The formation of an amateur astronomy club designed to aid the layman had long been idling in the minds of several Filipinos but never definitely realized over forty years ago. It took an American serviceman T/Sgt. Phillip D. Wyman of the US Air Force to convince some Filipinos in Manila to put up an association patterned after the astronomy clubs in the United States.
The idea caught fire and pretty soon on April 15, 1971, the first stargazing club in the country, the Philippine Astronomical Society (or Samahang Pandalubtalaan ng Pilipinas in Filipino), was launched. It was a modest but memorable occasion where seven people gathered in an apartment in Pasay City. The founding members were Phillip D. Wyman, Hans Arber, Adrian Arroyo, Fr. Victor L. Badillo, SJ, Ernesto Damasco, Robert Kaul, and Gertrudes Lucas.
For a start, the members had to content themselves with using the telescope and observatory of Hans Arber, a Swiss businessman and amateur astronomer, who became the Society’s treasurer for that year.
Shortly after the founding and organization, the Society held its first Annual Convention on May 22, 1971 at the Dr. Paulino Garcia Memorial Hall, Herran St., Manila. After a series of organizational
meetings, the Society’s membership increased. It adopted its Constitution and By-Laws that set forth as its official address No. 2555 Acacia St., San Miguel, Manila, which was the residence of Gertrudes Lucas, then NSDB Technical Assistant and PAS Treasurer.
The Society was formally registered as a non-stock and nonprofit organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May 1972. After this occasion, the election to choose the eleven members of the Board of Directors was held on July 23, 1972 in accordance with the approved PAS By-Laws. The following Saturday after the election, the newly elected Board of Directors convened to choose among themselves the five new officers to run the Society’s affairs for the academic year 1972-73.
From then on, the Society has opened and continues to open its door to everyone regardless of age, sex, religion, or profession, and has undergone substantial improvement in terms of its membership, makeup, and activities. Now and as at the start, the driving force in PAS is its people, who are dedicated to the cause and who sacrifice their time and resources to share their interest in astronomy with others.