HAPI is the brainchild of Marissa Torres-Langseth, a.k.a. Ms. M! Out of concern over the excessive influence of religiosity on the Philippines, HAPI was founded on December 25, 2013, but was launched on the first day of the following year. The organization’s aim is to provide a platform for Filipino non-believers to connect and be a collective force in battling discrimination, poverty, and disinformation.
During its humble beginnings
HAPI had fewer than ten members but that didn’t stop the organization from marketing, promoting, planning, and financing events in the country. HAPI’s first organized events included an LGBT March in Baguio, Feeding Programs in Alabang, and Debates in Manila. Even back then, HAPI was laser-focused on gender inequality, community development, and education.
HAPI’s leadership and membership continued to grow FROM THERE
HAPI Chapters were established throughout the country, including HAPI Alabang, HAPI Bacolod, HAPI Metro Manila, etc. Most of those chapters are still active and thriving until now! HAPI also initiated Special Departments to cater to various demographics in the Philippines. By doing this, officers and members can easily come together and create events that focus on finding solutions for specific problems in their community.
HAPI started to affiliate with international humanist groups in 2015
becoming a member of GO Humanity and partnering with Humanists International. As time went on, HAPI’s active presence in the global humanist scene has resulted in more partnerships with the likes of Humanist Global Charity (HGC).
More than ten years into the scene
HAPI continues to expand its network and resources thanks to its committed officers and passionate members. With the organization’s expansion comes many opportunities to reach a wider and more diverse set of people across different backgrounds. Above all, HAPI seeks to incite change in a country that has long been plagued by the belief that morality is absent without a “godly presence.”
About the Founder
Marissa Torres Langseth, a.k.a. “Ms. M”, rose from humble beginnings and managed to become financially independent at an early age. She strove to help her family and the occasional needy. She earned her degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Cebu, Philippines, then worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for four years. She traveled to the USA in 1990, working three jobs in the early years of her stay in New York City. She also returned to school for a Master’s degree in Nursing and a Certificate in Adult Nurse Practitioner. She has been a USA citizen since 1995, and happily married since 1996.
She first founded the Philippine Atheist and Agnostics Society (PATAS, which stands for “equality” in Tagalog) on February 14, 2011. Eventually, she took her attention from PATAS in December 2013 and founded Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) so as to create a newer and better avenue to spread humanism. Despite several setbacks and challenges, HAPI has repeatedly bounced back, learning from past mistakes. She was responsible for the seed money of both PATAS and HAPI, and is still the biggest donor of HAPI to date. She has been a volunteer activist since November 2010.
Ms. M retired from United Health Group as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in October 2015.