Journalist and film buff Mel Tobias feels blessed to be living his senior life in Vancouver.
“The lifestyle in Vancouver has allowed me to meditate and look at life on a positive note. It’s not religious but rather spiritual,” Tobias said.
Tobias migrated to Vancouver in 1993 after 25 years of having a lucrative multi-layered career in Hong Kong. He managed the PR group of San Miguel Corporation in the ‘80s, hosted the radio program Off the Beaten Track at BBC Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), and wrote for the Hong Kong Standard as a film critic.
For 17 years, his love for cinema brought him annually to Cannes International Film Festival as a film critic and foreign correspondent representing Hong Kong and the Philippines. His writings had been published in the Variety Magazine and the Hollywood Reporter in the U.S.
Although he left behind a rewarding profession in Manila and Hong Kong, he firmly believed that when one door closes, another door opens. An inspiring adage that keeps him grounded as he tackled his life’s adventure in Canada.
“When I moved to Vancouver, I found the right place where I can be myself. It’s a place where you can pursue your passion without being judged by what your job is.”
Now in his 70s, Tobias has continued to pursue his passion for writing. Aside from writing his regular column “Living in Canada” in the Philippine Star, he is also busy with Anyone Can Act Theatre (ACAT) as a co-founder and artistic director.
“Retirement hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love. I keep on writing and engage myself with activities related to arts, music and theatre.”
Under his direction, ACAT’s first production was a dramatic stage reading of Nick Joaquin’s Portrait of the Filipino Artist at the Gateway Theater in Richmond. Two musical productions were also organized, the first featured Dorothy Uytengsu and Victoria Francisco in Piano Duo on Fazioli while the second event featured an evening of classic torch songs performed by jazz vocalist Armi Grano. ACAT also supported the book launching of Eleanor Guerrero-Campbell’s Stumbling Through Paradise: A Feast of Mercy for Manuel del Mundo. Their latest production was a fashion show presenting the Barong Mindanao collection designed by Davaoeno Michaelangelo Dacudao.
“When you’re young, you pursue your lofty goals because you want to prove something either for yourself or for someone. When you grow old, it’s no longer about making money or garnering accolades. It’s about finding your inner peace,” Tobias firmly believes.
Truly, Tobias characterizes the concept of "successful aging" as he is able to enjoy his senior years in a way that exceeds even his own expectations.