Jhoan Baluyot with sister Lyn, mother Felicitas, and father WarlinoJhoan Baluyot (in pink coat at bottom right) readies for her first Canadian winter with sister Lyn, mother Felicitas, and father Warlino.

Courage to immigrate a source of pride for UWindsor staffer

Jhoan Baluyot, who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when she was just a baby, says her parents’ courage remains a source of pride.

“My father was the second of his family to immigrate and my mother the first of nine siblings,” recalls Baluyot, manager of production and communications in the University’s public affairs office.

“I am incredibly proud of their journey not only across the globe but learning a new culture while still maintaining some of the foundations of Filipino culture that revolve around family and meals together of traditional food.”

She says her fondest memories are entrenched in barbecues — at the beach, in a park, or in the backyard.

“It’s a tradition we continue today with my parents, siblings, and our children,” Baluyot says. “Even during stay-at-home orders, my mom will prepare a blend of Filipino and Canadian food for pick-up and we will share them over virtual meet-ups.”

Now retired, her father built with his wife’s support a local company that now employs 18 people, many of them also new immigrants.

“When families immigrate, it’s often grounded in creating a better life for their children with fewer hardships and more opportunities than they had,” says Baluyot. “I am forever grateful and proud of the bravery it took to move to Canada and create a new home and new life.”

This article is the first in a series featuring voices from members of the UWindsor community in celebration of Asian Heritage Month. The 2021 theme “Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve” embodies the myriad of sentiments that peoples of Asian descent in Canada have experienced and honours their contributions and their diverse stories which are rooted in resilience and perseverance.