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Vancouver is one step closer to getting a Filipino cultural centre, society says

People dance at the Lapu-Lapu Day Block Party in South Vancouver on Saturday, April 27. People dance at the Lapu-Lapu Day Block Party in South Vancouver on Saturday, April 27.

As the Lower Mainland's Filipino community gathered in South Vancouver for Lapu-Lapu Day on Saturday, one of the festival's organizers set its sights on creating a future focal point for such gatherings.

Filipino BC announced Saturday that it has selected developer Hungerford Properties to help it explore "the feasibility of bringing the Filipino Community Centre to Vancouver."

"We're extremely excited about this partnership given how our values aligned and how they've demonstrated a commitment to the communities that they've worked with," said RJ Aquino, chair of Filipino BC, at Saturday's event.

Aquino described the process as "very much in the early stages," but added that the announcement of the Hungerford partnership is "significant."

"It shows a real, tangible step towards making this happen, especially as it comes on the heels of all of the announcements and all of the support from politicians from all levels of government," he said.

Last year, the province announced it would be giving $250,000 to the Mabuhay House Society for the purpose of planning and public engagement for a Filipino cultural centre. And the 2024 federal budget promised an unspecified amount of funding toward the project “once further details are announced.”

Vancouver council also passed a motion last June endorsing the creation of a Filipino community centre in the city.

"Vancouver is the ideal location. Where in Vancouver? That's to be determined,” Aquino said. “We're going to be leaning on the expertise of Hungerford to further engage the community and be more specific about where we want to have this centre."

In a statement, Filipino BC said it will “reintroduce public engagement efforts” in the coming months and asked community members to participate in making the idea happen.

The partnership announcement came during the Lapu-Lapu Day Block Party, an all-day affair celebrating all things Filipino. The festival featured food vendors, live music, a film festival, a fashion show, a drag performance and a basketball tournament.

B.C. officially declared April 27 as Lapu-Lapu Day in the province last year. Celebrated annually in the Philippines, the day honours Indigenous leader Lapu-Lapu, who fought against Spanish colonization and won the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.

"We love sharing our culture. We love bringing everyone in to enjoy and celebrate with us, and seeing the smiles on everyone's faces despite the weather has been a really important thing,” said Aquino.

According to the province, B.C.’s Filipino population is more than 150,000. Top Stories

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