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Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr.

First Filipino-Canadian Senator An Exclusive Interview

Volume 1, Issue No. 1 December 2013

Special Insert Inside:

Toronto Paskuhan Festival

Kubo Magazine 3



Table of Contents

Claire Dela Gana Publisher

Joi Lardizabal Managing Editor Staff Writers



Cover Story

Everyday Heroes

Exclusive Interview: Senator Tobias Enverga Jr.

Michael Masci: The Path Less Travelled

Chris Catral Mariyah Gonzales Vee Javier Anne Simon Jane Taguicana Ronnie Dela Gana Business Development & Marketing Director Kubo Magazine is published quarterly by iKubo Media The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisers’ claims, unsolicited articles, transparencies and other materials. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without written permission of the Publisher. Copyright @ 2013 iKubo Media Proudly printed in Canada. iKubo Media 784 Taunton Road East PO Box 78084 Taunton & Harmony P.O. Oshawa, ON L1K 0H7 Tel: (647) 427-8771 ARTICLE PROPOSALS and unsolicited articles can be emailed to or mailed to EDITOR, Kubo Magazine, 784 Taunton Road East, PO Box 78084 Taunton & Harmony P.O., Oshawa, ON L1K 0H7. TERMS OF SUBMISSION: By submitting anything to Kubo Magazine in any format, written or otherwise, you agree that (1) Your submission and their contents will automatically become the property of Kubo Magazine without any compensation to you. (2) Kubo Magazine may use or redistribute the submissions and their contents for any purpose and in any way; and (3) there is no obligation to keep any submissions confidential.

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For Your Information

Journey of Success

Safe Send

John Ablaza: Passion for Fashion


24 A Slice of Home 28 Reunited and It Feels So Good The Next Big Thing

32 Ernie Vicente:

From Spiderman to Funny Man

News in Pictures

16 Diaspora 30 Celebrations 34 Events & Entertainment

Publisher’s Note

More than half of my life has been spent discovering my purpose in life. I finished my elementary and high school days with awards, achieved a Computer Engineering degree, pursued a project management profession, married someone who didn’t fit my Mr. Right criteria (turned out to be the best thing that came into my life and I thank God for His perfect gift), had 2 little wonderful angels, serving God through a faith-based community and now serving the Filipino community through this endeavour. Yes, a busy life … a busy, purpose-driven life!

The people behind Kubo Magazine have waited for a long time for the right time and place to launch the maiden issue. Finally, that time has come, and boy, that was a long wait! But definitely worth it. A lot of people are asking– why Kubo? My answer, why not Kubo? It is an icon of Filipino culture much like a bilao (winnowing basket) or salakot (widebrimmed hat). But I chose Kubo because it represents a dwelling place. It is a single-room dwelling where all activities happen in one space. There are no dividers or walls, a representation of unity and harmonious living. What better time to launch it than during this Christmas season when people come together and reunite with family and friends. And what better venue to launch it than at the Toronto Paskuhan Festival, where Filipino-Canadians gather as one community and enjoy the best of Filipino Christmas from food to entertainment, and most of all the giving. Let us not forget to

generously share our blessings to the families and children affected by the recent calamities in the Philippines. Their Christmas will never be the same. The people behind this magazine are unapologetic about celebrating everything Filipino. Our hard working staff writers will bring you inspiring life stories and informative articles. Each issue will be filled with pictures about life’s milestones, scenic and beautiful places in the Philippines and the lovely and talented Filipino people from all over the world. So let Kubo Magazine be your home away from home as we bring you the best of our culture, its people and the country you call home. Claire Dela Gana Publisher

From the Editor’s Desk

is full of relevant stories, interesting lives, bustling communities, and stunning images that we at KUBO would like to showcase in the form of paragraphs and pictures. Our Kubo Magazine graciously opens our doors wide for both budding and experienced writers, artists, and photographers. We would like to feature all kinds of talents the best way we can. Send your contributions to editor@ for review. In the light of recent tragedies in the Philippines (Bohol earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda), we dedicate our maiden issue to our beloved motherland, the Philippines. We pray for endurance, tenacity, strength, and hope amidst the devastation that wrought grim despair in the hearts of Filipinos everywhere. Against all odds, I am certain that the Filipino spirit will rise above calamities and desolation,

Anne Simon is a full time Project Coordinator at CAMH, a part time staff writer for Kubo and also working towards her Masters degree in Information Systems & Design at the U of T. Despite her busy schedule, she values her time with family and friends, and immensely believes in work-life balance. She loves to experience and learn about different cultures through reading and traveling. Her favourite place to visit is the Philippines and plans to explore all its beautiful beaches and historical sites. Mariyah Gonzales is a first generation Canadian in Toronto with dreams of the bright lights in Manila. Her degree from Western University focused on the ties between culture and the environment and she believes in food that is good, clean and fair. A writer and photographer, you’ll often find Mariyah involved in capturing food and the grace and healing it can bring to the table. Website: Twitter: mariyahaisha Instagram: @mar_gonzales Veronica Javier is a Registered Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work. Veronica has over 6 years of communitybased social work experience, including in youth-led organizations, faith-based community settings and a clinical healthcare setting. Veronica has been a writer since the tender age of 12 and is an avid writer of short stories and poetry. Her first published work appeared in Images in Time (1998) with the Poetry Institute of Canada. When Veronica is not busy, she is dancing like no one is watching and/or getting lost in a fictional novel about supernatural creatures.

Mula sa Bulwagan Joi Lardizabal runs her own company that specializes in English as a Second Language for international students. She is also an author, a blogger, a special events coordinator, a teacher trainer, a church planter, a praise and worship leader, and a youth mentor. Married to a busy IT consultant/pastor, Joi is a doting mom to Noreen (19) and Nathan (16), and their pet Plott hound, Mazy (4). Started writing for magazines since she was 16, and teaching English for 25 years, Joi loves to read and write short stories and poetry. Her current burning passion is missions. The “foyer” in a kubo (hut) is called “bulwagan” in Tagalog. This is where the owner of the kubo entertains his guests. And so we warmly welcome all of you wonderful readers to our maiden issue of KUBO magazine — new, fresh, spicy, and exciting! The world

Meet the Staff

through the Spirit who provides Peace that exceeds all human understanding. Let us continue the season of giving as we also celebrate Christmas with our family, as we look forward to a New Year bursting with beautiful promises fulfilled. Joi Lardizabal Editor

Jane Taguicana has been with Canada’s national wire service, The Canadian Press, for nearly 14 years. She takes pleasure in belting out a tune, dancing to her heart’s content and conquering her fears. She had climbed all 1,100 steps of the CN Tower, visited a pyramid on top of a mountain in Mexico and dreams of one day living in the loveliest castle in the world (Leed’s Castle in England.) Jane is the youngest of 10 (yep, ten!), a mum of two and a devoted wife of Sidney. Twitter: @JaneTaguicana Chris is currently a full time technical writer and a part time creative writer for Kubo. He has developed website content, user guides, marketing collateral, proposals, and articles on family & lifestyle. In his spare time he likes to read, play video games and spend time with his close friends. He stays physically active by working out and playing for a basketball and baseball league. In the future he hopes to manage his own business and obtain an MBA from a prestigious university.

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Sowing Seeds “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, poet and travel writer Photo by iKubo Media

Everyday Heroes

Michael Masci

The Path Less Travelled

By Veronica Javier



orn in Wilmington Delaware, United States and raised in North York, Ontario, Michael Masci described his young self as a trouble-maker. It was not until people in his life recognized in him the potential to be and do something more that Michael realized that he could affect positive change in people’s lives. “There were definitely people who mentored me - positive teachers throughout my life.” Michael described these mentors and teachers as providing wake-up calls or reminders of what he could be and who he was capable of becoming. “Sometimes what people see in you, you’ll never be able to see in yourself

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so it’s a wake-up call. For example, what you’re doing is good, but what I see in you could be great!” And so, combined with the lessons from his experiences and the positive influence from his mentors, a ‘switch’ turned on inside himself. Oprah calls it the Aha! moment–an idea brings to light so many connections in your life and you make sense of it in that moment. Michael’s aha! moment made him decide to change his life. Coupled with an open-minded attitude that allowed him to be able to explore different opportunities, Michael made the choice to affect positive change in people’s lives as his full-time job. As a graduate from Western University, armed with Degree in Sociology and Social Work and a

“You have to create those opportunities in order to achieve what you want.” Diploma in Child and Youth Worker Program from Centennial College, Michael’s ‘job’ was to assist others in bringing to the surface their hidden talents, abilities, and skills–the positive aspects of themselves that can be shared with others. Michael achieves this through various roles. As an active Youth Minister in

Everyday Heroes

several Catholic churches, Michael puts together and facilitates spiritual and Catholic retreats, as well as first communion and marriage preparation courses. Michael also co-founded Positive Gear. Michael explains that the logo of Positive Gear has a cross in the middle to signify being centred in Christ. There are also other gears in the logo which convey how machinery works together to create a movement in the direction that you want it to go in. Their services include keynotes; workshops that challenge participants to think critically in light of real-life situations, thereby activating the leader in each team member, and ultimately helping other leaders reach their full potential; retreats that enable participants to pause from their busy and distracting world by helping people rejuvenate through reflection, and thinking about how we can return to our normal lives excited and recharged; and spiritual retreats which teach participants on how to integrate faith in their dayto-day lives. Finally, Michael is employed by York Catholic District School Board and works with special needs students who have behavioural issues. Michael also conducts special projects involving

leadership and spiritual growth within the York Catholic District School Board. Michael’s story challenges us to reflect on how we can affect positive change through our relationships with others.

Dear Youth of Today Michael’s story also challenges youth to think creatively about how they can go about getting their ‘dream job’. The youth of this generation are faced with much more uncertainty when they finish school in terms of job prospects. There is more unemployment and precarious jobs for this generation than previous generations. As a result, positive thinking and a positive self-image/esteem may not necessarily be enough in a society faced with a recession. I asked Michael what he would say to the youth. “Money doesn’t grow on trees. What’s different with our generation is that opportunities grow on trees [referring to those hidden from plain sight]. But the trick is we have to plant our own seeds. We have to create our own opportunities now. Before opportunities were abundant- [meaning] there were jobs, school was a lot cheaper, there were more public access to resources.

Now we actually have to do the work to plant those seeds. Getting access to higher education is no longer guaranteed anymore. If that’s you want then you have to work a lot harder for that. You have to create those opportunities in order to achieve what you want. The beauty with our generation is that there are definitely outside-of-the-box thinkers. We can do things differently through technology for example. However, we are also not the generation of doers. Our parents and our grandparent will always come back and tell you work hard. I think that[hard work] is lost in our generation a little bit. There are a lot of youth who think they are entitled to certain guarantees in life. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Our young people have to remove that sense of entitlement and instead, work hard, think outside the box and create opportunities for themselves. A lot of my friends, both younger and older, when they couldn’t go through the traditional job-seeking route, they started their own companies, and their own schools just so that they could continue to do what they love to do. So, take different roads and paths to get where you want to be.”

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For Your Information




omeo Labio drives to the nearest money transfer company every two weeks to send money to his wife and five-month-old daughter to the Philippines. The 35-year-old graphic designer has been using the same service since 2009. Convenience is the main reason why he chose that global company over others. Apart from its location being close to his home on the city’s west end, his wife Jade, who lives in Olongapo City, has a choice of six locations where she can pick up the money. Romeo is one of every 10 Filipinos who live abroad and is part of the billion-dollar industry that remits money. According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Filipinos abroad sent a record US$21.39 billion in 2012, up by 6.3 per cent from 2011. Money sent from Canada totalled US$2.9 billion, which is behind only to that of the United States which recorded a whopping US$9.12 billion. The island nation ranks as the fourth biggest recipient of remittances in the world, behind China, India and Mexico. Convenience and better rates are the top reasons cited by most people when it comes to picking and choosing a money remittance service.

For more tips regarding sending money abroad, please go to: otherOptions/sending/index-eng.asp To check whether your money remittance agent is registered, go to FINTRAC’s website: search-recherche/search-eng.html

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Ensuring that business is registered should be a top priority in choosing a money remittance agency By Jane Taguicana

However, a representative from Canada’s financial intelligence agency said that the first and most significant step should be checking whether a business is legitimate. “Their business should be registered through FINTRAC,” said senior communications officer Peter Lamey of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, the agency that imposes regulations on money remittance companies. The latest data from the World Bank website for the third quarter of 2012 lists 15 remittance services in Canada to the Philippines, which included four of the biggest banks in Canada. The continued threat of money laundering schemes should make everyone be aware of the financial institutions they deal with. During the meeting of the Asian Bankers Association in the fall in Manila, the coalition of bankers called central banks in the region to slap tougher penalties on illegal remittance agents. Besides checking the legitimacy of the business, one should also inquire about the total cost. It must be clear how much the money transfer agent is charging for the service.

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, a federal consumer watchdog, also listed on their website to check what protection is in place to make sure the money is received. One should know how you can confirm the money has been delivered. Experts also warn that you should question the business if the service charge is lower than what others in the industry are charging: If it’s too good to be true, then it must be a fraud. A lower foreign exchange rate is also a flag for illegitimate business. Peter stressed that if you’re sending money over $1,000, it is by law that more identification is asked of you. But keep in mind that you should never give away your social insurance number. A driver’s license, passport or any other government-issued ID is enough to guarantee who you are, explained Peter. Experts also suggest to keep a record of transaction at all times. Peter encourages everyone that “if they think that there’s something suspicious (in the transaction), they have legal obligation to let FINTRAC know.”

Journey of Success

John Ablaza

Passion for Fashion by CHRIS CATRAL


Photo by iKubo Media


irst, you find a passion. Then you put into hard work. Those words seem clichéd and repetitive enough, like an overplayed hit song or advertisement on television. But it’s the formula for success along with meeting the right people which Manila-based fashion designer John Ablaza has utilized to reach his status as a trailblazer in the fashion industry. Coming of the recent success of Toronto’s inaugural Canada Philippine Fashion Week, John took the time to sit down to talk about his life, career, and of course his passion for fashion. I interviewed him at the house of Carlito and Elizabeth Del Rosario of Scarborough, where he stayed during his Toronto stopover. “The first Filipino fashion week in Toronto was a huge success. Toronto is a great fashion destination; it has the potential to rank up there with the likes of New York, Milan,

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Paris, Madrid, and Tokyo.” His humble beginnings started in De La Salle University where he studied Horticulture, where it eventually landed him a job in Taiwan as a florist decorator. During his gig as a florist, he was able to contribute in a Horticultural Garden Project for Imelda Marcos. But his first big break arrived at a fashion show in the Asia World Hotel in Taipei where he was a wardrobe assistant. This gave him the first taste of the industry, which fuelled his passion to pursue a career as a fashion designer. “I had the opportunity to become a wardrobe assistant. From that moment, I developed the passion and knew that I wanted to be in this industry for a long time.” Mentored by Chico Antonio, John participated in his first fashion show in 1987 called the “4 plus 1” fashion show in Manila. Before reaching his current success in the world of glamour and glitz, he had to learn things on his own and experience the tough times financially. “As an upcoming designer, I had to work on my own. I was strapped for cash at one point in the 90’s.” He pointed out that his career’s turning point materialized in 1998, the Philippines’ 100th anniversary of its independence. “I was approached by the Philippine Centennial Movement. They asked me to design a replica of Jose Rizal’s clothes which was a great honour. I considered that to be the turning point of my career.” John describes his fashion style as haute couture — garments that cater to the high-end market such as evening and wedding gowns. In addition to this style, he is very active in creating native Filipino clothes made from indigenous materials. “The inspirations of my designs come from my travels, seeing the world and its beauty. I don’t look at fashion magazines or high-end stores. I can get inspired by looking at museum exhibits and just by meeting new people.” His fashion exploits has been seen in such places as France, Belgium, Germany, and Spain. He is well-travelled indeed.As a sought out fashion designer, he has taken advantage of his success by

Photos by Yhuong Botor

Embellishments made from sigid beads derived from a plant stem on hand-woven ikat cloth

A gown with embellished with coconut shells and glass beads

The tribal women of the Mangyans in Mindoro masterfully hand-sewing the embellishments on the gowns while John oversees the work

Photos by Yhuong Botor

John with (from left) Gio Vicente, director of the Mangyan documentary film; Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala; Dona Bea Zobel de Ayala; and, Ann Marie Gonzales of AMCG Events

writing his first book, Ramp Diva: Filipina, published in 2012. The book (which took him two years to complete) profiles top Filipino models of the last five decades — all of which he contacted personally — some who live overseas even flew back to the Philippines for the interview. Current top Filipino models that are in Ramp Diva include Angel Aquino, Patty Betita, Marina Benipayo, and Ria Bolivar. With so many accomplishments, John manages to represent the Filipino culture with class and style. His current project is working with the Mangyan tribe women in Mindoro

by teaching them embroidery. He considers himself to be more of an artist than a business man. “As a fashion professional, I am not cosmetic deep. It is important for me to stay cultured.” John’s next stop is New York where he will be meeting with the Philippine Consulate for a possible fashion show and exhibit next year. In five years’ time, he would like to continue sharing his talents to those interested, maybe setting up workshops and starting his own school of fashion. “To be successful in this industry, you have to stay grounded all the

time. The fashion industry is tough, it takes a lot of sacrifice and once you are at the top, you have to work even harder than before to maintain your success.” For the past three decades, John Ablaza has left an indelible mark in the Philippine fashion industry. He represents our culture with class and sophistication, and continues to make extraordinary pieces with a cultural touch. John’s email:

Facts about John Ablaza Favorite Designers: Favorite Books: Hobbies: 14 Kubo Magazine

International – Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Gianfranco Ferret Filipino – Auggie Cordero, Inno Sotto, Albert Andrada Biographies of Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, or The Royal Family Gardening, Cooking, Travelling

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The beauty of the Philippines, the Filipinos all over the world and the towns and cities they call home.

Midnight Sun - One of the things that Filipinos enjoy in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is the midnight sun. Photographers from all over the world spend their summer in this northern part of Canada to capture this natural phenomenon. Photo by MJ Ceria

Full Moon in Toronto - Full moon taken by an amateur Filipino photographer on October 19 at 8:30pm in Toronto.

Filipina Beauties - Showcasing Filipina beauty and haute couture garments designed by John Ablaza (right most) at the 2013 Taste of Asia. Photo by iKubo Media

Photo by Brian Simon (Toronto)

Sampaguita Festival - A school float participating in the 2013 Sampaguita Festival

Up Close & Personal with Gabby - Migrant

of San Pedro, Laguna. The floral bouquets around the floats are all made from bunches of the sampaguita flower.

workers in Ottawa enjoyed an intimate gathering with Gabby Concepcion sponsored by Western Union.

Photo by Shirley Bautista (Philippines)

Photo by iKubo Media

Photo by iKubo Media

Introvoys in TO - Paco Arespacochaga and Jonathan Buencamino of Introvoys arriving backstage in their first Toronto concert.

Set the World on Fire - Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life sets the world on fire with their faith during their 32nd anniversary at the Ynares Centre in Antipolo City.

Photo by iKubo Media

Poong Nazareno - A replica of Poong Nazareno was one of the many religious statues brought by Filipinos from all over the Greater Toronto Area and nearby cities at the 33rd Filipino Pilgrimage to the Martyrs` Shrine.

Jewel of the North - One of the must-see destination in the province of Burgos, Ilocos Norte is the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation. In Ilocano, “kapurpurawan” or “puraw” means white. Limestone made up this stunning rock sculpted by mother nature. Climbing the rock formation is now prohibited to avoid vandalism.

Photo by Nicole Brown

Photo by Dhey Enriquez Griego (Philippines)

Magtanim ay di biro!- The Philippine Embassy ladies dancing to various Filipino folks songs at a reception celebrating the 115th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence which was held at the official residence of Philippine Ambassador Leslie Gatan in Ottawa. Photo by iKubo Media

Exclusive Interview


Tobias Enverga Jr.

From volunteerism to one of the highest posts in the land By Jane Taguicana

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Senator



enator Tobias Enverga Jr. was quick to shoot down the suggestion that he’s confronted his first controversy as a member of the upper houseof Canada. “Firstly, there was no controversy,” he clarified. “The stories that were being relayed to the public are actually misinformation.” Earlier in the year, Senator Tobias was accused of claiming that the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation, an organization he founded, is a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency. “I have never claimed that the PCCF is registered with the CRA,” Tobias told Kubo magazine. (Please see sidebar) And as for the spending scandal brewing in the Senate, he said that actions of a few shouldn’t reflect

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the whole nor make the system ineffective. Tobias, who is more popularly known as ‘Jun,’ became one for the record books nearly a year ago during his appointment tow the Senate. It was Sept. 7, 2012 when Prime Minister Harper, along with four other new senators, installed Tobias to the upper chamber where he represents the province of Ontario as a Conservative. He became the first Filipino-Canadian to land the highest position in Canada with the appointment. Prior to that, he was the first Filipino-Canadian elected as a Catholic trustee at the Toronto District School Board in 2010. Before his appointment, the father of three is one of the prominent leaders within the Filipino community whom the Conservative

government taps for consultations. Tobias, 57, first turn heads when he helped raise funds for Kalayaan’s Philippine Centennial Celebrations in 1998, an event that drew about 21,000 people under one roof. From there, he founded the Lucena City Association of Ontario, where in a period of five years, the group was able to raise a little over $400,000 worth of medical equipment and supplies to the Philippines, mostly in Manila and Quezon province, where Tobias hails. The amount of money raised was unheard of at that time. Tobias’ volunteer work wasn’t Filipino-focused only. He cochaired the Asian Heritage Month Celebration for the Greater Toronto Area and was previously a director of the Canadian Multicultural Council – Asians in Ontario.

Photo by Kubo Magazine

“For me, it’s not a matter of what the government can do for you, it’s what you can do for the country to make it better.”

What’s the difference between a charity registered under the province and CRA?

In his office - He carries on his daily work as a senator at his office at the Senate Building. This is also where he receives guests and visitors from the Filipino community. Photo by Kubo Magazine

ACCEPTING NEW CHALLENGES Like any other immigrant, Tobias had a hard time convincing future employers to recognize his credentials from the Philippines. Armed with an Economics degree from Letran College and work experience in the banking sector, he knocked on doors of prospective employers when he set foot here in Canada about 30 years ago. Time and again, his credentials were always questioned. He first nailed down a job at CIBC and then jumped to BMO. Undeterred by trials and faced with a growing family, he went back to school. This time, the focus was on emerging technology: computers. When asked whether he got intimidated by new technology, he replied quickly: “No! You have to learn to adapt.” Tobias said that he accepted early on that he had to start from the bottom to be a success. “I realized that there’s a lot of challenges before I could prosper so what I did was to meet the challenge and accept the challenges. I worked from the mail room. I had to study. I had to

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take a lot of courses,” recalled Tobias. Tobias is married to Rosemer, and their three daughters are Rystle, Rocel and Reeza. He obtained a certificate on Computer Studies at Centennial College and earned a Masters certificate in Photo by Kubo Magazine Project Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University. “Sometimes, what you did in the Philippines, you might not be able to do (here) but as long as you are flexible enough, you take the necessary courses and get the necessary experience, eventually you will get into the niche that you need to be.” Due to this experience, the senator is in pursuit of getting the credentials from abroad recognized in Canada. He explained that the task is going to be complicated as education is under the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. When asked what the government could do for the community, he turned the tables around and echoed former U.S. president John F. Kennedy’s mantra: “For me, it’s not a matter of what the government can do for you, it’s what you can do for the country to make it better.”

Months after Tobias Enverga Jr. was appointed to the Senate as the first Filipino-Canadian appointee, he was dogged with by a controversy regarding a claim that an organization he recently founded is not a registered charity. “I have never claimed that the PCCF (Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation) is registered with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency),” he said to Kubo magazine. PCCF has been approved as a charity by Ontario’s Ministry of Government Services (MGS), which used to be called Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. This corroborates President Romy Rafael’s post on the organization’s website early this year of its registration under the MCCR as a charity. The main difference between charities registered under Ontario versus CRA registered charities is the later is required to issue official receipts to donors. Apart from that, certain tax requirements also take effect and the charity is also obligated to file an annual Public Information Return and financial statements. Brendan Crawley, spokesman of the Ministry of the Attorney General, said that to be a registered charity under CRA is a two-step process. “The first step is to establish the charitable organization. This can be done by incorporating with the Ministry of Government of Services. The second step is to make a separate application under the Income Tax Act to Canada Revenue Agency to obtain a charitable registration number.” “Approved as charity means that the organization, having met certain requirements, was incorporated by the Ministry of Government Services as a charitable corporation,” he explains further. To confirm whether a charity is registered under the Ministry of Government Services, you can contact the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee’s Charitable Property Program at 416-326-1963.

Photo by Kubo Magazine

Photo by Kubo Magazine

At the Red Chamber & His seat at the Red Chamber - The Senate Chamber, or the “Red Chamber�, is where senators from the provinces and territories meet to deliberate legislations and issues of importance to Canadians. Sen Jun gladly showed us his assigned seat in the chamber.

At his desk - Catching up with paper work before he carries on with his other duties. Photo by Kubo Magazine

Photo by Kubo Magazine

With visitors - A reception for his Filipino visitors, Ronnie Dela Gana (iKubo Media), Philip Beloso (TFC) and Ramon Estaris (Trimedia, not in the picture), after the Taste of Asia press conference.

Senator Jun Enverga and wife, Rosemer, with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) and Philippine President Benigno Aquino (right) during their trip to the Philippines Photo courtesy of the Office of the Senator

Serenading the guests with Philippine Ambassador to Canada, Honorable Leslie Gattan, at the ambassador’s official residence on the occasion of the 115th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence.

Photo by Kubo Magazine

The Grey Cup visited the Senate Chamber in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup.

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Senator

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A Slice of Home

A Slice of Home by Mariyah Gonzales


M The Philippines has always been a meeting place of the East and the West. Our history and culture have stirred Malay, Spanish, American and Chinese influences for centuries. Our Filipino identities are founded on these crosscultural encounters, making for fertile soil for Philippine creativity and innovation. Despite all of the migrating and re-rooting in my life and my family’s, I am and always will be Filipino. It has not always been easy to say, as this appreciation needed time to develop. Like many first and second generation Canadians, immersed in a culture so far from our own, growing up here was more than challenging. How do we belong and address our difference at the same time? What parts of this foreign social landscape do we adopt? How much of our parents do we want to be in this new place? In my own seeking, I discovered truths to questions like these at the table over ulam and kanin. Sinigang, pancit, adobo, sisig, dinuguan, lechon, balut…dishes like these have brought comfort and familiarity in times of wandering, satisfying cravings I never realized I had. History and tradition have been revealed in their preparation and family ties have been strengthened over them. I am realizing that with each spoonful, I am piecing together who I am, so I invite you, my friends, my kapatid, to join me in this feasting. Come and stay for A Slice of Home.

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y favourite thing about sharing a meal is the long lingering afterwards–when everyone’s plates are all smeared, table splattered and covered in crumbs. If there are any leftovers, it’s gone cold but no one really cares. Everyone’s laughing too loudly or the secrets spilled keep everyone quiet. Time loosens its hold and people indulge themselves in each other’s company. Then someone remembers the tea or coffee and the pie they picked up, stretching whatever this exchange is called. My dad had not been back to Manila since 1995. We moved to Riyadh after I was born and then to Toronto, along with my siblings. He had many reasons that had kept him from home and his family but last January he decided they were not good enough anymore. We bought two tickets for Manila, and were up in the air in two weeks. I guess when the heart knows, it just knows. I had not been back since I was eleven, so I too, was ready to meet my family again, ready to see the place where I came from and to be enveloped in this culture I craved. It was an incredible four weeks. Every day I learned something new about my relatives, my country and in turn, myself. The language became sweet, the histories grew valuable and the holiday ripened into a wonderful experience. Most of the learning was done at the table over Filipino favourites and oh, so much rice- kare kare, talaba, liempo, pancit, adobong puti, laing, tapsilog, palabok, lechon, mangga, pan de sal with matamis na bao. Cousins, titas and titos all became my “teachers’, and I, their student, wanted to consume everything. It is unbelievable how much food grounds us and connects us with other people and places.

The language became sweet, the histories grew valuable and the holiday ripened into a wonderful experience. A lot of my fondest memories from our visit were complemented by something I ate. Like when we scanned beautiful Boracay by parasail and traced its surrounding islands on a crazy speedboat. Though it left us a little empty and lightheaded, the sisig, sinigang and adobong pusit wrapped our insides like ribbons. My first mangosteen was magical- I peeled and ate it as I stood on top of these steps leading to an overcrowded tiangge mall in Divisoria. I was in a trance watching customers haggle, children play, motorists weave in and around pedestrians. It was all moving in this strange and dangerous rhythm, while I just swayed and ate. There was another night my uncle took us to a Seafood Paluto. We threaded through aisles of freshly caught goods, proudly displayed on mounds of ice. We were called at and tempted but only stopped by his favourite sukis and picked up all of these wonderful squids, shrimps, crabs and fish. None of the gold has faded since we have been back. Oh, if you only knew how many cups of tea and slices of pie I had just to stretch these moments with them. We may have set the table as strangers, but we have left it as kin.


Continental Cusine 445 MIDWEST RD., SCARBOROUGH, ON M1P 4Y9 Tel: (647) 352-6565



Advertising Feature

Sisig fries, eh! by Claire Dela Gana


ast summer, wellloved Filipino recipe mixes hit retailers in Toronto and Vancouver as Filipino food continues to emerge as an internationally recognized cuisine. Being one of the top food trends in 2012, North American bloggers are boldly declaring that Filipino food will be the next big ethnic food to hit the mainstream palate. Kanto, one of the food vendors housed in retrofitted shipping containers at the corner of Dundas Street and Bathurst Avenue (Toronto), is owned by Diona Joyce, or Tita Flips as many fondly calls her. Tita Flips would not just sit in a corner and let this opportunity pass right before her eyes. Born to a family of cooks, she acquired her culinary skills at a very young age – from watching her mother make the best garlic peanuts and peanut brittle in town, to hanging around and watching the cooks work in the kitchen of her aunt’s banquet hall. She never knew that her innate culinary skills will crawl back into her life when her mother joined her from the Philippines 5 years ago. Friends loved their cooking and started ordering party trays. Eventually, people started requesting for catering

services until it became a full catering service named Tita Flips Events and Catering. And from this, Kanto was born. Kensington shoppers and nurses and residents of the nearby Western Toronto General Hospital line up for an international selection of lunch from shipping containers converted into food vendors. People line up for a choice of a variety of international dishes–caramel burgers, Korean dishes, Indian street food, roti and more. But the most buzz is around Kanto for her exotic offerings of dinuguan (blood pudding), balut and the now famous, sisig fries.

The birth of the sisig fries was no accident. It started when Tita Flips joined an Asian night market a few years ago. At first, she was the only Filipino food vendor and she offered the regular Filipino cuisines like lumpiang shanghai. Eventually

more Filipino vendors joined and they were all offering the same dishes. She told herself that she had to do something different. Something people would love and something worth talking about. Sisig came to mind. An exotic dish made of pig’s snout and ears but it had to be tweaked to make it more acceptable for the North American taste. So Tita Flips decided to put it on fries and turn it into a poutine. Voila, a Filipino poutine! As the perfect match of a Filipino exotic dish and a Canadian favourite puts the Filipino cuisine into the multicultural culinary landscape of Toronto, eventually McCormick found Tita Flips to be its brand ambassador in Toronto for its flavor mixes. Another perfect match! “It’s great working with McCormick. The flavour mixes bring the traditional and authentic Filipino dish, keeping the integrity of the dish. With

the McCormick seasoning, you can make very innovative dishes, still traditional, but with a new take on every dish.” says Tita Flips.

Sisig Fries Ingredients: • 4 tsp (20 ml) McCormick Sinigang Rosemary and Chili Seasoning Mix • 1 lb (500 g) pork snouts and ears, boiled, cleaned and dices into very small pieces • 3 tbsp (45 ml) mayonnaise • Pinch Club House Ground Black Pepper, to taste • Spring onions, finely chopped for garnish • Green or red chili for garnish • Chicharon (pork cracklings) crushed for garnish (optional) Procedure: 1. Chop boiled pork into small cubes 2. Pour 4 tsp of Sinigang Mix into a big bowl with chopped boiled pork. 3. Add 3 tbsp of mayonnaise. Use black pepper to season. 4. Mix until thoroughly combined. 5. Garnish with chopped spring onions, chicharon and chili.

Kubo Magazine 27

Reunited and It Feels So Good By Joi Lardizabal


thought real pearls were hard to find. But I found the most precious pearls last month — in Los Angeles, California, USA. It has been 30 years since I graduated from Maryknoll College High School (now Miriam College), an exclusive school for girls in Quezon City, Philippines. A husband, and two children, and 100 lbs later, I did not hear or see most of my high school classmates again after our grad day. So, when I received a surprising e-mail invite to my high school class reunion in LA last month, I did not hesitate to book a flight for this rare occasion. And it was a decision I will never, ever regret for the rest of my life! As soon as the door opened in suburban LA, I was pleasantly met with tight embraces, playful hair tugs, ear-deafening shrieks, and loving greetings of beautiful ladies — colourful shades way better than their younger selves. We came from all over North America, temporarily leaving our normal lives, to step into this wonderful world of nostalgia. As we pored over our old photo

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albums, we happily reminisced about our teachers and their mannerisms, our Noli Me Tangere stage play, our CAT trainings, funny moments in our field trips, and more. We collectively sympathized with each other’s life’s struggles, rejoiced over successes and achievements, laughed at our stupid mistakes and silly choices as we journeyed through life, and of course, complained about our gout, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc. For a few hours, I felt like I was 16 again, surrounded by my old friends. There was no program, no agendas, no speeches. Just friendship. We did not scrutinize each other’s looks (or enhancements hahaha!). We served each other food and drinks, as we cracked jokes about our 80’s look in our old photos. There were doctors, architects, engineers, teachers, bankers, business owners, homemakers, my-jobis-so-classified-I-have-to-kill-you-ifI-tell-you professionals, and so on. There were singles, singles again, and marrieds amongst us. The atheists, religious, seekers, and clueless ones gathered together. It was a very

safe, place where no one was judged or patronized. It felt like... home. Thank God for reunions. Reunions make people remember who they were, and why they turned out to be who they are now. It’s like “recess time” where we take a break, eat a snack, and relax before we go back to learning more lessons in life. I look forward to more reunions... before dismissal time comes. Writer’s note: Incidentally, after my high school reunion, I also met up with a few of my grade school classmates in LA (from St. Mary’s College, Quezon City) — like a cherry on a sundae. It was a blast!

Focus on road trips, not market dips.

Look forward to a brighter investment horizon. Ask me about Money for Life™ from Sun Life Financial. I’m John Tan. Call, write or visit me any time. 647-706-1208 2075 Kennedy Road, Suite 1300 Scarborough, ON M1T 3V3 Life’s brighter under the sun © Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2013.

Celebrations Celebrating life’s milestones and achievements

Cynthia Fay Gutierrez-Marhue, graduated June 2013 from Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School (Scarborough) and received the following recognitions: Ontario Scholar Award, Honour Roll, Visual Arts Award, Vocal Music Award and Loretto Sisters Award, an award given to a nominated student who embodies Catholic morals and values. Cynthia has had the entrepreneurial vigor since childhood that she has launched her very own CD less than a year ago on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby at the age of 16, entitled, Cynthia Fay, Rewind. Her family rejoices in her various achievements, community volunteer work, musical plays and auditions thus far, and will continue their support as she continues on to Humber College, Lakeshore Campus in their prestigious Vocal Jazz Program this coming school year. Photo by Christian Panganiban


Kristine Mendoza,

graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing at McMaster University on June 11, 2013.

Cuison, 2012/2013 class valedictorian, St. Brigid’s Catholic Elementary School (Brampton). She also received the following recognitions: Best in English Language (oral & written), Best in Arts and Catholic Leadership. She is also a school representative in the Inter-school Diversity Program. Apart from that, Stephanie hones her singing talent at Long & McQuade Music Centre and sings at her parish church. She is also an active member of Couples for Christ Youth for Family and Life (CFC-YFL).

Kubo Magazine 31

The Next Big Thing

Ernie Vicente

From Spiderman to Funny Man Ernie Vicente credits Spiderman for helping him find his new career. By JANE TAGUICANA



n 2007, Ernie produced a video for a friend’s wedding which re-enacted the famous kissing scene in the superhero’s blockbuster flick where the web slinger was upside down while kissing his love interest, Mary Jane. Ernie played the love interest while a friend portrayed Spiderman. “The crowd went crazy during the Spiderman scene,” Ernie giddily recalled. Ernie decided at that moment that he’d like to make people laugh as a living. The Toronto-born comedian had his hand in managing a burger chain after high school. It was there that he saw a vision of him in the future: a 40-year old still working at the fast food resto, no children, no wife and no life. The anxiety and fear of growing old alone, as well as his parents’ push for post-secondary education, made him go back to school. Ernie earned his diploma in accountancy, but working in the financial industry weighed him down. When one of the servers at the wedding asked him about where he could see the video, it confirmed his desire to pursue comedy. “I’d rather do this because this makes me happy,” said Ernie. “I want to make other people laugh than sell insurance and tell other people they’re going to die.” A year after, Ernie started working

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as a stand-up comic. Since then, he has performed at world famous places like Yuk Yuk’s, Absolute Comedy, The Rivoli, The Second City and ComedyWorks. He was a top five finalist in the Russell Peter’s 2009 BFF comedy contest, and a year later, he performed at Kenny Robinson’s prestigious Nubian Disciples Show at Yuk Yuk’s Toronto, where more than 300 people attended. “It was one of the best shows of my life,” recalled Ernie. The 30-year-old started his weekly online show Erntourage in 2011 where the Toronto-born comic interviews fellow comedians and actors. Ernie is now branching out to writing skits and acting. He has written for a Tamil show ‘Say Vat’, which also landed him an acting part. Ernie considers Filipino-Canadian Ron Josol and Jo Koy as his influences. But despite the Filipino inspirations, he says he tries to stay away from Filipino-oriented jokes and focuses instead on everyday life experiences. Fellow Toronto-comedian Crystal Ferrier is a fan of Ernie’s unique style. “His style is mixed with sarcasm

and a surprise factor. He’s got a lot of one-liners...I think he’s hilarious!” Crystal has appeared on several shows at comedy clubs with Ernie and on Erntourage. “He gets better and better. He’s taking a lot of risks on stage, and he’s not afraid to fail, which is a huge thing for comedians.” As for his future, Crystal was certain Ernie will be doing weekend spots in clubs, and will even go full time soon. “He’s an awesome guy...Ernie’s fun and he’s not a pervert. (When) we roll together on the road, I know he’s not going to peek in the bedroom.” You can check out Ernie’s weekly show at

What’s On

Events & Entertainment MUSIC

WINTER EVENTS Transformation

Toronto Paskuhan Festival,

by Krossover

November 29

KrossOver is a Reggae/ Rock/OPM (Original Pilipino Music) four-piece band which consists of Justin (vocals), Earth (Guitar), Kevin (Bass Guitar), and Kensi (Drums). Before its current incarnation, the band was first born having the name “Crownless Kings”, with each member coming from multiple walks of life and different bands. Justin & Earth as a duo, Kensi of the band Overdrive and Kevin as a solo artist. This album includes a collaboration with the legendary Filipina singer-songwriter Lolita Carbon of ASIN. For inquiries and CD purchase, contact Grace Almeda at (647) 832-0524 or email

Rewind by Cynthia Fay Cynthia has had the entrepreneurial vigor since childhood that she has launched her very own CD last year at the age of 16. All original songs inspired by Cynthia’s experiences throughout her high school life. Rewind is available for purchase at iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby, www.

Time Space Warp by Uppercase UPPERCASE is a five-piece band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada pursuing alternative pop rock Original Pilipino Music (OPM) formed in September 2009. Time Space Warp is the band’s debut full-length album released on May 17, 2013 at the Hard Rock Cafe Toronto. It is available for download on iTunes and on limitededition LP CDs under Toronto indie label Radio Insect Records.

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An annual Christmas festival for the Filipino community celebrating the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas celebration in the Philippines. There is something for all the members of the family – food, kids play area, shopping and entertainment.

Disney On Ice: Princesses and Heroes, December 29 Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella, Jasmine, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty take to the ice in Disney’s Princesses and Heroes, a skating spectacular with some of Disney’s most beloved characters. Daring acrobatics, high flying jumps, and breathtaking costumes bring the Disney Princesses to life as they visit Canada for the first time after touring around the world for two years.

National Spring Bridal Show, January 24-26, 2014

The National Bridal Show is the best wedding planning resource in the Toronto and GTA area. From the latest in wedding registries, fashion accessories, favours, flowers, cakes, djs, transportation, and all the things that go into making every wedding unique and special, exhibitors at the National Bridal Show showcase the best of the best.

Toronto Christmas Market, November 29-December 15 An annual Christmas market event inspired by the old world and influenced by the new. This event at the Toronto Distillery District captures all the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas market.

One of A Kind Spring Show & Sale, March 26-30, 2014 Canada’s largest show and sale of works from over 800 artisans and designers.

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Ikubo magazine, vol 1 issue no 1