A Brief History of Philippine Studies Association


The Philippine Studies Association, Inc., (PSA) was formed in 1984 with the following as charter members: Ofelia R. Angangco, Wilfredo Arce+, Fe Arcinas, Isagani R. Cruz, Doreen G. Fernandez+, Andrew Gonzalez, FSC+, Milagros C. Guerrero, Carolina G. Hernandez, Florentino H. Hornedo+, Elsa Perez-Jurado+, Vivencio Jose, Antonio Ledesma, S.J., Patricia B. Licuanan, Aurora Roxas-Lim, Bienvenido L. Lumbera, Resil Mojares, Nicanor Tiongson, and Wilfrido V. Villacorta. In its first organizational meeting, the following were elected officers of the Board: Ofelia R. Angangco, President; Doreen G. Fernandez+, Vice President; and Elsa P.  Jurado+, Secretary-Treasurer.

The main purpose of PSA is “to promote study, criticism, and research in Philippine languages, literature, culture and society, and to further the common interests of teachers and scholars in these fields. (By-Laws, Article 1, Section 2). The PSA duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC Reg. No. 124621) on January 17, 1985. The By-Laws were amended on May 24, 2004 and certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 2, 2004.   

Prior to the founding of PSA, a Philippine Coordinating Committee (PCC)    was set up in 1981 by Prof. Dean Ofelia R. Angangco (UP Diliman), Elsa P. Jurado+ (UP Diliman), Bienvenido L. Lumbera (UP Diliman), Marcelino A. Foronda+ (DLSU), and Doreen G. Fernandez+ (Ateneo).  The PCC later became the PSA in 1985.

The impetus for the founding of the PCC in 1981 was the need to coordinate holding an International Philippine Studies Conference, the first such gathering of Filipinists which was held on May 29-31, 1980 at Western Michigan University at Kalamazoo, Michigan, convened by the Philippine Studies Group (PSG), one of six country committees in the Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS). The Program Conveners were Charles O. Houston (WMU) and Ronald Edgerton (University of Northern Colorado. Donn Hart+ and Michael Onorato, past PSG Executive Secretaries were honored for pioneering leadership of the Philippine Studies Group (PSG/ZSEAC/AAS). From this time on, the PSG with Filipino counterparts started the tradition of holding an International Conference on Philippine Studies. The First International Philippine Studies Conference was convened by Belinda A. Aquino on June 27-30, 1981 at the Center for Philippine Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mano’a.


To implement this goal, the association’s first activity was the First National Philippine Studies Conference held at the Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City from February 11-13, 1985. The conference brought together in fruitful interaction scholars engaged in the different fields of Philippine Studies. In an exchange of research methods, findings, and perspectives, there was interdisciplinary dialogue on Philippine matters and materials. Scholars outside Metro Manila, scholars new in the field or as yet unpublished, participated in this conference. As the first national Philippine Studies Conference on Philippine soil, it was an exploration of the extent, development, and needs of Philippine studies and an update on the breadth and depth of the field. It also affirmed Philippine Studies as a field of intellectual inquiry, inter-disciplinarity as a mode of dialogue, and the examination of Philippine studies – both micro- and macro – as an ongoing concern.


The PSA convened a First Regional Conference on “Manila: History, People, and Culture,” at Barrio San Luis Complex, Intramuros, Manila, sponsored by De La Salle University. The papers from this conference were published by De La Salle University Press (1989), edited by Wilfrido V. Villacorta, Isagani R. Cruz, and Maria Lourdes Bautista.

The Philippine Social Science Council since 1989 has coordinated closely with the Philippine Studies Association when it convenes its conferences, its major activity.  The PSSC Executive Director (then Virginia A. Miralao, presently Amaryllis Tiglao-Torres) sits in the PSA Board in an ex-officio capacity and the PSSC serves as Conference Secretariat. The PSA was admitted to Associate Membership to the Philippine Social Science Council in February 2014.


The PSA Board elected the following: Milagros C. Guerrero (President), Wilfrido V. Villacorta (Vice-President), Patricia B. Licuanan (Secretary), Fe R. Arcinas (Treasurer), Ofelia R. Angangco, Wilfrido Arce+, Isagani R. Cruz, Doreen G. Fernandez+, Andrew Gonzalez, FSC+, Carolina G. Hernandez, Florentino H. Hornedo+, Elsa Perez-Jurado+, Vivencio R. Jose, Antonio Ledesma, S.J., Aurora Roxas Lim, Bienvenido Lumbera, Resil B. Morales, and Nicanor Tiongson.


Second International Philippine Studies Conference, Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City, July 13-16, 1989, the first to be hosted by the Philippines.


The PSA Board elected the following: Isagani R. Cruz (President), Ma. Cynthia Rose Banzon-Bautista (Vice-President), Jose M. Cruz, S.J. (Secretary-Treasurer), Jessica Cariño, Emmanuel de Dios, Doreen G. Fernandez+, Florentino H. Hornedo+, Milagros C. Guerrero, Corazon B. Lamug+ Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virginia A. Miralao, Elena Pernia, Wilfrido V. Villacorta, and Fernando N. Zialcita.


3rd National Philippine Studies Conference

January 20, 1996, Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City.


4th Philippine Studies Conference October 7, 1998, Philippine Social Science Center.


In preparation for the 7th International Philippine Studies Conference which was held in Leiden, The Netherlands, on June 16-19, 2004, the Philippine Studies Association convened the 5th National Philippine Studies Conference on December 5-6, 2003 at the Philippine Social Science Center.  Altogether there were about 160 participants and all regions of the country were represented, with some foreign participants coming from Japan, Australia, and the United States. There were altogether 85 speakers, including 4 panelists for the session on “Rethinking Philippine Studies.” Practically all the disciplines were represented, with literature leading in numbers. What made this conference unique is the fact that the majority of the speakers were young scholars doing primary research, some challenging or revising currently accepted theories, methodologies, data and conclusions. A good number of panels and speakers subsequently presented their revised papers at ICOPHIL in Leiden in June 2004.

At the close of the conference, the PSA Board was elected, composed of the following: Bernardita R. Churchill (President), Eufracio A. Abaya (Vice President), Francis A. Gealogo (Secretary-Treasurer), Corazon B. Lamug+, Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virginia A. Miralao, Jose M. Cruz, S.J., Nicanor Tiongson, Tomasito Talledo, Rowena Reyes-Boquiren, Erlinda K. Alburo, Elizabeth L. Enriquez, Alice Pingol, and Rudy Rodil. The PSA also re-activated its SEC and BIR Registrations, which had lapsed due to the failure to submit annually the required SEC and BIR Reports.  It is now once again legally and fully registered with SEC and BIR, with an updated and revised Articles of Incorporation and By-laws


Sixth National Philippine Studies Conference, Baguio City, September 16-18, 2004, hosted by the University of the Philippines Baguio. The conference theme was “Ethnic Identities in the Philippines.” The conference was attended by 120 participants, including 55 speakers. The local convener was Rowena Reyes-Boquiren of UP Baguio.


Second Regional Seminar-Workshop on Philippine Studies in the Visayas, September 9-10, 2005, Cebu City, hosted by the Cebuano Studies Center and the Department of History, San Carlos University. The local convener was Erlinda K.  Alburo, Director of the University’s Cebuano Studies Center. The conference theme was “Philippine Studies in the Visayas,” and the purpose of the seminar-workshop was to look at the research agenda and outputs of the Cebuano Studies Center and individual academics working on Philippine studies in the Visayas. It is expected that future regional seminar-workshops would also be convened in Mindanao and Luzon to look at the state of Philippine Studies in those regions.

On December 5, 2005, the first of what was envisioned to be a Public Lecture Series was held at the Philippine Social Science Center Auditorium, with the following as speakers: Bienvenido L. Lumbera, PSA Board Member, and Federico Macaranas (Economist, Asian Institute of Management in Makati).

The PSA Board (2008-2014) is composed of the following officers: Bernardita R. Churchill (President); Eufracio Abaya (Vice President); Rowena Reyes-Boquiren (Secretary-Treasurer). The other Board Members are the following: Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr., Erlinda Kintanar Alburo, Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista, Jose Wendell Capili, Isagani Cruz, Jose Dalisay, Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, Bienvenido L. Lumbera, and Virginia A. Miralao.


Seventh Philippine Studies Conference, National Museum of the Philippines, November 12-14, 2014. Held on 12-14 November 2014 at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila, the conference featured three (3) plenary speakers, three (3) plenary sessions, and twenty-one (21) concurrent sessions where a combined total of 78 papers showing the breadth and depth of Philippine Studies today were presented.


Eighth Philippine Studies Association, National Museum, Manila, September 26-28, 2018 on the theme “The Reshaping of Philippine Studies: Contending Viewpoints, Voices and Knowledges.”




The Philippine Studies Association has had a long-time linkage with the Philippine Studies Group (PSG) of the Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (USA) since the First International Philippine Studies Conference in 1980. PSA President Bernardita R. Churchill presently sits in the Philippine Studies Group (AAS).

The PSG printed a Philippine Studies Bulletin from 1973-1998 and it is a valuable source of the history of the PSG and Philippine Studies. Pilipinas, an interdisciplinary journal for Philippine Studies began in 1980 as a publication of what was then known as the Philippine Studies Committee of the AAS. Over the years, it has found a home in various academic institutions beginning with the University of Hawaii at Mano’a. In 2003, the journal was managed by the Philippine Studies Association of Australia; the last issue was published in 2006. After several years of discussion, the PSG unanimously voted in 2011 to end the publication of this storied journal. In March 2015, through a partnership with Hathi Trust, the University of Michigan Library and Google Books, the Philippine Studies Group is pleased to offer the Pilipinas Journal archive, which is accessible online at  https://catalog.hathitrust.org.

EUROPHIL – A European Philippine Studies Organizing Committee (EUROPHIL), was informally organized and has convened conferences in Amsterdam (1991), convened by Otto van den Muijzenberg; London (1994; Third European Conference on Philippine Studies – Conference Theme “Philippine Communities between Local Traditions and Globalization” -  Aix en Provence April 28-29, 1996 convened by  Charles Macdonald; IV Conferencia Europea de Estudios Filipinos, Conference Theme “The Philippines in Southeast Asia and Beyond,” Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, September 9-12, 2001l, convened by  Florentino Rodao; and Leiden (2004) with the 7th ICOPHIL Conference, convened by Otto van den Muijzenberg.

ICOPHIL – The International Philippine Studies Committee (ICOPHIL Board) was organized in 1996 (in Hawai‘i on the occasion of the 5th ICOPHIL Conference) by Belinda A. Aquino, Director, Center for Philippine Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mãnoa), who served as its first Chair.  PSA President Bernardita R. Churchill is currently Chair of the ICOPHIL Council, having succeeded Belinda A. Aquino in 2011.

As a consequence of these various linkages with PSG, ICOPHIL, and EUROPHIL, the PSA has sponsored the following international conferences:

  • 2nd ICOPHIL Conference at the University of Hawai’i at Mano’a on June 27-30, 1981, convened by Belinda A. Aquino, Director of the Center for Philippine Studies and Prof. Ofelia R. Angangco, Chair, Philippine Coordinating Committee
  • 3rd ICOPHIL Conference at the Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City, 1989)
  • 4th ICOPHIL Conference at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia in 1992
  • 5th ICOPHIL Conference at the University of Hawai’i at Mano’a, Honolulu, April 14-16, 1996)
  • 6th ICOPHIL Conference at the Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City, on July 10-24, 2000 (Conference Theme: “Turns of the Centuries: The Philippines in 1900 and 2000”)
  • 7th ICOPHIL Conference at IIAS (International Institute of Asian Studies), Leiden, The Netherlands,  on June 16-19, 2004 (Conference Theme: “Changing Landscapes, Humanscapes, and Mindscapes in a Globalizing World,” convened by Otto van den Muijzenberg and Rosanne Rutten)
  • 8th ICOPHIL Conference at the Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City and Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City,  July 23-26, 2008 (Conference Theme: “New Meanings, Critiques, and Trajectories”)
  • 9th ICOPHIL Conference at Western Michigan University,  East Lansing, Michigan, on October 28-30, 3012, convened by Roger Bresnahan and the PSA President.
  • The 10th International Philippine Studies Conference was held at Silliman University, Dumaguete City, July 6-8, 2016, this being the fourth ICOPHIL Conference hosted in the Philippines by the Philippine Studies Association, and the first to be held outside Luzon and Metro Manila. The conveners were Dr. Ben S. Malayang, III, Silliman President, and Dr. Bernardita R. Churchill, PSA President.


International Philippine Studies Conference Council (ICOPHIL Council)

The so-called ICOPHL Council was officially set up by Belinda A. Aquino after the   5th ICOPHIL Conference at the University of Hawaii in 1996. The ICOPHIL Council is an informal group consisting of Filipinos and foreign scholars specializing in Philippine Studies in Spain, the United States, France, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, who have attended ICOPHIL Conferences. The PSA President sits as ICOPHIL Chair and is responsible for planning the 11th ICOPHIL Conference in 2020.

PSIJ – Philippine Studies in Japan

Aside from Filipinos who almost always constitute the biggest group of speakers and participants in ICOPHIL Conferences, Japanese scholars have provided a strong presence among other Asian countries. This is undoubtedly due to the efforts of Japanese scholars like Yoshiko Nagano and other colleagues who have kept up involvement in ICOPHIL and PSA. The Philippine Studies Conference of Japan held their first International Conference in November 2006 in Tokyo with participants from the Philippines, the United States, and other Asian countries. Nobutaka Suzuki now serves as coordinator and convener of Philippine Studies Conferences in Japan – he convened PSCJ 2010 at the University of Tsukuba (Conference Themes: “Remapping the Philippines in the Globalizing World”);   The Third PSCJ 2013 was held last February 2014 at Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, convened by Hiromu Shimizu and Caroline Hau (Conference Theme: “Emerging Philippines: New Frontiers, Directions, Contributions”).