Filipino musician makes it to CBC Manitoba’s Future 40 list

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Paul Ong’s concerts raised close to $100,000 in donations to local charities

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

A Filipino-educator and renowned musician made it to CBC Manitoba’s Future 40—a list of 10 outstanding young Manitobans under the age of 40 who are making a difference in their communities.

Out of more than a hundred nominees, only ten were chosen by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Vice principal Paul Ong who has been doing annual concerts for a cause since 2016 was one of those who earned the distinction.

Ong said he feels honoured by the recognition of his efforts to better the lives of the less fortunate in the province.

“We’ve worked really, really hard with the community to create transparency and accountability with our concerts for a cause. And being recognized within the provincial level and through CBC really highlights and validates that what we’re doing is credible,” Ong told ABS-CBN News.

Ong is an internationally trained educator who started his career in the First Nations Education system, according to the CBC Manitoba website. 

He is currently a Vice-Principal with the WSD1, and holds a Masters degree in Education for Sustainable Well-Being from the University of Manitoba.

Ong is also known for representing Canada twice internationally in 2017 (Watercube Cup in Beijing) and 2015 (World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles), and won in all categories he competed in. 

In 2012, he joined Canada’s Got Talent and was selected as the Hometown Hero for Manitoba featured in a Tim Hortons television commercial.

Ong believes in the power of performing arts  to build community and spark social change. It is his firm belief that performing arts extend from just  entertainment, rather, it is a platform to make our community better. 

These are the driving force behind his Annual Concerts for a Cause, which has raised close to $100,000 in donations to local charities.

According to CBC, each year, Ong engages the youth and provides them the opportunity to share their gifts, hoping that this empowers them to  keep pursuing theirs talents. 

“The whole philosophy is that music and performing arts could change the trajectory of somebody’s life. So that really and as a child, I think music has been a huge, huge factor on how I’ve been able to get to where I am right now,” he also said in the ABS-CBN report.

In 2019, Ong was the first local Filipino-Chinese artist to be accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for a full concert. Paul and WSO are currently working on Paul’s Annual Concert for a Cause 2023 scheduled for April 29th- for Sistema Winnipeg.

“As a teacher, I’m seeing that there’s so much talent, and yet they’re not really given a platform,” Ong pointed out. “That piece I think was what’s motivating me the most and the thought na nagagamit ko po yung ipinahiram sakin na talento to make a difference.”

The ‘Concert for a Cause’ will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024, and Ong hopes this will raise enough funds so they can build homes for poor communities in the Philippines.

The other winners contributed to the improvement of the lives of the people of Manitoba in the fields of science and community service, among others. 

Founded in 1941, CBC News is Canada’s publicly owned news and information service and has journalists all over the country. 

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