December 1, 2018

The art of communality

by Daisydee Bautista (Published in Pilipino Express December 1-15)

(L-R) Francis Matheu, Marie Angelica Dayao, Dennis Gupa, and Jon Lazam III

ANAK and Migrante Manitoba welcomed theatre artist/director and doctoral scholar Dennis Gupa to Winnipeg, along with artist collaborators from the Philippines: Actor/Choreographer Francis Matheu, Experimental Filmmaker Jon Lazam III, and Music/Sound Designer Marie Angelica Dayao. Together they have created a beautifully complex and multilayered artistic reflection on the impact of natural disasters in the Philippines, Murupuro / The Islands of Constellation. The multimedia theatre piece was shared during two live performances at Prairie Theatre Exchange, where they were also joined by Winnipeg-based artists: Cece Berces, David Oro, Horace Pfeiffer, Joyce Amante Ferrer, Liezel Jacinto, and Vina Dimayuga.

The Tuminungnung Philippine Heritage Youth Forum hosted Filipino-Canadian students on November 2nd for an engaging day exploring this year’s theme: from the land. After a keynote address from Dennis Gupa on his process as an artist, the students were treated to a special preview of the show. Volunteers led discussions unpacking its concepts and the artists conducted a series of workshops for the students to experience the arts and their role in preserving memory and knowledge, and their role in contributing to global conversations. The day concluded with the culmination of everything learned from the day through performances created by the participants.

On November 3rd, the public showing of Murupuro / The Islands of Constellation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Dennis Gupa, student organizer Chance Paupanekis, and visual artist David Oro. ANAK Director and Migrante Manitoba member Johsa Manzanilla moderated the panel discussion, with questions on climate change, decolonization, art, and action. The audience was also invited to interact during the question and answer period, then welcomed to stay for a reception that capped off the evening and provided further opportunity for continued dialogue.

“I think that a part of theatre is communality,” Dennis explained. “You have to be a part of that energy of community to make a presence.”

Many thanks in solidarity to the volunteers for making the events possible and to all who supported and attended, especially Magdaragat Philippines Inc., CUPE Manitoba, Tess Newton (Sun Life Financial), MLA Andrew Swan, Nora Hernandez (World Financial Group), MP Robert-Falcon Oullette, Geyln’s Wedding Lounge, Harvest Barbershop, MP Kevin Lamoureux, and Pilipino Express News Magazine.

Daisydee Bautista is a dedicated volunteer and Chair of ANAK’s Resource Committee. This committee works to acquire and produce culturally-based educational materials and opportunities in Winnipeg, such as events like these. To learn more about ANAK and how to become a volunteer visit www.anak.ca or email info@anak.ca.

October 1, 2018

Environmental lessons from our ancestors

by Johsa Manzanilla (Published in Pilipino Express October 1-15)


Well before colonization made its first mark on the Philippine islands, our ancestors had a deep connection and stewardship to the land, and understood the importance of preserving and caring for the environment in order to sustain the existence of both the land and the water for future generations. Elders built a relationship with nature and different island communities developed specialized knowledge, rituals, and customary practices that often overlapped with spirituality, healing, and cultural preservation.

In current times, extreme weather conditions and global climate disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity and becoming more widespread. Man-made environmental degradation has brought about climate change and, while every living being on the planet is experiencing its effects, those with the least socio-economic capital are the most vulnerable. In the Philippines, typhoons, floods, landslides, drought, and other ecological decimations hit poor and rural indigenous communities the hardest, particularly individuals who are systemically impacted by the policy legacies of colonization and the global flows of capitalism.

Therein lies the question – is there a way that Philippine indigenous knowledge and practices from our ancestors and our elders can help our current society both mitigate, and adapt to, the effects of climate change? What can we learn from our ancestors and their relationship to the land on how to care for and preserve the environment?

Dennis Gupa seeks to explore this question through collaborative multimedia and multilingual applied theatre.

ANAK and Migrante Manitoba will welcome the theatre artist/director and doctoral scholar to Winnipeg on November 2nd and 3rd, 2018 to present his performance project, an assemblage of video images, movement, and live soundscapes, reflecting on the histories of colonial encounters and the physical and social impact of natural disasters. Based at the University of Victoria and the University of the Philippines, Dennis has done extensive fieldwork immersing in three sea coastal villages in Visayas and learning from local elders. He will be accompanied by a team of collaborators from the Philippines as well as Winnipeg-based artists. Dennis’ visit will feature two separate performances at Prairie Theatre Exchange followed by dialogue and discussion:

  • Friday November 2, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Tuminungnung 2018 Philippine Heritage Youth Forum for Filipino-Canadians ages 14 to 19 on the importance of the arts in preserving ancestral knowledge and practices, and in contributing to the ongoing global conversation on climate change.  Free to register.  Space is limited.
    Complete the registration form ( Download ) by Oct. 19
  • Saturday November 3, 5:00 p.m.: Murupuro/The Islands of Constellation performance and panel discussion with local environmentalists and community members.
    Visit anak.eventbrite.ca for tickets


Johsa Manzanilla is the Director of ANAK and a member of Migrante Manitoba, and is inviting you to not miss out on these great opportunities! Contact info@anak.ca for more information.

September 1, 2018

Are you Filipino?

by Andrew Aviso (Published in Pilipino Express September 1-15)

Andrew getting ready to facilitate a fun filled Kapatid Program session

Mentorship has always been one of the key pillars of ANAK as an organization. From the beginning, the purpose of ANAK’s Kapatid Program has been to assist Filipino youth academically, socially, and culturally in Canadian society. I was introduced to the program in 2007, when I joined in as a volunteer mentor. I then got more involved by becoming an ANAK member, and helped run the program with the mentorship committee. Even though I was already working full-time as a gas-turbine mechanic, I found a way to fit the Kapatid Program into my schedule.

I loved every minute of it; from homework help, to preparing workshops, organizing group activities, or just letting loose and getting to reconnect culturally with my own heritage. Collaborating ideas with fellow mentors and connecting with the mentees also helped me gain valuable skills that were transferable outside of the program. The community involvement, the newly developed skill set, and the rewarding experiences that I gained in the program made me realize that I wanted to become a teacher; an Industrial-Arts teacher in particular. This allowed me to include my previous hands-on experiences as a mechanic into the classroom.

Sign-up to become an ANAK volunteer!