In the year 2000, the first Filipino group arrived in Co. Derry/Londonderry to work. Since then no Filipino community has been formed.
On November 8, 2013, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines and has been known as the strongest typhoon ever recorded in Philippine history. This catastrophic event killed at least 6,000 people and caused so much devastation in the areas that have been affected. People from all over the world extended their help and charity events were held to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan. Friends, parish priests, teachers, school children and their parents, colleges, the whole community, forms of media-radio, newspapers and tv station all extended their help in so many ways. Two questions were raised. First was “do you have a formed Filipino community?” and secondly “who’s representing the Filipino community?”. The answers to these questions were no we don’t have one and second, nobody is representing us.
The typhoon Haiyan disaster was an eye opener for the Filipinos in Derry/Londorderry that forming a Filipino community is a long overdue. We need an association that is not only aim to help in times of disaster but a community that will promote our Culture and integrate into the local society through social, economic, cultural and educational projects. An association that will allow facilitation for all our children’s awareness of their roots, their Philippine culture and their customs and traditions e.g. saying po and opo, pagmamano (showing respect for elders), through events, group gatherings and working in partnership with other communities to promote a sense of pride in their unique identity as Filipinos. A community that has a sense of belongingness and a feeling of you are home away from home, and furthermore an association that promotes integration and cohesion with other communities.
Amongst all members of the Filipino community, eight individuals have volunteered as interim committee members to do all the legwork needed to form an association. On February 19, 2014 at Ardmore church multi-function hall, Ardmore road, a historic event happened on that night for all Filipinos living and working here in Co. Derry/Londonderry, KABALIKAT in NORTH WEST, the first ever constituted Filipino community was finally formed. Kabalikat translated as solidarity in English or arms in arms. We all believe that in this community you will not walk alone, that somebody is there to extend a helping hand. MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!
Special thanks to:
Ms. Sue Devin – Community relations officer of Derry City Council
Mr. Patrick YU – Chief executive of NICEM
Mr. Max Petrushkin – Development Officer of NICEM Northwest branch.