Cultural pride and a desire to know about their homeland and history are reaching new heights for young Filipino-Canadians. They are discovering Filipino focused centers such as the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and culture in Toronto. Which is participating in trips home.
The current movement has been dubbed the Balikbayan Renaissance.
Which in contract to their parents generation where they looked to assimilate themselves into North American culture this new generation of artists, activists, writers and musicians are choosing to return to the Philippines for their inspiration in their overseas projects. Which they are proud to showcase on completion.
The young Balikbayans seem to be seeking what they think they have lost as part of their identity and heritage as a Filipino. Which from personal experience in the Philippines of how everything is becoming “Americanised” I can understand why they are feeling disconnected. As once people leave the Islands they take on the full capitalist consumerism that is the American way of life.
Kapisanan is a centralised hub of the movement and it is here that the Balikbayan Renaissance spirit is alive its also a focus point for people who may be in smaller community groups to feel part of the bigger picture as well as finding people that they can relate to and connect with.
The center fosters artistic expression, professionalism, and positive cultural identification through youth-led mentorships. It is located a short distance from Toronto’s Chinatown in Kensington Market, which is an enclave for the offbeat artist—a neighborhood similar to Cubao Express, but encompassing more blocks of eccentric vintage shops, galleries, bars, and cafés.
The facilities of Kapisanan have a public space for many creative uses such as stage and dramatics or musical performances. While also having classes for history and Tagalog (Filipino language). It also boasts a recording studio and workspace for artists. The front of the centre also houses a store that sells Filipino goods and sells showcases the students works.