San Sebastian College – Recoletos, Manila, is a Catholic Institution of higher learning, duly recognized by the Philippine Government. One of the seven “Recollect” schools in the Philippines, it is owned and operated by the Augustinian Recollect Fathers.
Elegantly couched right in the heart of Manila (along CM Recto Avenue and a few meters from bustling Quiapo), San Sebastian College was established and founded in 1947 as an exclusive boys’ school with initial offerings in the Elementary and High School levels, as well as the Institute of Liberal Arts in College. In 1953, the Institutes of Commerce and Law were opened.
Subsequently, several other course offerings and specializations were consecutively added—a two-year Secretarial course in 1972, Banking and Finance in 1974, and finally graduate programs in MBA and MA Theological Studies in 1976.
Coeducation was initially started in 1972 when the first batch of female students was admitted to the Secretarial Course. A year later, the entire college, along with the elementary and high school departments readily began accepting female students.
Now on its 60th year, San Sebastian College- as fittingly exuded by the indomitable spires of its gothic Basilica-continues its dauntless commitment to serve, form and educate Filipinos, The “Recollect” way.
In the 1940’s, the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) envisioned the establishment of a Catholic School that performs a three-fold mission: the development of man, the promotion of local culture, and the welfare of society. SSC-R, Manila was established in 1941 but assumed hiatus from 1942 to 1945 when World War II broke out. It formally reopened after the war in 1946.
The College started operation amidst the rubbles of war. The past 56 years bear witness to how the vision evolved into a sprawling campus with marked neogothic architecture, offering quality instructions in modern facilities aimed at developing successful students and citizens in a diverse, pluralistic and working society for the greater glory of God.
SSC-R, Manila, situated in the heart of Manila, was named after Roman centurion turned martyr – San Sebastian. The College had a relatively humble beginning. Its first functional lone building was an old convent: a two-storey Hispanic edifice made of stone and wood with capiz shell windows. The building served as classrooms of the first batch of 200 elementary and high school enrollees. SSC-R, Manila was then an exclusive school for boys.
The Recollects’ desire to respond to the needs of the times triggered a string of physical metamorphoses that now characterize the spirit, the architecture and the educational ambiance of the College. The first two-storey neo-gothic edifice modeled after the famous allsteelSan Sebastian Church was built in 1947, replacing the first old stone and wood building.
n 1951, the old convent was demolished. In its place, a third building with a tower was erected along Gothic patterns, now called the Administration building, which houses the Executive Offices, the Guidance and Counseling Offices, the Main Library, the DMST/ROTC Office, the Medical/Dental clinic and the HRDC. A portion of the Administration building houses the convent of the Recollect Fathers. Three years after, a three-storey extension with a Gothic tower mirroring the tower of the Administration building was built. It is called the Annex building. The Annex is home to the HRM laboratories and fully furnished mini-hotel, the Instructional Media Center, the Student Government office and the office of the student publication, the Sebastinian.
Another neo-gothic edifice was built in 1959, known today as the High School Department. It featured the era’s finest auditorium – one of the city’s best with projections, revolving stage and state-ofthe-art facilities. The Auditorium (seating capacity: 1,200) serves as a venue for college activities. It is available to the public for various affairs. The St. Ezekiel Moreno Chapel is conveniently located at the ground floor of the building.
Another building constructed in 1966 is situated at the western end of the campus. The Elementary Department, the Institute of Commerce and Institute of Arts and Sciences are all located in this building. This building also houses the Offices of the Academic Deans of the Institutes of Commerce and Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Office of the Dean of Religious Studies, the Little Theater, speech laboratory, mass communication laboratory/studio and several function rooms. The elementary department library is found on the fourth floor of the building.
The newest addition to the SSC-R, Manila campus, the St. Augustine Law building is a fully air-conditioned state-of-the-art multi-purpose building. It was inaugurated on September 10, 1998, the feast day of St. Nicholas of Tolentine. It was designed to accommodate the sixth floor modern gymnasium/basketball court and workout facilities that is home to the Stags basketball team. The building has an expansive library facility, air-conditioned classrooms, first class facilities and multi-purpose halls. The Institute of Law and its paralegal aid office to the poor, SOLA, calls St. Augustine building its home. SSC-R, Manila, cognizant of the need to counter urban blight along C. M. Recto Avenue, decided to reserve three-store front offices to be leased to service companies needing a presence in the university belt area.
This physical transformation of the SSC-R, Manila campus was equally substantiated by changes in the academic blueprint. To achieve the School Chapter’s noble purpose of meeting the pressing educational need of a war-ravaged nation, SSC-R, Manila, aside from focusing on primary and secondary education, widened its visionary zeal to include tertiary education in its program of education for the Filipino people. An Institute of Liberal Arts was established with a two-year course leading to an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in 1948. The Institute of Commerce was inaugurated in 1953.
The Lacson Law College was absorbed by the College and became the Institute of Law on June 15, 1953. A co-educational two year Secretarial Course was offered in 1972 to meet the demands of Philippine business and industry for trained office administrators and secretaries (the course was expanded and incorporated in the major field of computer science under the Institute of Commerce in 1994).
Aligning itself with the needs of the people, the whole collegiate level was made co-educational in 1973. The elementary department followed suit and accepted its first batch of female pupils in 1974. The first collegiate summer classes were offered the same year. In the spirit of pioneering, SSC-R, Manila founded the Institute of Banking and Finance in 1974 (the Institute of Commerce absorbed the IBF in 1994).
The Institute of Graduate Studies in response to the needs of business and industry for professional managers, academicians, entrepreneurs and managers offered the MBA program in 1976.
The decision of the High School Department to admit its first female students in 1986 made SSC-R, Manila completely coeducational in all departmental levels.
The College’s advocacy of the Catholic faith prompted the opening of Master’s Program in Theology (MAT) with OAR theologians as its first students in 1987. The program accepted lay people the following year. The Institute of Commerce offers major fields of studies in accountancy, business management, computer science, financial management, legal management and marketing while the Institute of Arts and Sciences gears its students in the fields of: hotel and restaurant management, mass communications, political science, psychology and tourism.
SSC-R, Manila embarked on a program of continuous, scheduled improvement of the school’s facilities to better serve the growing needs of the students. New constructions, installations, repairs and acquisitions were made to effect essential innovations. In 1998, the main quadrangle was repaved and coated with safety epoxy cement. It now features an alternate playing ground to the college gym featuring three basketball courts, a tennis court and a volleyball court. The monthly first Friday Mass is celebrated at the quadrangle for the community.
Today, SSC-R, Manila boasts and exhibits spacious and fully air-conditioned classrooms, five well-equipped libraries – one for each department, four computer laboratories in the college department, one in the elementary department, and three in the high school department. Instructional media centers can be found in the tertiary, high school and elementary departments. The College has a mass communication laboratory/studio, mini-hotel rooms and function laboratories. The Institute of Commerce has a special business laboratory that is used by practicum students and interested students. Several concessionaires in the cafeteria area offer food, snacks and beverages. A group of dedicated licensed physicians, dentists and nurses trained in school emergencies and procedures man a fully equipped medical/dental clinic.
In the macroscopic Philippine educational setting, SSC-R, Manila has entrenched itself through its multi-faceted achievements that mirror the brand and quality of education it furnishes the Filipinos. The Elementary, High School and College Departments enjoy accreditation from the Philippine Accrediting Agency of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). The Institute of Law gained approval from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to revise its curriculum designed to produce business and economic lawyers for the future. The Institute of Law is the first and only Asian Law School to become an associate member of the Southwestern Legal Foundation based in Dallas, Texas, which sponsors the annual Dallas Academy of American and International Law. The legal aid to the poor and marginal members of society through SOLA is the Institute’s legacy to the people of Manila.
The students on their part have reaped glory, prestige and honor for the School through their remarkable success in off-campus competitions in various fields of endeavors. The students have excelled in inter-collegiate competitions in drama, literary-musicals, and sports, skill demonstrations in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. SSC-R, Manila has established NCAA records and became undisputed champions for years in the fields of basketball, volleyball, chess and track and field in the junior and senior divisions. The DMST/ROTC cadets have annually garnered awards in drill competitions.
Many Sebastinians have won major inter-collegiate awards in the fields of oratory, song, declamation, debate and science exhibits. Numerous plays and musicals have been produced in campus and off-campus by the Student Theater and singing groups. Participation and immersion in community development, social action and religious activities have been encouraged. Administration, Faculty and Students are active participants of the Institution’s program in its Campus Ministry Office and the Outreach Program Office.
The SSC-R, Manila envisions a continuance of its mission, vision and objectives for the greater glory and honor to God. The College also vows to continue fulfilling the three-fold mission of the founding OAR Fathers in providing QUALITY CATHOLIC COMMUNITY ORIENTED EDUCATION for the Filipinos beyond the year 2000.
San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Manila opened its doors to about 80 students in 1941 until the outbreak of war jolted its operation. In 1946-47 conceded to be the first regular year of San Sebastian College, Manila.
In 1946, it had a combined enrollment of 200 pupils and students. In 1947, a two-story edifice of gothic architecture was constructed. Few years later the third building was constructed after the old convent was demolished. In 1954, an annex was added to the second building consisting of four levels. In 1959, an impressive and imposing building was constructed which houses the college auditorium, a 1200-seater equipped with modern technical facilities.
In 1966, a five-story edifice was inaugurated which is now shared by the elementary and collegiate levels. Now, the elementary, high school, and collegiate departments enjoy the “accredited” status from the “PAASCU”