HISTORY OF APO GREATER LOS ANGELES


By the summer’s end of 1980, Jess L. Castillo, Epsilon ’68, and Rey Manikad, Alpha ’61, met in Los Angeles and published a news article in local papers that attracted the attention of Edgar “Egay” Ninofranco, Beta, Isauro “Bonjie” Ingco, Alpha Eta, and Nelson Silao, Zeta Gamma.

Fraternity Life member Castillo, Ninofranco, Ingco, and Silao met for the first time at the Barrio Fiesta Restaurant on Temple Street, Los Angeles, renewing a strong bond of brotherhood in Alpha Phi Omega. This historic meeting was followed by a series of fellowship meetings as an increasing number of Philippine alumnis heard of the exciting movement that was brewing in Los Angeles. Alex O. Aquino and Teddy Ramos, both from Gamma Epsilon phoned Castillo of their interest in the new group.

So did Beta Kappa alumnus F. Thomas “Toti” Ayo, Doms Tunque, Theta, Joey Algoso, Christian and Betta David from Sigma, Myrna Tangco from Alpha, Epsilonians Jose “Jhun” Chin, Patrick Afan and wife Marietta “Mayette” Afan, a Pi Omega Pi member at the University of the East, Paul Languisan, Beta Tau; Fidel “Pungay” Aquino, Beta Epsilon; Dominador “Bong” Estrada, Upsilon; blood brothers Nelson and Alex Ipapo of Delta, Jasmin Ipapo from Alpha and Arlene Ipapo from Pi, Junn O. Aquino from Gamma Epsilon and later on Gil Magno, Alpha Pi; and soon thereafter, more were added to the list.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, quite a few APO alumni serving in the United States Navy also learned about the brand new group—they were Carlos B. Pampolina, Sigma; Abraham S. Tan, Eta; Angel Pangilinan, Delta Zeta; Leo Lantican, Alpha Sigma; Rolando R. Hernandez, Delta; Virgilio R. Gadiano, Alpha Psi; Ruben and Evelyn Barcelona, Beta Eta; Amelita F. Cornista, Alpha Sigma.
On February 7, 1981, an election was held at the National Life and Accident Insurance Branch Office on Temple Street, entrusting the management of APOAAC to a set of Charter Officers. On this election, though in attendance, our Northern California brothers chose not to be a part of what soon was to become the APO AA of Southern California.
September 12, 1981, APOIAAC celebrated its first year anniversary at the then Bayanihan  Restaurant on 2300 Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles. The Association was honored by the then APO USA National Vice-President Earle M. Herbert, as its Guest of Honor and Speaker.

The Charter Members:
When a campaign in 1981 for Charter application was conducted by Castillo, the following responded by paying the required association dues and thus their name will forever be etched in history as APOIAAC Charter Members:
J. Jessie L. Castillo, Life Member/Charter Pres.– Epsilon ‘68
Domingo B. Tunque, Vice President – Theta ‘69
F. Thomas A. Ayo, Vice President - Beta Kappa ‘72
Lelisa R. Santos, Vice President - Delta Kappa
Alex O. Aquino, Secretary - Gamma Epsilon
Isauro Y. Ingco, Treasurer - Alpha Eta
Teddyleon D.Ramos, State Coordinator - Gamma Epsilon
Christian David, Chaplain - Sigma
Edgar P. Ninofranco, Media Relations Director - Beta
Fidel R. Aquino, Sergeant-at-Arms - Beta Epsilon
Patrick Afan, Chairman, Past Grand Chancellors Council - Epsilon
Dr. Librado I. Ureta, Charter Life Member/APO Phil. - President Emeritus – Advisor (deceased)
Myrna S. Tangco, Life Member/Past National Secretary - Alpha
Jose S. Algoso, Charter Member - Sigma
Jose D. Chin, Jr., Charter Member - Epsilon
Rolando R. Hernandez, Charter Member - Delta
Carlos B. Pampolina, Charter Member - Sigma
Angel Pangilinan, Charter Member - Delta Zeta
Evelyn Barcelona, Charter Member - Beta Eta
Virgilio R. Gadiano, Charter Member - Alpha Psi
Nelson D. Ipapo, Charter Member - Delta
Paul R. Languisan, Charter Member - Beta Tau
Betta M. David, Charter Member - Sigma
Abraham S. Tan, Charter Member - Eta
Ruben C. Barcelona, Charter Member - Beta Eta
Amelita F. Cornista, Charter Member - Alpha Sigma
Leo D. Lantican, Charter Member - Alpha Sigma
Dominador D. Estrada, Charter Member – Upsilon

With all these names submitted in the application, only fifteen (15) Life IDs were issued by the APO Phil National Council. After a number of follow-ups, the Association never received a straightforward response as to what happened with the rest. Regardless, however, a good number of these names didn’t mean much, as inconspicuous as they were, chose not to take part in shaping the future of the organization.

The Legacy with APO-USA:
The APO-USA National Convention on December 1980, which was attended by a handful of APO Phil Delegation, led to perhaps the greatest legacy from the friendship forged with the late Earle M. Herbert, Chi’59 (UCLA) and the APOIAAC members starting with Earle’s 1981 APO-Philippines National Convention trip to Cagayan de Oro City, and two more subsequent APO-Phil. conventions he attended while he was APO-USA National President from 1982 to 1986. Inspired by the knowledge from his overseas trips, he proposed the creation of a National Director for International Relations. This act paved the way for the eventual realization of the International Council of Alpha Phi Omega (ICAPO) in 1994, a dream he never witnessed due to his untimely demise in the same year.

The Early Service Projects
Several service projects were made during the formative years. A Book Drive was held in 1980, Service with the Tree People, in consonance with APO-USA National Service Week, a support group in a Los Angeles Filipino-American Jaycees program, the hosting of APO-Philippines Delegates-Observers to the 1980 APO-USA National Convention, participation in Philippine Independence Day celebrations and other community-oriented projects.

The Transformation: 
In 1982 however, without the distraction of maintaining a new organization, the focus shifted to building relationships. Social interaction resulted in a more solid and a more meaningful foundation.

The Core Group:
The Core Group got to know more about each other without the political pressure and the need to worry about organizational functions.  The address: 123 N. Hobart Blvd in Los Angeles was the place to be. To these members of the core group (one of them was the late Bro. Henry Chua and his lovely wife Betty), it was a period of acculturation and a time to focus on family and everyone's personal search for direction. It was a time-off necessary to define the eventual character and nature of the group. After all, it’s in the nature of a caterpillar to squirm in a cocoon before bursting into life and the open space as a butterfly - taking its time to metamorphose, as it awaits the light of dawn with its endless possibilities.

“THE RENAISSANCE” - A Renewed Commitment:
With the persistent efforts of Bros. Christian David, Dan Nino and a few others, “The Renaissance” came on August 25, 1984, when approximately twenty or so brothers and sisters attended a meeting and held an election for a new set of officers at the Cerritos Park in the City of Cerritos, California. With its noble objectives and with renewed vigor, enthusiasm and commitment from the membership and with our spouses and our family by our side; there was only the promise of a greater future for the Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of Southern California, which later changed its name to the Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles. On December 15, 1984, graced by our very own Philippine Organizer and President Emeritus Bro. Dr. Librado I. Ureta and the late Bro. Earle M Herbert, APO-USA President from 1982 to 1986, we celebrated our first formal December Anniversary Dinner-Dance at the Skylinks Golf & Country Club in Long Beach, California.

The Soul Searching: 
From Brother Gil Magno’s personal account of our history, he expressed the following: “The first year of F. Thomas “Toti” Ayo’s presidency was a difficult period. It was a time for soul-searching, of finding the one thread that could bind our different and various ideas about our Association into one single purpose.  Toti’s low-key approach to solving problems and his willingness to listen to everyone’s point of view made everyone believe that every member was an important part of the organization. Toti promised to consolidate the membership, and he achieved this mostly by making sure that all decisions were reflective of the wishes of the General Assembly.”  Further, Gil Magno noted: “By consensus of the General Assembly, no elections were held for the 1986 term of office. The group felt that it was too soon for a change of leadership at a time when everyone felt that the organization was being managed properly and was pointing in the right direction.”

Moving Forward: 
One significant act by “Toti” Ayo and his elected officers was to call for a revision of the Association’s Constitution and By-laws that would be truly responsive to the felt needs of the Association, reflective of the Association’s ideals and purposes. This constitution and by-laws recognized the need and value of family relationship in the Organization’s over-all scheme. This CBL was ratified by the General Assembly on July 26, 1986 at the residence of APO-GLA's Honorary Bro. Benjie Silao in Los Angeles.

It was also during “Toti” Ayo’s presidency that the traditional Annual Family Camping started in 1985 at Lake Perris State Park in Perris, California.

On October 18, 1986, the General Assembly gathered at the Maynila Restaurant in Los Angeles and elected Christian David as the President for the subsequent year. The new set of officers was inducted at the ballroom of the Golden Sails Hotel in Long Beach on Dec 5, 1986. And so has it been, every year since then, that APO-GLA would celebrate its Annual Dinner & Dance in December. Indeed, endless were our possibilities!

CREDIT: APOIAAC
The Beginning was made possible through the personal accounts of Bros. Jess Castillo, Toti Ayo, Christian David, Egay Ninofranco, Bonjie Ingco, Doms Tunque, Fidel ‘Pungay’ Aquino Jr, Alex Aquino and Teddy Ramos, on events of the early formative years that led to our APO-GLA as it currently is, one of the premier APO Alumni Organizations in the world. Bro. Dony Rondilla was instrumental in gathering and re-writing pertinent facts.

 

 

THE EARLY YEARS . . . THE 80’S

JESS CASTILLO, Epsilon
1st President
1981-1983 – “Remember the Member”
In the beginning….LA was a sanctuary of brothers who for their American dream….

Sometime in October 1980, efforts to organize the APO of California was initiated by Jess Castillo inviting and meeting alumni members to form an association. After several informal meetings, the first grand get together was on December 16, 1980 at the Cerritos Regional Park to celebrate the fraternity’s founding 55 years before. General elections were held in February 1981 for the first set of officers were elected at the once posh Bayanihan Restaurant in Los Angeles. APO VP Earle Herbert was the inducting officer.

F . THOMAS AYO, Beta Kappa
2nd President
1984-1986 – “The Renaissance Period”
Part of the growing pains of an organization is to sustain the enthusiasm of every member while pursuing ones individual goals in our adopted country, the association went into hiatus from the latter part of 1982 until May of 1984 when the members pushed hard for a reorganization and restructuring. Aptly called “The Renaissance Period,” it sparked the new beginning of a rejuvenated alumni group. Toti Ayo was elected President together with the elected officers served until 1986.  The association’s main task was to involve members, families and spouses and the passing and ratification of the by-laws of the association.

CHRISTIAN DAVID, Sigma
3rd President
1987 – “Get Involved”
When it was thought that the APO of Southern California is capable and ready to move on to greater undertakings and in compliance with the newly instituted By-Laws, the one-year tem of office for the officers and directors was implemented.

1987 was also the year when the association was formally and legally incorporated under the laws of California.

Simply put, “Get Involved” was Christian David’s rallying point. There was the first participation of APO in the LA Marathon, the camping at Lake Perris, and several service projects. The Southern California Torch and Trefoil was first published with Art Rivera serving as Editor.

EDGAR NINOFRANCO, Beta
4th President
1988 – “Sustained Commitment Continued Growth”
This was the year when groundwork for an alumni council was laid out by APO Southern California, Northern California and the East Coast of an Alumni council. The year also marked the beginning of the North-South Sporsfest hosted the NorCal. In all, SoCal trounced NorCal in the First “Payanigan Sportsfest” in basketball, volleyball, softball, tennis, chess and bowling. NorCal was awarded The Generosity award! This was also the year of the famed El Capitan Beach Camping overdraft (as in beer)!

GIL MAGNO, Alpha Pi
5th President
1989 – “Hand In Hand …On To Greater Heights”
President Gil’s focus was to strengthen the leadership qualities of the members and lead each one to succeed in their professions and family relations. This was the year of the Back-to-Back bragging rights as SoCal again bested NorCal in the Sporsfest.

 


THE MIDDLE AGES . . . THE 90’s

BONJIE INGCO, Alpha Eta
6th President
1990 – “Soaring Into the ‘90’s…Let’s Do It!”
This was the year of the big earthquake in the Philippines and the association spearheaded the campaign to assist the victims. A hefty amount was raised and personally presented to the Rotary Clubs of Baguio for the victims. For the first time, SoCal gave up the Sportsfest championship trophy as NorCal hosted the games and vowed never to lose for the third time! So they did win…

PATRICK AFAN, Epsilon
7th President
1991 – “A Decade of Commitment to Leadership,Friendship and Service”
January 22 saw the passing of APO President Emeritus and Founder Dr. Librado “Bado” Ureta. Brothers and Sisters from all over the country came to pay their last respects for the beloved father of APO Philippines. One of Bado’s wishes was to recognize a brother who spent most of his time caring for him, spending time with him, taking him to meetings and APO gatherings and simply being with him. Brother Gil Magno presented Brother Bobbite Picazo a special recognition for all his love, time and caring ways for Bado.

This time, SoCal recaptured the coveted Champions trophy from NorCal losing only in softball.

ENRICO LAINEZ, Eta
8th President
1992 – “Moving On to a Greater To A Greater Tomorrow”
From the Vegas Trip to the Braille Olympics, this was the year that major fund-raising were conducted to support the NorCal vs. SoCal Sportsfest. The “Hallowheels” Car Raffle raised $10,000 for the coffers of the association. LA brothers and sisters stormed New York at the First ACNA Convention at the Big Apple. LA’s Toti Ayo was elected President for the biennial years 1992-1994.

BOBBITTE PICAZO, Eta
9th President
1993 - “Together, We are Stronger”
…despite difficult economic, emotional, and philosophical hurdles, members responded enthusiastically to the call for togetherness. APO spirit prevailed. We clasped each other’s hands and succeeded in our projects, especially in the membership drive. Many new members came and “old” members renewed their commitment. Defining moments: APO Southern California takes Sportsfest trophy winning 4 out of 7 events and taking a 4-1 series lead. “Palabas Gilas II” showcased the talents of APO performers.

ART RIVERA, Eta
10th President
1994 - “We Dare to Make a Difference”
…1994 was the year “We Dared to Make a Difference.” The year began on shaky grounds with the infamous Northridge Earthquake on January 17. Lives were disrupted, members were affected, our schedules were derailed but the leadership continued to deliver. From the earthquake to the heat wave, from the Ladies Night to the “Best of Times,” from Toronto to Chicago, 1994 was an interesting and rewarding year. Programs and projects participated in included the First Executive and BOD meeting with Past Presidents, First APO Southern California Tree Planting with Tree People, First Santacruzan at Knott’s Berry Farms featuring Arlo and Grace Trinidad’s Lauren Marie as Reyna Elena I and the adoption of a 10 year old girl from Legaspi in Bicol thru Children International.

Defining moments: APO Southern California took Chicago by storm, throwing their entire support to one of our very own, Brod Gil Magno, in his quest and eventually winning the ACNA Presidency. Guiding Words of the Year: “Respect, Passion and Laughter”


 

DOMS TUNQUE, Theta
11th President
“1995 . . . The Beginning of a New Vision”
…there were lots of ups and downs, but in the end, it proved to be a worthwhile experience. This administration worked hard to promote the economic, civic, and social agenda patterned from programs of APO ACNA which proved to be responsive to the immediate needs of the membership. Defining moments: APO Alumni Association of Southern California changes its name to APO Alumni Association of Greater Los Angeles. Tribo ni Bado newsletter was born.

Classic quotes: Five minutes! You want to go? Go!

HADRIAN LARA, Pi
12th President
1996 - “Unity in Progress”
…Unity in Progress… is the theme we chose to carry us through 1996. As it was since its inception, UNITY in Greater Los Angeles is what kindles the associations PROGRESS. We stayed focused and attained our goals. The year was crammed with activities, including the revival of “Ladies Night” and the Vegas trip. Service projects and fund-raising programs abound. The realization of these objectives is attributable to the individual efforts and contributions of vibrant brothers and sisters of Alpha Phi Omega. These are the elements that contribute to the enhancement of the values that are very dear to us…

Defining moments: APOGLA hosts the 3rd ACNA Convention, delivering on its promise to host the best convention ever. Classic quotes (from convention attendees): “Bilib talaga kami sa L.A.”

FRANCIS FRANCO, Gamma Epsilon
13th President
1997 - “Timeless Traditions, We Begin as One...We End as One”
…We’ve come a long way... this was the phrase that will forever be embedded in our records… a timeless tradition. The year was like a big jigsaw puzzle, where we put the pieces together, and each piece had its own essential task. We’ve stood out in our community with our service, we shed so much tears, but mostly from laughter. We accomplished the toughest assignment with our unending courage. We realized one of our biggest objectives by filing our 501-C3 application to help our non-profit status. To top it all, we achieved 18% growth in our membership.

Defining moments: APOGLA president attends 19th National Biennial Convention in Baguio City, Philippines. APOGLA’s “Men in Black” hits the stage. Classic quotes: Point well taken – next!

MELVIN VILLAVER, Eta
14th President
1998 - “Magkakasama . . .Nagkakaisa Magpakailanman”
… even with our share of peaks and valleys, we were able to overcome most of our hurdles because of our inherent characteristic of staying united forever. We are always capable of changing the picture of misunderstanding into understanding each other.

Defining moments: APOGLA conducted “Reaffirmation Seminar” with Brod Joe Eco as the facilitator. APOGLA joined Philippine Centennial celebration. APOGLA’s “Men in Black” hits the road with its final performance in the 4th Biennial Convention in Seattle. APOGLA revived the service project Feed the Homeless in cooperation with LA Mission. APOGLA became as the Charter Organization for BSA Troop 1925, Officially registered with the Verdugo Council.

Classic quotes: Hoy, Gising!


 

DONY RONDILLA, Delta
15th President
1999 - “Facing the challenges of the New Millennium”
…while everyone else was pre-occupied with the Y2K bug, APOGLA sustains its momentum, ready to face the challenges of the new millennium. We strived hard to sustain the interest of our members by creating a balanced set of programs and activities designed to serve our community and our members. From our youth development program with BSA Troop1925, to our environmental healing programs, to our youth career seminar, to our social and service programs, there is always something for everyone. APOGLA welcomed the year with a strong commitment to our ideals of Leadership, Friendship, and Service.

Defining moments: APOGLA granted 501-C3 corporate status. APOGLA convenes “Charter Review” assembly to chart its future. APOGLA hosts the 1st “California Challenge” paving the way for an open Sportsfest where everyone can participate. BSA Troop 1925, sponsored by APOGLA, gains momentum.

YEAR 2000 AND BEYOND . . .

JUN LINSANGAN, Delta Psi
16th President
2000 - “Embracing the Millennium for Greatness of Tomorrow”
While the entire world was worried about the probable Y2K computer glitch (primarily the fear that nuclear warheads might get inadvertently launched), APOGLA never had any qualms about it. Such “No Fear” outlook surely cannot be attributed to technology ignorance because of the abundance of tech savvy members, but can instead be blamed on either or both of the two inherent APO attitudes namely, a) Bahala na, and b) Don’t worry about things you can’t control. And as proverbial luck would have it…. the perceived glitch was a fluke!

Life went on as we expected with President Jun Linsangan (Delta Psi, Colegio de Sta Isabel – Naga City) and his management team being on the forefront of all the projects handled. The emphasis of this administration was on character, physical and recreational skills development. Sporting events like basketball, tennis, target shooting tournaments, and paintball war games along with the rejuvenation of Boys Scout troop 1925 occupied most of GLA’s time.

One other significant event for the year 2000 was the ACNA Convention held in Houston, Texas. With the charisma and persuasive ability of the “attache’case packing”, President Linsangan, the volume of attendees from GLA dominated the scenes; it almost felt like Los Angeles was the actual venue as Angelenos were all over the place – the lights at the hotel lobby never dimmed out. Key people from GLA were given critical roles (ie. Workshops and fellowship logistics) and they all performed superbly.

HERMAN SOMERA, Alpha Alpha
17th President
2001 - “Great Achievers, Dare to Dream and Become”
Then came the roaring thunder of the Toot Toot Train led by President Herman Somera (Alpha Alpha, Trinity College – Quezon City) for 2001, the second year of the millennium. ACNA quickly realized the gold mine of wisdom and statesmanship from this Bado Ureta trained brother and made him Chairman of the Board for the council of AA presidents. And sure, such was a critical task and very demanding, but it never distracted President Somera in dispensing his sworn duties to GLA. When the train engineer cries “All Aboard”, everyone jumped and ensured that “all the tyres were rollin and the engine whistlin”.

The many periodic stops the train took (GMMs, fund raisings, service projects, charities, etc.) were all fulfilling and successful with the implementation of an unprecedented “Zero Budget” policy. Thanks to the many vigilantes and charitable pockets amongst us, it actually worked!

With President Somera’s ACNA COB tenure, GLA volunteered to host two important ACNA events conducted coincidingly during the Labor Day weekend. The events were the ACNA third quarter meeting and the GLA Open- a non-partisan sportsfest; a resounding success. Note that with the zippo budget policy, event chairman Vic Paredes had to raise a “few” thousand bucks to make it happen….. and they came using his magic wand! What a glorious year 2001 was!

MANNY ATIENZA, Gamma Epsilon
18th President
2002 - “We can . . . We Shall . . . We will”
2002 started with a bang with the “We Can… We Shall… We Will” chant of President Manny Atienza (Gamma Epsilon, De La Salle University) who happened to be GLA’s COB for 2001. Optimism was at its highest due to the body’s foresight of dynamic continuity; and many inactives re-surfaced, most notably the chivalrous Gamma Epsilonians.

As expected, all of GLA’s regular events and projects got carried out smoothly but imminently noticeable was the brewing rift with a clique of some South Bay area members. It got accentuated by the ACNA election in San Diego, where against sane political logic, GLA fielded both Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates; a political suicide as both candidates lost (first in GLA’s history).

Lesson learned: “Never sacrifice leverage and bargaining power for anything in APO politics”. We fell, got up, dusted-off, paused, leaked our wounds and with GLA’s management team remaining cohesive, we recovered; finding solace in our service projects and the warmth of the upcoming yuletide holidays. Diplomatic efforts from all angles (group and individuals) ensued in an attempt to mend the South bay rift. And the rest of the year “slided” and ended with a jubilant fellowship and celebration in Palm Springs.

VIC PAREDES, Beta Xi
19th President
2003 - “Building upon our Dreams . . . One after Another”
The smile of 2003 came in the radiant boyish grin of President Vic Paredes (Beta Xi, Cagayan Teachers College) and with a slogan “Building Upon Our Dreams…One After Another”, one desired lone destination… Progress, was defined. It started on a most positive note of the Delta group’s resurgence, as a result of the management teams’ subtle diplomatic efforts. The BOD team, composed of not only the incumbent president and the immediate past president but of three other past presidents, provided a solid backdrop to President Paredes’ executive team; what a luxury.

Clamors for added vigilance and resilience had to be aired as mending efforts with the clique in South Bay continued. The call for resilience eerily became prophetic as GLA had to deal with tragedies and adversities namely: 1) The untimely passing of Sister Aileen Cruz Ramos, Brother Boy Hilvano and familial member Cindy Ocampo. 2) The real life disappointments and anxiety of a popular APO kid Kevin Pangilinan who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia (later on died with complications). 3) The eventual official break away of the South Bay clique. 4) The extreme disciplinary sentence of expulsion from GLA meted to a long time member for a wrong doing against a familial member.

While the above distracted the administration substantially, the first two items proved how cohesive we are in times of anguish and distress while the other two showed how resilient we have become of growing pains.

The issue of the South Bay AA break away (after a failed diplomatic attempt using the logical ‘Organize for the right reasons” ideology - which they claimed they had) was appropriately dealt by management with a BOD resolution declaring indefinite suspension from GLA of its leaders and organizers. In his concluding address, President Paredes humbly declared… “The real measure of one’s character is best done when one is sitting down in the deepest valley; not when one is standing atop the hill”. How true….President Paredes survived all these with honor in flying colors.


 

BABY RIVERA, Gamma Kappa
20th President
2004 - “Ikaw at Ako... Magkabalikat Para sa Kaunlaran at Pagkakaisa”
“Ikaw at Ako, Magkabalikat para sa Kaunlaran at Pagkakaisa” (You and I, in Unison towards Progress and Unity) was the inspiration for President Tony Rivera (Gamma Kappa, Ateneo de Manila) for 2004. The gradual emergence of DAYUT ( from The Youth to d’Youth = DAYUT evolution) provide a big boost not only in terms of membership but more importantly on the enthusiasm for service to others and the community. From President Rivera’s very own words, “We collectively managed to bridge the gap between this new breed of future leaders and the old reliables by both preaching and sowing mutual respect”; emphasized that respect had to be earned and deserved, not just given, and all camps observed and lived it.

Another significant event for the year was GLA’s participation in the ACNA Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Concerned with the imminent uncertainties of the impending establishment of ARNA (APOPhil’s Administrative Region for North America), GLA led a crusade re-affirming its position for local autonomy. A position paper was put together along the Corporate Autonomy line and it was unanimously supported by all the ACNA AAs when presented on the convention floor. However, the resulting written resolution covering the subject was inadvertently misworded to connote absolute declaration of independence, instead of the real intent. A lot more confusion (and even finger pointing) ensued precipitating in the initial establishment of ARNA through APO Phil’s executive appointments, instead of the CBL mandated election. And the “Pasko sa Oxnard”… definitely was a blast as inhaling the Pacific Ocean breeze
was an absolute delight for everyone!

 

TONY GOMEZ, Theta
21st President
2005 - “Broadening our vision and Goals through deeper commitment and dedication”
2005 is the biggest story we could tell, so far! With President Tony Gomez’s (Theta, University of the Philippines – Los Banos) “Broadening our Vision through Deeper Commitment and Dedication”, we really literally became “broad” with membership ballooning record high (around 200 paid members and another 300 more in our midst, active or not). As President Gomez envisioned, GLA progressed tremendously, not only on quantity but more importantly, on Quality.

The energy and the enthusiasm radiated by DAYUT are contagious! We engaged in an unprecedented volume of service projects, goodwill and charities. An example, to name one, is what used to be a once a year environmental clean-up was done three times. Charitable gestures became abounding as they extended, not only to worthy groups in our motherland, but also to a number APO individuals who are/were in dire need of our help; sometimes they came in individual efforts, but all in the name of APOGLA. By the Thanksgiving Awards Night, the press, figuratively, ran out of paper and ink in printing many deserved Certificates of Appreciation; and likely, a lot more deserving people got overlooked (a pardonable sin as GOOD people don’t really want accolades).

In President Gomez’s own words, “Gone were the days when GLA’s affairs were simpler and issues can be handled with ease; we’re now in the business of complexity”. Corollary to the above, let it be known that one inherent law of nature is being grossly violated in APOGLA to wit..…… “Rarely would anyone see Eagles flocking, but in Los Angeles, a rare breed with golden hearts, even do nest together and co-exist in unique tolerance and harmony!”. Kudos to EVERYONE!

And, by the way, the break away South Bay AA recognition was declared upon the body’s approval. It had basically become an obligation on GLA’s part as they became legitimate members of ACNA. In conclusion, let it be felt that APOGLA knows no bounds as we shall be only limited by our own desires! For the future, with our present stance and composition, there is no doubt that ….…….”Our Rendezvous with glorious Destiny is a given!”.


 

FERDIE YAMBOT, Pi
22nd President
2006 - “Raising the Bar…in the Chase and Pursuit of our Dreams”

Kita-Kits 2006 is the highlight of the whole year as everyone in APOGLA operated in a structured business machine.  The blue collar officers (Executive and BOD) worked days and nights, relentlessly, to take care of all the needed logistics…. with the year ending in all task and fiscal success!

The collective success used a proven formula… “Responsibility/authority delegation”; officers were tasked to trustworthily perform on chores along the lines of their personal strengths making everyone inspired.  Enthusiasm displayed by the officers got contagious resulting in everyone getting INVOLVED!   Kudos to the entire APOGLA body! 

The Silver Anniversary celebration was a blast!

 

SANCHO SY, Alpha
23rd President
2007 - “Reach Higher…Take it to the Next Level”

APO being a service fraternity, the focus was to intensify the number of services for the year to at least one each month.  Other than the usual annual LA Marathon service in March, services to the community, the military and to the fraternity have been added like the Operation Gratitude, Feed the Homeless of SFV Rescue Mission, River and Wetlands Cleanups, Free Flu-Shots, Leadership Seminar and donations of balikbayan boxes in support of the APO-ACNA sponsored LIUF Int’l. HMDO Mission in the Philippines.

The 1st Dr. Librado I. Ureta Service Cup, a Ryder Cup format golf competition revived the North-South California Games famous in the ‘90s. To satisfy the appetite for sports for all ages, a month-long tournament of basketball, bowling, volleyball, tennis and chess in April and May were established and dubbed as “Familympics.”

Three Poker Tournaments, a Golf tournament and the APO-PCSO sweepstakes raffle were some of the fundraisers undertaken to support scholarship program, community services, social and sports activities.  And although nothing concrete is happening on our non-profit status, the progress of the newly formed 501c3 Committee established from previous year was actively monitored and other avenues formulated like the “FYSMA” (Filipino Youth and Seniors Minority Advancement), which may have re-energized the dream to eventually have a non-profit program of our own in the years to come

RICHARD LACSON, Iota
24th President
2008 – [GLA goes dark] 

TROY AGAGON, Gamma Epsilon
25th  President
2009 - “In Unity There is Strength”

2009 reinvigorated the brethren and its familial members. Following a very challenging and trying elections, everyone seemed to have found a renewed sense of togetherness and respect for one another.

There were weekly "happenings" that brought everyone closer - be it meetings, celebrations or events, we all enjoyed each other's company. There was no tension and everybody seemed relaxed. Those times were a mixture of service, gatherings and official business.

We went back to basics and didn't overcomplicate things. We all treaded forward as one big happy family and indeed, in unity, there is strength!

LITO TARCULAS, Gamma Sigma
26th President
2010 - “One Vision, One Future”

APOGLA renews its commitment to the scouting movement by bringing back Troop 1925 for the Boy Scouts and Pack 1925 for the Cub Scouts with leadership provided by trained APOGLA members.

APOGLA shows its support to our military personnel by participating in Operation Gratitude, our yearly service project for the Sailors, Airmen, Army and Marines, who are deployed in harm’s way.

APOGLA renews its commitment to the environment by partnering with the Tree People in a Tree Care Service Project.

APOGLA partners with Habitat for Humanity in a service project to help build and renovate houses for low income families.

Membership health and fitness is highlighted with the Bowling and basketball SportsFest.

 

FRANCIS MEJIA, Gamma Epsilon
27th President
2011 - “Working Together Through Tough Economic Times”

APOGLA was the proud recipient of “Gawad Gintong Bayanihan Award” honored as the Best Foreign Based Alumni Association.

APOGLA in partnership with 19th Tee, Asian Journal, and Kabayan L.A. Channel 18 launches the Ten Outstanding Filipino-American Senior Students (TOFASS). 

APOGLA partners with the UCLA Filipino American Health Study on Colorectal Cancer Screening Training.
As part of its continuing human endeavor service project program, APOGLA once again partners with Habitat for Humanity, Operation Gratitude and the Tree People.

Other activities include our annual Easter Celebration and Egg Hunt, Buscapade, Marathon, basketball tournament, and golf tournament.

 

EMMA RUBINA GALANG, Alpha Sigma
28th President
2012 - “Partners in Progress and Prosperity”

APOGLA made history with the election of our first Lady Sister President.

The crowning glory of 2012 was APOGLA’s hosting of ACNA’s 11th biennial convention. Dubbed “It’s Always Fun in L.A.”, APOGLA delivered a most memorable convention.

APOGLA again launches the Search for The Outstanding Filipino-American Senior Students (TOFASS) for the second year.
APOGLA joined forces with APO U.S.A, Alpha Kappa Chapter (USC) during community service tagged as “WE are the Solution of the Poisons” at Venice Beach.

APOGLA partnered with Scouts Royal Brotherhood (SRB) on a Bloodletting Drive.  

Other service projects include the APOGLA’s participation in the Special Olympics and the LA Food Bank’s “Feeding America”.

Defining moments include, the Ladies Night, which broke attendance record with over 200 attendees; the fund raising concert “Ako’y Isang Pinoy” with Florante; the “Sendong” relief donation triggered the launching of APOGLA’s calamity fund.

 

MELODY ANG-GAYON, Eta
29th President

2013 - “We Lead, Build and Serve”

 

 

As it is, APOGLA remains as strong as ever. We attribute this to the dedicated men and women of Alpha Phi Omega and their families who believe in our rallying cry: "APOGLA Forever".

Through the years, APOGLA strives for a perfect circle but we have come to realize that APOGLA is not for everyone. It is only for those who believe in our visions and ideals. APOGLA's strength lies in the commitment of its members. As long as we have this commitment, APOGLA will remain strong and relevant . . . "APOGLA Forever!"

 

CREDIT:  THROUGH THE YEARS
Through The Years was made possible through the recollections mostly from each respective past presidents themselves.  Bro. Dony Rondilla was instrumental in gathering and re-writing pertinent facts.