Filipinos getting passports renewed in Regina skpic

Hundreds of people were getting their Philippines passports renewed on the weekend in Regina, with help from a consular outreach team from the Philippine Consulate General from Toronto. (CBC)

In a dramatic demonstration of how Saskatchewan's Filipino population has grown, hundreds from the Philippines community from across Saskatchewan were in Regina this weekend to renew their passports.

The event hosted by the Philippine Consulate General of Toronto started Friday and ends today. About 1,600 people are expected at the Sandman Inn. 

Ian Entino, a nurse at Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital, came with a group getting their documents renewed.

He remembered his first impression of Saskatchewan in 2008 as being like "walking into a freezer" after arriving here in November.

"My mother is a geography teacher and she knew about Saskatchewan, but I had never heard about Saskatchewan," he said.

Saskatchewan has seen a huge influx in people from the Philippines in recent years.

In 2006, people from the Philippines accounted for 2,455 of Saskatchewan's visible minority immigrants.

In 2011, the figure had jumped to 12,775 — a 420 per cent increase.

The 2011 census also found that for the first time ever, the Philippines have become Saskatchewan's most important source of newcomers, replacing the United Kingdom.