December 16, 2023 — The Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver holds its 4th annual Maligayang Pasko Vancouver” (MPV) on December 16 at the St. Patrick’s Parish Recreation Center (2881 Main Street) from 10 AM to 4 PM. It features a Christmas market with 50 food and non-food vendors, Christmas caroling, pabitin, parol-making, Pinoy Story Time and a photo booth.
A favorite of MPV goers are the food vendors which this year include many new as well as old eateries: Khaykery, Shameless buns, Boodle Filipino Fiesta, Manila Kitchen, Kasama, Mr. Siopao, Goldilocks, Hapag, Pampanga Cuisine, Taho, and Plato Filipino. They display and sell typical Filipino foods and delicacies for sampling or for taking home. They also have sweets like turon, polvoron and pastillas de leche and ube, Filipino cakes like sans rival, bibingka, and biko, and breads like pan de sal, pan de leche, and ensaymada.
The event is in support of the rapidly expanding Fil-Canadian businesses in the Greater Vancouver area and to bring them to the attention of Filipinos and Canadians alike. Among non-food vendors are Philippine Airlines, SMDC, Bammstella, Liberum Made, Hablon, Alala, and Llink and Chain Jewelry.
The day-long event shows how Filipinos celebrate Christmas in the Philippines in order to share Filipino Christmas culture and traditions with second generation Filipino Canadians who were born in Canada, and with the Canadian community in general. It includes a demonstration of how to make a parol, the colorful Christmas paper lantern usually shaped like a star. There will also be a Pinoy Story Telling Time and pabitin, the Filipino version of piñata, a game where kids have to jump to get hanging treats and toys as prizes.
The day ends with a Filipino community Mass at 4:30 at St. Patrick’s church, across the Recreation Center. December 16 is the start of Simbang Gabi in the Philippines, a novena of early morning Masses usually at the crack of dawn to allow farmers and fisher folks to attend. It culminates on Christmas eve. This practice has been adopted by some parishes in Vancouver with many Filipino parishioners but held in the evening instead of daybreak.
The Maligayang Pasko Vancouver was first launched in 2019 under ConGen Maria Andrelita Austria who moved to Ottawa early this year as the Philippine Ambassador to Canada. Current Consul General Arlene T. Magno, a caeer diplomat, is pleased to continue this yearly Philippine Christmas Market in Vancouver as the PCG’s Christmas flagship event, highly anticipated by the Filipino community in Vancouver.