Paco Catholic School

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Paco Catholic School

Motto Noblesse Oblige
"“Your nobility, Your dignity is great, and great, therefore, is your responsibility.”"
Established 1912
Type Run by the Archdiocese of Manila, Private, Filipino
Chairman Rev. Msgr. Gerardo O. Santos
Director Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos Jr.
Students approx. 8,500
Location City of Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Address 1521 Paz St. Paco, 1007 Manila, Philippines
Campus 4 hectares
Colors Royal Blue
Nickname Paconian
Affiliations Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, PAASCU, MAPSA, CEAP
Paco Catholic School (PCS) is a private school operated and managed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. The school is located in the district of Paco in the City of Manila, Philippines. Paco Catholic school started in 1912 as an informal class for a handful of young boys inside the chapel in the Peñafrancia section of the district by Rev. Fr. Raymond Esquenet, CICM.


The History of Paco Catholic School

Franciscans Found Paco

As early as 1580, the early Franciscan missionaries founded the town of Dilao (now known as Paco), located on the left side of the Pasig River, bounded by Pandacan on the North, Sta. Ana on the East Southeast, Malate on the South and Ermita on the West. Ten years later, Parroquia de Dilao was established with Rev. Fray Juan de Garrobillas as its first parish priest.

In 1762 the parish was relocated near the Pasig River and years later, the Franciscan Superior Governor incorporated the two smaller towns of Santiago and Peña de Francia (Peñafrancia) with the existing parish. The expanded parish was then transferred where the present Peñafrancia church now stands. Finally, the Franciscan Superior Governor ordered that the new town be called San Fernando De Dilao.

Fr. Fray Fernando de la Concepcion Perdigon who was appointed parish priest in 1809 then started the construction of a concrete church which was completed in 1814.

The CICM Missionaries

After the Spanish Franciscans left in 1900 the Archdiocese of Manila entrusted the parish to the Belgian Scheut Missionaries popularly known as the CICM (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) otherwise known as the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that managed the parish from 1908 to 1984.

Fr. Raymond Esquenet was the first CICM to be appointed parish priest of Paco by the Belgian Superior of the Order. He took over the management of the parish in October 1908 with Fr. Maurice Lefebvre as his assistant. Since the last Spanish-built church in the present site was destroyed and completely burned during the Spanish-American War in February 1899, the parishioners had to go to a small chapel in the corner of J. Zamora and Canonigo streets (now Quirino Ave. Extension) for church services for the next nine years.

Meantime, Fr. Esquenet made use of a small chapel in Peñafrancia which became an extension of the parish and where he started a small school for about 50 children.

After Fr. Esquenet was assigned to another parish in Lipa, Batangas in September 1912, Fr. Godfried (Godofredo) Aldenhuijsen, popularly known as Padre Godo, took over the parish. Aside from parish work, Fr. Godofredo continued what Fr. Esquenet had started – educating the young in his small chapel.

Fr. Godo and PCS

Facade of Paco Catholic School

During the time of Fr. Godofredo, Paco Catholic School emerged as an institution to reckon with becoming the largest parochial school in the Far East.

In June 1913, following an increase in enrolment, Fr. Godofredo asked the Belgian Mothers (CMSA now ICM) from St. Theresa’s College to help in running the school in Peñafrancia. Thereafter, enrolment steadily increased by one grade level every year until the primary course (Grade 1-4) was completed. Finally in 1916, the Grade School was fully recognized by the government.

When Fr. Godofredo was transferred to Pasig in September 1919, Fr. Josef Billiet became the Parish Priest of Paco, a position he held for 10 years. Finding it too inconvenient to administer a growing school which was quite a distance from the convent of Paco, he had a wooden building of five rooms constructed along Trece de Agosto Street on the North and along the estero on the South of the present site of Paco Catholic School. The students of Peñafrancia transferred to the new building in the early 1920’s.

March 1931 marked the return of Fr. Godofredo to Paco after an absence of 12 years. The old church, started by Fr. Esquenet in 1908 and completed by Fr. Godofredo in 1912, was reconverted into four classrooms in 1932. A second floor was added to it to serve as the Mother’s convent and on May 21, 1933, they came to live permanently in the church-school compound.

In 1933, the Intermediate level (Grades 5-7) was granted government recognition. A year after, a three-storey concrete edifice was constructed and the first year course in High School was offered. Paco Catholic School accepted its first 13 students in the new high school building, now named the Sacred Heart Building. From then on, one year level was added every year.

As the 13 freshmen formed the first batch of high school graduating class for SY 1937-1938, Paco Catholic School received her full recognition for a secondary course from the government.

Second World War

When World War II broke out in the Pacific on December 8, 1941, the school closed. But in 1942, on the occasion of a pastoral visitation, the Archbishop of Manila insisted that at least the high school level be re-opened.

In July 1944, Fr. Josef De Bal temporarily became the School Director because Fr. Godofredo, being a Dutch, was detained with other foreign nationals in Laguna. Later Fr. Godofredo was deposed as Parish Priest by order of the Japanese authorities but he was reinstated on the same day through the intervention of the Archbishop. Thus, the school was placed under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Manila. The battles of liberation forced the school to close again in September 1944.

At the end of the war in 1945, Fr. Godofredo returned to Paco. The devastation of the church and the school buildings was so enormous that a canvass roof was placed on top of the old church. The place served as temporary church on Sundays and as a school on weekdays. With the help of the American engineers, more repairs were made and Paco Catholic School was able to start classes in July 1945 with 1,500 students. To accommodate all the students, the double session system was introduced – girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon. Repairs of damaged buildings were made between 1946 and 1955, including the conversion of the Mother’s convent into a girl’s high school building.

The CICM Fathers and the Belgian Mothers (now CICM Sisters) continued their administration of the school whose population reached 7,000 in 1964. Six years later, a new rectory of the Sisters and the five- storey St. Joseph Building, which is still being used at present were constructed. However, the Belgian ICM Sisters decided to withdraw their involvement in PCS, leaving their Filipino counterparts as principal of the Grade School Department. From 1970 to 1984, the CICM Fathers remained as directors of the school but the principalship of both Grade School and High School Departments was given to the lay administrators.

Fr. Carlos Van Ooteghem, the last CICM Priest to serve PCS, managed the school from 1980-1984. He stayed on as coadjutor in the parish until his health prevented him from continuing his ministry. It was during his term when the Karel Hall, covered court, Fr. Godofredo and the Practical Arts Buildings were constructed. After 72 years of dedicated service to the ministry and education, the CICM turned over the management of the school to the Archdiocese of Manila in 1984.

PCS Under the Archdiocese of Manila

Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Teodoro C. Bacani Jr. became the first Filipino Director who managed the school from 1984-1993. Fr. Danilo A. Canceran succeeded Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. as School Director in June 1993. In 1995, the five-storey San Lorenzo Ruiz Building, which replaced the Sisters' Convent that housed the Department of Religious Education or DRE, was built during the term of office of Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr., Parish Priest and Fr. Danilo Canceran School Director.

The population in PCS continued to increase especially when Kindergarten I was introduced in 1995. The start of Nursery Level was introduced a year later.

In 1996, Monsignor Domingo A. Cirilos Jr. was appointed Parish Priest and director of the institution. In less than a year of his incumbency, he had the altar of the church renovated. Thus began a series of speedy major edifice constructions.

In 1997 the two old buildings along Trece de Agosto up to the estero were demolished to make way for a new five-storey Pope John Paul II building, replacing the Holy Cross and Our Lady’s Buildings. This was completed in 1998. It was also in the same year when the Preschool Level (Nursery, Kindergarten, and Preparatory) was completed.

In May 1999, the construction of Jaime Cardinal Sin Building housing 33 rooms for the high school department and a 1,000-seater auditorium started. Upon completion after 1 year and 2 months, the modern structure was blessed and inaugurated in a fitting ceremony on July 14, 2000 by the person for whom it was named.

During the 89th PCS Foundation Day celebration, the Parish Priest and School Director Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos Jr. led the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a 10-storey school edifice. The magnificent structure, named after Blessed Pedro Calungsod, was blessed and inaugurated on November 8, 2002 in a grand ceremony coinciding with the 90th PCS Foundation Day.

On November 9, 2006, the Sacred Heart Building, the first concrete edifice in the campus, was renamed Rev. Fr. Godofredo Aldenhuijsen Heritage Center following a motion and resolution passed and unanimously approved by the Parents Coordinating Board of the high school department and subsequently concurred with by Msgr. Cirilos.

After a series of constructions, the school now stands with pride giving Paco district skyline a new profile. Keeping abreast with the changes and the new trends in education, the school has continuously improved its physical plant and facilities and maintained its high standard of education through the years.

The PCS Philosophy

PCS Library

In the Catholic School System, the aims and objectives are enhanced and ennobled by the Catholic Philosophy of Life which recognizes that every human being has an eternal destiny as well as an earthly existence. Education is a preparation of the whole man for life here and hereafter.

Therefore, all men having that inalienable right to education must be developed in keeping with their ultimate goal, ability, sex, culture and tradition in fostering true unity and peace.

The PCS Vision

Paco Catholic School, an evangelizing arm of the church, is an institution of learning and formation, offering quality Catholic Education. It envisions its students to be total persons sensitive to the plight of the poor and responsive to the needs of the dynamic Philippine society and global challenges.

The PCS Mission

In the light of this vision, we commit ourselves to:

  • Make PCS a home and institution of excellent quality education with the emphasis on Gospel values integrated in all learning experiences.
  • Nurture within the community an atmosphere of service and genuine concern for the upliftment of the deprived, depressed and underprivileged.
  • Provide opportunities and tools for wholistic development of students to make them locally effective and globally.
  • Establish linkages with the home and community to sustain efficient and responsible stewardship of God’s creation.

The Institutional Goals

  • To provide in its curricular offerings learning experiences deeply rooted in Gospel values;
  • To deepen within the community the love for Christian service and concern for our less fortunate brethren;
  • To harness students’ potentials and talents in all areas of endeavor making them highly competitive;
  • To create an environment where students develop a sense of duty and purpose, personal, civic and moral responsibility and commitment to God and country through responsible stewardship;

The Objectives of the Institution

PCS Quadrangle

Pursuant to its vision, this institution seeks to produce:

  • A morally upright person with unwavering faith in God and constant love of his fellowmen
  • An individual who values himself in order to preserve family unity and to efficiently discharge his responsibilities
  • A Filipino citizen who is proud of his race and his culture and works to promote world peace and unity in society
  • An individual who pursues an honest living, loves things Philippines and is responsive to the needs and the changes of the times
  • A Filipino citizen who loves and willingly serves the Republic of the Philippines, intelligently exercises his individual and collective rights and faithfully practices the ideals of democracy
  • A person who fosters harmony, goodwill and brotherhood among the people of the world
  • An individual who lives healthfully, uses his leisure time wisely to be physically fit for the development of self and community

The Official Seal of PCS

The Seal of Paco Catholic School is the perspective of a lily, a flower symbolic of purity and unselfish love that is right and beautiful.

The Seal has two colors – royal blue and white. Royal blue stands for justice and peace that every noble person aspires for. White symbolizes the way of life every Paconian should lead: clean, simple and honest living.

Upon the suggestion of Dr. Loida Hilario (principal of the Early Childhood Education department), the founding year of the School – 1912 -- was included in the logo. The School motto, NOBLESSE OBLIGE, – Nobility Obligates -- was also added to remind the students, as well as the graduates, that “your nobility, your dignity is great, and great, therefore, is your responsibility.”

The Jerusalem cross is once again clearly incorporated in the seal but in its upright position. Uncontrolled reproductions of the seal in the past rendered the cross indistinct.

The School seal shall always have the 12-point scallops around it. They represent the 12 apostles and evangelists, teachers in their own rights. Today, they are represented by the teachers. The number 12 is also known to signify perfection and unity.

The original seal of the School was a lily designed by Mother Guido SMSA. The present day seal was based on the design by the late Ramon Vergara Duque in 1940. He is a member of Class 1941. Unfortunately, none of his sketches of the Seal and the original design survived the war.

The redesigned seal was made by Reynaldo A. Mones Class 1971 and was granted a certificate of registration by the Intellectual Property Office with registration number 4-2005-001397 last 09 October 2006. All reproductions of the PCS Seal must be a faithful copy and will require a written authorization from the Office of the School Director.

The PCS Hymn

  • Lyrics: Sr. Nieves Valdes Class 1939
  • Music: Ceferino Joven

Hail to thee, our Alma Mater! Hail to thee, our second home! We, thy children, are thine forever. Thine to call, to bid, to claim thine own. As we stand here we salute thee, Good and loving P.C.S. Proud and happy we always will be Of our school we all have learned to bless.

(Refrain) O’er the land thy dear name we praise; To thy honor our hearts we raise; For to thee, dear school, are due All this love, all this cares so true.

Watch ye all our standard gleaming Rally to our blue and white. To these colors, so full of meaning Raise your voices with all main and might! Greet with cheers our banners waving; March with stride that’s brave and free; High our spirits, and boldly daring Set to earn the price of victory.

(Refrain) To our school, we’ll give our all, To our school, her beck and call; For to her so dear and true All this love, all this care are due.


  • The Paco Catholic School Golden Jubilee Book - 1962
  • PCS Student's Manual (1995-1996 Edition)
  • Original Entry into Wikipedia by

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