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History of Pampanga High School
By Alejandro S. Camiling, CPA

The Pampanga High School

Pampanga High School - A Synopsis

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:

  • General Marcos G. Soliman of Class 1929, Chairman of the National Intelligence Coordinating Council (NICA) and Commanding General of the Philippine Army

  • Dr. Floro Dabu of Class 1930, Secretary of Health

  • Amable Aguiluz of Class 1931, Treasurer of the Philippines

  • Atty. Juan Cancio, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Philippines , valedictorian of Class 1932 and

  • Pampanga Governor Jose B. Lingad of Class 1932, Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue.

President Diosdado Macapagal
President Diosdado Macapagal

Some of other noted Pampanga High School alumni are/were:
  • Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Jose Gutierrez David of Class 1912
  • Dr. Wenceslao Vitug, valedictorian of the Class of 1912, founding president of the Philippine Diabetes Association.
  • Dr. Pedro S. Sales, of Class of 1912,  one of the first graduates of the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of the Philippines and an administrator in the Bureau of Animal Industry in the Philippines. 
  • Macario Naval of Class of 1914, a Fulbright Scholar and president of Philippine Normal College (University) from 1950-1958.
  • Director of Private Schools Manuel Carreon, the valedictorian of Class 1915
  • Ricardo E. Galang of Class 1915, professor and chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines and Curator of the Philippine National Museum
  • Ambassador and Justice of the Supreme Court Roberto Regala of Class 1918
  • Director of Lands Zoilo Castrillo, Salutatorian of Class 1919
  • Pampanga Provincial Governor Urbano Dizon of Class 1920
  • Congressman Emilio Cortez of Class 1921
  • Dr. Clemente Calma of Class of 1925, a director of the UST Clinical Hospital and elected president of Manila Medical Society and the Philippine Association of Thoracic Surgeons.
  • Gregorio Fernandez of Class 1925, award-winning movie actor, director and producer.
  • Ernesto Y. Sibal of Class of 1926,  founder of Alemars, one of the largest bookstores in the Philippines.
  • Philippine Postmaster General Belarmino P. Navarro of Class 1926
  • Pampanga Provincial Governor Rafael Lazatin of Class 1927
  • Judge Ernestino Limpin of Class 1928
  • Literary genius and patriot Amando G. Dayrit of Class 1929
  • Administrator Godofredo Pangan of the Rural Electrification Program of the Philippines of Class 1930
  • Major Daniel S. Fausto of Class of 1930, a graduate from the Philippine Dental College and from the Medical Field Service School of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He gained fame for his heroism in escaping from the Japanese soldiers guarding the Death March from Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga during World War II.
  • Dr. Eliodoro Congco of Class 1931, founder of Family Clinic in Manila which eventually became a teaching hospital. It expanded in later years with a College of Nursing, College of Radiologic Technology, College of Arts & Sciences, and College of Physical Therapy.
  • Provincial Board Member and nationally known trial lawyer Moises S. Ocampo of Class 1933
  • Award-winning journalist and historian Renato "Katok" Tayag, valedictorian of Class 1933
  • Executive Editor of Manila Times Publishing Company Jose Luna Castro of Class 1933
  • Undersecretary of Finance Ruben Macapinlac of Class 1935
  • Evening News Editor-In-Chief Felix B. Bautista, Jr. of Class 1938
  • Supreme Court Justice Hugo Gutierrez, Jr. of Class 1942
  • Judge Pablo P. Inventor of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City , the valedictorian of Class 1947
  • Provincial Board Member and prominent CPA Adelino Lugue of Class 1947
  • Judge Rodolfo Toledano, a CPA-Lawyer of Class 1948
  • Deputy Minister of Public Works and Highways Aber Canlas of Class 1950
  • Philippine Free Press Editor-In-Chief Crispulo Icban, Jr. of Class 1950
  • Secretary of Education and Department of Public Works  Jose P. de Jesus of Class 1951
  • Dr. Manuel Soriano Jr. of Class 1952, noted Pennsylvania urologist, medical school professor and founder of Beta Sigma Fraternity at the Far Eastern University Institute of Medicine
  • Vice Governor Cicero J. Punsalan, a lawyer and private school executive, of Class 1954
  • Human Rights Commissioner Eligio Mallari, a lawyer and businessman, of Class 1954
  • Multi-awarded broadcast-journalist and media executive Orlando Punsalan of Class 1954
  • Provincial Board Member Restituto Capulong of Class 1955
  • Provincial Administrator and Journalist Artaserxes Art Sampang of Class 1955
  • Provincial Administrator and Fiscal Orlando Santiago of Class 1955
  • Herminio Miranda of the Solicitor General's Office of Class 1955
  • Congressman and National Housing Authority Manager Marciano Pineda of Class 1955
  • Evelyn Ballestemon-Pantig of Class 1956, former Undersecetary of Tourism of the Philippines, Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Dean, School of Tourism at the Philippine Women's University in Manila
  • Former Congressman and current city mayor of San Fernando City , Oscar Rodriguez of Class 1963
  • Doctor of Economics Dante B. Canlas, Secretary of Economic Planning and Development of Class 1963
  • CIS and Narcom Chief Brig. Gen. Ramsey Ocampo of Class 1963
  • Congresswoman and Immigration Commissioner Andrea Dizon Domingo of Class 1965 and
  • Dr. Virgilio Malang, award-winning inventor and scientist of Class 1965.

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.

Gen. Romeo S. David
Gen. Romeo S. David

Amb. Armando Madamba
Amb. Armando  Madamba

Gen. Virgilio David
Gen. Virgilio David

Also listed in the roster of many distinguished PHS alumni are/were:

  • Philippine Air Force Brigadier General Romeo S. David who served as president and CEO of Clark Development Corporation

  • AFP Deputy Chief of Staff and Vice Admiral Armando Q. Madamba who was appointed as Ambassador and Executive Director of Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1995 to 1996 of Class 1954

  • Brigadier General and National Police Commissioner Virgilio M. David of Class 1954
  • Brigadier General Rafael M. Maniago of Class 1955
  • Police General Jose Lalisan of Class 1965, outstanding administrator of the Philippine National Police Directorate.

Other Pampanga High School alumni who served with distinction as city/municipal government officials are/were:

  • San Fernando Municipal Vice President Jose Santos of Class 1918
  • San Fernando Mayor Miguel Baluyut of Class 1927
  • San Fernando Vice Mayor Abelito David of Class 1930
  • San Fernando Mayor Jose Quiwa of Class 1930
  • Apalit Mayor Alfonso Lugue of Class 1931
  • San Fernando Mayor and Provincial Board Member Rodolfo Hizon of Class 1931
  • Angeles City Councilor and business executive Alfredo de Leon of Class 1938
  • Bacolor Mayor and Undersecretary of National Defense Emerito de Jesus of Class 1949
  • Magalang Mayor Benedicto Dayrit of Class 1949
  • Floridablanca Mayor Pedro Capulong of Class 1951
  • San Fernando Municipal Councilor and Pampanga Provincial Board Member Agapito Espinoza, valedictorian of Class 1953
  • San Fernando Mayor Armando Biliwang of Class 1954
  • Mabalacat Mayor Catalino Domingo of Class 1954
  • Apalit Mayor Romeo Pamintuan of Class 1954
  • San Fernando Mayor Paterno Guevara of Class 1955
  • Pampanga Assistant Fiscal and San Fernando Officer-in-Charge/Appointed Mayor Vicente Macalino of Class 1956
  • San Fernando Mayor Virgilio Sanchez of Class 1957
  • Limay, Bataan Mayor Nelson David of Class 1965.

In the military and national police service, the following PHS alumni rose to the rank of colonel:

  • World War II hero and writer Ricardo Galang of Class 1915
  • Agustin Gabriel of Class 1917
  • Francisco Sandico of Class 1917
  • Emigdio C. Cruz of Class 1921
  • Sergio G. Sanchez of Class 1926
  • Gregorio M. Yambao of Class 1926
  • Pacifico C. Marin of Class 1928
  • Miguel Pingul of Class 1929
  • Juan Arroyo of Class 1930
  • Federico W. Calma of Class 1931
  • Diosdado Garcia of Class 1933
  • Patricio Buyson of Class 1934
  • Felix Duenas of Class 1937
  • Eloy Baluyut of Class 1947
  • Agustin Cuyugan of Class 1954 and
  • Rolando de Guzman of Class 1955 and

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 in San Fernando and two trade schools, one in Apalit and one in Bacolor. No detailed information is currently available regarding the first graduates of the intermediate course in Pampanga but the class picture of PHS Class 1910 uploaded in this page indicates that indeed there was an intermediate course graduation at Pampanga High School in 1910.

PHS graduation in 1910
Photo courtesy of Charles Jose, art collector, Northern California

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])

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