CONFERENCE REPORT

The 46th annual convention of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) was held in Dumaguete City, August 13-15, 2009, and co-sponsored by Silliman University. Participants arrived as early as August 11, some returning home as late as August 17. Local organizers worked closely with PAP officers and secretariat, preparing for some 350 people, but that number was far short of those who actually showed up, equaling 476! Former PAP presidents in attendance included Dr. Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang, Dr. Natividad Dayan, Dr. Lucy Bance, and Dr. Allan Bernardo.

Day 1 opening program and first plenary session was held at the luxurious Luce Auditorium at the Silliman Campus. Among those present to welcome participants were SU president Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, VPAA Dr. Betsy Joy B. Tan, University Chaplain Rev. Noel Villalba, and Acting Dean for Graduate Programs Dr. Margaret Udarbe. The indefatigable PAP president Dr. Jesus Enrique Saplala ably addressed the theme of the convention in his presidential report, identifying research endeavors over the years in the different character strengths and suggesting possible areas for further investigation. Keynote speaker Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann, Vice President for Programs of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, highlighted the Filipino strengths in kapwa or regarding others, living the faith, explaining misfortune, and, ultimately “staying alive.” Special recognition was made of PAP immediate past president, Allan Benedict I. Bernardo, this year’s lone awardee for Outstanding Psychologist, acknowledged for his work as teacher, mentor, researcher, leader, and psychologist.

Plenary session speakers had their own take on the theme, sharing work that has captured their interest in recent years, inspiring, and modeling their own philosophy: On leadership, Nena Alcuaz-Reyes (Center for Leadership and Change, Inc.); on integrity, Ma. Angeles G. Lapeña (De La Salle University); on spirituality, Mila Du-Lagrosa (Asian Institute of Management); on forgiveness, clinical and organizational psychologist Frederick A. Boholst; on social intelligence, Rosalea Araneta de Leon (West Visayas State University); and, on love for learning, Allan B. I. Bernardo (De la Salle University).

The theme was reflected as well in over 120 oral paper presentations covering such wide-ranging interests that included hope theory, forgiveness therapy and pagpapatawad, police personality types, depression among the elderly, resilience among athletes, mga bilanggo, abuse survivors, and gay men, understanding hazing, movie audiences, Filipino domestic helpers, thanatology, pakikipagkapwa, utang na loob, Filipino social entrepreneurship, burial rituals, the social Pinoy, and psychometric properties and analysis of psychological tests. The 18 posters had their own variety, displaying research on such diverse samples as preschool children, nursing students, college faculty, public high school students, male homosexuals, male police officers, and child rapists. Each of the six continuing education workshops provided at least one thing of interest to all—through play therapy techniques and developing wellness centers in schools, the assessment center and testing in court, and performance management systems and the Jung in fairy tales.

The membership meeting was well attended. There were 12 nominees presented to take over six vacancies in the PAP board of directors. Jay Saplala updated members on the certification of psychologists and the status of the psychology bill. Division meetings were then chaired by Ces Conaco (social psychology), Liane Alampay (developmental psychology), Isabel Melgar (clinical psychology), and Gina Hechanova (I/O psychology).

(prepared by Marge Alvarez)

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