The Tangonan Family: From Ilocos and Beyond



Dionisio Impelido Tangonan

See photos
Dionisio & Family
ionisio Impelido Tangonan was born on April 8, 1920 in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Sinait, Ilocos Sur, Philippines and the third son of Hipolito Impat Tangonan and Basilia Madamba Impelido.

School Years

He spent his early school years in Binacud Primary School, Sta. Cruz Primary School and Lagangilang Agricultural High School. (Read The Children's Educational Start) When he and his brother Artemio transferred to Batac Rural High school, the Principal Julian Mamaril learned that Dionisio was a second year eligible, the brothers were frankly told that there was still no second year class organized. The said high school being new could not have enough students for a First Year Class the previous year. To resolve the situation, Dionisio was instructed to enroll as a Third Year High School Student and if he would make it he was to enroll as a second year student the following year. Instead of feeling jealous among many of his classmates, he became their instant idol when he readily passed the advanced third year curriculum with even higher marks than those of his classmates. It was a parallel happy moment to start his high school days, as his initial acceptance of teaching assignment to start his educational service career and his slow but eventual rise as a school administrator, executive, and educator.

Utilizing his prestige and popularity as an exceptionally bright student, he was voted as the first president of the entire high school student body organization of the Batac Rural High School (now the Northwestern University of Luzon). Their first major school project was the construction of an all-concrete and iron gate and pergola. All the names of the entire student government officialdom, including the school Principal and class advisers, were permanently etched on the concrete posts and sidewalks. That was in 1939. It was not until the late 1960's that the gate and pergola was changed with a bigger one when the high school turned into a college and later into a University.

Their 1939 batch of their original BRHS Alumni Association had a high percentage of professionals in their service careers as such, even without mentioning Artemio's brother Dionisio.

His Initial Trip to Romblon

Upon graduation from the then Philippine Normal School in 1941, where older brother Urbano also graduated in 1936, vacation time as it was, he did not delay in sending applications for a teaching position in both the Ilocos, not excluding some in the Visayas. For the nearer places, like Vigan and Laoag in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, he did not hesitate in following up personally his applications, and received negative replies of "Sorry, No Vacancy", much to his dismay. But not so when the Romblon reply stated, "Report Immediately for your Station Assignment." It was one of the happiest moments in Dionisio's life and feeling a date with life's history in the making.

With hardly a moment to wait, Dionisio, alone if he must, proceeded to Romblon without any looking back or the slightest hesitation, even with his full knowledge that he and his mother had not a centavo for the needed fare to Romblon. He was promptly advised to go and borrow the minimum amount for the boat's fare from Manila to Romblon, from his Tata Uncle Arsen in town who promptly replied to get the amount of P20.00 from his wife, Nana Maria. The minimum amount was needed for meals. A new "maleta" (luggage) was provided by good senior brother, Urbano, on the spot and wished Dionisio, "Good Luck" on his departure for Manila and Romblon.

It was a boat "Rosario" from Manila Bay direct to Romblon landlocked harbor and wharf at its capital town of Romblon, Romblon. It was his first experience riding a boat and sea travel, and the weather being fine, his first impression was more comfortable and safer than by land transportation on a bus. As for the meals on the boat, he had even a better impression, having for the first time in his life, being served a meal with about a dozen kind of recipes, including desserts of cake and fruits like mangoes, apples, bananas, even grapes.

His First Teaching Assignment and Position in Romblon

Promptly upon arrival at the capital town of Romblon, he reported for interview and teaching assignment. "Accept your first assignment for Bonga Primary School as Acting Head Teacher, Municipality of Badajoz in the island of Tablas." With a smart and positive reply of "Yes, Sir", he was the happiest guy in the world to have finally married his first and last love, LEARNING and TEACHING in the BATTLE AGAINST IGNORANCE and unending pursuit and search for truth and knowledge.

Dionisio's First Marriage

Nemia Almaria Gaac fondly called Neming was the first wife of Dionisio. This is her only known photograph.
There was an interim of five months between Pearl Harbor bombing of Hawaii before Dionisio's first date of marriage in May of 1942. Representing his party was Protestant Minister, Reverend Silverio Biaz of Romblon, who had decided to buy a lot in town for his transfer of residence as the new Minister of the newly established Protestant Church in the town of San Andres. If necessary, Dionisio was accommodated to live with him for the duration of World War II.

Dionisio, with his Protestant leanings would willingly accompany Reverend Biaz in his home visits not only of his church members, few as they were at the start, and in one of them Dionisio was introduced to the big Family of the late Lucio R. Gaac of Calunacon, Despujols, two kilometers forth of the town. They even encourage more frequent visits, Dionisio having had a close acquaintance with one of the older members of the said Gaac family, as co-teachers in the school district of the then Badajoz School District. Thus the prospect of an early proposal for the marriage of Dionisio to Nemia, one of the unmarried daughters of the said big family.

The marriage proposal made and accepted, the wedding celebration, particularly the legal and church rites, was presided by the then Mayor Nemesio F. Ganan and the late Minister Silverio Biaz, with a big attendance among the majority members of the Protestant Church. The date could be in one of the Christmas season of 1942, a date and a season to remember.

Their initial struggle for independent living as man and wife, they realized early on was no peanuts. Their situation was aggravated by the war, there was no escaping the increasing and advancing momentum of the Japanese Occupation. By force of circumstance, they built their nipa shack and produced their own vegetables, fruits, and poultry, on borrowed patches of ground. They had to have their own kaingin in some unoccupied lands 6 to 8 kms uphill from the town.

During the first few months of their married life, the Japanese occupation and landing not only in big regions and provinces but also small separate islands, like Romblon, was intensifying without let-up. It was a do or die period on every Romblon citizen, rich or poor, high or low.

Maintaining the Operation of Civil Government

Teachers who were in employment before the December 8 Pearl Harbor were give specific assignments as Food Agents, Home Guards, or recruited to become guerillas under specific commands within Romblon and the nearby provinces of Capiz, Aklan, Mindoro and Masbate.

Dionisio was given a special assignment as a guerilla member for special intelligence missions of the local guerillas, particularly in the tracing of Japanese forces from Luzon to the Visayas.

Dionisio's designation in the intelligence unit of the guerilla unit in the area was made official but kept highly confidential and actually included in one of PVAO's book published and distributed to all Offices of Post Commanders. Dionisio was furnished a photo copy of the page where his name appeared.

Death of First Spouse

Jessie and Aracelie, Dionisio's children by Nemia, three and two years old respectively, both having been born during World War II were actually war babies. There could not have been a more painful, difficult, and the worst of times to be born as such. Not only for them but also their parents, with not a patch of ground nor other form of employment for a source of livelihood.

Then their family situation turned into a worse-case scenario that struck them out when they were least prepared to prevent a tragedy they never expected - the early death of Nemia! Their were no doctors, nurses, and drugstores to go to at the height of her ailment, besides then being to the first stage of being on the family way for what they were expecting a third child and first son at that. Nemia died from the probable ailment of typhoid and/or malaria while frequently accompanying Dionisio and living in barangay Minoro (now Marigondon Norte) where Dionisio was temporarily assigned as a pioneer teacher to open/re-open a new school there whose population constituted of what was then called Despujols.

While her interment and funeral were well managed and attended by the bereaved family and immediate kins, the burial site was not well prepared as desired by Dionisio, who was prohibited by tradition to have an active role in preparing the said burial site. The site however was a choice one at the middle and upper part of the municipal cemetery.

Dionisio Second Marriage

Dionisio with second wife Angelita "Eling" Soliven Tobias - 1960
By chance or by design? Transfer of a lady teacher well within marriageable age, from Romblon to Carmen where Dionisio was recently transferred for promotion to Substitute Principal. To play it safe, it could be either or both, his instinct told him. The following long vacation, he made it a point to visit the lady's mother in Manila and in their hometown, Santo Domingo, Ilocos Sur, just 25 kms south of Sinait, of the same province. A series of two more visits for an initial impression of her sisters and brothers in Manila and so his second marriage proposal and married life was now well confirmed.

The church and legal rites were pre-arranged in the Lutheran Church in Quezon City, where the new spouse' kins lived, the Primicias family. The family thought Dionisio might object. But somebody on Dionisio's party might have known ahead of his protestant leanings and relayed the information to that of the others. Offering no objections, the said wedding rights went through fast and smooth.

Returning what Dionisio considered respect and courtesy when proposed by his Lady Luck to have a similar and simple ceremony at the Catholic Church in Singalong, Dionisio accepted the proposal for purposes of reciprocity and religious toleration, knowing that Angelita's family church had always been the Roman Catholic Church

On Dionisio's part, the arrangement would also make a good reason to stick it out in his chosen church membership with the San Andres Foursquare Gospel Church. It was founded and established by Minister Silverio M. Biaz, the one who had helped him at the height of the Japanese occupation in 1942 1943.

Dionisio and Angelita's family life was built on the principle of religious freedom and toleration. It turned out to be a saga and a difficult one for both man and wife, not excluding their own children's family lives. They hoped and prayed together, the finale will be a big bang of a success. And they both believed in God's amazing grace and unchanging love.

The first and only fruit on this second experiment is their son, Erwin Tobias Tangonan, born in 1953. He is now a Doctor of Medicine practicing his medical profession and chief of the San Andres Municipal Hospital where his wife as a Nurse is also employed since 1988.

Dionisio's happy second marriage to Angelita Tobias of Santo Domingo, llocos Sur in 1952 turned sour with their forced, transfer and return to Bonga, Badajoz, Romblon. There was nowhere to go except Bonga to be accommodated. The people there were exceptionally happy to see Dionisio and his new wife return where he started as Acting Head Teacher without any written appointment of such a ghost position, as he discovered later. But it was not going to be really that happy return for them.

Their second year, 1955, turned out to be a most unexpected near-tragic experience. The year was doubly a significant and a trying year for Dionisio's family. His second wife, Angelita, was fated to prevent any other subsequent birth after Erwin when she had to undergo a major operation for ectopic pregnancy at the Odiongan Provincial hospital on that year. With sufficient hospital facilities and the services of a good doctor, her life was saved, unlike in his first marriage ended in a tragedy, when there were yet no such expert medical services available.

His rise as full-pledged Principal

It took only one classroom visit and teaching observation of the then Superintendent Epifanio Madali before Dionisio was ordered for immediate promotion to full pledge Principalship in the Central Elementary School of the municipality of Conception in Sibali Island. The transfer was to be together with his second spouse and their only son, Erwin at 3 years old. His two daughters from first spouse were left under the care of his in-laws in San Andres, with their schooling expenses under Dionisio's care and responsibility. They were in their last one and two years in the elementary grades.

Their first year in Concepcion, Sibali, made its intended high marks of a success story, under the most trying problems and conditions. First, were the travel difficulties. With frequent Division Conferences and official transactions, there was no escaping dangerous sea travel especially during the stormy months. There were no mechanize boats or sailboats yet at those times. In spite of all such trying tests the "show must move on" without retreat, for fulfillment of the vision and the dream. To comfort himself when Dionisio was asked how he was assigned to the remotest and isolated part of the province, replied casually, "Well, I like the transfer because it was like becoming a "BIG FROG IN A SMALL POND" and added "Where can you find the small making you big at once without the proper qualifications?"

Among the first episodic experience during Dionisio's second year stay, was a sea voyage to the biggest of the three island group called Maghale, constituted by the three island municipalities of Banton, Corcuera, and Concepcion. Why the voyage was to be in the evening instead of at daytime, Dionisio was puzzled and apprehensive. The weather then was stormy, and he never had any similar sea trip on a stormy night. The date was the eve of the town fiesta of Banton and he had no good reason to reject the invitation because there was to be an official conference on the first day of the said town fiesta, with all the Division Staff of the School Superintendent. Upon reaching the mouth of the land lock harbor of Concepcion towards the open sea, all the male passengers seated atop the unmechanized and slow moving "batil", got their baptism not of fire but of sea salted water. They scrambled for their share of a reserve sail for a blanket and protection for a next water baptism. Dionisio could not stand the ordeal with the thought of a worst case scenario of even a next bigger wave or series of wave that may even sink their batil. When Dionisio was flatly rejected with the boat rudder in his hands saying, "a return at this place and time would be more dangerous to make." All female passengers were ordered to move inside the boat for safety, and only the males were allowed to stay put on the boat's upper deck. When the weather calmed down a bit, however, Dionisio was surprised to see that they were re-entering the land lock Concepcion Harbor. The return was in respect and honor to his appeal to return. Finally felt safe from harm, undisturbed on tierra firma (solid ground). He was no longer invited to return as did the other passengers, who left just the same for their attendance of the Banton town fiesta) where their devout God believing people consider it a serious sin not to be able to attend. For Dionisio, he could hardly sleep soundly for the first two nights since this sobering experience. It was also a hardening experience he willfully refused to reply to inquiring school superiors asking for his failure of attendance and never to cower at the slightest possibility of a reprimand. He was not even aware that there would he more similar if not worse and more dangerous sea travels later.

1959 was their third and last year in Concepcion, Sibali as if to bring to naught a most successful term of school leadership, administration, and community development. Instead it was a test of the quality of the results and product of such proactive and genuine leadership in terms of school and community progress and development. By chance, it was also the height of the community school concept of school management and administration. Whether it could qualify as a role model of the saying: "Man has his time, and Time has its Man," only history perhaps will tell.

A few of Dionisio's achievements under his influence during his 3-year term as an Elementary School Principal: He organized the entire community and all its five (5) Barangays through their respective schools into one effective organization for community progress and development under the community school idea.

A fitting name was given the new school and community joint organization for the effective management of the raging educational system community school concept sweeping the entirety of the Philippine Educational System and to which Dionisio, after some deep and extensive research of his own was fully sold out. For this purpose conception was the right time and place. During the long vacation, undisturbed, peaceful and isolated, Dionisio acquired several good books on the new concept and name of the country's educational system, with the new label, "The Philippine Community School." There were other titles to choose from, aside from Bernardino's, who was then Assistant Director of Public Schools. He also had chance to peruse several other books of similar titles, like those of Beguiler, Orata of Pangasinan, and Laya of Bataan. Why should so many of our new educational leaders come out almost at the same time to advocated the new concept of "The Philippine Community School," authoring their own books, if there was not a grain of truth and new meaning worth considering and adopting, and already tried and tested to their respective areas of assignments, as Directors, Superintendents, etc.

It was this unalloyed belief and conviction of Dionisio that spurred him to make and continue his initial plan and initiative, if the concept could work. He worked to have someone with music inclination to compose the lyrics and melody for the new school a community's new organization for the community's progress and development. It was used in most of the organization's frequent meetings to town, as one of their opening songs. This stepped up progress of Sibali far and wide in other parts of the division.

With the initial success in the trial run of the Philippine Community School concept that was then already approved and adopted by the Educational Department as its official new name and advocacy to replace the traditional school program, Dionisio started to make initial moves to prepare himself, for what he taught that his Promotions to next higher ranks and rungs of the educational ladder, and which were really to happen for the next five years or even more.

Among such moves, he thought, was his own new version of the community school idea, for its more effective management, implementation, and for it to be establish on a stronger foundation, and make it last longer and more permanent.

From his closer personal observation of how the new concept of the Philippine Community School, there were several cracks on its wall to threaten the continuing growth and progress of what started as a durable and lasting effects in the lives of the people.

Among such discouraging observation was this: In his own residential place with his family in San Andres, upon their return from Concepcion, Sibali, Dionisio was surprised to see that the Central Elementary School there did not carry anymore a signboard with the name of Despujols Community School, and instead simply captioned again in its old name of Despujols Elementary School, and with the majority of the barangay Primary Schools back with their old names without the word "community". With this surprising state of affairs, he promptly started hanging their signboards back to their originals with the word "community".

Actually Dionisio's thoughts on how he could possibly expedite the momentum of his seemingly unstoppable promotions to reach the division top post of Superintendent, feeling by instinct he would not be given the hoot of chance to introduce his modified concept of "The Philippine Community School", as his brain child to jumpstart the new beginning of his Superintendency. The events that followed on his succeeding promotions, they also constituted significant and positive influence in elevating the standard of the teaching profession and quality of education in the division was fated to be an "impossible dream."

Nevertheless, the dream helped very much in Dionisio's continuing pursuit of his lesser goals of promotion which enhanced his other goals to improve the lot of the schools and the greater mass of our people. So on with his series of successive promotion to Principal II after a stint of two school years to make a total of five (5) years as Principal I, before receiving his P-II appointment and to be re-assigned as In-charge of the three island municipalities of Banton, Corcuera and Concepcion with official headquarters at the Canton Central School. Before leaving for Banton, a significant program changing the name of the municipality from Despujols to San Andres to memorialize the people-hero, San Andres Bonifacio, and later to Saint Andrew from the name of a hero to that of a Saint, to serve as a reminder of the people's main source of livelihood, St. Andrew being a fisherman.

On to Banton for full pledged promotion to District Superintendent from 1962 to 1965

He was to be such over the three island municipalities, making the biggest school District by both population and geography, and the biggest athletic unit in the Division's Athletic Program. His fruitful 5 year stint as District Supervisor, after a year of Principal II in Charge of the 3-island district was hailed by the people as one big step of quality education by all the schools and communities there. Particular attention was given to the continuing management and operation of all the schools under the new concept of "The Philippine Community Schools." It was also there where a District Athletic Meet of Provincial meet was first held in 1964 where all division and provincial officials were invited to witness. They even recommended that the next provincial meet be held there at the earliest opportunity.

Dionisio with then Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal
True to Dionisio's expectations, he would be the next District Supervisor of San Andres. Before his return to San Andres as such, he had a rare chance to meet the then Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal whom he introduced to the public in one of his campaign tours for his re-election that year. It was also here where Dionisio as a District Supervisor had a chance to effect his own program of teacher transfer within the islands that involved everybody except one to have a kind of rigodon in accordance with their own selection to the schools and places each of them wanted. However, it was to the objection of just one teacher who was prevailed upon to wait just for the next year for the sake of the majority to thank her for. That was during the school year, 1965, his last year of assignment there.

His successful and fruitful educational influence in all the 3 island district, while it was crowned with an early promotion and appointment as full fledged District Supervisor was not all roses, for roses also have their thorns.

He was attending a division conference on its second and last day and was preparing for their return trip to Banton. The trip usually scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm. There were sure signs it was going to be a rough sea trip. Majority of the men manning the unmotorized batil, were adamant and for a good excuse: it would be better to wait until about midnight to insure a calmer weather. Actually, they all wanted to enjoy themselves watching movies downtown.

Instead of calming down, the weather grew stormier, and the boatmen had to be on the alert and skillful in their assigned tasks. There were no signs of fair weather returning, and all the passengers grew apprehensive and uneasy. The boatmen had to recourse on what they call the zigzag method of sailing to ensure greater safety. But this method prolonged the trip several times over. They tried three possible approaches to land directly to the town of Banton and when they failed, took a last chance on the southeast side of the island, where they landed safely.

They left Romblon on the evening of a Tuesday. They landed on Banton island's opposite side, a part of barangay Tungonan, in the early dawn of Friday of the same week. Dionisio missed eating seven meals since their departure up to their landing, and was surprised himself that he was still very much alive. It was a baptism not of fire but of sea travel on rough seas. He was silently cursing himself how and why he voluntarily accepted such a place of assignment, vowing "never again" to return.

The following week, having recovered and endured the ordeal, he received an invitation from the Tungonan Elementary School to be their guest in their PTA meeting. Their main problem and project was the completion of their hollow block school fence and before he could introduce himself, many of them were already whispering among themselves to ask their guest a substantial cash donation for their project. For his introduction, directly addressed to satisfy their appeal for donation, he said: "I am happy and glad to find out and see that the name of your school is my name except for one mistake you made on the second letter, and therefore I suggest you make the correction now in my presence. (A roar of laughter drowned the continuation of his introduction but to ensure that their guest would give his donation before he leaves, they assured him they will comply by way of a PTA Resolution to make it official,

After giving his cash donation and bidding them "Till we meet again," they responded with "Goodbye MR. TUNGONAN instead of Mr. Tangonan. They succeeded in changing Dionisio's family name, instead of chancing their barangay name to TANGONAN.

A Full pledged District Supervisor - His Return to San Andres

He was thinking his return was a greater reward than his promotion. "Home sweet home" at last, with his entire family, yes, "together again!" And the wife, likewise feeling great! The school year was 1965-1966. He was 45, the wife 40 and their mutual continuing thought of moving on forward, persisted than with their desire and thought that it was time to take it easy and relax. Several school projects were initiated and completed not only in the Central School, but also in the barangays, and soon the people realized that their District Supervisor should not be transferred to other districts until his retirement.

Among the projects undertaken in his incumbency as District Supervisor:

  • A new Primary School in Matutuna, despite closeness to the next nearest school;
  • Victoria Primary School, Barangay Victoria
  • Marigondon Norte Primary School, Marigondon Norte
  • Repair of the Central School's Concrete Fence, gates and pergolas, and the fence elevation with inter link net wiring for more protection and se_ urity
  • Establishment of Pagalad Memorial School, at Barangay Pagalad g alad
  • Establishment of Barangay High School at Tanaga
  • Introduction of Marcos Low Cost School Buildings at Linawan, Agpudlos, and Marigondon Sur Elementary School
  • Establishment of the Romblon School of Fisheries and Forestry, with its main brunch Office in San Andres, with another branch college level at Barangay Tan agan

Other indicators of his effective role as school administrator executive and educational leader, was his high rating and rank as such in the entire division. If he could have learned earlier, he could have gotten his next promotion to Division Supervisor. Finally, to his surprise, he was ranked #1! He was uneasy, it was already a decade from his promotion as District Supervisor and also conscious that he was never wanting in performing and making strides in his major job and role as District Supervisor. If indeed he was ranked #1 in the entire Division, how come he was not promoted earlier? He played it low and never complained, until finally, he got his promotion. He maintained his peace. When asked who to give credit, he replied, "My late Mommy, Nana Iliang," he call her. Dionisio hastened to say, "You don't know my Mom was a genius?" He hastened to explain further, "She was a mother of INFINITE PATIENCE AND BOUNDLESS LOVE!" Dionisio believes that the correct definition of "genius", if there is any such thing, should be "infinite patience and boundless love". If Dionisio has this dominant trait of "low profile," where else could he have gotten it other than from his mother's gene?

"Agan anus kay latta. Idi ken sakkut. Naimbag to la no di aglalo". Freely translated, it means "just the same, no matter what comes, be patient, in the way of "sakkot," "Be thankful it could have become worse".

On to the Last Rung of Romblon's Educational Ladder

Despite a number of odds had remained to be cleared, his climb was already unstoppable, unless he voluntarily gives up. He must wind up with a minimum educational qualification of a Master's degree. He was about to turn 60. He must pass the CS Superintendent Exam. He must also undergo rigid training for all Superintendent eligibles. He took and passed all three in one take in 1978 and 1979. He was granted a few months study leave for his MA in Education. He attended the 1952 Superintendents Executive training in Baguio. He then applied for appointment as the next Schools division Superintendent of Romblon due for retirement the same year but could only be given Assistantship for the position, as there was no available vacant salary item. Unless he would accept a transfer to the other divisions with such vacant position and salary item. He accepted the Assistantship, just the same and was further assured that all Superintendent eligibles who passed the Superintendent Exam starting that year, were automatically entered in the rolls to be full pledged Superintendents. The reason: It was the first time that said Exam was held for two full days instead of only one. More over the substantial increase of the annual salaries of Superintendents was due for implementation the following school year. And that was that. Words, words, but Dionisio was still the ASDS that year, but there was no salary increase, until the next year after he had already resigned

His Incumbency as Division Supervisor

He was assigned to the subject area of Physical Development included the MEC's program on Sports and Athletics. It was the biggest challenge for him to succeed to deserve his promotion to the division level, as well as the Superintendency. During his incumbency as such, the division broke all past records in the regional level of sports and athletic competition nationwide.

It started in 1977, the year of his promotion to Division Supervisorship. He was the Head of Romblon Delegation. The division romped away fourth in the general championship. It was during his incumbency when for the first time Romblon held rigid sports and athletic training with more than a dozen trainors from the MECS and other agencies from Manila.

Likewise, it was during his said term that the best potentials of athletics among public school pupils and students were discovered and initially trained and honed in the school, district, provincial and regional. Elma Muros now married, two from Sibuyan; Nene Gano, Billy Silanga of San Andres, were among them and finally became national and world caliber athletes.

In the next succeeding STRAA meets held at Cavite, Lucena, and Tuguegarao, the Division Ranking rose to third and to second. The man at the helm was then the late Ricardo C. Bassig of Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

Of course Dionisio readily acknowledges that he was not alone to be credited. He added that without the leaders of school officials above and the cooperation of all others below, the Division could not possibly attain such a record breaking performance and achievement.

It was also during his term as Division Supervisor that he was to be elected as the next ROPSTA President for two consecutive school years, 1978 79 to 1979 198O. Authored by him, a year before that several articles/on education appeared in the ROPSTA OFFICIAL ORGAN and in the ROPSTA Convention Programs of the ROPSTA consisting of four pages, entitled: "Managing Education for National Development." Among his proposals may be quoted as follows:

  1. "....make the division school administrative and supervisory staff on one hand, and the ROPSTA on the other, as co-partners in designing and formulating a long range educational and professional development program from the institutional to the district and division levels, which should more or less follow the model of the long range planning process..."
  2. Other illustrations in their full texts are also included to underscores Dionisio's high regard and value of education in all aspects of progress and development, be it in the local, regional, national, or even in the international or global levels.
  3. In his message and greetings to all ROPSTANS at the ROPSTA 1979 Convention and he underscored the dual function of their organization, as follows:
  4. "...we have the dual function on of our profession and improving the working conditions of our members. Therefore one of our demands should be aimed of achieving a basic security for teachers salaries commensurate with our status, working worthy of our objectives, and social rights protective of our functions For the promotion of our profession we should institute a more substantive plan for wider and better opportunities for the professional improvement of teachers.
  5. In return for these demands we offer the sum of what we are in terms of professional service.
    ". . And finally, let me state this in unequivocal terms: whoever attempts to separate our professional improvement from our work for the rights of teachers is no friend of ours."
From the complete record of ROPSTA PRESIDENTS FROM ITS FOUNDING in 1955 up to Calendar Years 1978 and to 1980, only the last (17th) was elected consecutively for two calendar years. All the rest enjoyed only one school year each.

No less than PPSTA General Manager, Mr. Santos Pascual was invited as Guest Speaker of the ROPSTA CONVENTION at Ferrol, in the November 28 30 1979. Likewise, the then assemblyman Nemesio V. Ganan, Jr. as guest speaker also delivered his speech the theme of the Convention.

There were 120 delegates to that ROPSTA Convention, a record breaking attendance.

He also attended the 1975 WCOTP at the PICC as one of Re an IV PPSTA Delegate, aside as the ROPSTA delegate.

Among the papers distributed to the delegates were excerpts of "Crossroads of Teachers Today" by Wilhelm Ebert, later published in the Jan Feb /30 of the PPSTA Herald A number of choice paragraphs are hereby quoted and should have been intended for publication in the 30 STA VOICE ;, but the following year, he was no longer the ROPSTA President. He was also intending to be one of the basis of educational reforms in the Division, had he not retired as Assistant 50. 0019 Division Superintendent, by mandatory provision of the law.

  1. "We commonly see teachers acclaimed as the guardian angels of future generations but denied any right to participate in the evolution and determination of educational policy. We see teachers asked to be moral guides but condemned when they take a moral stand."
  2. "We have been passive for many years. But the teachers of today, and certainly their colleagues of tomorrow, are not content to be passive, we demand that education be accorded in reality the status it has in principle. We demand further, that teachers be given real participation in decisions, not a meaningless paper promise. Let there be no doubt reforms in education innovations in methods and techniques and new systems of administrator will all fail to have their desired impact if teachers are not actively involved in their elaboration and co. committed to their execution."
  3. "We must, as a responsible world organization, work within our communities and within our communities and between our co-unities with outside groups and partners and within our own colleague - to achieve in the real world the noble ideals of our profession."

Asked to elaborate on his "Philippine Community School" advocacy in relation to the above noble of education, he elaborated:

  1. The concept and definition of the Philippine version of a community school is a designation for a type of school whose program is committed towards the improvement of the community in a sense it could be said that it is an adaptation of the American version adopted much earlier than that of the Philippine version.
  2. The Philippine Community School was officially adopted for all practical purposes an official program of the Bureau of Public Schools with the issuance of Bulletin No. 17, s. 1950. In fact, there was an earlier Bulletin No. 13, s. 1949, but its main purpose was to publicize the community schools in Iloilo. In short, the Philippine concept was adopted by administrative fiat, from top to bottom.
  3. This could explain why the concept and practice of the adopted program gradually waned and lost momentum, instead of gaining stability and permanence.
  4. So why not reverse the process of its adoption. If by administrative fiat the program could be sustained to work effectively for a good number of years, in many places, as was done in his eight years of educational leadership in his eight years term in the 3 island municipalities of Banton, Corcuera, and Concepcion, and more than a decade as the District Supervisor of San Andres from 1966 to 1977, why not for the entire Division of Romblon, if and when he makes it to the Superintendency in a few more years?

His Final Rise to Assistant Superintendent

Accepted without thinking, he said. After making it to the division level, he made it a commitment to himself like an oath, never to say no to an offer of promotion. Moreover, he was a man in a hurry. Before he realized it, it was later than he thought. One to two more years does not strike a homerun, like it or not, the mandatory provision of retirement would prevail.

He was advised by the politicians to stay as In-Charge of the Division by asking for an extension as several others have done, but weighing the odds against the pluses, a mere one or two years extension would be too short to introduce and implement effectively the many ambitious and innovative plans he had long been obsessed. Then there was also another problem of a hurried retirement: Property responsibility. A previous Superintendent took years to clear himself before he could get his full retirement. Then a serious final problem is politics, partisan politics, to which Dionisio had a kind of allergy. He received four telegrams from a politician asking him to stay. Long before the election that year, Dionisio already knew, like the politician, that time has run out for him, and the election results that year proved that both of them were passenger mates on the same boat!

His brief term of one to two years was more of support and full cooperation with the Superintendent than making a mark of his own. In a manner, as in other government executive positions, the second in command becomes the first man's workhorse.

Meanwhile, as a matter of courtesy and a gracious welcome to his successor, one about to retire could not afford to antagonize or fail to be gracious and pleasant to everybody, for obvious reasons.

The First Four Years of his Retirement from the DECS

He retired under RA 1616 as Assistant School Superintendent in Charge of the Division, managing the affairs of about 5,000 employees for the entire division, but with so low a salary of 2,000 pesos a month. For his entire service career of about 44 years, he could get only about 130,000 pesos and it was gone in two years:

More than the financial aspect, he wanted to venture in another form of employment. He started applying as an Insurance Underwriter. He was asked to go on a one week training under PHILAM. Before the week ended, he was asked to take an exam by the Philippine Insurance Commission and got high passing mark. As a result, he was allowed to forego the full week training and given the go signal to start his field work as PHILAM Insurance Agent.

He was feeling the pinch of age and from his door to door campaign without even a bike to ride on, but was refused. Fed up with the tedious and laborious routine, he started to think of other possibilities of trying other forms of respectable employment.

His love for education and teaching kept nagging him. He applied for a teaching job as college Instructor at the Romblon College, Odiongan, and was readily accepted not only as a college instructor, but also as Principal of its High School Department. He was also expecting to receive a monthly compensation, not only to meet the minimum daily needs of his family only to find out that he could get only a monthly rate of 1000 pesos for both. When he asked why he could not possibly be given a higher monthly salary rate, the College Dean promised him a higher rate the next school year, plus the possibility of a full-pledge professorship.

A Few of His Achievements for Just one School Year (1989 1990) at the Romblon College and High School Department

  1. It was during his term at the Romblon College that the High School Department was transferred to a better site and building, and high school enrolment increased.
  2. For the first time in the history of the High School Department, he led an educational tour around Tablas, visiting all high schools in the island, public and private, counterclockwise from dawn to dusk. It involved the whole studentry and faculty members.
  3. The High school also conducted and managed the fiesta beauty queen contest in 1990 where one of the students placed first.
  4. In the College Department, with only about a dozen enrolled at summer time, the instruction was comparatively more thorough there was no failure.

The Next Fourteen Years after His DECS Retirement

His Initial Entry in Local Politics

  1. As Barangay Kagawad (1989 1992) 3 years
  2. In the 1992 Elections, he made to SBM and for the next two more terms as such, completing the full three terms of 3 years each, or a total of nine (9) years of SBM
  3. As Barangay Kagawad his platform of good government is worth noting (see attachment)
  4. He authored several landmark legislation as SBM: (a) Declaring the town plaza as off limits for projects other than its improvement as such and for the use of it limited to town fiesta and school activities; (b) Strengthening the foundation concrete posts of the new two story Central School for greater protection and safety from earthquakes end typhoons; (c) A ten year massive tree planting for the entire municipality.

The records of the SBM during his term includes many more. Among the major ones that could not be implemented for lack of funds are the failed SWIMP Project and the establishment of a Municipal Library including the ten year massive tree planting program.

RESUME (Brief Summary)

  1. Total Length of Service: (Public)
    a (1941 to 1934 43 yrs. (BPS, ,3 .3, MECS)
    b. (1989 to 2001 12 years" (Local Politics as Brgy Kagawad & SBM
  2. Elementary Teaching Grds I VI) 23 yrs
  3. School Administrator (Do UP ASDS 32 "
  4. HS & College Teaching (RC) )1 yr (Private) (Includes HS Principalship (Total) 56 yrs
  5. Went all thru both the teaching and the aim administrative educational ladder within the gift of the division and province of Romblon to bestow, before he retired in 1934.
  6. And with all the foregoing account and narration of his public and government service it remains for the public and the next generation as to the extent and quality of public service in general and the influence the TANGONAN made on the improvement and advancement of education.

Written by
Dionisio I. Tangonan
Original post
11 Nov 2006
More Photos
1. Dionisio & Family

Back to top


ngelita Soliven Tobias, fondly called Eling, was the daughter of Melecio B. Tobias, a farmer, and Maria Soliven. She was born on April 6, 1925 in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.

She finished her primary education in Sto. Domingo Elementary School in 1937 and her secondary education in Romblon High School in 1941. She earned her degree in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in Quezon College in 1960.

She is married to Dionisio Impelido Tangonan and their only child is Erwin Tobias Tangonan.

Original Post
03 Mar 2006

Back to top


he first child of Dionisio Impelido Tangonan with first wife Nemia Almaria Gaac, Jessie was born in 1943 in Calunacon, Romblon, Philippines.

She started her formal education at Linawan Elementary School, continued in San Andres Central School and finished 6th grade at Odiongan Elementary School. She studied at Odiongan Highschool for her secondary education.

She took up Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at the Philippine Normal College, Manila and finished the course in 1963. She then finished her minimum requirement in Master of Arts at the Arellano University.

In 1963, she was taken in at the government service just after graduation, teaching 3rd grade class. She passed the Teacher Examination in 1969. In the 1970's, she transferred to the Central School.

She had been a demonstration teacher, facilitator, resource speaker, folk dance trainer, grade chairman, Learning Action Cell leader, District and School Awardee, Chairman of the District Achievement Test Team, Quiz Master, critic teacher, and etc. She served the government for 40- years.

She gracefully exit the government service as a Master Teacher II in the District of San Andres in April 4, 2004. She now enjoys the home chores and church activities but from time to time participates in school and community activities.

She is happily married to Edilfred Familara Famadico, who was once a Protestant Church Pastor, later became a DILG Officer V and is recently a Bible College Faculty member at the Odiongan Foursquare Bible College (OFBG) in Odiongan Romblon. They have three children: Dionisio Jonathan, Nemiah and Jason, and three grandchildren: Paula Jessica, Dianne Monica and Alyssa Kate.

Original Post
03 Mar 2006

Back to top


This photo was published in Graphic magazine when Celie won 1st runner-up in the Miss Intercollegiate Girl of the Philippines.
ionisio's second child from the 1st marriage to Nemia Gaac is Aracelie. Born in 1944, she is likewise a war baby. As a child, she was a favorite bundle of joy especially to her doting aunties and maternal grandparents. Early on, her talent in dancing and acting were evident. She's always ready to dance for her Lolo Ucio especially when the old man was drunk with the local wine called "tuba."

She learned to read the alphabet even before she went to grade school. Envious of her elder sister going to school, she insisted that she likewise join her Ate Jessie. She learned fast that when she was a "visitor" in a grade I class, she outsmarted the regular enrollees and so was qualified to become a regular pupil at age 6. The vernacular was never used in grade I then and Celie had only one reading book Pepe and Pilar," which she came to memorize. The girl became an A-1 child in grade I and from then on was almost always a participant in school programs, folk dances, stage play, vie in declamation and oratorical contests. She was a silver medalist in Pilipino declamation during the literary contest at a provincial meet; was a gold medalist in an FFP (Future Farmers of the Philippines) convention in 1960 of agricultural schools all over the country. She was the town fiesta queen of San Andres, Romblon in the same year. Upon graduation, she was "Makata of the Class," and was the class muse.

After graduation from high school in 1960, she went to Guinobatan, Albay under the care and custody of an uncle, Blas Gaac who is settled there by virtue of his marriage to a high school teacher from the same place. Uncle Blas was a professor at the same school, the Roxas Memorial Agricultural School where Aracelie enrolled. Because of financial constraints in Dionisio's family having to send two college students, Uncle Blas offered to shoulder Aracelie's education. She finished a year in agriculture with flying colors. As is expected of her, she became a campus figure, was an editorial staff member and graced the cover of the school organ, won an elocution contest and an easy favorite of professors there. Her study there had to be stopped for some problems brought about by sheer difficulty in living away from her own family and home.

A year later, she enrolled at Adamson University and shifted course to Chemistry. Her struggle with adjustment was difficult. Nevertheless, she became a campus figure just the same and became the exchange editor of the Adamson Chronicle. She was picked to be the Corps Sponsor of the DNST and was chosen by the Dean of Women based not only on poise and beauty but on academic records. The Corps Commander then was Arnulfo Cardenas, an engineering student who later became her husband. During the university's foundation in 1966, she was chosen by the Department of Architecture as its representative to the Miss Adamson University where she emerged "Miss Inspiration" being the second runner-up. Months later she was chosen as the representative to the Miss Intercollegiate Girl of the Philippines, contest run by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. Here, she won the 1st runner-up and graced national bulletins and the weekly Graphic magazine. She almost became the representative to the Miss World had she become the winner in the said contest.

Finally, in 1967, she finished Industrial Chemistry in Adamson University. For a while, she was employed as a researcher in a mining firm, the Pinappagan Mining Corporation. Arnulfo Cardenas, whom she sponsored in college became an avid suitor until they eloped in late 1967 to San Andres, Romblon. They were married in a civil ceremony officiated by the town mayor of San Andres in the same year. In June of 1968, they were again married in civil rites by the mayor of Makati, Maximo Estrella.

In 1968, daughter Irene was born. Arnie and Celie put up a security agency with the help of Arnie's father, Col. Concepcion Cardenas of the Philippine Constabulary. After the agency closed shop sometime in 1978, Arnie became a commissioned officer of the AFP Reserve Unit and worked part time with the Civil Relations Service at Camp Aguinaldo while having a full time job at the Philippine Postal Service as Security Operations Chief. In 1973, a son, Arnold was born. Celie sought employment with overseas employment agencies and had the chance to visit UAE in 1999 to market Filipino workers to foreign employers.

Irene studied Philosophy at the UST and right after graduation was employed with the Urban Bank, became a cashier at Capitol Bank and rose to become assistant manager of RCBC Savings Bank at Fort Bonifacio Global City up to the present.

Arnie and Celie joined the Pasig Host Lions Club where they held positions as directors. They later on became presentor couple in Marriage Encounter seminars of the Tuklasan Sector. They had the privilege to have become the seminar couple presenter to AFP officers, military prisoners, and the actors and actresses in the entertainment world. They were effective shepherds to couples gone astray and were touched by the unselfish sharing of their colorful married life.

Arnie died of pancreatic cancer in 1993 at the National Kidney Institute. He was accorded military honors in his death and funeral in November 1993.

Arnold, the second child was barely starting college education then. Finally, after graduation from the Emilio Aguinaldo College with the course in X- Ray Tech, Arnold reaped honors and went on to rank the 6th in the board exams. Not satisfied with the associate degree, Arnold furthered studies for another year to earn the degree in Radiologic Technology. He took another board exams and this time got the 3rd place. Love beckoned and took Nilda Barrameda, a hotel cashier for a bride. Soon after, they had a son named Shawn Abram. Arnold gained employment at the St. Luke Medical Center and in his search for greener pastures, applied for a job overseas through an agency. Luckily, he passed the qualifying exams he took in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and soon after he left for Florida ,USA to work at the JFK Medical Center in December 2001. His wife and son followed in April of 2002 and they are now settled in Boynton Beach with a new daughter, Jeuxrell.

Celie visited California and Florida in 1993. Celie is managing the family properties to include apartments they call "Cardenas Apartments." In her widowhood, she joined Kiwanis International, a service organization whose thrust is serving the children of the world. She was club president, division secretary, certified club mentor, editor of the newsletter "Ang Kiwanian" for two terms and the division newsletter "3-Ayers' to date. She was recognized by the Kiwanis International office in Indiana for her editorial work in 2003-2004.

Written by
Celie Tangonan Cardenas
Original Post
03 Mar 2006

Back to top


rwin Tobias Tangonan was the only child of Dionisio Impelido Tangonan and Angelita Soliven Tobias. He was born in 1953 in Manila, Philippines.

In 1969, he graduated valedictorian in Fabella Institute. He successfully passed the GSIS Scholarship Examination and studied at the Philippine College of Arts and Trades (now Technological University of the Philippines) where he finished Electronics Technology after 3 years.

He decided to pursue further studies at the University of the East and became a scholar of the College of Arts and Sciences. He finished Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and returned to San Andres, Romblon and taught in his Alma Mater handling Chemistry and Physics classes for one year.

He successfully passed the Civil Service Professional Career Examination and the Professional Board Examination for Teachers in 1979.

He was accepted in the UE Ramon Magsaysay College of Medicine in 1980 and finished with a degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1984. After graduation, he took up a one year Post Graduate Internship Training at Mary Johnston Hospital. He was assigned at San Andres, Romblon for a 6-month Rural Service Training Program which is a requirement for taking the Medical Board Examination.

While waiting for the result of the Medical Board Examination, he worked as a casual employee at San Andres Municipal Hospital in San Andres Romblon.

Upon passing the Medical Board Examination, he was accepted as a Resident Physician in January 1987 at San Andres Municipal Hospital where he met and eventually married Clarissa Ruth Fabellon Atienza, a staff nurse in the same hospital. After 2 years he was promoted to Senior Resident Physician and assigned at Romblon Provincial Hospital, Odiongan, Romblon. After another 2- years, he was again promoted to Medical Officer V and returned to San Andres Municipal Hospital as Officer-In-Charge and is currently holding the same position.

He and wife Clarissa were blessed with 4 children, namely: Ma. Gianina, John Francis, Dionan Mari and Winona Ruth.

Written by
Dr. Erwin Tobias Tangonan
Original Post
03 Mar 2006

Back to top


larissa Ruth was born in 1960 in Manila, Philippines from parents Fernando Atienza and Welda Fabellon.

She finished her primary school in San Andres Elementary School in 1972 and her secondary school in Fabella Institute in 1976. She completed a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Emilio Aguinaldo College. In 1985, she worked as a staff nurse in San Andres Municipal Hospital where she met her future husband Erwin Soliven Tobias.

Original Post
05 Mar 2006

Back to top