Catholic Institutions and Religious Communities in the Diocese of Legazpi
AQUINAS UNIVERSITY OF LEGAZPI
Rawis, Legazpi City
Aquinas University is a Dominican Institute of higher learning located in Rawis, Legazpi City, Philippines. It is incorporated and operating under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and the norms of the Holy See governing Catholic Universities
Aquinas University began as the Legazpi Junior Colleges in 1948. Later, it was re-named LEgazpi College, It was founded by the late Buenaventura de Erquiaga, prominent philanthropist, in order “to utilize education as a means to effect a partial payment of his debt of gratitude to the land and people who generously built him up”.
On July 1, 1965, the ownership and administration of the Legazpi College were transferred to the Dominican Fathers of the Province of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines. To meet demands for education of the region, the College initiated a program expansion and upgrading of its instruction. In a span of three years after the acquisition of the College by the Dominican Fathers, on March 8, 1968, it was elevated to the status of a university by the Hon. Carlos P. Romulo, who was then the Secretary of Education. Because of this development, its name was again changed to Aquinas University, taking St. Thomas Aquinas as its heavenly patron. On August 30, 1968, Hon. Onofre D. Corpuz, who was then the Acting Secretary of Education, signed the University Charter.
Aquinas University was officially inaugurated on February 3, 1969 with the investiture of the Rev. Fr. Ramon C. Salinas, OP, as rector and first president, In a span of a few years, Aquinas University was recognized as one of the leading institutions of higher learning in the country. Presently, it is designated as Regional Science Teaching Center for Southern Luzon and center of numerous national, regional and local organizations. It is a member of the International Association of Universities, and various national, regional and local educational associations.
The College of Arts and Sciences, Education, Business Administration, Nursing and Engineering and the Science Oriented High School have been granted accredited status by the Philippines Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU).
- Fr. Ramon C. Salinas, OP 1969-1978
- Fr. Manuel T. Piñon, OP 1978-1984
- Fr. Pedro V. Salgado, OP 1984-1987
- Fr. Patricio A. Apa, OP 1987-1992
- Fr. Orlando C. Aceron, OP 1992-1995
- Fr. Virgilio A. Ojoy, OP 1995-1999
- Fr. Ramonclaro G. Mendez, OP 1999- to present
DIVINE WORD COLLEGE OF LEGAZPI
Rizal St,. Old Albay, Legazpi City
What is now Known as the Divine World College of Legazpi was originally the Liceo de Albay, a diocesan secondary school for boys, administered by the secular clergy of the Diocese of Legazpi. In May 1961, the International Missionary Order of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) acquired the school from then, it continued the secondary curriculum exclusively for boys. Fr.Joseph L. Bates, SVD, of Watkins, Minnesota, served as the pioneer-president of the College and is recognized as its founder.
In 1965, however, a night high school for boys and girls was opened. Co-educational college courses in Liberal Arts, Commerce, Education and Secretarial Education were likewise offered. In 1071, the regular high school department was opened for both boys and girls.
Short-term courses such as Accounting Aid and Salesmanship were introduced in June 1974. This was done in order to meet the need for more trained staff in the increasing number of business offices and entrepreneurial agencies in the Bicol Region. Two years later, BS Civil Engineering was offered.
In recognition of the school’s competence in its Commerce course, DECS-Region V chose DWCL as the center of Development in Commerce and Business Education effective September 1983. Later, the Graduate School of Business was opened to offer Masteral Degree in Business Administration (MBA) as part of the DWCL’s thrust to develop leaders for the business community.
DWCL piloted the offering of the three-year course in the Government Accounting and Auditing in June 1984, in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (PACSB) and the Commission of Audit (COA). Subsequently in June, 1987, the institution revived its offering of the Secondary and Elementary Education Courses.
In 1993, the Graduate School of Business Administration enriched its MBA curriculum to include four major fields of study and two years later it offered Masteral Courses in Public Management (MPM) and Business Education (MBE).
Divine World College of Legazpi is an academic Christian Community serving the people of God by working in faith towards the integral development of the person faithful to the tradition of the Church and to the charism of Blessed Arnold Janssen, aiming to become a University responsive to the needs of the region and country.
DWCL is committed to build the Christian Community by developing, enhancing, and strengthening the religious, educational and administrative services consistent with its thrust of excellence professionalism and service. It aims to promote and cultivate a culture of a) quality and excellence, b) relevance and responsiveness with c) access and equity through d) efficiency and effectiveness in the Academic Christian Community where persons are full developed for the service of God and country
The Divine Word College of Legazpi is strategically located at the center of Legazpi City. It has its main campus at Rizal ST,. just across the Albay Capitol Building and comprises and area of more than one hectare. Its other of more than five hectares is situated along Washington Drive, Legazpi City near the airport. It is the site of the Pre-School, Grade School and High School Departments and the gymnasium. This campus is intended for the future expansion of the school.
- Rev. Fr. Joseph L. Bates, SVD (founder) 1961-1970
- Rev. Fr. Floraine S. Camacho, SVD 1970-1973
- Rev. Fr. Valentino D. Darunday, SVD 1973-1979
- Rev. Fr. Alfredo A. Reyes, SVD 1979-1985
- Rev. Fr. Eleuterio S. Lacaron, SVD 1985-1989
- Rev. Fr. Alfredo S. Reyes SVD 1989-1990
- Rev. Fr. Restituto A. Lumanlan, SVD 1990-1993
- Rev. Fr. Joel Thomson Ll. MAribao, SVD 1993-1994
- Rev. Fr. Jose M. Calucag, SVD 1994-1998
- Rev. Fr. Michael O. Padua, SVD 1999- to present]
ST AGNES ACADEMY
Albay with its beautiful Mount Mayon, had its share to the problems of the church in the Philippines at the turn of the century. There were no Catholic schools in the whole province. The Protestants were coming. They learned the dialect fast and won many followers.
As parish priest of the town of Albay, Father Juan U. Calleja saw the great need for a Catholic School. He placed the problem before his new Bishop, Msgr. John B, Mac Ginley, Bishop of the Diocese of Nueva Caceres and together they went to the Apostle Delegate, Msgr. Etheus, who informed them of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters who might in the future be able to start the apostolate of Christian Education in Albay.
In response to the call, Sisters Ferdinanda, Alexa and Edilburgis came to Legazpi City on May 30, 1912 and started formal primary classes on July 1, 1912 with 47 enrollees in the Parish’s old Parochial convent. Thus, was born Academia de Sta. Ines, the oldest Catholic school in Albay, now better known as St. Agnes Academy.
Despite strong typhoons and other natural calamities such as volcano eruptions in 1928 and subsequent years, the academy survived and flourished. World War II claimed the lives of three pioneering Sisters, Mother Clodesindis, Sister Edilburgis and Sister Gertrude, an oblate.
A free school was opened for the poor where 350 children were enrolled. Vocational courses were incorporated with the academics in the early 1940’s. Not to be overlooked was the Music Department which started in 1921. Small though it was, it supported the school during the early years of the war.
The Agnesians discovered beauty and strength in buildings but in the powers waiting to be unleashed from within them. This was the age of school competitions and recognition of St. Agnes Academy as a school would not settle for anything short of excellence. On January 17, 1974, St. Agnes Academy’s Grade School was granted accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, College and Universities (PAASCU) the fifth in the country to be accredited. In March 1969, the High School was also accredited, the second in Legazpi City. In that same year, the High School Department became co-educational, primarily to provide a more integrated education for the young.
The school has kept alive the traditional excellence established by its forebears. In March, 1993, the High School Department was once more granted accreditation by PAASCU.
In keeping pace with the change of modern society, St. Agnes Academy found necessary to become involved in a wider program of activities. The school tried to reach out to the poor through socio-pastoral apostolate to give maximum service to its students and to the larger community as a whole. The Agnesian family- students, parents, faculty, administration and non-teaching staff, involves itself in many different activities. Ecological drives, medical and dental missions, catechetical instructions and community workshops, form part of the school’s effort to keep in touch with present-day realities.
Today, after 88 years of existence, the Academy continues to commit herself to the struggle for justice, peace, preservation of the environment, children’s and women’s rights, moral regeneration and social transformation,
Inspired by the Benedictine creed of ORA et LABORA, St. Agnes’ Academy faces the challenge to enflesh and make real its vision of a SOCIALLY ORIENTED school.
Within this vision and thrust, St. Agnes’ Academy has identified and articulated specific objectives for integrated education of the clientele it serves
- Sister M. Ferdinanda Hoelxer, OSB – 1912-1921
- Sister M. Agnelle Meier, OSB – 1921-1927
- Sister M. Leonarda Schmid, OSB – 1927-1933
- Sister M. Godfrieda Baumeister, OSB – 1933-1939
- Sister M. Clodesindis Lucken, OSB – 1939-1945
- Sister M. Claudia Riechel, OSB – 1945-1948
- Sister M. Leonarda Schmid, OSB – 1948-1951
- Sister M. Godfrieda Baumeister, OSB – 1951-1955
- Sister M. Kuniberta Strathman, OSB – 1955-1961
- Sister M. Soledad Hilado, OSB – 1961-1964
- Sister M. Fermina Strasser, OSB – 1960-1970
- Sister M. Asuncion Bonafe, OSB – 1970-1976
- Sister M. Scholastica Benitez, OSB – 1976-1982
- Sister M. Trinidad Olivia, OSB – 1982-1985
- Sister M. Lydia Villegas, OSB – 1985-1988
- Sister M. Rosalinda Fajardo, OSB – 1988-1994
- Sister M. Edna Quiambao, OSB – 1994-2000
- Sister M. Roseve Balagat, OSB – 2000up to present
St. Agnes Academy, the oldest Catholic school in Albay, is committed to the integral formation of Filipino boys and girls into compassionate Christians for the service of the church and society, as she builds Christian communities and witnesses to Christian and Benedictine values through relevant quality education.
The school sees herself as a community constantly discussing and heeding Christ’s call today. She recognizes this call in the situation of worsening poverty, embedded graft and corruption in public and private life and dignity, moral decline, ecological degradation and the exploitation of human resources and the abuse of women and children.
Together with the administration, the faculty and staff, the parents and students, the community responds to this call to effect social change through:
- Communal prayer (ORA) and work (LABORA)
- Immersion in the different social realities of the times
- Participation in the school and in the larger community’s actions against the abuse of women and children
- Commitment to environmental care
- A commitment to service in the furtherance of justice and love, freedom and peace
- The promotion and enrichment of the Filipino culture and the growth of an independent global community
- Simplification of lifestyles
We affirm our commitment to this task of evangelization as we concretize our objectives in the content and processes of our curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
ST. JUDE CATHOLIC SCHOOL
Bitano, Legazpi City
St. Jude Catholic School is a Catholic Mission School for the Filipino-Chinese. It was founded by a Chinese missionary priest Fr. John L. Chang. Under his leadership and with the help of charitable institutions of the Legazpi Fil-Chinese community, the first physical structures of the school emerged on February 23, 1968. Armed with the experiences he gained both in China and in the Philippines, he pioneered the establishment and administration of the school.
During its first School Year (1968-1969), St. Jude Catholic School started only with Kindergarten and Grade I classes and an initial enrollment of 46 pupils. On March 21, 1976 the first batch of pupils graduated both from the English and Chinese Departments.
On November 18, 1984, due to his invaluable services extended to the school and in general to the Filipino-Chinese communities in Legazpi, Fr. John L. Chang received the honorary title of Monsignor. Presently, he is still the Director of the school.
Today, on a one-hectare campus with two modern two-story buildings stands St. Jude Catholic School. It has spacious classrooms and complete facilities that provide learning opportunities for the students. Courses offered are Kindergarten, Elementary, Secondary, Computer Education and a curriculum in the Chinese language. Presently, two Chinese priests, three nuns of the Daughters of Mary and one Chinese Sister of the Mediatrix of the Holy Souls are administering it.
Saint Jude Catholic School is an academic institution whose mission is to promote the integral development of its students by imbuing them with Christian values and attitudes. As a Chinese-Filipino school, it aims to provide a learning environment where students can acquire skills and knowledge to prepare themselves for further vocational and academic studies, and help them fully develop their interests, talents and capabilities. The school strives to produce independent, creative, disciplined and critically minded individuals, appreciative of their Filipino-Chinese cultural heritage and actively concerned for the development of the Filipino nation.
As a Catholic School, it is committed to propagate the gospel. As a mission school for the Chinese, it takes on itself the responsibility of evangelizing the Chinese community by spreading the word of God through acts of love, justice, faith and hope.
- Augustinian Recollect Sisters 1970-1974
- Sisters of the Holy Spirit 1974-1975
- Daughters of Charity 1977-1980
- Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary 1980-1985
- Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church 1998-present
Out of the dream of two altruistic people who were not even natives of this little town of Camalig, St. John’s Academy was born. These were Rev. Fr. Victorino Caballero, OFM and Rev. Fr. Jose Ma. Barrulo, OFM, who were then the Parish Priest and Assistant Parish Priest, respectively, of St. John the Baptist Parish of Camalig, Albay. Through the prodigious and patient toil of these two indefatigable founders and with the help of three laymen – Don Salvador Muñoz, Mr. Faustino Moraleda, and Mr. Fruto Ancheta, the school finally opened its door to the public during the school year 1949-1950. Because October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis, founder of the Order of Franciscan Minors (OFM), the good fathers deemed it wise to proclaim officially October 4 as the foundation date of the school year 1948. Being a sectarian school (Roman Catholic), the philosophy for which it was founded was anchored on the age-old mission statement of the Franciscan Fathers: to give a sound and complete Catholic Education to children and youth of the Philippines and to promote their intellectual and moral development
At the outset, the management of the school rested mainly on the two founders, with Fr. Victorino Caballero, acting as School Director and Fr. Jose Ma. Barullo, as Registrar. They were assisted by a lay principal, Mr. Fruto Ancheta.
Fr. Gerardo Chicano held the longest term as administrator of the school – five years as principal (1954 – 1959) and six years as Director (1960-1965). In 1965-1966 Rev. Fr. Leon Ramos acted as the Director and was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Joaquin Moron at the beginning of the following school year. Then, Rev. Fr. Pedro Ruano took the directorship from 1967 to 1971. In 1971, Sr. Antoinette Pelaez, FAS, with three other Sisters took over the administration of the school. The Franciscan Apostolic Sisters (FAS) administered the school from 1971 to 1975. Sister Pelaez was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Rodrigo San Jose, OFM in 1975 who administered the school up to 1978. Then came Rev. Fr. Jose Salutan, OFM, who was the Director of the school from 1978 up to 1982. When the Franciscans left Camalig in 1982, the Diocese of Legazpi took over the administration of the school with Msgr. Lucilo Quiambao as the acting School Director and Mrs. Virginia B. Mendoza as principal.
The Congregation of the Religious Missionaries of St. Dominic took over the administration of the school in 1985. The first Dominican directress was Sr. Irene Lapus, OP (1985-1991). She was followed by Sr. Basilisa Datuin, OP (1991-1997); Sr. Ma. Fe Gamotin, OP (11997-2000) and finally Sr. Lorenza Sajul, OP (2000 up to present).
MARY’S ACADEMY OF LIGAO
(formerly: St. Stephen Academy)
St. Stephen Academy in Ligao City started as a grade school in 1946 and was first known as the Sacred Heart School. It was founded by Fr. Remigio Rey who later became a Franciscan friar. Ms. Osial was its first principal.
In 1948 Fr. Felix Reyes, assistant priest of Ligao, opened a junior high school in an old warehouse owned by Jose Madarieta. When Fr. Teofisto Alberto became parish priest of Ligao in 1949 he merged the grade school founded by Fr. Rey and the high school founded by Fr. Reyes and named the new school St. Stephen’s Academy in honor of the patron saint of the town. Then in August 1951 Fr. Alberto invited the sisters of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) to run the school. The RVM community initially sent Mo. Ma. Rosario Bausanta, RVM, Sr. Ma. Nieves Copino, RVM and Sr. Iluminada Angeles, RVM to take care of the apostolate. Mo. Ma. Rosario Bausanta became the first superior of the school.
There were many problems that the Sisters had to face. The school building was in very bad shape, so much so that banana leaves had to be used as improvised ceiling. But the Sisters were undaunted and went into fund-raising, mainly through the staging of a school play for pay. After some time, they were able to improve the facilities.
On June 19, 1952 Mo. Ma. Josefa Ricafort, RVM, succeeded Mo. Bausanta as superior. Sr. Ma. Nieves Copin, RVM, was the principal then. Another play was staged to raise funds for books and laboratory apparatus. On January 15, 1953 Fr. Teofisto Alberto became bishop of Sorsogon and Msgr. Justino Romano, D.D., scholar, educator, parish priest took over as administrator of the school. He worked well with the Sisters and was able to lift both the morale and the standards of the school. On June 15, 1953 St. Stephen’s Academy was given recognition by the government.
From 1953 to 1999 the school went through a succession of administrators and principals and many changes were made toward its improvement not only in the physical plant and educational equipment but in its administration as well.
- August 1951 Ma. Rosario Bausanta, RVM, First Superior
- June 19, 1952 Ma. Josefa Ricafort, RVM, Superior
- 1953 – 1954 Ma. Candelaria Clemento, RVM, Superior
- 1954 – 1956 Ma. Rosario Tabora, RVM, Superior
- 1957 Ma. Leoncia Liabres, RVM, Superior
- 1957 – 1958 Ma. Felomena Arjona, RVM, Superior
- 1958 – 1962 Ma. Paulina Gallardo, RVM, Superior
- 1962 – 1966 Ma. Paulina Gallardo, RVM, Superior
- 1966 Ma. Josefina Fran, RVM, Superior
- 1967 – 1972 Ma. Dominga Firaza, RVM, Superior
- 1972 – 1977 Ma. Lidivina Cabrera, RVM, Superior
- 1977 – 1999 Ma. Virginia Belarma, RVM, Superior
- 1983 – 1988 Ma. Rufina Guillano, RVM, Superior
- 1988 – 1989 Ma. Teresita Arado, RVM, Superior
- 1989 – 1993 Ma. Angelina Prado, RVM, Superior
- 1993 – 1996 Consuelo Billanes, RVM, Superior
- 1996 – 1999 Ma. Mayflor Saluba, RVM, Superior
At this time the name St. Stephen’s Academy was changed to St. Stephen Academy
- 1999 – 2000 Ma. Corazon Agoncillo, RVM, Superior
- 2000 to present Ma. Teresita Salanatin, RVM, Superior
SAINT RAPHAEL ACADEMY
Saint Raphael Parochial School was the original name of St. Raphael Academy. The late Msgr. Nicanor C. Belleza (of happy memory), the parish priest then of St. Raphael Parish founded the school in 1949. It started as primary school with 500 pupils in grades one to four. In 1950, grades five and six were added, making it a complete parochial elementary school.
In 1951, the late Rev. Fr. Valentin Reamon succeeded Msgr. Belleza as pastor of Saint Raphael Parish and concurrent director of the school. Up to 1953, the Benedictine sisters of St, Agnes’ Academy had been assisting Fr. Reamon in running the school.
From 1953 to 1955, when Fr. Reamon was still at the helm, the young Rev. Fr. Juan Cleofe (who later became Msgr. Cleofe and Vicar General of Legazpi) was appointed as the school principal, assisted by Mr. Asmundo Baldo. It was Msgr. Cleofe who composed the school hymn of St. Raphael Academy.
Finally, in 1956, the school administration was turned over to the Augustinian Recollect Sisters. Sr. Ma. Isable Pantoja, AR, served as the superior of the community and school principal. In 1964, Sister Fe Luna, AR, worked for the secondary school’s recognition by the Department of Education. With the Second Vatican Council then winding up in 1965, St. Raphael Parochial School graciously changed her name to St. Raphael Academy.
In 1997, the school population increased to almost 2,000. This made the number of classrooms inadequate, thus the Augustinian Recollect Sisters built another four-story-building. The new building has a complete Science Laboratory, a separate air-conditioned Library and Computer Laboratories for High School and Elementary. The fourth floor of the new building houses the conference room, a mini-auditorium and Technological Home Economics Room.
At present, there are six sisters assigned in the school: Sr. Filomina Olivia, AR, the Superior, Sr. Benedict Marco, AR, Asst. Superior, Ma. Teresita Aurigue, AR, treasurer, Sr. Ma. Crisanta Armendez, AR, school directress and high school principal, Sr. Letecia Cerdeño, AR, school nurse, Sr. Hermina Billate, AR, principal of elementary and Sr. Ingrid Gueriña, AR, as Religion Coordinator.
As an educational institution of the Church, St. Raphael Academy pursues the Church’s Catholic philosophy of education. St. Raphael Academy, inspired by Vatican II’s renewed Catholic education’s vision and mission has therefore to refocus and finetune her goals, objectives and pedagogical approaches, and update her vision mission towards what the 2nd Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II) describes as: “Renewed Integral Evangelization”.
VIRGIN OF CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL
Just like other big institutions, the Virgin of Carmel High School had its humble beginning. Mr. Cresencio Templado spearheaded in 1949 the establishment of a school in the secondary level. The school was first named and known as Tiwi Hot Springs with Mr. Templado as its the head. There were only then five teachers who carried out the task of imparting knowledge to some 70 students.
Mr. Templado administered the school in the first two years of its existence. In 1951, the late Fr. Santiago Bufete, who then was the pastor of Tiwi, turned over the administration of the school to the Augustinian Recollect Missionary Sisters. It was then that the name of the school was changed to Virgin of Carmel High School.
The first group of A.R. Sisters assigned to the school were Sor Incarnacion del Santissimo Sacramento, Sor Concepcion del Buen Pastor, Sor Monserrat del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus and Sor Antonia de la Purisima Concepcion.
At first, the school and the sisters’ quarters were placed in a residential home. A year after, however, a new building was erected to accommodate the increasing number of students. Later, with the continuing increase of the numbers of enrollees, the annex building was constructed.
Sometime during the episcopacy of the Most Rev. Teotimo Pacis, CM, DD, strong typhoons visited the Bicol Region. One of these destroyed the school buildings. Because of this, the late Bishop Pacis was forced to sell a portion of the church lot to finance the construction of a new school building to house the students of the Virgin of Carmel High School. Since then, the physical structures of the school have been improved a lot through the initiative of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters who still run the school up to the present
The Augustinian Recollect Education Apostolate envisions authentic Catholic Christians who live in one mind and one heart the GOOD NEWS in solidarity with the Church of the Poor and the rest of humanity.
Hence, the Augustinian Recollect Sisters are committed to foster fraternal charity of genuine God-filled friendship, particularly in a school community, for Renewed Integral Evangelization geared towards the total human development of the Filipino, cherishing his tradition, culture and values in his pursuit for academic excellence.
ST. MICHAEL ACADEMY
Fr. Luis Dimarumba founded St. Michael Academy, formerly named Rising Company or RISCO, in July 1946. The original plan for a school was to offer only grades I and II in the elementary level and years I and II in the secondary level. A permit to open them was applied for and was granted. However, persistent petitions from parents for the complete elementary school curriculum and an additional year III for high school prodded the founder-director to apply for another permit in the same year
In October 1946, however, after the end of the Second World War when extension classes were opened in the public schools, some 253 pupils of the academy transferred to the public schools. And although a fourth year high school class was opened the following year and the school turned out its first fourteen graduates, the school experienced difficulties in maintaining standards. So it was that the founder-director sought help and found it in the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna. Thus St. Michael Academy became the only school of the Dominican OP Sienna in the province of Albay. And with God’s grace and hard work the school has thrived since then.
On December 22 and 23, 1972 St. Michael Academy celebrated its Silver Jubilee, a celebration that rightfully marked a milestone in the life of a once – fledgeling school that had been beset by numerous travails in its beginnings and suffered through natural calamities in the 1970s. The typhoons had severely affected livelihoods and forced many parents to stop sending children to school; thus enrollment decreased drastically which brought with it a real threat for the school to be closed. However, Bishop Teotimo C. Pacis, then the local ordinary, provided the encouragement and motivation for the OP Sisters to continue their school apostolate for the sake of the parishioners. Subsequently, generous parent-benefactors as well as donors from sister-schools throughout the islands helped keep the school afloat during those trying times.
In 1997, St. Michael Academy celebrated its Golden Jubilee. It was a cause for jubilation. Although not entirely free of travails, St. Michael Academy continued to survive and in fact was doing well. It was turning out graduates who have now become leaders in the community and in their chosen professions; at par with their peers from other schools throughout the country.
In 1996 – 1997, St. Michael Academy adopted and implemented the Science-Oriented Curriculum after the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) granted its permit to operate as such. Thus, in School Year 1999 – 2000 the school turned out its first Science-oriented graduates. St. Michael Academy is now known as a Science-Oriented High School
Through the years the parents of the students of ST. Michael Academy have been very supportive and generous. Some of their projects are: the reinstallation of the school transformer, repainting of the school building, and repair of the corridor floorings.
The alumni have been no less supportive. They have donated for the extension services to the adopted barangay of the school, and replaced the 14-span concrete fence that collapsed during the typhoons. Also, they have been giving scholarships to deserving students
St. Michael Academy continues to offer quality education to elementary and high school students in Oas and neighboring towns. Four years ago the school underwent the so-called Congregational Evaluation Survey. Many innovations and improvements have been put in place through the implementation of the OP Sienna School Systems Development Program (OPS-SSDP) in preparation for the school’s accreditation by the Philippine Association of Accredited Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU).
Anticipating the result of the PAASCU Formal Visit conducted in SY 1999 – 2000, St. Michael Academy is optimistic that it will be granted the coveted accreditation. And when it comes the school will surely be invigorated and will strive even more to help the Diocese in its vision-mission of facilitating the formation of the total human person that is “maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan, maka-buhay, at higit sa lahat, maka-Diyos.”
SAINT BENEDICT’S ACADEMY
Saint Benedict’s Academy came into existence on May 22, 1958 through the combined efforts of Rev. Msgr. Demetrio S. Valeza and a few active ladies of the CWL (Guinobatan Unit) who were bent on having a Catholic School in the town for the cultural and moral upliftment of the youth. Msgr. Demetrio S. Valeza requested the Benedictine nuns to run the school.
Three Sisters from St. Agnes’ Academy came to Guinobatan and laid the foundation of a two-room schoolhouse near the church. Later, Sr. Meinhilde and Sr. Natividad joined them.
On May 23, 1958, the permit for opening the First Year High School was granted and the community of the Sisters was completed with the arrival of the Sr. Superior Edigna and Sr. Margarita who zealously worked on the registration and final preparations for the opening of the school.
The school started with only two classes, Kindergarten and First Year High School only for girls. Later, a new concrete building decorated with the picture of St. Benedict was constructed and was inaugurated on July 5, 1959 by Bishop Flaviano B. Ariola.
From a two-room cabin, St. Benedict’s Academy grew into a modern concrete building with standard classrooms and sanitary installations. In 1961, during the time of Fr. Jose C. Sorra (presently the Bishop of Legazpi) as chaplain of the school, the High School Department began to admit boys. In 1976, a semi-concrete Home Economics building was constructed but unfortunately was later destroyed by fire.
On May 30, 1978, the Benedictine Sisters turned over the administration, management and ownership of the school to the Dominican Daughters of the Immaculate Mother (DDIM) upon the recommendation of Rev. Msgr. Lucilo Quiambao, the first Director of the St. Benedict’s Academy. The late Bishop Teotimo Pacis, “was delighted and grateful to the Sisters for having accepted the school and promised to send vocations…” (Chronicles DDIM, 1978)
When the Sisters came in 1978, Msgr. Quiambao had already formed a group of altar boys, mostly SBA students. From this group came Frs. Hermel Pama, O.P., Andre Lim, Andy Lim, Bernardino Orolfo and Domingo Penilla. Aside from the school-based organization, the school created a number of religious organizations which strengthened the Christian and religious vocation of the students. Among them were the Acolyte Group, the Third Order of Preachers and Legion of Mary. Also, some qualified Junior and Senior High School students would go out once a week to the public schools to teach Catechism.
As a Catholic school, St. Benedict’s Academy inculcates in the mind of the students importance and value of the Sunday Mass, regular reception of the Eucharist and confession and exposes them to Catholic devotions like the First Friday devotion, Perpetual Help Novena, Rosary and the 3 o’clock Habit.
It is worth mentioning here that God has blessed the Dominican Daughters of the Immaculate Mother with three (3) vocations who were former members of the faculty of St. Benedict’s Academy. They are: Sr. Ma. Luz Tolosa, Sr. Ma. Rosa Gomez and Sr. Ma. Jane Lianza.
The Sisters together with the faculty, non-teaching staff and the entire student body of St. Benedict’s Academy commit themselves to be witnesses of the Good News of Christ Jesus, by living out the gospel values. And drawing inspiration from St. Dominic, they carry out the Dominican tradition of standing for the truth, loving the poor and the sick and giving great importance to scholarly studies.
- 1960 – 1966 Edigna, OSB
- 1966 – 1969 Lucila, OSB
- 1969 – 1976 Godeharda, OSB
- 1976 – 1978 Mary James, OSB
- 1978 – 1979 Ma. Ercilla, OP
- 1979 – 1986 Ma. Ofelia, OP
- 1986 – 1987 Ma. Olivia, OP
- 1987 – 1991 Ma. Elena, OP
- 1991 – 1996 Ma. Julie, OP
- 1996 – 1998 Ma. Angela, OP
- 1998 – 1999 Grace, OP
- At present Socorro, OP
LOUISE DE MARILLAC SCHOOL
(formerly: Catholic Central School)
The Catholic Central School (CCS) is a testimony of the love and devotion of the Bicolano clergy for the Bicolano youth. Founded in 1912 by Fr. Damian Ravago, then parish priest of Tabaco, CCS has the distinction of being the oldest institution of learning in the Bicol Region that traces its origins to a Bicolano priest.
Through the years since its foundation, the priests of the parish with the help of some lay teachers had administered the school. In 1955, however, Fr. Pastor Ragos, then parish priest, asked the Daughters of Charity to take over the administration of the school. And so, in 2001 while the school celebrates its 89th Foundation Anniversary, the Daughters of Charity also mark the 46th anniversary of their coming to the parish
Under the DC sisters the school pursues its avowed task of giving service to the Bicolano students for which the CCS was originally founded. The Sisters continue to nurture the school and its students physically, morally, spiritually, and socially according to the Vincentian educational standards to which the Daughters of Charity adhere.
CCS is a member of the St. Louise de Marillac Educational System which responds to the call of the Church and society of evangelizing education for social transformation. Its vision is a Filipino Christian Community of Learners committed to integral formation for transformation. Its mission is to create a learning environment that empowers persons, preferably the less privileged, through Christian formation, academic excellence, research, professional competence, and community service for sustainable development within the church and society. Its core values are respect for human dignity, compassionate service, co-responsibility, solidarity, simplicity, commitment to excellence, and social commitment.
The school offers education on three levels: Pre-elementary, elementary and high school. Its distinctive features are: personalized education, computer education, classes in the performing arts (piano, ballet, jazz music), an instrumental media center, a well-equipped library and laboratory, and community extension service (distance learning, computer literacy and PEPT).
The school has turned out many alumni distinguished in their respective fields of endeavor who are now community leaders in the parish and in the City of Tabaco. The CCS is understandably proud of them.
- Rufina Bagadiong, DC – 1955 – 1958
- Ceferina Pacis, DC – 1958 – 1967
- Socorro Cecilio, DC – 1967 – 1972
- Teresa Espedido, DC – 1972 – 1976
- Justina Rosales, DC – 1976 – 1979
- Luz Roma, DC – 1979 – 1982
- Gloria Rabeje, DC – 1982 – 1988
- Blesilda Abangan, DC – 1988 – 1991
- Rosario Roco, DC – 1991 – 1994
- Ma. Lourdes Peralta, DC – 1994 – 2000
- Eva Vargas, DC – 2000 to the present
The school is represented by its principal in the Tabaco Parish Pastoral Council. Through this representation, both the school and the Sisters render services to the parish in the pursuit of parish objectives, and in the implementation of parish plans and programs. Specifically, CCS helps in the parish catechetical program by providing some public schools with high school students who volunteer their services there as catechists, Just recently, the DC Sisters were asked to help train the church choirs in the parish.
Truly the Catholic Central School, just recently renamed St. Louise de Marillac School, has been a relevant part of the parish and of the City of Tabaco; and promises to be so for many years to come