Yukoners celebrate 120 years of Philippine independence

Philippine Independence Day was marked on Tuesday in Whitehorse by singing, raising the country's flag, and enjoying pork adobo and pandesal.

Filipinos in Whitehorse marked the day by singing, eating, and raising the Philippine flag

The Whitehorse Filipino community celebrated Philippine Independence Day with festivities outside city hall, including raising the flag of the Philippines. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

More than a hundred people in Whitehorse turned out for Filipino Independence Day celebrations in Whitehorse on Tuesday.

It was the second year festivities were held outside Whitehorse City Hall, which included flying the Phillipine flag.

Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon president Yvonne Clarke wears a 'Maria Clara' gown. The traditional dress is made from the fibres of the leaves of pineapple plants. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The day commemorates the Philippines' declaration of independence in 1898, ending 400 years of Spanish rule. It's a national holiday in the Philippines.

According to the 2016 census, more than 1,300 people of Filipino origin live in Yukon. 

Jona Irene and Nessie Camba wear traditional Filipino clothing as part of Independence Day celebrations outside Whitehorse City Hall. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

"I got goosebumps," said one Filipino woman, after the singing of the Philippines' national anthem.

Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon president Yvonne Clarke says the celebration is a chance to share their culture with fellow Canadians and their children.

"Our children were born and raised here — they're first-generation immigrants. They may not necessarily know where we come from and why we celebrate it. This is an opportunity to tell a story," said Clarke.

Norberta Lapuz, Jose Lapuz and Lydia Lubi were also on hand to celebrate in Whitehorse on Tuesday. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The festivities continued with food, like pork adobo and Filipino bread rolls, or pandesal.

"It's our history. What you see today is made up from the history we've gone through. Independence Day is when we became free to share that history and culture with the world. That's what Independence Day means for me," said Jocelyn Curteanu, a Whitehorse city councillor.

People also wore traditional clothing made from the fibres of the leaves of pineapple plants. Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis wore a barong tagalog, a traditional embroidered men's shirt.

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis speaks during Phillipine Independence Day celebrations outside City Hall. Curtis says everybody could learn from the local community to 'embrace everyone.' (Steve Hossack/CBC)

"I feel very special to be wearing it," said Curtis.

"I don't feel like we have a Filipino community in Whitehorse and Yukon — I feel like we have a community," he said.

"I feel like I've been welcomed into and I feel we've all been welcomed into it, and that's something we can all learn as a community of Yukon — to embrace everyone."

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