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Nina Magpili-Smith

Core Member

Nina Magpili-Smith grew up in Cavite, Philippines. Her late mother was from Mabitac, Laguna while her late father was from Calapan City, Mindoro. She truly cherishes and pines for the home-cooked Filipino food prepared by her parents and fruits such as Carabao mangoes, rambutan, lanzones and duhat. She also often experiences nostalgia when thinking about the buko pie in Laguna and the relaxing and rejuvenating beach in Mindoro. While working for Philippine Airlines, she had the opportunity to travel around the Philippines, especially to the beautiful beaches she considers as wonderful gems. She admits she failed to fully recognize the wondrous treasure of being immersed in the full experience of the diverse Filipino cultures, partly because of the survival mode of living there, until she came to the U.S. that propelled her to dig deeper into and learn more about her roots to understand who she is. Her journey led her to uncover the tight grasp of the postcolonial legacies and the beauty of her culture prevailing within as much as her formidable bond with other cultures that paved the way to immense healing. While she still humbly partakes in the process of becoming, she aims to share this journey with others through her role as a Core member of the Center for Babaylan Studies and through a nonprofit she founded and currently voluntarily managing, called Intangibles. Intangibles is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to promote the intangible aspects of life that often can be ignored or forgotten in today’s fast-paced and busy lifestyle through a proactive, holistic, transdisciplinary, interagency, community-based and systems-based approach to research, education, and outreach initiatives.


In November of 2018, she successfully developed, organized, and hosted a workshop on the theme,  Kapwa (The Shared Self): Ako, Ikaw, Tayo (I, You, We) held in Virginia with the help of volunteers and funding from The Pollination Project, which provides seed grants for change makers around the globe. The workshop is a globally-themed group activity-based workshop that aims to heal and empower the community by educating them about the Filipino indigenous culture, its adaptation (through the colonial period) and its manifestation in their present lives in conjunction with other indigenous cultures such as African and Native American to promote global awareness and interconnectedness (further information can be found here: ). Nina is intent on using lessons learned from the workshop as well as the knowledge and experience gained with the help of inspiring and passionate allies for upcoming projects that aim to empower and help more people from all backgrounds in vulnerable populations through a holistic approach.


Nina received her Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of the Philippines - Diliman and Ph.D. in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering with specialization in diversity team building from Old Dominion University.

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