Asuncion Panlibuton: Manilatown Elder, Migrant and Poverty Scholar. Rest in Power!

Tiny - Posted on 02 January 2012

(Editor's note: The Al Robles Living Library project honors Manilatown Activist Asuncion Panlibuton, whose long struggle for housing and community justice helped many in the Filipino community.  Her work helped give rise to the rebuilding of the International Hotel on Kearny Street.  In the words of Poet Al Robles, her heart was the heart of mabuhay.  Tony Robles, Co-editor, POOR Magazine)


Asuncion Baguna Panlibuton, born November 5, 1924, died peacefully on December 13, 2011, in her ancestral hometown of Dao, Antique, Philippines. 

Asun, as she was affectionately called, immigrated to San Francisco, California in 1959.  She was a teacher and became a businesswoman and community activist in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and Nice, CA.  Guided by her prayers of “Dear Jesus, Help me to help those that need most your help…” she began the fight for decent, affordable senior housing in Manilatown, San Francisco – the International Hotel. As an advocate for quality long-term care, Asun organized the Filipino Residential Care Home Operators for statewide training, as well as owning care homes throughout California for over thirty years. 

Passionate for social, justice and educational issues of immigrant Filipino families, she became co-founder of the Northern and Southern United Antiquenos of California.  Asun was known to have helped countless immigrant families to live economically stable lives while she showed that “wealth is measured by the love, compassion and generosity given to others.” 

Asun was preceded in death by her father Higino Baguna, husband Gregorio Panlibuton and son Gregory Panlibuton.  She is survived by her children Annie Panlibuton-Barnes and Henry (Cynthia) Panlibuton, grandchildren Matthew (Lilli), Joseph and Sarah Barnes, Nicholas and Oliver Panlibuton and great-granddaughter Isabella Barnes.



In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the:


Asuncion Panlibuton Memorial Scholarship Fund

C/O Annie Panlibuton Barnes

P.O. Box 479

Upper Lake, CA 95485



Panlibuton by Al Robles


The I-Hotel remembers you, Manilatown

Remembers you, in the eyes of

the Manongs & Manangs, in the

Heart of I-Hotel tenants, in

Heart of the community

in the heart of Mabuhay

In the heart of carabaos

 in tribal memories & dreams

of long ago & far away

Manang, you are still here

You circled the I-Hotel

with your love, with

Your spirit, rising up

Like the manongs -

Protecting the Manilatown life

Guarding the

old ways, the songs,

Palii - We’re coming

Back home to Manilatown

After all these years

we’re coming back home.

Together- & we’ll

see your face & heart

& love holding up

embracing the Hotel again

Filling Manilatown

with your presence

with your spirit

with your love

The children will

Read Poems & Sing

& dance & bring down

All the stars in your hands

We come, now today

 to celebrate your

birthday, your life, your

love, your struggle,

your spirit-


Al Robles

11/5/2004, San Francisco

Given to Asuncion Panlibuton on her 80th Birthday

Note: Written on an 8x10 white envelope


Sign-up for POOR email!