The Chapters

The OHIO Chapter




Our Ohio AGC Experience 


By Rachel Espiritu MD Class 2002 and Lulette Tricia Bravo-Castro MD Class 2001



Having hosted the AGC 25 years ago, our rejuvenated OH Chapter definitely rose to the challenge and delivered a safe, meaningful, and memorable event despite the constraints and uncertainties due to the COVID pandemic. We can encapsulate our experience with the following acronym:

“O” for Organized and Original – Adequate preparation and our adaptability allowed for a very organized and noteworthy event. Our very own chapter band’s (“Anything Grooves”) sensational performance, the color dot system in lieu of tickets, the medley sing-along and song dedications at the gala, and the “appreciation box”, are examples of what made this AGC distinctive and special.

“H” for Hardworking and Harmonious – We collaborated with the seniors, listened to one another, treated each person with respect, and ungrudgingly sacrificed our time and shared our talents for the success of the AGC. Everyone contributed and we worked as a team, bringing us closer as a chapter.

“I” for Innovative and Inspirational – The CME was the first in UPMASA history to be held in a hybrid format where the lectures and the Q & A sessions were made available virtually with both speakers and registrants hailing from both US and Philippines.  Technology also allowed online communication with our Philippine dignitaries who were unable to attend in person.  We are hopeful that our brainchild, the Commemorative Book, will celebrate the AGC and UPMASA’s heritage as well as serve as a timeless memento for future generations of UPAMSANs.

“O” for Optimistic – We owe the success of the 2021 AGC to our teamwork and positive attitude as well as the overwhelming support of families and friends despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic. We learned a lot throughout this process, and we are confident that we will remain unwavering stewards of UPMASA and what it stands for.




The Pacific Northwest Chapter


The Pacific Northwest Chapter

An Evergreen Tree of UPMASA


By: Joanne Perez, MD



Move over, Starbucks and Amazon—another phenomenon has come out of the Pacific Northwest! Formally established in 2019, the Pacific Northwest Chapter is the newest chapter of UPMASA.  We are a diverse and dynamic group as fresh and vigorous as the evergreen trees of our region! The initiative to form the UPMASA Pacific Northwest Chapter started in 2008 and was led by a group of dedicated physicians from Washington state. These were Alex and Anita Paves from Class ’72 (A and B, respectively), Nels Arcega ’67, Victoria Altavas-Arcega ’70, Angie Garbes ’70. Bob Fu ’72-A, Glenn Pacio ’94 and Kristine Tiuseco-Cruz ‘2000, to name a few. The chapter was not officially established at that time, but the seed was planted and the sapling that we were became instrumental in assisting to organize the 25th Annual Grand Convention (a collaboration with the Northern California UPMASA Chapter, and Class 1975), which was held in Seattle, WA in 2010.


One fateful day in April of 2018, at the AGC in San Francisco, CA, Victoria Atavas-Arcega met with Debbie Bongar-Bagunu of Class 2003, whom she urged to officially establish the Pacific Northwest Chapter. Debbie was also encouraged by Geraldine Gomez-Pinder and Norma Panahon, both passionate members of UPMASA. It was not long after that I, in my quiet little town in rural Eastern Washington, received a call from Debbie, requesting my help to officially establish the chapter. I could tell her heart was on fire for this mission, no doubt set aflame by her conversations with the three formidable ladies she met at the AGC. A hundred thoughts went through my head. Can we do this? We both have full-time jobs, we have three young children each and we had no experience building an organization. It seemed ludicrous but the mission filled our hearts with curious excitement, so we went ahead and set up the very first and unofficial Pacific Northwest Chapter meeting at Chuck. E. Cheese’s in Tricities, WA. D



Fast forward to a year later, after multiple encouraging phone calls from the tireless Norma Panahon, several informal meetings, social media outreach posts, the chapter was officially established in May 2019. Our first general meeting was appropriately held at Max’s Restaurant in Tukwila, WA, where we officially elected our new officers. Looking back on the chapter’s history, a deep sense of gratitude is recalled; It was not difficult to recruit our alumni. All were supportive, eager to serve and step into leadership roles. The Paveses and Arcegas took us under their wings until we were ready to fly on our own, and to this day they continue to be wind beneath the chapter’s wings. Our chapter is proudly represented by a younger generation of leaders: President, Joanne Perez ’04; President-Elect, Donna Ortiz-Zaballa ’01; Recording Secretary, Connie Tomada ’04; Corresponding Secretary, Mia Tomas-Zarraga ’03; Treasurer, Julius Laban ’09; Auditor, Hope Torregosa-Arcay ’03; PR Officers: Jennifer Aquino ’04 and Eve Rubin ’03. We are supported by generous and engaged members and we boast of a working environment that is encouraging, fun, and family friendly.

Although it may seem that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to put the brakes on our chapter’s momentum, this could not be any farther from the truth. Technology and creativity have made it possible to plan and meet virtually, and we have developed virtual fundraising events for our chapter as well as ingenious ideas to support new members of UPMASA. The chapter has developed welcome packets for these newly recruited members, which includes customized information on local real estate agents, immigration lawyers, popular locations in their respective metro areas, other Fil-Am organizations, and a copy of the chapter’s member directory. We also have ambitious projects lined up for UPMASA—we look forward to hosting the Spring BOG Meeting in 2023, and the AGC in 2024!


The Pacific Northwest Chapter is now a veritable evergreen tree, but still young and seeking growth and maturity. Please support us on our journey, as we strive to achieve heights as high as our chapter’s aspirations and as high as Providence allows! Mabuhay ang UPMASA and all that it endeavors and cultivates for the good!