Priscilla “Pressy” Francisco Garrovillas


Orphaned by my mother at the age of 2-1/2, I grew up under the care of my brothers and sisters, assisted by an elderly relative of my mother. My father, a widower at age 38, had remarried and started a new family. I was fondly called Nene by my kin, and became the apple of their eyes, not only because I was the youngest, but also because I was a sickly little girl who needed special care and attention.

Atty. Crisanto L. Francisco, my eldest brother, a graduate of the U.P College of Law, insisted his other younger siblings, including me, be enrolled in the same university. Upon graduation from St. Mary’s College, Quezon City, I found the new UP environment quite a big change from the private school where I came from. The sudden change of school environment was quite a shock to me, a young “colegiala”!

Because I was a sickly child, I was not allowed to take up my chosen course of Nursing. Upon the insistence of my brother, I took up pre-Dentistry subjects in the College of Liberal Arts. I was warned never to join any sorority as it would take so much time from my studies. Growing up to be quite a rebel, I became a Delta Lambda Sigman in 1961. And, unknown to my family, I shifted my course to Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. (BSFS). Joining the Sorority club and changing my course of study turned me into a sociable, friendly, and outgoing coed. In my junior year, I had also become a top member of the corps of sponsors. Being a corps sponsor, somehow made me quite popular not only on campus but in other universities. I was voted by members of the different university fraternities as their muse and was crowned Ms. Inter-University Fraternity at the Manila Hotel ballroom.

It was in the last semester of my junior year, when I met my future husband Julio V. Garrovillas, Jr., a Mapuan and a neighbor. Against all odds, Jun pursued me relentlessly not only at the U.P. campus but everywhere I went until he won my heart. And the rest is history.

*Because of the demands of my marriage and the duties of raising a family, I was forced to cut short my studies after my junior year. It was 20 years later when I finally obtained a college degree. First, dentistry; then, foreign service; finally, I found my niche in business management. Because of my three years stay at U.P., I qualified to be a full-fledged member of the UPAA, which requires a minimum of two years student residency for admission.

In 1983, my husband and I, along with our four young sons, immigrated to San Diego, California, where I continued my studies while working and caring for my family. Despite all odds, I managed to finish a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management (BSBM) from the University of Phoenix, San Diego.

I have held several responsible jobs at private and government offices, from clerk, purchasing liaison, to legal secretary, then took an early retirement after 20 years with the City of San Diego. Soon after retirement from the City of San Diego, I became an active community volunteer worker. Some of my community organizations involvements are below:

1. Past Vice President, First Newsletter Editor & Lifetime Member – The City of San Diego Filipino-American Employees Association (CSDFAEA)
2. Lifetime Member – City of San Diego Retirement System
3. Past Secretary – Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County, Inc. (COPAO)
4. Past Board Member – San Diego Mini Concerts
5. Past Vice President – Fil-Am Toastmasters (FATC#9493)
6. Current Member – University of the Philippines Alumni Association-San Diego (UPAASD)
7. Current Member – Filipino-American Community Empowerment (FACE)
8. Current Member – Healthy Eating Advocate – Kalusugan Community Services (KCS)
9. Current Member – South Bay Fil-Ams (SBFA)
10. Current & 14th President – San Diego Majestic Lions Club (SDMLC).

Nowadays, I am preoccupied with my latest venture as one of the fast rising top-selling Realtor with Century 21 Award. I have also recently joined the Philippines real estate, selling Philippines properties to my clientele who are mostly coming from the United States. Besides doing civic work, I keep my mind and body refreshed and healthy by indulging my favorite pastimes – singing and dancing – and by engaging in regular light exercises like brisk walking or slow running.

My current occupation is a far cry from my college training at U.P. but then I consider that the U.P. education and experience teach all graduates to be complete persons ready and prepared to tackle whatever comes their way in life.