IT IS interesting to note the unique coincidences of interconnecting historic national anniversaries over the past five weeks. On June 12 - Philippine Independence Day; on July 1- Canada Day; and on July 4 - United States of America Independence Day. As this column was written over the past five weeks on the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day and observed by Filipino Canadians in Canada, we likewise highlighted the Fil-Canadian communities which joined in celebrating the July 1 Canada Day. We also joined the several million Filipino-Americans in the US in celebrating the July 4 US Independence Day.

What are the more specific aspects of the interconnection among the three national celebrations? We can cite several notable cases. As a first item, Filipinos are also aware of the historic arrival of the American naval forces in 1898 following the defeat of the Spanish colonial army by the Filipino revolutionaries. The Spanish cleverly bargained with the US government for some possible gains under the 1898 Treaty of Paris but the Americans simply gave $20 million to Spain and took over the colonial control of the Philippines which ended in 1946. This of course explains that despite the several years’ resistance of Filipinos to American colonial rule, the American culture became strongly embedded in the life of the Filipinos and the Americanization of Philippine culture continues until the present days.

The Philippine-Canadian interconnection came much later in the 20th century. While the entry of Canadian culture and influence to the Philippines has not been substantially documented, it is historically notable to assume that Canadian - Filipino relationships may have started with initial migrations of Filipinos to Canada in the 1960s. In particular the few Filipino immigrants to Canada were landing in the western part in such communities as Vancouver and other cities in the Province of British Columbia.

It is interesting for historians to study how the number of Filipino migrants to Canada increased rapidly during the decades of the 1970s until the present. A recent study in Canada has also shown that out of the present total Canadian population of more than 37 million, the estimated number of 800,000 or more, Filipino migrants is closely following the continuing increase of migrants from China, India, European countries, Hispanics from central and south America and other nations of the world. This phenomenon has notably earned Canadian society the reputation as one of the most multicultural societies and with the many different cultures generally mixing harmoniously with each other.

As another important aspect, the Canada-US interconnection is obviously notable and historic. Following the end of the British and French colonial rule in North America, Canada became an independent nation and its celebration of Canada Day on July 1 dates back to its so-called Confederation Day when it became one independent nation in 1867.

Naturally, Canada and the USA are also the closest of neighbors having a common international boundary from the western or Pacific side to the Atlantic or eastern part of North America. It is also quite interesting that both Canadian and American cultures and histories have been greatly influenced by millions of migrants from many countries of the world.

Thus, this column joins the several millions of Filipino-Americans celebrating the US July 4 Independence Day. For our next column, we will look into the various aspects of the historic effects of immigration in both Canada and the USA.