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Board of Trustees

FANHS Executive Officers, Board of Trustees for 2020-2022:

Professor Emily P. Lawsin, President

Dr. Kevin Nadal, Vice-President

Bobby Dalton G. Roy, Treasurer

Dr. Alexandra Thomas, Secretary


FANHS National Board of Trustees by Term

Trustees Elected for the 2020-2026 term:

Gerie Ventura – Tukwila, WA, Pacific Northwest

Karen Mejia Pennrich – Windsor, CA, Northern California 

Maria Terri Torres – Stockton, CA, Mid California

Dr. Anthony Ocampo – Pomona, CA, Southern California

Christy Poisot – Texas, Midwest, MBA, CISSP, PMP, CGEIT

Dr. Patricia Espiritu Halagao – Honolulu, HI, Hawaii

Dr. Kevin Nadal (Vice-President) – New York, NY, East Coast

Maria Batayola – Bellevue, WA, National At-Large Member

Dr. Adrian De Leon – Los Angeles, CA, National Scholar 

Trustees Elected for the 2018-2024 term:

Trustees Elected for the 2016-2022 term:

This Board governs FANHS. Maraming Salamat/Many Thanks to you all for agreeing to serve.



(transitioning off the Board of Trustees, effective August, 2020)

Thank You to these members for their many years of service and dedication to FANHS:

Edward Brotonel, Trustee Emeritus 

Dr. Ronald Buenaventura, National Secretary Emeritus

Dr. Barbara Gaerlan, National Scholar Emerita

Mariecris Gatlabayan, National Secretary Emerita

Lourdes Cereno Markeley, National Secretary Emerita

Mel Orpilla, FANHS President Emeritus

In Memoriam+ 2018-2019

  • Dr. Virgilio Pilapil + (National At-Large Member), President Emeritus
  • Al Acena + (National Scholar), Founding Trustee
  • Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon + (National Scholar)

Executive Officers, Board of Trustees for 2016-2018:

Maraming Salamat/Many thanks to the outgoing officers for their decades of service. FANHS is grateful for all that you have done for our organization and all Filipino Americans.

Trustees Elected for the 2014-2020 term:

FANHS Trustee Biographies (Past and Present)

Albert Acena+, a Seattle native, is a retired history professor and dean at College of San Mateo in California. His parents, both nurses, came from Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Besides being on the FANHS board, he has been on the board of the San Mateo County Historical Association, the board of The Alvarado Project, and the library board of the city of San Mateo. His interests lie in political, social and local history.

Dr. Adélamar Alcántara+ holds a joint appointment as Research Professor at the University of New Mexico Latin American and Iberian Institute and the School of Architecture and Planning and Director of the Geospatial and Population Studies.  She has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines and M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with specialization in Demography and Gender Studies from the University of Hawaii.  Her scholarship focuses on applied demography, program evaluation, operations and survey research, population estimates and projections, fertility, mortality, family planning, and gender studies.  She is the founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society Rio Grande Chapter and serves on other local and national non-profit boards.

Edwina Bergano: Bio forthcoming.

Edward Brotonel has been a member of the Filipino American National Historical Society – Midwest Chapter (FANHS-MWC) since 2001 and was elected chapter president in November 2011.   He is the son of a Manong generation Batangueno who came to the United States in 1927, and a World War II veteran of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment- U.S. Army.   Edward holds bachelor of science degrees in Accounting and in Criminology and a masters degree in Criminal Justice.  He is on active military duty with the US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID).  Edward resides in Westchester, IL with his wife Anita.

Dr. Patricia Brown is the daughter of a Hawai‘i Ilocano plantation worker from Urdaneta, Pangasinan. She is a psychologist with inter-cultural communication interests, a researcher on Hawaii’s Filipino history with a focus on Filipino plantation history, an active community worker, a supporter of the goals of the Filipino Women’s League, Hawaii Plantation Village, and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, Center for Philippine Studies. She is a FANHS National Trustee, Founder and President of FANHS Hawaii State Chapter, FANHS 2020 Conference Chair. She is a former Chaminade University’s Master’s Program School Counseling Internship Director, California K-12 and educator, president of the Filipino American Historical Society of Hawaii for 8 yrs., Founding Board Member of NAKEM INTERNATIONAL, and president Filipino Association of University Women. She is the author of KULA SAN Maui’s Healing Place, FILIPINAS! Voices from Daughters and Descendants of Hawaii’s Plantation Era, and her current project: HAWAII’S FILIPINAS and FILIPINOS: 1906 to the Present—Heart-to-Heart Stories.

Dr. Ronald S. Buenaventura has volunteered with the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) since 1995 as a President of the San Diego Chapter (1996-2000), Assistant National Secretary (1998-2002) and National Secretary on the Board of Trustees (2002-2012), and National Trustee. Ronald has worked full-time for the last 15 years as a School Psychologist within the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has received his M.S., M.A., is currently doctoral candidate at Pepperdine University focusing his research on Filipino American middle school students.   He volunteers and interacts with young people as the Student Advisor & Mentor for the Filipino Club at Stephen White Middle School.

Nena Calica: Bio forthcoming.

Gem Daus  is an award-winning adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland Asian American Studies Program. He teaches Filipino American History and Biography and has also taught Asian American Health and Asian American Sexualities. He has published book chapters and policy papers on Asian American and Pacific Islander health and Filipino American political participation. Gem was born in Baguio City, Philippines and grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He completed a BA in History at the University of Virginia and an MA in Organization Development at Marymount University. In his spare time, he volunteers on several boards and dances hula.

E.J.R David is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, with his primary duties being with the PhD Program in Clinical-Community Psychology that has a Rural, Cultural, and Indigenous Emphasis.Dr. David has published theoretical and empirical works on Internalized Oppression or Colonial Mentality, including four books – Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/ American Postcolonial Psychology (Information Age Publishing), Internalized Oppression: The Psychology of Marginalized Groups (Springer), The Psychology of Oppression (Springer), and We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet (State University of New York Press). Dr. David is also a contributor to Psychology Today and The Huffington Post, periodically writing about the psychology of race, ethnicity, and culture.

Pio DeCano II, Ph.D has an extensive educational and professional background as a teacher, administrator, consultant, community activist/volunteer.  He directed a four state (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho) bilingual technical assistance center providing services to school district Title VII recipients in those states.  He has also directed multi-cultural teacher training institute at Central Washington University, providing historical and cultural curriculum materials to practicing teachers and provided similar services as a Bilingual Program administrator to the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He currently serves as a trustee for the Filipino American National Historical Society focusing on providing technical assistance to local Filipino-American communities in the Pacific Northwest in their efforts to establish local FANHS chapters.

Romel Dela Cruz is the son, grandson, and nephew of Sakadas (Filipinos recruited to work in the sugar and pineapple fields of Hawaii from 1906-1946). He was born in the Ilocos region and migrated to Hawaii with his mother in 1954 to reunite with his 1946 Sakada father on the island of Hawaii where he resides with his wife Jodean. They are the parents of 2 adult sons and the “apos” of 4 “apokos”. He attended public schools in Hawaii and acquired a graduate degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii and is retired after 32 years as a healthcare and hospital administrator for the State of Hawaii. His passion is to write and talk about the Filipino experience in Hawaii.

Dr. Barbara Gaerlan: Bio forthcoming.

Mariecris Gatlabayan graduated with a Master’s Degree in Library and Archives Management from Simmons College in 2008. Upon graduation, she became a tenure track faculty member at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) where she became a reference archivist. She specialized in reference, instruction, community outreach, and community archives. She also co-founded the workgroup, Alaskero Partnership Organizers (APO), with Dr. EJ David, Dr. Gabriel Garcia, and Christine Marasigan in 2008. Together they began the tradition of celebrating Filipino American History Month at UAA, provided educational programming to teach community members about Filipino American History, and researched factors that affected the API community in Anchorage. Mariecris Gatlabayan was responsible for advocating and creating the Northwest Archivist’s Native American Collections Roundtable. In 2013, she was accepted into the Archives Leadership Institute to further develop her leadership, project management, and advocacy skills. Currently, she works at Vulcan Inc. and focuses on processing analog collections, managing born digital collections in their digital asset management system, and licensing images. She is also serving as Northwest Archivists’ secretary.

Tomas Gomez III is FANHS Trustee and member since 1982. He hails from Calbayog, Samar but now calls San Antonio, Texas home. A retired business executive and Philippine Government Official, he was a Cabinet Member (Press Secretary) under President Corazon Aquino and Chairman, Samar Island Development Program after serving as Consul General to Hawaii. He was Chairman/President of the InterContinental Broadcasting Corporation/Channel 13. Prior to government service, he was an executive of the Ayala Group of companies for 25 years in various capacities as Manager, Director and Vice President, Ayala Corporation with postings in the Philippines, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Hawai‘i.

Dr. Patricia Halagao is FANHS Trustee and Co-Editor of the FANHS Journal. She is Professor and Chair of Department of Curriculum Studies at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her scholarship focuses on multicultural pedagogy and policy, specifically Filipino K-12 education. She received a PhD from the University of Washington.  She hails from Stockton, CA and was an Oakland Public School elementary teacher.  She co-developed Pinoy Teach and Smithsonian’s Filipino American Curriculum project; received grants, UH Mānoa Multilingual Multicultural Strategic Initiative and Teaching Tolerance Social Justice in Education Project. She served on Hawaiʻi State Board of Education (2013-2016) and spear-heaaded two Board policies: Multilingualism for an Equitable Education and Seal of Biliteracy.

Mel Lagasca: Bio forthcoming.

Luna Jamero: Bio forthcoming.

Emily P. Lawsin is the Vice President and a Trustee of the Filipino American National Historical Society, co-founder of the Detroit Asian Youth Project, and co-author of Filipino Women in Detroit: 1945-1955. Originally from “SHE-attle”, Washington, she earned a M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA. Since 1993, she has taught Oral History, Filipino American, and Asian American Studies in California and Massachusetts, and is a Lecturer IV in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. A spoken word performance poet since 1990, she has appeared on radio and stage throughout the United States and Manila.

Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon is a third generation Pinay born and raised in Stockton, California, and is an Associate Professor of history at San Francisco State University. She has a B.A. in history and her M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. Her research focuses on Filipina/o American history, historic and cultural preservation, and the history of food. She is co-founder of the Little Manila Foundation ( She is the author of Filipinos in Stockton (Arcadia, 2008) and Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California (Duke University Press, 2013).

Lourdes Markley: Bio forthcoming.

Christine Marasigan is a former Treasurer of FANHS. She was born in Boston, MA and raised in Kodiak, AK.  She studied at UCLA’s World Arts and Culture Department’s Culture and Performance PhD program on a Cota-Robles Fellowship.  She obtained her M.A. in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University and B.A. in English and Communications from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.  A FANHS member for 13 years, she has also worked for the Oregon Folklife Program at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland and the Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository in Kodiak.  She is now a Finance Aide to the co-chair of the Alaska State Senate Finance Committee and splits her time between Juneau and Anchorage.

Terese Guinsatao Monberg: Terese Guinsatao Monberg is a third generation Pinay born and raised in Chicago. She has been a member of FANHS since 2000 and has been active with the Filipino American Historical Society of Chicago (FAHSC) as well as the Midwest and Michigan chapters of FANHS. She attended Chicago public schools, is a former high school dropout, and is now Associate Professor and a founding faculty member of the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University where she also serves as Director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Program. Her research and teaching focus on rhetoric, writing, community engagement, collective memory, and Asian American and Filipinx American Studies. She has published book chapters and articles on the generative and community-building work of FANHS in Representations: Doing Asian American Rhetoric, Reflections, Community Literacy Journal, and enculturation: a journal of rhetoric, writing, and culture. She is a former Board Member of the Mid-Michigan Asian Pacific American Association (MAPAA), a co-facilitator of the former Lansing APA Forum, and continues to work with Asian/American communities at MSU and in Greater Lansing, Michigan.

Ron P. Muriera has integrated his various experiences and knowledge as a non-profit administrator, educator, grants professional, performing artist, grassroots activist, and children’s advocate towards serving communities locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, California and throughout the nation. In addition to being a FANHS trustee and administrator for the FANHS Santa Clara Valley chapter, Ron currently serves on boards and commissions with the following institutions/organizations: City of San José Arts Commission; Mission College and De Anza College’s Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and the San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival.

Christy Panis Poisot is a FANHS Trustee for the Midwest and Founder of the FANHS Houston, Texas chapter.  She serves as a Board Member for OCA Greater Houston and is a Fellow for the Asian Pacific American Women Leadership Institute (APAWLI) for the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (CAPAW) and American Leadership Forum (ALF). Christy serves as a liaison to the Houston Filipino community to collect oral history for Rice University’s Chao Center for Asian Studies known as the Houston Asian American Archives (HAAA), and has guest lectured on “Recognizing Asian American Veterans” and “Transnationalism – History of Filipino Nurses”.  She holds a master’s degree in business administration-Finance from the University of St. Thomas, a bachelor’s in business in Computer Information Systems from the University of Houston-Downtown, and an associate degree from the Art Institute of Houston in Multimedia and Web Design. She is the co-author of “Filipinos in Houston” and performs spoken word poetry, when inspired, in her spare time. Her dream is that Asian American history becomes a part of sustainable education.

Dr. Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal currently serves as FANHS National Vice President. A Professor of Psychology at the City University of New York, his family hails from Aklan, Philippines. Dr. Nadal is the founder of the LGBTQ Scholars of Color Network, a former President of the Asian American Psychological Association, a former Executive Director of color of the Center for LGBTQ Studies, and a former president of the FANHS-Metro New York Chapter. He has written 10 books and 100+ publications, including Filipino American Psychology, Filipinos in New York City, and Microaggressions and Traumatic Stress. He has contributed to the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed, and has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and more. In 2017, he received the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contributions Award to Psychology in the Public Interest, and in  2018, he was named one of NBC’s #Pride30.

Ray Obispo is an educator at Salem High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1995, he founded the Filipino American Cultural Society of Salem High School, which is the longest running Filipino American student organization on the east coast. In 1998, he was elected to serve on the Filipino American National Historical Society’s national board of trustees, a position in which he still currently holds. Mr. Obispo has over 20 years of community service including multigenerational community book writing projects, grassroots art programs, and has presented workshops or keynoted at various Asian American conferences. In 2008, Mr. Obispo was elected by Governor Tim Kaine to serve on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board.

Rey Pascua: Bio forthcoming.

Dr. Judy Patacsil is the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) National President and the current FANHS San Diego Chapter President. She was born and raised in San Diego to pioneering immigrant parents. Judy is the lead author of “Filipinos in San Diego” and is Professor/Counselor and International Education Coordinator at San Diego Miramar College.  She is a professor of Filipino Studies and Psychology and also is a licensed psychotherapist. Her doctorate is in psychology with an emphasis in culture and human behavior.

Virgilio R. Pilapil, M.D.+ is a retired pediatrician & pediatric cardiologist with a 30-year military service in the medical corps of the US Naval Reserve. He is a past FANHS president and founding president of FANHS Midwest Chapter as well as Editor of FANHS Journal. He founded and belongs to other historical societies and editor of other historical bulletins. His published work involves Philippine and Filipino American history. He also belongs to several medical societies and is the recipient of several distinguished awards. Dr. Pilapil lives in Springfield, Illinois with his wife, Elena. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Bobby Dalton Guleng Roy is a second-generation Filipino American raised in Sacramento, California. His award winning National History Day project, “The Unforeseen Triumph of a Tragic Event: The Port Chicago Mutiny” catalyzed his involvement with the Filipino American community in Sacramento. Roy earned a BA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis and a masters of business administration degree from Drexel University. A proud lifetime member and national trustee of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), he enthusiastically shares his passion and knowledge for Philippine and Filipino American history, culture, and heritage, and socio-political-economic justice.

Rueben Salazar:  Bio forthcoming.

Veronica Salcedo is a social studies teacher at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, VA. After earning her BA in History from The College of William & Mary, Veronica collaborated with the Filipino American National Historical Society of Hampton Roads on two local oral history books documenting the experiences of first generation Filipino elders. In 2004, she was recognized by the Francis Land House Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as the Outstanding History Teacher. Veronica co-founded the BHS Asian American Association and Gay Straight Alliance. She has served as past chapter president of FANHS-HR.

Vicky Santos a social work practitioner in social services and mental health for many years, started Santos Associates, providing cultural diversity training and consultation to both the public and private sectors. She was featured speaker for the Silicon Valley Conference on “The Workplace of the 90’s,” was keynote speaker for the Governor’s Conference on the Older Worker, and chaired the Diversity and Business Connection Panel of the Third Annual National Diversity Conference in Chicago. She co-founded and was first executive director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action (now Filipino Advocates for Justice) in Oakland, CA., co-founded and chaired Asian Community Mental Health Services, and was interim director for the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco and the Shelter against Violent Environments (SAVE) in the Tri-Cities area. With her mother she co-authored Memoirs of a Manong: The Story of a Filipina-American Pioneer which was published in October 2015. She was FANHS East Bay’s past president from 2011 to 2016.

Dom Siababa: Bio forthcoming.

Dr. Alexandra Thomas: Bio forthcoming.

Terri Torres also known as Maria Torres, has been a member of FANHS since 1995. She has been the Stockton Chapter’s president, secretary, and treasurer through the years. She was a FANHS National Trustee from 2000 to 2002 and then appointed in 2018 and re-elected in 2020. Terri is the current Treasurer of the FANHS Museum and a member of its Board. She has a BS degree in Accounting and a Multiple Subject Education certificate. She is retired and takes care of her mother at home. Her family has been in Stockton since 1916, when her grandfather, Cirilo Yongque Juanitas, arrived from the Philippines via the sugar plantations in Hawaii.

Geraldine (Gerie) Julian Ventura is a second-generation Pinay born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. She has served as the Greater Seattle FANHS chapter administrator since 2012. She is a writer, avid community volunteer, and community college library director whose poems were featured in Seattle’s Poetry on Buses program in 2014 and 2016. Her Filipino immigrant ancestors inspire her. Gerie enjoys gallivanting all over the world, dabbling in genealogy, and writing about growing up brown.

Art Villarruz has been an active member and officer of FANHS since its early inception.  His leadership at the national level with FANHS involved serving as National President, Vice-President, and currently as National Trustee.  Art also served as president at the local level both in Santa Clara and in the Central Valley.  Art retired from education after 34 years serving as a principal and teacher at the elementary level in San Jose, California.   Upon retiring and moving to the Central Valley of California, Art began a second career at the university level serving as supervisor of student teachers at California State University Stanislaus.  Throughout his involvement with FANHS, Art has been a presenter at all of the National Conferences.