So proud of this Filipino! To all my friends, voted as one of Top 25 Canadian Immigrants in 2013… it is my pleasure to always recognize the work and contribution of others. I’m deeply honoured to nominate and support a hardworking man with a purpose and yet a real loving family man who knows the true value of building strong relationships within the community in the name of his society’s mission and principles that he stands for. He is a mentor, an inspiration and a good role model to all the young and upcoming Filipino Canadian leaders.
Great relationships are multifaceted and, through the years, Kuya Alvin and I have a very professional relationship that proved my utmost respect to a multifaceted man that is willing to humbly adapt to any situation and to anyone in that situation. He believes giving as the best way to build and establish a strong relationship and a well-founded connection in other communities he recognizes just simply because he cares. For me, people that build extraordinary relationships are simply extraordinaire.
ABOUT ALVIN RELLEVE
- Occupation: Salesman and community leader
- Country of Origin: Philippines
- City: North Vancouver
- In Canada For: >10 years
Alvin Relleve immigrated to Canada from the Philippines with his wife and three children, in October of 2000. They settled in a small basement apartment in North Vancouver and, just like any new immigrant family, immediately felt the struggles and challenges of assimilation and settlement. Lacking the necessary Canadian experience, coupled with the recession of the times, and aggravated by the bus strike of 2001 which lasted for months, the couple found themselves struggling for employment and faced with depleting savings. Nine months of the same was simply a grueling test of determination to keep on going.
On Canada Day in 2001, an advertisement in the newspaper looking for a lot boy at the newly established car dealership in North Vancouver changed everything. Relleve was offered a position with the sales team on the floor, and there was no looking back. He went on to finish the year 2001 as salesman of the year, and then again awarded the same in 2002. By January 2003, he was invited by a new dealership to join to be one of the pioneer salespeople and, sensing the familiarity of the product line within his community, and the potential of being able to serve them best, he joined the new company, where he became salesman of the year in 2003 and 2004.
With a burning desire to serve the community even more, he gathered a group of seven professionals one evening in April 2006 and formed what is now the Metro Vancouver Philippine Arts and Culture Exposition Society (MV-PACES) with its main goal of organizing the annual Philippine Days Festival event, a two-day celebration of Philippine culture and the arts, a kaleidoscope of traditional dances and an exposition of Filipino cuisine.
The event, celebrating its 10th year anniversary this 2016, has now been recognized by the City and District of North Vancouver as a landmark festival of the North Shore, as it reached an attendance of more than 25,000 people.
Kuya Alvin, or Big Brother Alvin, as he is known in the community also spearheaded the annual declaration of a day in June each year as ‘A day for Filipinos’ with the Philippine flag raised each year in a ceremonial flag raising event at the North Vancouver City Hall.
He, with other community leaders, organized the first Hataw Pinoy Summer Festival event, the first Paskong Pinoy Christmas Gifts and Food Fair, and other events geared toward an atmosphere of co-operation, collaboration and friendly celebration of Filipino families and friends from the mainstream community. He also spearheaded the founding and development of the Maharlika Awards, recognizing the contributions of outstanding Filipino Canadians and Filipino organizations in British Columbia.
When typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda devastated the Philippines, Relleve immediately called and gathered a good number of leaders of the community and organized Bangon Kababayan – a community telethon and Photographers Shoot for a Cause dual fundraising events for the victims of the worst disaster in the Philippines. This project, which was directly coordinated with the Canadian Red Cross raised a total matched contribution of $124,000, or the equivalent of almost five million in Philippine pesos.