In Photo: Philippine Consul General Orontes V. Castro (center) met with the Bangsamoro officers of the Muslim-Filipino Association of Canada to discuss a partnership in promoting the Bangsamoro culture in the Filipino community in Canada. In photo (L-R) MFAC officers Ana Domingo, Jonathan Macala, also the presidential assistant for international affairs of United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc., ConGen Castro, Deputy Consul General Edna May Lazaro, Riza Khamal and Emraida Gawan Sales.

ConGen Castro partners with Muslim-Filipinos to promote Bangsamoro Culture

CANADA – To serve the Filipinos in Canada equally regardless of their regional, tribal or religious affiliations is his mission. In his effort to do that, Philippine Consul General to Toronto, Orontes Valdez Castro recently met with the Bangsamoro officers of the Muslim Filipino Association of Canada to discuss future collaborations. 

ConGen Castro says, “I’m reaching out to everyone including the minority groups because the consulate is your home away from home.”

Culture as one of his advocacies, ConGen Castro would like to offer the consulate as a venue to promote Filipino cultures, including the Muslim-Filipino culture from the southern part of the Philippines. The Muslim-Filipinos of the Philippines also known as Bangsamoro are known for their rich and colorful cultures and arts. Dances like singkil, malong-malong and pangalay are known to be from the Bangsamoro in Mindanao. The Bangsamoro is also proud of their beautiful and colorful woven fabrics that are handmade and designed by the weavers of the tribe of Yakan, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug. 

The attendees of this meeting were led by Jonathan Macala and Emraida Gawan-Sales both are from the Kalagan or Kagan tribe; Riza Khamal, Yakan and Ana Domingo adopted Kagan by marriage who were elated for the invitation of ConGen Castro to showcase the Bangsamoro culture. 

“We are thankful for this opportunity, Sir. We thank you for your invitation, truly you are the only Consul General who personally sat with us like this, to know us and hear us, much more get us known as part of the Filipino community here in Canada,” says Macala.

ConGen Castro, emphasizes to the group, “you have the same rights as every Filipino here.”

In promoting culture, ConGen Castro adds, “I don’t want our young generation to forget their parents’ or grandparents’ roots. I want to give it to them now before they realize it’s too late. It’s sad to lose link with our motherland.”

Meanwhile, during the meeting, Macala, also Presidential Assistant of International Affairs of United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc. (UNYPAD), shared the socio-cultural situation in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), to which ConGen Castro is interested for the Filipinos in Canada to be aware of. 

Although no formal agreement was signed during the meeting, both parties are positive moving towards a partnership that will bring awareness and understanding of the Bangsamoro culture in the Filipino community and Canadian society at large.