A Royal Canadian Navy ship has made a goodwill visit to the Philippines with 11 Canadian Filipino sailors aboard.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg arrived on October 11 at the Port of Manila and was scheduled to stay until October 13.
The HMCS Winnipeg is a Halifax-class frigate that carries extensive anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare weapons and sensors.
The ship last visited the Philippines in 2017.
Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur spoke at the arrival ceremonies on October 11.
“I am pleased to welcome HMCS Winnipeg, its officers and crew to Manila. As a maritime nation, the Philippines has always been a very good host to our fleet and I know this visit will further strengthen a relationship that bridges the Pacific Ocean,” MacArthur said.
“Operations conducted by the HMCS Winnipeg together with our allies and partners in the region, demonstrate Canada’s ongoing commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific,” MacArthur added.
The HMCS Winnipeg on October 9 announced on social media that it is conducting a port visit in Manila.
“We are proud to count 11 sailors of Philippine descent on board. Did you know that Canada is home to one of the largest Filipino communities in the world? The ship’s namesake is the City of Winnipeg; home to the third-largest Filipino community in Canada; the largest per-capita at nearly 10 percent,” the post read.
“Canada proudly celebrates the contributions that #FilipinoCanadian have made and continue to make to the social, economic and cultural fabric of our Country,” the post added.
Philippine news agency ABS-CBN reported that one of the Canadian Filipino sailors on board was Cpl. Kristel Arcal, a native of Tanza, a town in the province of Cavite.
Arcal works as a cook on HMCS Winnipeg.
ABS-CBN related that Arcal has been detailed with the ship since May of this year.
Also, Arcal joined the Canadian navy five years ago.
Arcal was 11 years old when she and her family migrated to Canada 21 years ago.
She resides in Victoria, where a naval base is located.
ABS-CBN quoted Arcal recalling that she grew up embracing Canadian and Filipino cultures.
“I speak Tagalog at home because my parents told me to not forget it so we still speak Tagalog at home. We still have Filipino values and traditions. We celebrate fiesta and go to Church. The Filipino values and culture are still there and we practice them at home,” Arcal said in Tagalog in the report.
In a media release, the Canadian embassy in the Philippines noted that the HMCS Winnipeg is deployed to the Indo-Pacific region from August to December 2021.
The ship will “conduct forward naval presence operations in the region, as well as to conduct cooperative deployments and participate in international naval exercises with allied and partner nations”.
Commander Doug Layton, commanding officer of the HMCS Winnipeg, made a virtual courtesy call on Philippine Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Caesar Bernard N Valencia, to discuss issues of mutual interest.
“HMCS Winnipeg is delivering robust capabilities working with our partner navies to strengthen international partnerships and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Commander Layton said.
During its deployment, the Canadian navy ship will make seven port visits in four different countries, namely, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and the U.S.