The University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Southern California was initially organized in 1972 by two alumni: Lawyer Jess Trompeta (deceased) and community leader Dr. Ludy Ongkeko.

Subsequently, though the organization’s membership grew to a large proportion, it branched out and split into two groups: the UP Alumni of Southern California (UPAASC) and the UPAA of California (UPAAC).

In 1997, through the most able leadership of community leader, Sonja Menor, the two groups merged into a unified oganization called the Univesity of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles (UPAAGLA), which later became recognized as a chapter of the UP Alumni Association in Dilliman.

In its continuing mission “to unite all alumni of the University of the Philippines in Southern California,” and to increase its Filipino community involvement, UPAAGLA produced two fundraisers by sponsoring two world renowned UP alumni concert artists “The Madrigal Singers” and “The UP Concert Chorus.”

Though both concerts were successful fundraisers during the leadership years of former Presidents Ramon Pellicer and Steve Yuvienco, UPAAGLA, as a group, felt the need to honor local and exceptional UP alumni talent by establishing the UP Alumni Awards in 2004 under the helm of former President, Lawyer Amante Pimentel.

Alumni Awardees included: Awee Abayari, Community Service; Ofelia Barretto, Chemistry; Ramon Mosqueda, Law; Hector Sulit, Medicine; May Tugade, Information Technology; and Josephine Villanueva, Nursing.

Additional UPAAGLA fundraisers evolved, such as the Barona Casino Turnaround Trip and the Annual Lantern Parade. Both were equally successful during the Presidency of Frank Mamaril.

By late 2008, through the leadership of nursing executive Rhodora Maligalig and in cooperation with the first woman UP President Dr. Emerlinda Roman, UPAAGLA added another mission: “to establish a University of the Philippines’ Professorial Chair,” in order to help develop faculty integrity in our alma mater, the University of the Philippines in Dilliman.

It was during this time too, that UPAAGLA was encouraged by Fil-Am Expo Producer, Awee Abayari, to increase its membership drive by participating in the annual Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Yearly, this event has been a tremendous asset in UPAAGLA’s membership growth.

Having accomplished the UP Professorial Chair goal, UPAAGLA has embarked on another mission, authored by the outstanding leadership of its next President, businesswoman Alma Onrubia, who pursued the Dr. Emerlinda Roman Professorial Chair, as a tribute to the first woman President of the University of the Philippines. For Alma and UPAAGLA, this was another successful “mission accomplished.” In turn, Dr. Roman came back to visit UPAAGLA and honored us by bringing Julia, her “Miss Saigon” singer-granddaughter, at a private gathering, where another UP concert artist, Jonathan Badon, became the highlight of the event.

UPAAGLA’s website, launched in May of 2011, is a stepping stone for current and future members/alumni to become involved and active in giving back to our Alma Mater.

Though UPAAGLA has extensively established its goals through the years, we understand there are many future opportunities to make this organization stand out in the community here in Southern California.

As alumni of our UP Beloved, everything we do is for “our alma mater dear, for thee united, our joyful voices hear; for though we wonder, o’er islands yonder, loyal thy sons we will ever be,” “PUSH ON UP and go in TO WIN!!!”