Alumni Testimonies

“The Ilokano Program at the University of Hawai’i at ​Mānoa has been one which changed my entire perspective of how I view myself and identity. Although, I have only taken a placement exam that determines what level I am in terms of my proficiency, it helped me to realize how much I still have so much to learned about my own self and history. Indeed, I truly have gained so much and that is not only through education but the many friendships, connection and values that i will keep with me as I continue my journey.”

Chachie Abara
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"Being a part of the Ilokano Program helped me strengthen my identity as an Ilokano. As former President of the Timpuyog Organization, I was able to build my leadership skills, help my fellow officers grow as leaders, and network with other Filipino organizations. With my Master's Degree in Educational Administration (Higher Education) my goal is to work with Ilokano students in a leadership capacity."

Allyson Arrieta
Master of Education in Educational Administration (Higher Education) & 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa 

"I entered ILLP looking to fulfill graduation requirements but left with a better sense of ethnic identity, family, and community. The program has added perspectives of heterogeneity and multiplicity countering the meta-narrative of the homogenous Filipino-American. To that extent, this program has allowed me to further my studies focused on the experiences of the plural Filipino American students in the classroom and the communities and how relevant education may impact their experiences."

Steve Ryan Badua
Graduate Certificate in Ethnic Studies
San Francisco State University

Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"When I transferred to UH Mānoa during my second year of college, I never imagined myself joining the Ilokano program nor did I consider obtaining a minor in Ilokano. But taking IP and ILO courses for the first time during Spring 2018 changed my mind. I believe that everything happens for a reason so I am very thankful that the choices I’ve made in my academic career led me to ILLP and the Timpuyog Organization. Through this program, I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for my culture but also gained life-long friendships. I became surrounded by like-minded individuals who took pride in their heritage and were passionate about supporting our local communities. I too, wanted to gain cultural competency and join Timpuyog’s mission of promoting the Ilokano language and Philippine culture and serve as a role model for the Filipino youth. While I aspire to become a physician and eventually practice here in Hawai'i, I believe that the Ilokano program empowered me to grow as a leader. It also allowed me to develop my skills in the language so that I can one day use them in my practice when communicating with Ilokano patients. Agyamanak unay to Manong Dean and Manang Clem who were great mentors/advisors and continue to support me on my journey. Their passion and dedication to this program has fostered my personal goals of preserving the language while pursuing a career in medicine. Agbiag ti Ilokano!"

Irene Joy Cabuloy
Bachelor of Arts in Biology & 
Minor in Ilokano

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"I initially had no idea about the Ilokano program until my second year at UH Manoa. I was glad to have found it in time to declare it as one of my majors. The Ilokano Language and Literature Program was a blessing in disguise. It has instilled in me the desire to remain close to the language and the people who speak it while also allowing me to research into my own family history. What I enjoyed most, however, was that the program gave me the courage and opportunity to have conversed with my late grandfather, asking him the questions I may never have had the chance to ask. In the same way as I was able to communicate with my grandfather, I plan to use the Ilokano language as a tool to communicate with others. As an aspiring physician, it will not only improve the experience of my Ilokano patients, but also improve the health of our aging Ilokano population here in Hawai'i."

Loreto Coloma Jr.
Masters in Public Health, 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano) & Bachelor of Science in Microbiology

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

“The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Ilokano Language and Literature Program and Timpuyog Organization prepared me in being a leader in the Hotel Industry. My previous management experience began in Housekeeping, where I was the Supervisor. Knowing Ilokano allowed me to give instructions on the duties that my Housekeeping team (Room Attendants, House Attendants, Public Area Attendants) needed to complete at a high speed and thoroughly. Now, being one of the Front Office Managers, also known as the Manager on Duty (MOD) has allowed me to make the calls on how duties and projects need to be done and how to make a guest's stay important. I make sure issues are solved and overcome. When the Housekeepers aren't too sure with what there project is, I'm there to instruct the associates in Ilokano. I'm glad I have expanded my knowledge on Ilokano compared to what I have known before joining the Ilokano program.”

Donnie Dadiz
Bachelor of Science in Travel Industry Management (Emphasis: Hotel Management) & Minor in Ilokano
University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

“I never imagined an academic space dedicated to a language that I had only ever used around my family. However, the Ilokano program gave me a home at UH Mānoa where I was able to challenge what I had previously thought to be the ‘appropriate’ domains of the Ilokano language. It was empowering to be part of a community where I could participate in helping Ilokano language, culture, research, and overall scholarship thrive. My involvement in the Timpuyog Organization also provided me with numerous opportunities to work with the Ilokano and Filipino communities while improving my leadership skills. These made my undergraduate years fulfilling, especially being surrounded by peers turned close friends. In my future as a physician, the Ilokano program has better equipped me with cultural humility and sparked my passion for helping my patients overcome language barriers to healthcare. Agyamanak unay kada Manong Dean, Manang Clem, Manong Aurelio, ken Manang Nadezna for your mentorship and guidance in such formative years.”

Danny Domingo Jr.
Bachelor of Science in Biology & 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

“Going through the Ilokano program has helped me find, understand, love and respect the language of my ancestors. Ultimately instilling the knowledge of language, culture, and pride within me. Being involved with the Timpuyog Organization has also helped me with leadership and networking skills. Everything that I've experienced during my time in the program has prepared me to where I am today, as I am now part of the program as an instructor. I look forward to inspire incoming students to embrace their language and culture.”

Dean Domingo
Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology & 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

" I am thankful that I found my way to the Ilokano Program here at ​Mānoa. My time with the program became the highlight of my college journey. I met brilliant mentors and friends with whom I am still connected even after graduation. Nonetheless, I found a home that gave me a safe space to learn about myself and my culture. The program made it possible for me to revisit my childhood memories, strengthen my relationship with my family through my countless inquiries about Ilokano words and the way of life back home and as an immigrant here in Hawaii. I took with me after graduation nothing but good memories."

Mario Doropan Jr.
Bachelor of Education in 
Elementary Education and Multilingual Learning & 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Culture (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"Being in the Ilokano program at UH ​Mānoa, helped me get through nursing school. The program provided me with the tools to communicate with my clients in the community as well as in the hospital and it broadened my sense of self identity which allowed me to empathize with clients that have different cultural backgrounds. The program also opens up other opportunities for me to make a difference in the community with medical and legal interpretation, writing literature for children, and being able to teach different medical and nursing theories and processes easily to the Ilokano community."

Almond Jaye Ereno
Master of Science in Nursing, 
Bachelor of Science in Nursing & Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"My B.A. degree in Ilokano was extremely helpful when I went to do my social work practicum in the Philippines as part of my Master's degree requirements. I was placed in Baguio City and the language and cultural components really helped in the work that I did there with the Filipino youth."

Janelle Funtanilla
Master of Social Work, 
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano), & 
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa 

"I initially entered the ILLP program with the goal of enriching my Ilokano speaking skills so I can better communicate with my elderly relatives and relatives in the Philippines. However, upon graduation and entrance into the field of social work, I realized that being in tuned with my culture and knowing how to speak the language can maximize my impact in the community."

Jessica Ignacio
Masters in Social Work, 
Bachelor of Social Work & 
Minor in Ilokano

University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"I would highly recommend to those who are harboring feelings of despondency towards their Filipino heritage, to seek out the Ilokano Language and Literature (ILL) Program, as well as its supporting Organization, Timpuyog. Both have played a significant developmental role in my academic and professional journey. The ILL program has allowed me the insight to effectively aide different student populations to achieve high academic success, as well as equip me with the necessary critical thinking abilities to see and navigate the world through culturally and politically sensitive lenses. In my personal life, the ILL program has been essential in enriching my understanding of my Filipino culture, language, and history. The education I received from the ILL program continues to be an positive and ubiquitous presence in all aspects of my life and without it, I would not be the woman who I am today."

Alycia Kiyabu
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology & Minor in Sociology
University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"The Ilokano program has helped me get to where I am now because I am an Ilokano teacher. This program has helped me reconnect with my family. At one point I found out I was related to one of my students through my mom's side. My mom has no family on this side when she immigrated here. We later found out she wasn't the first to arrive. Now we have a larger family. This program has helped me help my mom in various ways with family, translating, and communication."

Alan Manzano
Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)
 University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"​The Ilokano Language and Literature Program has allowed me to reconnect with my maternal roots and be able to give back to a culture that I whole heartedly embrace even as a multi-ethnic Ilokana. Becoming a minor has given me the basic tools and knowledge to communicate with the influx of patients at my current job. Knowing and speaking Ilokano at work with our immigrant patients allows me to start the thread of navigating the US healthcare system."

Aprilei Ramirez
Master of Public Health, 
Bachelor of Arts in Public Health & Minor in Ilokano
University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"Participating in the Ilokano program significantly impacted my life. Not only was I educated about my ancestral language and culture, but was inspired and encouraged to follow my ambitions and strive for success. This was not taught through pure lecture and class attendance, rather it was a message that was fostered in the application and experience of the curriculum as a whole."

Valerie Ruiz
Juris Doctor
Arizona Summit Law School

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Language and Literature (Ilokano)
University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa

"​The Ilokano Program has not only strengthened my relationship with my family and community but my own self as well. I use what I have learned from my instructors and peers every day, whether it be the language, culture, or the numerous other aspects shared with me. Agyamanak la unay kada Manong Dean ken Manang Clem. The knowledge and support you have given me are truly appreciated and treasured."

Alyssa Tugaoen
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems & 
Minor in Ilokano
University of Hawai'i at ​Mānoa