The Birth of PUGAD

University of the Philippines (UP) Psychological Understanding for Growth and Distinction (PUGAD) Society — student organization also known as U.P. PUGAD Sayk

I was in my junior year in 1999 when I was struck with the idea of forming an organization of fellow students — from a wide spectrum of academic fields — who harness psychological concepts, insights and skills in analyzing and making recommendations in solving the problems of society.

I was trying to come up with a name when an image came to mind: a nest, which I thought was perfect because it embodied nurturing and development. I decided to use the Filipino term, “pugad” as an acronym; hence, the name, “Psychological Understanding for Growth and Distinction” (PUGAD) Society. I thanked the Universe for this flash of insight, shared the PUGAD concept with John Dennis Alcaraz and Chino Perez, and invited them to join me in a triumvirate presidency. Towards the end of the org’s first year in existence, when we were passing the torch, I wrote the U.P. PUGAD Sayk Manifesto, which publicly reaffirmed the org’s mission, vision, and hope for the future:

It is PUGAD’s mission to harness psychological concepts, insights and skills in analyzing and making recommendations in solving the problems of society. It is the organization’s calling to draw on its understanding of human thinking and behavior as an approach in comprehending social issues. The said understanding is enriched by interacting with an assortment of fields such as public administration, computer science, mass communication, business administration, community development, and education. Then, and only then, can a veritable psychology that is of social relevance grow and obtain distinction as an applied social science.

With the conviction that the phenomenology of a person is of chief consequence in social dynamics, PUGAD can actualize its mission and vision in the milieu of a society that is faced by the challenges of technology and globalization. PUGAD regards itself as an organization of diverse members who accept the challenges that the present and the future pose, via active social involvement and leadership by being academically excellent, socially vigilant, and critically minded.

UP PUGAD Sayk Manifesto (2000)

PUGAD was born out of a moment of insight — this creative process, which involves forming something out of nothing, inspires me up to this day. This constantly reaffirms how much I value originality and an openness to intuitive inspiration. Founding PUGAD has taught me the power of an idea, which can unite people and mobilize them towards a common vision. Ideas transform into words, images, and actions that can change society for the better. Since college, these learnings from PUGAD have shaped my journey into the fields of filmmaking, artificial intelligence (AI), and multimedia practice, scholarship, and education.