DOLLY PUNSALAN CASTILLO
Maria Dolores Punsalan Castillo is a Filipina -Canadian of 42 years having lived in Toronto for 4 years and Calgary for the last 38 years. Her career spans info analyst positions in Esso Resources, PanCanadian, ENMAX, Suncor and Devon Corp. She’s currently a retiree of 8 years and loving it as she dabbles in her volunteerism in church, school, and community. She’s a regular columnist in the Mabuhay monthly newspaper for the last 12 years. She served as President for CAFFA – an umbrella association of the different Philippine clubs, Babae: Council of Filipina Canadian Women, Filipino Catholic Society, and Holy Trinity Catholic Women’s League. She continues as Adviser for these groups.
She’s a widow of 6 years with a daughter Rhea Marie. Mentoring by passing on the cultural heritage of the Philippines is an effective and meaningful tool of transmission.
Tita Dolly, as we all fondly call her, has been the pillar of our community. She has been serving us for over 30 years. Fiesta Filipino was one of her visions to bring everyone together in the spirit of unity and cooperation. She lives by the values of Fiesta Filipino – bayanihan and uplifting each other.
Born Ferdinand Magno Sangalang on January 1, 1969, to Aquilina Moises from Cagayan and Leonardo Sangalang from Porac, Pampanga. He is the youngest among the 5 siblings. He hailed from Munoz, Nueva Ecija where he spent his childhood and school years. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Central Luzon State University. He worked as a construction engineer before coming to Canada in 1993 with his parents through the family class sponsorship initiated by his sister. It was not easy adjusting to a foreign land especially away from family and friends left in the Philippines. After a while, he was introduced to the Filipino community in a church which made life easier.
Ferdie started as a Bellboy at Prince Royal Inn, got employed with Rileys Data Share and GeoX data share companies. In 1995, he started his own company called S & V Architectural models, constructing intricate miniature buildings and landscapes. These scaled models were used as a physical representation of a structure used to exhibit, visualize or sell a final design. This business entails a lot of skills, patience and hundreds of hours, and so does starting a family, hence, he decided to go back to being an employee. His experience landed him at Poon Mckenzie Architects for some good years while studying at SAIT. Then, he worked at Worley- Parson Oil and Gas until the recession. At present, he is with WSP Energy, Resources & Industry as Civil and Structural Designer.
Ferdi fell in love with his fellow Music Ministry church member, May. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was love-struck, so in 1998, they tied the knots. They have been blessed with 3 children Brandon, Ezra and Jude who are all involved in the Music Ministry. The family loved traveling and camping together. Ferdi had driven the long stretch of historical highway 66 to hiking an active volcano in Guatemala. A Jack of all trades, he has a passion of creating and building things and off-roading and helping others.
His quiet, committed and gentle nature has been the force that made Fiesta Filipino an icon that is today. From erecting the entrance arc to replicating the Jose Rizal monument down to the last details, Ferdie made it a personal crusade that he takes us back to our birth land. He meticulously dedicates his time and talent in making sure that Fiesta delivers the kind of Festival that we can be proud of. He is our go-to man for any emergency that needs technical fixing. He embodies the values of Bayanihan by being selfless and putting the good of the others before his.
For almost five years the Arts Commons has been one of our favorite places for gathering. It can be as simple as small group meetings, focus group discussion or launching of projects, the Arts Commons is a preferred venue not only because of its location but most importantly because of the people behind it. Its leadership including a very good friend of Fiesta Filipino, Joshua Dalledonne, Producing and Engagement Associate, consistently and tirelessly supported the Fiesta Filipino by providing space, and opportunity to create, mingle and experience meaningful conversations. To top it all ‘excellent customer service to the Filipino Community”
We say it’s the ‘place to be’ not just for the artists but for hardworking Fiesta Filipino volunteers, young and old.
Successful endeavors and programs such as the Youth Empowerment Program spearheaded by the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta are regularly held at the Arts Commons. The memorable experience of Filipinos such as
- Philippine Festival Council of Alberta Fiesta Launch – Sponsorship*(Jack Singer Concert Hall- May 19, 2017),
- handing over the Heritage Month petition to Honorable Sarah Hoffman, then Minister of Health (Engineered Air) Jun 21, 2018,
- Cultural pavilion display during Fiesta Filipino 2019, are just a few of the great occasions held at the Arts Commons.
Arts Commons is an inspirational gathering place for all Calgarians and visitors alike. It is a space, both physical and metaphorical, that stimulates senses, triggers emotions, challenges assumptions, starts conversations, and opens minds.
Today, we recognize Arts Commons and its leadership for the support it has given to the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta.
Fondly called as Pao, she has shown her leadership skills while in the Philippines. She was among the 81 students chosen from 680 outstanding student leaders from top universities and colleges in the Philippines who participated in the national leadership congress sponsored by Ayala Corporation.
She migrated to Canada in September 2016 with her family. She has an older brother and a younger sister. It is not an easy journey coming to Canada and more so living in Canada.
She is now on her last year at the University of Calgary taking Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She works as a full-time Youth and Civic Engagement Facilitator at Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association. She is also one of the lead volunteers of the Youth Empowerment Program of Fiesta Filipino.
Pao loves sports and volunteering. She knows that even the simplest action can make a difference. Hence, she organized a sports camp for some of the indigenous student-athletes in a remote area in the Philippines. She went back to the Philippines for #PROJECTSPORTSCAMP. She did fundraising and invited some experts in the field of volleyball and track and field. She donated sports equipment for the student-athletes. She believes in the importance of fostering local sports athletes. They are the future of the sports community.
Other than sports, Pao loves traveling to discover and decode the places that can fuel her adventurous soul.
AURORA B. DACANAY
Aurora holds a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction (University of Oregon), a Bachelor’s degree in Education (University of Oregon), a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education/Home Economics at (PNC) Manila, Philippines, and also undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Calgary. She has taught in Alberta since 1965 until she retired in 2007. She enjoyed a wide range of teaching experience for 42 years in the field of education from grades 1 to 12. She was nominated for Pupil Award, Pan-Canadian Energy (2002).
Aurora is an active member, adviser and past chairman of the Philippine Cultural Center Foundation. She developed the PCCF’s Youth Enhancement and the Seniors Health and Wellness Programs. In 2002, she spearheaded and coordinated the PCCF Filipino Heritage Language Program. In 2009, she assisted in the creation of the collaboratively developed and accredited Filipino 15, 25 and 35 courses for high school and the Filipino Language Curriculum Grades 4 -6 with Alberta Education, Edmonton and Calgary Catholic School Boards and the Saranay Filipino-Canadian Association of Edmonton. She is a volunteer principal and coordinator of the PCCF Filipino Language and Culture School (Calgary) and Chairperson for PCCF Programs. She is the present secretary of SAHLA (Southern Alberta Heritage Language Association) and a guest teacher for the Calgary Catholic School District conducting the Filipino 35 Course Challenge Exams for high school students.
Aurora is also active in her church community as a pastoral care ministry member. She is into learning holistic healing She is an avid reader and a lover of music and fine arts. Her special moments are spending quality time with her grandchildren, family, and close friends. Sadly, on July 30th of this year, Aurora lost her husband of over 45 years (Gregorio Dacanay Jr.) to cancer. This left a big void in the family’s daily life.
Aurora believes that Education does not end in the classroom, and her passion for making a difference in the community wherever she goes continues to be a driving force.
EARLITO APUYAN JR.
Better known as Earl, you would be surprised that this young and vibrant individual is an amazing artist! If you haven’t heard him sing, you better catch him when he does. Earl is a hardworking volunteer during the most recent Pride Parade where the Fiesta Filipino participated for the first time. He attended volunteer meetings regularly and had taken a lot of responsibilities which included creating a vibrant design of the gown he wore during the parade. It was his idea to include the different colors of the lgbtq2a+. In the design, Earl led the LGBTQ2A+ Filipino representatives during the pride parade.
Earl has always been proud of who he is and is a responsible Canadian citizen advocating for the human rights of the LGBTQ community. Earl has lived in Canada for some time and understood the challenges of fighting for what you believe in. He has worked with the Fiesta Filipino – Bahaghari group to help increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the LGBTQ2A+.
QUEENCY JANE JIMENEZ
Known as Jane, was born on May 17, 1994, in Tarlac, Philippines. She and her sister Anne came to Canada three years ago and was very happy to be finally reunited with their mom, Josephine. She is currently a student of the LINC Program at Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association or CIWA. Jane loves volunteering and Fiesta is fortunate to have a volunteer like her.
Jane exceeded Fiesta’s expectations when she volunteered as a runner for the 2019 Fiesta Filipino. There was no specific job description for runners. You need to do whatever is asked from whichever committee would need help. Rain or shine, she never complained when asked to do something or to literally run here and there. Just a smile. You would see the enthusiasm in her while performing a task. She may be shy, but her exceptional work attitude outshines her shyness. Action speaks louder than words.
QUEENLY ANNE JIMENEZ
Also known as Anne was born on January 21, 1996, in Tarlac, Philippines. She was in her 2nd year of Bachelor’s in Elementary Education when her mom, Josephine sponsored her to come to Canada. Anne and her sister Jane arrived in Calgary on May 26, 2017. She started to volunteer in the LINC Program at CIWA and was able to finish its Modular Training program. She is presently enrolled at ERP College to enhance her education.
The vendors’ committee Chair said: “What I like about Anne is: You don’t need to ask her to do anything because she would ask on her own and when done, she would come back right away and ask if there is anything else she can do.”
And this is the reason why she is being awarded as one of the Outstanding volunteers of Fiesta Filipino
Ramen came to Calgary in 1984. He studied at SAIT while driving a cab. He became a Journeyman Instrumentation Technician and worked in the oil & gas industry. Part of his work was setting up and servicing gas wells. His well-rounded experience and hard work made him a supervisor in his field. At home, he is a handyman. He is good at home maintenance, renovations, and repairs.
He is thankful to Calgary for what he has in life now. He is currently enjoying his retirement years with his life partner Vena. They love going to cruises and all-inclusive vacations. He also enjoys going back to the Philippines at any time of the year. He participates in Zumba classes twice a week and enjoys volunteering at casino and bingo.
Ramen is a dedicated security volunteer for Fiesta Filipino. Even if he is not scheduled to volunteer, he would stay longer if asked, rain or shine. At some point, he would miss his meals while on duty and he never complained. He is reliable, dependable and very committed to what he does.
KAREN JANE AMABA
Karen is a phlebotomist at Canadian Blood Services. Married to Raul and a mother to beautiful little Brenna.
Karen has been a volunteer with Fiesta Filipino program committee for 2 years. Karen has proven herself to be kind, reliable, a wonderful volunteer, who is dedicated and dependable. Even with her busy work and family life, she gets things done to meet deadlines by working late nights, following up and communicating with performers. She makes it a point to be present and volunteer at all Fiesta Filipino programs and events.
These assets are invaluable traits for a Fiesta Filipino volunteer. She was always eager to help, very committed and her willingness to learn is commendable. These traits extend into all other aspects of her life.
The Program committee applauds Karen Jane Amaba.
APRIL LOVE TIMMANGEN
April arrived in Canada when she was 13 with her parents and 2 siblings. She is the eldest among the 3.
In 2011, she got a job in the document management of West Canadian Digital Imaging Incorporated. She went to school in 2015 now holds a Bachelor of Arts degree major in Sociology from Mount Royal University. She went back to work at West Canadian in 2018 and still works with them up to this date.
She loves movies and playing badminton. When at home, she enjoys cooking and baking.
She wanted to try volunteering in the community and so she landed volunteering with Fiesta Filipino in 2015. Because of the community spirit, she continues to volunteer with Fiesta up to this date. She is very reliable and responsible. She put in a lot of volunteer hours without complaints.
Her motto is to enjoy life to the fullest.
Raymond was born on May 21, 2003 in Marikina City, Philippines. He came to Canada when he was 8. He is currently in Grade 11 at All Saints High School.
Raymond is well rounded. He is good in academics. He is into sports and music. He loves playing Basketball. He also plays piano and guitar. His ambition is to pursue a career in medicine. Growing up in Canada, he is still fond of Filipino dishes and desserts. He loves Sisig, Lechon and Buko Pandan.
As a Fiesta volunteer, he was very attentive to tasks assigned to him. He would make sure that he is finished with the job even if it is beyond the hours of his volunteering. He is a team player that he worked well with the other volunteers.
A volunteer photographer for Fiesta Filipino has been in Canada for 5 years and is a maintenance supervisor at Atco Park.
His photography journey started when he took basic photography courses and training at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation in Intramuros, Manila. His specialties are portraiture and sports photography.
He continued his love for photography when he moved to Canada and eventually volunteered for Fiesta Filipino as a photographer. Asked why he wanted to volunteer, he said he wants to contribute to the community by utilizing his talent and capturing the vibrant Filipino culture, one click at a time.
He is being recognized today for his contributions to Fiesta Filipino for the last 5 years. He has played an integral part in documenting our pocket and main events. He captured and provided us countless beautiful images that we can all look back; shall we want to be reminded of how beautiful our culture is.
He is a 17 year old senior high school student at Bishop McNally. He was born in Quezon City Philippines but he spent most of life in Canada since the age of 3. He is the youngest of the 3 siblings.
He has a lot of interest and passion. He loves to dance and very active in the dance scene in Calgary. Choreography and freestyle is his specialty. Aside from dancing, he is also a freelance photographer and a lifeguard who also enjoys swimming competitively.
JV is an active member of Fiesta Filipino’s Youth Empowerment Program and act as one of the leads. He has this eagerness to learn and the sincerity in helping those around him.
In this year’s Fiesta Filipino, he was a rockstar in ensuring his peers were well supported all through the event. He was a man of detail, gave proper instructions, clarified any concerns that came up and made sure that everything on plan was done by the end of the day.
With everything that he contributed, he is worth to be the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer for Youth Empowerment Program.