About CPS

Role at UHM and the World

The Center for Philippine Studies (CPS) plays an important role in promoting interest in the Philippines and Filipinos in the diaspora as an academic field of study. As such, it occupies a unique place in the university as it finds a niche in the world.

CPS along with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies collectively form the National Resource Center for Southeast Asian Studies (NRCSEA) at UH Mānoa.  The “Philippine Year” component (2001-02) conducted an academic conference and a short-term courses on Mindanao to analyze the roots of the Mindanao crisis, bringing to Hawai’i recognized experts in the field.

Studying the Philippines at UHM is fun. Find out why.

Institutional Links 

CPS serves as the secretariat for the International Philippine Studies Committee and has hosted two out of the six international conferences, each attended by over 200 of the best scholars in the field. Worth mentioning are three recent conferences, namely the International Philippine Studies Conference, held in Manila, Philippines in August 2008, a sequel to the Philippine Studies conference held in Leiden, Netherlands in June 2004, and the International Conference on the Hawaii Filipino Centennial, held in December 2006 in Honolulu to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the coming of Filipinos to Hawaii.

Internationally, the Center is linked to the Philippine Studies Group of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and the Philippine Studies Group in Japan (PSCJ).

Research and Outreach

The Center runs a regular colloquium series, which has hosted at least 500 speakers since its inception, and publishes the Philippine Studies Occasional Papers Series, which has put out some of the best papers in the field. It also helped publications of the Philippine Studies Newsletter and Pilipinas Journal as outlets for Philippine scholarly writing and current information on the state of Philippine Studies.

The Center is routinely consulted for information on current Philippine issues, like the 2009-2011 typhoons, the 2000-2017 Mindanao conflict, and the 2004 and 2019 elections, by international media from as far away as Egypt, Australia and China. Recently, it participated in raising funds for the 2013 Haiyan typhoon victims in the Visayas.

AT UH, Hamilton Library houses an extensive Philippine research collection, which can compete with Cornell, Michigan, and other top universities in the country, as revealed by one survey. Many scholars studying the Philippines from other countries and states use our collection throughout the year.

It also undertakes various outreach activities in the Hawaii Filipino community over the years. The past director of the Center, Dr. Belinda Aquino, was named a member of the statewide Filipino Centennial Celebration Commission, which hosted the 100th anniversary of Filipino immigration to Hawai’i in 2006. The Center lobbied the State Legislature for funding for the Commission which set $150,000 as “seed money.”

Academic and Grants/Awards

The Center has helped educate at least three generations of students of Filipino ancestry at UH Manoa, who now have a deeper understanding of Philippine culture and their ethnic heritage.

It has established and still maintains an Academic Exchange Program with the University of the Philippines since 1990. The Center has also worked closely with the International Affairs Office and Study Abroad Center on student study tours to the Philippines. At present, the Center has academic links with two universities in Mindanao (Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Mindanao State University (Marawi and Iligan campuses) for the offering of synchronous online courses on secessionism, sovereignty movements and Islam.

Four endowment funds of at least $175,000 total, namely the Alfonso T. Yuchengco Grant, Ligaya V. Fruto Endowment, the Corky Trinidad Endowment Fund, and the Belinda A. Aquino International Philippine Studies Endowment are now in place. Thus far, at least twenty students of Filipino ancestry have been awarded such grants as of 2019. (Note: An endowment can be named only with a minimum of $35,000 donation to the UH Foundation.) These endowments shall provide scholarships to support deserving UH students in their research and academic projects related to the Philippines. Small faculty grants are also awarded for some activities like hosting a lecturer on campus.

The Center has also received donations from former UH Regent Robin Campaniano, Dr. Quirico S. Samonte (Prof. Emeritus) of Eastern Michigan University, Ms. Minako Ito and Mr. Mel Domingo both of Honolulu, among others, who contributed for the Philippine Studies fund.

Students majoring or minoring in Asian Studies can apply for study tours to Asia from the Study Abroad Program.