Part of Route 35 in Daly City, California to be named after Filipina American activist Alice Bulos

The route known as Skyline Boulevard will bear the name of community leader and activist Alice Pena Bulos

A portion of California State Highway 35 in Daly City will be named after the late Filipina American activist and community leader Alice Pena Bulos, according to a resolution passed in the state Legislature on Friday, August 28.

The resolution, ACR 165, was authored and introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and it designated the stretch of Route 35 that covers the well-known Skyline Boulevard as the “Alice Pena Bulos Memorial Highway.”

“Tita” Alice Bulos

“We see the influence of Alice Pena Bulos throughout our communities, as well as in elected local and state government leadership,” Ting said in a press release. “That’s why she’s considered the Godmother of Filipino American politics and empowerment. It’s my honor to carry the legislation that celebrates her legacy.”

A prominent community leader of the 20th century, Bulos was born on March 31, 1930 in the Philippines, where she earned degrees at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. She then became a professor of sociology and department chair, and in 1972, she migrated to Northern California where, for four decades, she would empower the Filipino American community with her activism.

She inspired and became the spiritual leader for generations of Filipino American leaders like Daly City Councilmember Ray Buenaventura, who told that “Alice Bulos meant the world to me. We formed a special relationship from the moment we met. She is like family to me, my mentor, confidant, mother, advisor, conscience and critic. I loved her dearly and wanted to do something to make sure her name will be memorialized forever.”

As an advocate for Filipino American representation in public office, Bulos’ local impact evolved into nationwide recognition. In the 1990s, then-President Bill Clinton appointed Bulos to the National Council on Aging, making her the first Fil-Am appointed by a sitting president to serve a federal post.

Bulos has also served on the Filipino American Caucus for the California Democratic Party, the National Filipino Women’s Network and the National Asian Pacific Democratic Council, making her a formidable figure in the progressive wing of Fil-Am politics.

Bulos passed away in 2016 at 86 years old, but her reputation as the loving “Tita Alice” remains among Filipino American leaders in California. She was a mentor to local leaders, including members of the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County which credits Bulos for encouraging Filipino Americans to run for office.

“Throughout her life, Tita Alice was committed to opening doors for young Fil-Ams who wanted to enter public service and politics but did not see themselves represented in those places of power,” the club wrote in a statement. “Tita Alice has left an everlasting mark in commuters all over California and especially here in the Bay Area where she called home. While she is no longer with us, her memory lives on in her family and the numerous friends, supporters and pupils she inspired over her decades of service.”

The Alice Pena Bulos Memorial Highway signposts are set to be installed next year.

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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