The Association Movement in the Philippines

Written by Arianna Rehak on April 5, 2018

I recently returned from the Philippines, where I found myself immersed in an emerging market. I was staying in the Bonifacio Global City (BGC), a new business district in Manila. Every single building in the vicinity was less than ten years old, and the sky held as many cranes as buildings. Traffic is what you would expect from a city experiencing rapid growth; everyone waits for their turn to enter the metropolitan area and engage in the ever expanding commercial opportunities.

I was in Manila presenting with the Philippines Council of Associations and Association Executives, which gave me the opportunity to learn about the local association landscape. Filipino associations exist in the thousands, and the vast majority are run by volunteers.

I was particularly impressed by the work PCAAE volunteers do to keep their organization booming. As I presented, several of them were working to meet deadlines. Imagine. As a volunteer team, they are successfully putting out a physical publication called, “Association World”, maintaining a website, planning out a day-long seminar once a month, organizing an annual conference, and so much more.

It has been a fast-paced four-year journey for PCAAE since its inception in November 2013 when the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board, the Philippines International Convention Center, and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific got together and formally launched PCAAE with the support of ASAE.

The powerhouse behind PCAAE is CEO, co-founder and President Octavio “Bobby” Peralta. Bobby became an association executive by chance in 1991 after a 15-year banking career. When he searched for association management resources in the Philippines and came up blank, he looked to the global market and joined ASAE.

It broadened his skills, knowledge, and perspective on the association world, assets he now shares with his local working community. Bobby’s dream is to bring a sophisticated understanding of association management to his member organizations, and his relentless efforts have earned him the nickname, ‘The Association Man’.

PCAAE aims to be an active supporter and participant in the ever-growing association community in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the global association community. Bobby has big plans for the future. With the support of ASAE, he initiated the setting up of the Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO) in March 2015, with PCAAE, the Associations Forum, the Australasian Society of Association Executives and the Korean Society of Association Executives as founding members.

I left Manila feeling inspired by the work I saw and optimistic of the ever-increasing role that associations are playing for the betterment of our truly global society.