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Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees for 2016-2018:

Maraming Salamat/Many thanks to the outgoing officers for their decades of service: Past Presidents Mel Orpilla, Dr. Joan May T. Cordova, and Evangeline Buell; Past Treasurer Fran Alayu Womack; and Past Secretaries Dr. Patricia Espiritu Halagao and Dr. Ronald S. Buenaventura. FANHS is grateful for all that you have done for our organization and all Filipino Americans.


Trustees Elected for the 2012-2018 term:

Trustees Re-elected for the 2012-2018 term:

Trustees Elected for the 2016-2022 term:

  • Mariecris Gatlabayan (Seattle, WA)
  • Vicky Santos (East Bay, CA)

Trustees Re-elected for the 2016-2022 term:

Trustees Elected for the 2012-2016 term (to fill terms of Trustees who have resigned):

  • Veronica Salcedo (East Coast, Virginia Beach, VA),
  • Tomas Gomez (National Membership, San Antonio, TX), and
  • Marina Espina (National Scholar, Lafayette, LA).
They join 14 other Trustees (with terms that expire in 2014 and 2016) as the Board that governs FANHS. Maraming Salamat/Many Thanks to you all for agreeing to serve.


FANHS Trustee Biographies

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.

Dr. Patricia Brown, 2nd generation Filipina, psychologist, and writer, demonstrates her interest in women, cultural, and spiritual studies and community work through books and participation. Her books include KULA SAN: Maui’s Healing Place, FILIPINAS! Voices from Daughters and Descendants of Hawaii’s Plantation Era and a current research on Hawaii’s modern Filipina/nos. She is a FANHS National Trustee, the founder and executive administrator of FANHS Hawai’i State Chapter, an executive board member, VP, and Director of Educational Services at Hawai’i Plantation Village, past president of FAHSOH and FAUW, and past founding board member of NAKEM INTERNATIONAL. She was Chaminade University’s School Counseling Graduate Internship Director and, for 20 years, a California K-12 educator and school psychologist.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Hawaii.

Dr. Patricia Halagao is the National Secretary of FANHS. She is an Associate Professor of social studies and multicultural education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She co-developed: Pinoy Teach (, for the Smithsonian Institution, Filipino American Education Institute ( and A`o Hawaii: Viewing the Classroom as a Canoe; Viewing the Canoe as Classroom.  A former Oakland Public School teacher, she has taught at all K-12 levels.   She is recipient of UH Board of Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching (2012). She is Education Director for Hawaii Presidential Center Initiative and serves on the Hawaii State Board of Education (2013).

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).

Christine Marasigan is the 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.

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.

Dr. Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal is an Associate Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice- City University of New York. He is the author of many publications including Filipino American Psychology: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice (Wiley, 2011) and That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (American Psychological Association, 2013). He is the Vice President of the Asian American Psychological Association; a Psychologist/Trainer of the New York Police Department, and the President of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society.

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.

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.

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 was a social work practitioner in social services and mental health for many years before starting Santos Associates, providing cultural diversity training and consultation to both the public and private sectors as well as organizational needs assessments.   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, presenting her paper Making the Business Case for Diversity Programs:  Strategies for Positioning, Marketing and Selling Diversity in Companies/Organizations.  She was co-founder and first executive director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action (now Filipino Advocates for Justice) in Oakland, CA., co-founder and past chairperson of Asian Community Mental Health Services, interim director for the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, interim director for the Bay Area Tri-Cities’ domestic violence agency Shelter against Violent Environments (SAVE), and past chairperson of SAVE’s strategic planning committee.   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 2013 and has been its president since 2013.

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.