Filipino community continues to grow in Moosomin and Rocanville area

May 18, 2023, 3:01 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts

The Moosomin Pinoy Basketball Tournament in December, 2022. Every year the Pinoy community hosts a basketball tournament for local teams to play in.

The Filipino community in the Moosomin and Rocanville area has evolved to about 250 people (60 families) within the last 10 years.

“I think Moosomin has lots of opportunities for growth and I think that’s one of the reasons why people are staying around,” said Leo Ilustrisimo of the Pinoy Moosomin Community.

“Compared to the city, house prices are much more affordable here. Obviously it’s cheaper to live in a small town, but it’s also a very progressive and very welcoming community as well.

“Everyone’s very friendly in Moosomin, making sure that you’re doing okay and adjusting well to the community. People are welcoming and would like for you to stay, I think that’s one of the important things.

“It’s a combination of those things, it’s also a safe town to live in. It’s a good town to raise a family. There’s lots of good things in Moosomin I think that’s why people are staying.”

The Pinoy Moosomin Community consists of local Filipinos. The group organizes different events in town and helps newcomers adjust to the Moosomin and Rocanville area.

“Our Filipino community, once a newcomer comes we make sure they have all of the information they need. We try to help out in the best way we can,” Ilustrisimo said.

“We always provide that camaraderie for them to feel welcome, and that’s always been our goal is to make staying in Moosomin easier for newcomers, especially for the Filipinos.”

Ilustrisimo and his family moved to Moosomin in 2013, but has lived in the area since 2009.

The number of Filipino families that move to the community have continued to grow till this day, said Ilustrisimo.

“I think it started in 2013 right until 2019, just before the pandemic every month there would be a family coming into town,” he said.

“There’s still people coming in. We normally hear about them through recruitment, when Tim Hortons hires people in town, then we know when to expect a few more people.”

With a lot people from the Philippines being skilled workers, Michael Vantomme, president of the Pinoy Moosomin Community, said people come to Moosomin because of the number of job opportunities available in the community.

“Most people who come here at first are hired through the fast food restaurants like Red Barn, Tim Hortons, Dairy Queen, A&W, KFC,” said Vantomme.

“They are considered skilled workers here in Canada. Most of them, like my wife, started out at Tim Hortons. She was a manager at one of the fast food restaurants in the Philipines and so she was hired here because of her experience back home.

“They start out like that, then after you get your permanent residency you can branch out and find other opportunities.

“The economy of the town presents opportunities for us to be employed. The reason we’re coming here is for employment.”

Benefits of having a Filipino group in town
Having a group in town that helps organize events and get the word out about activities happening in town has benefitted the Filipino community in Moosomin, said Vantomme.

“With having the organization we have a group of people who are elected officers," he said.

“We have a Facebook page—Pinoy Moosomin Community—where we can inform everyone about activities and make announcements.

“If there are employment opportunities we mention it in there too.”

Vantomme said the role of the Pinoy Moosomin Community group is to support current and new Filipinos in the community.

“The organization is mainly to help the Filipino community here, to bond together,” Vantomme said.

“We do activities for the Filipino community. We have basketball tournaments, Family Day, Christmas parties. We're planning to do some camping activities this summer.”

He said he would love to see more of the Filipinos in the community come out to events and activities, and invites anyone to get involved.

Events hosted by the Filipino community
Aside from the annual basketball tournament that the Pinoy community hosts in Moosomin, Ilustrisimo spoke about other events the organization hosts for people in the area.

“One of the projects that we’ve always wanted to do is showing the community what our culture is like,” he said.

“To show activities to promote a better understanding (of our culture). The more you understand a certain culture, the more you appreciate them.

“For community events we tend to focus on those activities. On July 15 we’re planning a cultural show to raise money for the Terry Lynd basketball court.”

Because the group is still in the planning stages for the cultural event, Ilustrisimo said more details will follow closer to the event date.

“We’ve started planning for that, we’re also planning some cultural dances and we’ve already started preparing the traditional costumes,” said Ilustrisimo.

In celebration of Filipino Heritage Month in July 2019, the Pinoy Moosomin Community hosted an event with traditional food and cultural dances for people in the area to enjoy.


“This year we’re just focused on the Terry Lynd basketball project. We’re heavily involved with that.

“We had a bottle drive fundraiser on May 6, and have another fundraiser on July 15. Another activity that we’re doing for our own group to bond is we’ll be going to Asessippi for a camp trip.”

Ilustrisimo said the Pinoy community has felt supported by people and by the town in Moosomin.

“We’re very happy to be a part of the community,” said Ilustrisimo.

“The town has always been supportive of all of our projects.

“We’re overwhelmed sometimes by how much people would support us, and with comments on the good stuff that we do.”