Philippine Reporter marks 25th year milestone
Media, supporters, family, fun affair
TORONTO – It was a media-studded affair, and rightly so, for it was The Philippine Reporter’s 25th Anniversary gala celebration that Saturday (May 31st) night, at the Rembrandt Banquet Hall. Media practitioners were there as guests, joining community organizations, public officials, academic professionals, business advertisers, former live-in-caregivers, human rights activists, family, friends and supporters in celebrating an important milestone for Filipino Canadian newspaper.
Members of Filipino media, ethnic media, Canadian mainstream media and international media organizations were present.
All the newly elected officers of the Philippine Press Club Ontario (PPCO), except for the president, Rose Tijam, who was in Manila on bereavement leave, were present (Acting President Jonathan Canchela; Secretary Rodel Ramos, Treasurer Noel Perada, Public Information Officer Mila Astorga-Garcia; and Board Members Jojo Taduran, Ariel Ramos, Romy Zetazate, Melinda Parreno Rustia, and Joe Damasco); as well as new members, applicants and honorary member, Marivel Taruc, CBC senior reporter and anchor, who came with her husband and two daughters. Officers of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada were there, as well as Natasha of IFEX, the Global Network Defending and Promoting Free Expression.
Mila Astorga-Garcia, co-publisher and managing editor, welcomed guests and offered them a brief glimpse of the paper’s humble beginnings to one whose growth and recognition is a reflection of the community it writes about, as well as its values and firm stand for social justice.
Publisher and editor Hermie Garcia presented an overview of the kinds of stories covered during the past 25 years, highlighting the significant issues that have affected the community deeply. He also cited what The Philippine Reporter’s role has been in building community, and in providing a useful resource for Filipinos and Canadians alike. He announced that The Philippine Reporter’s 25-year collection has been donated to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library of the University of Toronto, to be archived as a valuable resource for present and future generations.
At this point, David Fernandez, Thomas Fisher Library representative, delivered a message from Director Anne Dondertman on the significance of The Philippine Reporter’s donation.
Toronto Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, Member of Parliament Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr. and Toronto Councillor Raymond Cho graced the event and delivered congratulatory speeches.
The program was participated in by members of the community with whom The Philippine Reporter had a long-standing relationship: groups and personalities featured in the paper for their activities, achievements, and advocacy campaigns; advertisers who generously donated raffle prizes; public officials who have supported Filipino community issues; families and individuals who have always supported the paper.
Emceed by Lilac Caña, a multi-awarded opera singer who shares her music with community, the program featured songs performed by popular divas Josie de Leon and Chyrell Samson, vocalist Rhea Gamana who sang “Walang Hanggang Paalam” accompanied the guitar by Lui Queaño.
The Garcias did the honor of cutting the ceremonial 25th anniversary cake, as past and present staff members and families of the paper joined them for an anniversary photo op.
Guests were recipients of several raffle prizes generously donated by advertisers and friends, among them: lawyer Alex Guarnes, Dr. Francis Rementilla of Body Bliss, Jeff Rustia of the Canada Philippine Fashion Week and Kol Hope Foundation Melinda Rustia, former Lord Mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake Art Viola and Julie Viola, Joseph Estate Wines, GMA Pinoy TV, iRemit and Pinoy Unik-D.
Then it was dancing time, to the lively music of deejay Sherwin Sunico, who kept many of the guests on their feet till past midnight.
It was intended to be a night of shared goodwill to celebrate a milestone. It started and ended that way.