The 5th Maharlika Awards honoured twenty seven outstanding Filipino-Canadians in the fields of Business Excellence, Leadership, Arts & Culture, and Community Service, as well as an Outstanding Filipino Association and a Lifetime Achievement Awardee. The awards night was held at the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel Metrotown in Burnaby. Established by the Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society of BC, the 5th Maharlika Awardees were chosen by a nomination and selection board headed by Romeo Mercado, and a team composed of Salve Dayao, Laila Pires, Perla de Peralta and Mike Calingo. FCCHS President Rey Fortaleza says the aim of the awards was to see the common “tao” become noble heroes of the society to which they belong, and be given the recognition they deserve for all their hard work.
This year’s Maharlika Awardeeswere chosen from the numerous nomination forms that were sent in to the FCCHS in December of 2014. According to Mercado, some might not have made it this year, but definitely next year and the years to come, they will be acknowledged for their dedication and exemplary work in their fields.
The event was hosted by CTV Sports Jason Pires, saying that his work with the Awards Night and the FCCHS is one of the ways he wishes to thank the Filipino community in Canada for the work it does in the community, as well as to honour his own heritage. Co-hosting him during the event was RED – FM Filipino Edition host and former Balitang Vancouver anchor Irene Querubin, who came back to host the awards after a two-year hiatus to raise a family.
This year’s awardees include Leadership honorees Francisco Quimpo, Eric Inigo, Maria Lee Jetko, Lorie Corcuera, Celyna Sia Sherst, Dominga Passmore, Irma Rodriguez, and Angela Berto. Ed Araquel, Victoria calligraphist, led the awardees for Arts & Culture, which also included Eufrocina Narciso, the Zambales Dance Group composed of Merlina Fayusal, Rebecca delos Reyes, Clorenda Herdman, Angelina Balaong and Carmelita Claudio, and the Kathara Indigenous Pilipino Arts Collective Society. Awardees for Community Service was led by founding director of the Confederation of Filipino Canadian Associations Cosme Malapitan, architect and builder Amado Mercado, educators Anita Aytona and Richard Abarquez, Filipino dentists Rufino Olivar and Gloria Samosa, Dominica Bagunu, Aurelio Borge, Megin Alvarez and Maria Nieves Santos-Greaves. Beatriz Cabilin, Mike Gonzalez and Bienvenido Bruz, Jr. were awarded the Business Excellence Award, while the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society of Victoria was named the Outstanding Filipino Association.
The awards were capped off by the Lifetime Achievement Award given to “Inang” Brigida Revilla Natavio, who, at ninety-four years old, was radiant and youthful in her terno. She was joined by her children and grand children.
The night was a success with the awardees dining and dancing the night away with music and entertainment provided by Salve and Ed Dayao, and the Java Jazz Band, with their group of excellent performers.