‘I’ve been dreaming of this’: Nanaimo couple opens new Filipino restaurant to reunite with their son

'I've been dreaming of this': Nanaimo couple opens new Filipino restaurant to reunite with their son

Maribel Bay cooked with a mother’s love in Nanaimo Friday, as she prepared her family’s favourite recipes from the Philippines for the opening of her new take out restaurant.

“I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I went here in Canada,” said Maribel, co-owner of Nanay Mo’s Filipino Cuisine.

The restaurant is named Nanay Mo’s Filipino Cuisine and literally translates to “a mother’s cooking.” It’s with this business – that’s slated to open Saturday, June 1, and based out of what was the Nanaimo Bakery at 2025 Bowen Rd. – that she hopes to finally make her dream for her family a reality.

“Nervous, I’m so nervous and excited because I’m not just serving our Filipino people here, I’m serving Nanaimo and maybe outside,” said Maribel.

“We are very excited for this business. We wait long time,” said Irineo Bay, Maribel’s husband of 30 years and the co-owner of Nanay Mo’s.

The Bays moved to Canada 15 years ago and have three sons: Liam, aged 10, Brandon, aged 17, and Niko, who is now 30, special needs and requires significant support from his family. Yet, Niko is still in the Philippines, so the Nanaimo couple have been trying to bring their son to Canada for 12 long years to make their family complete.

“A long time,” said Maribel.

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It’s been a challenge, with their applications having been denied three times. All the while, Maribel has been working in housekeeping at Nanaimo’s hospital, studies at Vancouver Island University to become a caregiver, and now with this restaurant, the hard-working couple hopes to finally make enough to try another application.

“Yeah, it’s very hard. It’s a long time,” said Irineo.

“Our money, we earn a little bit and we spend a lot of money just for him to come here. But what can we do?” Maribel told CHEK News on Friday.

So the Nanaimo mother plans to keep trying, and hopes the love she puts into her cooking will gain a following in Nanaimo, and one day bring the son she is missing back home.

Maribel Bay is pictured with her son, Niko Bay.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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