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Born in Mandaluyong City, Philippines |

Ysh is still trying to figure out what exactly a “Torontonian” is. He arrived here, with his mother who came to Canada as a caregiver. She was planning to get their family out of debt.

“While Canada may be more economically and politically stable than the Philippines, life here is a bitter subterfuge.”

He questions whether his place of birth has ceased to be his home, saying that Toronto is home because that is where he is now. Ysh believes that the real strength of Torontonians is their collective commitment to build a better future together. Today he works as a graphic designer and is also an active advocate of Filipino migrant rights and welfare.

Toronto as Home

Although Filipino migration to Toronto is not new, there has not been a community that can be claimed as ‘Filipinotown’.

 ”Too often the Filipinos living here are invisible and socio-politically powerless.”

Today the intersection of Bathurst and Wilson is ‘home’ to a burgeoning Filipino community, a population that in recent years makes up the largest group of migrants to Canada. There you can find all things Filipino and there is still potential for the neighbourhood to be officially recognized as ‘Filipinotown.’ This is something Ysh yearns for.

Connection with the Past

This is Ysh’s hat with the ancient pre-Hispanic character “ka”.

 ”The Philippines had a “well-developed society even before the colonizers conquered the country.”

One example of this is the baybayin ancient Filipino writing system. This cap from Baybayin artist Kristian Kabuay is a symbolic reminder for Ysh of the rich culture and history of his people. Just like many other immigrants in Canada, he wants to remain connected to his roots.

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