The Mission of the Fedilisan-Tanulong Educational Trust (Trust) is to advance the educational level of two Igorot cultural minority groups, the Fedilisan and Tanulong communities in Northern Sagada, Mountain Province of the northern Luzon highlands, Philippines. This Mission is to be accomplished primarily through a scholarship program for college education.
The Trust was established by Paul C. Laus, (Paul Cayaya Laus ), a native son of Fedilisan, through his will. When he died in April 2006, he had not forgotten his people. He willed that one hundred percent of his estate be used to establish a trust for scholarships for the educational benefit of good and deserving students of Fedilisan and Tanulong ancestry.*
The isolation of the Fedilisan and Tanulong communities over centuries contributed to their disadvantaged and impoverished state with low educational attainment. While education is highly respected and valued today by parents and children in the communities, they are still thwarted, due to their poverty, from aspiring to pursue a college education, and even to graduate from high school. The young people in these communities begin their adult lives without technical skills or the knowledge needed for the jobs necessary to navigate the modern world. With the assistance of the Trust and advance in the educational level in the communities, it is hoped that greater participation and integration into modern society can occur. The Trust is truly a shining example of sharing and giving back to one’s less fortunate people.
Paul C.Laus, the donor, had a strong history of educational pursuit and service. He attended the Tanulong Mission School (later renamed St. Matthew’s School) and St. Mary’s School in the nearby central town of Sagada, founded and still maintained by the Episcopal Church. He was ambitious and determined in his youth to seek higher education and made a brave and bold decision to leave his home territory in 1931 to make his way to the United States. He succeeded in graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut and to pursue post graduate work at the General Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York City. After a varied career which spanned his service in the United States Army as a Japanese Language Officer, teacher in American Indian schools and as a social worker, he retired and lived in San Francisco., California.
The trust was established on February 27, 2017 in San Francisco, California with Albert S. Bacdayan the court appointed trustee. The will had laid in legal limbo for almost ten years with the San Francisco Public Administrator’s office from 2007 to 2017. Believing in the righteousness, nobleness and transformative potential of the gift of Paul C. Laus to his people, Albert S. Bacdayan worked for several years to have the will probated. The estate might otherwise have reverted to the state, depriving the Fedilisan and Tanulong peoples of this gift and rare opportunity for higher education.
The trust and its scholarship program are administered by Albert Bacdayan, a relative of Paul Laus, a first cousin once removed. Like Paul Laus, he was born and raised in the Fedilisan and Tanulong area with both Fedilisan and Tanulong ancestry. The Trustee has a BS in Education from the University of the Philippines, an M. A. from Trinity College, Hartford, CT and PhD. in Anthropology from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. He is a retired educator, a professor at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States. Before embarking on his anthropology training, he taught at the Brent School , Baguio and Kalinga Academy, Lubuagan, aboth in the Cordillera region of Northern Luzon, Philippines.
An advisory committee composed of Cordillera educators, professionals and citizens knowledgeable of the culture of the area, advises the trustee in the implementation of the mission and assists with evaluation and recommendation of candidates for the scholarship grants. A field manager for the scholarship program is located in the Cordillera region.
*Funds permitting, the trust will provide targeted assistance for early childhood education in northern Sagada barangays and to the two secondary schools normally attended by Fedilisans and Tanulongs: St. Mary’s School and the Bangaan National High School.
LINKS to Scholarship Program and Photos are below