WOODSTOCK – Greeting visitors from behind a display table at Leti Larosa seemed to take on a motherly role among the more than two-dozen Filipinos in attendance.
Larosa helped explain the many items from the Filipino culture in display, including food items for sampling at the Rural Action Centre’s Neighbour-to-Neighbour Festivity on Saturday,
It was members of the Filipino community that first approached the Rural Action Centre last summer for help in organizing a cultural day. The event was then expanded to celebrate all cultures present in the community.
If she did take on the motherly role, it was fitting.
Larosa says she was one of the first Filipinos to arrive on P.E.I. about 40 years ago. Her husband had studied at Memorial University in Newfoundland and then accepted a federal position in P.E.I.
She’s seen the Filipino population in P.E.I. swell to 2,000 in recent years, including many living and working in Prince County. The Spanish and then American influence in the Philippines, she said, has helped her countrymen and women adapt to life in P.E.I. She’s proud of their contribution to the workforce.
She recalls needing to travel to Halifax to purchase food for cultural dishes, but said those days are long gone as supermarkets and specialty stores are responding to the need.
Larosa said she was happy to help organize the Filipino display for the festivity.
Other cultures, including Mi’kmaq, Acadian, Chinese, Mexican, Polish and Italian were also on display and celebrated.
Program coordinator and emcee, Sean Doyle, said close to 200 people attended.
“There were conversations taking place and learning happening,” he observed. Happy with the turnout and the sharing, he anticipates there will be more such events in the future.