When Jun Gatilao arrived in America in 1968, he was a pioneer, the first in his family to leave the Philippines in search of opportunity. He was recruited by Boeing in Seattle, WA, and was on the team that designed and built the wing flaps on the legendary 747. Jun was living the American dream—he was a young, single guy in Seattle and his first big purchase was a blue 1968 Ford Mustang. But he also spent a lot of time across the border in Canada because Vancouver was the place to look for single ladies. It’s also where Jun met a young Filipina with a similar pioneer spirit, Cora Dychangco. Cora left Manila in the late 60s for Canada, where she worked as a legal secretary. Jun and Cora dated for awhile and got married in December 1969 in Los Angeles. Their only son Arnold was born in October 1971. Sometime in 1975, Arnold remembers his dad driving them to a plot of dirt far from their Los Angeles apartment. When he asked him why they were there, Jun said, “This is where our home will be.” On a sunny, spring day in March 1976, Jun, Cora, and Arnold moved into their new Valencia home and began living their American dream. In the late 70s, seeing other Filipinos in the Santa Clarita Valley was a rarity, but things started to change slowly. As more Filipinos started arriving in the early 80s, Jun and a group of other like-minded folks saw the need to form a social network that would unite the Filipino American community. He was one of several founding members of the Filipino-American Association of Santa Clarita Valley and helped develop, ratify, and execute the original bylaws of the association. He served on the board from 1984–87 and was elected president in 1986. He is still actively involved with FilAmSCV activities and has been elected advisor to the board for several years. Highlights and achievements from Jun’s presidency include: • Initiating the formal installation of officers • First annual Easter picnic • First annual family camping trip • Established the Fil-Am Scholarship program • Formation of the Fil-Am Youth Group • First place for “Best Use of Theme” in the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Fourth of July parade.
Cirilo G. Gatilao, Jr. President, 1986 The success of Jun’s tenure as president was due to the dedication, cooperation, creativity and hard work of his officers and board members: Cezar Obnial – Vice President Pete Jimenez – Secretary Marcel Ibarra – Treasurer Ed Fabregas – Auditor Rudy Correa – Public Relations Officer Fred Bertulfo – Board Member Art Caranto – Board Member Nellie Crawford – Board Member A registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of California, Jun is one of the principals of California Engineering Design Group, Inc., a consulting mechanical engineering firm in Burbank, CA. Cora worked as a secretary at several firms in the Santa Clarita Valley and retired in 1998. Arnold works as a technical editor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and lives in Fremont, CA, with his wife Christel Okihara. Arnold and Christel were married in Hawaii in September 2005.