August 1, 2018

The subtlety of change: a quiet transformation

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

Johsa Manzanilla and Guezz Lois Quizon
at the Dakota Collegiate convocation
James Andrew Aviso presenting Glenlawn Collegiate
graduate Sabrina Paras with her award

Growth. It may seem slow, as if it’s taking forever, or it’s not happening – but rest assured, it is. Think of a time when a Tita whom you hadn’t seen in awhile exclaimed, “Ay! Malaki ka na!” To you, it may seem you haven’t grown, you haven’t changed, but to her, and to others, transformation is evident.

ANAK as an organization has been around for 12 years, developing resources like books, videos, music, and mentorship programs. By fostering a love for education, we can tell our own stories in the academe and in mainstream narratives. As volunteers, we are committed to empowering Filipino-Canadian youth through capacity building and providing both a safe space to process our thoughts on identity and a platform from which to amplify our voices.

This past year is a good representation of transformative growth, with our focus on outreach, marketing, and community bridge building. While regular programming paused for re-evaluation and re-design, we took the opportunity to get creative and accomplish some serious planning and preparation for our upcoming Youth Forum and a new Kapatid Program (stay tuned!). ANAK also continued to be active in the community through initiatives such as “Sewing Roots Kasaysayan Project: Oral History Archive of Winnipeg’s Filipino Canadian Garment Recruits, 1968-1980” as well as through various collaborations with strengthened connections to schools, local organizations, and other heritage groups. We even got the chance to explore new avenues, including developing a special Mango Float treat with Oh Doughnuts in celebration of Philippine Heritage Week and having ANAK Publishing’s “Where is Winnipeg?” featured during Read by Queens at the Millennium Library.

In addition, we remained committed to offering the ANAK Liwayway Scholarship for Leadership Excellence to graduating high school students. This year’s scholarship applicants had the challenge of tackling the question of how values and stereotypes have had an impact on their identity – not an easy task considering the potentially polarizing discussions that could arise from these topics. All the applicants were incredibly articulate, measured, and respectful in expressing their opinions.

Based on academic achievement, an essay, and responses in the group interview, Guezz Lois Quizon (Dakota Collegiate) and Sabrina Paras (Glenlawn Collegiate) each received a $500 scholarship to be used towards their post-secondary studies. Honourable mentions were also awarded to Adrian Pizarro (Sisler High School) and Bea Mariz Bernardo (St. Mary’s Academy). Congratulations Class of 2018! ANAK is looking forward to learning how your futures unfold and of the positive impact you will make on the world as we know it.

ANAK recognizes that Philippine society and the Filipino diaspora in Canada are also evolving, particularly the cultural and social values and the perceptions around what is accepted and what is not. While for some the recent changes seem startling and unexpected, many factors have contributed over time to these current outcomes. As young Filipinos living outside the Philippines, we have a particular approach to and reflection on the political world events that are taking place. The changing times are part of our contemporary history and it is important that we document and discourse about it in an effort to preserve and promote our Philippine heritage.

Johsa Manzanilla is the Director of ANAK. To learn more about ANAK and how to get involved visit or email, and stay tuned for exciting upcoming opportunities!