I wrote a story about how TableTutors Came into my Life, and now I want to share with you how FilCan Clothing really got started.
After a long time coming, myself and my Homie Mizzy from Dem Rose Boyz finally reconnected again to collaborate on some projects. After hanging out and catching up, we then started talking about our Filipino Canadian Heritage. And really looking back, I figured the exact moment of how the seed got planted in my mind to create this brand.
Let’s bring it back to 2008. Legend Pinoy Boxer Manny Pacquiao was in his prime and his next challenge was another legend Oscar De La Hoya. It was all going down in Las Vegas and at the MGM Grand. At that time you could fly to Vegas for dirt cheap or even cheaper if you drove down to Washington State and took a flight from Seattle. I knew I had to go to this fight or at least be in Vegas for that weekend. I was willing to even risk buying tickets off of scalpers just to be at the event itself.
Myself and my friend Noel were all in and took that leap to head to Vegas that weekend. We ended up finding tickets to attend the live event at the MGM Grand.
When we got there, we saw that a lot of Filipino’s from around the world came for the fight too. Symbols from the Filipino Flag were everywhere from shirts to shoes. The Sun with the 3 Stars, the white, red, blue, and yellow colours gave me a good sense of Filipino pride. We hit the strip and started to enjoy the atmosphere. No matter where we were, we ran into Filipinos. I started asking them where they're from. I got the Philippines, Nevada, SoCal, & The Bay. We were pretty much the only Canadians introducing each other to Filipinos from all over the place. A lot of them seemed surprised meeting Filipinos from Canada. It felt awesome telling people where we were from, as we felt unique and one of a kind!
We got to the Arena and it was jammed packed! We even saw NBA legend Reggie Miller in the crowd.
Can't miss him being that tall amongst a majority crowd of Filipinos.
As we got to our seats waiting for the event to happen, we saw both fighters walk to the ring. When the Philippine National Anthem started... I started gettin' goosebumps as the whole arena was singing it out loudly. That energy inside that arena was wild. Michael Buffer was ready to announce Manny, and with so much anticipation, I yelled so loud just to keep up with the energy at the MGM. Definitely an experience I will never forget.
I really wished I had some sort of Canadian representation at the time, like a shirt with our Maple Leaf or something. Even better would’ve been a symbol reppin both Filipino & Canadian Cultures. Thought it would be cool to really distinguish where I'm from, that would just be an easy conversation starter if I would rock it while I was travelling to other places around the world.
Years passed and then all of a sudden, our Cable provider was showcasing a free preview of TFC (The Filipino Channel). My parents ended up subscribing to the channel and every time I saw my parents, the more I watched TFC with them. I really enjoyed the segments/stories of Filipinos from around the world. They featured so many from the US & Australia, but I really didn’t see any Canadian Representation.
It was around 2012 during the Christmas Holidays that I wanted to do something different for gifts for my family & friends. Coming off the 2010 Olympics with Canada winning a number of medals and in 2011 our Hockey team, The Vancouver Canucks went to the Stanley Cup Finals, the pride of being Canadian was really strong. I also thought back to the Pacquiao/Dela Hoya Fight about wishing I was rockin' some sort of representation while we were in Vegas meeting other Filipinos.
Wanting to put symbols that represented both Canada and The Philippines together started flashing in my head. I knew that I wasn't an artist but I do know some people who are and gave them my ideas. Using my resources, I was able to get those designs made, put them on T-shirts, and gave them to my family/friends as presents.
It was Gifts For My Family...
That’s how I came up with this Brand.
Something to wear and make them to feel proud of our unique culture.
They loved the gifts and the idea of it. As they wore my gifts proudly, other people started to notice the shirts and started asking where they can get there own. They sent them to me and I knew that I was on to something. I posted some pics up on Social Media, rented some tables at local Filipino Festivals, and maintained an online presence. As it grew, I reached out to other Filipino Canadians and did some content collaboration together. I’ve now claimed a stake to become a leading brand in the Filipino Canadian Community.
That feeling I created for my family, I now want to share that with all of you!
Now, go feel proud of your individualism and start telling your Story!