A large contingent of the local Filipino community drove through Grande Prairie Friday as part of a parade in celebration of Philippine Independence Day. June 12th marked the 122nd anniversary of the country’s freedom from Spain won through revolution.
“It feels good,” says John Paniza. “Sometimes for us it’s just work, work, work, but this big gathering for our Filipino community, everybody loves it and are having fun.
General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the Philippines to be a free nation on June 12, 1898. However, it wasn’t recognized internationally until July 4, 1946 when the Treaty of Manila was signed.
The day was also proclaimed by City of Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given and was marked with a flag raising at city hall. Paniza says it means a lot to see their community recognized, especially during Philippine Heritage Month.
“It’s a big family. The Philippines has lots of provinces but we gather as one.”
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, 2,105 Grande Prairie residents were born in the Philippines and 3,105 people identified as Filipino.