Calgary, 18 October 2022 – The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Calgary spearheaded a conference on 15-16 October 2022 that brought together 30 Filipino Language & Culture teachers and educators in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan for a two-day learning on teaching Filipino as a heritage language.

Dr. Jayson Petras, Associate Professor, UP Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature and Direktor, Sentro ng Wikang Filipino-UP Diliman, was the conference’s resource speaker. He taught the participants the issues in teaching the Filipino language outside the Philippines; the approaches and strategies in teaching the Filipino language; and the roles of the family and the community overseas in learning the Filipino language.

“We are pleased that we were able to finally organize this 1st Filipino Language & Culture Conference that we initially planned to do in 2020, but got stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Consul General Zaldy Patron.

“This project is part of the Philippine Consulate General’s cultural diplomacy program to promote Filipino language, culture, and heritage,” he added.

(Left photo) Consul General Zaldy Patron giving his welcome remarks at the conference. (Right photo) Dr. Jayson Petras delivering one of his lectures.

The PCG partnered with the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Calgary-based Philippine Cultural Centre Foundation (PCCF), and the Edmonton-based Filipino Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta (Saranay) to organize the conference.

Consul General Zaldy Patron (center) with (from left to right) Mr. Clem Tigley (President, PCCF), Mrs. Aurora Dacanay (Principal, PCCF Filipino Language & Culture School), Mrs. Josephine Pallard (Principal, Saranay Filipino Language & Culture School), and Mr. Fred Molina (1st Vice President, PCCF).

In Alberta, High School students are allowed to take Filipino 15, Filipino 25, and Filipino 35, with five credits each, as elective subjects.

Currently, there are five Alberta schools offering these Filipino Language & Culture classes. These are Fr. Lacombe High School in Calgary and Edmonton’s Sister Anata Brockman Elementary and Junior High School, Archbishop Oscar Romero Senior High School, St. Theresa Senior High School, and St. Clement Elementary and Junior High School.

Meanwhile, PCCF, Saranay, and the Saskatchewan’s Filipino Heritage School also teach Filipino Language and Culture in their respective non-formal schools.

The conference was organized to equip the Filipino Language & Culture teachers in Alberta and Saskatchewan with new knowledge and skills that would help them teach their students more effectively.

Upon Consul General Patron’s encouragement, the conference participants also decided to form a Filipino teachers association that will be formalized later on.

Alberta is home to an estimated 175,000 Filipino Canadians while Saskatchewan hosts another 34,000. END.