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Pinays Manitoba honours

exceptional Filipino women

1 Pinays 

The annual Pinays Manitoba Trailblazers Recognition Awards was a resounding success, drawing a large turnout from the community on Saturday night (May 11, 2024) to celebrate this year’s honourees at the Viscount Gort Hotel. The four Trailblazer Awardees were joined by the three Young Pinays Awardees during the recognition ceremonies. Pictured from left to right are Hope Anderson, Virginia Gayot, Hanna Pagdato, Hon. Senator Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler, Jordy Wyant, Larissa Pagdato, Andrea Macasaet, and Cheryl Dizon-Reynante.

As the Filipino community in Manitoba expands, so does the presence of Pinays or Filipino women making positive impacts across diverse fields in our society. Pinay is a word that refers to a girl or woman of Filipino descent.

The Pinays Manitoba Trailblazers Recognition Awards took place on May 11, 2024, at the Viscount Gort Hotel. This annual event, now in its eighth year, is organized by Pinays Manitoba Inc., showcasing their ongoing dedication to celebrating women who demonstrate leadership, inspiration, and motivation through the Pinays Manitoba Trailblazers initiative. More than 50 members of Pinays Manitoba collaborated to host the evening, which drew over 250 guests to honour the remarkable achievements of Filipino women.

“We proudly celebrate four outstanding Pinays Manitoba Trailblazers. They are strong progressive women; breaking the mold; overcoming barriers; helping to make a difference in people’s lives, opening doors of opportunities for others; breaking glass ceilings. All of them, role models for women and the next generation of Filipino women in Manitoba,” said Pinays Manitoba president Winnie Navarro.

This is also the year that the Pinays launched its youth program, the 2024 Outstanding Young Pinays of Manitoba. The Hon. Senator Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler, herself a Pinay Trailblazer awardee, officially launched the Outstanding Young Pinays of Manitoba initiative.

“Our initial honourees are three inspiring young Pinays who are proud of their Filipino heritage and share their passion for hockey with our community. Expect more, in the coming years, from these young trailblazers in the making,” said Navarro.

The guests enjoyed an outstanding lineup of entertainers. Rochelle Kives performed Flowers, Paul Ong sang Climb Every Mountain, and Trailblazer awardee Andrea Macasaet captivated the audience with her rendition of Don’t Forget Me from the musical Smash.

Another memorable moment in the program was the special tribute to mothers. As the event coincided with Mother’s Day eve, Nena Joy Lazo delivered a heartfelt homage to her own mother and to all mothers in attendance.

Meghan Marquez and Lucille Nolasco-Garrido of 92.7 FM CKJS Afternoon Pasada emceed the program. Cora Delos Reyes led the opening prayer. Faith Fundal, host of CBC Manitoba’s Up to Speed, performed the national anthems, Lupang Hinirang and O Canada. Lesalie Pagat joined the emcees on stage to acknowledge sponsors and guests. Trailblazer award presenters were Crystal Paculan, Lucille Nolasco, Belle De Leon Lerio, Melody Balane, and Myrna Ong. 

The Registration committee was led by Connie De Villa along with Leah Beltran, Trifona Bermisa, Josie Concepcio, and Belle Lerio. Sally Bader oversaw the ushering with assistance from Melody Balane, Remy Amoyo, Victoria Cochico, Emily Sapon, Jojo Lerio and Rodge Lopez. Glenna Pangindian managed the production assistant team with Marita Salazar, Josie Concepcion, Cora Delos Reyes, and Remy Amoyo. Set design and event photography were by Rey-Ar Reyes of Pilipino Express and Disenyo Graphics. Event video coverage was by Jake Arida. The sound system was managed by Enrico Ancheta.

Luella Sadicon, Vice-President of Pinays Manitoba, concluded the event with these words: “We are immensely grateful for your presence and the warm community support we received for this year’s event. Special thanks to our major sponsors: Larry Vickar of Vickar Automotive Group, Wes McCallum of The Prolific Group, Pilipino Express, Felly Grieve of A-1 Nutrition, Noel Lapuz of Kuya’s Foods, Aida Montierro of U-MAC Express Winnipeg, and Atty. Rachel Punzalan of Punzalan Law.”

The Pinays Manitoba Board of Directors are Winnie Navarro, President; Luella Sadicon, Vice-President; Leah S. Beltran, CPA, CGA, Treasurer; Connie De Villa, Auditor; Lucille Nolasco-Garrido, Secretary; Emmie Joaquin, Public Relations; Araceli Ancheta, Director/Past-President; Josie Concepcion, Director; Maybelle De Leon-Lerio, Director; Margaret “Meghan” Marquez, Director; and Marita Salazar, Director.

The 2024 Pinays Trailblazer awardees

(in alphabetical order)

Hope Anderson is the first Vice Dean of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences (University of Manitoba). She is an investigator of cardiovascular health and disease, with multiple awards and publications to her credit. Hope takes pride in having mentored numerous Master’s and Ph.D. students, along with post-doctoral fellows, throughout her career. She is dedicated to mentoring and preparing future thinkers. In her professional capacity, Hope is a scientist, educator, and academic leader at the University of Manitoba.

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is the first Filipino woman to serve as the Clinical Lead of Psychosocial Oncology at Cancer Care Manitoba. She oversees 20 counsellors across the province and remains actively involved in seeing clients herself. The counsellors under Cheryl’s leadership provide emotional, mental, and social support to patients throughout their cancer journey, offering individual, couple, family, and group therapy sessions. Cheryl’s guiding principle is to assist and support others. She discovered her passion for helping people in her profession, which gives her a sense of purpose, inspiration, and meaning in life.

Virginia Gayot is a prominent leader in Manitoba’s Filipino community. She currently serves as the President of the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM). Virginia’s strong dedication has guided the organization toward greater trust and respect within the community. Proud of her indigenous heritage from the Cordillera region, Virginia previously led the BIBAK Association of Manitoba and served as a board member of Siloam Mission.

Andrea Macasaet is a celebrated Filipino Canadian performer born and raised in Winnipeg, known for her talents in acting and singing. She gained recognition for originating the role of Anne Boleyn in the international Broadway production of SIX: The Musical. Andrea also played Mimi Rodriguez in RENT at the prestigious Stratford Festival in Canada. Andrea is witnessing a positive shift towards diversity in the theatre world and is actively advocating to break barriers for people of colour in theatre.

The 2024 Outstanding Young Pinays of Manitoba

Pinays Manitoba recognized three young Filipino Canadian women – sisters Larissa Pagdato and Hanna Pagdato, along with Jordy Wyant. These Winnipeggers competed for the Philippine Eagles hockey team at the international Women’s Union tournament held in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Wyant and the Pagdato sisters showcased exceptional skills for the Philippine hockey team, despite the sport still growing in the Philippines with limited funding. Nonetheless, the Philippine Eagles team secured a bronze medal at the Women’s Union ice hockey tournament. These remarkable young Pinays are grateful for the opportunity and experience that allowed them to connect with their roots and embrace pride in their Filipino heritage and culture. Representing the Philippines on an international stage has fueled their passion for hockey to transcend borders, making history in the world of women’s ice hockey.

– by Emmie Joaquin


Proud to be Pinays! The Pinays Manitoba Trailblazers Recognition Awards was held May 11, 2024 at the Viscount Gort Hotel. It was a resounding success, made possible by our awardees, major sponsors, advertisers, guests, and Pinays members. The Pinays Manitoba Board of Directors are Winnie Navarro, President; Luella Sadicon, Vice-President; Leah S. Beltran, CPA, CGA, Treasurer; Connie De Villa, Auditor; Lucille Nolasco-Garrido, Secretary; Emmie Joaquin, Public Relations; Araceli Ancheta, Director/Past- President; Directors: Josie Concepcion, Maybelle De Leon-Lerio, Margaret “Meghan” Marquez, and Marita Salazar.