Fil-Canadian kids learn Pinoy culture in ABAKADA

By Vanessa Merjudio, ABS-CBN Canada

Posted at Aug 27 2014 09:14 AM | Updated as of Aug 27 2014 05:14 PM

CANADA – Children learned more about Filipino culture at the annual ABAKADA Day by the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa.

Now on its third year, the event welcomed children from Ottawa and Montreal for a day of learning Filipino culture and language.

"The kids today, they have the best of both worlds right now. They're Canadian and at the same time have Filipino heritage. It's important for them to be very steeped in that aspect of their heritage and culture especially their parents," said Charge d'Affaires Gerardo Tamayo.

Like the dilemma of most Filipino parents in Canada, Don del Castillo said his child is not familiar with Filipino customs and the language anymore.

"When he left the Philippines, he was 2 years old. Pero sa bahay, pakonti-konting Tagalog. But we'd like also for him to hear from teachers about Filipino, and also attend an informal class with some Filipino children, and for him to get exposed also, not just in a classroom type, pero yung kultura na itinuro. I heard that may Lola Basyang. Nandiyan si Lola Basyang so may mga kwentong Pinoy,"said del Castillo.

Apart from hearing stories and learning values from Lola Basyang, they also learned Filipino games like piko, folk dances, Filipino icons and some common phrases in Tagalog.

The highlight of the day was the boodle fight where Pinoy kids experienced eating with their hands.

"I really liked mushing up the rice with the pork," said 9-year old participant, Bryan Rodriguez.

Tamayo added that exposure to Filipino practices at home can keep the Filipino-Canadian community's children in touch with their heritage.

"The way to preserve their heritage is to make it a living and breathing activity within each and every one of us especially the young ones," he said.

ABAKADA is the brainchild of former ambassador Leslie Gatan.It is the Philippine embassy's way of bringing Pinoy children back to their roots.