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The 1st Golden Balangay Awards: A Night to Celebrate & Remember

By Claire Dela Gana, (iKubo Media)
September 20, 2017


Achievers, movers and shakers gather for the first-ever nationwide search for outstanding Filipino Canadians

As the sun set on September 9, 2017, Filipino Canadians from all over Canada started arriving at the doorstep of the BMO Institute for Learning for the premiere awards night of the Golden Balangay Awards. It is the first ever nationwide search for outstanding Filipino Canadians – individuals and organizations – who have made significant contributions to their community through their achievements exemplifying leadership, good citizenship and dedication.

After five (5) months of gathering nominations, there were almost 150 submissions then whittled down to 90 completed and valid nominations from 5 provinces. That night, the top 3 nominees were called out and only the winner of the 16 categories went up on stage to claim the honor of being the first recipients of the Golden Balangay trophy.

The first Golden Balangay awardees were as follows: Sandra Sabongui from Toronto Montessori School (Ontario) for Educational Excellence Secondary; Adrian De Leon from the University of Toronto for Educational Excellence Post Secondary; Robert Diaz from the University of Toronto for Educator of the Year; Christopher David, interior designer and owner of David Visual Communications Limited (Ontario) for the WFG Young Entrepreneur of the Year; Entrepreneur of the, Julian Baricuatro, owner of BitSource Interactive (Ontario); PCCT Business Excellence Award goes to WFG; Excellence Award in Arts & Culture, Romi Mananquil, Philippine Artist Group (Ontario); professional boxer (Ontario), Marc Pagcaliwangan for Excellence Award in Sports & Fitness; Krystle Alarcon, multimedia artist (Quebec) for Excellence Award in Media; multi-instrumentalist musician (British Columbia), Raffy Ramiro, for Excellence Award in Music & Entertainment; Annie Chua (Alberta) for Manggagawang Pilipino of the Year; Norma Carpio (Ontario) for Senior Achievement Award; Zenee May Maceda, National Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers (Ontario) for Young Leader of the Year; Tony San Juan (Ontario) for the Community Service Award; and, Ancop International Canada for LBC Most Influential Community Organization. The first Pinoy of the Year award went to Patrick Alcedo, a multi-awarded associate professor, writer, director and producer from Toronto, Ontario.

One of the highlights of the evening was the first Golden Balangay Lifetime Achievement Award conferred to Tomas “Tatay Tom” Avendano Sr. from Vancouver, British Columbia. The 88-year old, founder of the Multicultural Helping House Society, won the hearts of everyone in the room. In his 8-minutes acceptance speech, he filled the four corners of the room with laughter and applause. “We have to be conscious of our historical background. It (the Golden Balangay Awards) is a development of historical consciousness.

And when you admit you are a Filipino, you must promote the culture of the Filipinos. Hindi porke marunong ka ng mag-English nakalimutan mo na ang Tagalog or Ilokano. No. Your color is your color. Regardless of what it is, we have to love our own country, we have to promote our own culture.”, one of his many remarks that was loudly applauded.

Over 250 guests from British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario proudly walked the red carpet in their barongs and Filipinianas. P.A. Dayz, a child duo, entertained the audience with their lively song and dance number. Josie De Leon, hushed the audience with her heartfelt rendition of “Hahanapin Ko”, an Anthony Castelo original.

A group of cultural dancers showcased a heart-stopping cultural dance from the Luzviminda: the Philippines Dances for Canada 150, a dynamic program of dance that celebrates Filipino-Canadians and the embodiment and expression of their diasporic identities. Rachelle Cruz, an ABS Correspondent, and DK Tijam of DK Talents, hosted the awards presentation. Lilac Cana, Wanda Gaddon, Sugar Pops, Emil Albania and Shairah Garrido filled The Bow with a mix of classical, pop and Pinoy music during the Balangay Ball while the guests enjoyed the sumptuous dinner prepared by Chef Alvin Guilas of BMO IFL.

The Golden Balangay Awards is the first ever nationwide search for outstanding Filipino Canadians – individuals and organizations - who have made significant contributions to their community through their achievements exemplifying leadership, good citizenship and dedication.

The 2018 Golden Balangay Awards will be held on September 08, 2018. Host city is not yet confirmed although Golden Balangay Lifetime Achievement awardee, Tatay Tom, offered to host next year’s event in Vancouver. 2018 nominations will be opening March 2018.

For more information, check out www.goldenbalangayawards.com and follow it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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