30 Days of Philippine Heritage


June 2020

With government restrictions on physical distancing still in place, Philippine Arts Council celebrates Canada Philippine Heritage Month this year with 30 DAYS OF PHILIPPINE HERITAGE - snippets of information on Filipino-Canadians and Philippine culture and traditions, each day, for 30 days, in the month of June.

Watch out for posts here and in the Philippine Arts Council's social media accounts in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

#PHM #PhilippineHeritageMonth #Filipino #Heritage #30days


Message from

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

Message from

Consul General Zaldy B. Patron,

Philippine Consulate General, Calgary

Message from

The Honourable Jason Kenney

Premier of Alberta


Canadian Proclamation of Philippine Heritage Month


On October 30, 2018, the House of Commons of Canada adopted Motion 155 declaring June as Filipino Heritage Month in Canada from coast to coast, in a unanimous vote. Federal Liberal Salma Zahid, who is Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre in Ontario, sponsored the motion beginning in February 2018.

In her privilege speech, MP Zahid said, "This motion recognizes, celebrates and raises awareness of the Filipino community in Canada. It is also a way of showing our Government's official appreciation of the Filipino community for their important contribution throughout Canadian history and for helping to make our country the rich and vibrant place it is today."



Proclamation of Philippine Heritage Month in Alberta


On Friday June 1, 2018, the office of Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman announced that Premier Rachel Notley and Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell have signed the proclamation making the month of June as Philippine Heritage Month in perpetuity. This month coincides with the annual celebrations of Philippine Independence Day across Canada. This made Alberta the first and only province to proclaim Philippine Heritage Month.
“Alberta is the proud home to the second-largest Filipino population in the country. For decades, Filipinos have enriched our province with their culture, their languages and their skills.” - Premier Rachel Notley
On June 25, 2018, the NDP Caucus hosted a Celebration of Philippine Heritage Month at the Federal Building, with the Filipino community.


Municipal Declarations of Philippine Heritage Month in Canada


In 2018, municipal declarations of June as Philippine Heritage Month were made in the Cities of Edmonton, Calgary and Fort Saskatchewan, along with the Alberta provincial proclamation.


In November 2017, the Toronto City Council also voted unanimously to designate June as Filipino Heritage Month.



Filipinos in Canada


Filipinos in Canada numbered around 901,218 in April 2018, comprising a mix of naturalized Canadians, permanent residents and temporary foreign workers (TFWs). This number comprises almost 2.6% of Canada’s national population.


The Philippines continues to be the top source of immigrants (15.58% of the total new immigrants) to the country.


Filipino and Filipino-Canadian population in the country are concentrated in 4 Canadian provinces – Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba – as more than 90% of them reside and work in those provinces. It should be noted, however, that the top destination for Filipino immigrants during the period 2011 to 2016 was Alberta.




The Philippines  is an ethnically diverse country with over 150 languages. Aside from Filipino/Tagalog, major languages include Aklanon, Basian, Bikol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ibanag, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Ivatan, Maranao, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Kinaray-a, Waray, Maguindanao, Pangasinan, Sambal, Surigaonon, Tausug, and Yakan.



UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Phils: Baroque Churches

Four churches in the Philippines are in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the San Agustin Church, Paoay Church, Miagao Church, and Sta. Maria Church - four Roman Catholic churches constructed between the 16th and the18th centuries in the Spanish period of the Philippines.


The churches are outstanding examples of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style, and represent the fusion of European church design and construction with local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition.



Adobo, considered the national dish of Filipinos, is a dark stew of chicken and/or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns. In Spanish, adobo originally meant “sauce” or “seasoning.” The Filipino version is actually indigenous to the islands, dating back to a dish cooked up long before Magellan’s arrival.



Philippine Flag

The Philippine national flag consists of horizontal stripes of blue and red with a white hoist triangle incorporating a golden sun and three stars. The three golden stars stand for the three main areas in the Philippines—Luzon, Visayas (originally Panay) and Mindanao. The eight sun rays were for the provinces where the original anti-Spanish revolt had broken out. The horizontal stripes represent: blue - for the willingness to sacrifice oneself for freedom, over red - for courage. When the flag is flipped with the red side up, it indicates a state of war.



Philippine Jeepney

The jeepney is sometimes referred to as the “King of the Philippine roads.” It is a descendant of the Jeeps American troops drove in the Philippines during World War II. In the early 1950s, jeepneys began making their rounds in Manila. Soon, they became a solution to the post-war public transportation problem.


Jeepneys are famously characterized by their vibrant, multicolored paint jobs and flashy decor, so much so that through the years, they have become a symbol of the country and its culture.

DAY 10

UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines:  Historic City of Vigan

Vigan in Ilocus Sur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the most intact example in Asia of a planned Spanish colonial town, established in the 16th century. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those of Europe and Mexico to create a unique culture and townscape without parallels anywhere in East and South-East Asia.


Vigan is unique for having preserved much of its Hispanic colonial character, particularly its grid street pattern and historic urban layout. Its significance also lies on how the different architectural influences are blended to create a homogenous townscape.


DAY 11

Filipino Martial Arts

Kali, escrima, arnis, are ancient and traditional indigenous combat system rooted in the Philippines. It consists of different techniques: empty hands, stick & blade fighting.


It can be seen in the choreography of  action scenes on film and tv like the Bourne series, Captain America: the Winter Soldier, Taken 2, Quantum of Solace, 300, Rambo 3.



DAY 12

Philippine National Anthem

Lupang Hinirang is actually the 2nd national anthem of the Philippines. The 1st one was commissioned by Andres Bonifacio, with the title “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” and was composed by Julio Nakpil, in 1897. Curious how the 1st anthem sounded like? Listen here -


In 1898, in preparation for the Proclamation of Independence, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo asked musician Julian Felipe to compose a march befitting the occasion. The anthem remained without words until Jose Palma, a young poet-soldier thought of writing a poem entitled Filipinas to accompany the national anthem in 1899.


DAY 13

Carlos P. Romulo

Carlos Peňa Rómulo (Jan. 14, 1899 - Dec. 15, 1985) was a Filipino diplomat, educator, soldier, journalist and author - a career spanning 50 years of public service. He was the first Asian/Filipino to win the American Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence in 1942, received the Purple Heart and Silver Star from the US Army and was also the first Asian to become President of the United Nations General Assembly (1949). 


In 1982, Carlos P. Romulo was proclaimed National Artist for Literature, writing and publishing 18 books. He was also conferred the first Bayani ng Republika Award for his outstanding service to the Filipino nation and the rank of Rajah of the Order of Sikatuna, an honour usually reserved for heads of state.


“I had to be outstanding,” he wrote, “to make the greatest effort to win, to prove I was capable not in spite of having been born a Filipino but because I was a Filipino.”


DAY 14

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Phils: Rice Terraces of the Phil Cordilleras

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an outstanding example of an evolved, living cultural landscape that can be traced as far back as two millennia ago in the pre-colonial Philippines.


Reaching a higher altitude and being built on steeper slopes than many other terraces, the Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and mountains to make terraced pond fields, coupled with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, and an elaborate farming system, reflect a mastery of engineering that is appreciated to the present.


The terraces illustrate a persistence of cultural traditions and remarkable continuity and endurance, since archaeological evidence reveals that this technique has been in use in the region for 2000 years virtually unchanged. They offer many lessons for application in similar environments elsewhere.


The maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, mastery of a most complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals.


DAY 15

Pearls from Palawan

The world’s largest pearls are found in the Palawan seas.


In 1934, a Filipino diver discovered what is now known as the “Pearl of Lao Tzu,” or “Pearl of Allah,” weighing 6.4 kg and has a value of over US$40 million. It is believed to be 600 years old.


But now, another Filipino in Mississauga has unveiled a family heirloom, a 27.65 kg “Giga Pearl” appraised  between $60-80 million, believed to be more than 1,000 years old. The family, who has had the pearl since 1959, didn’t even know it was a pearl and was worth anything.


DAY 16

Philippine Eagle

The Philippine, or monkey-eating, eagle, is one of the largest and most powerful of all eagles. Found only in the Philippines, it was declared the national bird in 1995. It stands up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in height and has a wingspan of almost 7 feet (2 m). It is one of the rarest birds in the world; there may only be around 180–500 eagles remaining.


DAY 17

Erythromycin Antibiotic

The antibiotic erythromycin was invented by Filipino Dr. Abelardo Aguilar in 1949. He sent a sample to his employer, the Eli Lily pharmaceutical company. In 1952, the product was launched commercially under the brand name Ilosone (after Iloilo). Later, Lily filed for patent protection, without giving any royalty to Dr. Aguilar.


Erythromycin is used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria in the respiratory tract, especially for people who are allergic to penicillin. It has saved millions of lives.


DAY 18

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Phils: Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary

The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It provides a sanctuary to a host of globally threatened and endemic flora and fauna species, eight of which are found nowhere else except Mount Hamiguitan. These include critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine Eagle and Philippine Cockatoo.