Pinoy Heat restaurant a hub for Regina's Filipino community

Whole roasted pigs, video karaoke, and Filipino TV channels help make the Pinoy Heat restaurant a second home for many in Regina's Filipino community.

Restaurant home to authentic Filipino fiesta every Sunday

Pamela and Sonny Florentin, owners of Pinoy Heat in Regina. (Nichole Huck/CBC )

Roasted pigs, video karaoke, and Filipino TV channels help make the Pinoy Heat restaurant a second home for many in Regina's Filipino community. 

Pinoy Heat, located at 1769 Hamilton St., has been operating since the end of 2012.

Since the doors first opened, the restaurant has gone through several incarnations but one thing has stayed the same — it's a hotspot for Regina's Filipino community.

Although it serves the dishes in a prairie city, inside the restaurant feels more like a trip to Manila. Groups of Filipino-Canadians speak Tagalog and share dishes of noodles and crispy pork while watching daytime talk shows broadcast out of the Philippines.

The walls are covered in posters of popular Filipino destinations and there's a poster of the popular boxer Manny Pacquiao. The restaurant also sells Filipino crafts and even offers a service where people can send remittance back home. 

Every Sunday Pinoy Heat serves up a whole roasted pig as part of their buffet. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Owner Pamela Florentin said visiting the restaurant on Sunday will give Canadians a good taste of Filipino food and culture. 

"We have the live band and video karaoke, and we have the full buffet and whole roasted pig, we call Lechon," Florentin said.

"It's always a party."

The Chef, Warlie Roxas said that he prides himself on bringing an authentic taste of the Philippines to diners in Regina. 

Roxas worked for more than two decades as a chef in the Philippines before moving to Canada in 2013. He gained experience working at hotels and on cruise ships, picking up different tricks and tips along the way. 

When he's not in the kitchen, Roxas can be found out front with a microphone in hand. The chef is known for his great singing voice. 

Chef Warlie Roxas is equally skilled at cooking and performing video-karaoke (Nichole Huck/CBC)

It is also common for diners to pick up a microphone and break into an impromptu performance, Roxas says.

"It happens always, Filipino's when they see there is entertainment like that they won't be shy," Roxas said.

Florentin has extensive experience in business in the Philippines, but managing a restaurant is new to her.

When she arrived in Canada in 2011, it took a while to find her feet in business. She started off working as a cleaner, then as a cashier at Dollarama. 

Pamela Florentin's travel agency shares a space with her restaurant. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Last year her husband and she bought Pinoy Heat. They run the restaurant with their two adult children.

Florentin said there are many reasons it's become a hub for the Filipino community, on top of the food and remittance stand they also operate WOW Pinoy Travel and Tour agency. 

"It's because of the language, the pictures on the walls, the TV programs, the sing-a-longs. They feel like they are in the Philippines," she said.


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