9797 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton
The Filipino community, when first settling in Edmonton, celebrated its two key holidays - Philippine Independence Day and Philippine Republic Day, at the Shaw Conference Centre.
One of the most beloved holidays and celebrations of Filipinos all over the world is Philippine Independence Day on June 12, which commemorates Philippine's independence from Spain in 1898. Early Filipino immigrant communities also often celebrated Philippine Republic Day, July 4, which commemorated the recognition of Philippine Independence by the United States of America.
Large galas were often held on these dates with cultural performances of song and dance, a celebratory dinner and dance. The community also often invited municipal and provincial politicians. During the settlement of the Filipino community in Edmonton, former Mayor and Councillor Terry Cavanagh and his wife June were often welcomed as guests at these events.
Men would wear a traditional barong, an embroidered, lightweight shirt traditionally made from pineapple leaf fibres or banana silk and women would wear the traditional baro't saya, a blouse and wrap-around skirt with fine embroidery that often featured butterfly sleeves. Participants often took part in singing national anthems from their former homeland, Lupang Hinirang from the Philippines, and their new anthem O Canada! , as well as a raising of the flags. Celebrations for Independence Day were considered family events, where special efforts were made to ensure the full participation of all ages - from children to seniors.
Today, the Philippine Independence Day events are still undertaken under the direction of CEFA, the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations, with a flag-raising every year and other activities at City Hall.