Saskatoon·Photos

Saskatoon Filipinos honour independence with great food

The Filipino community in Saskatoon marked their home country's independence, or Kalayaan, with a feast on Saturday.

117 years of the Philippines' independence marked in Saskatoon with celebration known as 'Kalayaan'

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      Music, happiness and, of course, a roasted pig — all staples of any Filipino party.

      People in Saskatoon gathered on Saturday for a Kalayaan Fiesta, which is a fitting name for the event.

      Kalayaan is a Tagalog word for independence and Fiesta is a Spanish one that means feast as well as party. 

      Isagani Fabi, president of the Filipino-Canadian Association of Saskatoon, explained that the name is meaningful for his people, who celebrated 117 years of the Philippines' independence on June 12.

      "The Philippines has been under several countries before," he said. "For 300 years we were under Spain, for half a century we were under the Americans and for about four years we were under Japan."

      Fabi said food is at the heart of the Phillippines' diverse cultures.

      "I think our culture is all about food. We love to cook... as a country, geographically we were gifted to have all kinds of food," Fabi explained. "We have seafood because we are surrounded by water, and we have beef and chicken and we grow a lot of vegetables."

      Fabi said that no matter where one's food preferences lie amongst the country's thousands of islands, roasted pig is a delicacy.

      "Roasted pig is like our turkey. It is the center piece of any feast we have," he said.

      Fabi and dozens of Filipinos shared the feast with honoured guests inclduing Mayor Don Atchison, MP Brad Trost and Ontario Senator Tobias Enverga.

      ​According to Fabi, the event marked the end of Saskatoon's first Filipino Week, which in the past was a single day.

      ​There is a lot to celebrate in Filipino culture this weekend in the city. On Saturday night, finalists in the city's Filipino singing competition will sing at the Broadway Theatre.

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