Banaag Award

December, 2006, Toronto -

Halfway across the globe the work of a Filipino group to promote the interest and welfare of kababayans has won the nod from the head of the Filipino nation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rewarded the Markham Federation of Filipino Canadians with this year’s prestigious Presidential “BANAAG AWARD” at formal ceremonies in Malacanang Palace on December 7, 2006.

MFFC was the only recipient group of the Awards in Canada. MFFC Chair Yoly Ladines, accompanied by a few members, were on hand in the Philippines to accept the Award.

On the same occasion, Torontonian and TV branding maverick Jeff Rustia and from Winnipeg, University of Manitoba Professor and Dean Emeritus Dr. Romy Magsino each received the Presidential “Pamana ng Pilipino Award” in the individual exemplary achievement category.

The Presidential Awards recognize overseas Filipinos and organizations “who have given form and substance to Filipino excellence and time honoured values of pagkakapagkapwa, pagtutu-lungan and bayanihan, by their exceptional achievements and humanitarian efforts.”

The “BANAAG ‘Dawn of Filipino’ AWARD” is conferred on individuals and associations for their “contributions which have significantly benefited a sector or community in the Philippines, or advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.”

In the greater Toronto area, the Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe and the Philippine Heritage Band are past recipients of the “BANAAG AWARD.”

Since its founding in 1989 MFFC has diligently toiled to unify and help integrate its local Filipino community into the mainstream society. Its sustained efforts have quietly yielded many “first” credits among Filipino communities in Canada, making it a role model of unity and self-sacrifice- requisites sorely needed for Filipino groups anywhere to succeed.

MFFC was first to acquire and fully pay for its community center within five years of its founding; first to name its facilities “Rizal Hall”; first to elect a kababayan to public office in the person of Councilor Alex Chiu at the Markham Town Council; first to name a street in honor of the Filipino hero Dr. Jose Rizal, with its “Rizal Avenue”; last March in partnership with the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the York Region Police Force, MFFC raised over $125,000 for the landslide victims in Guinsaugon, Leyte- the biggest fundraised by a Filipino group for the disaster; and just recently, first to help win two political seats for kababayans in the same election- notably for Councilor Chiu who scored his 8th term or 25 years in Council by the end of this term, and for Marlene Mogado who is on her first term as Catholic School Trustee.

Behind MFFC’s success is a strong sense of community, patriotism and volunteerism of its Board Directors and members who come from both Markham and its neighboring areas. At its community center popular programs for youth, seniors and adults continue at full capacity, prompting the MFFC Board to look ahead at further expanding its facilities.

Heading the hard working Board of Directors is Chair Yoly Ladines, with Ramon Ombao as Vice Chair, and Mogi Mogado as 2nd Vice Chair. The Executive Committee includes Ester Toribio as Secretary, Rusty Muere as Treasurer, and Sue Bautista as Public Relations Officer. The other Directors are Allan Bella, Lita Bruneau, Mel Caguiat, Alicia Chiu, Dr. Bina Comendador, Marian Cusi, Freda de Jesus, Minda Reyes and Tessie Ting.

The MFFC Community Center is located at 1151 Denison St., Units 11-12. For more information, please call 905 305 1320 or visit