PHOTO GALLERY: Williams Lake Filipino community celebrates Christmas

Good food, prizes, gifts and music made for a joyous celebration

There are around 100 members in Williams Lake’s Filipino community, said Beth Neville during a Christmas party she helped organize held Sunday, Dec. 16.

Neville was commenting on how the number of Filipino people living in Williams Lake is increasing as people of all ages began to arrive at the Seniors Activity Centre, many of them dressed for the occasion and carrying contributions for a potluck dinner.

Traditional food and drinks were enjoyed as well as many beautiful desserts created by Elena Brodland who works at the Cariboo Memorial Hospital lab.

Brodland several cakes, some of the made with purple yams.

“I started doing the baking on Wednesday night and the decorating on Friday,” Brodland said as she unpacked dozens of tiny blueberry cheese cakes. “My mom loved to bake and taught me how and then I’ve been teaching myself about decorating.”

After everyone had finished eating, a group of children performed songs both in English and in Filipino.

Six-year-old Andrea Ibarra sang O Come all Ye Faithful on her own, while several of the boys and girls behind her kept time with the reindeer antlers they were wearing for the groups songs.

Three adult women also sang, leading the crowd for a singalong.

“Christmas is big in the Philippines,” Neville said. “It may be a poor country, but by September people have decorated their homes and businesses and everyone is really happy.”

The evening finished off with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus who delivered presents to all of the children. There were also many door prizes to be won with gift certificates and small appliances, donated by members of the Filipino community.

Christmas officially ends, Neville said, the first Sunday of January in the Philippines.

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Williams Lake Filipino community president Beth Neville welcomes guests and thanks everyone for their contributions to make the party a success.

Paul Rinon with his daughter 18-month-old daughter Cassandra.

Ann Nuqui and her granddaughter Elisha Garcia.

Baking prepared for the party by Elena Brodland.

Maria Sterling (left), Sally Shillong and Elena Brodland setting out all the baking Brodland prepared for the party.

Singing about Christmas.

Andrea Ibara (left), Timothy Del Rosario and Nathan Del Rosario (back centre) enjoy singing a Christmas song from the Philippines.

The children perform a traditional Christmas song from the Philippines.

Some adult singers lead the crowd in song.

Some of the women enjoy getting a group photo together.

All the fathers gather for a group photograph.

Santa visits with one of the children receiving gifts.

Mrs. and Mr. Claus distribute a gift to a happy recipient.

Mrs. and Mr. Claus distribute gifts.

Maria Sterling accepts a gift from Santa Claus in appreciation for helping with the party’s organization.

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