UPA celebrates 50th Year

THE United Pangasinanses of America recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee led by its 16th president, Mario Cendaña- Panoringan, former FilAm Star publisher, and wife, Norma, at the Grand Ballroom of the South San Francisco Conference Center in South San Francisco.

 The celebration, Internet Simulcast and TFC/ABS-CBN, followed the organization’s Annual Pangasinanes Day, with Past President and Director Emeritus Zosimo De Veas as Executive Chair and now Vice President Ernesto Abalos as Executive Vice Chair.

The highlight or the celebration was the presentation of the Urduja Award, the highest honor given by the organization, to individuals who have distinguished themselves and contributed immensely to the existence and successes of UNAI, and conferment of Life Membership Certificates.


The recipients of the Urduja Award and their spouses, (l-r) Franklin and Caridad Aquino, Fred and Cynthia Almeron, Alvin and Marita Padilla, Ernesto and Flory Abalos and Chris and Emma Torres with President and First Lady Mario and Norma Panoringan.

Mr. Panoringan and the Presidential message, “Honoring Our Past-Creating Our Future.”

The recipients of this year’s Urduja Awards were Past Presidents Franklin Aquino, Fred Almeron, Alvin Padilla, Ernesto Abalos and Chris Torres.

Life Membership Certificates were present to current and former queens and participants in the Miss Pangasinan Talent & Beauty Pageant and Mrs. Pangasinan Pageant.

Immediate Past President Chris Torres was presented the Presidential Plaque in recognition of his leadership from 2011-2015.

Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, the event’s Guest Speaker, presented a Plaque of Recognition to UPA from the City of Milpitas.


Pres. Panoringan articulating UPA’s dream.

In his speech, Panoringan, a native of Lingayen, paid homage to the founding fathers and their vision.

He cited the pioneering spirit of Roy Arcellano, Sonia Dagdagan, Baldomero De Castro, Lily Reyes, the Austrias, the Cabanellas, the Caragans, the Lopezes and the Sabinianos.

He also acknowledged the services of John Bamont and Dick Gornot, w the two original signatories that made the 3–storey United Pangasinanes Building that stands now at 5028-5030 Mission Street in San Francisco. Mrs. Luisa Gornot was in attendance.

Articulating the response of the members to the vision of the founders, how generations met the challenges that to make the organization what it is today, Panoringan said the organization sustained the hopes and aspirations of the founders.

“We can say with pride that we have played our part,” he declared.

He described the how UPA network grew, through the creation of the Town and City Affiliation Program, with 24 towns and cities of Pangasinan already affiliated with UPA.


UPAI’s 8 living Presidents: (l-r) Ernesto Abalos, Franklin Aquino, Alvin Padilla, Panoringan, Mario Panoringan, Zosimo De Veas, Chris Torres, Alfonso Aningalan and Fred Almeron.

Panoringan articulated the present generation’s vision for the next 50 years. Borrowing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fabled” I have A Dream” speech, he said, “We must never give up, we must never give up, ” and asked members to join him in the dream “Creating Our Future” as he invoked UPA’s 2015 theme “Pulling Together for UPA.”

“I dream that our children and their children’s children will become the next leaders of our great organization. And, I dreamt that in the next years ahead, we will have the first woman president at UPA. I dream that in the next 50 years, UPA would have graduated not only hundreds of scholars, but rather in the thousands, and I dreamt that UPA will continue its outpouring of love and concern, in helping our fellow Pangasinenses and the Filipino people back home, in times of their needs, especially those affected by the wrath of nature.”


Pres. Panoringan with wife Norma Camarao-Panoringan

“Keep dreaming with me my dear friends, and envision that someday our 3-storey building will become 5-storeys, which will house our state of the art Pangasinan Center on the ground floor, business offices on the second floor, an affordable housing for our Seniors on the third floor and rental units on the fourth and fifth floors,” he added.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by tenor Enrico Saboren and Miss Pangasinan 2014-2016 first runner-up Alyssa Marie Cacacho, a Tahitian dance by 2014-2016 Miss Pangasinan Raven Marie C. Mapanao and 2014-2016 second runner up Denna Mae Basto, and a modern line dancing presentation by all Mrs. Pangasinan queens, with debonair Frank Talania as choreographer.

Invocation was delivered by retired Bishop Jesus Cabrera of Pangasinan while the singing of the National Anthems was performed by the UPA leaders. Executive Chair/Vice Chair, Zosimo De Veas and Ernesto Abalos, served as co-emcees for the evening.

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