2019 Filipino-American and Hispanic-American Month Honorees

AnaMaria Labao Cabato - Arts








AnaMaria Labao Cabato has been with PASACAT PHILIPPINE PERFORMING ARTS COMPANY since its inception in 1970. She was a dancer, musician and vocalist through 1983 and is currently the Executive Director. She received a B.S. in Business Administration, emphasis in Accounting from San Diego State University.

A recognized leader in the Filipino community, she has served as chairperson of the Diocesan Commission for Filipino Catholics, member of the City of San Diego’s Cultural Diversity Committee and board member of the San Diego Area Dance Alliance. She is proud of her heritage and faith and shares her musical gifts as co-director of the St. Rita’s Folk Choir where she also is a Minister of the Eucharist, and secretary of the parish Finance Council. Her vast experience, integrity and professionalism as an arts administrator, coupled with a positive personality, have given her high regard and praise in the San Diego arts community.


Bernard Ellorin had his primary Philippine music training with Samahan’s Rondalla and Kulintang ensembles. At the age of ten he started playing with the Rondalla, providing live music accompaniment for the Samahan Gala Dance Concert.

Consequently, after developing a keen interest in Philippine music, Bernard decided to pursue a career in Ethnomusicology, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, then graduate degrees at the University of Hawaii in 2008 and 2015. Bernard obtained his PhD in Ethnomusicology at UH, Manoa in Honolulu.

To enhance his knowledge in the country’s indigenous music and dances, he participated repeatedly in the KulArts Tribal Tours, which involved “immersion sessions” in various tribal rituals and traditions in Southern Philippines.

Bernard is the Director of the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble of Samahan and conducts workshops in colleges and universities in California. Bernard has been teaching the students in Universities and members of the Kulintang ensemble the music pieces he has learned to enable them to play a full repertoire. This year Bernard was awarded as the Master Artist for the Apprenticeship Program by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts to teach Kulintang to Kim Kalanduyan.

Coyote Moon – Community Activism

Coyote Moon is a life-long member of the National City Community (79th District). Raised in a primarily working class, Latino and Asian neighborhood. She herself is half Latino and half Filipino. She has volunteered at the San Diego LBGTQ Center for the past 10 years. She is also active with local Democratic Clubs, to name a few; Labor Democratic Club, Equality Democratic Club and the Latina Democratic Club. Through her volunteer work, it has taken any number of political orientations and a wide range of forms, from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism (such as boycotts), rallies, blogging, street marches, organizing and strikes. Coyote Moon is an individual who brings power to the community when there is frustration in underserved communities like National City. She takes it upon herself to post the National City Council meetings’ agenda on social media so that her community is aware of issues that impact them. Her goal is to help restore hope, and bridge the gap that separates decision-makers from their community.

Michael Lapid – Education

Michael Lapid was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Cleveland High School & California State University of Northridge where he had leadership position as President for both Filipino club in high school and for the Filipino American Student Association, CSUN FASA. With a desire to teach the Filipino language and with San Diego offering Filipino classes in the school district, he moved to San Diego to find his career as Filipino language teacher.  He volunteers as Logistics Director with the Filipino American Arts and Cultural Festival, which is an opportunity to work as Vocational Specialist and Program Coordinator at the Union of Pan Asian Communities, UPAC. He is also the Advisor for the Filipino club and the Gawad Kalinga Club.  With a passion for the youth, community, and Filipino language, Mr. Lapid contributes much of his time to the Filipino Program at Bell Middle School.  He Encourages his students to give back to the community by getting involved and learning the culture and history outside the classroom.

Erlinda Mascardo – Health

Erlinda Mascardo is a retired Registered Nurse from the Navy Hospital and served for 30 years. Currently volunteering Through the American Red Cross at the Navy hospital as a Nurse Educator teaching the military staff with clinical competencies.

She is a servant leader involved with several organizations in the community focus on Community service and volunteer work.  These organizations are:

  • COPAO- Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego- Board Member
  • Roaring Lion’s Club of San Diego- Board Member-community service & volunteer work
  • UPI- United Pangasinan International- Member
  • Kalusugan/ Kalakasan Center for Wellness-Board Member
  • Bonita Garden Club/ Chula Vista Garden Club- member

She currently is serving as the President of the Philippine Nurses Association, San Diego.

Roel Torralba – Youth Leader

Roel Torralba is a Junior at Otay Ranch High School, he is academically ranked in the top ten percent of his class. He is a member of the California Scholarship Foundation. His career path is very focused on STEM. Roel also tries to be grounded by being active in extra-curricular activities. He is part of the Otay Ranch Cross-Country and Track and Field Team for the 3rd year. He is in several school organizations; Bayanihan Club, Kiwins Club and the Engineering Club. He recently he completed a Leadership program which he represented the “Youth Legislative Program” for District 79. Aside from academics, Roel is dedicated to his community. He has completed over 100 hours helping Military Veterans.

Roel fits in volunteer time playing the piano at Veterans’ homes; by being part of the Military Wreaths Across America; helping at the Military Youth Summer Back Pack Giveaway; helping at the “Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary Unit of San Diego, and he finds it fascinating working at the Balboa Veterans Museum as the Jr. Archivist. In addition, Roel is the current Youth Outreach Director of the San Diego Palawan Filipino Association his newest project is to collect 100 blankets and donate it to the largest Veterans Home in San Diego, this Christmas.  Roel is passionate about everything he does. He exemplifies integrity, compassion and the commitment which are valuable Leadership skills.

Pedro Anaya – Community Activism

Pedro Anaya worked in San Diego’s nonprofit sector for nearly a decade before joining Southwest Strategies. He has a strong reputation for his professional and community work. Pedro currently serves on the City of Chula Vista Planning Commission. He is a co-founder of the San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee, which hosted the country’s largest series of events in honor of Mr. Chavez during his tenure as Chair.

Pedro has received the Cesar E. Chavez Social Justice Award, the Channel 10 Leadership Award, and, in 2003, was selected as one of five International Reebok Humanitarian Award recipients. In addition to his community and volunteer work, Anaya takes time to educate youth as a cultural dancer for San Diego’s oldest Aztec Dance Circle, Danza Mexi’cayotl, which recently celebrated its 33rd anniversary. Pedro has earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and Chicana/o studies from San Diego State University, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management and leadership studies from the University of San Diego.

Hilda Martinez – Education

Hilda Martinez has been teaching for more than 20 years, the last three as a Response to Intervention resource teacher in the area of literacy at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy (San Diego Unified School District).

As a resource teacher, she provides targeted instruction to groups of students at all grade levels tailored to increase reading achievement. Much of Martinez's 20 years of teaching has involved working with high populations of English learners and Title I status — students whose experiences mirrored her own growing up. It was Martinez's 5th-grade teacher who took the time to get to know her, encourage her, and cared — and years later inspired Martinez to become a teacher. "My experiences as a child helped shape my vision of a school worthy of all children," Martinez said. "The feeling of not belonging, not being worthy, or feeling insignificant has no place in any classroom. Elevating students and having them feel better about themselves than before they walked through my door is, by far, my greatest reward in teaching." Last month she was awarded the 2019-20 San Diego County Teachers of the Year Awards.

Augustine “Gus” Chavez – Education

Mr. Gus Chavez was born in 1943 in Sonora, Texas, one of seven children in a one-bedroom home.  He was a man Dedicated to social and educational justice and equality.  As the architect of the current Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Ethnic Affairs at San Diego State University, Gus helped create what is now the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies as he mentored and inspired countless students. Gus co-founded various university organizations, including RAZA Advocates for Chicanos in Higher Education (RACHE) and the CSU EOP Directors Association.  Today, EOP serves about 2,500 students each semester. As a Navy Veteran, he was the lead co-founder and organizer of the Defend the Honor Campaign, an organization dedicated to preserving and acknowledging the contributions of Latino and Latina veterans who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam by advocating for the inclusion of their military experiences and civil rights struggles in documentaries, books and school curricula. Chavez died Aug. 18 at his home in San Diego’s El Cerrito neighborhood from complications of chronic kidney disease. He was 76. Gus was an incredibly man, and this is a tremendous loss not only for San Diego State, but for the entire San Diego community.

Rachel Gregg – Government

Rachel Gregg joined SDSU in 2017 as the Community Relations Manager. In that position, she worked to strengthen the relationships between SDSU and the communities that surround our campus. Rachel currently serves as the Director of Government and Community Relations. She sits on the College Area Planning Group as well as the College Area Business District Board of Directors. Rachel acts as the liaison between SDSU and our San Diego delegation. Additionally, she works with the Associated Students to help improve student and community relations. Prior to SDSU, Rachel worked for almost ten years in the California State Legislature, it was here she became active in many of the diverse communities in and around San Diego County. Rachel is a third generation native San Diegan, a dedicated mother and proud alumna of SDSU earning her BA in Political Science in 2006.

Ana R. Melgoza, M.P.A. – Health

Ms. Ana Melgoza has over 22 years of public and private sector experience in government, philanthropy, higher education and social services.  As Vice President of External Affairs for the San Ysidro Health, Ms. Melgoza oversees government relations, community collaborations, private fund development, marketing, media relations and corporate communications. As a healthcare administration leader in San Diego County, Ms. Melgoza has played an integral role in assisting with the growth of San Ysidro Health to over 1,500 employees with 36 service sites which provided healthcare to more than 105,000 patients. During this time, San Ysidro Health has expanded its services to seniors through the San Diego Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (SD PACE), opened King Chavez Health Center with expanded dental care services, provided healthcare services to migrant seeking asylum at San Diego Rapid Response Network shelter. She currently is Chair of the Healthy Chula Advisory Commission which advises the City of Chula Vista Mayor, Council and City Manager on health related policy, is a member of the San Diego Union Tribune Community Advisory Board and South County Economic Development Council.