Since first arriving on Canada’s shores over 150 years ago, Filipinos have contributed invaluably — though too often invisibly — to the fabric of Canadian society. This anthology of writing by members of the Filipino-Canadian community explores Filipino-Canadian identities, experiences, histories, presents, and futures, and serves to re-enforce their cultural contributions.
- Jim Agapito
- Teodoro Alcuitas
- Hari Alluri
- Christine Añonuevo
- Kaia M. Arrow
- Isabela Palanca Aureus
- Leon B. Aureus
- Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio
- Jellyn Ayudan
- Hannah Balba
- Monica Anne Batac
- Alexa Batitis
- Mila Bongco-Philipzig
- Davey Samuel Calderon
- Shirley Camia
- Isabel Carlin
- Rachel Evangeline Chiong
- Karla Comanda
- Kay Costales
- Gemma Dalayoan
- Ariel Dela Cruz
- Adrian De Leon
- Nathalie De Los Santos
- Sol Diana
- Erica Dionora
- Carolyn Fe
- Renato Gandia
- C.E. Gatchalian
- Kawika Guillermo
- Primrose Madayag Knazan
- José Romelo Lagman
- Yves Lamson
- Lorina Mapa
- Deann Louise C. Nardo
- Christopher Nasaire
- Rafael Palma
- Marc Perez
- Remilyn Felix Lydia Aiden Fau Policarpio
- Leah Ranada
- Alma Salazar Retuta
- Patria Rivera
- Rani Rivera
- Grace Sanchez MacCall
- Aileen Santiago
- Angelo Santos
- Carlo Sayo
- Maribeth Tabanera
- Steffi Tad-y
- Vincent Ternida
About the authors
Teodoro Alcuitas is the publisher and editor of Philippine Canadian News, an online paper launched to link members of the Filipino diaspora. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Patria Rivera is a poet and writer who has authored four books and two chapbooks of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Puti/White, was shortlisted for a Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and she was the recipient of the Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Jim Agapito hosts Recovering Filipino, a podcast from CBC Manitoba featured on CBC Radio One, in which he reconnects to his Filipino heritage through self-discovery. Jim is a Filipino writer, producer, and filmmaker from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jim's passion is storytelling, and his specialties include producing, screenwriting and directing documentaries, short films and music videos. He has worked in the Canadian film and television industry and with several independent production houses since obtaining diplomas in Journalism from Durham College. When Jim isn't working on his multimedia projects, he writes, boxes, wrenches on his motorcycle and sings in a punk band.
Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is a migrant poet of Pangasinan, Ilokano, and Telugu descent who lives, loves, and writes on unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, and Kwantlen, Katzie and Kwikwetlem lands of Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking peoples, aka New Westminster, British Columbia. Siya is author of The Flayed City and chapbook Our Echo of Sudden Mercy. Recipient of the Vera Manuel Award for Poetry, among other prizes, grants, fellowships and residencies, his work appears through these venues and elsewhere: Apogee, Marias at Sampaguitas, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry, and — via Split This Rock — Best of the Net.
Jennilee Austria-Bonifacio is the author of Reuniting With Strangers: A Novel Told in Stories (Douglas & McIntyre), which was a finalist for the Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award. As the founder of Filipino Talks, she is a speaker and school board consultant who builds bridges between educators and Filipino families. After completing her Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies, she studied at the Humber School for Writers and completed a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario, she now lives in Toronto.
Mila Bongco-Philipzig has published five children's books, four of which are bi-lingual (Filipino-English). She also translated two children's books from Filipino to German which were included in the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2022. Mila has poetry, personal essays, and articles published in various magazines, anthologies, and podcasts in the Philippines, Canada, and Germany. In 2021, Mila was an Edmonton Arts Council's Featured Artist for Asian Heritage Month, and the first featured reader for Edmonton Public Library's Multilingual Storytime. When she is not writing or painting, Mila is busy organizing community events, running long-distance, and helping various organizations promote human rights and social justice.
Davey Samuel Calderon, from Vancouver, British Columbia (he/they/siya), is a director, performer, writer, producer, drag artist, dramaturg and settler on the unceded lands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking peoples. He is the Co-Founder of New(to)Town Collective, an emerging theatre collective. His work has been on stages (Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night!), film (RUN! part of the shorts program of the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival), and other mediums (contributor to Canadian Theatre Review, Drag! Vol. 185, Winter 2021). Currently, he is Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Dramaturg, Public Engagement.
Shirley Camia is a broadcaster and journalist, born in Winnipeg to first-generation Filipino immigrants.
She has published three books of poetry including The Significance of Moths. Her work has been featured in North American publications such as The New Quarterly, CV2, TAYO and the Winnipeg Free Press, and the anthology, My Lot is a Sky, from Math Paper Press in Singapore. Born in Winnipeg, Shirley has lived across Canada, the Philippines, Japan and Kenya. She is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Adrian De Leon is an award-winning writer and public historian. His most recent books are barangay: an offshore poem (Buckrider Books, 2021), which was named one of the best Canadian poetry collections of 2021 by CBC Books, and Bundok: A Hinterland History of Filipino America (University of North Carolina Press, 2023). He teaches Asian American Studies in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, and will soon move to New York University to teach US-Philippine histories.
Nathalie De Los Santos is a writer and creative based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She created PilipinxPages, a bookstagram featuring Filipino/a/x authors. She has written for or appeared in interviews for the following publications and festivals: Kapwa Magazine, TFC, CBC, Cold Tea Collective, Filipino Fridays Podcast, Sampaguita Press, Stories with Sapphire Podcast, UBC's Games in Action Conference, Chopsticks Alley Pinoy, LiterAsian (2020), Marias at Sampaguitas, Ricepaper Magazine, and Gastrofork. She is also the creator of the podcast, “Filipino Fairy Tales, Mythology and Folklore.” She is the author of Hasta Mañana, Alice’s Order and is working on a Filipino fantasy novel, Diyosa Mata.
Kawika Guillermo is the author of Stamped: an anti-travel novel (2018), which won the Asian American Studies Book Award for Best Novel, as well as the queer speculative fiction novel, All Flowers Bloom (2020), and the prose-poetry book, Nimrods: a fake-punk self-hurt anti-memoir (2023). Under his patrilineal/legal name, Christopher Patterson, he is an Associate Professor in the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and is the author of the books Transitive Cultures: Anglophone Literature of the Transpacific (2018), and (2020).
Marc Perez is the author of a poetry chapbook, , from Anstruther Press (2020). His first full-length collection, Dáyo, is forthcoming from Brick Books in Spring 2024. His work has appeared in EVENT Magazine, The /tƐmz/ Review, decomp journal, Contemporary Verse 2, PRISM international, and Vallum. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Leah Ranada was born in the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 2006, shortly after graduating from University of Santo Tomas in Manila. She attended The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University in 2013. Her short stories have appeared in On Spec, Room Magazine, Santa Ana River Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, and elsewhere. Leah has brought her administrative and editorial skills to legal, settlement services, and academic workplaces. She lives in New Westminster and blogs at leahranada.com. The Cine Star Salon is her debut novel.
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Steffi Tad-y is a poet and writer based in the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia. Her chapbook of poems Merienda published by Rahila’s Ghost Press was nominated for the 2021 bpNichol Chapbook Award. In 2022, she published her debut book of poetry, From the Shoreline, with Gordon Hill Press. Steffi’s poems often reflect on kinship, diasporic geographies, and formations of the mind.
Vincent Ternida is the author of the novella, The Seven Muses of Harry Salcedo. His essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in several publications including The Polyglot, The British Columbia Review, rabble.ca, Rappler, Voice and Verse Poetry Magazine, and PR&TA Journal. His short story. “Elevator Lady,” has been long listed for the CBC Short Story Prize in 2019. He is currently completing a short story collection. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Christine Añonuevo (she/her/hers) is a community organizer, writer, and educator who has worked in rural and remote communities across British Columbia and internationally in Ukraine, South Africa, and Japan. Her poetry has been shortlisted for Prism International’s Pacific Poetry Prize, the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize and Room Magazine’s Poetry Contest. She is completing her PhD in Human and Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia. She lives in the unincorporated community of South Hazelton, British Columbia.
Kaia M. Arrow (she/her) is an artist, educator, and advocate. Kaia uses her writing to process and portray her experiences as a neurodivergent, sick & disabled, queer, Filipina settler. She applies structural understandings of power with an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist approach to her life and art. Kaia is privileged to be a part-time wheelchair user and full-time shit disturber. She dreams of supportive communities for all. Kaia writes from her apartment in Tkaronto (colonially known as Toronto), which she shares with her Bunny and her partner Peter. She carries lineage from fierce and tender ancestors in Pampanga and Aklan.
Isabel Palanca Aureus, from Toronto, Ontario, grew up in San Juan and San Mateo, Isabela, in Northern Philippines. A lover of books, she graduated from the University of Toronto, specializing in English. Isa’s Filipinx-Canadian pride was nurtured during her tenure as Board Secretary and later, Board Chair, at Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts + Culture. This work led to her Board Advisory and Associate Producer role at Carlos Bulosan Theatre. She usually writes about technology and business as a Product Marketing leader. Isa’s favourite story is the one she is still writing with her two sons, Leon Victor and Anders Noel, and her husband, Leon.
Leon B. Aureus is a writer, actor, director, producer, and community leader dedicated to creating and supporting proud and diverse stories. He is currently the Artistic Producer of Carlos Bulosan Theatre, a founding member of fu-GEN Theatre and the Associate Producer of the inaugural theatrical run of Kim’s Convenience. As a playwright, Leon adapted the novel Banana Boys for the stage, and he wrote and directed the children’s play, Kaldero. He also co-wrote the plays People Power and In the Shadow of Elephants and is a Dora Award nominated actor and filmmaker with multiple credits in theatre, television and film.
Jellyn Ayudan is a recent graduate of the University of Regina with an honours degree in English. She currently works at University of Regina Press as an editorial intern. Born in Pateros, Metro Manila, Philippines, she now resides in Treaty 4 lands in oskana kāasastēki (Regina, Saskatchewan) with her close-knit family and their dogs Max and Rocky.
Hannah Balba was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Richmond, British Columbia, in 2001. Inspired by her deep involvement with Filipino community groups in Vancouver, her research interests centre around Canadian foreign domestic worker movements, with a special emphasis on the socioeconomic impacts of caregiver programs on Filipino Canadians. She holds a BA in History from the University of British Columbia, and she will begin her legal studies as a JD Candidate in September 2023. She speaks Tagalog.
Monica Anne Batac (she/they/siya) is a teacher, community organizer, and Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Social Work at McGill University. Monica identifies as a second-generation Filipina/x in the Canadian diaspora, born and raised in Tkaronto (Toronto). She is currently residing between Whitehorse, Yukon; Montreal, Quebec; and Winnipeg, Manitoba. Monica’s writings include Growing Up Pinay, published in 2020 as part of the Home is in the Body anthology by ANAK Publishing, and “’Failing’ and Finding a Filipina Diasporic Scholarly ‘Home’: A De/Colonizing Autoethnography,” published in 2021/22 in the academic journal, Qualitative Inquiry.
Alexa Batitis is a second-generation Filipino Canadian writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, where she was born and raised. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Carleton University and a Diploma in Professional Writing from Algonquin College. Alexa's published works include poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. She is a proud federal public servant and amateur astrologer, and hopes to visit the Philippines one day. She lives with her husband, Shane, and their two cats, Kiwi and Kochi.
Isabel Carlin is a librarian and archivist in the occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (so-called Vancouver, British Columbia). They are a Filipinx poet and activist who writes and struggles for the national democratic revolution in the Philippines. Their research and writing focus on the intersections of imperialism, resource extraction, recordkeeping, and class struggle.
Rachel Evangeline Chiong is an author, poet, and happy person. Kabangka, a Canadian-Filipinx not-for-profit, was named after her poem, which encapsulated the values and hopes of the community. She has published a comic book based on her poem “Dark Magic” with illustrator and absolute lad Sven (@svencomicsart). Currently, she is working on her fantasy YA novel, Doctor Daniri and the Mythical Beasts of the Mundo, which was awarded the Ontario Arts Council recommender grant (2021-2022) and long listed on Voyage’s First Chapters Contest (2021).
Karla Comanda is a Vancouver-based poet, playwright, editor, translator, educator, and arts administrator. Her poems have appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, filling station, decomp, Poetry is Dead, Room Magazine, and others. She is the 2017 recipient of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop's Jim Wong Chu Emerging Writers' Award for Poetry. She has taught writing workshops for the UBC Philippine Studies Series, Vancouver Public Library, Migrante BC, La Salle University - Ozamiz, Co.ERASGA, and other organizations and institutions. In 2019, she hosted the Sinag-Araw Writing Workshop, a poetry workshop series created for Filipino youth in the diaspora.
Kay Costales is an author and poet represented by Lesley Sabga of the Seymour Agency. She is based in Toronto, Ontario. Her poetry collection, the EMOTIONS series, is available now and her debut novel, WHEN THEY BECKON, will be released by City Owl Press in late 2023. As a child of immigrants, it is important for her to always provide Filipino diaspora representation in her stories regardless of genre. You can usually find her constantly daydreaming about monsters, magic, and romance.
Gemma Dalayoan was a high school teacher in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada in 1976. She finished B.Ed. and a master’s degree in English as a Second Language (ESL) at the University of Manitoba. She became a three-time president of the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers’ Inc. (MAFTI) of which she was one of the founders. She served as vice-principal of three schools in the Winnipeg School Division from 1994 to 2004. She has received several awards for her community work and is the author of four books. She lives in Winnipeg and is currently finishing a memoir.
Ariel Dela Cruz (they/he/siya) is an educator and care worker based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Currently, they are a doctoral student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Their current research project focuses on alternative modes of care performed by tomboy and transmasculine caregivers across the Filipinx labour diaspora. They hold a BSc with Honours in Neuroscience and Psychology as well as a MA in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto.
Sol Diana is a spoken word artist and teacher born and raised on the traditional, ancestral, unceded, and occupied lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh First Nations. He is of mixed Filipino and Scottish background and credits the Filipino artists he grew up around as his biggest influences. Sol’s passion lies with empowering youth through art and education. His biggest hope is for a future where diasporic Filipinx youth are connected as a cohesive, safe community; their voices are heard; and their humanities are affirmed.
Erica Dionora is a Filipina poet and illustrator. She grew up in Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands, and migrated to Canada in 2008. Erica studied Publishing at Centennial College and completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. She is currently based in Scarborough, Ontario, where she is working on a collaboration for an illustrated poetry book.
Based in Toronto, Ontario, Carolyn Fe is a tri-lingual Actress (English/French/Tagalog), award winning Singer-Songwriter-Lyricist, former contemporary Dancer-Choreographer and in a former life owned and operated a Science and Technology Human Resources Firm. Her continuous pursuit of artistic evolution adds new instruments to her creative portfolio as a published writer and emerging playwright. Some TV/streaming credits include Lola in Nickelodeon’s “Blue’s Clues & You!,” Madame Z in the award-winning French series “Meilleur Avant” and voices on animated series on DreamWorks’ “Pinecone & Pony” and PBS Kids’ “Work It Out Wombats.
Renato Gandia, born and raised in the Philippines, emigrated to Canada in 1997 when he was 27 years old. He studied theology and holds a Master of Divinity degree. He worked as a journalist for daily newspapers in Alberta for several years. He became a Canadian citizen in 2007. He currently works as a communications advisor in the oil and gas industry. He lives in Calgary with his husband and their 14-year-old dog.
Playwright and author Primrose Madayag Knazan (she/her) is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and writes from a Filipinx-Canadian, Jewish, and woman’s perspective. Her work has been featured at Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival, CBC Radio, and the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. She won the Jewish Canadian Playwriting Competition and her plays have been published by Scirocco Drama and Playwrights Canada Press. Her novel, Lessons in Fusion, debuted on McNally Robinson’s Best Seller list and was nominated for the Manitoba Book Awards, the Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Awards, and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards.
José Romelo Lagman hails from Angeles, Pampanga. He graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomás (Manila) with a B.S. Mathematics degree in 1989. He has since worked as a computer programmer in the Philippines, Malaysia, U.S., and Canada, arriving in Toronto as an immigrant in January 1994. José is also an internationally-published sports and travel photographer. He started writing during the pandemic lockdowns and he is nearly finished with his first novel—a multilingual historical fiction piece set in Manila in the tumultuous 1890s.
Yves Lamson is a second generation Filipino-Canadian writer who takes from the Philippine oral tradition to spin tales of fantastic creatures. He also enjoys writing around the historical elements of the islands he is wistful and wondrous for. He is a writer by profession, but at the core he is a storyteller. Interested in preserving the intangible histories, he writes the stories down as a tool to not forget, to keep the precious things safe.
Grace Sanchez MacCall (she/her) was born in Manila, grew up in Calgary and went to university in Vancouver. She currently splits her time between Toronto where she lives and writes, and Tatamagouche where she tries not to do anything at all. Her work has appeared in The Capilano Review and Hamilton Arts and Letters. She is a founding member of the Eastwood Writers Collective and is currently working on a novel. Her writing explores themes of power, culture, construction of knowledge, inequality, and strategies of resistance.
Lorina Mapa was born in Manila in 1970 and at the age of sixteen moved with her family to Washington DC. In 1990 she graduated from The Kubert School of Comic and Graphic Art in New Jersey where she met her husband, artist Daniel Shelton. They have four children and live in Hudson, Quebec. Her graphic novel Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me, was nominated by the American Library Association as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens. Lorina was featured on the CBC’s 2017 list of Writers to Watch and nominated for the Joe Schuster award for best writer.
Deann Louise C. Nardo is a poet, interwoven artist and cultural worker living and napping in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal, Quebec. They work as mycelium: connecting, decomposing, metabolizing, and regenerating nutrients for/with their community. Their practice thrives on the thin line where questions live and curiosity flowers.
Christopher Nasaire is a queer writer, editor, and visual artist. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction. He co-wrote buto/buto: bones are seeds, a community-led theatre production staged in Vancouver in 2022. As a visual artist he works with photography and illustration. Born and raised in Mindanao, Philippines, he lives in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Rafael Palma [He/Him] is an English Major at Brandon University, with a minor in Creative Writing. He was born and raised in the province of Laguna, in the Calabarzon region. As a kid, he read science fiction novels and fantasy and started writing short stories in his elementary days. He immigrated to Brandon, Manitoba, with his family when he was fifteen and continued his studies. He discovered Western Poetry in high school and has been writing poetry ever since. He follows the styles of Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, and Robin Morgan, his favourite poets.
Remilyn Felix Lydia Aiden Fau Policarpio is a Filipino transmasculine artist, musician, educator, and storyteller. The oldest of four siblings and first in his family to be born on Canadian soil in Toronto, and inspired by a thirst for learning, he grew up reading encyclopedias for fun. He attended the Iona School of the Arts, specializing in instrumental works there before later transferring to visual arts. He moved to Ottawa in 2015 to study philosophy, stopping short due to mental illness but continuing his work as an educator. Felix currently resides in Britannia, Ottawa, lurking around as a member of the Haunted Walk.
Alma Salazar Retuta, a veterinarian and a Doctor of Medicine, works in Calgary, Alberta, as a physician. She came to Canada in 2011 with her husband and five children. She loves cooking, reading, camping, and singing. Also adores babies and children. She hopes to uplift the lives of close family members by assisting them to come to Canada to build a new life here.
In her brief life, Rani Rivera (1981-2016) experienced moments of darkness and light. She worked among the marginalized in two of the neediest neighbourhoods in Toronto: first, at St. Jamestown, where she organized after-school activities for children and youth, and later, at the Community Place Hub in the Weston and Mount Denis area. She enrolled in the English Program of the University of Toronto on a bridging scholarship. Her poetry collection, All Violet, was published by Caitlin Press (Dagger Editions) in 2017.
Aileen Santiago (she/they) is a teacher in Toronto, Ontario, with a background in languages, literacy, and social justice education. Born in the Philippines to Filipino and Chinese parents and coming to Canada at the age of seven, Aileen has some understanding of what it feels to straddle diverse cultures, embrace shifting identities, and the discomfort of learning how to unlearn. Her ongoing journey of reconnecting to her Philippine Taga-Ilog and Chinese Fukien roots has led her to curriculum writing projects, poetry performances, building the Fil-Can Educators Network, and research in anti-racist and decolonizing pedagogies. She shares her story as a racialized settler who is always ready to learn in community with others
Angelo Santos is a writer, filmmaker, and physiotherapist who spent his formative years living in many places around the world — namely, the Philippines, the Middle East, the United States, and Canada. He now lives in Oakville, Ontario. Angelo's work has been published in various outlets including Ricepaper Magazine and filling Station Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of essays.
Carlo Sayo is a cultural worker engaging in diverse artistic disciplines such as visual and installation art, poetry, new media, and performance work. Drawing from experiences as the child of Filipino immigrants who left the Philippines during the Martial law era of the 1970s, Carlo's creative endeavours delve into themes of culture, identity, migration and settlement. His work is rooted in community building, striving to foster a greater understanding of the Filipino settler experience on unceded territories. Born in Montreal and later moving to Vancouver during Expo ’86, Carlo’s imaginative spirit grew partly from being a child of the 1980s. As a youth, Carlo grew up in and around the Kalayaan Centre, a Filipino community centre based in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside that was the heart of Filipino political activism in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Alongside his artistic pursuits, Carlo takes immense pride in being a devoted parent to two curious children.
Maribeth Manalaysay Tabanera aka Kilusan (siya/sanda/any pronouns) is a Tagalog Visayan filipinx non-binary multi-hyphenate artist, educator, and community organizer. They were born and raised on Treaty No. 1 Territory (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and spent 35 years based in this community. They have presented their work as an educator, dancer, and DJ at events all over Turtle Island (North America). In September 2023, Maribeth will begin the Master of Education in Social Justice Education program at the University of Toronto in Tkaronto (Toronto, Ontario).