Friendly Manitoba – Part 2
In my previous post, I cited a few examples why I think this province lives up to its motto, “Friendly Manitoba.”
Now let me share with you two articles that I read in our community newsletter, The Herald, just last week.
Rene wrote about his neighbour. Their relationship, he said, consists of happy waves and occasional chit-chat about the weather and such. But this day, she frantically waved at him to come over and she gave him a big bag of fresh vegetables from her garden. She said that she was just so happy to have him and the others as her neighbour. The following days, he saw her hand out vegetables also to their numerous neighbours.
Another article started as a complaint on how Shelagh got “stuck in traffic” in the aisles of the grocery store that was offering dollar days that Saturday afternoon. She went to the store to grab only a few items and get out of there fast but nobody in the store was moving quickly. There were groups of shoppers gathering in the middle of aisles and “each chatterer had their cart parked in an-awkward-to-get-by position.” She wondered if traffic laws should also apply to grocery store aisles but then she realized that people where just trying to catch up on old times or the latest gossip.
She ended her article with this. “But we are a friendly people so our license plate states. And that’s what started the traffic jam in the first place.”
And I have to tell you about the Manitoba socials.
The first time I heard about it was when a co-worker tried to sell me tickets to a wedding social for $10.00. I asked her what it was. She said that it’s like a party, there will be food and drinks and raffle draw where I could win prizes. But it was on a Saturday night and I was not really into attending parties. Besides I had small kids and I didn’t think we could get someone to look after them. But she always buys the chocolate almonds I bring to work for my kids fundraising for school, so I bought one ticket. I didn’t attend the social. But I’ve learned my lesson. Every time I heard someone selling tickets for a social, I try to avoid them.
A few years ago, I heard from another co-worker that socials are unique to Manitoba. People from the other provinces don’t know what we are talking about if we mention “social.”
What is a social, you may ask? Well, it’s a gathering usually held at a community centre or a parish hall to raise money for a wedding, if it’s a wedding social, because you know how expensive a wedding can be. Or it can also be a fundraising event for a good cause. Like for someone who’s ill, as in a cancer patient, to help the family out.
I have only attended one social. It was a benefit social for my brother-in-law after he had a triple heart by-pass surgery last year. When his friends and co-workers learned that he wouldn’t be able to work for at least six months, they decided to help him out and his family. He was the only breadwinner and he and my sister has seven children. So the organizers rented this parish hall and friends and family of friends came and we all mingled and danced. Of course there was food: chips, bread, pizza, spaghetti, and of course pancit and kakanin because it was mostly Filipinos who attended. There were also drinks: soda and alcohol.
And speaking of Filipinos, there is a huge Filipino community here in Winnipeg. Last time I heard, there are roughly 30,000 of us here. I jokingly tell to anyone who asks me if it’s true that there are a lot of Filipinos here, I’d say, ”Everywhere I look, there is at least one Filipino in sight.”
Filipinos love gatherings and eating and fiestas. This is true even here in Winnipeg. In the summer, you’ll find the Bulakenos’ organization, or the Cavitenos, Pampangenos, or Ilocanos, having a picnic at Kildonan Park or Assiniboine Park. Or usually there are invitations to a baby’s christening or a birthday party at some restaurant or somebody’s home.
As years go by, more and more Filipinos flock here. And it was because of this that the Philippine-Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) was built. The roof-top of the building has a distinctive design. It is in the shape of our very own salakot (a native protective headgear), according to the PCCM website, “to forever etch our cultural identity in this part of the world we have chosen to build a new life.”
Winnipeg has long and very cold winters. But as I’ve said before, it is the friendliness of this province, the huge Filipino community here, the closeness of my family and the warmth of my friendships with fellow kababayans that make it bearable for me to live in this city.
Entry filed under: Winnipeg.