December 24, 2023

Vancouver PCG Brings Filipino Christmas Spirit to the City Through “Maligayang Pasko, Vancouver!”

PHOTO – Consul General Arlene T. Magno (2L) strikes the gong to signal the formal opening and start of the festivities, while the parol lights up simultaneously behind her and music is played by Mr. Mayo Landicho (rightmost) on his Kudyapi, a traditional musical instrument from the Philippines.  Witnessing the event is BC Member of Legislative Assembly Mable Elmore (leftmost).

19 December 2023 - The Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver successfully mounted the fourth in-person “Maligayang Pasko, Vancouver!”, on 16 December 2023 at the St. Patricks’ Parish’s Recreation Centre.  As in the past, the whole day event featured a Christmas market, caroling, parol (Christmas star) - making, and other activities for kids.

PHOTO, LEFT – Visitors line up to buy from vendors at the Christmas market; RIGHT – The food trucks of Potato Corner (forefront) and Shameless Buns at the parking lot of the parish offer visitors with flavored fries and Filipino sandwiches.

A total of 39 food, non-food and service vendors participated in this year’s Christmas market.  Visitors were able to choose from an array of traditional main dishes, such as sisig (minced pork jowl and ear) and pancit (noodles), to pastries and desserts, such as biko (rice cake), ensaimada (Filipino sweet brioche) and taho (soft/silken tofu), to food truck offerings of flavored fries and Filipino-flavored sandwiches.  Scented candles, fashion accessories, home decor, children’s books, Filipiniana outfits, cosmetics, and Filipino cookbooks were among the non-food items sold at the market for possible Christmas gifts.

PHOTO – The Himig Kabataan choir, one of the carolers, serenade visitors with Christmas songs.
To complete the Filipino Christmas celebration, local Filipino-Canadian performers took their turns to serenade visitors with Christmas songs. Individual performers included child singer Estella Banez, Ms. Kelsea Hopkins, Ms. Lumen Beltran, Ms. May Guzman, Ms. Janelle Segui, Mr. Jeremiah Carag, and Ms. Kylie Fonacier, while those who performed with partners or in groups were Kimwell and Virgil of Rosario Strings Ensemble, Salve and Ed Dayao and their band, Himig Kabataan, led by Ms. Bea Correa, and Mr. Jono Hilario, who sang with his mom Avelina, Ms. Joann Munoz Llamo and Mr. Jonathan Tamondong.
PHOTOS: LEFT – Kids participate in pabitin games where they try to grab prizes tied to a bamboo frame; RIGHT – kids listen to Ms. Lucy Lombos (holding the book) during one of the story-telling sessions.

“Maligayang Pasko, Vancouver!” also caters to the enjoyment of kids, through activities like pabitin, where they get the chance to pull a variety of sweets and snacks attached to a bamboo frame that is raised frequently to make it difficult to grab the items, the ever-popular parol (Chritsmas star) - making, and storytelling sessions by artist Paulina Constancia, and authors Maria Reynolds and Lucy Lombos. This year, kids up to 10 years old received an added treat of a teddy bear from the Rotary Club and UFCABC. The teddy bears were donated by supporters of a charitable program run by Rexall Care Network which sells the stuffed toy. The proceeds of the sale will benefit unpaid caregivers in Canada.

PHOTOS: LEFT – Kids gather at the parol-making booth to create their own Christmas parols; RIGHT – Filipino visual artist, Mr. Raymon Maliwat, who led the parol-making activity, presents a finished Christmas star.

Raffle draws were held throughout the day, with prizes provided by generous vendors and partners, culminating with the grand draw of a Vancouver-Manila-Vancouver air ticket, courtesy of Philippine Airlines.

Launched in 2019, “Maligayang Pasko, Vancouver!” aims to highlight how Filipinos celebrate Christmas back home, through such well-loved traditions of caroling, parol-making and shopping. It also supports Filipino-Canadian businesses in the Greater Vancouver area by allowing them to showcase their products. And it provides a much-anticipated year-end event for the Filipino community to gather and enjoy Christmas away from home. END

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