MABINI, BATANGAS – Mabini College of Batangas deserves to be congratulated for such a remarkable growth! It started in 1948, as Mabini High School with 196 students, eight teachers and one employee. MCB today, upgraded in 2002, has a total of 678 high schoolers and 80 college students taking up Bachelor of Science in Education, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; 32 teachers and a complete administrative staff of 13 employees.
“I must’ve been only 7 years old,” narrates Franco Solis from San Francisco, but I remember when I went with your dad, Papa Ano (Marciano K. Solis) and Ipay (JosefaKasilag) when they did an ocular in Mabini. And I remember Ipay asking, ‘Where will the children go after elementary school?’”
(“Not being disrespectful,” Franco’s wife Lourdes explained, “but Franco was raised by Lola Ipay, and he had called her Ipay ever since.”)
Former Mabini Mayor Amurao had asked my father, who was then public school supervisor in Batangas, the same question, “Where will the children go after elementary school?”
According to MCB history provided by administrative assistant Gladys Villanueva, “Mabini College of Batangas, formerly Mabini High School (1948-1969), Mabini Junior College (1969-1974) and MataasnaPaaralangMabini (1974-2002) was founded by a group of educationally-minded people from Batangas towns Taal and Lemery. Actually,” Gladys noted, “the idea of founding this school was conceived by Mr. Marciano K. Solis, the real founder of Mabini College of Batangas.”
The incorporators of the school included JosefaKasilag, Dr. Domingo dela Vega, Primitivo Ilagan, and Conchita de las Alas Lualhati (grandmother of actor/singer/songwriter OgieAlcasid), and Papa’s brothers, brother-in-law and sisters: former Taal (Batangas) Mayor Judge Juan K. Solis, Atty. GodofredoCarandang, and educators Vicenta Solis-Carandang, Felix and Aurelia C. Solis, and Waldy Solis. (Papa’s two other siblings joined later as administrators and stockholders.)
I remember tagging along when Papa visited Mabini, and I recall classes being held at someone’s bedroom, but thanks to Julian Bautista and Zoilo Evangelista from PoblacionMabini, who rented their houses while waiting for a 10-room building to be constructed in 1952. By 1991, with school population rising from 1982, MCB had spent P5.8 million for a second floor, an auditorium and additional rooms; as well as for remodeling and repairs.
The first president of MCB was Dr. Martin K. Solis and today, the president is one of his two daughters, Aida Solis-Domecillo. The other officers of MCB are: Amancia ‘Ching’ Solis-Ko, Vice President; Janette Solis-Ko, Internal Auditor (taking over Lourdes Solis-Alcayde’s job after she migrated to the U.S.; CitaCarandang-Chavez, Treasurer (from Santa Clara, CA, who divides her time between the Philippines and the U.S); and Francisca Solis-Salazar, Secretary. (Yes, I do feel guilty because I have not served MCB, and yet enjoy the benefits as across-the-miles administrator and stockholder.)
The celebration of Mabini College of Batangas’ 70th anniversary was an opportunity to take stock of its achievements. I know Papa would be so pleased to know that there were graduates who became district supervisors in Batangas: Saturnina D. Sawali, Connie Castillo-Hernandez, Dr. Felisa D. Castillo, Mabini; Braulio ‘Raul’ Napeñas, Tingloy; and Antonio Ilagan, San Pascual.
MCB is proud of alumni Noel B. Luistro currently serving as Mabini Municipal Mayor; bar topnotcher Antonio Panopio; and Jaylord B. Agillon, architect and professional violinist in Singapore.
There are MCB graduates at the Sangguniang Bayan: Judges Leticia G. Austria and LiezlAcquiatan; and Felix Sawali. At the Sandigang Bayan: Justice Edilberto Sandoval.
Not to forget the entrepreneur alumni: Proprietor GlicerioArago, Chicken Haus; lawyer/businessman Aldrin Calangi; and Allan Estillore, Land Management Services in Batangas City.
And serving as government officials: Dr. Victor Bejer, Municipal Health Physician, Bauan (Batangas); and in Mabini – Charito Mauhay-Bilale, Municipal Assessor; AilenePanopio-Fabila, Municipal Accountant; Constancio Rolando D. Castillo, Municipal Agriculturist; and Mario Maramot of the Division Office in Batangas.
“MCB’s commitment,” stated President Aida Solis-Domecillo, “to value the ideals of democracy, patriotism, and nationalism shall remain ignited, steadfast and unwavering. Our faith in God shall be the guiding light and the beacon,” she added, “as we face new challenges that lie ahead.”
Mabini, a coastal municipality in the 2nd District of Batangas (originally named Kumintang by the Malay settlers), was inaugurated on January 1, 1918, with Captain Francisco Castillo, known as the founder of the town, as the first appointive Municipal President (Wikipedia). A 1st class municipality named after the revolutionary hero ApolinarioMabini, the town is in Region 2, CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon and one highly-urbanized city, Lucena.) One of its 34 Barangays, Anilao, a Marine Protected Sanctuary, is known as the best spot in the Philippines for “underwater macro photography… and compared to the rest of the world, it is normally ranked for Muck Diving in the top 3 at 3rd position after the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia and Mabul Island in Malaysia.”
According to Wikipedia, “muck diving gets its name from the sediment that lies at the bottom of many dive sites – a frequently muddy or ‘mucky’ environment. Other than muddy sediment, the muck dive substrate may consist of dead coral skeletons, discarded fishing equipment, tires and other man-made garbage. In addition, the visibility is usually less than on the reef or wreck sites of the area.”
I chatted with Detlef of Dive the World Dream Team and he said, “macro means large in scale and is a term that is used in relation to tiny creatures because photographers use macro lenses to allow them to take big, close up pictures of the minuscule, such as pygmy seahorses, pipefish and ‘commensal’ shrimps, to name but a few.”