About Us

How we started in 1976

We are a nonprofit organization focused on helping make the world around us a better, happier place. With the help of our tiinreless staff, We volunteer and involved by participating in our Pilipino-American community. We are member oranizations of the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. in Tampa Florida. 


The Constitution and By-laws of PAAT was then formulated and the first Inaugural Ball for the induction of the officers was celebrated on January 17, 1976 at the Sheraton Hotel located on the corner of Kennedy Blvd and Westshore Blvd. Among those inducted was Jose Sibayan, President and other officers were Ted Ona, Sylvia de la Cruz, Walter Green, Cecilio Abarquez, Jr. Rudy Curioso, Dr. Reny Sotomayor and Patricia Sibayan. Celebrating the Inaugural Ball in January has since been a tradition for the last twenty five years. From 1975 to the present, any milestone have been acheived through the hard work of the presidents, officers, and many members who worked tirelessly to make every association event a great success. Following are some of the highlights over the last past years:

1976 In the early part of the year the PAAT Dance Group headed by Jojo Lontok matured into a promising and much sought- after performing group in the community. ‘Then and Now’, a musical show by PAAT was presented at the Curtis Hixon Hall. 

1977 PAAT Youth Club was organized and became actively involved in the cultural and charitable fund raising activities of the PAAT and the community. The PAAT logo, theme song, motto, creed and colors for the association were set up. Also, this year the Philippine Calamity Fund and Sponsorhip of a child from the Philippines started in 1977 to 1981. 

1978 Membership approved the Clubhouse project. A Clubhouse was established. Although there was no formal fund drive, this fund together with the Calamity, Scholarhip and Charity funds, shared the proceeds of various fundraising activities of PAAT. Dr, abd Mrs. Robert Villanueva donated a lot for the purpose of building a clubhouse. The seed to build an events building for the Filipino community came from this donation.(The land was eventually sold and proceeds was donated to the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc). Leo Banks who was then the president formed the Sports Committee which participated in activities with different city and civic organizations. Among several programs: ‘Honor the Graduates’ program was established, and our associations also participated in the Tampa Women and Jaycees Fund Raising Drives, Xmas Fund Drive for the United Way and the sponsorhipt of the Philippine Folk Art Theatre Guild of New York performed at the Tampa Theatre. 

1978 The first Barrio Fiesta was initiated by Dr.Cesar and Lita Ruiz and eventually became an annual tradition for the PAAT. 

1983 The first Talent Show program was initiated. PAAT invovement with the community includes participation in the Hillsborouh Social Workers Program for the disabled and Senior Citizens, City of Tampa and Asian-American Cultural Heritage Council of th West Florida for Art Watch, Tampa, and the USF International Night. 

1985 Together with intercultural Organization of USF-PAAT sponsored ‘Silahis Ng Silangan”. It depicteddifferentr scenery and dances from different parts of the Philippines. The late Roger Gianan was the president. 

1987 The first PAAT production called ‘Follorico Filipiniana’ was held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts in August 1987 under the leadership of Aurora Fortson. This show produced and Choreographed by Joey Omila, was an event to remember. 

1989 Scholarship program was established and implemented. The PAAT Youth Club continue to be very active in several fundraising efforts 

1992 December 1992, PAAT became a tax-exemption organization under Section 501c3 of the IRS code through the efforts of Atty. Roberto (Bob) R. Ruelo. In same year, during Cesar Domagas’ administration, he appointed Bob chairman of the PAAT clubhouse committee whose principal charge was to raise funds for and build a clubhouse for PAAT. However, during the implementation of the work assigned to him, Bob found out that PAAT alone would be unable to do the job because the lot donated by Dr. and Mrs. Bobby Villanueva was small and any clubhouse built thereon could not accommodate

PAAT and the entire Filipino community. As a result, Bob involved all the other Filipino-American organizations in the Tampa Bay area, and the efforts resulted in the formation of the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. and the construction and completion in 2001 of the Bayanihan Center. Without PAAT initiating the efforts, the Bayanihan Center would not have been in existence. Aurora Fortson produced the architectural rendering used to promote the Center. PAAT also participated in the City of Tampa’s and the Holiday Food Basket programs. PAAT also aided community victims of Hurricane Andrew. PAAT dance group was disbanded but the members formed the nucleus of the Philippine Performing Arts Co. and donated the costumes to the new group.

1993 PAAT granted the Fund Raising for the PCFI. Aurora Fortson created the concept and design of the Center. 

1994 Scholarship grants were established under the leadership of Sylvia de la Cruz. PAAT participated in the City First Night New years celebration. The first electric Santacurzan parade was innovative and awesome. 

1996 Name of the association was changed to Pilipino American Association of Tampa Bay, Inc. The first PAAT Broadway-like production was produced by Robert Hudack and written by Connie Hudack, - the ‘Lost-Angeles-City of the Lost Angels’-which was staged at the Centro Austuriano de Tampa in Ybor City. Proceeds of this show benefited the Scholarship Program and a donation as also made to the Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. 

1997 In celebration of the Philippine Centennial Year, PAAT sponsored ‘Philippines- ‘Yesterday, Today and Forever’, a presentation by the Youth Delegation from the Philippines, which was held at the USF Auditoriium. The show received excellent review of their performance not only in Tampa but also all over USA and Europe. 

1998 PAAT chaired the Philippine Cultural Exhibits for Philfest as designed by Aurora Fortson. Our PAAT candidates for Mr. and Miss Philfest generated enormous financial support for the fund raisin project for the Philippine Cultural Center and Library. 

1999 Majority of the proceeds from the Hawaiian Night/Inaugural Ball was used to support our candidates for Mr an Miss Philfest benefited PCFI. The Board approves Philippine Ship of Mercy Fund Raising project, a medical mission. 

2000 The amount of $1,000 was approved as donation to the Philippine Ship of Mercy. PAAT celebrated the 

25th Anniversary with a grand INAUGURAL BALL held at the Embassy Suite located in Fowler Ave, Tampa Florida. with an overwhelming attendance of 450 guests. Aurora Fortson was the president at the time and a special video was produced by Leif Fortson entitled ‘Never Ending Memories’

For the next years of existence PAAT, always provided some quite unique and creative through making the events a memorable one and continue to thrive as strong and viable organization serving the community and at the same time nurturing its cultural and traditional ties to its native land- the Philippines as well as the Pilipino American Community in the Tampa Bay area.

Thank You

Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you. 

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Contact Us

Pilipino American Association of Tampa Bay

(813) 390-8476

FROM 1976-2018