Filipino-Canadian baby girl is B.C.’s first newborn for the year 2023

Abbotsford, B.C. 

Parents say timing of daughter’s birth was a ‘surprise’ to them 

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

A baby girl born to Filipino parents is British Columbia’s first baby delivered in one of its hospitals in the year 2023.

Born in Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, Gabriella Louise V. Camayang was welcomed into this world at 12:02 a.m. on January 1, 2023. 

She weighed 5 pounds 10 ounces and is the first child of Thea Villanueva and Arben Camayang. 

Villanueva is a chef at Brown’s in Abbotsford, and Camayang, 27, is an education student at a Vancouver college.

They chose the name Gabriella, because it means “God is my strength,” said Camayang.

Camayang admitted that they were “kind of surprised” at the excitement that erupted in the delivery room when their daughter made her first appearance at two minutes past midnight, and they never imagined a bevy of photographers would turn up at the hospital to meet her, according to a report by The Vancouver Sun. 

“We are both Filipino, and this is the first time we’ve heard about something special about first babies of the new year. We didn’t know it would be such a big deal,” Camayang said in the same report. 

The couple said Gabriella wasn’t expected until Jan. 21, but after Villanueva experienced high blood pressure over the holidays, the doctors decided to induce her on Dec. 30.

“We didn’t expect her to come (Sunday). We thought it would take two to three days,” Camayang told

The Government of British Columbia congratulated the couple via Twitter for the milestone. 

The Tweet has since been viewed more than 10,000 times. 

“Congratulations and Best Wishes to you and your family! I was born here in Victoria,British Columbia. Also my parents were born here in Cumberland and Vancouver. The future for your baby girl Gabriella is filled with opportunity and choice. Happy New Year,” wrote Twitter user @richardquan2013.

“Welcome tiny human,” the tweet of another Twitter user @kagleslie read.

Fraser Health, one of B.C.’s health authorities and the one where Abbotsford belongs, also congratulated the family on Twitter. It has been “liked” 145 times and was viewed over 20,000 times. 

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