Connecting generations through Filipino art, food, and passion

Laila Pires joins host Lucky Budd on the Vital Victoria Podcast to tell the story of one of Canada’s first Filipino-owned community centres, and how it continues to create space for Victorians of all backgrounds to celebrate Filipino arts, food and culture.

Laila, the treasurer and founding member of the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society, discusses her involvement in the region’s Filipino community after her immigration to Canada over 50 years ago. She traces the society’s early roots, how it opened its official community centre in 2001 and paid off the building’s mortgage in just 5 years, and how it continues to enrich Greater Victoria through events, food, and arts, in order to break down barriers and create an equitable community for everyone.

Vital Signs Issue Area

Sustainable communities ensure to the best of their ability that people of all cultures and backgrounds are welcome, safe, and are given opportunities to thrive. In Greater Victoria’s 2023 Vital Signs report, survey participants gave ‘Belonging and Engagement’ a B- grade (see pages 12 to 13). This issue is connected to Sustainable Development Goal 10 and 11: Reduced Inequalities and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Episode 18 Guest

Laila PiresLaila Pires is the treasurer and a founding member of the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society, which formed in 1991, and opened its official community centre ten years later. Since her arrival to Victoria in 1972, she’s played an integral role in connecting and celebrating Victoria’s Filipino community through arts and cultural events, and has intimate knowledge of how the region’s Filipino community has grown and changed over the last five decades. She’s won numerous awards for community involvement, including the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012, and the 2020 Victoria Community Leadership Award for Arts and Culture.  

Episode 18 Resources