PART TWO:

When Mike Bautista moved here in 2007, he believes there were maybe 10 other Filipinos living in Cochrane.

Fast forward to today, more than 1,000 have come to call Cochrane home, and have embraced and enriched our community.

On June 8, the Filipino-Canadian Association of Cochrane Alberta (FCACA) welcomed the community to help celebrate their rich culture.

SEE MORE: GALLERY: Filipino Community generously shares its heritage

Vida Soraya Verzosa, foreign service officer for the Consulate General of the Philippines, was here for the celebration. It was her first visit to Cochrane, and she quickly realized how accepting Cochranites have been. She says Filipinos are known to offer much to Canadian communities.

certificate presentationVida Soraya Verzosa accepts a certificate of appreciation from new FCACA president Mila Prout and FCACA vice-president Edwin Aguanta.

"Micromanaged is the one of the skills they offer to help Cochrane, Alberta to keep growing," she says. "As well, they have the technical talent, and they have the ability to connect people in a very deep way.  

"They say that it's a culture that's really known for like hospitality, like being very loving, being very caring. That's our nature and we're really happy to share that."

Later that day she was in Banff for another Philippines heritage celebration before participating in the Global Energy Show being hosted in Calgary.

"The most important part for me is to always to support the Filipino community wherever we may be. Our mandate is really to provide public service to every single Filipino-Canadian Canadian."

Alberta became the first province to acknowledge the contribution of the Filipino community in 2018 by declaring June as Philippine Heritage Month,

“Alberta is the proud home to the second-largest Filipino population in the country,” Premier Notley said at the time. “For decades, Filipinos have enriched our province with their culture, their languages and their skills.”

Mike BautistaMike Bautista welcomes all to enjoy the celebration.

Yes, Mike Bautista is a proud Filipino, but Cochrane is home. It's where he met his future wife, Monica, while working at his first job at McDonald's. It's where the couple had their two children. It's where the couple have partnered with others in business ventures like Bubble Tea Brewers.

And then there's basketball; Sunday Hoops, Cochrane Ballers, and go Raptors.

He is modest about the role he played as the founding president of the FCACA in 2012. The term president seems awkward to him. To him, it's just a word. What is important to him is how a couple of handfuls of people have worked together to help the Filipinos and the community of Cochrane.

"I don't feel like I'm president," he says. "I feel like I'm just a guy people look to for help, especially the newcomers."

Stepping back from the role, he's proud of what FCACA continues to do.

"We're there to help them get started here because we've all been there before."

Mila ProutMila Prout was inducted as the new FCACA president at the celebration.

An emotional Mila Prout was sworn into office as only the second president of the organization during the June 8 celebration. 

"I am excited to take this organization to a new height with the goal of further serving not only our Filipino community but also the entire Town of Cochrane that has embraced and accepted us. We will continue to work collaboratively with all the different organizations that serve this community. We will aspire to work within the framework of equity, diversity, and inclusion."

Mila moved to Cochrane 30 years ago and says she was the first Filipino in town. She has filled many roles for the FCACA, including treasurer and organizer of such events as their giant roadside cleanup day and summer youth art classes.