Friday, June 17, 2011

De La Salle University At 100 (In Celebration of De La Salle University Centennial)

MANILA, Philippines - At 10:00 o'clock Wednesday at Taft Avenue/Vito Cruz, Secretary of Education Bro. Armin Altamirano Luistro, FSC, presides over the Centennial celebrations of his alma mater De La Salle University.

There are Coca-Cola Lites, San Mig Lites, and Pepsi Lites; but today on their 100th year La Sallites are heavyweights.

History. Why is the day so important? Because after Admiral George Dewey defeated Admiral Patricio Montojo at the Battle of Manila Bay, President William McKinley fell on his knees for Divine inspiration what to do with the Philippine Islands and its people�

So the story goes, and Raul Manglapus recalls that President McKinley was inspired "to Christianize the Catholics."

So much so that after the USA acquired the Philippines for $20 million or $2 per capita, the Archbishop of Manila feared that good intentions can be a road to hell� or at least to Protestantism when the Thomasites (precursor of Peace Corps) introduce universal education.

So the Archbishop sent his own Mission Impossible to invite American Catholic educators. But the Dominican and Jesuit provinces were occupied arguing between them.

Fortunately, an errant knight responded� and the American province of Christian Brothers arrived. (We shall learn later that they would produce Archers; the Dominicans of San Juan de Letran would produce the Knights).

While the Jesuits and the Dominicans kept their Spanish language schools in Intramuros, on 15 June 1911, the Christian Brothers opened the first English-language school of De La Salle College with Grecian pillars on Taft Avenue.

De La Salle had a head-start on the language of the future� the way Xavier Kwang Chi has a head-start on all other Philippine schools in teaching Mandarin.

(Eventually, the Jesuits moved to Padre Faura and to Loyola Heights where they caught up teaching Arrneow accent; while the Christian Brothers emphasized math. Today, the Blue Eagles dominate call centers, while the Archers dominate business).

Mens sana in corpore sano. Historically, the rivalry between the two schools of higher learning goes all the way back to NCAA at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Today De La Salle is a bastion of education. With a world-class basketball team, it was elevated to university� principally as Green Archers rival to Blue Eagles at this 74th year of UAAP.

Happiest at this rivalry is Columbia honorary Consul General Jorge Araneta hearing the music of the till at Araneta Dome� which pumps the Philippine economy.

Only in the Philippines. Ironically, De La Salle colleges abroad are universally blue; green is only in De La Salle PH. Either the Eagles won the blue in a raffle or the Archers here anticipated the color of environment and climate change.

We learned some of the above from Makati Medical Center orthopedic surgeon who oversees UAAP bone-breaking games, Dr. Vince Gomez� who learned it from Brother Andrew. Dr. Gomez can mend broken green arrows, but maybe not much good with plucked blue feathers.

A highlight of the centenary celebrations was an original three-act musical, "Proudly Green," on June 11 at SMX Convention Center directed by Fritz Infante. A walk down memory lane in rock, pop and razzmatazz to pump the alumni animo.

That was followed on June 12 with premiere at MoA of Doy del Mundo's film, "Paglipad ng Angel." Flying higher than an eagle.

De La Salle had commemorative postal stamps on its 50th year (1961) and on its 75th year (1986). But it passed up on issuing stamps on its 100th year. Because it's thoroughly modern alumni don't use snail mail..?

Or they don't want to be gaya-gaya to the University of Sto. Tomas which issued stamps on its Quadricentennial (400th anniversary)�?

Which was gaya-gaya to Ateneo de Manila High School Class 1960 Jubilarians who had their own "Fabilioh" postage stamps in 2010 to commemorate their 50th anniversary? Feedback:

By AMBASSADOR JOSE A. ZAIDE (Repost from Manila Bulletin)

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