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Fil-Canadians pay tribute to late 'Dahong Pilipino' publisher

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at May 27 2023 09:38 PM

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Filipino-Canadians paid tribute to the late founder and publisher of "Dahong Pilipino" during an event to mark the 30th year of the business and community directory in British Columbia.

Leonardo Cunanan, a beloved pillar of the Filipino community in Vancouver, started "Dahong Pilipino" with his wife Marilyn some 30 years ago.

The man behind 'Dahong Pilipino' in Canada 

"Tito Ding" as he was fondly called, died in 2022 after a long illness at the age of 85.

But his legacy lives on through his son, Leo Cunanan Jr., who has taken over the reins of their business.

"Right from the very beginning, he wanted to show a very positive image of the Filipino," said Cunanan in Filipino. "He was very proud to have been a Filipino."

The leader of Canada's New Democratic Party led a group of NDP officials who attended the event. Jagmeet Singh said "Dahong Pilipino" helped bring Filipinos in Canada closer.

"We’re so thankful to every Filipino across the country, for everything you’ve done to contribute to build up Canada," Singh said.

Filipino-Canadian lawmaker Mable Elmore recounted how the late Cunanan became her mentor after she was elected to office.

"[He was] a real inspiration," Elmore said. "I really credit my success and the success of our community to his leadership and commitment."

Alrene Magno, the Filipino consul general in Vancouver, said Cunanan had a great vision for the Filipino community that has endured to this day.

"It remains to be the only magazine that serves the interest of Filipinos," she said of Dahong Pilipino.

Cunanan's son, Jun, has not only continued publishing the magazine. He has also ensured its growth by adding a website where Filipinos can easily find out what's happening within the community.

"We like to engage with the younger generation," Jun said. "It's great to connect with them."