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Late Fil-Am community leader honored with memorial highway in SF

Rommel Conclara | TFC News Daly City, California

Posted at Jul 19 2022 08:25 PM

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Part of the California State Route 35 is now officially known as the Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Freeway after the late Filipino American community leader.

Elected officials, members of the Bulos family, and others in the community came together to commemorate the historic renaming event over the weekend.  The freeway sign and dedication ceremony was held on the corner of King Drive in Daly City.

"The unveiling of this new sign is significant for our community where over 30% of our city's population is of Filipino/Filipina/Filipinx descent," Daly City Mayor Dr. Rod Daus-Magbual said. "We are not like a Little Italy or a Little Saigon or a Chinatown where you see demarcations of the ethnic community. And this is the one step that provides that."

The renaming process began in 2019 when current Daly City Vice Mayor Ray Buenaventura got the idea after driving through the President Barack Obama Highway in Southern California.

After the city council approved the resolution to rename the highway after Bulos, Buenaventura approached State Assemblymember Phil Ting who authored a resolution in 2020 called ACR 25 which would name a portion of State Route 35 in Daly City as the Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Highway. The California legislature promptly approved it.

According to Buenaventura, the signs were made possible by 12 donors who provided about $8,000 of non-taxpayer money.

"Some have asked me why didn’t we do this when Alice Bulos was alive. The honest answer is she would have objected to it. She was not really the kind of person who would want accolades or honors. If we even sniffed out and tried to do this she would absolutely put a stop to it. She’s passed on now and actually it’s our responsibility to put something like this forward," Buenaventura noted.

Bulos, fondly known as 'Tita Alice,' lived in Daly City and held key posts in government. She also mentored up and coming Filipino Americans in the political arena. Prior to immigrating to the US in 1972, Bulos was the chairperson of the Department of Sociology at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. She was an active member of the Democratic Party which included an appointment by Former President Bill Clinton to serve as a commissioner on the Federal Council on Aging. Aside from empowering future political leaders, Bulos also fought for immigrant, labor, and women's rights.

Though she passed in 2016 at the age of 86, her family said her legacy lives on. Her grandson Charles Ramilo added that they are grateful for the recognition from Daly City.

"Her legacy will always be remembered but it’s her actions and ties to the community, is what we hope to pass on, to empower with your voice and to be involved with the community helping others with that bayanihan spirit," Ramilo said.

The Alice Peña Bulos Memorial Freeway stretches approximately 55 miles between the city and county of San Francisco and Santa Clara County.