Prof. Vina Lanzona, new CPS director and Kenneth W. Baldridge prize awardee

Professor Vina A. Lanzona was recently named director of the Center for Philippines. She will start her four-year term in August 2011. She succeeds Prof. Ric Trimillos, who just retired this summer. In turn, Prof. Trimillos assumed the post from former CPS director Prof. Belinda Aquino, who retired in December 2009.

Professor Lanzona also received the Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize for her book, Amazons of the Huk Rebellion, as announced at the annual Phi Alpha Theta conference on March 12, 2011.

The Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize is sponsored by the Department of History at Brigham Young University-Hawai'i, and is awarded for the best history book written by a resident of Hawai'i.

Lanzona is currently Associate Professor at the UH Manoa Department of History. She finished her PhD in History at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Philippine Studies Specialist to Join Asian Studies Program

The Asian Studies Program in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa welcomes a new faculty member, Dr. Patricio Abinales. He will teach courses in Philippines Studies beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.

Abinales grew up in a frontier town in the Philippine island of Mindanao. He majored in history at the University of the Philippines, and later received his PhD in Government and Southeast Asian Studies from Cornell University. After working for five years as an assistant professor at Ohio University, he moved to Kyoto University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and was affiliated with the Center for 10 years.

"Dr. Patricio Abinales is a valuable addition to the Asian Studies Program faculty at UH Manoa with his broad expertise in Philippine Studies and outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship on Philippine history, culture, politics and society," said Dr. Lindy Aquino, former Director of the Center for Philippines Studies. "In addition to his solid research record, he is also a dynamic teacher who engages colleagues and students with his provocative intellectual style."

His written works include Making Mindanao: Cotabato and Davao in the Formation of the Philippine State (Ateneo: 2000); State and Society in the Philippines, co-authored with Donna J.Amoroso (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005); and Orthodoxy and History in the Muslim Mindanao Narrative (Ateneo, 2010).

"Professor Abinales strengthens and enhances the University’s commitment to Philippine Studies through his expertise in the southern and central Philippines. Mindanao is increasingly important for understanding the Philippines as a modern global player and as part of contemporary Southeast Asia’s cultural and religious dynamic," noted Ricardo Trimillos, professor of Asian Studies and former Director of the Center for Philippines Studies. "His experience in Japanese higher education brings yet another perspective to the diversity of the Asian Studies faculty at UH Manoa."

Contact: Prof. Michael Aung-Thwin, (808) 956-5962; Email:

Colmenares receives the 2011 Francis Davis Award for Excellent Teaching

Leticia Colmenares, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry, recently won the 2011 Francis Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing her dedication to teaching, demonstrating excellence as a teacher, and attention to undergraduate students. Colmenares is a faculty from the University of Hawaii's Windward Community Community College.

In 2003, Colmenares also garnered a similar award, the Regents' Medal for Excellence in Teaching, together with another professor of Filipino ancestry, Nelda Quensell, from Kapiolani Community College.

Leticia “Letty” Colmenares, Ph.D., is a master teacher who is extraordinarily committed to helping her students learn chemistry. She applies her skills and talents in teaching chemistry at many levels: to undergraduate non-majors, to students requiring chemistry prior to entering s cience professions, and to the community through chemistry forums. Her students appreciate the “care and empathy” she possesses to help them understand difficult material and connect chemistry in their everyday life. She is not only expert at using a variety of teaching tools, she moves with ease from one to the other, and engages students in problem-solving. Read more...