Humble, inventive with an entrepreneurial spirit, and committed to his family, the Filipino community, basketball, and Cochrane.
These are but a few words to describe Mike Bautista, who was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal at a ceremony hosted by Fiesta Filipino on Jan. 29.
Bautista came to Cochrane in 2007 from the Philippines as a temporary foreign worker and has since become an important staple of the community, while proudly supporting and promoting his Filipino heritage.
Now a Canadian citizen, business owner, and father of two, Bautista has been the president of the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta (FCACA) for the past 10 years. It is an organization that has shared its deep commitment to family, community, and hard work while taking time to celebrate life with festive celebrations.
I'm pretty sure when I first met him, about 11 years ago, that shortly after introductions, the topic turned to basketball. His passion for the sport led to the creation of Sunday Hoops, preceded by the Cochrane Ballers, who proudly represented Cochrane in Calgary area Filipino basketball leagues for several years, earning championships along the way. Sunday Hoops continues and wraps up each year with an explosive basketball tournament with an atmosphere charged with excitement and good fellowship.
Bautista says he was surprised to learn of being awarded the medal on Jan. 24, the night before his birthday.
"Maybe this weekend I'll find time to hang it on the wall. I'm so proud of it. I didn't think I would receive that award. We'll just keep doing good deeds for newcomers to Cochrane with the help of FCACA. We'll keep moving forward and do what's good for the community of Cochrane."
In accepting the medal, he gave thanks to his family for their understanding and support and to his mentor Edwin Aguanta, FCACA vice-president.
"This moment won't be complete without thanking the officers and board members of the Filipino Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta for their dedication and for everything they've been enlisted to serve, our community," said Bautista in accepting the medal. "I accept this award on behalf of all of you."
Bautista was nominated by the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta.