Pangalangan remembered

A memorial service for former UP Diliman (UPD) College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) dean Evelina Asuncion Pangalangan gathered former students, colleagues at the CSWCD, colleagues from National Association for Social Work Education, Inc. Philippines (NASWEI), and members of her family at the college’s Bulwagang Tandang Sora recently.

CSWCD Dean Lenore Polotan-dela Cruz said Pangalangan was a major driving force in the CSWCD’s development.

Polotan-dela Cruz speaking before the attendees. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

Known as Dean EAP, she led the fundraising for the construction of the CSWCD building. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Master of Social Work program in distance mode.

“Her vision for the college extended physical buildings and facilities. Her academic leadership also focused on people and programs while prioritizing the human aspects of education. She was a woman ahead of her time. A true pioneer foreseeing the potential of distance education, she spearheaded the creation of the Master of Social Work in distance mode which was the first of its kind during that time,” Polotan-dela Cruz said. “Under her guidance, the CSWCD strengthened its role in social development education, becoming a member of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific network of centers of academic excellence. She fostered crucial national, regional, and international ties, fostering collaboration across the Asia Pacific region.… Her legacy lives in the students she empowered, the programs she established, and the college she helped build,” she added.

Meanwhile, Teresita Marie Bagasao, a lecturer at the CSWCD and former country director of the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS spoke about Pangalangan’s influence on her journey as a social worker.

Bagasao. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

“She mentored me as I joined a non-government organization, then joined the UN and then went back to being retired,” Bagasao said.

She shared Pangalangan was the one who convinced her to teach at the college and on how even after retirement, Pangalangan still taught at a college in New York in the United States.

“Sabi niya, ‘Sayang naman iyong pinagdaanan mo,’” Bagasao said. “Iyong kaniyang pagiging consummate educator hindi natapos noong nag-retire siya dito sa UP. Kahit nandoon na siya sa New York, alam ko nagturo siya sa college, full-time, walang retirement….For me, she was not the feather on my cap; she was my cap because she was the caring, affirming presence in my life,” she added.

Two members of Pangalangan’s family who attended the memorial were her son Jose Roberto “Bobby” Pangalangan and granddaughter Gaby.

Bagasao. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

“Superwoman namin siya sa pamilya. Binalanse niya kaming lahat, walo kami. Hindi niya kami pinabayaan. Lagi siyang naandoon. We were not the perfect, good children, but she would always balance everything with us and always tell us ‘Kaya mo ’yan. I’m here, kaya mo ’yan. Never siyang nawawalan ng faith sa Diyos at sa tao. Laging lahat ay mahal niya,” Bobby Pangalangan said.

Other testimonials included a video message from Kalachuchi Flores-Caballes, NASWEI president. Pangalangan served as NASWEI president from 1998 to 1999.

The memorial included an offering of flowers and a rite of blessing conducted by Most Rev. Leocito Gabo.

Gaby Pangalangan (front of line, in white) during the offering of flowers. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO