UPSP A Decade After: Revitalizing Pangasinan And The Blueprint For The Next Ten Years

Written by Dr. Catalina L. Felicitas and Erwin S. Fernandez, Ulupan na Pansiansia’y Salitan Pangasinan (UPSP)

Retrieved from by Gin.Quesada

Abstract. This article traces the history and development of the Ulupan na Pansiansia’y Salitan Pangasinan (UPSP) [Association for the Preservation of the Pangasinan Language], the only literary organization in Pangasinan promoting Pangasinan in literary and audio-visual productions. Established in 2000 by concerned teachers and writers, UPSP to this year celebrates a decade of its existence facing challenges in organization, membership, and funding of projects. This article also presents a viable plan for UPSP in continuing its vision and mission of revitalizing Pangasinan for the coming decade.


Not well-known to many Pangasinenses and more so to outsiders, the Ulupan na Pansiansia’y Salitan Pangasinan [Association for the Preservation of the Pangasinan Language] has been, since the year 2000 up to now, doing its share in making Pangasinan alive, not a dying language as many would claim and those of us who love the language would fear.

But the claim that Pangasinan as a dying language had been issued as a warning since the 1930s when Ilokanos had dominantly settled in the province (Icagasi 1982). In the late 1980s, a group called “Save the Pangasinan Dialect Movement” (SPAM) was led by Luis F. Samson, a lawyer and then the president of the Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities (APSCU) in Region 1, Dr. Guido Tiong of Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation and the late board member Roberto N. Ferrer who introduced a resolution in the Pangasinan Provincial Board making the teaching of the language compulsory in the elementary and high school curricula. Even retired UP professor Ernesto Serote (1993) and late Pangasinan writer and editor Armando Ravanzo (1993?) had joined the chorus in calling for immediate action for the revitalization of Pangasinan.

The decline of Pangasinan as a language had been attested to by studies. It was clear that Pangasinan showed signs of endangerment (Anderson and Anderson 2007). An intergenerational survey further revealed that the present generation prefers to speak and write in Filipino and English rather than in their own language (Lomboy 2007).

But this scenario had to be dealt with by the growing and rising consciousness of Pangasinenses in their own identity, culture and language. And one of the prime-movers in this counter-consciousness is the UPSP. In this article, the history of UPSP since 2000 is given and the blueprint for a stronger UPSP in the coming ten years is presented.

Early beginnings: The founders’ group

To save the Pangasinan language from dying is the ultimate reason that the UPSP was organized. We often hear Pangasinenses say, whether alarmist or not, that the Pangasinan language is dying. Yet they do nothing about it. In fact, many don’t even speak Pangasinan anymore. This sad predicament is known to all and the apathy of the many could no longer be tolerated by a few academicians, concerned civic leaders and citizens who formally organized themselves to help in the promotion, preservation and use of the Pangasinan language.

Thus, the UPSP, known for short as Ulupan, was organized on 23 July 2000 in one of the rooms of the Pangasinan State University, Lingayen Campus, under the leadership of the former DTI Provincial Director Jaime Pasagoy Lucas, who is a well-known Ilocano poet and writer and whose Pangasinense mother hails from Alaminos City, Pangasinan. The co-founders are Dr. Perla Samson-Nelmida, an educator and proponent of Pangasinan theater, her daughter and UP professor, Dr. Maria Rosario Nelmida-Flores, both from San Carlos City, Atty. Bong Cruz of Dagupan City, Pastor Isidro Loresco of Mangaldan, and four educators from the Pangasinan State University in Lingayen: Dr. Linda R. Andaya, a retiree now based in the United States, Dr. Catalina L. Felicitas, co-author of this paper, also a retiree from PSU as associate dean of CAST, and former college dean of the Pangasinan Memorial College, Dr. Juanita C. Anoc, also retired PSU professor and now dean of the College of Education in Mangatarem, and Dr. Fe Soriano, associate dean of the Pangasinan State University in Lingayen. Jaime Lucas was elected as the first and founding president and served for the term 2000-2003.


Immediately after his election as president, the dynamic Jaime Lucas who is an able organization man himself being then the provincial head of the Department of Trade and Industry, moved fast: the by-laws was drafted, the organization incorporated and soon was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Baguio City.

After the incorporation of UPSP, the quarterly magazine Balon Silew was organized and the first issue was printed on October 28, 2000 with Linda R. Andaya as the first editor-in-chief succeeded by the following editors: Mr. Sergio A. Bumadilla, Nap F. Resultay and Erwin S. Fernandez. As provided in the by-laws, a general assembly is conducted every two years to elect a new set of officers. The second general assembly was held on April 25, 2003 at the Libsong Elementary School in Lingayen and Dr. Linda R. Andaya was elected as the second president for the term 2003-2005.

Dr. Felicitas was elected third president at its third general assembly on May 21, 2005 at the Libsong Elementary School in Lingayen, Pangasinan for the term 2005-2007. At its fourth general assembly held last September 2, 2007 at the Amphitheater of the Central School I in San Carlos City through the courtesy of Dr. Marcelo M. Casillan Jr., Dr. Rodrigo B. Javier succeeded Dr. Felicitas for 2007-2009. At its fifth general assembly in September 2009, Mr. Emiliano V. Jovellanos was elected fifth president for the term 2009-2011.

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