HFC Columnist Named Distinguished Alumnus In The Field Of Journalism

by HFC Staff

In its annual grand alumni homecoming this year, the Urdaneta City National High School Alumni Association Inc. named HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko as one of 14 distinguished awardees in various fields during the gala night held at the Urdaneta Convention Center in Urdaneta City, Philippines last November 26.

Estioko was named as a distinguished alumnus in the field of journalism.

The Outstanding Alumni Awardees were: Franco Sabado, Batch ’92- Community Service; Celso Manangan, Batch ’75; Edgar F. Olua, Batch ’88 – Education; MGen. George Blanco, Batch ’83 -Public Service – Philippine Airforce; Violeta J. Buenaventura, Batch ’83 – Public Service – DOLE; Cristi G. Crescencia, Batch ’83 – Community Service; Dr. Fe Sumera-Ranada, Batch ’73 – Medical Allied; Col. Jessie Cardona, Batch ’73 – Public Service – PNP; Alma Tabayoyong – Utulo – Batch ‘73 – Public Service; Rosalinda Fontanilla – Paguio, Batch ’73 – Community Service; Dra. Clarita Gandia Adalem, Batch ’60 – Education; Myrna Ortiz Del Rosario, Batch ’60 – Medical Allied; Lailani Fontanila De Vera, Batch ’63 – Real Estate, Owner and Broker; and Elpidio Reasonda Estioko, Batch ’65 – Journalism.

Estioko was nominated by MGen. Jesus A. Fajardo (Ret.), Batch ’73 and was endorsed by 10 former classmates from Batch ’65 – Bienlogia Zabala Cordingley, Luzviminda V. Tomines, Melecia D. Parayno, Rizalina Garcia, Maria P. Fernandez, Arsenio Dulay, Henry Zabala, Primitivo Raymundo, Rolando S. Consolacion, and Judina Q. Cadiente.

He earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of the Philippines; holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communications at the Graduate School of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP); an Assistant Professor 1V at the Institute of Mass Communications, PUP; a long-time educator; and a bemedaled journalist in the Philippines and the United States.

While in college, he became a correspondent for the Dagupan Tribune, a local paper in Pangasinan for a year and then joined the Rizal Chronicle, also a local paper in the province of Rizal, as its managing editor.

After his 5-year stint with the Rizal Chronicle, he joined the Star Group of Publications (Ang Pilipino Ngayon, Philippine Star, Business Star) as a daily field reporter covering various beats such as the police, business/DTI, justice/courts, and the foreign affairs beats.

He was an active member of the National Press Club for five years and was elected as a director, Public Relations Society of the Philippines in 1997 until he and his family immigrated to the US.

In the US, he co-founded the FilAm Star, a weekly newspaper circulating in the Bay Area based in San Francisco in 2008, as its associate editor and columnist.

The weekly newspaper has a total circulation of 18,000 copies distributed in the newsstands but said paper folded in 2022. When the paper folded, he joined the longest-running FilAm newspaper in the US the Philippine News Today as its senior reporter/columnist up to the present.

Simultaneously, he became a columnist of the Honolulu-based Hawaii Filipino Chronicle in 2017 to present. The newspaper, in addition to its e-version copy, has a total circulation of 20,000 being circulated in all the cities in the island state of Hawaii.

He was a recipient of two journalism awards in Hawaii given by the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle and by the state of Hawaii for his contributions to the community through his columns and articles and involvement in community affairs.

He was a recipient of the 6th Plaridel Awards, Best In News Story, given by the Filipino-American Press Club based in San Francisco in 2017.

He is one of the distinguished judges in the Asian American Tell Your Story Video Competition 2023 sponsored by the Silicon Valley Community Media (SVCM) which started on September 15, 2023 and ends on March 15, 2024.

He is a long-time educator both in the Philippines and in the US. In the Philippines, he was a special lecturer at the Institute of Mass Communications, University of the Philippines-Diliman. Then he joined the Arellano University as its department head putting up the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and along with his friends, taught journalism, PR, and communications subjects.

The president of the then-newly opened Polytechnic University of the Philippines Dr. Nemesio Prudente invited him to join the university as its chief of the Press-Radio-TV section of the University’s Public Affairs department and subsequently becoming the Public Affairs Director.

With the rank of Assistant Professor 1V, he taught at PUP’s College of Languages and Mass Communication teaching journalism, broadcast communication, essay writing, news reporting, feature writing, investigative reporting, and communication subjects. He also taught at the Graduate School, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila public relations and communications subjects.

In the US, he taught at the Arts and Sciences department of De Anza College, a community college in Cupertino, California teaching Reading, English Writing, and ESL for ten years as an Adjunct faculty up to his retirement in 2008.

He also had a short stint at the San Jose State University teaching Essay Writing. He became a regular online faculty of Axia College, University of Phoenix for five years teaching business writing and communication subjects online.

At present, he is an Academic Instructor for San Jose Job Corps, a Department of Labor-run program for marginalized youths ages 16 to 24 from 2000 to the present. While in Job Corps, he pioneered the Guajome Park Academy/Science for Integrated Academy and Technology, a charter school for high school students, for five years. Then, he was the lead teacher of the New Learning Resources Online (NLRO) for seven years.

As to community service, Southern California-based non-profit organization The Global Urdanetanianslaunched its scholarship program as the antidote for poverty and the recipients are all poor but deserving high school students from Urdaneta going to college to pursue their undergraduate courses in Urdaneta City’s universities and colleges.

All the 22 TGU scholars are now graduates from their college courses and are now professionals becoming contributing members of society. He was the Chairman of the Board during its initial four-year of existence and at present he is the VP for administration.

In the US, he served the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters as precinct inspector in 2008 and after four years as precinct inspector, he was promoted to Field Inspector supervising nine voting precincts until 2022.

In the city of Milpitas, he was a member of the City’s Water Task Force and was responsible for drafting the communications component of the Task Force which was approved by the City Council.

He was the chair of the Library Education and Advisory Commission for 12 years. During his term, he drafted and proposed the city Donation policy for the Milpitas Library which proposal was subsequently approved by the City Council.

He instituted a four-tier donation board which was installed in the lobby of the library listing all donors with their corresponding donations. A picture board of the LEAC commissioners was installed at the walls of the lobby entrance for library users to know their commissioners.

In 2017, he was awarded the Heroes Award For Community Servicegiven by then-Assemblymember Kansen Chu, California District 25.

As a final gesture, he published his book Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream which is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing.

It is a book of guts, survival and the will to persevere against all odds at the time of an ailing global economy for new immigrants in the US. The foreword of the book was written by former California Assemblymember Kansen Chu.

The awardees received their ribbons and personalized trophies during the gala night at the Urdaneta Convention Center. In the case of Estioko, who was not able to attend the awarding ceremonies due to a pressing commitment in California, his award was received by his niece Retired Master Teacher 2 from the Urdaneta Central School Gertrudes Estioko duly assisted by another niece Eden Estioko Barbudo-Valdez, a member of the alumni board.

Among the Batch ’65 attendees who cheered for Estioko were founding president of the alumni association Atty. Mario Bravo; Batch ’65 president Minda Ventanila Tomines; past Batch ’65 president Arsenio Dulay; Joy Cabading Delos Reyes; Danny Calacsan, Vicky Calacsan, Eufrosina Tigno, Greg Calacsan, Naty Calvero, Nardito Calvero, Mely Parayno, Gilda Doot Nickel, Judy Cadiente, Herminia Adviento Rontale, Rosa Andrada Manuel, Marcos Ignacio, Eliodoro Calacsan, Fely Sarga, Mila Gatchalian, Bien Zabala Cordingley, Tita Umipig, Aling Garcia, and Henry Zabala, among others.

Estioko joined two other distinguished alumni from Batch ’65 Atty. Mario Bravo and Joey Sumait.

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