Choosing Whistler as home 

Filipinos and other immigrants from around the world are calling Whistler home in greater numbers

click to flip through (2) JOERN ROHDE PHOTO    WWW.JOERNROHDE.COM - Young filipino dancers at the 2nd annual intercultural festival
  • joern rohde photo
  • Young filipino dancers at the 2nd annual intercultural festival

Like good parents the world over, Rudy and Vina Bueno wanted a better life for their kids. It's not that life was bad in the Philippines, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Rudy had a good job as president of a company, their three kids were healthy and thriving, they had a comfortable home. Any move abroad would set them back initially, not ahead.

Still, they wanted something ... more.

Thousands of miles away from his homeland, Rudy searches for the words to explain why they left. Simply put, they were thinking about their kids: securing a more stable future, the chance at countless opportunities, the certain knowledge that they had done everything possible to give them the world.

Rudy looks out at the nearby playground at Whistler Olympic Plaza, where kids are whooping and hollering down the slide, running through the tree fort, groups of heads bent together hatching plans for another mission of fun. He points to the small toddlers, exploring the world with those early uncertain steps.

That would never happen in the Philippines, he says with an almost wistful smile. The kids would never toddle around by themselves; their mother or their nanny would always be standing right beside them to make sure they didn't fall down.

A subtle difference about finding independence that Rudy sees first hand now in his own children, who have spent their formative teenage years bridging the cultural gap of two worlds.

Now, they want to move out of the family home and get places of their own. In the Philippines you just don't do that; you live with your parents until you get married.

It's not that Rudy yearns for how things are done back home. Rather, the opposite. One of the reasons they moved was to give their kids independence.

"I asked my daughter 'should we go?'" recalls Rudy of a conversation with his daughter Angela back in the Philippines. "And she told me 'if we don't try, we won't know.' That's the thing that made me decide to come here."

The Buenos have been living in Whistler for the past six years.

They are part of not only a burgeoning community of Filipinos, but also other immigrants from across the globe, coming not to ski and bike for a season or two but to settle, to forge roots, to find that better life, to call Whistler home.

• • •

When the Buenos arrived in Canada it was the spring of 2005. They were living with an old high school friend of Rudy's in Surrey, getting by. Rudy was a night auditor at a hotel. A few months later he noticed a posting from Whistler Blackcomb for a business development analyst. That was more in line with his employment background. The family of five travelled en masse to Whistler for Rudy's interviews.


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