History of Pampanga High School
Pampanga High School (a.k.a. PHS) is the alma mater of many famous Filipinos such as Philippine President Diosdado P. Macapagal of Class 1929 and six of his cabinet members during his presidency:
Some of other noted Pampanga High School alumni are/were:
According to Dr. Evangelina Hilario-Lacson of Class 1933 in her "Kapampangan Writing - A Selected Compendium and Critique", that three famous contemporary Kapampangan writers, poets and lawyers - Roman P. Reyes, Amado M. Yuzon and Silvestre M. Punsalan completed their secondary education at Pampanga High School . Reyes was one of the most admired Kapampangan poets and an acclaimed playwright, zarzuela director and editor of "Ing Kampuput". Yuzon of Class 1925 was honored internationally as a poet laureate, a professor and a congressman of the first district of Pampanga. Punsalan, also of Class 1925 was a provincial board member, acting governor and Chairman of the Board of the Philippine National Bank.
Also listed in the roster of many distinguished PHS alumni are/were:
Other Pampanga High School alumni who served with distinction as city/municipal government officials are/were:
In the military and national police service, the following PHS alumni rose to the rank of colonel:
thousands of other professionals who made significant contributions to the Philippines as a young and growing republic while aligning itself among the members of the league of sovereign nations.
The early foundations of what we know today as Pampanga High School were initially laid out in July 1901 when first American civil governor Howard H. Taft succeeded Major General Arthur MacArthur as American Chief Executive in the Philippines . Governor Taft, who became the 27th president of the United States of America in 1909-1913, fully established a civilian government in the Philippines to replace the military rule of his predecessors.
One of the four executive departments of the central government, the Department of Public Instruction under the administration of Honorable Bernard Moses, a member of the Second Philippine Commission initiated public education in Pampanga and in other provinces of the Philippines . Twenty-five civilian educators from the six hundred American teachers known as Thomasites who arrived from the United States aboard the U.S.A.T. Thomas on August 23, 1901 were assigned in nineteen towns of Pampanga. The initial objectives of the American educators with the cooperation of municipal and provincial officials were to establish at least one primary school (Grades I to IV) in each municipality and the recruitment of native Pampangan teachers for training in the English language and in new teaching methods. A "teachers institute" was created in San Fernando to meet the need for native Pampangan teachers.
It was quite a struggle in putting up a new educational system right after the Philippine-American War. New buildings had to be constructed; supplies, books and other instructional materials had to be procured. Pampangan native teachers had to learn the English language and had to be trained in new methods of teaching. The cooperation of parents and local government officials had to be solicited also.
By 1905, about a year after the provincial capital was transferred from Bacolor to San Fernando , Governor Macario Arnedo was able to secure additional funds from the national government to open five intermediate schools (Grade V to VII) along with the provincial school and two trade schools, one in Apalit and one in Bacolor.
By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the intermediate schools increased to eight and the provincial normal school was converted into a regular high school. The trade school in Apalit ceased operations in later years while the trade school in Bacolor grew into an industrial arts and technical college, which was renamed later as Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades in honor of Governor and Secretary of the Interior HonorioVentura.
The effort and sacrifices of the pioneering educators in Pampanga resulted to positive progress. As evidence of the quality of public education in Pampanga particularly in the secondary level, eleven (11) of the more than two hundred (200) participants to the "Pensionado Program" set up by the Philippine Commission in 1903 to 1910 were originally from Pampanga. Many of these government scholars with at least secondary education diplomas who were sponsored to study in American colleges and universities became great leaders in government service, law, education, medicine and politics. The most famous of these government scholars was Secretary of Justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Jose Abad Santos who is acclaimed today as a national hero.
It is interesting to note also that in the 1918-1919 commencement exercises of the University of the Philippines , Pampangans were awarded the second highest total of degrees. Only graduates from the Manila area exceeded the total of Pampangan UP graduates in that particular school year. Such commendable accomplishments validated the intellectual excellence of many Pampangan students and the outstanding college preparation they received from their secondary school teachers.
The Golden Jubilee Celebration Souvenir Program of Pampanga High School in 1962 indicated that in 1908 the Pampanga High School classrooms were located in a big house in downtown San Fernando known then as the " Buison Building ". When the student population increased tremendously, the Pampanga High School moved to a bigger concrete building along the old highway near the Provincial Capitol in barrio Santo Nino. The high school building in downtown San Fernando became later a popular lodging and dining facility known as Pampanga Hotel and Restaurant.
The school principal during the early years of Pampanga High School was an American educator by the name of John W. Osborn. Nineteen (19) students graduated in 1912 with Wenceslao Vitug as valedictorian and Macaria Roque as salutatorian. The school was under the supervision of American educators until 1935 when the last American principal, Charles G. Whitewell was succeeded by Demetrio Andres who served as school principal until 1939.
In 1937, during the administration of provincial Governor Pablo Angeles David when the Philippines was still a commonwealth and Manuel L. Quezon was the president, classes were transferred again to new and bigger facilities along Teopaco Street now known as High School Boulevard in San Fernando, Pampanga. The concrete high school building near the provincial capitol was converted to a military hospital after World War II. It became later the San Fernando Branch of the University of the Philippines until it was significantly damaged by lahar in 1991.
Classes at Pampanga High School were interrupted in 1942 to 1944 due to World War II. When regular classes were resumed after the war, Alvaro Punla and Wilfredo Castro graduated valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, in 1945.
In an exchange of emails with Dr. Antonio R. Suba of PHS Class 1942, he wrote that the members of his class received their diplomas in 1946 in a special graduation ceremony. Class members who perished during World War II were honored and their respective families received their diplomas.
Today, despite of limited financial resources and the keen competition with many private institutions, the Pampanga High School continuously improves its high academic standards and employs many good and dedicated teachers. Hundreds of high school students graduate every year and majority of them pursue their professional careers in many institutions of higher education.
Repairs and renovations of aging facilities and structural damage brought by the 1991 volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and other calamities are being initiated as funds become available through government appropriations and donations from generous alumni. The federation of school alumni associations under the presidency of Mr. Angelo D. David of Class 1947 is currently raising funds and coordinating the implementation of the Total Master Site Development Plan of the Pampanga High School to meet the needs of a growing student population.On October 22, 2005, the ground breaking ceremony of a new three storey building to be built at the school campus was attended by prominent alumni, school administrators, faculty members and government officials.
(12/12/2005 - [email protected])
About the Authors:
Andro and Tess Z. Camiling are conscientious researchers and writers of Kapampangan history, language and culture. They wrote “Pampanga: History and Culture", "Pampanga: Towns and Barangays", "The Province of Pampanga and Its People” and other articles including “Malay Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture”, "Spanish Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture", biographies of eighteen (18) famous Kapampangans and the history of the towns of Apalit, Lubao, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, San Fernando, San Luis, San Simon and Santo Tomas of the Province of Pampanga, Philippines. Andro is a true-blue Kapampangan based in California USA where he was employed and retired as an accounting/financial director at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and practiced his CPA profession as a management and tax consultant. He is a Pampanga High School Centennial Awardee as an Outstanding Alumnus in the Field of Accountancy and a recipient of the City of San Fernando’s 2011 Outstanding Fernandino Award for Culture. His wife and co-author of the aforementioned articles, the former Teresita Manalansan Zuniga of Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines is a retired public school teacher in Pasadena, California. She was honored and awarded with Certificates of Recognition by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate for her outstanding dedication to teaching when she retired in 2003. Andro and Tess are dedicated socio-civic-religious leaders in their community and served as long-term presidents of their town non-profit charitable organizations in the USA.