Alice Peña Bulos Highway sign unveiling takes place July 16
DALY CITY — A historic moment for Asians, Filipinos, and Filipino-Americans is coming up with the unveiling of a literal landmark. A significant stretch of the almost 90-kilometer State Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) will be named in honor of Filipina and Asian civil rights leader the late Alice Peña Bulos by virtue of a state law, and the sign unveiling will happen 50 years after she moved to California. This is the first time a major highway has been named after a Filipina.
With great magnitude of support from Asians and Filipinos, Chinese American California assemblyman Phil Ting (D), who sponsored the bill to rename the highway after “Tita Alice,” served at the forefront of the private fundraising for the cost of the sign renaming since 2020. It was initially proposed to be installed in 2021 but was postponed due to the pandemic, according to sources.
“Tita Alice,” as she was fondly called by family and friends, was born in Nueva Ecija, Philippines on March 31, 1930. After earning her Bachelor and Master’s degrees from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, she rose to become Chairperson of the UST Department of Sociology – a position she held until her migration to the United States.
She worked as an employment counselor in the U.S. and extensively dealt with labor laws and sociology, making it easier to imagine where her activism and the passion to fight for human and civil rights came from. Coincidentally, her rise to activism happened while her native Philippines was under Martial Law.
As a stalwart of the Democratic Party, she represented California in five Democratic National Conventions, and served the Federal Council on Aging as a commissioner appointed by former President Bill Clinton. She held the position from 1993-2000. Among her list of achievements include advocating on behalf of workers at the San Francisco International Airport in organizing labor unions. Today, more than 50% of SFO employees are Asians and Filipinos.
Tita Alice also served as founding president of the UST alumni association in the United States, which she helmed from 1987 until her death in 2016. Her memorial service in 2016 was remembered for having bigwigs such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom paying their final respects to Tita Alice. She was dubbed by the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee as the “Grand Dame of Filipino American Politics” which the media quickly caught on.
Tita Alice was widow of UP Law graduate and fellow activist Atty. Donnie B. Bulos, mother to Elizabeth Bulos-Ramilo, and grandmother to Charity, Charles, and Clarke.
The sign unveiling on July 16 is sponsored by the Daly City Council, a 5-people team, where the Mayor (Dr. Rod Daus-Magbual), Vice Mayor (Ray Buenaventura), and a Councilmember (Juslyn Manalo) are all Filipino-Americans. (Thomasians USA Release)