Red Deer Real Canadian Superstore manager Serena Paron, centre, along with employees Regie Karganilla and Marie Padilla put items into a Balikbayan box Thursday. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Red Deer Real Canadian Superstore program supports Filipino tradition

A Red Deer grocery store will help customers complete a modern Filipino tradition.

The Real Canadian Superstore’s bonus Balikbayan box program is inviting its Filipino customers to send a special surprise home to their loved ones with just one stop.

“It’s awesome to be able to offer this,” said store manager Serena Paron.

From Friday to Sunday, customers can spend $250 at Superstore to fill a 20-pound box with their purchased items. Superstore will cover the air shipping on every box with items purchased on one receipt.

Sending a Balikbayan box to loved ones overseas is a holiday tradition in the Filipino community.

Inspired by the Tagalog word Balikbayan, which means return (balik) home (bayan), Filipinos living overseas will fill a box, with toys, clothing, appliances and more, to send home to their family in the Philippines.

“We have a really large demographic of Filipino colleagues and customers,” said Paron.

“Talking to some of my colleagues who are going to be participating, they’re saying this is really cool. They can come to the store, purchase what they need, and we’ll have a kiosk set up all three days.”

Jane Compton, who is on the Phillippine Canadian Association of Red Deer and District’s board of directors, said Balikbayan boxes are important in the Filipino community.

“You’re here and you’re enjoying all the good stuff here, and you’d like to share the same thing with your family (in the Philippines),” said Compton.

“There are things you can’t buy there that you can buy here, so we send them something. I usually send something around Christmastime.”

Receiving a Balikbayan box is always exciting for family members back in the Philippines, said Compton.

“It’s just as exciting as it is whenever somebody gives you a gift. It’s all full of surprises – they don’t know what they’re getting,” Compton said.

Compton said there are more than 3,000 Filipinos who live in central Alberta.

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