A Brief History of the Alumni Association

Brother Director Michael on August 27, 1916 sent out a circular to as many former students of the Brothers as were known to be then residing in Manila. These were from a number of different schools operated by the Brothers throughout the world. He had called them to the meeting for the purpose of establishing an Alumni Association for the new college. Some thirty-five attended the meeting and immediately went about the business of electing officers. Mr. Arnaldo Da Silva, an alumnus of St. Joseph’s College in Hong Kong and working for Warner Barnes in Manila, was elected President.‘ He was the father of Architect Carlos Da Silva, alumnus of La Salle Manila, and during the Golden Jubilee Year a number of his grandsons were studying in De La Salle.

Papers of Incorporation were later drawn up and presented for file with the Securities and Exchange. The original incorporators and first Board of Directors of the DLSAA also included J. Preysler, Vice-President; D. Da Roza, Vice-President; C. Franco, Secretary; Francisco Da Silva, Treasurer; and Board Members Jose Brimo, Manuel Javier, Manuel Vallejo, R. M. Siddon, Manuel Santibanez and Juan Atayde.

This organization, it seems, ceased to be active after a short time due to no doubt to the fact that members felt no direct connection with the college and no common bond of past experiences or interests since all of them had been educated in different schools. Another such attempt was made in December 1920 with Brother Basilian as Moderator. This was something more like a Sodality than an Alumni Association in that the current upper-classmen in school and the few graduates the school then had were grouped together. It was hoped as the School Diary says “that this organization will prosper and become effective in welding together the faculty, student body and graduates.” This hope was apparently not realized, again no doubt, because of the divergent nature of the interests of the group.

The third attempt and the one that produced permanent results were made in December 1930 when a gathering was held with Mass and Communion and a breakfast meeting. At the meeting, elections of officers were held. Games followed during the rest of the morning and later one hundred and twenty-five alumni gathered for luncheon during which the results of the balloting were announced. Mr. Virgilio Lobregat was elected Pres1dent; Mr. Eduardo Viaplana, Vice-President; Mr. Alfonaso de Lange, Secretary; Mr. Guillermo Jose, Treasurer. The afternoon was spent in supervising the Annual Field Day of La Salle which had in recent years been warming in popularity and interest. The presence of the Alumni and their participation in some events added the spark to increase interest and an admirable job was done by them. Sad to recall, though, this interest did not continue and this was one of the last Field Days of such proportions held.

The DLSAA continued to have an Annual Home- coming. In 1932 Francisco Ortigas, Jr.'was elected President and remained at the helm until 1939 not, he says, “because of popularity but due to the simple fact that I did not call for elections and neither did any other members.” Manuel Barredo was elected President in 1939 and from then on we find Presidents occupying the chair for one or at most two years since during his tenure of office he was responsible for introducing into the constitution the provision that the past president would automatically be a member of the Board the following year in order to establish continuity. Thus each year ten Board Members are elected by the members in good standing. We find in the Annals of the De La Salle Alumni Association throughout the years various discussions on the question of the establishment of a Clubhouse for the Association. The first concrete move in this direction was made during the war. With forced leisure-time hanging heavy on their hands a number of alumni under the leadership of Monching del Rosario, Rafael Ygoa, and Carling Ledesma pooled together some of their resources, and established a Club in Malate in a rented house which had a small swimming pool and handball court attached. Later during the war years the Club was moved to the Catholic Center building on Taft Avenue, now occupied by Sta. Isabel College. This afforded more space, on indoor basketball court and further, eased the transportation problem that Malate area presented at this time. The Clubhouse during these days proved a very effective unit in bringing the alumni closer together and served as a very popular meeting place for alumni and friends to gather and exchange the latest stories and rumors. After the War the DLSAA rented a house on the corner of Dagonoy and Taft as a provisional center while plans were made for the building of the actual Alumni Clubhouse. Construction of the DLSAA Clubhouse on a piece of property to the rear of the College was completed in 1952 and blessed by Father Pascual Adorable, S.J. an alumnus of the 1934 high school class. The College Administration purchased the property and facilities of the Club for use as a canteen for college students upon the construction of the present college building in 1955.

During the Golden Jubilee Year the De La Salle Alumni Association numbered over fifteen hundred active members from among slightly less than three thousand high school and collegiate graduates. Three very successful reunions were held. The first in October at the Safari for post-war alumni, the second at the New Green Hills Novitiate for the pre-war alumni, and a mammoth reunion on the anniversary date of the founding. Under the energetic leadership of its Moderator Brother Anthony Ferdinand the DLSAA planned and carried out a three day official celebration of the fiftieth Anniversary of the College. Among the activities and projects that featured the Golden Jubilee Celebration were a golf tournament at the Manila Golf Club, a banquet and ball at the Manila Hotel, and the issuance of commemorative postage stamps.