About

The UPAA, Arizona Chapter is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has been accredited by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association since 2017. In 2020, the organization was accredited as the charter chapter of the UP Alumni Association in America, Inc. (UPAAA, Inc.).

Membership to UPAA-AZ is open to all UP Alumni who are residing in the beautiful state of Arizona. Holders of any diploma, title or certificate, or who were former regular students of any University of the Philippines campus, having earned at least sixty academic units, and not having been dismissed for misconduct or scholastic deficiency may join the association.

UPAA-AZ engages in fund-generating activities to finance its scholarship projects, partnerships, and other activities in pursuit of its objectives:

  1. To organize the members’ collective efforts in assisting their Alma Mater in the fulfillment of its academic mission as a world-class institution for tertiary education;
  2. To help strengthen the University to play its vital role in the development of Philippine society and of the Filipino nation;
  3. To help establish an efficient placement bureau to assist University of the Philippines alumni in seeking gainful employment where their professional competence is most suited;
  4. To foster camaraderie and spirit of the Filipino “bayanihan” in the midst of fulfilling the organization’s mission.

How It All Began…

Bob Reyes urged his wife, Liza, to meet Carol Esguerra-Colborn —an aspiring author, who he knew from the IT industry in the Philippines. Carol had just decided to settle in Arizona, after RV’ing full time across North America for five years, and she had just published a book about it.

On December 7, 2015, the three met over dinner, together with Bill (Carol’s husband). Carol has sorely missed a Filipino community and suggested establishing a chapter of the UP Alumni Association. The three UP alumni ended the night with a firm resolved to found the Arizona Chapter.

With her usual verve, Liza seized the idea and asked Dr. Vin & Monet Gatchalian to host a meeting at their lovely home. On February 29, 2016, Karen Paghasian-Wenz eagerly joined the four. More alumni were identified and the next meeting was set. Even if Carol soon left to continue her travels, Liza proved more than equal to the task.

On April 4, 2016, the second meeting added three more new members. The tribe was growing and the ball could no longer be stopped from rolling. By May 5, 2016, there were fifteen alumni gathered. Only ten more were needed for the chapter to be accredited!

On January 31, 2017, we received our Certificate of Accreditation from UP, so we proceeded to elect our officers on February 13. Soon after, on April 29, we held our Chapter Presentation at the Kokopelli Ballroom of the Viewpoint Golf Resort in Mesa, AZ.

The Charter Officers were inducted by the First Vice-President of the UPAA and Secretary-General of the Philippine National Red Cross, Atty. Oca Palabyab, beamed from the Philippines. Dr. Rod Chan of the Chan Heart Rhythm Institute gave an inspirational talk and was conferred an Honorary Membership.

Liza Reyes, our Chapter President, proudly called the roll of Charter Members and the celebration, emceed by Bob and Carol, lasted long through the night. We went home with our hearts full and our spirits high, knowing we had just started something meaningful.

Present Day: Accredited as the Charter Chapter of UPAA, Inc.