ABOUT SAN BEDA COLLEGE ALABANG

HISTORY OF

SAN BEDA COLLEGE ALABANG

St. Benedict and the Benedictine Order

Saint Benedict, the founder of the Ordo Sancti Bendicti (OSB) or Order of Saint Benedict, was born in the Umbrian town of Nursia, near Spoleto, Italy, in the waning years of the Roman Empire, AD 480.  He hailed from a well-established family and is believed to have a twin sister, St. Scholastica. Acclaimed as the Father of Western Monasticism, St. Benedict was declared the patron of Europe in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

While studying in Rome, St. Benedict became disillusioned with the worldliness he saw around.  Eventually, he took to solitude in a cave in Subiaco. After undergoing a profound spiritual experience, he established ten monasteries, including one at Monte Cassino. There, he wrote the Holy rules, an embodiment of the balance between prayer and work. According to tradition, he died in Monte Cassino about the year AD 547.

The Benedictines reached far within Europe and spread the ideals of the Holy Rule. They preached the Gospel and preserved the Scriptures and other sacred writings of the Church as well as other classical literary treasures.  They likewise engaged in teaching the young and serving the poor and the sick.  The Benedictine influence was so significant that the period 6th – 13th centuries of Europe was referred to by historians as the Benedictine centuries.

In the Philippines: As Missionaries and Monks

In the middle of the 19th century, a hostile and anticlerical government in Spain closed the novitiates. Years later, concessions were granted, allowing novitiates that operated missions in foreign countries to open.  Hence, the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat in Cataluña, Spain, started to establish missions in the Philippines and Australia.

The first group of Benedictine monks to set foot in the Philippines came from the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, Cataluna, Spain. On September 12, 1895, they arrived in the Philippines under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Jose Deas y Villar, OSB, the Abbot of their monastic communities in Spain and the founding Father of the Benedictine Community in the Philippines. 

Since their primary purpose in coming to the Philippines was to engage in missionary work, the first group of Benedictine monks immediately spent the first six months preparing for their transfer to Surigao, where some parishes formerly assigned to Jesuits were to be given to them for pastoral care and management.

HISTORY OF

SAN BEDA COLLEGE ALABANG

St. Benedict and the Benedictine Order

Saint Benedict, the founder of the Ordo Sancti Bendicti (OSB) or Order of Saint Benedict, was born in the Umbrian town of Nursia, near Spoleto, Italy, in the waning years of the Roman Empire, AD 480.  He hailed from a well-established family and is believed to have a twin sister, St. Scholastica. Acclaimed as the Father of Western Monasticism, St. Benedict was declared the patron of Europe in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

While studying in Rome, St. Benedict became disillusioned with the worldliness he saw around.  Eventually, he took to solitude in a cave in Subiaco. After undergoing a profound spiritual experience, he established ten monasteries, including one at Monte Cassino. There, he wrote the Holy rules, an embodiment of the balance between prayer and work. According to tradition, he died in Monte Cassino about the year AD 547.

The Benedictines reached far within Europe and spread the ideals of the Holy Rule. They preached the Gospel and preserved the Scriptures and other sacred writings of the Church as well as other classical literary treasures.  They likewise engaged in teaching the young and serving the poor and the sick.  The Benedictine influence was so significant that the period 6th – 13th centuries of Europe was referred to by historians as the Benedictine centuries.

In the Philippines: As Missionaries and Monks

In the middle of the 19th century, a hostile and anticlerical government in Spain closed the novitiates. Years later, concessions were granted, allowing novitiates that operated missions in foreign countries to open.  Hence, the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat in Cataluña, Spain, started to establish missions in the Philippines and Australia.

The first group of Benedictine monks to set foot in the Philippines came from the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, Cataluna, Spain. On September 12, 1895, they arrived in the Philippines under the leadership of Rt. Rev. Jose Deas y Villar, OSB, the Abbot of their monastic communities in Spain and the founding Father of the Benedictine Community in the Philippines. 

Since their primary purpose in coming to the Philippines was to engage in missionary work, the first group of Benedictine monks immediately spent the first six months preparing for their transfer to Surigao, where some parishes formerly assigned to Jesuits were to be given to them for pastoral care and management.

THE FIRST DECADE

The first decade of Benedictine presence in the Philippines thus coincided with significant changes and transitions in Philippine society.  It was when Spanish political order finally collapsed and was consequently replaced by another colonizing power, the United States.  This new political power soon introduced a unique expression of Christianity – Protestantism.

A few years after the monks’ Mindanao mission, the Benedictine Community transferred their residence and apostolate to Balmes St. in Quiapo, Manila.  The Benedictines witnessed many political and social changes in the Philippines as our people struggled under the Spanish and American colonization.  Despite tremendous odds, however, they remained steadfast and pursued a new apostolate: education.

The Benedictines, under the leadership of Fr. Juan Sabater, OSB, who was appointed Superior of the Benedictine Community in the Philippines, not only survived the ordeal but found strength and determination to pursue even another challenging goal, that is, to become a beacon of hope through educating the youth.

Inspired by the able leadership of Fr. Juan Sabater, OSB, the monks finally went on with the task of establishing El Colegio de San Beda. The College was solemnly inaugurated with Fr. Silvestre Jofre, OSB as Rector, on June 17, 1901, in an old building on Arlegui Street.

1920s

By the early 1920s, the monastic Community realized the need to look for a bigger campus and better facilities for the fast-growing School.  In 1925, both the monastic Community and the College transferred to its present site at Mendiola Street.  The status of the Community was likewise elevated from Priory to that of an Abbey.  With this new status came the responsibility of electing the Community’s first Abbot in the person of Rt. Rev. Raimundo Salinas, OSB.

The Benedictine Community was one of the first communities of male religious, which started to accept native Filipino applicants as members of the order or congregation. Long before the war, Filipino aspirants to the life of Community under the Rule of St. Benedict were admitted.  This was made possible through the strong leadership of Abbot Peter Celestine Gusi, OSB, the second Abbot of the monastery and later Abbot-General.

The years prior to the renewal of the Church of Vatican II saw two abbots whose spiritual and fatherly leadership guided the Community through difficult times.  They were Abbot Wilfredo Rojo, OSB, and Abbot Bernardo Lopez, OSB, who in their old age have decided to stay in Ramsgate, England and Montserrat, Spain, respectively.

1950s

By the 1950s, the Filipinos comprised the majority of the Community.  Slowly, leadership was being transferred to the Filipinos in managing the School as well as the Community.  Throughout the challenging years immediately following Vatican II, the Benedictine Community was led by two Filipino Prior-Administrators, namely, Fr. Celestino Say, OSB, and Fr. Silvestre Lacson, OSB, who prepared the Community for the challenges of a growing community.

1980s

At the onset of the 1980s, the Benedictine Community once more envisioned an expansion and deepening of the Benedictine commitment.  Under the spiritual leadership of Rt. Rev. Eduardo Africa, OSB, the first Filipino Abbot, the Community decided to establish another monastery, which would engage in non-educational apostolate work giving special attention and emphasis to its calling to communal prayer.

With the establishment of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Lord as a monastic community independent of the Manila community, the Benedictines were finally back to their original place of abode – Mindanao.  Presently, the Community engages in agricultural work, spiritual retreats for the lay, religious, and priests and adult catechism and organized concern for ecology.

1995

In 1995, the Benedictine presence in the Philippines had reached a full hundred years.  As the Community tried to reflect on the relevance and meaning, and contribution to the Philippine Church, the Benedictines have looked back to the past with pride and deep satisfaction.

Third millennium of the Christian Era

At the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian Era, the Benedictine Community hopes to achieve further spiritual heights and meaningful relevance as it prepared itself for the next hundred years. With the relevant spiritual and contemporary understanding of religious witnessing, the Community hopes to attain greater relevance and more effective presence for years to come.

THE MISSION STATEMENT OF

THE ABBEY OF OUR LADY OF MONTSERRAT

As a Benedictine monastery, the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat is committed to the task of witnessing to Christ’s presence in the world through prayer, work, and common life. The monastery aims to help strengthen the spirit of prayer in the Church and witness the value of community life. While its primary activity is prayer, it places itself at the service of the Church and Philippine society by responding to the need for Catholic Christian education.  The apostolate of the Benedictine monastery is an extension of its prayers and common life and, therefore, partakes in a praying community’s character.

FROM BENEDICTINE ABBEY SCHOOL TO

ST. BENEDICT COLLEGE TO SAN BEDA ALABANG

On July 10, 1972, Benedictine Abbey School (BAS) opened its doors to 78 preschool boys and girls.  Fr. Roberto de Jesus, OSB, who was the first Rector, supervised the new institution’s growing years with Mrs. Elena Racho as Head Teacher, Mrs. Josefina Beltran, and Mrs. Annie S. Improgo as Teachers.  BAS pioneered the modern concept of a non-graded open classroom instructional system.  In the school year 1977 – 1978, BAS opened its high school department.

Both elementary and high school departments later gained accreditation from the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU), a testament to the high quality of education that the Benedictines provide.

Fr. Bellarmine R. Baltasar, OSB, who served as Rector for almost a decade, was not only responsible for making BAS a premier learning institution in Southern Metro Manila.  He also spearheaded the establishment of the tertiary level that opened on their centennial anniversary in the Philippines. The tertiary department is a manifestation of their continued commitment to providing the youth with a high-quality education. The School was renamed St. Benedict College on June 5, 1995.

Under Fr. Tarcisio H. Narciso, OSB, Rector, the College Department initially offered mostly business-oriented courses. The department welcomed 208 students and 15 faculty members recruited from other colleges and universities and the SBC high school and grade school faculty roster. In the succeeding years, the College opened additional courses that catered to arts, humanities, and other sciences. St. Bede Hall (college building) was constructed in March 1996 and inaugurated on July 1, 1997, in time for the institution’s silver jubilee.

In 2001, Fr. Aloysius A. Maranan, OSB, Rector, and concurrent Dean, renamed the college department to College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).  The move was intended to highlight the department’s degree programs and give it a new identity.  His stewardship also focused on revitalizing the CAS through extensive administrators and faculty development programs.  Operational and academic policies were likewise clarified and revised to promote efficiency and excellence. Moreover, he facilitated the curriculum re-engineering to make the CAS relevant in the new millennium.

On September 7, 2004, after 32 years of existence, the College decided to adopt the institution’s secondary name as its official name:  San Beda College Alabang.  Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, Rector President, led the historic decision in response to the growing clamor of the School’s stakeholders to give a face to its well-deserved identity as a Bedan school.

Fr. Chupungco’s visionary leadership also led to the expansion of higher education departments by opening the School of Law in 2005.  It began as an extension of San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila until the new department became a separate entity in 2009.

With the assumption of Dom Clement Ma. H. Roque, OSB, as the eighth Rector/President for the school year 2008 – 2009, and his reelection for the school year 2010 – 2013, the School’s efforts towards PAASCU accreditation were placed on high gear.  Improvements in school facilities, faculty ratio, and quality of classroom instruction were all prioritized. The construction of new facilities like the St. Maur Building for the School of law was accomplished as well as the upgrading of sports facilities.

In the school year 2013 – 2014, Rev. Fr. Anselm M. Manalastas, OSB, was installed as the ninth Rector/President. Fr. Anselm’s administration emphasized rekindling the Benedictine Spirituality and living the values of our great Patron, St. Benedict, and St. Bede, the Venerable.  As part of the initiative to strengthen the Benedictine tradition of putting a premium on living a prayerful life and a continuing quest for learning with the discipline of daily practice, a new Mission and Vision statement was approved by the Board of Trustees.

On July 2, 2015, the Commission on Higher Education granted SBCA the Government Recognition to offer its first graduate program (Master in Business Administration) effective Academic Year 2015 – 2016.

On September 27, 2016, the Commission on Higher Education approved the offering of Master of Arts in Psychology for Academic Year 2017 – 2018.  The Board of Trustees approved on that same Academic Year the Graduate School as the Center for Continuing Education, which offers short courses for professionals and executives. 

On July 16, 2020, the Commission on Higher Education approved the offering of Master of Science in Information Technology. At present, the Graduate School offers three master’s degree programs and three certificate programs under the Center for Continuing Education.

Responding to the government’s mandate of an expanded basic education program, the School began preparations for the transition to the new curriculum.  A task force on Senior High School was created by Fr. Anselm M. Manalastas, OSB, in school year 2013 – 2014 composed of selected school administrators and faculty members.

In April 2016, the Board of trustees approved the establishment of the Senior High School (SHS) Department as a separate unit from the Integrated Basic Education (Pre K – 10).  The move was in line with the strategic thrust to position the SHS as a college preparatory program and align it with the course offerings of the CAS.

The new department formally welcomed its 762 Grade 11 students last June 13, 2016.  They were grouped according to their chosen academic strands with several sections: 9 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), 5 Accounting Business and Management (ABM), 5 Humanities and Social Sciences  (HUMSS), and 1 General Academic Strand (GAS).  The teaching roster of 45 full-time and part-time faculty members came mostly from the college level and the rest were from other private junior high schools.

TODAY

AND BEYOND

San Beda College Alabang continues to uphold the Benedictine tradition of excellence. Despite its young age tertiary department, it has already produced topnotchers in the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Board Examinations in 2005, 2014, and 2018. There was also a topnotcher in the Psychometrician Licensure Examination in 2018. SBCA has also achieved a 100% passing in the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in several years. The School of Law has already produced a graduate that landed in the top 10 in 2011 and 2019 Bar Examinations. The San Beda College School of Law was also named by the Legal Education Board as one of the top 10 law schools in the Philippines.

The Benedictine education encourages all students to live the life that promotes both individual and communal growth with consciousness towards their role to be stewards of creation – indeed, a College in the Lord’s service.