Special to Batanes Online and Bandillo Batanes
by vbc, Toronto*
The Ivatan Canadians of Ontario (TICO)
was honoured to have been one of the Philippine community organizations
to greet Her Excellency during her brief stopover in Toronto last January
31. The president was on her way from Ottawa (Canada's capital) to attend
the World Economic Forum in New York City.
Officers - L to R: Johnny, Roger, Ramon, Lerma, Aurora,
Max, Victor, Mely, Irene, Ailyn, Jovy, Jun and Consul Badajos.
The ceremony was held at the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre and TICO was there for the event upon the invitation
of the Philippine Consulate. The Ivatan organization was represented
at the occasion by its officers headed by: Johnny Agsulid, president;
Roger Caballero, executive vice president; and Aurora Caballero, treasurer.
Unable to attend were: Ramon Aguto, vice president; and Lerma Aguto,
Gloria during her speech before the Philippine
communities reported the achievements of her one-year administration.
She proudly emphasized that GDP grew by 3.4 per cent in 2001, and GNP
increased by 3.7 per cent, one of the highest growth rates in the world
today. The president also reported that when she assumed the presidency,
unemployment rate was 11.6 per cent , but 8 months in her administration,
it was down to 9.8 per cent.
With the Dual Citizenship and the Absentee
Voting Rights bills now pending approval in the Philippine Congress,
Her Excellency asked her Filipino audience to exert more effort to lobby
their congressmen and senators to support the two bills.
An Ivatan cultural organization
Ivatan Christmas Choir - L to R: Aurora, Mely, Roger, Lerma, Ramon,
Johnny, Max, Rosie (formerly Miss Sabtang), Froilan, Enong, Irene
TICO is a cultural (strictly non-political)
organization with the mission of preserving the Ivatan culture among
the Ivatans in Ontario. The induction of officers ceremony last year
coincided with the annual Ivatan Christmas Party. The induction was
before Vice Consul Edgar Badajos, a lawyer and formerly from neighbouring
The 2001 Ivatan Christmas Party was the
best ever. President Agsulid in his welcoming address expressed heartfelt
gratitude to Ivatans and Non-Ivatans for their part in the achievement
of TICO's objectives.
Ivatan "Fandango" - L to R: Ramon, Roger, Sherwin, Johnny
and their ladies.
Vice Consul Badajos delivered the Christmas
message and reminded the Ivatans of the spirit of the season. He also
told the Ivatans not to forget family and friends left behind and of
their ties to the islands. (His brother served as commander of the Philippine
Coast Guard Station in Basco.)
Ivatan "Fundango" - Roger and Aurora on their way to the
To the delight of the audience that was
a composite of Ivatans and Non-Ivatans, the officers of TICO under the
direction of Secretary Lerma Agsulid performed a cultural presentation
of the Ivatan "fundango," a traditional Ivatan folkdance of
Hispanic origin. A solo was also performed by Melissa Aguto of Kitchener,
Summer in the city
It's still winter in Toronto but indications
are that spring and summer will be returning sooner, and with it the
summer activities of the Ivatans in the city. Foremost among these events
is the Annual Ivatan Summer Picnic at the Shades Mills Conservation
Area in Cambridge, Ontario. This summer opener is traditionally hosted
by the Agutos of Kitchener, Ontario.
Another annual event at midsummer and appropriately
called "An Ivatan Midsummer's Dream" is held in the Toronto
area. Ivatans in the city (the Agsulids, Babalos, Batin-Valerios, Cabal-Martinezes,
Caballeros, Canos, Cari-Ferrerias, Castillejoses, Belgados, Enfestas,
Gonzaleses, Meriels, Rascos, Valiente-Tuazons, Violas, etc.), take turns
hosting the event.
Then the summer closer which is mainly
a camping trip is held in Peterborough, Ontario near the Haliburton
Highlands, a couple of hours drive from Toronto.
* vbc - Victor B. Caballero (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is an Ivatan in Toronto and one of TICO's PROs. Vic also maintains the
Uyugan webiste www.geocities.com/uyuganbatanes/