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 .