June 5, 2005, with Lhoy, Jack, Gigi, Jenny, Chit, and Ethel at Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg: Flashing our best digicam smiles
The land nestling Assiniboine Park became a part of the City of Winnipeg in 1904. The park, which boasts of an English landscape style—wide open meadows, curvilinear pathways, and freeform bodies of water—was designed by a Canadian landscape architect, Frederick Todd.
Assiniboine Park formally opened on Victoria Day in 1909, eventually becoming a favorite summer spot. To this day, it remains an important recreational and cultural site of Manitoba.
Sunday, June 5
Around 2 p.m. Tita Lucy's niece Lhoy called, inviting me to join her group of friends in their regular get-together. Fortunately, Tito Ren and Tita Lucy are home on weekends; they could look after Grandfather. Lhoy with Ethel, June, and Jack picked me up at 3:30; and off we went to meet the rest of the group.
First stop was Ken's Chinese Restaurant on Ellice Ave., where we had a sumptuous late lunch of roasted chicken, fried rice, tofu with vegetables, broccoli with mushrooms, tempura, and breaded calamari. Before proceeding to Assiniboine Park, we stopped over at a Tim Horton's to warm ourselves with cups of coffee and chocolate. The day was windy cold. The hot beverages warmed our spirits.
At Assiniboine Park, we enjoyed watching the sights and taking pictures. I had fun being with the group, mostly because all of us share the same reason of coming here to Canada—to work, to be able to have better lives not only for ourselves but more so for our loved ones. Interestingly, we all belong to the same medical field—nurses, caregivers—enabling us to relate well with one another's experiences. We also share similar sentiments: love for country, respect for fellows, yearning to visit home, missing loved ones, disappoinment with fellow Filipinos who seem to have forgotten their roots and lost their empathy and compassion for migrants like us. We could only wish to become successful soon so we could start looking back and helping those who are dear to our hearts.
I am really disappointed with Filipinos living abroad who think lowly of the Philippines and their compatriots. I don't know what in their childhood or past experiences had caused them to develop a deepseated disgust for the country and their own race. I can understand them but I never will. I just couldn't stand their myopic condescension and chronic narrowmindedness. I've always believed that people who mock and disrespect the cultures of others (worse, of their own race!) are the worst bane of civilization and humanity itself.
After unleashing the Peter Pans within us in the gardens of Assiniboine Park, we headed to the Manitoba Provincial Legislature (a.k.a. Manitoba Legislative Building), which, fortunately, was still open; and there did we continue our Sunday fun.