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Andres Bonifacio College:
The Pioneering Spirit of Building Leaders Lives On
The Great Plebeian, Andres Bonifacio, and the visionary educator, Amando Borja Amatong, had something in common: both were no strangers to poverty. Instead, this did not deter them from getting an education and serving their country well. Inspired by the life of the revolutionary hero and challenged by his own life conditions, Amatong founded the Andres Bonifacio Institute in 1940.
This son of a fisherman, farmer and tuba gatherer, Amatong worked hard to finish his elementary grades at a local school in Dalaguete, Cebu where he was born. He later finished his secondary education as a government pensionado at the Philippine Normal School where he obtained his Secondary Normal diploma at the age of 24.
As a condition for availing of a free education, Amatong became a classroom teacher in Carcar, Cebu and he later continued his teaching career in Manicahan, Zamboanga City. Determined to earn a degree, he went back to school at the Jose Rizal College in Manila, where he obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree. After graduation, he went back to teaching and was appointed School Supervisor for the districts of Dipolog and Katipunan.
In 1927, he met Felicidad Mabanag Sybico, a pragmatic and industrious woman of Chinese heritage and among the most charming ladies of her time. Mrs. Amatong, fondly called “Manang Edad”, would later play a very crucial role in the growth and development of the Institution.
After the death of the founder on April 22, 1943, Manang Edad took it upon herself to raise her eight children and to pursue the founder’s vision of pioneering an institute of higher learning in Mindanao. She took up from where her husband had left off.
The citation awarded by the National Federation of Women’s Club of the Philippines to Felicidad Sybico vda. de Amatong as Outstanding Mother of 1986 reads:
“A mother deserving to be honored and extolled is Felicidad Veoda de Amatong, widow of Amando B. Amatong. Upon the death of her husband, she had surmounted financial difficulties alone, with her large brood of children. With loans from relatives, she managed to re-open Andres Bonifacio Institute, the only legacy left by her husband. With great sacrifice, self-denial, and self–discipline, she was able to send all her eight children to college despite her income. She practically devoted all her waking hours not only in bringing up her children, but also in making the institute grow. Her reputation for honesty and frugality, and her dedication to work have become almost a legend in the community.”
The pioneering spirit of developing leaders started in her home. She brought up her eight children to be leaders and exemplars in their chosen fields. From the Amatong household, the development of leaders cascaded to the school. The fruits of her labor are now perpetuated by her children.
Andres Bonifacio College Today
From a small institute of seven students and five faculty members, the Andres Bonifacio College has grown into one of the foremost educational centers of Region IX offering over 55 degree and diploma programs and the alma mater of over 20,000 professionals in the following fields: Graduate Studies, Law, Nursing, Accountancy, Business, Geodetic, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Computer, Electronics Engineering, Education, Criminology, Agriculture, Computer Science, Political Science, Mass Communication, English, Mathematics and Vocational/Technical.
Recently, the College has embarked on an ambitious and comprehensive program to upgrade learning resources and to provide top of the line facilities. It has also continued to develop the expertise of its faculty and staff, and to provide new and better opportunities for its students. The College’s new five-storied Science and Technology Building houses the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Speech, Computer, Nursing Skills and Engineering laboratories.
Construction is currently on-going on the five-storied Arts, Graduate and Professional School Building that will house the Administrative offices, the Main Library, the School of Law the School of Business and Management Education, School of Teacher and Basic Education, the Theater, the Gallery and the Memorabilia Room.
Also located in the College Park is the Amando B. Amatong Civic Center, the largest and the most modern cultural and athletic center in Northwestern Mindanao and home to FM radio station, DXAA 92.5.
Andres Bonifacio College is also active in extension and continuing education through its Center for Governance Development and Continuing Studies (GODECOST) with offices at the 3rd Floor of the nearby Felicidad I Building.
At the heart of these expansion and development endeavors lies the Institution’s deep commitment to the ideals of the founder – his dream of providing accessible quality education to the future leaders and the productive populace of our nation. Along with this were the tenacity, frugality, and dedication for work of the prime mover. The legacy to her children accelerates the momentum towards the realization of the Institution’s vision as an educational center of excellence for instruction, research, technology, extension, athletics, and the arts down south of the archipelago.
The Amatong children have embraced the core values of industry, intelligence, and integrity that their parents imbued in them as if these were priced possessions. The culture of excellence anchored on hard work, knowledge, and word of honor lives on.