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A Brief History of the Pangasinan Society of Calgary

(PASOC, 1988)

         The Pangasinan Society of Calgary, now more popularly known by its acronym as PASOC, was formed in 1988 amidst the sprouting different ethnic, regional, professional and social Filipino clubs at the time. Leopoldo (Pol) Mendoza, a soft-spoken and well-refined gentleman from San Carlos City, envisioned of organizing one in view of the success of the Pangasinan Group of Manitoba based in Winnipeg where he came from. He, together with the late Peter Ulanday, Marcial Salcedo, Jacinto (Tito) Sayson, Juan (Jun) Macaraeg and about thirty new members started it all. Mang Peter drafted the original Constitution

and By-laws of the Society which was subsequently registered as a social club with the Alberta Consumers and Corporate Affairs under the Societies Act on October 6, 1988. Pol was officially inducted and became the Society’s 1st President in December, 1988 at the Multicultural Building in downtown Calgary. He served for four years from 1988 to 1991. In 1989, PASOC joined the newly formed Calgary Federated Filipino Associations (CAFFA), supposedly the umbrella group of all Filipino Associations in the city, to liaise with the Filipino community and the Canadian society in order to achieve better understanding of the diversified cultures within the province in general and Calgary, our adopted home, in particular.

          PASOC Executive Board has officially adopted three major social functions throughout the year. These are: 1) Summer Picnic tentatively scheduled during the first Saturday of Stampede, 2) Annual Camping normally scheduled on any week-end in August and the Dinner and Dance Christmas Celebration every December.

          Pangasinenses are known to be hard working, caring, compassionate and fun-loving people. Within four years of Pol’s reign, the organization blossomed to over two hundred strong and supportive members. In December, 1991, Albeo (Bing) Baquiran, originally from the town of Pozzorubio, was inducted as the Society’s 2nd President for the ensuing two years. As expected, he performed his duties uncompromisingly to the best of his knowledge and ability. Benevolent donations initiated by Pol were continued and extended to the bereaved families of departed members. PASOC was there and lent a helping hand during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and to other calamities that continually beset the Philippines. As expected, members roster keeps on growing.

          In December, 1993, Narlo T. Serquiña, a native of Pangasinan’s easternmost town of San Nicolas, was officially inducted as the 3rd President of PASOC for 1994 and 1995. He introduced the Casino Fundraising Campaign, a brilliant idea he borrowed from his membership then with the Calgary Filipino Lions Club. It became and still is the major fundraising event of the Society that nets approximately $40,000 to $60,000 per engagement and finance the major projects adopted designed for the youth, the seniors, bursaries, etc. With the skillful help and assistance of Board Member Clem Tigley, Jr., PASOC is once again scheduled to host two casino days in the third quarter of next year, more likely sometime in September, 2005. Narlo’s daring leadership brought the Society to a new height when he introduced the Scholarship Program aimed to assist financially bright but indigent high school students in our home province, Pangasinan. He is one among the signing members of the re-organized Calgary Federation of Filipino Associations (CAFFA, 1994). PASOC is now stronger as ever and proved to be a role model in the Filipino community. The end of his term brought the membership list to over 400.

          Francisco (Pepe) Siapno, originally from Dagupan City, became the 4th PASOC President and was inducted into office on December, 1995 for the year 1996 and 1997. Pepe, together with his wife Lydia, known locally as ballroom dancing enthusiasts, taught members and officers to enjoy more the social gatherings in the form of dancing. With their graceful moves and tutorial skills, a lot of us became instant line dancers overnight. As expected, Pepe continued the legacy left by his predecessors.

          As in any organization, it is not always rosy as we hoped for or wished to be. PASOC was at its most turbulent times in 1999. However, at the beginning of the new millennium, with the determination of some Past Presidents and concerned members, Jovencio (Joven) Bautista, Jr. of Manaoag, was officially inducted as its legitimate President, this time being the 5th of the Society. It was in 2001 when the original Constitution and By-laws was amended and ratified by majority of the members present during the Summer Picnic at Bowness Park. His firm conviction and resilient determination buoyed by the unequivocal support of some Past Presidents took him three years of unselfish service and dedication which brought the Society’s finances back to stability. Once again, PASOC shines brightly among the rest. The crisis of 1999 did not deter newly arrived ‘kabaleyans’ in joining the bandwagon. PASOC keeps on growing stronger year after year.

          Gregorio (Greg) Lacuata, a young and successful business entrepreneur originally from the western Pangasinan town of Sual, became the 6th Society’s President when he took over the helm in 2003. With the profit generated from the Casino Campaign, his administration managed to donate and help the different Filipino Seniors clubs in the city and extend other kinds of support to those in dire need. PASOC’s presence in all major activities of different Filipino organizations is noticeable. It is part of their commitment in maintaining harmonious relationship with the over three dozens different ethnic groups in the city. PASOC officers had the opportunity to hone their leadership skills via a seminar held during the spring retreat in Canmore, Alberta early this year. PASOC, by this time has an official basketball team in the Filipino Basketball League. Greg, a golf afficionado himself, together with Board Member Bong Gamayo organized a very successful golf tournament in honor of visiting Philippine Consul General Zenaida Tacorda Rabago. As a result and by popular demand, Invitational Golf Tournament is now part of the annual events of the organization. The benevolent list is long and enormous as stated in the casino application to the Alberta Gaming Commission. To date, PASOC has general membership of over 600. By the way, membership is not limited to Pangasinenses alone. It is open for everyone, Filipinos and foreigners alike.

          PASOC has successfully dared to venture where others have failed to tread. This is the organization where leaders are groomed, trained, honed and tested. Three past and present Presidents of this prestigious organization became President of CAFFA, the umbrella group of the many different Filipino associations in the city. They are: Albeo Baquiran (1996-97), Gregorio Lacuata (2002-03) and Francisco Siapno (2004-05). It just proved that PASOC produces quality leaders.

          As PASOC enters its 17th year since existence, another history is in the making on December 17th, 2004, when Gerardita (Dita) Serquiña, co-townmate and lovely wife of Narlo, will be inducted as the Society’s 7th President. She will also be remembered as the 1st lady President of the group and the 1st husband and wife team to serve or have served PASOC as President. When asked on what her future plans for the Society, she humbly said, “ I will exert every effort to the best of my knowledge and ability to continue the traditions and maintain the good name of PASOC. Knowing what my predecessors have accomplished, this will be a real challenging position. As a nurse, I have met and seen a lot of our ‘kabaleyans’ as patients in my Rehab Unit at the Rockyview Hospital and have recognized their needs spiritually, morally and financially to some. I will initiate to create a committee to look into this matter and help uplift the quality of life of our aging members. This is a big task which I sincerely hope my fellow officers will support”.

          The road has been paved for our continued success. PASOC now rests on solid ground. It will be unfair not to mention the many other names behind the scene that helped during the developing stages of PASOC, to wit; the Mejias, the Saysons, the Ongs, the Macaraegs, the Lopezes, the Malicdems, the De Guzmans, the Aquinos to name a few and of course the general membership who up to now loyally and unselfishly support PASOC’s good cause. Without you, we can never be in this pedestal of glory where we rightfully belong. Our apology to the many others whose names were not mentioned due to space limitation.

          With this brief and rich history of the Pangasinan Society of Calgary, what are you waiting for? Come and join us! Membership requires a ‘one-time only’ fee of $5.00. $2.50 for those below 18 years old.


Behind every successful Actions and movement are the creative thinking and planning of generous and charitable spirits of PASOC officials and members. If you feel you have the same vibe write us today at info@pasoc.ca leave us a message in our guestbook

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