The Santa Maria de Pila Association of Northern California (SMPANC) is duly recognized and incorporated under the laws of the
state of California. Granted with Employer Identification Number (EIN) by the Department of theTreasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it will operate as a non-profit organization. Governed by an executive
board composed of elected and appointed officers and members of the board of directors, its administration office is located at 304 Ryegate Court, San Jose, California 95133. Among its primary objectives
as stated in the newly-drafted Constitution and By-laws are: to establish a hometown association that shall embody its ideals; to build a strong and close family ties; to promote social, economic,
moral , cultural and spiritual welfare among themselves; and to strengthen their social relations with other people.
The idea of forming this hometown association was spearheaded by Mr. Rudy
Blanco, a civic-minded person and a long-time California resident, who has considered Santa Maria as his second hometown. Although he was born in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, his wife is a native-born
Santamarian, the former Gloria Ginez Velasco. Tracing back Mr. Blanco's ancestral family history like most of the prominent and politically inclined descendants of early inhabitants in Santa Maria today, a number
of his great uncles and great aunts along with their immediate families, being adventurous and hard-working Ilocanos, had moved to this place from Narvacan during the later part of the nineteenth century
in search for vast plain and fertile farmlands suitable for rice, corn, tobacco and other typical agricultural plantations. Fortunately, their search had rewarded them with abundance during the harvest season.
Later on, most of them had permanently settled in Barangay San Alejandro -- where pioneer residents used to call it "Canarvacanan" apparently because the place is dominated by former
Narvacanians. This is one of the reasons why he had developed a greater vigor his bond of kinship with his relatives in Santa Maria and Northern California up to the present time.
Group Picture taken at the First Meeting of the Association
at Orion Recreational Park Moffett Field, California
To be exact, the association was formally organized in October 27, 1985 through a general meeting and pot luck*
at the Orion Recreational Park (located within the premises of Moffett Military Base) in Mountain View. This ideal outdoor venue was arranged through the invitation of Diosdado G. Ordanza,
a US Navy serviceman, then stationed at this popular military base in Northern California. Despite the hectic pace of contacting known native Santamarians in the bay area, the attendance was quite promising.
A number of Santamaria pioneers and their families, one of them is Abdon Blanco, who immigrated to California as early as before World War II, also came with enthusiasm and unexpectedly met one of his
contemporaries in the primary grades, Felisa Nasog Claridad. Both Abdon and Felisa happily reminisced golden memories of their youthful prowess in local athletics -- in track and field and softball. So, as old
friendships were rekindled, unforgettable memories and the good old days revived by everyone, it became evident that as the day wore on, the need for more similar meetings and social gatherings in the future
became stronger. "Gapu ta manmano daytoy a gundaway nga intayo panagsasarak bukelentayon babaen iti panangbutostayo dagiti opisyales", the majority exclaimed in vernacular. It
was decided right then and there to form the association and elected the officers and board of directors. Reynaldo T. Arquero, who just immigrated to California a little more than a year ago at that time, was the
In fairness to Santamarians who have lived longer than many of the new immigrants today, there
had been several attempts in the past to form the association to provide themselves with an outlet for socialization. According to reliable sources, there had been a couple of social gatherings that took place in
the city of San Francisco and its vicinity but the attendance did not meet everybody's expectation. This was due to lack of contact and plain determination, since most of these pioneer townmates lived and
worked in the farm while few others find their way to survive every single working day for menial jobs in
the big city. This kind of situation they have had many years ago did not pursue their plans and objectives
for more frequent meetings. Years later, their association just closed its door for future social gatherings.
In the weeks and months that followed its formation, the officers, board of directors and active
members, first, directed their efforts and energy towards laying out the foundation for the realization of its objectives. The First Officers' Meeting was held on November 23, 1985 at the Newark residence of
Vice-President Rudy G. Callo to draft the Constitution and By-Laws. Five weeks later, it was ratified. Then the "ball starts to roll" -- regular meetings were convened, fund-raising campaign and social
activities were mapped out and certain organizational details threshed out. Two consecutive Reno trips,** under the initiative of Alejandro and Teodora Bautista, were advertised to interested
members and their close acquaintances and friends as part of the initial fund-raising activities during the first
quarter of 1986. In the early part of spring on the same year (April 1986), another general meeting was held at the Orion Recreational Park to celebrate their town fiesta. Apparently, it was a very simple
gathering yet everyone demonstrated the joy of sharing. Every family had its own share of home-cooked
delicacies and a variety of cold drinks and desserts, fresh garden salads and "all-you-can-eat" barbeques and grilled seafoods which delighted the table and instantly created a festive atmosphere.
Due to limited funds and resources, it was only two and a half years later, May 21, 1988, that the association was able to hold a simple reunion and dance party at the Northside Filipino Community
Center, #488 North 6th Street in San Jose. However, this event was never followed by any other similar gatherings because the next few meetings being called by the president were attended only by a handful.
Evidently, there was not enough key persons to discuss and handle issues and plans of the association. So
eventually, the association just laid down in despair and "closed its eyes for a deep and sound sleep" for six long years (1989-1995).
As the new wave of Santa Maria immigrants arrived in search for greener pasturelands in California, many of them chose to settle close to Silicon Valley*** to seek employment opportunity in
the electronics industry. As the valley grows and develops -- clearing more farmlands, nurseries and orchards to give way for high-tech manufacturing plants, state-of-the-art engineering research and
development headquarters and highly modernized business establishments and recreational facilities -- more and more Santamarians live in Santa Clara County. Majority of them belong to the younger
generation -- sharing the same hopes, promises and struggles in the valley. This group of young achievers and career-oriented individuals also share the same childhood memories with intense nostalgic
feelings of "animus revertendi" or coming back to their roots -- where most of them are now looking
forward to spend their twilight years in tranquility in Santa Maria -- a place where their hearts truly belong.
To further strengthen and inspire their good camaraderie, they unanimously agreed to revive the dormant association to bring back its shining color and identity. Without any procrastination, on
November 9, 1996, a general meeting and a pot luck were simultaneously held at Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose. It was then an awakening call to all former members. New set of officers and board of
directors were elected and appointed, mostly from the younger generation -- a new crop of aggressive and principled leaders. Reynaldo T. Arquero was again elected and will remain the president until the
The most significant event of the association is the First Dinner-Dance and Induction Ball which
was held in May 3, 1997 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Milpitas (a growing city adjacent to San Jose), attended by about two hundred and fifty Santamarians, their close friends and acquaintances. Two
special guests were: Reverend Father Bienvenido M. Salosagcol, a former parish priest of Santa Maria (1970-1977), who gave the invocation and Mr. Dean E. Fangonilo, the president of the U.S. Ilocano
National Association (Northern California chapter), who was the inducting officer. Generally, it was a successful and enjoyable occasion and the association was able to generate revolving funds to sustain
its future activities. The following year, on April 11, 1998, another dinner-dance to celebrate their
town fiesta was successfully organized by its key officers and board of directors. It was held at the Park Plaza Hotel in Burlingame, close to San Francisco International Airport.
The association is planning to create an official newsletter to provide its members with a regular flow of information emanating from both the SMPANC headquarter and their hometown in the
Philippines. It will carry news stories, calendar of events, quarterly financial report, lively tidbits and
significant articles. Through this newsletter, it can effectively fill the need for a vital communication link among its members who live in scattered communities in the northern part of the state. This plan is
currently being initiated by Danilo C. Cabanayan, one of the supportive members of the board of directors.
Slowly and inexorably, the revived association is gradually showing encouraging signs of self-confidence, winning attitude and maturity -- special thanks to the able stewardship of its new crop of
officers and board of directors and the unflinching support and cooperation of its growing members.
Significantly, the Santa Maria de Pila Association of Northern California came into being on the
threshold of the nineties and towards the new millennium. As a thriving association of young and energetic men and women, however small it may be, this association in this decade has a vital role to play in
reshaping the Filipino community to which it belongs. In order to achieve this, it must be constantly on the
alert for opportunities to make its programs and objectives relevant and responsive to present needs. The
present trend of Filipino ethnic groups is to expand their role beyond their initial goal of socialization and to
be more actively and consistently involved in the solution of complex problems and timely issues Filipino immigrants inevitably face in the United States. This is one big challenge that the SMPANC, whether it
likes it or not is confronted with, as it faces the new millennium.
* theAmerican version of picnic
** charter bus to the casinos in Downtown Reno, Nevada
the high-tech research, development and manufacturing center of the United States
located mainly within the golden triangle (intersections of 3 freeways - 101, 680 and 880)
covering some areas of San Jose, Fremont, Milpitas, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.