A window into the Philippines
Over the years, it has become the sincere wish of PhilCAS’ young members to spread the beauty of their Philippine heritage. It is this desire that fuels the consistent professionalism and excellence that is exhibited to the culturally diverse region of the Lower Mainland.
To educate, inform and enrich people residing in North America in the traditions and culture of the Philippines, in particular those people of Filipino birth, ancestry, or affiliation.
To create activities where people can participate in order to explore, learn, understand and share the values, tradition and practices and customs of the Filipino people as well as the varied cultures existent in this Canadian society.
To assist the youth in developing a sense of community and responsibility they learn to respect their own cultures, heritage and traditions.
To secure financial assistance through fundraising from individuals, charitable groups and other organizations.
Our events and publications encourage sharing and networking between members on a local, regional and national basis. Members find new ways of making the most of their limited resources, of improving the quality of their work and consequently enhancing the experience of their participants.
Tonette and Nes Gatus came to Canada in mid-1997 bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of Filipino traditional dancing and music. They envisioned that Filipino-Canadian youth should be given the opportunity to discover their heritage through dance and music. It was through this vision that the couple was able to impart to the local Filipino community the beauty of our culture which has long been ignored.
In less than one year, Filipino parents witnessed the hidden richness that our traditions and customs could impart to our children and in turn suggested a formal society be formed. This was the beginning of the Philippine Cultural Arts Society of British Columbia (PhilCAS of BC). PhilCAS’ strength ultimately lies in their performing arts, which focuses predominantly on the ‘Multicultural Sector of the Community’.
Tonette’s high standards of training are reflected each time her dancers are invited to perform whether at a theatre, multicultural festival, or private event. Over the years, it has become the sincere wish of PhilCAS’ young members to spread the beauty of their Philippine heritage. It is this desire that fuels the consistent professionalism and excellence that is exhibited to the culturally diverse region of the Lower Mainland.
To this day, both youth & adults make up the Board of Directors of the Philippine Cultural Arts Society. As a result, PhilCAS is continually being lead by a fresh, diverse and energetic group of officers. However, PhilCAS’ popularity and success cannot solely be attributed to its directors and members. Without the support of parents, local business, local government and the Multicultural organizations across British Columbia, PhilCAS would not hold its place as one of the premiere folk dance groups in BC.
After a decade of existence, PhilCAS has grown leaps and bounds. The first handful of dancers became a hundred-fold, the couple of dances has now grown to a complete repertoire of 5 suites (Mountain dances, Spanish Influenced dances, Exotic dances from the South, the typical Countryside dances and dance variations from different minority regions of the country).
The group has travelled nationwide and participated in Cultural and Education Exchanges with various groups from other Canadian Provinces (2006 with Pamana of Montreal and 2007 with Folklorico of Toronto). In 2007, 2 PhilCAS teenagers were selected to become members of SEVEC’s Youth Advisory Council in Ottawa.
International trips are also covered, where the group travelled to Netherlands in 2006 participating in 2 Festivals and to Italy in 2008 where PhilCAS joined 4 major Sicilian Festivals. The future of International trips looks very promising as invitations from various European and Central American impresarios come pouring in.
With great performances come accolades but Nes and Tonette’s goal is not to stop here. Transforming the kids to become leaders of the future has become the main objective. This goal is now being realized as seasoned performers have taken the roles of mentors, tour coordinators, dance instructors and many more.
PhilCAS of BC has become a big family with parents, relatives and friends unselfishly volunteering their time and effort in many, many ways. To date, the performing members are comprised of adults, teenagers and budding kids as young as 5 years old. Those who have moved on with their lives, finishing their educational career and getting married are always there during annual gatherings. Their motto is “Once a PhilCASer, always a PhilCASer”.
Nes and Tonette can now state with pride that their VISION of combining the YOUTH and the ARTS is now a REALITY.