Nestled at the northern part of Bohol is a modest but elegant looking college. Mater Dei College offers a harmonious blend of a peaceful rural ambience and a fast-paced technological advancement. Demographically, MDC can be considered a small college with a population of more than a thousand students, but her small size did not deter her from having big visions. In spite of limited resources, she dares to dream-dreams which have been gradually materialized with abundant blessings from Mary, the Mother of God (Mater Dei), the patroness of the institution.
What used to be an ugly duckling has now metamorphosed into a lovely swan. Indeed, MDC has gone far from what she was 25 years ago. From the original eight classrooms, the college has expanded extensively especially with the completion of her newest buildings—the Nursing and Related Arts Complex and the MDC Elementary Laboratory School. The increasing number of students, mostly from the neighboring towns necessitated an expansion project. The Information Technology Systems Complex was completed three years ago followed with the construction of the HRM Laboratory.
Although the college has kept abreast with advancement in technology, she has managed to preserve her lush green surroundings. Behind the college’s unassuming facade a magnificent school campus meets the eye. Tall trees and flowering plants invite birds to build their nests. The quiet atmosphere which is really conducive to learning attracted balikbayan parents to send their fun-loving children to this college. MDC’s plain frontage is a complete contrast to the splendid college grounds behind the original front building. Equipped with state-of-the-art sports facilities such as a lawn & table tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, the school provides both students and teachers opportunities to have a relaxing exercise.
Aside from her material resources, MDC can truly boast of her human resource powerhouse. Her faculty and staff are known to possess a perfect timbre of sternness and congeniality. MDC’s competent administrators assured the community that the college is manned towards the right direction. With her highly-competent members of the Board of Trustees, most of whom are priests and lay educators, the college is definitely in good hands.
The College Seal is a white circular field surrounded by rosary beads. The upper arc contains the name, MATER DEI COLLEGE. Directly under the arc, is a blue triangle with the words in white print; SAPIENTIA, CARITAS, and ORATIO on each side of the equilateral triangle. Inside is a smaller white triangle with an M and a cross on its top at the center. Both the M and the cross are surrounded with 15 black dots. On the base of the big triangle is the location of the college, Tubigon, Bohol, Philippines. Beneath it is the foundation date of the college in the symbols; MCMLXXXIII (1983), all printed in black. The prominence of the M and the rosary in the logo indicates the role of Mary, Mother of God as the patroness and protector of the College. The words: SAPIENTIA, wisdom, through Scholarship, CARITAS, charity, through service, and ORATIO, prayer-life, through living the Gospel are the corporate values that the College upholds.
Her Early Beginnings
It was in the year 1983, during Mayor Eufrasio Mascarinas’ term, when the local government of Tubigon invited prominent educators to lead the enterprise of founding a College in the community to help specifically the economically disadvantaged students obtain college education. Some local residents could not afford to send their children either to Tagbilaran, the capital or Cebu, a big city of the neghboring province after these students graduated from high school.
Through the initiatives of the Sanguniang Bayan Secretary, Mr. Cesar Mascarinas, with the help of the Parish Priest at the time, Msgr. Camilo V. Auza, Fr. Josemaria S. Luengo, Ph.D., the town’s famous historian and prominent educator, was invited to lead a group of selfless and generous educators to invest in founding a College. Resolution no. 78 series of 1983 of the Sanguniang Bayan paved the way for this realization.
Fr. Luengo, in turn, asked Dr. Lourdes H. Torrefranca, a native of Clarin, Bohol who is also a very prominent educator, the Dean of USJR Graduate School at the time, to join him in this project. Then Dr. Rose Alfafara, a popular optometrist from Tubigon, who is also a known benefactress of seminarians and other church related activities, was the next one invited. Finally, the trio succeded in soliciting the initial investment of around Php100,000.00 from pro-poor local patrons. These original investors became the first set of the Members of the Board of Trustees and Incorporators:
- Rev. Fr. Josemaria S. Luengo, Ph.D. (deceased)
- Lourdes H. Torrefranca, Ph.D.
- Most Rev. Felix S. Zafra, D.D. (deceased)
- Benjamin L. Mejorada, Ph.D. (deceased)
- Msgr. Camilo V. Auza, H.P. (deceased)
- Rose P. Alfafara, O.D.
- Mariano M. Lerin, Ph.D.; CPA
- Cesar C. Mascarinas, M.A.
After a series of meetings, the rites and laying of the foundation stone for the construction of Mater Dei College building led by Msgr. Auza was finally done in February 1983. The first wing of the M structure of the building was constructed by obtaining credit lines from various sources. Although the funds were very low, the first modest Mater Dei College building stood proudly.
The first biggest problem encountered by the founders was the difficulty of securing a government permit to operate. The Secretary of Education and the Director of Private Schools at the time disapproved of the application for permit because of a moratorium prohibiting the opening of a college. Fortunately, a certain unknown boatman from Tubigon, Mr. Gulayan, was discovered to be an effective bridge to facilitate fast approval by his seeing Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, whom he helped escape from the Japanese through his boat. The very brief scribbling of Pres. Marcos to release the permit handcarried by Mr. Gulayan cut short all red tape for approval.
The First Batch of Educands and Curricular Offerings
pioneering students and staff attended the first flag raising ceremony on June 18, 1984. On the first year of operation, MDC had a total of 170 enrollees. The first curricualr offerings were Bachelor of Arts (AB) and Bachelor of Sciences in Commerce (BSC). Three more courses were added in June 1985: Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED), Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED), and two-year Junior Secretarial Course (JSC). The College held her first commencement exercises with 10 pioneering graduates in AB and BSC in March 1988. Dr. Eladio Dioko, Asst. Regional Director at the time, was the first commencement speaker. From then on, Mater Dei College has continued to turn over to the world graduates equipped with sturdy wings to fly all over the world wherever fate would take them.
The Pioneering Administrative Staff and Faculty
On the first year of existence of Mater Dei College in 1984, the institution needed persons to be entrusted with some particular positions. Below is the list of the “Firsts” in the organization.
Lourdes H. Torrefranca, Ph.D.Mr. Cesar C. Mascarinas, M.A.Mrs. Corazon F. HordistaMiss Victoria A. LuengoMiss Elizabeth EspenidoMrsg. Camilo V. Auza (deceased)Miss Florecita T. RamaMr. Rolando Balauta.
Among the first full-time instructors: Mrs. Nelda G. Geyrosaga, Mr. Noeh Z. Rabadonia, Miss Elizabeth Espenido, and Mr. Garciano Gillamac. They taught English, Filipino, History, Science and Commerce subjects, respectively.
These people contributed much to the formation of the students as well as the development and progress of the school. They trailblazed the road to excellence which inspired the people who succeeded them.