This is an account of how the PTA-Alumni Hall was constructed in 1988. The story behind this structure—now considered a legacy building—will explain why the MHPNHS Alumni Association (MAA) is determined to have it renovated and rehabilitated, turn it into a Bahay Alumni to house the offices of the various stakeholders of the school (MAA, FEA, PTA, and SG), and to provide safe and comfortable facilities to the students, teachers, non-academic personnel, and alumni.
THE STORY OF THE PTA-ALUMNI MULTI-PURPOSE HALL
Why the MHPNHS Alumni Association Wants to Preserve A Legacy
In the July-September 1985 issue of Ang Malaya—official student organ of the Marcelo H. del Pilar High School in Filipino—an open letter was published on page 5.
The letter was an appeal “to the graduates of Bulacan High School, now Marcelo H. del Pilar High School”. Excerpts:
Ito’y panawagan sa lahat ng ngayo’y matatagumpay, mayayaman at hindi káyamanang nagsipagtapos. Ang kaya ninyong iambag ay buong puso naming tatanggapin upang mayari na ang ating PTA-Alumni Multi-Purpose Hall. Napakaraming makikinabang na mag-aaral kapag ito’y nahusto na ang kayarian. Napakaraming nagpapalasalamat kapag ito’y nagagamit na.
Maililigtas ang libu-libong mag-aaral sa matinding sikat ng araw kapag tag-init at sa malakas na ulan kapag tag-ulan. Magagamit ding silid-aralan ito ng mga klase sa YDT at Practical Arts. Magagamit ding pulungan, palaruan, panayaman at iba pa. Higit sa lahat magagamit din ninyo ito sa inyong pagre-reunion.
Kaya’t kayong mga may matulunging puso, kayong may pagtingin pang nalalabi sa inyong paaralan, kayong naghihintay lamang ng aming panawagan ay magmamadali pa marahil upang ang Inang Paaralan ay inyong tulungan sa kanyang pangangailangan sa inyo.
Anupa’t hindi kayo manghihinayang na tulungan ang inyong Alma Mater. Darating din ang panahong ang inyong mga anak at apo ay dito magsisipagtapos.
Umaasa kaming ang kahilingang ito ay bibigyan ninyo ng pangunahing pansin at paglingap. Pauna na ang maraming pasasalamat.
The PTA-Alumni Multi-Purpose Hall is a building located at the south portion of the MHPNHS campus in Sta. Isabel, to your right when you are facing the front fence from the Bagong Bayan road (the road from Malusak up to MacArthur Highway, passing by the Bulacan Provincial Athletic Grounds on the right, and the Holy Spirit Academy and other schools on the left).
The structure is the only building existing in the campus today built not by government funds but by the contributions and donations of the students and their parents, alumni, teachers, and other benefactors from Bulacan.
Constructed phase by phase from 1980 to 1988, the 28-year old building cannot fall under the legal definition of a “heritage” building (50 years old and above), but it can be rightfully called a “legacy” building.
When it was inaugurated on March 18, 1988, it was offered as a “symbol of love”.
“It cost the completion of the PTA-Alumni Multi-Purpose Hall no more than a million, but it cost no less than the love, the sweat, and the sacrifice of the parents, teachers, students, and other people behind the project.” (The Republic Commencement Issue, 1988)
Conceived in 1980 by the late Justice Jose C. de la Rama (Class 1946 and PTA president of MHPHS for 17 years), the initial plan was to construct it in what was then called Quadrangle in the old MHPHS site in the provincial capitol grounds.
But when the provincial government decided to begin the transfer the MHPHS campus to Sta. Isabel in 1980-81, the PTA Board decided to prepare a new plan for it to be constructed in the new campus.
From 1980 to 1982, a fund raising, with a P20.00 contribution per family was initiated to finance the building. Some parents protested against it and the PTA agreed to return the collection to those parents who will express their desire in writing. Nobody did.
When the funds raised was deemed insufficient to start the building, another three years of fund campaign was started. In addition, raffle tickets were sold to parents, teachers and alumni.
On October 9, 1985, a cornerstone laying ceremony was held to signal a much vigorous drive to solicit funds from prominent alumni of the school and from provincial and national government officials who are from Bulacan.
This was when “donations flowed in.”
Felipe F. Cruz (Class 1937) in addition to a donation of P50,000 agreed to supervise the construction as well as revise the original plan to allow future vertical expansion.
Blas F. Ople (who started his initial year in Bulacan High), a top cabinet official at that time, gave P30,000.
Class 1942, the BHS class who missed its graduation day because of the outbreak of World War II, chipped in P21,000 for the improvement of the hall’s right wing.
Individual and group donations were not enough. Other forms of raising funds were initiated.
A benefit basketball exhibition game featuring the late Fernando Poe Jr. was held, as well as a concert at the Hiyas Convention Center.
A P300 per plate dinner-show was also sponsored by the PTA and alumni to raise additional money.The show featured the singing duo of Fidel Calalang and Charo Garcia who rendered a repertoire of Tagalog love songs and the MHPHS Senior Choir ’85 who sang a medley of folk tunes.
The P20-raffle tickets given to students were eligible to win different prizes: 8 fourth prizes worth P500 each; third prize of P1,000; second prize of P2,000; and first prize of P3,000.
Gov. Ignacio Santiago donated 8 truckloads of filling materials.
Then came March 18, 1988: the day described by The Republic as the time when “the labor of love was consummated, its fruit was inaugurated and was offered as as symbol of love.”
The PTA-Alumni Hall, since that day onwards, provided the students of MHPHS “enough space to take shelter in or additional room to hold their programs or even classes.”
The hall also “house[d] the meeting of minds, and partnership of efforts of parents and teachers to fill the needs of the student populace.”
On the part of the different batches of alumni graduates—both from the much older Bulacan High School classes and the younger Marcelo H. del Pilar High school batches—the building has become a favorite place for reunions and annual gatherings.
For leaving this legacy to the school and its present generation of students, the following PTA officers, parents, community leaders, alumni, and teachers from 1983 to 1988—most of whom are now deceased—should be honored and remembered:
Jose C. dela Rama, Filemon Zafra, Abelardo Galang, Ma. Elenita Quintana, Adelaida Berroya, Filomena Pedroche, Amparo del Rosario, Jose Torres, Antonio Bernardo, Prudencio Borlongan, Onofre Galvez, Conrado Santos, Maximo Tolentino, Angelina Fajardo, Trinidad Tamayo, Dominador Adriano, Norma Ochoa, Susan Cruz, Epifania Fajardo, Evangeline Martines, Aurelio Mariano, Andrea Andres, Divina Abracosa, Atanacio Estrella, Dionisio Luciano, and Sotero Bulaong.
Preserving this legacy building, renovating and rehabilitating it as a Bahay Alumni—to house the offices of the alumni association, the school’s faculty and employees association, the PTA, and the student government—will not only remember and honor those leaders.
For today’s generation of students, this gesture will show that we respect history and those who make history in our campus and community.
By Perfecto T. Martin, Class 1968 and member, MAA Board of Trustees
Pictures from the collection of Dr. Rebbie de la Rama Ladia (C1970), eldest daughter of Justice Jose C. de la Rama