 2017

     Born and raised in the Philippines, Larry settled in Canada in 1961 with Oliva & Ninette, beginning Edmonton's Filipino community. Many Filipinos who immigrated to Edmonton were welcomed by Larry's family. Larry and Oliva often served as proxy parents at weddings in the Filipino community.

     Before retiring, Larry was a psychiatrist. Among his accomplishments, he co-hosted a live TV show on children and new families.

1964

 

Tina Felix, nee Veloria

First nurse to arrive in Edmonton from the Philippines.

[Submitted by Roxanne Felix-Mah, daughter]

 

1965

 

Renato Arcega

Renato Arcega, an architect, arrived in Calgary in 1965. His wife, Hospi, and three children followed in 1966, and eventually were followed by parents, brothers and other family members. The family has since contributed to our community with firstly Renato's architecture, followed by family members who are artists, musicians, doctors, nurses, police officers, amongst others. Their lives have added greatly to the fabric of their new home and have been a valuable asset to our community.

[Submitted by: Norma Lamont. Calgary, AB. Friend of the family.]

Aurora Dacanay

     Aurora Dacanay immigrated to Canada in August 1965 and her first job was as a teacher in Taber. "As far as I know, I was one of the first Filipinos to come here," says Dacanay, who left Manila in the summer of 1965 to work in Alberta. She arrived in the province with two other Filipino teachers - one went to Lethbridge and the other to Fort Macleod. After teaching in Taber and Exshaw in the '60s and '70s, Aurora Dacanay went on to work for the Calgary Catholic School District.

     Dacanay remembers the early days of Alberta's Filipino community, and says whenever she and her friends heard of a new arrival, they set out to meet them. "We would go right away. Because you were so eager, right?" she says. "So we would drive to Edmonton. My landlady would say, "Aurora, it's snowing. You know, there's a blizzard." And we didn't know what a blizzard was at the time. And we experienced the car spinning around Highway 2 going up north to Edmonton."

     Calgary was much smaller then, and Manila was already well on its way to becoming a megacity. "There were only about 300,000 people at the time in Calgary. So you come from Manila, and it is a shocking experience. But it's so nice, too, because finally I got to Canada and I couldn't believe it because I'm going to teach here - with all the tall people! So it was really an adventure."

[Source: CBC article. March 6, 2021. by Danielle Nerman]

1966

 

Sixto T. Borbon

Husband of Teofila C. Borbon. Father of Winnie B. de Castro. Arrived in Edmonton, Alberta on April 1, 1966.

[Source: Winnie B. de Castro]

Teofila C. Borbon

Wife of Sixto T. Borbon. Mother of Winnie B. de Castro. Arrived in Edmonton, Alberta on April 1, 1966.

[Source: Winnie B. de Castro]

 

Julian Posas Comandante

     First landed in northern Manitoba in 1966 and moved to Calgary in 1967. The rest of his family (wife and five children) immigrated directly to Calgary in 1969. Wife: Juliana Bona Comandante. Children: Danilo Comandante, Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, son]

Cres Caindec Estioko

     I came to Canada on October 2, 1966, after going through a rigorous process and interviews that qualified me to teach here. It was indeed, a culture shock coming from the tropics to a deep freeze. But the resilience of Filipinos enabled us to adapt quickly to our new country, to mutually share and instill our culture and traditions with lots of fun and humour. Our compatriots of teachers, nurses and engineers at that time became ourfamily.

[Submitted by Cres Caindec Estioko]

1968

Clem Tigley

     Clem Tigley is a retired electrical engineer who arrived in Calgary in July of 1968.  "My priority was work. I went door to door looking for a job. I was so fortunate that the first door I went through, one of the engineering companies in Calgary at that time, opened the door for me."

     "There were so many nurses, single women, in Calgary at the time. And I was single when I cam over. I was only 24 years old," he says. "Every weekend there was a gathering and so I was introduced to them and, fortunately, my wife was in that group and I was introduced to her. And it seems to me that it clicks... We just celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary last January."

[Source: CBC article. March 6, 2021. by Danielle Nerman]

1969

Amelia Alvarez, nee Comandante

     Son of Julian and Juliana Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines. Siblings: Danilo Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, sibling]

 

Danilo Comandante

     Son of Julian and Juliana Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines. Siblings: Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, sibling]

Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante

     Son of Julian and Juliana Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines. Siblings: Danilo Comandante, Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante]

Juliana Bona Comandante

     Wife of Julian Posas Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines with her children: Danilo Comandante, Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, son]

Nyrissa Kaan, nee Comandante

     Daughter of Julian and Juliana Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines. Siblings: Danilo Comandante, Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, sibling]

Maria Louisa Skaag, nee Comandante

     Daughter of Julian and Juliana Comandante. Moved to Calgary from the Philippines. Siblings: Danilo Comandante, Amelia Alvarez nee Comandante, Nyrissa Kaan nee Comandante, Isagani 'Isaac' Comandante, Maria Louisa Skaug nee Comandante.

[Submitted by: Isaac Comandante, sibling]

1970

Dennis Paglinawan

Arrived in 1970, landed in Montreal and then moved to Calgary in 1974.

[Source: Dennis Paglinawan]

1975

 

Vella Crisostomo-Bellaart

Arrived in Calgary in February 1975.

[Submitted by Vella Crisostomo-Bellaart]

2017

 

Azelle Morales

[Source: Alberta Filipino Journal. Feb 2021]

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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