PCZC History

Pilar College is owned and managed by the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) founded by Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. The RVM Sisters pioneered the Catholic education in the Southwestern part of Mindanao as a Cartilla School dedicated to the education of children and youth of Zamboanga and its surrounding municipalities. Three Beatas, Sor Maxima de Leon as Superior, together with Sor Clara Ramirez and Sor Rafaela Galvez, initiated the Zamboanga mission in 1894.

From a Cartilla School with advanced Spanish lessons, the Primary and Elementary Courses opened in 1914 and was granted government recognition in 1918. From among the first graduates, Primary and Intermediate grade-teachers were chosen, and among them was Mo. Josefina Regino who joined the RVM Congregation in 1926.

In 1920, the school was transferred to the site of the “Hospital Señora del Pilar” in Cawa-Cawa presently named R. T. Lim Boulevard. The girls’ t high school was opened with Mo. Candelaria Tarcela as the first principal. The school was named “Pilar Institution”. It was granted government recognition in 1928.

Permit to open the Junior Normal College was granted in 1940. It also offered a two-year Secretarial Course.

After the liberation in 1945, the Sisters, through the initiative of Mo. Carmen Perez, RVM, resumed classes for the elementary and high school levels in a one-floor sawali and nipa building in La Purisima Street. For lack of classrooms, three-shift classes were scheduled. Morning for the elementary, afternoon for the high school, and evening for the college.

In 1947, government recognition was granted to the Education Course.

On June 21, 1948, Bishop Luis del Rosario, S. J. blessed and laid the cornerstone of a semi-concrete, two-storey building facing the sea in the school’s present site. The wooden elementary building was put up in 1951, the school auditorium in 1957, and the Music Department building in 1959. The old one-room chapel was replaced by a beautiful two-wing concrete structure. The Home Economics building and the Sisters’ convent were completed and blessed in 1964. A semi-concrete one-storey Science building was completed in 1967.

From 1949 to 1971, graduates in Teacher Education were produced.

The presence of the nearby Zamboanga Normal School and the opening of private colleges in municipalities resulted in the gradual phase out of the college course in 1972. The Music Education continued together with the High School and Elementary Departments.

Religion Training Program was opened in 1975. It was a bi-monthly, in- service training program designed to prepare teachers to handle Christian Living classes.

The school started to work for its accreditation with the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) from the time of S. Maria Rafaela Singzon, RVM and continued until the time of S. Maria Lydia C. Daga, RVM in 1990 when PAASCU accredited the High School Department. The Grade School Department was accredited in January 25, 1996. In 1992, the school offered Bachelor of Science in Education. However, after the first batch graduated, the school closed the Program because it had few takers. In 1994, when the school celebrated its Centennial Year, it accommodated the admission of male students in the High School Department. It aimed to enhance the school’s Vision and Mission to educate men and women of every race, condition, age and religious belief. This was made possible by S. Maria Elvira A. Venturina, RVM, the School Directress. In the same year, the Mother Ignacia Building was constructed to replace the Main Building facing the sea. S. Maria Yolanda C. Reyes, RVM, College Department. In 2000-2001, Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED), the School Directress from 1997 to 2003, directed the reopening of the Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BSHRM) and Bachelor of Science in Tourism (BST) were offered. Dr. Carmen S. Solis was the College Dean.

In the latter part of 2003, S. Maria Andrea L.

President, started the construction of the Mother Ignacia Gymnasium. The building was completed and was blessed on October 18, 2004.

The quadrangle, with bleachers on two sides, was renovated during the School Year 2008-2009. A new stage was constructed beside the statue of Our Lady of the Pillar. The expansion of the HRM Laboratory was undertaken when S. Maria Bernadette G. Suico, RVM was the School President.

On January 31, 2009, the High School Department was granted Level III Re- Accredited Status by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU).

The Basic Education and College libraries were separated and both were blessed on July 27, 2011.

On April 17, 2012, the Grade School Department was granted Level III Re- Accredited Status by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines.

School Year 2012-2013 marked a shift in the school administration. S. Maria Niña C. Balbas, RVM was the School President when, for the first time since its establishment, the school had its Vice President for Administrative Affairs, S. Maria Elvira A. Venturina, RVM. It was also in this school year that the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science in Information System were no longer allowed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to admit first year students.

The Basic Education Department was fully equipped to answer the new educational reform of the country, the K-12 Program. The first year high school students were already called Grade 7 and would continue until Grade 12.

It was during this school year when the BSN Program had its first Top Ten Examinee in the Nursing Licensure Examination. Miss Nikki Ann D. G. Portiz of Class 2012 ranked 7 in the said licensure examination given on December 16-17, 2012. In 2013 another BSN student, Mr. Jissey Ray L. Rafanan garnered the 9th place in the December 7-8, 2013 licensure examination.

During School Year 2013-2014, S. Maria Charita P. Cabunoc, RVM, the School President, strengthened the spiritual practices in the campus. The Angelus and the 3 o’clock prayers were prayed daily. The Ignacian Formation Program (IFP) was held regularly. The new formula for Mass responses during the Mass was reinforced. The sending-off ceremony for work experiences of students in the country and abroad and the Muslim Rites for Thanksgiving for college students were initiated.

On the dawn of September 9, 2013, the city came under siege by Muslim militants. This incident showed the unity of Zamboangueños, particularly the government, the schools, alumni and parents who worked together to give help to those who needed it most. Pilar College became the depository of relief goods for evacuees. Elderly Jesuit priests took refuge at the RVM Sisters’ old convent for safety.

School Year 2014-2015 felt the decrease in student population in the Basic Education Department. This was caused by the transfer of residents of some parents and the presence of tent houses of the evacuees in R. T. Lim Boulevard which created fear in parents and children.

The planned construction of the Our Lady of Lourdes Building was materialized. Ground breaking ceremony was graced by the Board of Trustees headed by Rev. Mo. Evelyn C. Aguilar, RVM, Mother General of the RVM Congregation, on July 14, 2014. This building was completed the following year and blessed on April 15, 2015. The RVM Quality Roadmap and the Internal Quality Audit Team were organized. The integration of the Grade School and the High School Departments was done during the latter part of the school year.

While the Basic Education Department was intensifying the implementation of the RVM Pedagogy, the College Department, for the first time, introduced and accepted the RVM Pedagogy. Observation of classes in the tertiary level was likewise intensified.

On June 26, 2016, the Institution received the approval for the opening of the Senior High School. Renovation of the Madonna Building was undertaken to accommodate the incoming Grade 11 students.

During School Year 2016-2017, Pilar College opened the Senior High School. There was a good number of enrollees and 198 of them came from Pilar College.

Student achievements in the off-campus competitions were noteworthy. The school paper of the Basic Education won awards. The Bachelor of Science in Tourism (BST) Program was recognized in the city, hence some Pilarists were chosen to lead the city’s student organization.

Finally, after a long period of hard work, the school was able to initially establish the Policy on Rank and Promotion in the College Department. This is expected to encourage the teachers in the tertiary level to raise the bar of quality performance.

In December of S.Y. 2017-2018, the school was revisited by the PAASCU Re-survey team. This was the first time that GS and HS departments were revisited as a Basic Education Department, during which time, S. Ma. Lorina Jumawan was the School President.

In 2018-2019, PAASCU granted Level III Re-Accreditation to the Basic Education Department. S. Ma. Andrea L. Yee, RVM was then the President of the school.

In 2019-2020, the school celebrated its Quasquicentennial, 125 years after its foundation in 1894 The preparation was headed by S. Ma. Divina Consejo E. Billanes, RVM, the chairperson of the celebration. The finale was done on December 10, 2019 with a musical variety show, portraying the major events of the school. It was also during this year the Board of Trustees (BOT) approved the construction of a 3-storey building of the College Department, as initiated by S. Ma. Andrea L. Yee, RVM, the School President.

On March 13, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the country under Community Quarantine due to the COVID19 pandemic. The City Mayor, Maria Isabelle Climaco, through an executive order, placed the city under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on March 20, 2020. With this, the school did not have moving-up and graduation ceremonies he both for the Basic Education and College Department. Also, summer HS classes were cancelled and the opening of classes for School Year 2020- 2021 was moved to August 24, 2020. The school was preparing for the New Normal.

Despite the pandemic, S. Ma. Preciosa M. Rusiana, RVM, our new the School President, courageously came to Zamboanga on July 8, 2020 to take the helm of school.

With the passion to offer quality Catholic education, we are all invited to put altogether our efforts to make the first step forward towards the envisioned future and to work together to make it a reality.