Former Pinay nanny's journey to Canadian forces
VICTORY, British Columbia - Gina Pinangat came to Canada in 1991 under the Foreign Domestic Movement Program now called Live-In Caregiver.
Like any other foreign worker, Pinangat had to fight off homesickness.
"The first two years, I wanted to go back to the Philippines. Ang sabi ko po sa sarili ko mag-iipon ako ng 2 years and then I'll go home," said ret. Corporal Pinangat.
But fate had other plans. Pinangat found a job at the Nortel Networks in Montreal and when she got laid off, she ended up enlisting in the Canadian forces.
"At first, there was a signing bonus of like humongous amount plus the offer was like really, really, good and plus the benefits were like top of the line," she said.
Pinangat was trained as an Aerospace Telecommunications and Information Systems technician. She never saw action in the war zone.
"At that time po, I was too valuable to be deployed," she said.
After nine years in the military service, Pinangat is now retired and helping the Filipino community. She has been a long-time volunteer of the Bayanihan Community Center in Victoria, assisting them with their technical and IT needs.
Pinangat is also a recipient of the Prince's Operation Entrepreneur which helps recently retired and transitioning Canadian forces members start their own business.
She met the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles through this program.
With all these experiences, Pinangat believes nothing is impossible.
"Coming as a domestic helper, it's really tough. Hindi madali po. But knowing na here in Canada you can be the best that you can be and marami po tayong pwedeng gawin," she said.
Pinangat recently joined the Ambassador's Tour in the Philippines hoping to explore business options in the country.