I grew up in Quezon City. It is one of the largest city in Metro Manila, Philippines. As a child, my mother wanted me educated in Manila because she could guide me there first hand because it was near our business office.My parents stayed in Manila most of the day because of our elevator business. However, for some practical reasons, they opted to transfer me to a school near our house near Commonwealth Avenue after finishing elementary level. It was not hard finding good schools in our district, though. During those times, there were the Our Lady of Grace Montessori that admitted high school and grade school students. Diliman Preparatory School, Mary Knoll College (now called Miriam College) and the New Era College were also viable options for these levels. Ateneo de Manila University was never a choice because it was all-boy school. All of them are known and the graduates could face the world confident with their artistic abilities and mathematical and scientific know-how. These days, however, the Our Lady of Grace Montessori is no longer existing. What is left are the rubble in the area where it used to be. The New Era College is now the New Era University. It has expanded to many buildings and it already has branches in the provinces like Batangas and Surigao. It now offers special education for the special children at a low cost. The quality, however, is good inspite of the cheap tuition fee. The grade school and high school students of all the mentioned schools learn basics of filming, writing, scripts and many forms of art. There are also sports programs for those who like to excel in sports. The English proficiency are well-checked. Scientific and mathematical skills are honed.They enter competitions against other schools to allow interactions with other people and to build up confidence and to make the students oriented on the value of team building.
The University of the Philippines-Diliman has been a landmark that I passed by everyday as a child when I went to Manila. It is the premier university of the Philippines. Since 1908, great men and women of science and the arts were produced Who would not dream of going to U.P? The term U.P student has some respectable dignity into it. It connotes confidence ,and insatiable inquisitiveness. It means superior intelligence, although, of course other schools could produce great minds, too. I guess that this this why this school always cross the minds of millions of Filipino students from all walks of life all over my country. Supportive parents allowed their children to hurdle the “right minus wrong ” U.P. College Admission Test (UPCAT) and those who could afford even took efforts in enrolling them to review centers for such kind of examination. In my time, there were no such review centers. We were assisted by our teachers in New Era College, and luckily, three of us were not just able to enroll. We were also able to get the degree that we wanted from that great school.
The University of the Philippines offers a socialized tuition financial assistance program.This means that they base the tuition fee on the capacity of the family to generate income. The parents have to present their Income Tax Returns and the water and electric billing statements to support their claim. So, the poorest of the poor could get in the university. Depending on the bracket , students could enjoy free tuition fees and monthly allowance. I remember enjoying those stipends in my stay there.
The libraries are huge. Students could enjoy reading a lot of things from them. We could read radical ideas without being queried about them.We could go to the Filipiniana and read Tagalog pocketbooks. We could also borrow romance pocketbooks in the Main Library. We could read the classics and the modern prose and appreciate the good works of good writers of all ages. Those who wanted to see a different kind of approach in movies could well enjoy the festivals of different countries in the University Theater.What I enjoy the most,however, were watching the dramatic plays. I could tell that students were good in acting and producing theatricals.
As a student of the U.P., I also was able to exchange political views with the students of the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University. To get to Ateneo, I just had to ride a jeepney that plied around U.P and Katipunan Avenue.Their university is also wide. I rode tricycle from the gate to any building that I needed to go. Of course,the Ateneo people could bring cars inside. Bright,well-rounded minds that they were, I enjoyed bantering with the Ateneo students. We studied the problems of our society together and told each other the little ways that we could give as the youth with little means at those times. Like U.P., the Ateneo is also producing bar topnothers. The kind of training in all of the courses they offer are more than sufficient to make the graduates able to excel in the field they chose. We always branded the Ateneo students “the bright rich kids.” Their school admits girls in their college programs. Meaning, they are coed in the college department. They have undergraduate courses in the business, sciences, arts, engineering, information technology and humanities. Graduate courses are also available on these fields.
Just in front now of the Ateneo University is the Center for the Culinary Arts- Manila (CCA). I attended the great buffet last year with my brother. It is a kind of ceremony wherein the students make their guardians taste the food products of their students. We were invited to show support to our youngest sister, who is now on her second year in the Pastry Arts.The administration boast of training that is accredited with the trainings abroad. Those who wanted to be top-caliber chefs enroll in Diploma programs in Culinary Arts and pastry Arts. Tuition fees included the materials that the students use in the laboratory like the ingredients, knives, saddles and many other kitchen utensils. The alumni land jobs in hotels and resorts here and abroad.Some become celebrities who has cooking shows on the television. The actors and actresses who enrolled contributed to the popularity. The Miriam College has a 5-year degree program in Hotel and Management that incorporated the culinary arts program of the CCA. I guess that it is a good program.
The Miriam College is a Catholic school beside Ateneo. It is an exclusive school for girls. The graduates are great in communication skills and they are also very well-trained in the field they chose. They have courses on business, communications, culinary arts, environmental sciences,education and social work.
The New Era University, my high school alma mater, was already mentioned previously . It is located just in front of the College of Human Kinetics of the U.P. Diliman. The courses they offer increased depending perhaps on what is in demand.Aside from the usual courses offered by the other universities like the business, engineering, sciences ,accountancy and education, the school now has Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Nursing. They also have short courses like dressmaking ,care giving, therapeutic massage , housekeeping, sign language, automotive repair, and Nihonggo language.