Colegio de Sta. Rosa-Makati turns gold

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Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

Mabel P. Villarica-Mamba

COLEGIO de Sta. Rosa – Makati is a small exclusive school for girls. While the parent school located inside Intramuros was established in 1750 and which was originally known and referred to in history books as the “Beaterio”, Colegio de Sta. Rosa – Makati is only celebrating its 50th year or Golden Jubilee this year.

The Beaterio was founded by M. Paula de la Santisima Trinidad, a Dominican Tertiary from Spain. In 1801, the chairmanship of its Board of Control was given by the Spanish governor to the Vicar Provincial of the Order of Recollect Fathers in the Philippines, and his successors, and it has remained with them up to this day.

The school was later managed by the Daughters of Charity until World War II. During the Battle of Manila between the Americans and the Japanese, the school was completely destroyed. In 1948, Colegio de Sta. Rosa was reconstructed and re-opened under the management of the Congregation of the Siervas de San Jose (SSJ).

The branch in Makati was opened in 1964 producing its first 17 high school graduates in 1971. In 1981, the SSJ nuns decided to focus on their congregation’s primary mission and turned over administration of Colegio de Sta. Rosa to the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters (ARS).


It was indeed a turning-point in the school’s history, as well as in our batch: Batch ’81 (Elementary).

We were used to the SSJ-style of education, and looked forward to studying Spanish in high school, among others. We didn’t know what to expect.

The SSJ traces its roots to Salamanca, Spain where a young woman, Bonifacia Rodriguez-Castro (now a canonized saint), founded the congregation in 1874 to help poor working women. On the other hand, the ARS was founded by two Filipino sisters in blood and vocation, Dionisia Mitas and Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz of Calumpit, Bulacan. Their focal point is education.

The SSJ and ARS may have originated from different parts of the world, pursued their vocation based on distinct callings, and ran the school using diverse management styles but the dissimilarities end there. Their goal is one and the same, to raise “a community of committed Christians who in one mind and one heart in God are morally upright, intellectually competent and service-oriented.” And this they both did with dedication, competence and passion.

Together with seven of my classmates, Micaela Villareal-Masigan, Rhona Jay Mariano, Imelda Nery-Nevares, Cherry Yabut-delos Angeles, Odinah Castillo, Geraldine Ado-Segovia, and Agnes Fajardo-Santos, I attended the homecoming last Saturday. Organized by the Silver Jubilarians (Batch ’89), it was a wonderful trip down memory lane as we visited the school, pointed out old and new structures to each other, remarked about how certain parts of the school seemed smaller when it is actually the same size and felt our hearts beat a little faster as we met former (terror) teachers.

It has been 29 years but when we saw Mrs. Perido (Physics), Mrs. Guillermo (Social Studies), Ms. de Jesus (Religion), Gng. Vital (Pilipino), Mrs. Valles (Math), Mrs. Orense (Language and Reading), Mrs. Perez (Chemistry), Ms. Clemente, and Ms. Bernardo, it seemed only like yesterday that we prepared for recitation and studied for our tests under them. Also present were Mrs. Sta. Cruz, our guidance counselor, and the indefatigable Ms. Jamison, who is now in charge of Alumnae Affairs and responsible for bringing all of us back to Sta. Rosa.

During the program, each batch present was asked what we remember most about Sta. Rosa. I was asked to represent our batch and said, “I believe we are the only batch who didn’t have a yearbook in the entire history of Sta. Rosa and thus, we were thought of as the batch not likely to succeed. However, except from gaining a few pounds, our batch did amount to something and succeeded.” I also spoke about our favorite spaghetti and halo-halo place behind the school inside Palm Village cooked and served by Mang Recto, Mrs. Sopoco’s school buses we used in our field trips, the canteen which used to be managed by Mrs. Feliciano, and Mang Ted who is the official photographer of Sta. Rosa for so many years.

Minutes after I sat down, my classmates and I still remembered more such as attending Anti-Marcos rallies at Ayala Avenue every Friday together with our Speech teacher (whose name we couldn’t recall) and being tear-gassed in one such rally, our initiation rites during our freshman year, and other memorable bits and pieces of our Sta. Rosa life.

Personally, the highlight of the Golden Jubilee for me is being awarded one of the Most Outstanding Alumna for Public Service and I have to thank my alma mater for this.

These may not be found on the mission and vision statements of Colegio de Sta. Rosa as well as in its purposes and objectives. What I have learned from being a Roseña is simplicity, humility and kindness. There are no pretensions. We are who we are, give what we can, and serve with compassion and understanding.

Thank you, Colegio de Sta. Rosa. May you continue to educate morally upright, intellectually competent and service-oriented girls and young ladies!

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