Fil-Canadian academics, researchers, organizers hold summit | Global News

Fil-Canadian academics, researchers, organizers hold summit

Dr. Ethel Tungohan and Dr. Philip Kelly. Dr. Kelly is director of York Center for Asian Research, the funder of the Summit.

Dr. Ethel Tungohan and Dr. Philip Kelly, director of York Center for Asian Research, the funder of the Summit. PHOTOS BY MARISA ROQUE

TORONTO, Ontario– Some of the best and brightest Filipino Canadian minds met to share studies and insights into issues confronting the Filipino Canadian community, at the Action Research Summit held Saturday, December 5 at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University.

Twelve speakers addressed themes such as “working lives, youth/ageing, education, immigration, political activism, Filipino identity, gender, sexuality and social/economic marginalization” with a view to changing policies, institutions and thinking.


The morning panel on Generations, Gender and Sexuality was chaired by Nicole Cajucom, the executive director of Kapisanan Philippine Center for Arts and Culture.  Kapisanan is a youth-led not-for-profit center where Filipino Canadians can “explore and build culture, community, mentorship, and leadership potential.”

Panelists include Marissa Largo, an artist, educator and Ph.D candidate in the Department of Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).  Largo doctoral project on Filipino Canadian contemporary art was also her topic for the panel.


Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo

Robert Diaz on Skype

Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo; Robert Diaz on Skype.

Via Skype, Robert Diaz, assistant professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, OCAD University (formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design) discussed Queer Filipinos, Canadian Imaginaries, and the Limits of Community.

Fritz Luther Pino, a doctoral candidate in Social Justice Education at OISE, presented Lived Experiences of Filipino Gay Seniors in Canada: an Ethnographic and Phenomenological Study.

Denise Cruz and Caroline Mangosing shared Splitting the Seams: Transnational Feminism and the Manila-Toronto Production of Filipina Couture.  Cruz, an assistant professor of English at the University of Toronto, authored Transpacific Femininities: the Making of the Modern Filipina (Duke University Press, 2012). Mangosing is the founding executive director of Kapisanan Philippine Center for Arts and Culture.  She launched Kapisanan’s Vinta Gallery in 2013.

Mila Astorga-Garcia, Veronica Javier and Philip Kelly discussed Filipino Youth Pathways: the Echoes of Deprofessionalization.  Garcia is director of research at the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) and managing editor of The Philippine Reporter, a Toronto community newspaper.  Javier holds a master’s degree in social work and is a registered social worker in The Scarborough Hospital. Kelly teaches at York University’s Geography Department and has participated in several Filipino Canadian projects.


Nicole Cajucom, chair of panel on generations, gender, and sexuality

Marissa Largo

Nicole Cajucom, chair of panel on generations, gender, and sexuality; Marisa Largo

Jennilee Austria presented The Filipino Heroes of Bathurst Street, her work-in-progress first book.  Austria works as a researcher with The Pinoy Project, a study of Filipino parents and youth in the Halton Catholic District School Board.

The afternoon panel, chaired by Pinky Paglingayen, focused on labor, care, and migration.  Paglingayen, a former caregiver, works as a settlement counsellor at the Thorncliffe Neighborhood Office. She is a research associate at Ryerson University.

Valerie Damasco’s topic, From Policies and Practices to Process: The Immigration of Filipino Nurses to Canada in the 1950s and 1960s, traced the history of the immigration of Filipino nurses to Canada.  Damasco is a doctoral candidate in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE.

Conely de Leon focused on Transnational Kin Networks and the Politics of Care and Emotional Labor.  She is a Ph. D candidate in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University and a graduate associate at the York Center for Asian Research.

Mithi Esguerra and Rupa Banerjee jointly discussed Life after the LCP:  the GABRIELA Transitions Survey.  LCP stands for the Live in Caregiver Program.  Esguerra, a community organizer and activist, is the chair of GABRIELA Ontario.  Banerjee is associate professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Ryerson University.  Institutional barriers facing new immigrants in Canada is her area of interest.

Fritz Pino

Dr. Rupa Banerjee and Mithi Esguerra

Fritz Pino; Rupa Banerjee and Mithi Esguerra.

Patrick Alcedo, associate professor and director of the graduate program in Dance Studies at York University, screened a film clip of his documentary A Piece of Paradise:  a Collaborative Film Project.  Alcedo holds the Early Researcher Award from the government of Ontario.

Althea Balmes and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo presented Kwentong Bayan: a Labor of Love, a comic book created with migrant caregivers.  Balmes and Alcampo have developed a “critical and intersectional approach to community based art, labor and education.

Ethel Tungohan shared Reflections on Family, Citizenship, and Belonging: Filipino Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta.  Dr. Tungohan is the Grant Notley postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Political Science, University of Alberta.  A community activist, Dr. Tungohan writes on immigration issues for  In 2016, she “will join the departments of Political Science and Social Science at York University.”.

Closing speakers were Maruja M.B.Asis and Jesson Reyes.  Asis is a sociologist who works as director of Research and Publications at the Scalabrini Migration Center in Quezon City.  Currently, she studies the “interrelations between public policies, migration and development, and the transformative characteristics of temporary migration.”  Asis co-edits the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal.  Reyes is a settlement worker and organizes migrant families.  He is a member of Migrante Youth and a regional coordinator of Migrante Canada.

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TAGS: Action Research Summit, Filipino Canadian academics, Filipino Canadian experience, Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management
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