CHRONICLE PULSE: Community Shares Dr. Lindy Aquino’s Most Important Contributions to the Philippines, Hawaii and Beyond

Hawaii Filipino Chronicle celebrates and honors the astounding achievements and contributions of Dr. Belinda “Lindy” Aquino in this special Chronicle Pulse in which we asked the community: What do you think are Dr. Lindy’s most important accomplishments for the Filipino community?

Responses have been edited for space and clarity.

Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand, Senior Planner, Adult Mental Health Division, Hawaii Department of Health
Lindy’s most important accomplishments are her term as Director of UHM’s Center for Philippine Studies, as an Adviser and Mentor to PhD political science students at the East-West Center, and her endowments as a legacy. The 2006 Sakada Centennial Conference showcases the breadth, depth, and inclusivity that CPS encouraged during her term as Director. As a testament to her exceptional mentorship, Lindy mentored notable East-West Center grantees such as local government leader Alex Brillantes, Mindanao State University president Macapado Muslim, principal author of environmental laws Neric Acosta, and Ideacorp CEO Emmanuel Lallana. Lindy is among the pacesetters in the local Filipino community as she set up an endowment fund to support Filipino students and Philippine studies. On a lighter note, Lindy’s unique personal style manifested in other things such as wearing Filipiniana to work, choosing fabric from the South Philippines and a lady barong style that she felt most comfortable in. When most Filipinos wore Filipiniana at galas and cultural events, her fashion choices added a touch of elegance and cultural pride to her work environment.

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D., Contract IVLP Liaison
It feels like her life mission is to make the Philippines a country that can proudly stand side by side with all the nations of the world! Her greatest accomplishments are too numerous to mention. It’s like a puzzle with each piece contributing to make her one of the most unique personalities shaping the Filipino identity and diaspora. Writing a book is a daunting task and she wrote two major books covering the politics and dynamics of the Marcos administration and the family’s plunders. She demonstrated enormous courage to make her nationalistic voice be heard, reflecting the sentiments of the Filipino people in the “Marcos country” in Hawaii. Fighting for our country is a very lofty mission and along with other activists, she was able to help return democracy to our country. I always tell Lindy in jest: “You are so precious like gold; you should be bronzed.” A bronze statue should commemorate her unparalleled achievement for our country.

Dr. Nancy Atmospera-Walch, CEO and CNO, Adjust Professor of UHM Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing
Dr. Aquino has made significant contributions through philanthropy, creating lasting legacies that benefit Filipino students and advance education in the Philippines and Hawaii. Her endowments, such as “The Teresa Ancheta Aquino Centennial Professorial Chair” at the University of the Philippines and “The Belinda A. Aquino International Philippine Studies Endowment” at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, demonstrate her commitment to supporting academic pursuits related to Philippine society and culture. Dr. Aquino’s philanthropic endeavors not only honor her mother and herself but also serve as a testament to her belief in the importance of education and giving back to the community. Her legacy philanthropy ensures that her impact will be felt long after she is gone, leaving behind a lasting memory of her generosity and dedication to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Philippines.

Bea Ramos-Razon, Founding President, Hawaii Nursing Advocates & Mentor Inc.
Dr. Lindy Aquino is an icon and a walking encyclopedia of Philippine studies. I am so grateful for her support of our program, the Hawaii Nursing Advocates & Mentor Inc. Our program provides support, free review classes, and mentorship to potential registered nurses.

Nieve Elizaga, UPAAH Member
I’ve known Lindy for a very long time. When you are out with her, you get mini-lessons in history and contemporary issues. The Filipino community is fortunate that she landed here in Hawaii as she was the prime mover in the establishment of the Philippine studies program which is now known as the Center for Philippine Studies at UHM. It has attracted more students to enroll at UH and explore their Filipino heritage. It also has created more employment prospects.

Rose Cruz Churma, Community Advocate
When the Marcos family was sent in exile to Hawaii in 1986, then-President Cory Aquino’s first executive order was to create the Philippine Commission on Good Governance (PCGG). Lindy was one of the four representatives in the United States as part of this commission. She had full access to the “Marcos Papers” and a front-row seat to the aftermath of the Marcos exile. Soon after, Lindy authored the books “Politics of Plunder” and its sequel “The Transnational Dynamics of the Marcos Plunder.” The books are now out-of-print but her Hawaii colleagues have converted them into a digital format so the books can be easily shared with scholars, academics, and researchers all over the world. The books are just one of her many contributions — not only to the Filipino community in Hawaii—but also to the global community that value truth, justice, and a democratic society.

Serafin Colmenares
Dr. Lindy Aquino, an academician par excellence, a scholar and an activist, has accomplished much for the Filipino community, not only in Hawaii, but around the world. As founder and first director of the Center for Philippine Studies at the University of Hawaii, she was instrumental in institutionalizing and putting Philippine Studies on the international scene, giving impetus to the expansion of research and studies on Philippine history, politics and culture. A scholar and a prolific writer, her writings serve as a running commentary on the Philippine political, economic and social situation. She has been a much sought after resource in various academic and community events. An activist, she used her pen to fight against the [Marcos] dictatorship and expose what she termed as its “politics of plunder,” and has remained a champion of civil and women’s rights. She has done much more and she should be considered as a Filipino icon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.