Julius Soria, a colleague who went ahead of his time

Julius SoriaJulius Soria

Dear colleagues,

It is with deep sadness to inform you that our colleague Julius Soria, beloved by his students and greatly admired by his colleagues and the Ilocano and Filipino community, passed away this early morning (Aug 2, about 4:00am). Fred Magdalena, Tess Constantino,  Patty Dunn (student adviser of Asian Studies) and myself were able to express our condolences and talk with his mother and siblings. Imelda Gasmen, Eva Repollo and Agnes Malate were also there.

Julius’s sister and/or Imelda will update us on whatever plans the family will have regarding his internment.

For now he and his family are in our thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed by his CPS, Filipino and Ilocano ohana.

Jojo Abinales

“PI” is politically incorrect

Please Stop Calling the Philippines ‘P.I.’

Michael Gonzalez

I teach Philippine history in an American community college and I flinch every time a bright-eyed student would talk about his/her recent trip to “P.I.”

P.I., of course, means Philippine Islands, and to most Filipinos familiar with the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, it is a politically incorrect term. This much I learned from my U.P. history professor Dr. Oscar Alfonso.

P.I. as a term is specific to the Philippines as U.S. territory, a colonial one, until the U.S. Congress granted Philippine independence in 1945. The use of P.I. is an innocent mistake given that Philippine Islands is a direct translation of Islas Filipinas in Spanish, the name Spanish explorer Legazpi in 1543 gave to the group of islands (Leyte and Samar) in honor of the Felipe II, King of Spain.

Click here for more details.

RJSEAS: Call for papers

RJSEAS Regional JournalThe Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) Foundation has launched the inaugural issue of its Regional Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (RJSEAS), an online, open access, peer-reviewed journal in English that aims to feature the work of scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the region.

For the past 21 years, SEASREP has worked with and supported the development of many scholars in the region as Southeast Asian specialists. By offering this journal, SEASREP hopes to make a more tangible contribution to the body of work on Southeast Asia. The journal is published twice a year (January and July) and features:

  • Papers based on current and latest research (6,000 to 8,000 words per paper including footnotes and references);
  • Abstracts of dissertations (200-250 words per abstract);
  • Bibliographic essays or commentaries on research projects/works about a given theme, national or regional; and
  • Announcements of conferences or conference reports.

The theme for the July 2016 issue of RJSEAS is Plural Identities in Southeast Asia. The journal may be viewed and downloaded from http://www.rjseas.org/current

We ask you to encourage your postgraduate students to submit abstracts and journal articles based on their research and dissertations. Inquiries and submissions may be sent to editor@rjseas.org.

Thank you very much for your support. We look forward to receiving contributions from the faculty and students of your institution.

Maria Serena I. Diokno
Professor of History, University of the Philippines
Editor, RJSEAS
SEASREP Foundation

First study abroad to the Philippines by Leeward students


On May 15, 2016, seven UH students (4 from Leeward and 3 from UH Manoa – 2 of whom are Leeward graduates) went to the northern Philippines for a two-week study. There, they engaged in cultural, historical, and ecological activities as well as experienced the local lifestyle in lowland and highland Philippines.  Dr. Raymund Liongson was the faculty coordinator.

The Consuelo Foundation and Philippine Airlines provided support to reduce the cost of travel for the students.

For details, see this Report .

Grace Nono in Honolulu

Photo credits: Asia Society.

Folks, you should not miss Grace Nono!

She is a music performing artist, cultural activist, and music and shamanism scholar from Mindanao. For this once in a life-time event, Grace will sing and speak about decolonizing voice and reclaiming cultural relations.

Date: June 6, 2016, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Venue: Doris Duke Theater, Honolulu Museum of Arts

(Free and open to the public, but donations are welcome at the door. Please reserve your Seat , first come first served.)

Jointly sponsored by the UH Center for Philippine Studies and community partners (Decolonial Pin@y and University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Hawaii).

For more details, please click HERE.

CPS Annual Report, 2015-16

The Annual Report of the Center for Philippine Studies during 2015-16 consists of two parts. The first part is given by the current director, Dr. Patricio N. Abinales, the second by Dr. Vina Lanzona for the first half of 2015 until July.

Here’s the report of Dr. Abinales:


The Dean has agreed to the revisions of our by-laws, and the next step will be to formalize this. Everything, however, may begin either next year (if we vote on it) or at the end of my term. I would personally prefer the former as I am planning to go on leave either next year or when my sabbatical is due.


The VCAA’s office has approved Fred Magdalena’s proposal for a new course on the Peacebuilding in Mindanao and Hawaii. He will start teaching this in the fall. This course is the first of a set of new courses that will focus on Philippine local history and politics.

In the Fall, CPS will develop two courses: the first will be in northern Philippine politics and history, which we hope will complement the courses on Ilocano language and culture; and the second will be on central Philippine history and culture. Gerry Finin has offered to help me with the first course. I plan to seek the help of Professors Alfred W. McCoy and Michael Cullinane at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Cebuano Studies Center and professor emeritus at the University of San Carlos, Resil Mojares, in preparing for this course.

The Center also completed a two-year project on peacebuilding in the curriculum in August 2015. This project is supported by the US Institute of Peace, with Fred Magdalena as the principal investigator, in collaboration with Mindanao State University (campuses in Marawi, Iligan and Tawi-Tawi). After two years of “quasi-experiment,” the results showed some positive impact on the attitudes and behaviors of undergraduate students who took a course in history ingested with peace education concepts. At the end of the semester, posttest data indicated that the students became more open to cultural integration and harmony between Christians and Muslims (also Lumads), and showed lower social distance that separates these two religious groups, among other findings. In addition, five faculty members from MSU involved in the project were invited to participate in two conferences hosted by the Center in Honolulu. This project supports the ongoing peace process between the Moro (Muslim) rebels and the Philippine government. Please click for more details Brief Report on the USIP Project.


On May 2nd, the CPS and the East-West Center co-sponsored the talk of Datu Mussolini Lidasan, the founder and executive director of the Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia, Ateneo de Davao University. Prof. Lidasan talk is titled “Countering ISIS threat among Muslim Youth in Mindanao.” As you very well know ISIS has begun to recruit in the war zones of Muslim Mindanao, and Prof. Lidasan will talk about efforts among Filipino Muslims to counter this latest fundamentalist threat to the Ummah.

CPS will also co-sponsor the concert of Grace Nono; a Filipina singer music is inspired by pre-colonial, traditional rhythms. Ms. Nono values the power of the babaylan (the pre-colonial women of prowess) and spirituality that emerges out of nature. The concert will be held on June 6 (Monday) at the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Grants and Endowments

Two graduate students, Michael Ralph M. Abrigo (PhD Economics) and Jayson E. Parba (PhD Language Studies), received grants to present papers in international conferences. Abrigo was awarded a Belinda A. Aquino International Philippine Studies Endowment to present a paper (“Who weans with commodity price stocks? Rice prices and breastfeeding in the Philippines”) on Global Food Security in New York in November 2015, while Parba was granted a travel grant through the Ligaya Fruto Endowment to present a paper (“Language ideologies and flexible multilingualism in Philippine classrooms”) during the Applied Linguistics Conference in Florida in April 2016. Abrigo is finishing up his doctoral studies this year.

Fred Magdalena has applied for a grant from the federal government to promote and teach peace-building on young Moros and Christians in the war-torn provinces of the southern Philippines. CPS will be working with several Mindanao universities in the education and training of students, faculty and religious leaders in the peace-building process. We believe that CPS is in the best position to apply for this fund because of Fred’s expertise on Mindanao, plus the fact that he has extensive contacts with universities there.

We are exploring with Ms. Hannah Trinidad the possibility of an art show of her husband’s (Corky Trinidad) political cartoons. Ms. Trinidad is also the founder of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe in the Philipines, and I am hoping to approach the Honolulu Museum of Arts to co-sponsor something on this famous Filipino dance group.

Fund Raising

An Asian Studies alumna, Ms. Laurianne Chun, has offered to help raise funds for CPS. She has offered to create a new endowment fund, coming initially from her contributions. She has also proposed a project that may sound unusual to many of us, but if it succeeds, Ms. Chun guarantees steady revenue. She will collaborate with a travel agency to attract Filipino families to a cruise tour. A portion of whatever proceeds that will be raised from the tour will go to this new endowment fund. We are just in the initial stage of discussion and hope that this will move forward by the start of the Fall.

Finally, as you very well know, the CPS Director receives an additional “honorarium” of $300 a month for his/her responsibilities. I have decided to move this honorarium to the UP Foundation (applicable only as long as I am the director; the next director may not continue with this) to be placed in a “special fund” that is intended to support our CPS staff – starting with Clem, then Helen Lee and finally Fred. I realized that it is foolhardy for us to wait for manna from the UH Administration to (a) put Fred on a more stable basis and to increase the financial support for Helen and Clemen (who is especially in need of a raise for the extraordinary work she has done for CPS). So I am re-allocating the Director’s honorarium to the UH Foundation to address – even temporarily – this issue.

This means, however, that our annual lechon party is no more; and we will most likely have receptions where everyone will be asked to bring his or her own food and drinks – a small sacrifice in exchange for adding to the Center’s coffers.

I know these projects are understated and not publicized the way projects were promoted in the past. We expect however that they will achieve the same goals sans the “fireworks.”


For Director Lanzona’s report, please click CPS Annual Report 2014-15, Lanzona .

Lecture: Countering ISIS Threat among Muslim Youth in Mindanao

Lecture-conversation on “Countering ISIS Threat among Muslim Youth,” by Datu Mussolini Lidasan, Monday, May 2, 2016, 1:00-3:00 pm, Moore Hall 319 (Tokioka Room).

Please come, listen and participate in this presentation to understand more why Islamic radicalism seems to be on the rise in the southern islands of the Philippines. Details at: Lidasan_Lecture-ISIS-Threat


Abus posing with ISIS flag at the background.  From: topiktrend.com

Inaugural Lecture: Prof. Diane Desierto, Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor In Business Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law

Prof. Diane Desierto to Give Inaugural Lecture as Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor of Business Law

The William S. Richardson School of Law is pleased to announce that Prof. Diane Desierto has been named the new Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor in Business Law. Her inaugural lecture is entitled: “Global Public Policy in Cross-Border Private Transactions: Regulating Mergers & Acquisitions as Investment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” It is free and open to the public and will take place:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 5-6 p.m.
Classroom 3, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2515 Dole Street
A reception will follow in the Law School Courtyard from 6-7 p.m.

Please click Here for details.

Spotlight on the Philippines – 3 Films


This year’s SPOTLIGHT ON THE PHILIPPINES brings 3 films that showcase two major hitters in the Philippine box office and 1 crime drama that premiered at the Toronto and Busan Film Festival last month and from one of the most celebrated Pinoy directors working today. In addition to these 3 films, we also have a psychological and spiritual horror film that is included in our HIFF EXTREME section, presenting midnight movies from all over the world, as well as one of the most celebrated films of 2014, which makes its return as part of HIFF’s NETPAC 25th anniversary celebration.

Therefore, check out this year’s Filipino films playing a this year’s HIFF (and with trailers)!

Please click this Link for trailers of these three films.

THE COFFIN MAKER:  In one of the most highly praised Filipino films of last year, a hard-working father tries his best to raise a young daughter alone in a rural area, but he is ill-prepared for what fate throws their way. The film takes us on a deeply emotional journey, free of cliché and sentimentality, slowly unveiling the struggles of a man who must confront his guilt and remorse. This return engagement screens as part of the 25th NETPAC Anniversary film series. http://program.hiff.org/films/detail/coffin_maker_the_2015

HENERAL LUNA:  In 1898, General Antonio Luna, commander of the revolutionary army, is spoiling for a fight. The Philippines, after 300 years as a Spanish colony, has unwillingly come under American rule. General Luna wants to fight for freedom, but members of the elite would rather strike a deal with the US. The infighting is fierce in the new cabinet but Luna and his men forge ahead even as his decisions are met with resistance from soldiers loyal to President Aguinaldo. http://program.hiff.org/films/detail/heneral_luna_2015

HONOR THY FATHER: Kaye and Edgar are a pair of married white-collar swindlers, who have cashed in on promoting an investment scheme to their friends and fellow Pentecostal parishioners. But when they run afoul of their latest victims, their devout investors turn on them. When the tension erupts into violence, Edgar decides to seek the aid of his criminally inclined family. HONOR THY FATHER is the latest crime drama from celebrated Filipino director Erik Matti. http://program.hiff.org/films/detail/honor_thy_father_2015

KID KULAFU:  Before he became one of the world’s greatest boxers, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was a young boy living a hand-to-mouth existence, trying to survive one day at a time. When he discovers his natural talent for boxing, he embarks on a brutal and intense journey that takes him from the mountains of the Philippines to the streets of Manila, and must risk everything to become a champion – for himself, his family, and his country. http://program.hiff.org/films/detail/kid_kulafu_2015

VIOLATOR:  A devastating typhoon is sweeping over the Philippines, slowly approaching Manila. As if they sensed the final judgment looming, some of the city’s inhabitants behave in ways that are hard to explain. The intriguing mosaic of stories gradually leads us to a police station where the night shift is forced to wait out the forces of nature, while a new prisoner sitting in one of the cells appears to be connected to the mysterious powers concentrated in the storm. http://program.hiff.org/films/detail/violator_2015