ANTIPOLO. It’s a big name for both Filipino and foreign pilgrims who come in Maytime, making their annual trip to the famous hillside destination which is to touch base with the century-old miraculous image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, also known as the NuestraSeñora de la Paz y BuenViaje. It has been perpetuated a national religious tradition that permeates the lives of many pilgrims who make the trek to Antipolo as personal vows. Barely three kilometers from the famous Cathedral is La Salle College Antipolo. The original plan was to provide a low-cost housing project in Barangay San Luis, Antipolo Rizal for the employees and faculty of La Salle Green Hills, but that wasn’t enough for the developers of La Salle Heights who included in their deal with the De La Salle Brothers that a school must be put up in the subdivision as well. So, La Salle School Antipolo was born 25 years ago in 1985, the brainchild of Br. Rolando Dizon, FSC and the late Br. Francis Cody, FSC, now named as the founders of La Salle College Antipolo. The seven hectare property is located at the highest point of La Salle Heights, nestled atop a hill. La Salle Heights is a close-knit community immediately evident even from the eyes of a visitor. Ground-breaking ceremony signaling the start of construction works was held on March 16, 1985. The school’s initial year suffered some setbacks brought by the enormous cost of building a school atop a rocky mountain and by the impassable national road leading to the subdivision. Despite these difficulties, classes in kindergarten up to grade four went on temporarily at La Salle Green Hills, under the strong leadership of Mrs. Julie Alcanites, the school’s pioneering principal. On January 13, 1986, classes were transferred to the original site, which was composed of two buildings. A third building was completed in summer of 1987. In 1988, the school had nine complete classrooms from kindergarten to high school. It had a business office, a library, a clinic, a home economics room, a working area for science and art, a covered area which served as the multipurpose hall.
In 1989, the administration building was constructed which was engineered by Br. Crisanto Moreno, FSC. The following year, the gymnasium was built and this became an answered prayer for the boys and girls who longed to have a sheltered playing area. In the mid-summer of 1994, the construction of the new high school building with nine rooms was finally completed. It was followed immediately by the construction of an additional building, housing the canteen, the school library, the science laboratory, the prayer and the typing rooms, which was completed in 1996. The following year, another structure was planned which would serve as a retreat house for the students and hopefully for the brothers and other members of the community who are interested to avail of its facilities. In 1997, the grade school and high school departments were under the supervision of La Salle Green Hills and Br. Moreno, FSC, was designated as the first Brother Director of the school. Then, a park, known today as Marian Garden was constructed. The installation of the statue of Our Lady of Mediatrix of all Graces was done thereafter. The graduates of the batch 1998 held their commencement exercises in the same location. In answer to the need of the Tertiary education, the Board of Trustees gave the approval to open the College Department. The institution was officially named La Salle College (formerly La Salle School Antipolo), offering Education and Commerce. The first batch of college students was accepted in June 1998. It was school-year 1998-1999 when the Brother’s retreat house was finally completed and temporarily used for varied activities. Then, in 2001, another construction gave rise to an additional edifice that would link the high school building and the grade school compound. Roads were even built inside the campus to facilitate the traffic flow of all vehicles that transport students to and from the school. Aside from this, enough space for parking cars and school buses was provided. The administration building planned by Br. Moreno, FSC, Ms. Corazon G. Soriano, and Dr. Estrella S. Castañeda AFSC was fully utilized when the permanent offices of the College President, Chief Operating Officer, and the Accounting office were transferred there. The majestic main building with its trademark columns is the first thing a visitor driving down the road would notice. The road leading to the school is parallel to the lines of trees shielding students and visitors from the scorching heat. At the gate, one immediately sees a vast expanse of land, which serves as the school’s football field.
In year 2004, a lot of changes in the campus were seen, which was largely attributed to Br. Jaime Dalumpines, FSC, the succeeding college president. He is best known as a veteran school administrator. Brother Jimmy, as people fondly call him, addressed all major concerns of the school that has been hounding the administration for years. His projects included providing a separate library for the high school and college students, installing a stable and more reliable electricity source and digging up a potent water source to supply the whole school. Construction inside the property would mean building around rocks and boulders, making La Salle College Antipolo slightly different from other Lasallian schools. Br. Jimmy, leading the changes imposed on renovating the Grade School and High School Faculty Rooms; toilets at Building 4 and in the college building, providing additional classrooms such as the Hotel de la Cloche, also known as the HM laboratory; installation of air- conditioning units to all classrooms and to the college library and the installation of submersible pump and main water distribution system. On that same year, LSCA also opened its door for an Adult Night High School, whose students range from as young as 16 to 39 years old. The school’s inclination for social responsibility was supported by Ms. Ria Marie L. Caganan, as the head of the Social Action Office who showed the enthusiasm to disseminate information to the nearby parishes together with Mr. Ely C. Carlos as the first Principal of the NHS. The pioneering groups consisted of 120 students and 18 volunteer teachers in the Night High School. In 2005, the construction of the BEU drop-off and pick-up area was fully passable and more accessible for the welfare of the students. The buildings were built close to one another. From then on, walking around the school would mean trudging various flights of steps that would make the not-so-physically fit panting. Compared with the other Lasallian schools, LSCA implements a socialized tuition scheme based on the student’s family income. In year 2006, Br. Dante Amisola, FSC was appointed Brother President. As one of his goals at the beginning of the school year, he was able to make the construction of the covered pathway from the main gate to BEU and TEU area possible, as well as, the renovation of the entrance signage of the gate which were completed in July of 2007. Following that year, a new building named after Br. Francis Cody, FSC Hall was constructed and was occupied by the BEU students. Several improvements were made such as: the expansion of HS and GS computer laboratory, construction of water purification system, and installation of waterline for 6 drinking fountain units as donated by the Parent’s Association.
Certainly, with Br. Amisola’s guidance, Lasallians focused on strengthening the spirituality of the community as they work towards achieving the goals to become part of the (Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities) PAASCU in the coming years. The PAASCU pre-survey results demanded the construction of new clinic and covered pathways, provision of a faculty lounge, and renovation of the St. Benilde Gymnasium. La Salle College Antipolo marked its Silver Jubilee in 2010, looking back wealthy memories of enriching experiences with students, educators, staffs, alumni, parents and partners, who worked together in creating the extraordinary learner-centered community we have today. In 2010, a new president in the person of Br. Felipe C. Belleza Jr., FSC, was appointed. By this time, the school already has a total population of 425 GS, 667 HS and 561 TEU students. In time for the 25th anniversary of the school was the construction of the chapel, as a place of worship for students, educators and staff, and the other members of the community. Our immediate past college president, Br. Belleza Jr., in his Silver Jubilee message stressed, “As we have reached the twenty-fifth year of our school’s existence, the mission of education remains essential and relevant today… And so this year, let us recall and learn from the wise words of a holy person who wrote this beautiful epitaph as taken from the book of Job, Domine Opus Tuum or The Work is Yours.
The Basic Education Unit received its first accreditation from PAASCU. Congratulations to all who became part of this big step that LSCA in its silver jubilee has filled in the laurels of commitment of its mission- vision as it readies for another leap of its next twenty-five years.” The relic of St. John Baptist De La Salle, the patron saint of all La Salle schools, came to La Salle College Antipolo. The whole LSCA community deeply celebrated this special occasion which was one of the highlights of the 100th year celebration of Lasallian presence in the Philippines. At present, the LSCA is a member of the 16 district schools under De La Salle Philippines, Inc., (DLSP), a non-profit organization established in 2006 in order to improve the overall quality of human and Christian education in the country and to promote the spirit of “ONE LASALLE” with a common vision of educating the Filipino youth through a more creative synergy among all district schools focused and unified in implementing the Lasallian mission.
- Sr. Maricar Voluntate, HGS