Dr. Virgiliio G. Enriquez is my Uncle the brother of my mother Corazon Enriquez Alejo. He was born on November 24, 1942, in Santol, Balagtas, (Formerly Bigaa) Bulacan, Philippines. He died in San Francisco, California, USA on August 31, 1994, at the age of 51. He was cremated and his ashes is in the Private Cementery in his home town in Balagtas, Bulacan. His parents are Arsenio "Amang" Libiran Enriquez and Rosario "Inang" Gaspar Enriquez. His brothers and Sisters are in order Corazon E. Alejo, Manuel G. Enriquez, Mabini G. Enriquez, Conchita E. Alejo, Artemio G. Enriquez. My uncle Tito Ver is the second to the bunso (2nd to the youngest)
Known as the father of Filipino Psychology "Ama ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino", Dr. Virgilio G. Enriquez Pioneered on the effective use of Indigenous Methods in Philippine Social Science Research. Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino, (National Organization of Filipino Psychology) a field he established in 1975.
He had his early education at the Cosmopolitan College, but finished his elementary schooling at the Espiritu Santo Parochial School in Santa Cruz, Manila and his secondary education at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. During his elementary days he was fun delivering speeches and poem to various fiesta in Tondo, Manila Inspired by stories about the lives of saints told by his elders, Enriquez thought that he might become a priest someday. He was a voracious reader and preferred to stay all day at the library, reading whatever books he could reach, so he was awarded as the most number of book read in 2 consecutive year in 3rd and 4th year in high school by the Letran high school department. Enriquez enrolled at the University of the Philippines where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1961. Two years later, he joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the State University where he started his teaching career. By 1977, he had become the Chairman of the said Department, a position he held until 1982.
In 1966, he won a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled him to pursue further studies in the United States. He studied at the Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois where he obtained in 1970 his Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology. The following year, he earned his degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology from the same institution. Dr. Enriquez initiated the development of an indigenous point of view in psychology. In 1982, Dr. Enriquez obtained a second master’s degree in Pilipino from the University of the Philippines. After he had finished his studies in the United States, that he encouraged his students to write their papers in Filipino and through this approach, they were able to uncover important indigenous concepts on various perspectives of life, human relationship and social philosophy which were difficult to express in a foreign language like English.
This approach contributed much to the development of the Filipino psychology, which Dr. Enriquez called Sikolohiyang Pilipino. The latter’s concepts can be applied in various fields like education, health, agriculture, law, anthropology, arts, sports, and others. It enabled Filipinos to discover and understand the roots of their peculiar problems and situations. As a professor at the University of the Philippines, Enriquez handled subjects such as linguistics, Filipino personality and Philippine society and culture at the departments of Anthropology and Psychology and at the Asian Center. Dr. Enriquez also served as a professor and lecturer at De La Salle University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, University of Santo Tomas, Centro Escolar University and others. His influence also went beyond the Philippines when he became a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the University of Malaya and the University of Hong Kong. He also actively participated as speaker and resource person in various forums in local and international gatherings of psychologists. He also served as a research associate and lecturer in the Philippine Studies Program of the University of Berkeley in California from 1991 to 1992. Dr. Enriquez was also a recipient of other scholarship grants like the research scholarship from the Tohoku Dental University in Japan in 1982, the Liverlhulme Fellowship Award from the University of Hong Kong in 1982, and the Research and Teaching Fellowship grant from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (1983-1984).
He was conferred such prestigious awards as the Outstanding Young Scientist Award for Social Psychology by the National Science and Technology Authority (NSTA) in July 11, 1982. In 1983 Awarded as Outstanding Alumni by the Colegio San Juan de Letran and the Professional Achievement Award in Psychology by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in 1987. A prolific researcher and writer, Enriquez produced various publications on indigenous psychology, the Filipino psychology of language and politics, philosophy and values, crosscultural psychology and Philippine studies called Pilipinolohiya. Among his major books are Indigenous Psychology: A Book of Readings (1990), Sikolohiyang Malaya sa Panahon ng Krisis (1991); From Colonial to Liberation Psychology (1992); and Pagbabagong-Dangal: Indigenous Psychology and Cultural Empowerment (1994).
As soon as he arrived from the United States in 1971, Enriquez lost no time in translating psychology articles into Pilipino. The main problem was the lack of textbooks in Pilipino. However in due time, he gradually accumulated a library consisting of psychological material both in English and Filipino. This “library” became the integral part of the Philippine Psychology Research and Training House (PPRTH) or the Akademya ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino of which he was its founder. Students, researchers, professors, and visitors used the PPRTH library over the years. Dr. Enriquez was also the founding President of the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyan Pilipino (PSSP) or the National Association for Filipino Psychology, which served as an intellectual forum for Filipino psychologists. He also worked for the establishment of affiliate organizations in other countries like Japan, the United States and Australia.
In 1963, he also founded the Philippine Psychology Society at the main campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Likewise, he chaired the UP Department of Psychology from 1977 to 1982, with which he had been connected since 1963. In advocating the development of Filipino psychology, Dr. Enriquez underscored the need for the identification and understanding of the complex social processes as the basis for defining Philippines indigenous psychology. He defined Philippine psychology as “the embodiment of the scientific study of ethnicity, society and culture of a people and the formal application to psychological practice of core knowledge rooted in a people’s ethnic heritage and consciousness. Decolonization, counter-domination and empowerment were Dr. Enriquez’s battle cry. According to him the captive Filipino mind is sold to the idea that Filipinos do not have any indigenous religion and that the religion of the country was borrowed from Spain and America. He further explained that denying the facts of a people’s history is tantamount to denying their memory. A people without a memory of their past is also deprived of their future. He then gave an example of every Filipino school child that has to be told about the Egyptian mummies. Meanwhile he is left ignorant about the mummies of Kabayan or told that there is a bit of Egypt in the Philippines. According to him, in the acceptance of foreign education as a means of foreign domination, one is confronted by this dilemma: “to rule, you must not just divide, you must also insult.” The study of Philippine psychology is a way to study and internalize the identity of the Filipinos as a people. Prior to his demise, Dr. Enriquez was the Chairman of the National Committee for Lowland Cultural Communities under the Sub commission for Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). It was during his term that the committee became productive. He also worked for the holding of an International Congress on Indigenous Psychology and Culture, which was the first of its kind held in Manila on December 8-10, 1994. On this historic event, he was conferred with a posthumous award naming him “Ama ng Sikolohiyang Pilipino.” Dr. Enriquez is a victim of colon cancer. He never married and left us his legacy of a true Filipino.
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