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our history

By Daisy M. Rodriguez, MN RN MPA

Beginning in the fall of 1961 a group of pioneering nurses in San Francisco gathered and formed the Filipino Nurses Association (FNA). The FNA was the first known organization of Filipino nurses in the Bay Area with its first president Nelly Dayag (1961-1966).

The first decade, the small group of members held regular meetings with a succession of officers from Mary Llapitan (1966 -1968), Marietta Keanne (1968 -1970), and Cecilia Ubungen (1970 -1972). The activities were mostly social and cultural in nature; there were dinner dances and fund-raising events for charitable causes.

The second decade, FNA transitioned to charter membership with the National Organization of Philippine Nursing Organization in the US (NOPNOUS) -- now PNAA (Philippine Nurses Association of America). This decade marked a further succession of presidents: Carmen Calip (1972 -1974), Ilde Musne (1974 -1976), Eliza De Peralta (1976-1978), Abigail Autajay (1978 -1980), and Modesta Orque ( 1980 –1981 resigned). Education started to become a major goal. Nurses who worked at UCSF led the efforts to provide educational programs to fellow nurses. They were Estrella Manio, Romy Rafanan, Araceli Antonio and Pete Calixto. In February 1981 during the term of President Modesta Orque the organization’s name was changed to Filipino Nurses Association of Northern California (FNANC).

The third decade, was one of momentous transition. Nursing leaders (Estrella Manio, Medi Middleton, etc.) spearheaded the surge for more educational offerings during Edna Austria Rodis presidency (1981-1984). As a result, the FNANC was incorporated in the state of California as a non-profit professional organization. In 1985 the first one-day educational program, Clinical and Professional Nursing Update, was initiated during Estrella Manio’s two-term presidency (1984- 1986, 1986-1988). In November 1987 through the efforts of president, Romy Rafanan (1988-1990), the organization changed its current name to Philippine Nurses Association of Northern California, Inc. (PNANC, Inc.). Romy passed away soon after his presidency.

The fourth decade, in the 90’s PNANC, Inc. flourished. Pete Reuben Calixto became president (1990-1992). His term was followed by Carolina De Guzman (1992-1994), Leonora Kabasares (1994-1996), Nelly Cabuslay (1996-1998), and Daisy Rodriguez (1998-2000). In July 7-9, 1995, PNANC hosted the first PNAA Annual Convention in the state of California. The theme was “Nurses Shaping the Future of Health Care through Leadership and Excellence” and held at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Nora Kabasares was the president at the time. In July 1996, three of PNANC’s members were awarded the PNAA Excellence Award during the national conference in Washington, D.C., Kathy Abriam Yago (Nursing Education), Araceli Antonio (Nursing Management and Administration) and Carolina De Guzman (Clinical Practice). On October 1997, PNANC hosted the first Western Regional Leadership Conference under Daisy Rodriguez, first Regional Liaison officer of the PNAA Western Division. The first Christmas party for the Filipino WWII veterans was held on December 13, 1998 at the Doelger Senior Center in Daly City. The ongoing yearly event, “Pasko Ng Mga Bayani”, was an initiative of president Daisy Rodriguez to honor these veterans.

The fifth decade into the 21st Century  repositioned PNANC as a leading member chapter of the PNAA with Pete Reuben Calixto’s PNAA presidency in 2000. The next succession of PNANC presidents carried through existing programs and developed new ones: Araceli Antonio (2000-2002), Roger Bueno (2002-2004), and through a special elections as approved by the PNANC Executive Board nominated and elected Pete Calixto (2004-2006) to become chapter president for the second time, Josie Shaiken (2006-2008), Cherina Tinio (2008-2010), Marife Sevilla (2010-2012), Joseph Mojares (2012-2014), Alicia Fortaleza (2014-2016), Lydee Hershey (2016-2018), and current President Sol Hafalia (2018-2020). Emily Danuco became the "pandemic" president.

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