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By Madelline Romero

August 17, 2023

The Kababayan community celebrated Flor's 34 years of community service on July 29, 2023.

Kababayan’s long-serving executive director is hanging up the proverbial hat, and we look back on her over three decades of community service. The road to social justice for immigrants is a long and winding one and peppered with leaders like Flor whose passion for positive societal change is only matched by her big and generous heart and genuine concern for individual wellbeing. Take a look at some of the highlights of Flor’s 34 years leading Kababayan.


Kababayan Community Centre is founded.


Feb 20, 1989

Flor joins Kababayan as Coordinator, the Centre’s lone staff member. The Centre has an annual operating budget of $37,000.


‘You and Canada’, a newcomers orientation program begins, marrying both appreciation of the sending country’s history and culture, and understanding of the new country’s – Canada – norms, history, and culture. Conducted 66 times over the period 1989-99, thanks to resource persons Jojo Geronimo and Ricky Esguerra.


Kababayan mobilizes a network of over a hundred Filipino community organizations to protest against the discrimination against Filipino youth by the Scarborough Town Centre mall. Community members and activists – Mogi and Marlene Mogado, Hermie and Mila Garcia, Faye and Nestor Arellano, Carmencita Hernandez, Jojo Geronimo, Ricky Esguerra, Martha Ocampo, Fely Villasin – lead the anti-racism advocacy. A play, Mall Fright, written and directed by Ricky Caluen, is produced by Kababayan to further the anti-racism advocacy


An abandoned, historical, City of Toronto-owned building is – under the stewardship of then Mayor David Miller and Councilor Chris Korwin-Kucynski, and with the participation of community and business leaders representing 34 organizations – transformed into the Parkdale Arts Cultural and Community Centre (PACC), a vibrant space for artists and community organizations, one of whom is Kababayan.


The Care Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses is established by Flor, Yee Hong Geriatric Care’s Amy Go, Woodgreen Community Centre’s Julia Tao, and St. Michael’s Hospital’s Gaily Yardy, to help internationally-trained nurses get back to their profession.


Proudly Pinoy, under whose banner Filipino heritage is celebrated within the Toronto Catholic District School Board, begins, in collaboration with Jody Huang.


Flor assumes the title Executive Director. The Centre has six staff members and an annual operating budget of approximately $150,000.


The Community Alliance for Social Justice, a network of some 100 Filipino organizations including Kababayan, is established to hold accountable the Toronto Police over the death of Jeffrey Reodica.


The Library Settlement Partnership, an IRCC settlement program delivered in select Toronto Public Library (TPL) branches, begins, and chooses Kababayan as one of 13 community organizations to participate. Thanks to Miranda Huska, Kababayan has since been delivering settlement services out of the TPL-Parkdale branch.


The Bathurst-Finch Hub of community services is built after discussions about it began in 2007, with Kababayan as one of the eight organizations hosted at the contemporary building. Thanks to Unison Community Health Centre’s Julie Callaghan’s leadership, what would later become Kababayan’s second home is realized.


The Covid-19 pandemic hits and threatens food security of vulnerable residents of Toronto. With funding from the Community Food Centres of Canada, Food Harvest, and United Way, Kababayan reaches out to its vulnerable community members with food assistance.


Flor retires after 34 years of community service, leaving Kababayan with 15 staff members and an annual operating budget of approximately $800,000.

A timeline of the 34 years Flor spent with Kababayan

Flor's career is very closely intertwined with the fight for social justice for immigrants in Canada. Watch this video to find out more.

"Painting on a blank canvas that was Kababayan in 1989, Flor drew the outlines of Kababayan’s youth, women, and seniors programs, which would go on to become mainstays of Kababayan’s service offerings. The youth summer camps have produced adults with exceptional leadership and interpersonal skills, and the fun outings and trips for seniors have always been most awaited by community members."

Over the decades, Kababayan’s programs and services have been enriched by various partnerships and collaborations:


1313 Art Gallery, Association of Filipino-Canadian Accountants, Association of Filipino-Canadian Engineers, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto, Canadian-Ukrainian Immigrant Aid Society, Catholic Community Services of York Region, Circle of Care, Downsview Community Legal Services, Downsview Services for Seniors, Family Service of Toronto, JVS Toronto, KCWA Family and Social Services, Local Immigration Partnership-Toronto North and South, North York Community House North York Food Harvest, North York Women Centre, Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, Parkdale Community Information Centre, Parkdale Intercultural Association, Philconpro, Philippine Labour Attaché Office, Philippine Teachers Association of Canada and Physiotherapists Association, Sick Kids, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Public Library – Parkdale branch, Unison Health and Community Services

We thank Flor's family for being supportive of Flor's community work throughout these past decades.

Flor with present and former Kababayan board and staff members at her retirement party.

"I thank all the individuals that I have had the privilege and joy of working with at Kababayan these past 34 years – Loida Gatchalian, Ellen Pacelo, Ricky Caluen, Armela Marano, Amelia Basingan, Alberto Rodil, Tsering Norzom, Melanie Canlas, Aurora Rodulfa, Veronica Dichoso, Maripi Malana, Alberto Rodil, Rowena Sunga, Christina Santiago, Rene Ventura, Ella Tan, Onnie Ramiro, Gizele Segovia, Paulina Corpuz, Len Salvador, Hosanna Jayme, Shova Adhikari, Dipak Sapkota, Uttam Makajo, Christine Garcia, Joel Cuevas, Cathy Miranda, Venus Benigno, Liberty Catbagan, Jane Mendita, Carolina Dávila-Egüez, Parisa Rahnema, July Figueroa, Laxmi Jimiera, Lourdes Teodoro, Vince Tangco, Grace Zalun, Jay Mangubat, and Madelline Romero."

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