August 11,1996 will be remembered as the founding of the Urdaneta Association of Washington State. It was the day that the residents of Washington State who were formerly from the town of Urdaneta, Pangasinan, the Philippines, have finally realized that to keep them closely knit together, they had to formally organize themselves. The home of Benny and Margo Ladines in Tukwila, Washington is the historic site of this momentous event.
The beginnings of the Association can be traced to Rufo M. Bruan, Sr. His desire to maintain close contact with his former town mates prompted him to painstakingly gather all the names of his former town mates. Above effort, he encouraged Benny and Margo Ladines to host the very first reunion in 1981 in their home. He was the prime mover of these gatherings. He sent out invitations to all Urdanetanians on behalf of the hosts. Thanks to his efforts, 1996 is the thirteenth year that these people had a get-together gathering. Different families hosted the reunions in their homes. As mentioned, Benny and Margo Ladines were the very first hosts. The potluck party in 1981 was well attended. They were very gracious hosts that they decided to host it again in 1987. Ponciano and Martina Abiles hosted in 1982 in their home in Magnolia. Ken and Lydia Celmer were the energetic hosts in 1983 in their home in Puyallup, Washington. The Murillo cousins, Tino and Mar also hosted these potluck parties. Tino and Alice Murillo hosted twice, in 1984 and 1988 in their home in Renton. Mar and Luz Murillo also of Renton did their part in 1989. Jorge and Esther Veniegas also hosted the gathering in 1985 in their home in Renton. Augusto and Fely dela Cruz graciously hosted in 1986 in their home in Lynnwood. The party was well attended by several Urdanetanians and their friends. Everybody had fun and enjoyed themselves. The enthusiastic response to these potluck parties resulted in holding them in bigger facilities. Don and Lita Woo had the distinction in 1990 in doing it first at Jefferson Community Center on Beacon Hill. The party was well attended by the Urdanetanians and their guests. Everybody enjoyed the evening. Jun and Presy Talvo in 1991 had it held at St. Francis Cabrini Parish Hall in Tacoma. This was also a very successful reunion. Several Urdanetanians and their guests came and enjoyed themselves. Jun and Zeny Bruan decided to hold the reunion in a different locale in 1992. Cedar River Trail Park in Renton was a beautiful venue. It felt good to enjoy nature and be with town mates. The infamous Seattle weather somehow cooperated with the Urdanetanians.
The first function that the Association was able to hold was its first annual Christmas party on December 7, 1996. It was truly a family affair. Small children and adults enjoyed the afternoon's festivities, food, dance, and exchange of gifts. This was the time when the group was exposed to the world that the Association was really in existence. In a short time, before the end of December 1996, the Urdaneta Association of Washington State was approved and classified as a nonprofit organization by the State of Washington. Due to the hard work and perseverance of Mar Murillo, the first president of the organization, this was made possible. He single-handedly did all the legwork.